Modern And Ancient Interpretations Of Alexander The Great

1570 words - 6 pages

Analyse how ancient and modern writers judge the success of your personalityThe way in which writers, both modern and ancient, have judged the success of famous personalities vary greatly, with writers' historical perceptions of what is considered a success being significantly influenced by their own values, purpose, context and the sources they choose to accept. In the case of how historians view and subsequently judge the success of Alexander the Great this is no different. Evaluations of the success of Alexander by ancient and modern writers commonly center on his military ability, which is obvious and un-contestable. Despite this for the majority of writer's success cannot be viewed only in relation to military achievement. The criteria by which writers judge the political and administrative aspects of Alexander's kingship is not as clear-cut as those regarding his military proficiency and are almost always made with a degree of personal bias, with historical interpretations of issues like his spread of Hellenistic culture and lack of succession planning significantly varied depending on the overall purpose and context of the writer.Throughout antiquity, Alexander's success has been judged by both modern and ancient writers and attributed to his strong ability as a military leader. This however is where the consensus ends with writers such as Curtius Rufus and George Grote regarding him as a ruthless tyrant, whilst others including Arrian and Nicholas (N.G.L) Hammond admiring his superior military ability to defeat and conquer despite his young age and often insurmountable odds. Ancient Roman writer Curtius presents Alexander's military success as a result of his ruthless oppression of those whom opposed him. Living and writing in 1st century Rome, Curtius criticizes Alexander's sometimes ruthless tactics, labeling him essentially as a great military mind aided by good fortune and corrupted by bloodlust. Whilst Alexander was at times ruthless historians Lendering and Briant argue the tyrannical quality suggested by Curtius, , was less a characteristic of Alexander but rather one exhibited by the Roman emperors of Curtius' own time, Tiberius and his despotic successor Caligula, notorious for their oppressive and tyrannical rule of the Roman empire. Curtius' perception of Alexander is revisited in the work of another contextually influenced writer, modern liberalist historian George Grote who wrote his history of Greece shortly after the Napoleonic war period. According to Grote, Alexander's unrivalled military expertise spawned in him a level of egotism and vanity that fuelled his increasingly tyrannical nature an observation Curtius shared. Grote however like Curtius was also influenced by his context and diplomatic stance, for as a British liberal and political radical, Grote opposed famous conquerors of his own time like Napoleon and this is evidently seen in his military assessment of Alexander. Ancient writer Arrian and modern historian...

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