The Dark Side Of Alexander The Great

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The Dark Side Of Alexander The Great Essay, Research Paper Hardison 1 Alexander the Great, born in 356 BC, was the son of Philip II and his queen Olympias.1 Tradition maintains that he was taught about Greece culture and philosophy by Aristotle.2 Alexander fought many campaigns on his father s behalf but after a quarrel was sent into exile with some of his companions.3 Alexander returned after the murder of Phillip in 336 and was hailed as king although he was careful to eliminate any possible rivals to the throne.4 Alexander undertook the invasion of Asia which Philip had already begun and went on to take over nearly the entire known world at that time.5 On June 10, 323 BC, while returning from a recent expedition, Alexander became ill and died.6 Alexander was one of the

greatest military leaders in history but he also brought together the sharing of ideas and traditions on a much larger scale than had ever taken place before.7 In modern times, this has caused people to be misled about Alexander s motives behind his actions.8 By western academics, Alexander has been hailed as the founder of a Hardison 2 brotherhood of man while at the same time he was being the perpetrator of a spiraling reign of terror. 9 Alexander was a cruel and autocratic ruler whose conviction of his own invincibility led to megalomaniac intentions and pretensions to divinity. 10 Alexander s flaws can be traced to his youth where he inherited many qualities of his parents.11 Alexander s father Philip was the son of the Macedonian Amyntas, but his mother Eurydice was an

Illyrian. 12 Therefore, by blood, Eurydice was a pure barbarian.13 Consequently, Alexander s father was half a barbarian.14 So Alexander wasn t a pure Macedonian but had barbarian blood in his veins.15 Both Philip and Olympias were unusually strong and impulsive in temperament. 16 Philip showed signs of foolhardiness which can be seen in his body, which was covered with scars showing his bravery and delight in battle.17 Philip s acts, however, bear witness to a tireless energy and strength of will, and to an indomitable pertinacity in following out his Hardison 3 secret purposes. 18 On the other hand, Olympias had a demonic passion, in whom the quality was magnified to its highest extent.19 These traits assuredly rubbed off on Alexander, for he also showed these qualities,

perhaps even to a higher degree.20 When Philip died in June 336, signs of Alexander s lust for power and fame began to show.21 He quickly killed his half- brother and cousin, the only possible rivals to the throne.22 Then he gained support of the army and named himself king. 23 Alexander was only twenty years old at the time.24 Alexander s megalomanic nature combined with his thirst for power eventually led to violence and cruelty.25 Alexander would mainly use his harsh cruelty in punishing people. On one occasion, Bessus, the leader of a movement to depose Darius, was captured by a Alexander and brought before a full meeting of his officers.26 They accused Bessus of treachery to Darius and Alexander then gave orders that his nose and the tips of his ears should be cut off, and

that thus mutilated he should be taken from Ecbatana to suffer public execution before his own countrymen, the Hardison 4 Medes and the Persians. 27 Another time, Alexander had Glaucias, the doctor, crucified for not being there to give Hephaestion a medicine to cure his illness.28 Furthermore, after the death of Alexander s friend Hephaestion, it is believed that Alexander did something unfitting not only for a great potentate like Alexander, but for any king. 29 Alexander flung himself on the body of Hephaestion and lay there nearly the entire day in tears, and refused to be parted from him until he was dragged away by force by his Companions.30 However, in some instances, Alexander would focus his cruelty on a larger scale.31 An example of this would be in Ephesus, a town