Alexander The Great: Was He Really That Great?

1125 words - 5 pages

Why was Alexander III of Macedon called 'Great'? The answer seems relatively straight forward. Alexander conquered territories, established empires and died young, at the height of his power. However, he was also over-ambitious and pushed his men to their limits in his quest for immortality, while murdering killing thousands along his way. Alexander is neither deserving nor unworthy of his title as the ‘Great’. Born in the year 356 BC to the king of Macedon, Philip II, and his wife Olympias, Alexander the Great spent much of his childhood learning to be a leader and claim the title of the greatest military leader the world has ever known. ‘My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambition. Macedon is too small for you.’ This quote said by King Philip, proves Alexanders parents were the encouragement that later influenced his behaviour (Clode, G 2010). As such, the hypothesis “Alexander is deserving of the title ‘great’, is only partially true and will be proven throughout the duration of this speech by critically evaluating his leadership and military status.
King Philip II of Macedonia built a powerful army and used it to bring all of Greece under his rule. After his assassination in 336 BC Philip’s 20-year-old son Alexander inherited the throne. Marching east from Greece, Alexander and his 47000 men encountered Persians for the first time along the banks of the Granicus River near the site of Troy in 334BC. The battle of Granicus was the first major victory over the Persians and the first meeting ground between Alexander the Great and the Persian King, Darius III. (Fritz, M, Unknown). Alexander the Great fought the battle of Issus soon after the battle at Granicus. Although Alexander was greatly outnumbered by Darius’ army, Alexander proved to be a better strategist and was victorious once again. The battle was bloody and the Pinarus River was said to have run red with blood (N.S Gill 2013). He had defeated Darius again, who had fled the field. These two great battles show his tactics were impressive and were successful against the Persian army. Darius III was the last king of Persia and it was under his rule that the Persian empire was conquered during the wars of Alexander the Great (Ancient History 2013). The Battle of Gaugamela was the final meeting between Alexander the Great of Macedon and King Darius III of Persia. Darius prepared a battleground on the plain of Gaugamela and posted his troops to await Alexanders advance. After this victory, Alexander was, without question, the King of all Asia. (Britannica 2013).
Alexander the Great may have been known for being one of the greatest military leaders in the world, but it is not the same for the way he ruled his empire. Throughout his life, Alexander commanded great armies, but his focus was always on war and continuing his campaigns, so much that he was rarely in Macedon to rule his empire. This is further proved from the quote, “Alexander could better cope with warfare than...

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