Since there are many excellent historical books written by excellent authors I will not waste neither your time nor your patience writing blow by blow historical data on military strategy concerning Alexander The Great. My purpose in this endeavor is to appeal to your senses and/or intellect, and encourage you to study this genius judiciously.
To give his Majesty a fair shake one must have an understanding of all elements of that time frame both foreign and domestic. You must have knowledge of their views on political, religion, social including temperament of the people to judge this man fairly. In this time frame one must learn each player and know him well.
Authors are another key factor in history,"They write!" They are easy to analyze, that is If you properly do your homework, you will quickly observe their intent or objectivity toward their subjects.
Alexander was one of the few men who deserve the title "The Great."Most of his defeated enemies, astonished by his clement and magnanimous treatement, became his devoted followers. It is believed that Alexander's ideas of culture and of religion surpassed those of any other supreme conqueror. His private life was of a quality so noble that Sir Williams Tarn, the most profound of the Alexander historians, said of him that "he gave the strange impression of one whose body was his servant."
After many years of exhausted research of this great man's accomplishments, character and/or behavior I have formed the conclusion that a book of Alexander should be written and placed in the library for the benefit of upper form pupils. In this disturbed modern world, with idealism and religion being regarded as out of date, the young should be encouraged by learning the record of a man who was successful in battle, who loved the Arts, who respected every form of religion and who was the first to advocate the brotherhood of all mankind because he believed and/or inspired that there exist a divine creator that is the Father of all mankind. Believing in a creator he knew that His Divine Majesty The True God of all initiated, promuglated, and placed in execution the natural and divine laws that governs us all.
Olympias was the daughter of the king of the Molossi and from the royal house of Epirus, which claimed descent from Achilles. Olympias had met Philip at the Samothracian mysteries, and later they were married. She was a woman of high strung nature, superstitious, semi-barbarous in her cast of mind, and is said to have been fond of tame snakes and of magic incantations. The night before her marriage it is related that she dreamed that the lightning fell upon her and kindled in her a mighty fire, which broke forth and consumed everything within reach. She had much to suffer from the frequent marital infidelities of her husband and his habits of over drinking may in part excuse some of her unrestrained actions. It is no doubt that Olympias was impulsive, independent and outspoken. It is written that Olympias followed the cult of Dionysus which prevailed in her country; it is rumored that she roamed the woods at night, joining in the wild songs and dances indulged in by Dionysian worshippers when his rites were due. The story of Dionysian orgies may be true or false, but despite the unintelligent nature of her character, Olympias always retained a large measure of influence over her son.Through out his life Alexander remained devoted to his mother, but as king never permitted her to take part in political affairs.
She is reported to have dreamed, just before her marriage to Philip that Zeus impregnated her in the form of a serpent; it may be true that she believed in the symbolical conception of Alexander that night, and that she taught him in childhood to regard himself as the son of the god. He had to much common sense to credit this in manhood, but the tale spread about in order to discredit him as a megalomanic in later life.
From Philip and Olympias union was born, in 356BC., Alexander, and in the following year a daughter, Cleopatra. Since Olympias was not a Macedonian princess, but came from Epirus, a "foreign" land, was a fact which in the future caused bitter trouble with those of the Macedonians who regarded such a marriage as illegal. In later life she became repulsive to Philip and in time he divorced her.
Olympias to enhance and protect her sons' position was envolved in intrigue. It is rumored that she was responsible for Philip's assasination, I doubt it because there are other indicators that his assasination came from other quarters. She was responsible for the death of Cleopatra and her son, the second wife and child of Phillip. On Alexander return to Macedonia he was shocked to learn that during his absence Olympias had taken a cruel measure in order to prevent any futher claim to the throne; she had brought about the death of Cleopatra the widow of Philip and her infant child. Alexander remonstrated with his mother, but later he was to realise that her impetuous action had removed future trouble.
Guarding carefully the interests of Roxane and her son, during the absence of Cassander Olympias took the opportunity to bring about the death of about a hundred of his friends. Had Eumenes been alive to caution her, this impulsive action, with its disastrous results, would have been avoided. Mob emotion is very fickle; the slaughter so shocked the populace that they veered round to the side of Cassander, who took prompt revenge by besieging the city in which Olympias was living. The mother of Alexander never lacked courage; the animals died of starvation, but Olympias held out until all the inhabitants of the city were threatened with a similar fate. Summoned to stand a trial, she demanded that she should be permitted to plead her cause before the Macedonian army; but at that time it was far dispersed, fighting in distant countries under former colleagues now at war with one another. Cassander dared not order his troops to execute the mother of Alexander. He had sent some 300 men to slay her, but when she appeared before them, clad in her royal costume they had stolen away, ashamed. He advised her to take flight in a ship, but she refused, knowing that such action would be construed as an admission of guilt, and that her life would be taken when on the sea. Then some of the followers of Cassander, relatives of the men whom Olympias had slain, relieved him of his task; they destroyed her, it is said, by stoning her to death. Thus one great obstacle to Cassander's ambition to ursurp the throne of Alexander had been removed by 316 B.C.
Philip II of Macedononia was born 382BC, the son of Amyntas III and died 336BC. Philip II who is commonly known as Philip of Macedon, and father of Alexander the Great had been regent during the minority of his nephew Amyntas, son o f Perdiccas III, but the dangerous wars in which Macedonia was involved with the surrounding barbarians called him to the throne, or at least gave him the opportunity of ascending it (BC 359).
Philip of Macedon, thus invested with the crown at the age of twenty-three, was in every sense a worthy progenitor of Alexander the Great. He had, during a three years' life as hostage in Thebes, received the best Greek education and training, and had studied the tactics of Epaminondas, as well as caught, by personal intercourse, the inspiration of this great man's genuis for war. He had become thoroughly to recognize both their strength and weaknesses. he was a strict disciplinarian, but more than a mere martinet. Improving on the lessons of war learned in Thebes, Philip built up the strongest army in the world. Having observed that one could never rely upon mercenaries as one could on soldiers recruited on voluntary system, he constructed a force of 40,000 men who were severely disciplined, trained to march long distances in full equipment, carrying their baggage and food sufficient for three days. The officers, young aristocrates, were rewarded for special merit; tested for endurance, they competed and eagerly sought the appreciation of their King. He copied from the army of Cyrus and pofited well by what had been done by Epaminondas and Iphicrates of Athens, as well as what had been taught him by the experience of his own numberless campaigns; and by improveing on the Greek organisation and armament, he introduced and perfected a disciplined and steady body of men such as the world had not yet seen. As the creator of an army orgainzation he has perhaps never had an equal. His most prominent idea was embodied in the Macedonian phalanx. By means of his admirable army, and the aid of able and equally well-trained generals, among whom Parmenio held the chief rank, he subjected Illyria, Paeonia and part of Thrace, captured many towns, and made constant encroachments in the direction of Greece; seized on the mines of Thrace, from which every year he took considerable money, and showed a clear conception of the role of conqueror. Out of a petty country of uncertain boundaries, Philip created a kingdon extending from the Euxine to the Adriatic. He was constantly at war with Athens. Not the least of his merits is the debt literature owes to his restless pertinacity and greed of power in the Philippies of Demosthenes. Philip introduced Greek culture into his country. Guest from Greece and other countries found thre royal Court at Pella, his capital, conducted with so much dignity, style and luxury that the social life and manners of the Macedonian aristocaracy compared favourably with those of Athens. Isocrates praised Philip because. by treating his foes with generosity, he gained their co-opeeration; a more fruitful method than the destruction of their cities. Isocrates also told Philip that if he could force the King of Asia to obey him he would be "as a god"--an expression destined to have consequences when his son, Alexander, became King of Persia.
Philip married Olympias, daughter of of the king of Molossi. Olympias was of the royal house of Epirus, which claimed descent from Achilles, while Philip traced his lineage to Hercules.
The research of Francis Galton on heredity proved that high intellectual power runs in families, apart from evironmental influences; certainly Alexander had a distinguished inhereitance from both of his parents. He combined the best qualities of Philip and Olympias; from his father came his sober, judgment, clear intellecrt, reliable, systematic and practical methods of work; from his mother was derived his passionate, warm-hearted, romantic, emotional nature.
Philip drinked to excess and was untrue to his marriage vows to Olympias. She became repulsive to Philip and Philip divorced her and in time married another.
The accumulation of events which led to this murder of a distinguished king had a small beginning to which no one at the time had attibuted much importance. Philip had divorced Olympias when he became enamoured of Cleopatra, the beautiful young niece of Attalus, one of his generals. Pausanias, a youth of good birth, had been insulted in public by Attalus, and had asked Philip to obtain satifaction for this rude conduct. Philip tried to sooth the youth, gave him a gift and retained him in his personal service. Seeing that he would obtain no retribution, Pausanias nursed his grievance, and while brooding over it he sought the advice of a Sophist, who glibly informed him that he would gain glory if he attacked some prominent man. While festivities were being held at the wedding of his daughter to the King of Epirust, Philip was walking alone at the head of a procession, when Pausanias rushed from the crowd of spectators and killed the King with his poignard. Pausanias fled, but was pursued and slain by Perdiccas, Leonnatus and other nobles. Thus the life of Philip ended in the year of 336 B.C.Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) was the first world conqueror and one of the most remarkable men in history. He led his armies almost to the end of what was then the civilized world. Alexander brought Greek ideas and the Greek way of doing things to all the countries that he conquered. This great general and king helped to make the spread of Christianity possible 400 years after his own time,
An edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica has a remarkable tribute:
Alexander's career is one of the turning points in history. He created for the Western world the monarchial ideal. ....No ruler had succeded in making the person of the monarch respectable Alexander made it sacred. . . He founded cities destined to become centres of Greek influence, the great majority in lands in which city life was almost unknown. . . For many centuries after Alexander's death Greek was the language of literature and religion, of commerce and of administration throughout the Nearer East. His Empire perished at his death but its central idea survived--that of the municipal freedom of the Greek Polis within the framework of an imperial system. In the East, Hellenism came in the train of the conqueror, and Rome was content to build on the foundation laid by Alexander.
Alexander The Great has had a magnetic attraction for many writers who have approachd the subject from angles varying with their emotional reaction. All history is coloured by the temperament of the individual who selects the facts which to him appear relevant or important. Puzzled by the contradictory accounts of the character and the aims of Alexander of Macedon, I alloted many hours of researching many volumes, both hostile and friendly, but found no convincing evidence that a man with such enchanting promise in youth had degenerated into the druken tyrant and megalomaniac depicted by his detractors Such attributes were inconsistent with the fact that whether present or distant he could always rely on the implicit obedience of his officers, strong and remarkable men. Of few, if of any, great captains has that been recorded. For over 21,000 miles his army, joined by volunteers froim many nations, followed him through Persia and the Punjab. Several able Romans essayed to repeat his march, but none reached further than 1,800 miles behind his turning point.
In reseaching the books of Sir William Tarn and Ide Wheeler in depth, I found reliable clues for an understanding of the complex personality of the great Macedonian---conqueror, explorer, and dreamer of visions. Ujfalvyu's tome on the statues of Alexander tells of the sickness of King Alphonse of Naples; despairing, he called for something to distract his mind from his sufferings. His physician sent him a book on Alexander which was read aloud to him. "Fi des medecins!" he exclaimed as the narrative was continued.
Alexander passed his boyhood in an atmosphere of unrest, rumours and fear of war with neighbours, frontier tribes and Persia. It is in such times of recurring crises that people demand a strong leader, an ideal hero whom they can trust without reserve. We have seen in modern Europe how the people have been led astay by false idols who brought about disillusionment and destruction. In ancient Greece wise philosophers declared that when one man excelled all others in intellect and character he should be regarded as god among men, and the people should gladly obey him. The Youth of the future, seeking for such a guide, should measure him by comparison wth Alexander of Macedon. Of him it has been that not only do his achievements captivate the imagination of both old and young, but his perseverance, his assiduous devotion to duty, his indifference to the pleasures of the body, his insatiable pursuit of the pleasures of the mind, his longing to unite the nations and his religious attitude to life, set an example which should inspire us all in this troubled century. In the thirteen years of his reign he so altered the whole outook of the world that historians divide the civilisation of that epoch into that which preceeded and that which was created during his brilliant and meteoric career.
Modern politicians can learn much by a study of the history of Greece during the centries before Christ when that virile nation developed democreatic government. Researching in depth will bring you a description of the high standard of the civilisation enjoyed in the fifth century B.C. by that remarkable people, so few in number, so eminent in every intellectual and artistic sphere.
Allexander of Macedon lived in the century which followed the great days of Greece when Athens, under the guidance of Pericles, here leading statesman, had gained a deservedly high reputation as the chief city in Greece. Contest with Sparta had led to a prolonged war which left her exhausted both by land and sea, subject to a ruthless and oligarchic Spartan domination. This was so resented that after a few years democratic rule was restored, but it had not the high traditions of public life which had characterised the time of Pericles. However, during the fourth centrury B.C international trade prospered; games and festivities were organized to please the populace; paid members of the Tribunal incite class antagonish; a proletariat developed, improverished and workless. As Greeks were known to be splendid warriors, many were hired as "mercenaries", soldiers who fought bravely, even against their own country-men. For that matter, some of the larger city-states were bribed or otherwise induced to take up arms on the side of the Persian enemy. Thus it had not been difficult for the Persia to force upon Greece in 386 B.C. a humiliating peace; Persia acquired control over the Greek cities on the Asiatic coast and gained the right to interfere in the affairs of the Greek communities.
Just before the advent of Alexander many eminent thinkers tried to bring about a healthier condition in Greece. In The Republic, Plato advocated an ideal form of government, but later in life, in The Laws, he advised monarchy, the King to be a man of noble character, bound to work for the good of his subjects. The pressing problem of the age absorbed another philsoper, Isocrates, who urged that, as Greece represented the highest civilisation in the world, its numerous city-states should cease to fight each other; if united in a common aim, they could meet the recurring menace of Persian invasion. Looking round, in vain, for a strong Greek leader, he believed that the suitable man was Philip, King of Macedonia, who combined the high qualities of both warrior and statesman.
Icon!! Icon? Why not? Alexander would be an excellent Icon for any pupil who enjoys learning and practicing the higher arts of humanity rather than the lower form of humanities, such as lust, greed, selfishness and full filling every desire of irresponsibility. In this disturbed modern world, with idealism and religion being regarded out of date, the young should be encouraged by learning the record of a man who was successful in battle, who loved the Arts, who respected every form of religion, and who was the first to advocate the brotherhood of all mankind. There is such a book I can recommend, "ALEXANDER THE GREAT AND HIS TIME" written by Agness Savil. I fully recommend that this book be placed in every library for every one to have the opportunity to read and expierence.Alexanders Boyhood. Alexander was born at Pella Macedonia, the son of Philip of Macedon, who was an excellent general and organizer. His mother was Olympias, princess of Epirus. She was brilliant and hot tempered. Alexander inherted thre best qualities of both his parents. Alexander received his first education, with other youths of noble birth, from Leonidas, a relative of his mother. The boy was readily persuaded, impossible to drive, but always approachable when given a reason which he could understand. That this Characteristic remained with him to the end of his life is mentioned by Aristobulus the Greek architect who accompanied him throughout the Asiatic campaign. When Alexander reached puberty Philip was so impressed by his ability that he decided that his son must have the best tuition, and for this purpose he selected Aristotle, who at that time was attracting attention by his wise methods of instruction. But he was even more ambitious than his father. At school he used to sigh on receiving news of the victories of his father, both in diplomacy and war. "What will be left", he asked his companions, "for you to share with me when we grow up?" During Alexanders boyhood say nine, Persian ambassadors were received by him during the absence of his father; the visitors were astonished by the mature questions put to them by the boy regarding Persian methods of government. They predicted a great future for so unusually intelligent a young prince. Even as a boy Alexander was fearless and strong. The acquisition of his horse, Bucephalus although may read like a fairy tale, but nevertheless is true. Only an intellect, brilliant and observing could accomplish a feat so daring and successful. Philip was so proud of Alexander's power over the horse that he said,"O my son, seek out a kingdom worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee."
Alexanders mother taught him that Achilles was his ancester, and that hat his father was descended from Hercules. Alexander learned by heart the Iliad, a story about the deeds of Achilles. He carried a copy of it with him, and Achilles became Alexander's model in all things.Alexanders Youth. Shortly before or after Alexanders fourteenth birthday he was sent to Meiza, where Aristotle had his school, and there he remained until seventeen, when military duties claimed most of his time.
Alexander was profoundly inflenced by the wise education received in early youth from Aristotle. This great thinker, as a student of Plato, taught his royal pupil to discuss with his tutor subjects which today are learned only in universities: natural science, philosophy, religion, politics and and government. Throughout Asia the King, interested in every branch of knwledge, never failed to dispatch to Aristotle samples and reports of the plants, the animals, the soil, and information concerning the conditions of the people of every country through which he passed. Aristotle wrote for the guidance of Alexander a special treatise on the duties of a monarch toward his people; a king was bound to work for the benefit of those whom he ruled. There is ample evidence that Alexander endevoured to fulfil that duty when he became the Great King of Asia. Of supreme importance was the moral training received during adolescence from Aristotle; a man's whole life can be made or marred by the instruction he receives duiring those impressionable years. Alexander was taught that the body should be the servant, never the master of the spirit; self-control, greatness of soul and intellect should be the constant aim of every man. We have seen that during his campaign he had endeavoured to live in accordance with those ideals, and how bitter had been his repentance and remorse when, overcome by wrath, he had slain Cleitus. Although his friends attemped to persuade him that he had been tried beyond endurance, he never made any excuse for his deed. Another principal maintained and taught by Aristotle was that the "pursuit of the Good" demands the energising of the soul in excellence (arete) during a full life of action. Moments of insight would never be permitted to go to waste, but be utilised by being harnessed to practical deeds. Ideals firmly planted in youth provide, as it were, a coat of armour which cannot be penetrated by the temptations to self-indugence which assail most of those who rise to power. The often quoted "Power corrupts" does not hold true when it has been gained by the concientious work of one whoe aims are noble, based upon a foundation of solid rock. Such men have proved to be incorruptible, and these Alexander provides a historic example. Both Plato and Aristotle stated that as power in the hands of the best men ensured the best type of government, the people shold entrust supreme authority to such outstanding individuals. Jung has pointed out that the collective unconscious of a community appears to demand the leadership of a great man, a superman, a hero to whom they desire to look for guidance.
Alexander's education was not totally from books, He hosted Ambassadors at his fathers court and many times acted as host in his fathers absence. When he was eighteen, he commanded part of Philip's cavalry at the battle of Chaeronea. Alexander also acted as his father's ambassador to Athens. At the age of sixteen, he had been entrusted with the government of Thrace and Macedonia during the absence of his father.
The example of Philip, when he decided to divorce Olympias, the dearly loved mother of Alexander, so that he could marry Cleopatra, the beautiful young niece of Attalus, one of the generals, must have made a deep and painful impression on his son. Philip had been notorious for bouts of intoxication and marital infidelity; the unhappiness this conduct brought to Olympias and the consequent disruption of the home life would create the atmosphere of insecurity now recognised to be so harmful to children. Olympias coming froim Epirus, was regarded as a "barbarian", that is to say, a foreigner; therefore the right of her son to the throne might be disputed. Because Cleopatra, the new wife, was a Macedonian of high rank, any child whom she might bear would, by a section of the people, be considered as the true heir to the throne. At the wedding banquet of his niece Attalus expressed the hope that a legitmate heir to the crown might be born of the union. Alexander, enraged, flung his cup at the speaker, exclaiming that he was no bastard; sword in hand, Philip rushed towards his son, stumbled and fell, overcome with drink. Looking down on him, Alexander scornfully remarked to the guests that there lay the man who essayed to conquer Persia, but lost his way from one couch to another.
This humiliating scene was followed by the banishment oif Alexander and several nobly born youths who were his close friends; the Prince at once rode off with his mother to her home country. Soon after, when Philip complained to an envoy about the lack of unity among the Greek states, the officer replied that no good example of concord was shown in the family circle of the King. Impressed by the justice of the remark, Philip recalled his son; in any case he required the aid of the Prince and his friends for military projects.
Alexander was twenty when he became king of Macedonia. The Greek states had grown restless under Macedonia rule. While Alexander was away making war on some barbarian tribes in the north, someone spread a story that he was dead. The people in the city of Thebes revolted and called upon the people of Athens to join them. Soon afterward, Alexander appeared before Thebes with his army. His soldiers stormed the city. Every building in Thebes was destroyed, except the temples and the house of the poet Pindar. About 30,000 inhabitants wre sold into slavery. Alexander's action broke the spirit of rebellion inthe Greek states. United the Greek cities in the League of Corinth, and became its president. Go to Thebes.
Conquest of the World. I have mentioned the detractors of Alexander; those of the past, and those of the present. Most usually these detractors are of the conventional mind set thus having little or no true value of juditious responsiblity for their subjects and no imagination opposed to the genuis class. For example the conventional thinking mind would start this section as follows:
The ambitious young king then turned his thoughts to conquering Persia. This had been part of his father's plan before him. He crosssed the Hellspont with an army of 35,000 men in the spring of 334 B.C. He had very little money and gambled on a quick victory. The Persians met him on the banks of the Granicus River. Alexander stormed across with his cavalry.
The information that follows is in sharp contrast to that above. The following is that of a writer that seeks the truth, probably more brilliant, but least of all is more judicial in his study or research into history:
Alexander, putting down all rebellion and securing his borders is now ready to turn his thoughts to conquering Persia. The day of departure at length has arrived; Alexander quitted pella, his capital, which he was never to see again, early in 334 B.C. Alexander acted as if he had some premonition that it would be long before he again set foot in his native land. To his friends he gave away so many of his personal possessions tht Perdiccas asked what he had left for himself. "Only my hopes", was the reply; to which to Perdiccas responded that they all would share his hopes. Alexander must have had many a conversation with his father concerning his plans for the invasion of Asia Minor and Persia. As the Treasure was reduced to some sixty talents, several writers have denounced the young King as a foolhardy adventure who set out with no definitely formed plans for conquest. But there is evidence that his preparations had been so complete that he had even considered a scheme for the improvement of the monetary system. Silver was used in Greek currency; gold in Persia. Philip had introduced bi-metallism; but this subject is too complicated for consideration here.
Alexander could compare his army with satisfaction; small as it might be numerically, its training and discipline were superior to that of any army in the world. Moreover, it was united under one commander, himself; that of the enemy was under the control of many leaders. That the Persian soldiers were so numerous was a disadvantage on a field of battle; with divided leadership it was a disadvantage on a field of battle; with divided leadership it was impossible to meet emergencies with a swift change of tactics. Even in the past Persian generals and soldiers had proved inferior in their encounters wilh the more alert and resourceful men of Greece.
Having completed his preparation for home rule and foreign warfare, Alexqnder felt that he could safely lleave Macedon. His epedition against Persia, ostensibly to free the Greek colonies under Persian rule, was so popular throughout Greece, despite the secrete cabals of malcontents always more or less pronounced, that a force stated at seven thousand Greek allies and five thousand mercenaries was put at his disposal. As an assumed descendant of Achilles, he could claim an inherited right to lead such an expedition. After his return from his Theban expedition to Macedonia, he had spent the winter in the hard labors of preparation, alternating with sacrifices and games in honor of the gods. Of his two most trusted lieutenants, he planned to take Parmenio with him, and leave Antipater behind, who, though the queen-mother, Olympias, and he were always at odds, was the only man on whom he could rely to carry on the government wisely and firmly during his probably extended absence.
Early in the spring of 334 B.C., leaving with Antipater a force of twelve thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse, with which he was charged to keep Greece in subjection, resist Persian fleets, and hold Macdonia gainst the malcontents or aspirants to the throne; and assuring Antipater's marched towards the Hellspont. He had about thirty thousand foot and five thousand horse, ---a small force indeed with which to attach the myriads of the Great King, to undertake an invaion destined to change the current of the world's history.---and only the paltry remnants of such moneys in his camp-chest as he had been able to borrow.,
He was about to invade the land of Xerxes, of Cyrus, a land of untold resources and wealth, full of brave and able men, but a land rotten to the core. The weakness of Persia, though it exceeded his own territorial limit thirty to one, was its lack of homogeneity. Composed of many kingdoms, as it were, each success of Alexander's would place under his control (so long as he continued to be victorious> such territory as the vicory was won upon. Alexander was aware of, and proposed to rely upon, this, for him, fortunate set of conditions, together with a free-handed policy of rewards to his officers and men, as well as to such of Darius' servants as should volunteer to join his cause. He intended to forage on the country as he advanced.
The Army marched along the coast, in twenty days reached the Hellspont, and crossed to Asia Minor in safety. This was a rapid march. It is said that thre fleet accompanied the army along the shore, and that they rendezvoused every night. This was the usual habit when army and fleet had the same destination.
Parmenio was charged with converying the cavalry and nearly all the infantrey from Sestos to Abydos, for which service he had the aid of the one hundred and sixty triremes, and of many trading vessels which had already been assembled in the Hellespont. This transit was easily accomplished, for there was practically no opposition from the Persians or the Greek merecenareies under Memnon. Alexander himself, with a few of his troops, The hypaspists and Companions, is said to have sailerd from Elaeus, where he offered sacrifices at the tomb of Protesilaus, the first Homeric Greek who perished on the Trojan shore, steered the vessel with his own hand, and landed on Cape Sigeum, not far from the tombs of Ajax, Achilles, and Patroculus. Having in mid-channel again sacrificed to Posidon and the Nereids, he was himself the first man to step, in full armor, upon the coast of Asia, having from the bows of his boat first cast his spear as a symbol of conquest upon the land of the Persian foe. Troy was then visited, Alexander heading the chosen troops he had brought with him, and due sacrifices were made to the gods and to the shade of Priam. Especially to Achilles did the king make sacrifice, while Hephaestion, his bosom friend poured libations to Patroclus. From the temple of Athene, on the heights of Ilium, Alexander took csertain arms, said to have been carried by the Homeric heroes, perhaps even by Achilles, leaving his own panopy in their place. These historic arms were thereafter always carried near him in barttle by some specially selected brave man. Here also games and feasts were held. The multiplicity of these sacrifices was in accordance with the customs of the Greeks, and was, moreover, in unison with Alexander's somewhat superstitious nature. The landing was marked by the erection of altars and memorials, and by the founding of a new Troy.
In all such matters Alexander gives us an index to his character. We may better liken him to an Hoimeric Greek than to an ordinaryu mortal. Great in love and hate, in common sense and superestition, in generosity and savage rage, he was Achillers come to life. The AEacidea had indeed a fit representive in Alexander. But grafted on this heroic characer was all that Greek intelligence could lend it; and this it was which enabled him to grow into the greatest soldier whom perhaps the world has ever seen.
In narrating the life of Alexander two extreme theories have been enunciated. The expedition against Persia has been treated as the act of a half-mad adventurer, a soldier of fortune, whose erratic visions were moulded into action by a a wild, unreasoning will and absolute power over his small monarchy, and whose success was due to hair brained courage and proverbial good luck. It has been treated as a deliberate, well-digested scheme, having as a basis a profound knowledge of all the countries, government, resources, geographical limitations and military power he was to encounter; about such knowledge, in fact, as Napoleon possessed himself of before on the Russian campaign. Each of these extreme theories is far from being exact; but granting the abnormal good fortune which was pleased to wait on Alexander's intelligence, and on his courage, moral and physical there is no doubts that the latter is the more reasonable point of view. What the ancient world had so far learned Alexander had by heart. Why should he not, with Aristotle for a tutor?
It is most difficult for me to restrain my-self from writing and sharing with you the tactics and the organisation of Alexander's army, and how effective he employed it, but I must not as I explained earlier of my objective. If you wish to delve into this subject, I recommend that you read " Alexander" by Theodore Ayrault Dodge.This will be an excellent starting point.
The detractors of Alexander the Great and other great Captains as well must have minds that dwell in the very low strata of humanities; to be more precise there minds dwell in the garbage and sewer levels, and loves company like Cassander.
Cassander was the son of Antipater whose interest the analytical psychologist who traces the motives which induce men to commit deeds below their conscious approval. How much did Cassander "know himself"? He had a good education and is said to have been able to recite most of Homer. In youth his health was so indifferent that Alexander had little use for his sevices in Asia; his inability to share the sports usual with Macedonian youth placed him apart when athletic games had competitions were held in public. This may have brought about in the boy what is now canlled an "inferiority complex". A clever sedentary lad tends to brood with jealousy, even hatred, on the feats of gifted relatives who surpass him in physical strength; this reaction is aggravated when they outstrip him also in mental equipment and in personal charm. History records many examples of cruel and unscrupulous method adopted by those frustrated spirits when manhood they attain to power. Never could the frank, generous-heart Alexander have dreamed that one in early youth had appeared to be a negligible nonentity would become a veritable Iago, able to incite to war the formerly united generals. Still less could be imagined that this man woiuld bring about the death of all members of the royal family of Macedonia, gain the crown, rule with ability over Macedonia and Greece, and for many years bury under obloquy the memory of the victor of Asia. Not until Cassanders died in 298 B.C. could thre Memoirs of Ptolemy and Aristobus be published. Both men had accompanied Alexander throughout his campaigns; both wrote independently. Only then did the young generation in Macedonia learn the truth about the career and charctere of their great King.
When Cassander died in 298 B.C. the propaganda of disparagment of Alexandere, ordered by the man who had exterminated his family and secured his throne, was at last arrested. The new generation, who had heard nothing other than evil concerning the character and achievements of Alexander, were at length able to learn the truth about the greatest of their countrymen. Several great Romans showed a lively interest in the astonishing career of the conqueror of Asia; Julius Caesar, the Emperors Trajan and August longed to emulate his exploits, Caesar was assassinated. Trajan looked at the sea and concluded that he was not young enough to embark on such a journey to the Far East, but he visited Babylon and paid tribute to the genius of Alexander by sacrificing to his memory in the chambers of the palace where he had died. Augustus was the first to bestow upon Alexander the title of "The Great"; he placed the effigy of the Macedonian upon his signet ring and made the decsision to try to copy his example in the government of his immense empire. He succeeded in founding a form of policy which ensured a peace which lasted for two centuries.
Like the detractors of ancient times, some modern writers have tried to explain Alexander's attitude toward women as due to homosesuality. But when Philoxenes told the King that two beautiful boys had been offered for him, Alexander was furious:"What evil has he seen in me that he should puchase for me such shameful creatures?" he exclaimed, "Tell the dealer to take his wares to hell."
Here I will state that Tarn has proved on what a flimsy basis such an accusation was constructed. I will write three more accusation that his detractors made and then close:
At Gordium there was a local legend that the whole of Asia would belong to the man who succeeded in untying a complicated knot attached to a waggon. It had baffled so many examiners that Alexander was curious to investigate the puzzle. An often repeated story tells us that Alexander solved the problem by cutting the rope witih his sword, but after minute scrutiny of the scources of every statement derogatory to the reputation of Alexander, Tarn could not find any evidence to support this discreditable account. Ptolemy and Aristobulus acknowledged as trustworthy writeres on the campaign; Ptolemy was an able General, Aristobulus, an architect and engineer; both accompanied the King throughout the campaign in Asia .Neither of these men, who knew Alexander intimately and kept careful note of his exploits, made any mention of the knot having been cut by a sword. On the contrary, Aristobulus tells how Alexander pulled out the pole connected with the waggon yoke, carefully examined the hidden ends of the cord and then untied the knot. Throughout the centuries run several versions of this tale, the sword-cutting being too attractive to discard. Tarn asks whether a man so scrupulous in the observance of religious customs would have thanked the gods, as Alexander did, for success achieved by trickery.
It is not astonishing to learn from Arrian, who wrote soon after Christ, that he had to study over forty authors who hae been attracted to write about the hero whose adventures had surpassed those of any mortal. His career supplied material for romance and exaggeration, for worship and for denounciation, according to the temperament of the writer. And as so many enjoy the belittling of great men, it is not surprising that a contradictory picture of Alexander remained popular for many centuries. Thus, for example, even recent writers tells us that at this stage of his career Alexander lost mental balance, believing that he was not a man, but a god; they have therefore labelled him a megalomaniac.. So strange a misrepresentation demands scrutiny of the evidence, and fortunately we have in Tarn's history of Alexander a complete investigation of deification. He had in view an important political object: for the good of the country it was essential to issue a decree for the repatriation of the Exiles, a large body of unemployed and discontented men, dangerous because their excellent fighting qualities made them sought after as mercenaries by foreign masters. Many Persian satraps had retained such men for their personal use in warfare with their neighbours. On his return from India Alexander had ordered all troops to be disbanded except those under the control of the King; this sensible measure had create a number of idle men, said to be about 20,000. Although some of these, banished by Antipator, had no friendly regard for Macedoinia, Alexander was determined that all must return to their homes in Europe. Before rthis regulation could come into force a complicate legal problem had to be considered. How many critics were aware of two facts: first, that Greek cities resented interference by any king with their right to manage their own affairs, and secondly, the attitude of the thinkers of that century to be relationship of men and gods? Alexander could not order a city to receive back its exiles while every Greek city clung to its unassailable right to conduct its own policy. A king could interfere with its independence only if he had the title of a god. But with that title Alexander could order the repatriation of the Exiles. The majority of the Greek cities raised no objection to his proposal, but Athens did not favour it because compliance entailed the surrender of the island Samos, which it had colonised. At a meeting of the Assembly Demosthenes was overruled when he argued against Alexander's request. Some voted from fear of the power of Alexander, knowing nothing of his veneration for their beautiful city, its culture and all other virtues which it represented, but aware of the antagonism of the Peripatetic shool which had never forgiven nor forgotten the death of Callisthenes. In that century men of great achievements were revered as above average humanity; for were not some of them descended from the gods, if not in truth gods dwelling in human bodies? The pagan deities received observance of the outward ceremonies of religion, but the intlllectual spirits believed that above all the very human and erring gods and goddesses there reigned a supreme God. Alexander never discouraged his unlettered soldiers from their belief the was a god, but to his associates and intimates he often made amusing and sarcastic remarks about his suppoosed divine origin; always he spoke of Philip as his father and discouraged those of his suite who indulged in gross flatteries. More than once he is reported to have said that such ideas were dangerous for the soul. Whilst many Orientals despised the body, the Greeks regarded it as sacred; the athletic and beautiful human body was a manifestation of the spirit. In the Orient, however, it had long been the custom to revere a monarch as if he were a divinity. Deification did not in that age convey any suggestion of blasphemy. This is the third subject, "a letter" to Darious that the detractors has mutilated for their own pleasure. During the siege of Tyre a letter came froim Darius oiffering Alexander all the region west of the Euphates, 10, 000 talents and the hand of his daughter in marriage. Parmenion advised acceptance of these terms; but the King drily replied that he too would agree if he were Parmenion, but as he was Alexander, the offer was refused. Here one man quote the characteristic introductory and the closing sentences of his reply: Your forefathers came into Macedonia and other parts of Greece and did us harm...Now I, having been appointed leader of the Greeks and desiring to puinish the Persians, have crossed into Asia. . .My father was killed by conspirators whom your people instigated, as you have boasted in your letters. . . Now that I have conquered in battle, first your generals and satraps, then you and your army, and am by gift of the gods in possession of your country, I am protecting those of your men who escaped . . .to take refuge with me, and of their own accord joined my army. As I am Lord of Asia, come to me; but if you fear harsh treatment, send some of your friends to receive pledges of safety from me. . .Ask for your mother, your wife, your children, and anything you will. . . .Nothing will be denied you that is just. And for the future. . .send to me as the King of Asia; do not address me as an equal. . .But if you dispute my right to the kingdom, stay and fight for it; do not play the runaway, for I shall march against you, wherever you may be. Shall we agree that this is a straight forward letter from a confident young man.