Just like anybody today, you can tell a lot about a person by the way in which they were brought up, and Alexander of Macedon"tms upbringing was anything but ordinary. He was born to Phillip and Olympia in late July of 356 BC. It was a well known fact that Alexander"tms parents did not get along. Phillip, such was the custom, had more than one wife, and Olympia was not fond of these conventions. So much so, that when one of Phillips other wives gave birth to a son whom was retarded, many thought that Olympia had poisoned the child. This is just a glimpse of the kind of childhood that Alexander went through. At one point Alexander and his mother where actually both banished from the kingdom. It was also a well know that Phillip tried to demean Alexander at every occasion where he had the opportunity to do so. Once, shortly before Phillip died, he had an altercation with his son at a party, the origins of which where apparently never recorded. The dispute elevated out of control, and Phillip drunkenly lunged at his son, only too fall face first onto the floor. To this Alexander remarked, "Look men, he"tms about to cross from
In his book Alexander the Great and His Time, Agnes Savill writes, "Aristotle wrote for Alexander a special treatise on the duties of a monarch toward his people; a king was bound to work for the benefit of those whom he ruled". One thing that Aristotle taught that Alexander eventually grew to disagree with was the fact that some men and races where "natural slaves", which happened to be a popular Greek belief at the time. Once Alexander spread farther across the world, he came to realize, as did Eratosthenes after Alexander"tms death, that mankind should be divided by their good and bad qualities, not their place in life or their race. Other than this small fact, Alexander"tms tutor instilled in him the characteristics of a fair ruler, who was there to work for his people.
Alexander of Macedon has to be one of the most interesting people in the history of the world. His armies followed him into battle with complete assurance that he would be amongst them, raising arms to fight just as they did. He was a brilliant military mind, altering the methods of battle that his father had used over and over again, to meet the specific needs of each confrontation. He was a scholar, taught under a brilliant philosopher, Aristotle, whom had been schooled by one of the founders of modern philosophy himself, Socrates. He respected and valued his people and their cultures, and was always fair, except when there where insurrections, where he tended to be a little eccentric at times. He managed to surmount most of the known world before he was thirty years old, a feat attempted by a few, but never accomplished by any other. Near his end, while he was sick, word leaked out to his people, his army, and they where terrified. Who could possibly lead them if the great Alexander did fall When asked who his successor would be by his generals, his words where, "To the Strongest". Perhaps he knew that there would be a struggle no matter who he named. Maybe he felt that he had made this empire his own, and would not leave it to any one person, but make that person fight for it as he did. Or, possibly, he just didn"tmt want anyone else to screw up what he had so painstakingly created. It"tms one of those things that will no doubt remain a mystery, and perhaps its better that way.
No matter what way you look at the life and time of Alexander the great, there is no way you can overlook the mythological aspects of it all. An alleged son of god, murders, scandals; a man"tms dream of conquering the world, and actually being able to live out the plurality of that fantasy. A man revered amongst some, despised by others, and the hero of a story that just happened to be a true piece of history. He was a man, and at the same time he is a myth. He took what he wanted of life, created the worlds largest empire ever, ruled it fairly and just, and died before being forced to see the fruit of his labors torn apart by the hordes of those eager to possess what someone else had made. He did all of this before he turned 33 years old, which is in itself the stuff of legend. He was looked up to by Ca