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					Jessica Gratigny
History 241
14 September 2011
                                    Alexander the Great
       In regards to the concept of the a social order in Greek community, it is necessary

to first explain the background of the importance of human character to the Greeks and

the impact it made on the lifestyle of the Greek people. Although political and social

order varied among the Macedonians and the Greeks, it appeared that both regions had

the same goal in mind. Disregarding levels of actual power prior to the following events

described, the desired outcome was for glory and overall excellence for the regions

themselves. I believe because of this common ambition, the stage was set for a powerful

leader such as Alexander. Although his father preceded him in bringing the two rival

regions together, Alexander exhibited a drive for excellence and superior achievement

that was, and arguably still is, unparalleled in comparison to other leaders. I believe, after

careful consideration of the text, that it is safe to say that Alexander the Great

demonstrated a representation of the ultimate Greek citizen.


       To begin this argument, one must first consider the upbringing and the context of

Alexander’s childhood. I believe the external environment that Alexander faced as a very

young child and the pressures he witnessed regarding fame and glory for the Greek

citizens fueled his desire for grandiose achievement among his peers. At birth, Alexander

had a supposed ancestry that would compel him to the desire of following in the path of

greatness. Romm describes Alexander’s ancestry to supposedly trace back to significant

heroes such as Zeus, Heracles, and Achilles (1). Also, Romm notes speculation that

Alexander’s mother, Olympia, may have actually urged Alexander to believe that he was
a son of a god and “encouraged him in this belief (2). As Alexander grew into childhood,

his ambition only grew stronger. Arrian even suggests that Alexander did not appear

delighted in his father’s, Philip, military achievements due to the worry that he would not

have as many notable successes once he took his father’s place as the king (4).

Alexander’s drive for glory led him into battle at the young age of eighteen where he

incurred his first victory as a military leader (7). While the downfall of Philip is a somber

one, I believe that in seeing his father as a weak individual overtaken by love affairs and

drunkenness pushed Alexander into a stronger state. It appeared that he felt a duty to the

community of Greece to create a strong world power and out do even the most

recognizable accomplishments of his late father.


       The beginning of Alexander’s desire for conquering the world drove the region of

Greece and Macedonia into overdrive. After the accomplishments of his first battle,

Alexander almost seemed ravenous for new lands to conquer and additional

accomplishments to achieve. Arrian describes the actions of Alexander as “numerous”

and “momentous” (36). In his first battle with the mighty power of Persia, Alexander

showed no restraint in his desires to press forward into battle with no hesitation. With this

valor, he felt that the best weapon he carried was intimidation in the form of fearlessness

and the discount of risk (37). In the true form a Greek citizen, the drive for power led

Alexander away from the worry of hazard and misfortune but instead to mindset of

warfare that would “prevent the opponent from gaining confidence” (38). In the

aftermath of the victory against the Persians, Alexander again displayed virtues and

values of the Greek citizen in his honoring of the fallen and injured soldiers in his troops
with honorable funerals, tax exemptions, and encouragement of the exaggeration of war

activity for those still living (41).


        In his attempts to overcome the region of Tyre, Alexander displayed, arguably,

his most notable attribute; his warfare intellect. With no repression from his troops in

moving forward with battle, he embarked on the difficult task of overcoming the city

(60). Based on the text, it is clear that the intimidation of the swift attack depicted a scene

of the enemy in flight and a clear and concise victory for Alexander once again (65).

Before a significant amount of time could pass and the victorious conclusion could be

celebrated, Alexander was already in the mindset for the next battle. He had his eyes set

on Egypt and was prepared to set off on yet again another siege. It appeared that

Alexander had an insatiable desire for power and achievement and would stop at nothing

(69). However, conquering Egypt would not be as difficult as possibly the battle at Tyre

or Granicus due to Alexander’s belief that the Egyptians would welcome the powerful

Alexander as a liberator and not a tyrant (71).


        In his next battle against Darius, Alexander displays a level of bravery and pride,

in my opinion, above anything else. While the opportunity was open to confuse the

Persians at night and overwhelm them with surprise, Alexander dutifully declined and

noted that an attack at night would not be a true victory and instead would a stolen one.

His level of pride induced him to win battles against enemies completely void of trickery

and dishonesty. Alexander would do everything in his power to prove that he was the

superior figure in battle (79). It is seen, once again, that the intimidation factor exhibited

from Alexander’s army sent the enemy into flight, ending in another major victory for the

Greeks (81). After the death of Darius, Romm states that Alexander was able to “claim
ruler ship of all the lands that compromised the former Persian Empire and he might well

have ended his campaign then and there” (94). This was not the case whatsoever for

Alexander.


       It is important to note that although Alexander never appeared to falter in his

intelligence of warfare, he did fall into a problem of “moral transgression” (103). The

implementation of a new respect code, differences in wardrobe, and an overall lifestyle

change could all be thrown into the argument that Alexander began to exhibit the

opposite of the ultimate Greek citizen. However, I feel it is important to consider that a

major part of Greek lifestyle is the opinion one would hold of his self. It never appeared

that Alexander conceded that he had let down his Greek counterparts in his lifestyle

change. Instead, he set himself up with more pride and self-induced honor for his land

and citizens than before.


       In his final battles, Alexander displayed a continued self-inflicted idea of

superiority (126). This confidence continually gave him the edge it took for a final

victory and allowed him to die undefeated in battle. In one of his final speeches to his

troops, he was presented with a situation of dealing with weak spirited soldiers who were

no longer energetic about following his regiment of conquering more land (158). In his

moment of frustration with the lack of desire for conquest from many of his peers, he did

not sway from his pride and explained how the soldiers have things only because of the

sacrifices and hardships that Alexander himself went through (161). Although his speech

rallied the troops into conceding to a final battle, Alexander had lost his way and lacked

the support from those who stood by before with not question.
       Although Alexander died with the question of issues of delusion and egotistical

problems, I view his accomplishments in much higher regard than his downfalls. I

believe that Arrian displays a very relevant point in stating that although he had

incidences of selfishness and partook in mistakes, he had no issue of admitting them and

going even further to be incredibly remorseful about them (172). Because of this, I cannot

say that I would view him in his entirety as egotistical and selfish, but instead merely

human with the capacity of making mistakes. Alexander was born a proud boy and died a

proud man. In a region that views pride and glory in such high regard, I believe this

proves that Alexander was a great example of the ultimate Greek citizen.




James Romm. Alexander the Great: Selections from Arrian, Diodorus, Plutarch, and
      Quintus Curtius. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 2005.

				
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