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Thread: Alexander the Great:Personality Review

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    Alexander the Great:Personality Review

    I'll try my best and submit what knowledge/notes i have from '03 on this topic.

    Starting with the Early life.




    [Alexander the Great]

    Our task is to unveil the Alexander of history and detach as much as possible the Alexander of myth and legend. The sources portray him as superhuman, as a prophet, even as a magician. The major historiographical issue is to uncover the real Alexander that has been veiled by centuries of interpretation and reinterpretation.

    [A Divine Birth]

    "Through my father Phillip, I was born of the line of the deified Hercules, son of Zeus, and born of the line of Achilles through my mother, Olympus." Alexander

    Heracles was the only hero honoured in the Greek world as a human granted immortality by the gods. He destroys monsters, struggles with death, destroys cities and killed his own children.

    Achilles is the typical Greek hero, he is strong, proud, wrathful, fearless and passionate. Achilles had a choice of a long life in obscurity or a mortal death and immortal glory.

    Alexander was born in 356 BC and possibly 20 July, making him a Cancer. His father single-handedly created the Macedonian kingdom out of warring tribes and local principalities. His mother, Olympias, was a young princess from Epirus, a mountainous region bordering Albania. Phillip had allegedly fallen in love with her at the age of 14, she was involved in a mystery cult on the island of Samathrace. Later writers portray her as extremely proud and devoted to these mountains cults, a snake handler, she follows Dionysus. Alexander is influenced by his parental environment, he obtains these characteristics from his parents: from his father he obtained ruthlessness and how to be a politician, and from his mother he gains an insight into the realm of the mysterious, he is greatly influenced by the supernatural. She could also be very volatile and show a range of
    emotions.

    [Parental Relationships]

    The relationship between his father and mother was never easy, Phillip apparently distanced himself from Olympias after he saw her in bed with a snake. This take gave rise to legends that she had been impregnated by a God and Alexander was not the son of a mortal father, this was reinforced by the fact that he often escaped death and catastrophe and so must have been divinely
    protected. Olympias was utterly devoted to seeing Alexander as a master of Macedonia Nothing and no one was going to stand in the way of her boy securing the throne. She would not tolerate Phillip's other relationships, even though the practice of polygamy was widely accepted. Olympias was in her mid-30's when abandoned for a younger wife, in disgust she returns to Epirus with Alexander. On his return Alexander is taunted about the second marriage and the fact that there is a new heir to the throne on the way. But Olympias has the last laugh, when the new wife and child are put to death after Phillip's assassination. The ruthlessness would often be repeated by Alexander and is part of the Macedonian kingship. You liquidate potential enemies, if they cross you or are thinking of crossing you. Adolescence for Alexander is a training ground for his later life.
    Last edited by AsyLum; 20 Oct 2004 at 10:49 PM.

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    [Alexander’s Education]

    [The Princely Acts]

    The physical skills necessary to become a warrior king were vital for a boy who was destined to be great, Alexander displayed good talent for sports and combat. His uncle, Leonidus, was responsible for training him hard in the use of the sarissa, the Macedonian lance. He also used the javelin, bow and arrow and quarterstaff.

    Alexander was invited to compete at Olympia but said “Only if I have kings to run against me..” He was also a great horseman. Alexander was exposed to competition at an early age and with Phillip making other sons, trained Alexander to be the best and never settle for second place.

    “Well then, if you have competitors for the kingdom; prove yourself honourable and good, so that you might obtain the kingdom not because of me, but because of yourself.” –Phillip, Plutarch ‘Sayings of King and Commander’

    Leonidas was a severe disciplinarian and kept Alexander on a very strict and lean diet, he wore minimal clothing and was constantly doing hard exercises.

    [Education with Aristotle]

    From childhood Alexander had been brought p on Homer’s epic poems, the Illiad and the Odyssey. Within these poems he was inspired by the tale of heroes and gods, particularly surrounding the Trojan War. And he connected directly with the hero Achilles, so much so that he never missed an opportunity to compare himself and the parallels are striking. Both Achilles and Alexander lead the Greeks against the barbarian enemy and they both die young. Alexander’s favourite line was “ever to be best and stand far above all others.” Alexander regards the Illiad as a manual of war as it was in these stories that he learnt how to be a master strategist (strategos).

    Aristotle is responsible for instilling in Alexander a scientific curiosity through the study of subjects such as botany, zoology and medicine. He also studied rhetoric, philosophy, law, politics as well as ethics. Alexander benefited greatly from what Aristotle teaches, however, his ideal of a philosopher king would not be necessary in a Macedonian military legacy. Alexander did not agree with Aristotle’s idea that non-Greeks were sub-human, barbarians and uncivilised, if anything Alexander will be overwhelmed by the achievements of the Persians, so much that he starts to adopt their culture.

    [Early Years]

    Lion hunting was a popular past time among the Macedonians. Alexander regarded the lion as a worth opponent. On one hunting expedition there was an envoy from Sparta, the most military state of Greece and Alexander wanted to show him his physical skills and he did by spearing the lion and this left an impression on the envoy who supposedly said, “Alexander you fought bravely with this lion to decide which of you should be king.”

    There are several Greek envoys this time and it is 335 BC, a friend of Phillip’s buys him an expensive, black stallion, a thoroughbred. Apparently the horse was 12 years old and never been broken in. The grooms are trying to control this horse in front of Phillip without much success and Phillip tells them to get rid of it. Plutarch says that Alexander speaks up at this point and says, “What a horse they are losing just because they don’t know how to handle him or if they do, they dare not try.” Phillip tells them to get rid of it, and then says to Alexander, “Well do you think you can do better,” Alexander replies, “Well I know I can manage it better, at least this horse anyway.” Phillip says, “But if you cannot, what will be the consequence of your impertinence and rashness.” Alexander replies, “I will pay for what the horse costs.” Plutarch states that Alexander goes to the horse, takes hold of the bridle and turns Bucephales towards the sun so that it is blinded and cannot see its own shadow, Alexander mounts the horse and gallops away and parades it in front of the parties. Alexander dismounts, and Phillip kisses him and says, “My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions, Macedonia is not large enough for you.”
    Last edited by AsyLum; 21 Oct 2004 at 9:45 AM.

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    Did you do the historical period up until the death of Alexander or the personaility?
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    my bad. thread title.
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    Re: Alexander the Great:Personality Review

    Was Alexander Really That Great?

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    Re: Alexander the Great:Personality Review

    I found some really good resource on Alexander the Great. I think it would make a good addition here.

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