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The Fascination And Relevance Of Alexander The Great In The Contemporary World

1515 words - 7 pages

There is no one description of Alexander the Great, he has become for modern and ancient writers an astonishing man from Macedon, who was a controversial, yet admirable ruler of the largest empire of the known ancient world. The fascination and relevance of Alexander in the contemporary world have proven to be a reflection of his extraordinary successes, which has led to a strong debate on whether Alexander’s epithet as “The Great” is at all an indication of his achievements.
Alexander’s ability to expand his empire through military measures connecting the East and the West of the known world; a feat that had never been achieved prior to Alexander, or in fact achieved again after his death has been greatly admired by many ancient and modern historians. A number of historians, including Cantor believes that Alexander was and still is a symbol of conquest; due to his extraordinary success rate in regards to conquering lands; his unrivalled strategic tactics redefining warfare and in the process becoming an exemplar for future military commanders such as; Julius Caesar and General Norman Schwarzkoph. Caesar born in the midst of unrest and civil war in Rome; growing up in a society driven by warfare, where you were judged on your military ability above all; would explain his goal to emulate, if not surpass Alexander’s success. Caesar’s deep admiration for Alexander and his military tactics demonstrated through his own military conquests which as mentioned by Cantor had included the use of his own infantry in a similar way to Alexander’s to conquer the world. Alexander’s everlasting influence due to his military success is still relevant today, Schwarzkoph, raised in a military family, to eventually leading the American army into combat, has noted his success and drive for military triumph were derived from his admiration and study of Alexander the Great’s tactics and successes during his younger years.
Although Alexander’s ability to conquer lands has been more or less undisputed, modern historians question his military reputation; which is marred by his cruel nature through the unnecessary deaths made under his command and the treatment of women and children. His most infamous crusade being The Battle of Thebes, which has, by contemporary historians such as R.D. Milns; who have grown up in the aftermath of WW1 and WW2 would see Alexander’s destruction of Thebes as an unnecessary and brutal act, J.R. Hamilton finding his actions a form of terrorism. Both questioning the necessity, or lack thereof of Alexander’s treatment of Thebes by controversially selling 30,000 of its inhabitants into slavery ; which has been indicated by Plutarch as a political move to make an example of the Greeks, in the hopes of scaring them into submission. This ruthlessness and brutality on the battlefield during Alexander’s time were accepted and even expected by writers; a stark contrast to the values shared by modern writers Milns and Hamilton, which would indicate...

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