Alexander The Great Pothos Essay Research Paper

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Alexander The Great (Pothos) Essay, Research Paper Throughout the ages, and with the most diverse emphases, the meteoric career of Alexander the Great, opened a new era in the history of the world, and by his life s work determined its development for many centuries. He is conspicuous among the great men of history because this work was accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. It was as a great conqueror that he was remembered by many peoples. He subdued the East and penetrated into India, that land of wonders. The legend about him equally prevalent in East and West took him to the limits of the earth and some say even to the gates of Paradise. The permanent result of his life, however was not the empire which he won by hard conquest, but the development of Greek

civilization into a civilization which was world-wide. It is in this way that his influence had affected the history of mankind even down to our time. Alexander marched out as the enthusiastic admirer of Greek culture who was to open up the East to its influence. Alexander probably never thought of not going forward, driven by an insatiable ambition or curiosity which the historian Arrian called pothos. In putting down the revolt of the Thebans, Alexander showed his ingenuity as a leader. In the battle he had demonstrated those qualities which were to carry him on to the conquest of the East: ruthlessness and tact, passion and self-control, and above all, a consummated military sense for using combined arms under any conditions of territory and weather so as to win decisively,

not only over the bodies of his enemies, but over their minds as well. Alexander yearned for people to know his exploits long after he was gone. He was the first field-commander in antiquity to organize an official publicity and propaganda section. Achilles had Homer to immortalize him, and Achilles descendant was determined that his own achievements should not go unsung. Besides the day to day record of the expedition which Eumenes would keep, something a little more literary and important was called for. To supply it, Alexander appointed Aristotle s nephew Callisthenes as the expedition s official historian. His task was to chronicle the king s achievements in a way that would favorably impress Greek opinion. Though Alexander reserved the right to check Callisthenes final

draft, and sometimes suggested a particular interpretation of events, it should not be assumed that he virtually dictated all his chronicler wrote. There would be no need to stop Callisthenes setting down the truth as he saw it: it was for his all too predictable intellectual opinions that the historian had been hired in the first place. The story of the occasion when the conqueror expressed his longing most definitely, that is, the moment, when on the banks of the Hyphasis, he believed the Eastern Ocean and the boundaries of the earth to be within his reach. Alexander used a stronger term than usual; incentive desire and avidity take the place of longing and yearning. It is possible that Arrian or his original source would have sought after a stronger expression for the moment

of unfulfilled longing and of tragic nostalgia. The phrase is found also in descriptions of some other situations which are less high pitched. The wish to press forward, the desire to know unknown regions and thus to comprehend the Oecumene up to all its boundaries, determines Alexander to sail down the Euphrates and Tigris to their mouth and to explore the Caspian Sea and its presumable connection with the Okeanos. Nearchus alleges that Alexander had the pothos to sail the Ocean from India to the Persian Gulf. The same idea of overcoming space and of exploring the unknown, drove him to conquer the citadel of Aornos as Heracles did, to go to Nysa and find memorials of Dionysus and above all to set out to the oracle of Ammon as Perseus and Heracles had done before him. This