Complete Biography of Alexander the Great



Alexander the Great ( Alexander III the Great , ancient Greek; presumably July 20/23 or October 6/10, 356 BC – June 10/13, 323 BC) – king Macedonia from the Argead dynasty (from 336 BC ), an outstanding commander, creator of a world power that collapsed after his death. Ascending the throne at the age of 20 after the death of his father, Philip II , he suppressed the uprising of  he Thracians and re-subdued Greece, where the rebellious The bes were destroyed . In 334 BC. e. Alexander crossed over to Asia Minor , thus starting a war with Persian power. Under Granicus, he defeated the satraps , and under Issus (333 BC) – the king Darius III himself , after which he subdued Syria , Palestine and Egypt . In 331 BC. e. under Gaugamela in Mesopotamia, Alexander won a decisive
victory.

Darius was later killed; Alexander, having occupied the interior
regions of Persia, took the title of “king of Asia”, surrounded himself with
representatives of the eastern nobility and began to think about conquering the
world.In three years (329-326 BC) he conquered Central Asia. Having invaded
India, the king began to gain victories there, but his army, tired of a long
march, rebelled, so that Alexander had to turn back. In 324 BC. e. he arrived
in Babylon, which became his capital. The very next year, while preparing for a
campaign in Arabia, Alexander died at the age of 32.

The power created in the course of the conquests soon disintegrated, divided between the king’s generals – the diadochi . Nevertheless, thanks to the campaigns of Alexander, the spread of Greek culture in the East began, which laid the foundation for Hellenism .

Even in ancient times, Alexander was recognized as one of the greatest military leaders in history. His name was actively used in political propaganda. In the Middle Ages, one of the most popular books in Europe and a number of regions of Asia and Africa was “The Novel of Alexander “, which filled the biography of the title character with fictional episodes; in the Muslim tradition, Alexander began to be identified with Dhu-l-Karnain . During the Baroque era , the Macedonian king became a popular character in theater and painting.

In Western historiography, the king is known as Alexander the Great .



Biography of 
Alexander the Great


Origin

Alexander belonged to the Argead dynasty, which ruled Macedonia from the
beginning of its history. Ancient authors rank this dynasty as Heraclides; according to legend, Temenides Karan (the younger brother of King Fidon of Argos and a descendant of Hercules in the eleventh generation) or his son Perdiccas in the 7th century BC. e. moved from the Peloponnese to the
north, where they founded their kingdom. The son of Perdikkas Argay gave his
name to the dynasty.Alexander III became his distant descendant .

Biography of Alexander the Great

Until the 4th century BC. e. Macedonia was a small and weak kingdom, suffering from the invasions of the Thracians and Illyrians from the north, from the Hellenic expansion from the south; although the Macedonians apparently spoke one of the dialects of the Greek language, the Greeks considered them to be barbarians . The grandfather of Alexander Amyntas III , who belonged to the younger branch of the dynasty and seized power by killing his predecessor, retained his position only thanks to maneuvering between the different states of Hellas. His son Philip IIwas able to dramatically increase state revenues, create a strong army, subjugate the princes of Upper Macedonia, defeat the northern neighbors and begin to conquer the Greek city-states one by one. Philip’s wife and Alexander’s mother was Epirus princess Olympias  is the daughter of King Neoptolemus I of
the Pyrridian dynasty , whose origin was traced back to Achilles . Thus,
Alexander, both in male and female lines, was considered a descendant of the
gods and the greatest heroes of antiquity. Awareness of this fact significantly
influenced the formation of his personality .

Philip II was married a total of seven times, and lived with all his wives at the same time . Alexander’s full sister was Cleopatra . In addition, Alexander’s half-brother were Arrhidaeus (from Filin of Larissa ) and consanguineous sisters: The ssalonica (from Nikesipolidy from Fer ), Keenan (from Illyrian princess Audaty ), Europe (from Cleopatra ). Arridey was a year older than his brother , but suffered from dementia, so Alexander was considered the only possible heir to his father .



Birth and childhood of Alexander the Great

Alexander was born in 356 BC. e. in the Macedonian capital Pella . According to legend, this happened on the night when Herostratus set fire to the temple of Artemis of Ephesus , one of the “Seven Wonders of the World”, and the Persian magicians immediately interpreted this fire as a sign of a future catastrophe for their state … Hegesius of Magnesia later gave another explanation for this coincidence: “There is nothing surprising in the fact that the temple of Artemis burned down: after all, the goddess was at that time busy helping Alexander to be born . ” King Philip , who was besieging Potidaea at the time, according to sources, received news of the birth of his son on the day of the capture of the city; other messengers on the same day informed him of the great victory of the Macedonians in the battle with the Illyrians and that his racehorse was the fastest at the Olympic Games . But, since all kinds of signs have always accompanied the birth and life of the great people of antiquity , scientists recognize information about all these coincidences as legendary .

Alexander’s exact birthday is unknown. Plutarch writes about “the sixth day of the month of Hecatombeon , which the Macedonians call loi .” Many historians take July 15 as 1 day of the hecatombeon, and the birth of Alexander is dated July 20, respectively, but there are opinions in favor of 21 and 23 numbers . At the same time, Aristobulus from Cassandria reports that the king lived 32 years and 8 months ), which means he was born in the fall; according to Demosthenes , the Macedonian month of Loy corresponded not to Hecatombeon, but to Boedromion , that is, it fell on September-October.Therefore, there is
another estimated date of birth – the period from 6 to 10 October …

The child was named after his ancestor Alexander I , nicknamed “Phyellinus” (“friend of the Greeks”) , and there could be political overtones here . Throughout
the prince’s childhood, his father was constantly on campaigns, so that the
child spent most of the time with his mother. She was a woman of “heavy temper”, “jealous and quick to anger” and felt a strong dislike for her husband ; she probably often criticized Philip in the presence of her son, which is why
Alexander formed an ambivalent attitude towards his father: Philip aroused his
admiration and at the same time was unpleasant to him .

The first mentor of the prince was a relative of Olympias Leonidas from Epirus, who treated Alexander very severely (nevertheless, Alexander retained his affection for him for the rest of his life). Another educator, Lysimachus from Akarnan , was subordinate to Leonidas ; it is known that he called the prince Achilles, and himself – Phoenix . In the company of aristocratic peers, Alexander began to receive education typical of his era, which included teaching reading, counting and writing, gymnastics, music, the study of classical literature
(primarily Homer’s poems ), geometry, and the beginnings of philosophy .

The child was very quick-tempered and sensitive, but at the same time showed curiosity and diligence . The sources contain a number of stories showing the extraordinary abilities of the young prince . So, once Alexander received the Persian ambassadors in the absence of his father and “did not ask a single childish or insignificant question, but asked about the length of the roads, about the ways of traveling deep into Persia, about the king himself – what is he like in the fight against enemies, and also about what are the strengths and might of the Persians “; the surprised ambassadors saw in the boy” the greatness of plans and aspirations. ” Another time, Alexander was able to drive around the indomitable
horse Bucephalus because he realized that he was simply afraid of his own
shadow. After that, Philip, according to Plutarch, exclaimed: “Seek, my son, the
kingdom by itself, for Macedonia is too small for you!” …

In 343 or 342 BC. e. Philip decided to send his son along with other noble youths to the city of Mieza  – possibly to separate him from his mother . From that time until 340 BC. e. Alexander’s mentor was the philosopher Aristotle , linked by ties of friendship with the Macedonian royal house .

The sources do not give clear information about what Aristotle taught the prince . Presumably Alexander studied philosophy, rhetoric, geometry, medicine, zoology,
geography . He is thoroughly acquainted with Greek literature : it is known that
Alexander loved and often re-read ” The Iliad ” of Homer, attaching great
importance to its origin from Achilles through the mother , a well-known
‘ Anabasis ‘ Xenophon, the tragedy of Euripides , poems of Pindar , Stesichorus , Telesto , Philoxenus and other poets , ” History”By
Herodotus .



Youth of Alexander the Great

No later than 342 BC. e. Philip officially recognized his son as heir to the Macedonian throne . In the spring of 340 BC. e. Alexander, then sixteen years old, was summoned by his father to Pella; the king set out to besiege the Greek cities of Propontis , and left his son in the capital as regent , but under the supervision of experienced generals Antipater and Parmenion .

At this time, revolted against Macedonian Thracian tribe ; the
prince defeated the rebels and founded the city of 
Alexandropol in
their lands (by analogy with Philipopolis , which his father named after
himself) .

Two years later, Alexander was next to his father, who invaded Central Greece. In the decisive battle at Chaeronea, he (apparently, again under the tutelage of Antipater and Parmenion) commanded the Getaira cavalry on the left flank and led the attack that decided the outcome of the battle: he managed to destroy the Theban Sacred Detachment , and then defeat the entire right flank of the enemy . After the conclusion of peace, Alexander led a delegation that brought the ashes of the dead soldiers to Athens .

Despite all this, the relationship between the prince and his father in those years left much to be desired. Researchers write about the psychological alienation associated with communication deficits and Olympic stance; this may be evidenced by the fact that Alexander considered Leonid’s tutor to be his adoptive father. In relation to Philip, the prince felt jealousy and envy, complaining to his friends after each victory of Macedonia: “Father will have time to take over everything, so that together with you I will not be able to accomplish anything great and brilliant.” Even with the status of heir to the throne, Alexander was far from state affairs, and many nobles and military leaders did not support him as a
half-epic by blood, under the influence of a foreign mother.

The situation became threatening for the prince when Philip married for the seventh time – to a noble Macedonian woman Cleopatra . A hypothetical
son born in this marriage would be a purebred Macedonian, and therefore the
ideal heir to his father; an open statement about this sounded already at the
wedding from the mouth of Attal , the bride’s uncle :

Attalus … drunk during the feast, began to urge the Macedonians to pray to the gods that Philip and Cleopatra would have a legitimate heir to the throne. Enraged by this, Alexander cried out: “So, scoundrel, do you think I am illegitimate, or what?” – and threw
the bowl at Attalus. Philip rushed to his son, drawing his sword, but
luckily for both, anger and wine did their job: the king stumbled and
fell. Alexander, mocking his father, said: “Look, people! This man, who is about to cross from Europe to Asia, stretched out, crossing from bed to bed. “

– Plutarch. Alexander, 9.

After this skirmish, there was an open break. The prince went with his mother to Epirus, to his uncle Alexander , and from there to the Illyrians , the sworn enemies of Macedonia. It is known that Olympias urged her brother to start a war with Philip; perhaps her son made the same proposal to the Illyrians. Philip soon sent a confidant to Alexander and secured the return of his son to Pella , but the final reconciliation between them never happened .

Once again, father and son quarreled over
negotiations with the satrap of Caria Piksodar 
(337
BC). This ruler offered Philip an alliance and his daughter Ada as a wife for
one of the princes; he chose Piksodara Arridey as his son-in-law, and Alexander
perceived this as an infringement of his rights. He sent his friend Thessal to
Caria with the message that he himself was ready to marry Ada. Philip, upon
learning of such a turn, immediately interrupted the negotiations, and scolded
his son, “calling him a base man, unworthy of his high position, since he wants
to become the son-in-law of a Carian, subject to the king of barbarians. ” Many
friends of Prince – Nearchus ,Ptolemy , Harpalus , Erigyius , Laomedon  – were
expelled, and Thessal was chained .

In 336 BC. e. Philip tried to neutralize
his brother-in-law, Alexander of Epirus, by marrying his daughter from Olympias,
Cleopatra. On the day of the wedding in Egah , in the presence of Alexander, the
king was stabbed to death by his bodyguard Pausanias . There are no exact data
on the murderer’s motives: according to the official version, Pausanias took
revenge for his personal insult, but there were rumors that Alexander and
Olympias were aware of his plans or even made him their weapon . The
participation of the tsarevich in the conspiracy is considered probable, but
unprovable .The Macedonian army, who knew and saw Alexander well in battles,
proclaimed him king (probably at the behest of Antipater) .



The beginning of the reign of Alexander
the Great

Alexander used the death of his father in
order to deal with all potential sources of threat to his
power. Two Linkestids (representatives of the princely family from Upper
Macedonia), Arrawey and Geromen , were crucified on crosses at the grave of
Philip . Amynta , Alexander’s cousin and son-in-law, was killed ; one source
reports about the brother of King Karan , who was also killed ; Attalus was
executed on charges of treason. , and his fate was shared by all the closest
male relatives.Finally, Olympias forced the last of Philip’s wives, Cleopatra,
to commit suicide, and ordered her newborn daughter to be killed. As a result,
Alexander had no potential enemies inside Macedonia . To know and the people the
new king won over to his side by the abolition taxes, not paying attention to
the empty treasury and 500 talents of debt .

At the time of Alexander’s coming to
power, the Macedonian kingdom was a large territorial power: it included not
only Lower Macedonia, but also Upper Macedonia, as well as Thrace, part of
Illyria and the entire northern coast of the Aegean Sea, previously controlled
by independent Greek city-states. In a dependent position were Epirus (where
Philip’s brother-in-law and son-in-law ruled, who owed him the throne), the
Thessalian Union (Philip was his tag ) and the Corinthian Union , which included
all the rest of Greece , except Sparta, and recognized Philip as his hegemon
with broad powers . The Greeks formally obeyed not Macedonia, but its king, and
after the death of the latter they considered themselves independent.The enemies
of Macedonia in Athens openly rejoiced at the murder of Philip, and Thebes
and Ambrakia tried to drive out the garrisons left by Philip .

In this situation, Alexander acted
decisively. He quickly moved south with the army, secured his election as the
tag of Thessaly, and then entered Central Greece and camped near Thebes. The
Greek city-states, who did not expect this, expressed humility and sent their
delegates to Corinth , where the agreement concluded after the Battle of
Chaeroneus was confirmed. While maintaining formal independence, all Hellas
(except Sparta) was now subordinate to Alexander, the hegemon of the Corinthian
Union and the strategist-autocrator in the upcoming campaign against the
Persians; many policies admitted Macedonian garrisons .

Before returning to Macedonia, Alexander
met in Corinth with the cynic philosopher Diogenes 
. According
to legend, the king invited Diogenes to ask him what he wants, and the
philosopher replied: “Do not block the sun for me” . The king was so struck by
the pride and greatness of the philosopher, who treated him with such disdain
that on the way back he said: “If I were not Alexander, I would like to be
Diogenes” . Later Alexander also visited Delphi; he demanded from the pythia to
predict his fate, and he heard “You are invincible, my son!” …

Meanwhile, in the north, the Illyrians and
the Triballs 
were preparing for
war . The king decided to strike a preemptive blow: in the spring of 335
BC. e. he moved an army of 15,000 to Istra . In the battle at Mount
Emon, Alexander defeated the Thracians, who occupied a strong position on the
hill, and then won a victory over the tribals. Ruler last Sirma took refuge
on in Istria. On the northern bank of the river, the troops of the Getae tribe
gathered , and Alexander considered it a challenge: on improvised floating
means, he ferried the army across Istres, defeated the Getae and thereby
deprived the tribals of the last hope of success … Having accepted the
surrender of this tribe, Alexander moved to Illyria. There he laid siege to the
fortress of Pelion, was surrounded by enemies, but was able to break through,
and then deceived the Illyrians from the hills to the plains and defeated .

During this campaign (March-May 335 BC),
Alexander demonstrated an extraordinary talent for leadership, the ability to
improvise, and the equally important ability to reliably control sufficiently
large and diverse military contingents. P. Fore even calls this campaign
“perhaps the most brilliant and impetuous” in the biography of Alexander. The
king was able to completely secure the northern borders of Macedonia for the
following years, replenished his army with Thracian, Illyrian and Tribal
warriors, and seized valuable booty. But in Greece, due to his long absence,
there were rumors that Alexander had died. Believing this news, the Thebans
revolted and laid siege to the Macedonian garrison under the command of the
Frurarch Filota inCadmea. ; the Athenians who supported them began negotiations
for an alliance with the Persians, and the policies of the Peloponnese moved
their troops to Isthmus . Alexander learned about this in Illyria and
immediately moved south: it took him only 13 days to reach Boeotia …

Upon learning that the king was alive,
the Peloponnesians and Athenians immediately ceased their hostile actions; only
Thebes remained, who did not want to surrender. In September 335
BC. e. Alexander, who received the support of the rest of Boeotia’s
policies, laid siege to this city. The Thebans were defeated by a combined blow
from outside and from Cadmea , and a real massacre took place in the streets, in
which 6,000 citizens died. Alexander left it to his Greek allies to decide the
fate of the city. They decided to destroy Thebes, leaving only Cadmeus, divide
the land between neighbors, and turn the population into slavery. A total of 30
thousand people were sold;with the money raised (about 440 talents), Alexander
fully or partially covered the debts of the Macedonian treasury … No one else
resisted Macedonia. The Greeks, amazed at the quick victory of the king and the
fate of the ancient city, in a number of cases themselves brought politicians
who had called for an uprising to trial. Alexander confined himself to demanding
that the Athenians expel one orator and returned to Macedonia, where he began to
prepare for a campaign in Asia .



Eastern campaign: from Granicus to Cilicia

The idea of ​​an offensive war with
Persia was expressed in the Greek world from the beginning of the 4th century
BC. e. ( Gorgias , Aeschines , Isocrates ). Both the Greeks and the Macedonians
were interested in this in connection with the prospect of conquering new lands
and capturing rich booty. In addition, the Greeks could bring new colonies to
the conquered territories and thus get rid of the surplus population,
oppositionists and troublemakers; Macedonia, having led the united army in the
eastern campaign, would have consolidated its power over Hellas. In addition,
Persia openly opposed Philip II when he was besieging Perinth., and was ready to
support Philip’s enemies in Greece. Therefore, the king, shortly before his
death, sent a part of the army led by Attal and Parmenion to Asia Minor. The
official goal of the war that began in this way was to take revenge on the
Persians for the burning of the Greek sanctuaries in 480 BC. e. In reality, it
was planned to subjugate the cities of the Eastern Aegeid and, apparently,
conquer all of Asia Minor. Alexander, having come to power, stopped the
advancement of this corps, but continued preparations for a large march to the
East .

In the early spring of 334 BC e. the king
moved on the Persians. In Macedonia, he left the experienced
commander Antipater as governor , who received 12 thousand infantry and 1500
horsemen under his command. With Alexander went another 12,000 foot Macedonians
(9,000 Phalangists and 3,000 Hypaspists ), 1,500-1800 Getaira, 9,000 warriors of
the Balkan tribes, 5,000 Greek mercenaries. 7 thousand hoplites and 600 horsemen
were exposed by the Greek policies, which were in the Corinthian Union, another
1800 cavalrymen – Thessalians.In total, Alexander’s army consisted of less than
40 thousand soldiers, and after meeting with the corps, which had crossed into
Asia under Philip, it should have grown to 50 thousand. It is known that the
tsar did not trust the Greeks; the core of his army were Macedonian units .

The moment for the start of the campaign
was chosen very well: in the spring the Persian fleet was still in the ports of
Asia Minor and could not interfere with the crossing 
. In
May, Alexander overcame the Hellespont , landing in Asia Minor in the region of
the legendary Troy . According to legend, swimming to the shore, the king threw
a spear towards Asia. It was a symbolic act showing that all this land would
belong to Macedonia … Nothing is known exactly about Alexander’s goals at this
stage of the war; scientists only make assumptions about which strategy he
should have chosen.At that time, there was practically no money in the
Macedonian treasury (the king collected 800 talents of debt, preparing for his
first campaigns), and the Macedonian fleet was clearly inferior to the Persian
one, while the superiority of Alexander’s infantry over the enemy was
obvious. In this situation, Alexander was interested in his army moving as
quickly as possible, occupying fortified cities, striking the enemy in the field
and seizing prey in the rich Asian lands .

Memnon ,
the commander of the Greek mercenaries in the Persian service , who was familiar
with the Macedonian military system and personally with Alexander , proposed to
the Asia Minor satraps his plan of repelling aggression. He assumed the
rejection of land battles, the “scorched earth” tactics (including the
destruction of cities on the way of the Macedonians), active operations of the
fleet and strikes behind enemy lines in Greece. But this plan, which was
extremely dangerous for Alexander, was rejected: the satraps did not want to
plunder their lands. In addition, they were confident in the strength of their
cavalry. On the fourth day after the landing of the Macedonians on the
river Granicusnear Troy , the first big battle took place. , in which the
cavalry fought mainly. Alexander himself led the attack of the Getaira and
showed miracles of bravery: he killed his son-in-law Darius III in single
combat , one of the enemy soldiers cut his helmet. Having lost a thousand people
killed, the Persian cavalry fled, and the Greek mercenaries serving the Persians
refused to flee and were killed. The Macedonians lost just over 100 people .

This victory dramatically changed the
situation: it was now clear that the Macedonian cavalry was stronger than the
enemy, so that the expanses of Asia Minor were open to the army of
Alexander. The Achaemenid rule in this region collapsed. Phrygia voluntarily
submitted to the king, and her satrap Arsitus committed suicide; commandant of
the impregnable Sard Mihran surrendered the city along with the richest
treasury; Greek cities one by one overthrew the Persian-oriented oligarchic
regimes and opened the gates for the Macedonians. Alexander, who in Balkan
Greece, like his father, supported the oligarchy, in the new conditions approved
the democratization of the political system.He abolished the taxes imposed on
the Greeks by the Persians, but at the same time introduced a special
contribution and united the formally “liberated” Greek cities into a special
district, at the head of which he put his own man . For the rest, Alexander
retained the Persian system of government in the conquered territories. He
appointed Macedonians, Greeks or Persians loyal to him as satraps .

For the first time after Granicus, the
Macedonians met resistance in Miletus , whose garrison was headed by the
Greek Hegesistratus 
. Alexander
laid siege to this city from land, and from the sea his fleet approached
Miletus, only a few days ahead of the ships of the Persians. With the help of
siege machines, the Macedonians destroyed the walls and took the city by
storm; the Persian fleet, finding itself without food and water supplies,
retreated . After that, the Persians had only one base of support on the western
coast of Asia Minor – Halicarnassus . Memnon took refuge there with the
surviving Greek mercenaries, the satrap of Caria, Orontobat, and a number of
noble Macedonian emigrants. From the sea side, Halicarnassus defended a huge
fleet of 400 ships. At the same time, the queen of Caria Ada supported Alexander
(some scholars even believe that she adopted him ) .

The defenders of Halicarnassus fiercely
defended themselves, undertaking sorties and burning the siege towers of the
Macedonians. After protracted battles, Alexander still managed to break through
the fortress walls; then Memnon set fire to the city, and evacuated his troops
to Kos . Having occupied Halicarnassus, the Macedonians finally destroyed it by
order of the king (September 334 BC) . From that moment on, the nature of the
war changed radically. Memnon, appointed commander-in-chief in this war
(possibly even during the defense of Halicarnassus ), moved the fighting from
the Asian mainland to the Aegeis, to the rear of the Macedonians.Alexander
dismissed his ships, realizing that the Persians are in any case stronger at
sea, and not having enough money to finance the fleet. Now his task was to
occupy the entire Mediterranean coast in order to deprive the Persian ships of
their bases. Thus, both opponents operated behind each other’s lines .

From Halicarnassus, Alexander moved east
and, without encountering much resistance, occupied the coastal regions
of Lycia and Pamphylia 
. Then,
already in the winter of 334/333 BC. e., he briefly went north, to the interior
regions of Asia Minor. The king occupied Gordion , where, according to legend,
he tried to untie the famous Gordian knot (it was believed that
whoever untied it would rule the whole of Asia). Having failed, Alexander cut
the knot with a sword . He later occupied Cappadocia , accepted signs of
allegiance from the Paphlagoniansand hastily returned to the south, as he
learned that Darius had gathered a large army in northern Syria; the king was
afraid that the Persians would occupy the mountain passes connecting Asia Minor
with Syria. His fears did not materialize. The Macedonians freely
entered Cilicia and occupied Tarsus , where Alexander was very seriously ill: in
hot weather, he threw himself into the icy water of the Kidn River and caught a
cold, so for some time his position was considered hopeless. However, with the
help of a trusted doctor Philip of Acarnania , Alexander quickly recovered .



From Issa to Egypt

During 333 BC. e. important events took
place in the Aegeis. Memnon won a series of victories in the region and began
negotiations for an alliance with Sparta and Athens, but in May, during the
siege of Mytilene, he died suddenly. His successor, Pharnabaz, turned out to be
a less capable military leader, so that the actions of the Persians in this
region were no longer a threat to Alexander. Darius recalled some of the Greek
mercenaries who served under Pharnabazus, and included them in his army, which
was concentrated in Northern Syria. In October or November 333 BC. e. in the
highlands near Issus, Alexander, moving from Cilicia to the south, faced this
army;according to sources, the Macedonians were several times smaller than their
enemies, but the latter were trapped in a narrow gorge between the sea and the
mountains and could not use their numerical advantage .

In battle, the Macedonian
king again led the cavalry attack on the right flank. He defeated the enemy’s
left wing and struck in the center, trying to fight Darius. He fled, although
the outcome of the battle was still uncertain (his Greek mercenaries were able
to stop the onslaught of the Macedonian phalanx for a while). Upon learning of
the flight of their king, the Persian cavalry also preferred to leave the
battle, and the Greeks after that were mostly killed (8 thousand Greeks managed
to escape and later joined the anti-Macedonian movement in Greece). The victory
of the Macedonians was complete; in the enemy camp, they captured a huge booty,
including 3 thousand talents of gold, as well as a son, two daughters, wife and
mother Darius. Sources say that the noble captives were preparing for the worst,
but Alexander treated them very generously. Other treasures of the Persian king
were seized later in Damascus . Thanks to this, Alexander no longer experienced
a lack of funds .

This victory was of great importance for
the entire war: its consequence was the demoralization of the Persians, their
loss of the entire western part of the kingdom and potential allies in the Greek
world. Alexander could now choose between two directions – the east, where
Darius fled, and the south. He chose the latter to deprive the Achaemenid fleet
of its bases (primarily in Phenicia ). Arad , Byblos and Sidon obeyed him
without resistance, while Tire tried to take a neutral position and was
besieged … The Macedonians faced enormous difficulties: Tire was on an island
and was practically inaccessible.At first, Alexander tried to build a dam
between the mainland and the island, but, convinced of the laboriousness of this
task, ordered his new Phoenician subjects to provide their ships for the
siege. The Tyrian fleet was defeated, the siege engines were at the walls of the
city and were able to punch holes. After six months of siege in July or August
332 BC. e. Tyr fell . Alexander ordered 2 thousand of his defenders to be
crucified on crosses, the rest (about 30 thousand people) were sold into
slavery .

At this time, Darius sent ambassadors to
Alexander with a proposal to make peace. He was ready to marry one of his
daughters, Statyra , to the Macedonian king , and to cede land “from the
Hellespont to Galis, ” that is, the western half of Asia Minor. Parmenion
advised to accept these conditions, starting with the words “If I were Alexander
…”, but the king cut him off with the words: “I would also accept these
conditions if I were Parmenion!” Darius’s proposal was rejected, and Alexander,
thus demonstrating for the first time his desire to conquer all of Persia,
continued south. It was resisted by another large city, Gaza in Palestine, but
it was also taken by storm after a two-month siege. … Alexander ordered men to
be killed, and women and children sold into slavery . From that moment on, the
king controlled the entire coast of Asia Minor ; the Persians, who lost their
naval bases, had to disband their fleet, which by that time had already
decreased due to the Phoenicians returning home. Thus, the western threat no
longer existed .

In the south, only Egypt remained
insubordinate . The local population hated the Persians, and part of the troops
of the satrap Mazak was destroyed at Issus, so Mazak surrendered without a
fight. Alexander was greeted as a liberator and immediately proclaimed pharaoh ,
after which he returned the local priests to their former privileges. Having
stayed in Egypt for 6 months (December 332 – May 331 BC), the king made a
pilgrimage to the oracle of Amun in the Siwa oasis in the Libyan desert , and
sources say that the soothsayer turned to Alexander as the son of God .Near the
Canopian mouth of the Nile, the king founded the city of 
Alexandria
of Egypt 
, which soon became
one of the main cultural centers of the ancient world and the largest city in
Egypt .




The defeat of the Persian state (331-330
BC)

In May 331 BC. e. Alexander moved north
from Egypt, towards Mesopotamia, where Darius was gathering a new army. In July,
the Macedonians crossed the Euphrates , and in September, the Tigris . The next
battle that decided the fate of Persia took place on October 1 at Gaugamela ,
not far from Nineveh . In it, Alexander was opposed by an army, numbering,
according to clearly inflated sources, up to 1 million people and assembled,
unlike the army that fought at Issus, exclusively in the eastern satrapies.It
had first-class cavalry and war chariots with long knives attached to the spokes
of the wheels, but in general, the quality of weapons, training and experience
of the Macedonians, who numbered about 47 thousand, were superior to the enemy .

The chariot attack was
repulsed. Alexander, at the head of the Getayrs, was able to wedge himself
between the center and the left wing of the Persian battle line and almost made
his way to Darius, who again fled from the battlefield, despite the still
uncertain outcome of the general battle … At the same time, the left flank of
the Macedonians was forced to retreat under the onslaught of the enemy, and in
one area the Persians even broke through to the wagon train. The commander of
this flank, Parmenion turned to the king for help. Alexander had to stop
pursuing Darius: he attacked the enemy’s right wing from the rear and ensured
its complete defeat. The Macedonians captured the Persian camp, but Darius
managed to escape the pursuit .

This victory was a fatal blow to the rule
of the Achaemenids (the victory at Megalopolis , which Antipater won over the
Spartans in the same year with incomparably large losses, was called by
Alexander the “mouse fuss” 
). From
that moment on, the satraps of Darius lost faith in him and were ready to go
into the service of Alexander, and the main centers of the Persian state were
defenseless. In the same October 331 BC. e. The Macedonians
occupied Babylon without a fight , the inhabitants of which met Alexander as a
liberator and proclaimed their monarch – “the king of everything” and “the king
of the four cardinal points.” In December, Susa opened their gates, and there
the Macedonians captured 40 thousand talents of gold and silver. Then Alexander
moved to Persepolis , the center of the indigenous Persian lands, having
conquered on the way the tribe of Uxians, headed by a relative of the Achaemenid
royal house, Madat . The local satrap Ariobarzanes resisted him; unable to break
through directly , the king with part of the army undertook a detour, and in
January 330 BC. e. the city, despite the voluntary transfer of the treasury by
the city governor Tiridates , was taken and plundered. The booty captured there
was colossal: 120 thousand talents of gold and silver.The Macedonian army rested
in the city until the end of spring, and before leaving, they burned the
Achaemenid palace. Some sources blame hetero Thais of Athens for the incident,
which provoked a drunken Alexander and his friends, others report that the king
burned the palace, because he made a deliberate decision to avenge the invasion
of the Persians in Greece .

In April or May 330 BC. e. Alexander
moved north to Media , where Darius was gathering a new army. Approaching
the Ecbatans , he learned from the son of Artaxerxes, Och Bisthanes , that
Darius, who had not received the expected help from the Scythians and Kadusis ,
fled to the east . The Ecbatans were occupied without a fight, and at the head
of the most mobile unit of his army, Alexander began to pursue the
enemy. Already outside the Caspian gates, the satrap of Bactria Bessus conspired
against Darius and arrested him, and later killed him;Alexander, finding a body
near Hecatompilus in Parthia , imbued with sympathy for the deceased and ordered
to bury him in Persis, in the royal tomb. On that moment From, the head of the
anti-Macedonian resistance was Bessus, who himself proclaimed king Artaxerxes
V .



King of asia

During the eastern campaign, the nature
of the war and the nature of Alexander’s dominion over the conquered territories
changed significantly. In 330 BC. BC, finding himself in Media, the king sent
home the military contingents provided to him by the Corinthian Union, as well
as the Thessalian cavalry. This meant that the Panhellenic war, started to take
revenge on the Persians for past grievances, was over (its symbolic ending was
the burning of the palace in Persepolis) and Alexander’s personal war began for
power over Asia, for the transformation of the Argeads into the heirs of the
Achaemenids. The events in Susa, when Alexander sat on the throne of the Persian
kings, could already be a demonstration of such intentions .Having learned about
the death of Darius, the Macedonian king declared it his task to take revenge
for him to the usurper – Bessus and those who served Darius to the end received
awards and even promotions from Alexander .

Calling himself “the king of Asia” (for
the first time this title appears after the Battle of Gaugamela), Alexander
supposedly indicated the continuity of his state with the Achaemenid
empire. However, there is also the opposite opinion: he could emphasize the
difference between the new power and Persia, since he did not use such titles of
the Achaemenids as “ king of kings ” and others . In any case, after the death
of Darius, Alexander finally stopped looking at the Persians as a conquered
people and tried to rule them like their previous kings. He tried to equate the
vanquished with the victors, to combine their customs into a single whole.The
king surrounded himself with Persian nobles, began to wear oriental clothes,
started a harem, Persian ceremonies, including proskinesis , came into use at
his court – prostration and kissing the feet of the king. Representatives of the
eastern nobility were included in his cavalry, recruiting of local residents
into the infantry and their training on the Macedonian model began . The closest
friends and court flatterers accepted all this without hesitation, but many
military comrades-in-arms, accustomed to the simplicity of manners and friendly
relations between the tsar and his subjects, could not come to terms with this .

Alexander’s position was complicated by
the fact that his army was tired of a long campaign. The soldiers wanted to
return home and did not share the goals of their king to become the master of
the whole world, and from the end of 330 BC. e. their discontent began to come
out. When the Macedonian army was in Drangiana , a conspiracy was revealed, the
participants of which wanted to kill the king. The hetair commander Filota knew
about the conspiracy, but did not report, and therefore also fell under
suspicion ; he was tortured, and then Alexander obtained from the military
assembly the death sentence for Filota .The father of the executed, Parmenion,
was killed without trial or any proof of guilt, and his fate was shared by the
last of the Linkestids – . Another commander, Klit the Black , was killed by the
tsar with his own hands as a result of a drunken quarrel (in the fall of 328
BC), although he was experienced the brother of his nurse Lanika and saved him
from death at Granicus ; the reason was the words of Cletes that Alexander is
now surrounded by “barbarians and slaves who worship his Persian belt and
white tunic ” .

In the summer of 327 BC. e. the
“conspiracy of pages”, noble youths who were with the king and decided to kill
him, was revealed. The conspirators were stoned. It became known
that Callisthenes (nephew of Aristotle), a historian and philosopher who dared
to object to the king and openly criticize the new court order, called on these
young men to “show themselves as men,” and therefore he, too, was captured and
soon died in prison from a “lousy disease” or was killed by order of the
king . The philosopher looked to many as a victim of Alexander’s growing
despotism, and his death increased a secret discontent among the Macedonians.The
more frequent reports of conspiracies and extrajudicial killings during this
period, researchers associate with the aggravated paranoia of the tsar , which
was combined with the general wildness of his character and excessive
imperiousness .



In Central Asia

After the death of Darius III, the usurper
Bessus tried to gain a foothold in Bactria and made an alliance with
the Massaget 
tribe . Alexander,
continuing his movement to the east, without a fight
subdued Hyrcania and ; true, the last satrap Satibarzan soon rebelled, but the
king quickly suppressed this rebellion. Of the two roads that led to Bactria, he
chose the southern one, without a fight, occupying Drangiana and Arachosia , and
also subjugating the Ariaspian tribe . In the spring of 329 BC. e. Alexander
crossed the Hindu Kushfrom south to north and invaded Bactria. Bess retreated
beyond the Oaks , to Sogdiana , and there he was captured ; later his nose and
ears were cut off, after which the usurper was either crucified by the
Macedonians, or torn in half by them with the help of two trees, or cut into
pieces by the relatives of Darius III .

Alexander’s army, meeting no resistance,
reached the Yaxart River 
, along
which the border between the Persian state and the lands of the nomads
passed. The tsar founded here the fortified point of Alexandria Eskhata and
even briefly crossed to the right bank of the river in order to drive off the
Massagetae and thus consolidate the success. However, soon after, in September
329 BC. e., the population of Sogdiana rebelled against the conquerors, outraged
by the robberies that began with the Hellenic colonization and Alexander’s
unwillingness to make compromises. The rebels were led by the local
aristocrat Spitamen …It was mainly a partisan war, in which not large-scale
hostilities prevailed, but minor clashes: the rebels, supported by nomads,
attacked individual garrisons, raided and immediately retreated, while the
Macedonians destroyed entire villages in revenge . In 329 BC. e. Spitamen
besieged the citadel of Marakanda and defeated a large Macedonian force at
the Battle of Politimetus , in 328 he made a relatively successful foray into
Bactria. This war turned out to be the most difficult for Alexander in all the
years of his eastern campaign.The tsar initially underestimated the threat, but
later took over the leadership of the hostilities and tried to establish
contacts with the aristocracy of Sogdiana and Bactria. The death sentence for 30
members of the local nobility was canceled, the privileges of large landowners
were confirmed. Abandoned by many of his adherents, Spitamen fled to the
Massagetae, but they preferred to conclude peace with Alexander: in the winter
of 328/327 BC. e. they sent the head of the fugitive to the king .

In the spring of 327 BC. e. Alexander
suppressed the last pockets of resistance in Sogdiana – these were the mountain
fortresses of Ariamaz and Khorien. By marrying Roxana , the daughter of a local
nobleman Oxyartes , he strengthened his alliance with the Sogdian
nobility . Having thus conquered Central Asia, the king began preparations for a
campaign in India .



Indian campaign

Alexander thought about going to India,
starting from 328 BC. e. Then Sisikott , satrap of the Persian possessions in
this country, expressed obedience to the king, and Raja Ambha (the Macedonians
called him 
Taxil )
offered his help in case of an invasion. Taxil hoped to use Alexander to defeat
his rival Pora , who ruled eastern Punjab. ; for his part, the king wanted,
relying on local allies, to conquer all of India. In the summer of 327
BC. e. Alexander again moved through the Hindu Kush (this time in a southeast
direction), conquering local tribes on the way. In the spring of 326 BC. e.he
crossed the Indus, taking possession of his friend Taxila; the latter gave him
200 talents of silver, many livestock and a military contingent, including
elephants. Soon the ruler of the mountain Indians (the territory of
modern Kashmir ), Abisar, submitted to Alexander . Then he gathered an army to
meet the Macedonians with weapons in their hands .

The battle with Porus took
place in May 326 BC. e. on the Hydasp river . The Macedonian cavalry once again
proved to be stronger than the enemy; Alexander’s warriors faced a new threat
for them, with many war elephants, but they were able to turn the animals to
flight when they began to chop their legs and trunks with axes. Pora’s army was
utterly defeated, and he himself was captured . Alexander left Pora as king and
even expanded his domain, so as not to over-strengthen Taxila . The Macedonians
continued their movement deep into India: they easily took 37 cities in the
lands of the 
Glavganiks or Glavsand
went to the Gifasis River 
… Standing
at this line, Alexander learned about the existence on the banks of the Ganges
of a vast and rich kingdom, which could put up an army of 200 thousand, and also
that the Ganges flows into the ocean, which is the eastern border of
the ecumene . This news strengthened the king in his desire to reach the ocean,
thus conquering the entire inhabited world .

But the Macedonians were too tired from
the endless campaign and many battles, besides, they suffered from tropical
rains, poisonous snakes and unusual food. In November 326 BC. e. they refused to
go further , and the important role was played by the fear of meeting the huge
Indian army and its war elephants. Alexander had to abandon his plans. In the
place where his army stopped, he erected 12 altars, made sacrifices to the gods,
played games, and then with a specially built fleet moved south, down along the
Hydasp and Indus. On the way, the Macedonians conquered the neighboring tribes,
and in some places they faced fierce resistance; in the battle for the city
of mull(January 325 BC) Alexander was seriously wounded in the chest by an
arrow. In the Lower Indus, he faced a whole chain of uprisings and resorted to
the most brutal measures – mass executions and the sale into slavery of all
residents of certain settlements . Diodorus of Siculus reports that during this
campaign 80,000 “barbarians” were killed .

In the summer of 325 BC. e. the
Macedonians arrived in the Indus Delta. Here they were divided into three parts,
which had to reach Babylon in different ways: the fleet led by Nearchus – the
sea, part of the army led by Craterus through Arachosia, and the other part, led
by Alexander himself, along the coast. The 60-day journey through the deserts
of Gedrosia turned out to be more difficult than the battles – a significant
part of the army died from heat and thirst . In December, the king arrived in
the capital of Gedrosia, Puru, where he gave rest to his people. Finally,
in Carmania, Alexander met with Crater, and in March or April 324 BC. e.in Susa
there was a meeting with Nearh’s fleet .



The last year of life of Alexander the
Great

Arriving in Susa, Alexander put the army
to rest after 10 years of continuous wars and set about building up his vast
empire. At that time, some satraps (in Susiana, Persis, Carmania) clearly abused
their power, and the king removed and executed them, appointing people loyal to
him to the vacated positions. In Bactria there was an uprising of several local
garrisons ; satraps in this remote region did not always obey the central
authority, and Indian vassals generally behaved as independent rulers .

To strengthen the state, Alexander started
a grand wedding 
, at which 10
thousand Macedonians took Asians as their wives. The king himself
married Statira , the eldest daughter of Darius III, and Parysatid , daughter of
Artaxerxes III . His closest friend Hephaestion married Statira’s own
sister Drypetida , and Crater married his cousin, Amastrina. Another 87 ghetaira
entered into marriage with noble Persians and Medians (in
particular, Seleucus married Spitamen’s daughter Apama ).The wedding was played
according to the Eastern rite, all newlyweds received gifts from the king .

In the summer of 324 BC. e. a new stage
in the reform of the army began: 30 thousand Asian youths, armed and trained in
the Macedonian manner, were brought to Susa, who were to take the places of the
retired Macedonians in the phalanx. In addition, from the Persians were formed
elite units of “silver shield” and “foot ghetaira”, and the cavalry of the
ghetaira also received a Persian replenishment. In August 324
BC. e. Dissatisfied with these innovations, the Macedonian infantry
revolted. The Falangists said: “Let the king recognize all Macedonians as
useless and let them all go, since he has these milk-sucking dancers with whom
he intends to conquer the world” … Alexander did not make concessions.He
executed 13 major troublemakers without trial, and the rest soon turned from
rioters into supplicants. In the end, 11,000 Macedonian soldiers left for their
homeland, and the farewell feast held in Opis in September or October marked
their final reconciliation with the king .

In November 324 BC. e. Alexander visited
Ecbatana to arrange business in Media. His closest friend Hephaestion died
there, which was a terrible blow: the king declared mourning throughout the
empire, sent people to the oracle of Ammon with the question of whether the
deceased should be honored as a hero or as a god, and arranged a grand funeral
in Babylon . His winter campaign against the Kassites in the Zagros mountains
was considered by his contemporaries “a funeral offering to Hephaestion.” Having
ended this war, which became his last, Alexander went to Babylon , which,
according to many researchers, wanted to make the capital of the state .

The king was planning new wars of
conquest. Work on the construction of a new port in the Persian Gulf and
preparation of the fleet show that Alexander wanted to conquer Arabia in order
to control the entire sea coast from India to Egypt ; Diodorus of Siculus tells
that the king planned to conquer the Mediterranean . Until the ships were ready,
he built harbors and canals, formed troops from recruits, received
embassies . Serious changes took place in the circle of the king at this time:
after the death of Hephaestion, who held the unique post
of chiliarch , Perdiccas and Eumenes from Cardia came to the fore .Crater
and Polyperchon Alexander sent to Macedonia, and from there to the East summoned
Antipater; but the latter did not have to go anywhere because of the sudden
death of the king .



Death of Alexander the Great

5 days before the start of the campaign
against the Arabs, Alexander fell ill. After 10 days of severe fever on 10 or 13
June 323 BC. e. the king died in Babylon at the age of 32, leaving no orders for
heirs .

In modern historiography, the version
about the natural death of Alexander is generally accepted 
. At
the same time, the cause of his death has not yet been reliably
established. Most often, the version is put forward about malaria , which
attacked the body of the king together with another disease – either pneumonia,
or fleeting leukemia (leukemia) . According to another version, the king fell
ill with West Nile fever . In addition, it has been suggested that Alexander may
have died of leishmaniasis. or cancer. However, the fact that none of his
companions got sick anymore reduces the credibility of the version of an
infectious disease.Historians pay attention to the more frequent by the end of
the conquests of Alexander’s drinking with the generals, which could undermine
his health . There is also a version about an overdose of a poisonous hellebore
by the king , which was used as a laxative . According to the modern opinion of
British toxicologists, the symptoms of the disease from which Alexander died –
prolonged vomiting, convulsions, muscle weakness and slowing of the pulse –
indicate his poisoning with a drug made on the basis of white hellebore ( Latin 
 veratrum
album
 ) – a poisonous plant
used by Greek doctors for medicinal purposes 
.Greek
doctors gave a drink made from white hellebore with honey to drive out evil
spirits and induce vomiting. Finally, even in antiquity, versions were expressed
about the poisoning of the king by Antipater, whom Alexander was going to remove
from the post of governor of Macedonia, but no evidence of this appeared .



Alexander’s urban planning policy

During the Eastern campaign, Alexander
founded a number of cities named after him by the 
Alexandria . According
to F. Schahermayr, the first of these cities could appear near Issa in 333
BC. e. ; other historians, however, are skeptical about this assumption. In 331
BC. e. not far from the Canopian mouth of the Nile, Alexandria of
Egypt appeared , and the king personally chose a place, determined where the
city walls should be built, and where the agora should be located . The new city
quickly became the largest commercial and cultural center in the Mediterranean .

All the rest of Alexandria was founded in
the interior of the former Persian empire east of the Tigris. Plutarch claims
that the king founded 70 cities in total, but researchers for the most part
consider this an exaggeration: in some cases, it could be about creating only
minor strongholds or about unfulfilled plans. Various scholars write about 34,
16 or 13 Alexandria. The sources mention the Caucasus Alexandria at the foot of
the mountain, where, according to myths, Prometheus was
crucified (near Bagram or on the site of the present Charikar ); Alexandria
Tanaisskaya , built in 17 days; Alexandria Margianain the satrapy of the same
name (in the Merv oasis); Alexandria Oksiana (in the area of ​​modern Kulyab )
and Alexandria Eskhata (presumably on the site of Khujand ) in
Sogdiana; Alexandria Bactriana , Alexandria Ariana , Alexandria Arachosia (on
the site of Kandahar ). In India, Alexander built the cities of Nicaea and
Bukefala on different banks of the Hydasp, and Hephaestion with Perdiccas –
Orobatida. Four Alexandria were founded in the Indus basin (all of them perished
during the conquests of Chandragupta ), two in Gedrosia, one in Carmania .

Opinions about the goals of the tsar’s
urban planning policy differ: it could have been the protection of trade routes,
the consolidation of power over the conquered territories, Alexander’s attempt
to make his empire more culturally homogeneous, creating in the East the centers
of Hellenic civilization … As a rule, the city was founded not far from the
already existing small settlements. The army erected walls and moved on, and the
rest of the buildings were occupied by the colonists. Very little is known about
the composition of the original settlement of these cities.Accurate information
has survived only about two Alexandria, in one of which the king settled 7
thousand veterans-Macedonians, and in the other – a certain number of Greek
mercenaries, Macedonians who were considered unfit for military service or
“rebellious”, and “barbarians “from those around territories. Presumably, in all
cases, Greeks also settled in the new city, both Macedonians and barbarians, so
that the composition of the population was initially extremely variegated. For
many residents, the status of a colonist was a heavy punishment, as it meant de
facto eternal exile; known about a number of settler uprisings, the purpose of
which was to return home to the Balkans .



After death of Alexander the Great



Section of the empire

Alexander died without leaving orders for
successors. According to legend, before his death, he gave his ring with the
seal to Perdikka , who was to become regent under the pregnant Queen Roxanne and
her future son. A month later, Roxanne actually gave birth to a son named after
his father Alexander . But the supreme power of the regent soon began to be
challenged by other military leaders ( diadochi ), who sought to independently
rule their satrapies. In 321 BC. e. it came to an open conflict in which
Perdiccas died. The wars of the Diadochi went on almost continuously until 281
BC. e., when the last commanders of Alexander died.Their descendants reigned in
several states, formed on the site of a once huge power. …

All Argeads fell
victim to a power struggle. Alexander’s brother Arridey, who for some time
became a puppet king under the name of Philip III, was killed in 317 BC. e. by
order of Olympias, like his wife Eurydice (his and Alexander’s own
niece); Olympias herself a year later fell victim to Cassander, the son of
Antipater; Alexander’s sister Cleopatra died in 308 BC. e., and the Diadochus of
Antigone was blamed for her death. Finally, in 309 BC. e. Cassander ordered to
kill Roxana and Alexander IV, and at the same time the
diadoch Polyperchon killed Hercules , Alexander’s son
by Barsina’sconcubine . This marked the end of the Argead dynasty .



Tomb of alexander

Diadoch Ptolemy took
possession of Alexander’s embalmed body and in 322 BC. e. took him
to Memphis . There the mummy was most likely kept in the Serapeion temple , and
later (probably on the initiative of Ptolemy Philadelphus ) was transported to
Alexandria . In 30 BC. e. it was touched by the first Roman emperor Octavian ,
breaking off his nose with an awkward movement . The mummy of Alexander was last
mentioned in connection with a visit to Alexandria in 215 by the
emperor Caracalla: the latter, as a sign of special respect, placed his tunic
and ring on the tomb .

There is an assumption that
the sarcophagus of Nectaneb II , found by the French expeditionary corps
of Napoleon in Egypt and transferred to the British, could have been used for
some time for the burial of Alexander . The Ptolemies often used various
artifacts of the pharaohs for their own purposes, and besides, Ptolemy I did not
have time to create a repository worthy of the great conqueror . Now this
sarcophagus is kept in the British Museum in London .



Personality
of Alexander the Great

According to Plutarch, Alexander was very
light-skinned, and in places the whiteness of his skin turned red (especially on
the face and chest). Most accurately, according to the historian, the
sculptor Lysippos portrayed the appearance of the tsar , who managed to
reproduce the most characteristic features – “a slight tilt of the neck and
languid gaze” . P. Fore writes about “the gentle oval of an eternally beardless
face”, grace, eternal concern for caring for your body . The tsar did not differ
in his heroic build and was indifferent to athletic competitions, preferring
hunting, competitions of poets and musicians .

The features of a calculating politician
were combined in Alexander with a frenzied temperament (many researchers believe
that he inherited the former from his father, and the latter from his
mother). The tsar was, as a rule, gentle in his treatment of others, but at the
same time he felt an eternal need to be loved and was prone to sudden mood
swings . He strove to be the first in everything, which is why in every battle
he rushed into the thick of the fight . Plutarch lists his wounds:

Under Granicus, his helmet was cut
with a sword that penetrated to the hair … under Iss, a sword in the thigh
… near Gaza, he was wounded with a dart in the shoulder, near Maracanda,
with an arrow in the shin, so that the split bone protruded from the
wound; in Hyrcania – with a stone in the back of his head, after which his
vision deteriorated and for several days he remained under the threat of
blindness; in the area of ​​the Assakans – with an Indian spear in the ankle
… In the area of ​​the mulls, an arrow two elbows long, piercing the
shell, wounded him in the chest; in the same place … he was stabbed in the
neck with a club.

– Plutarch. About
the fate and valor of Alexander, II, 9.

This eternal craving for primacy
sometimes became the cause of conflicts between the king and his entourage. So,
Alexander ordered to whip the noble youth Hermolaus because he was the first to
hit the boar during the royal hunt, and he, in order to take revenge, led the
“conspiracy of pages.” During the eastern campaign all the more noticeable
(including due to the growing addiction to alcohol) became common unbridled
character of Alexander and his excessive authoritativeness ; some researchers
even write about paranoia .



Personal life of Alexander the Great

In his youth, Alexander, according to
Plutarch, “was indifferent to bodily pleasures” 
. The
hostile relationship between his parents led to the fact that the king did not
recognize female love for a long time . Before marriage, he had only one
mistress – Barsina , daughter of the Persian Artabaz . Later Alexander took
three wives – the Bactrian princess Roxana (327 BC), the daughter of Darius
III Statira and the daughter of Artaxerxes III Parysatis (324 BC). He had two
sons: Hercules from Barsina (327-309 BC) and Alexander IV from Roxana (323-309
BC).In general, the king had some respect for women …

The opinion
of Alexander ‘s bisexuality dates back to antiquity . In particular, the ancient
authors call the king’s lover his close friend Hephaestion . Alexander often
compared him to Patroclus , and himself to Achilles; however, in ancient Greece,
the two heroes of the Iliad, as a rule, were considered
a homosexual couple . During the Eastern campaign, the favorite of the king was
the young eunuch Bagoi , whom Alexander once even “threw back and kissed in full
view of the theater.” According to Athenaeus, the king “loved young men to
madness,” and this was not considered something reprehensible: the Macedonian
aristocrats often practiced relationships with men from their
youth … Relatives turned a blind eye to such relationships and usually showed
concern only if the man did not express interest in women in adulthood, which
created problems for procreation .

However, there is also other
evidence. Plutarch writes that when the military leader Philoxenus asked
Alexander if he wanted to buy two boys of “remarkable beauty,” the king “was
extremely indignant … and more than once complained to his friends, asking if
Philoxenus really thinks so badly of him that he offers him this an abomination.
” The same reception was met by Gagnon’s offer to bring Alexander the” famous
boy Krobilus in Corinth ” .



Religious views of Alexander the Great

Before the first successes in the fight
against the Persians, Alexander actively made sacrifices to the gods 
,
but gradually he ceased to treat the classical Hellenic religion with
reverence. So, he trampled on the ban on visiting the Delphic oracle , and
mourning the death of his friend Hephaestion, equated him with heroes, organized
his cult and laid two temples in his honor .

In Egypt, Alexander proclaimed himself the
son of Amun-Ra 
and thus declared
his divine essence; the Egyptian priests began to venerate him both as a son of
God and as a god . This is usually seen as a pragmatic political move aimed at
legitimizing control over Egypt . Among the Greeks, the king’s desire to deify
himself did not always find support – most Greek city-states recognized his
divine essence (as the son of Zeus , the Greek analogue of Amun-Ra) only shortly
before his death, including with obvious reluctance , like the Spartans (they
decided: “So as Alexander wants to be a god, let him be”) . In honor of the
king, they began to hold 
Alexandria –
All-Ionian Games like the Olympic Games, and shortly before his death, the
ambassadors of the Greek policies crowned him with golden wreaths, which
symbolically recognized his divine essence 
. The
desire for self-deification seriously shaken the trust in the king of many
soldiers and generals . In Greece, the victorious generals were sometimes given
similar honors, so only Alexander’s renunciation of his father and the demand to
recognize himself as an invincible god caused discontent .

A later author, Josephus Flavius, wrote
down the legend that Yahweh 
appeared
to Alexander in a dream , and therefore Alexander treated the Jewish high priest
in Jerusalem with great respect , and also allegedly read the Book of the
Prophet Daniel and recognized himself there .



Memory of alexander

The image of Alexander occupies a unique
place in world culture: according to researchers, no other historical figure has
become the object of such close attention from art and science figures, the hero
of so many and so diverse interpretations. On a vast territory that included all
of Europe, a significant part of Asia and Africa, for many rulers and military
leaders – from their own diadochi to Adolf Hitler  – Alexander was an example to
follow. Even now, the leaders of many Afghan tribes trace their ancestry to him,
and two states, Greece and North Macedonia , argue over which of them is the
true heir of Alexander .



Antiquity

The name of Alexander was very actively
used in political propaganda in the first years after the death of the king. So,
Perdiccas substantiated his right to regency by the fact that it was to him that
the dying king gave his ring. Fighting for the unity of the empire, Eumenes of
Cardia , in order to keep the army under control, announced to his subordinates
that Alexander had promised him in a dream to invisibly attend all meetings of
the military council . The satrap of Persia Peukestus dedicated an altar at
Persepolis to Alexander and his father. , and the satrap of Egypt, Ptolemy,
established in Alexandria a full-fledged cult of the deceased king, under whose
protection he placed his own person.Finally, the Olympics, starting in 317
BC. e. war against Arridaeus and Cassandra, who supported him, accused the
latter of organizing the poisoning of Alexander through his brother , and
Antigonus spread the same information .

Plutarch reports that all the first
Hellenistic kings tried to prove their resemblance to Alexander – “purple
vestments, retinue, head tilt and arrogant tone”; with weapons in hand, this
similarity was proved only by the cousin of the Macedonian king Pyrrhus . “They
talked a lot about him and believed that both by his appearance and by the speed
of his movements he resembled Alexander, and seeing his strength and onslaught
in battle, everyone thought that in front of them was the shadow of Alexander or
his likeness” … Seleucides Antiochus III was compared with the Macedonian
king , who also made a great eastern campaign and received the nickname 
Great for
this .The tsars of Macedonia Philip V substantiated their political claims by
alleged kinship with Alexanderand Perseus , as well as Pseudo-Alexander , who
raised an anti-Roman uprising in 142 BC. e. King Pontus Mithridates VI
Evpator minted coins on which his portrait was clearly stylized as images of
Alexander, and kept the dress of the Macedonian king .

The first written sources containing
information about Alexander were “Ephemeris” (records of the court journal) and
“Hypomnemata” (notes of the king himself with plans for campaigns). Ancient
authors often quoted Alexander correspondence with friends, relatives and
officials, but most of these letters is a later forgery . Many intellectuals
participated in the Eastern campaign, and some of them subsequently published
memoirs of their great contemporary. Thus, Khares Mitylensky wrote The History
of Alexander in 10 books; it described primarily the personal life of the title
character and was not a chronologically correct story, but a collection of
anecdotes .The works were similar in the selection and design of the
material Medea , Poliklita of Larissa and . The Cynic philosopher Onesikrit from
Astypalea , who traveled with Alexander’s headquarters to India itself,
described this campaign in detail, paying special attention to India – the local
flora, fauna, and customs of the inhabitants. Despite the abundance of fables
and invented stories, in ancient times, the information on Onesikrit served as
one of the most important sources in the description of India by
geographers . Nearchus , who commanded the fleet on his return from India , also
left memories of the war .

The tsar had a staff historiographer,
Callisthenes, whose “Acts of Alexander” was conceived as an excuse for the tsar
in front of a Greek audience and, accordingly, were frankly apologetic in
nature. Already in ancient times, Callisthenes was criticized for bias and
distortion of facts . Since the historian died in 327 BC. BC, “Acts” remained
unfinished: the last of the detailed records describe the Battle of
Gaugamela … Many years after the death of the king, his memoirs were
systematized by Ptolemy, who by this time had become the ruler of Egypt. This
author largely created the image of Alexander as a genius commander.It is
assumed that, being an experienced military leader, Ptolemy gave in his essay
many precise details related to military operations. The engineer Aristobulus,
who was in his army, did not immediately write the history of Alexander’s
campaigns, who paid much attention to the geographical and ethnographic
description of the conquered lands. He began work at the age of 84, but
nevertheless accurately recorded all distances, sums of money, as well as days
and months of events . The writings of Aristobulus and Ptolemy provided the
richest factual material for the historians of subsequent eras , but have not
survived to our times, like other texts about Alexander written by his
contemporaries. Small fragments became an exception .

The composition of Klitarch  , a younger
contemporary of the tsar, who probably did not participate in the eastern
campaign, but tried to put together the data obtained from eyewitnesses and from
works published by that time 
almost
completely lost . His work “About Alexander” consisted of at least 12 books and
was close in style to a heroic novel. In ancient times he was very popular,
although he was criticized by other historians .

All these authors positively assessed the
activities and personality of the Macedonian king. The first critics
were Peripatetics  – followers of Aristotle, whose nephew Callisthenes became a
victim of Alexander. Beginning with Theophrastus , who wrote the book
Callisthenes, or On Sorrow, representatives of this trend created the image of a
monarch who received an exemplary Hellenic education under the tutelage of a
great philosopher, but as a result of his own military successes, which he owed
solely to luck, turned into an Eastern despot … Associated with this are
reports of later sources that the founder of this philosophical school,
Aristotle, was involved in the poisoning of his pupil. Cinemaswelcomed the
cosmopolitanism of Alexander, seeing in him in his last years a philosopher on
the throne, noting (like the Stoics ) his high aspirations, courage and
generosity. The rhetoricians of the Hellenistic era were actively debating
whether Alexander owed his successes to his own “virtues” or still to luck .

The Romans were also very interested in
the personality of Alexander. Since, unlike the Greeks, they were not defeated
by this king, nothing prevented them from admiring the scale of his deeds. In
one of Plautus’s comedies, Alexander was first called the 
Great (two
centuries earlier than in Greek sources), and this nickname is later found
in Cornelius Nepot and Mark Tullius Cicero 
. Alexander
was imitated by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus ; the annalist Gaius Acilius
Glabrion wrote about 140 BC. BC that Hannibalduring his only meeting with
Scipio, he called the Macedonian king the greatest of all generals (while
Hannibal, according to him, would have surpassed Alexander if he had won a
victory at Zama ). Portraits of Gnaeus Pompey , who also won victories when he
was very young, and received the nickname “Great” for this, were clearly
stylized after the images of the Macedonian king, and under the influence of
this fact, Plutarch later wrote that Pompey looked like Alexander . During the
third triumph in Pompey, there was the clothing of Alexander, previously kept in
the treasury of Mithridates .

Gaius Julius Caesar saw
the Macedonian king as an example to follow; this is evidenced by a famous
episode in Plutarch :

… Reading at his leisure something
from the written about the deeds of Alexander, Caesar plunged into thought
for a long time, and then even shed a tear. When surprised friends asked him
about the reason, he replied: “Do you really think that the reason for
sadness is insufficient that at my age Alexander had already ruled so many
nations, and I still have not done anything wonderful!”

– Plutarch. Alexander,
11.

In addition, ancient authors write about
how Caesar reproached himself for inaction when he saw the statue of Alexander
in Hades (according to Suetonius , this even pushed Gaius Julius to speed up his
political career 
); about Gaius
Julius’ visit to the tomb of the king in Alexandria ; that Caesar showed concern
for the inhabitants of Ilion , imitating Alexander, and in general was an ardent
admirer of this monarch . Having won the civil war, he ordered the equestrian
statue of Alexander by Lysippos to be erected at the Julian Forum in
Rome. Caesar’s campaign against the Parthians, which did not take place due to
the success of the conspirators, was conceived in imitation of Alexander’s
campaign. Later Mark Antony actively used the image of the Macedonian king to
legitimize his power over the East; he named one of his sons Alexander .

In the literature of the Principate era,
the personality of Alexander received conflicting assessments; negative
judgments about him were largely associated with the influence of
peripatetics . Titus Livy calls the “immense greatness” of the Macedonian king
“the greatness of only one person who has had good luck for a little over ten
years,” and recalls “terrible executions, the murder of friends at feasts,” “a
vain lie about his origin ” . This historian found it necessary to devote three
chapters of his work to the argument that the Romans would surely defeat
Alexander if he attacked them . For Valery Maxim, Alexander was as great in
military affairs asSocrates in philosophy. Supporters of the Republic used the
image of the Macedonian king to criticize autocracy as such. In
particular, Lucius Annei Seneca wrote about the cruelty and irrepressible
ambition of Alexander, called his campaigns predatory, and all his activities
were a source of troubles for many nations. For Seneca, the king of Macedonia
was an unhappy man who was driven by his own passions to unknown
lands ; Alexander did not understand “how small the land is, of which he
captured an insignificant part” . Comparison of this king with a pirate, and his
empire with a gang of robbers, passed later from the works of Seneca to the
works of Lactantius andBlessed Augustine . Lucius Anneas’ nephew Marcus Anneas
Lucan in the poem “Farsalia” he called Alexander a madman, “an evil star for the
nations”, a “happy predator” whom death carried away in his prime of strength in
order to avenge a world drenched in blood .

In the following centuries, there were
regular bursts of interest in the personality of Alexander, associated with
individual Roman emperors. If the Julia-Claudia were little interested in this
topic, then for Trajan Alexander became not even an example to follow, but a
competitor who could and should have been surpassed. In his Parthian campaign,
Trajan wanted to reach India; he used the experience of Alexander, forging
relationships with subordinate communities and founding new cities. It is known
that in Babylon in 116, the emperor visited the chambers in which Alexander
died. Trajan’s activities gave impetus to a kind of renaissance of the
Alexandrian theme in the antique literature of the 2nd century ADBC: the
biography of the king was written by Plutarch, a work called ” Anabasis of
Alexander ” – Arrian .

At Caracalla (ruled
211-217), admiration for Alexander grew into a kind of mania. This emperor, in a
letter to the Senate, said that in him Alexander was reborn for a new life; he
created an army according to the Macedonian model in order to repeat the eastern
campaign with it; he wanted to burn the works of the followers of Aristotle,
because he believed that this philosopher was involved in the poisoning of the
king. Caracalla called himself “New Dionysus” and “Great”. One of the soldier
emperors Jotapian (249) claimed to be descended from Alexander . Finally, Julian
the Apostate, who revived the idea of ​​the Persian campaign, admired the
Macedonian king and took an example from him in certain situations .

Five ancient texts have survived,
describing the biography of Alexander. The earliest of these is the Historical
Library of Diodorus of Siculus (1st century BC), who relied on
Cleitarchus . Diodorus writes about “intelligence and courage”, thanks to which
Alexander “accomplished deeds greater than those that were done by all the
kings, the memory of which has been passed on to us by history,” and “acquired a
resounding fame that equated him with ancient heroes and demigods ” . Quintus
Curtius Rufus in the 1st century AD e. wrote “The History of Alexander the Great
the Great”, where he used the works of Klitarch and Megasthenes, as well as the
memoirs of a number of the king’s associates.His goal was to create an
entertaining story, and for this he regularly resorted to exaggeration and
neglect of reliability. … Alexandra Quintus Curtius calls “Great” and
describes him as a man of magnanimity and courage; but at the same time, the
historian notes the cruelty, vindictiveness and hypertrophied ambition of his
hero. In some cases, he sympathizes with the enemies of Alexander .

The epitome ofPompey Trog’s “Philip’s
history” , created by Justin , has also survived . Pompey Trogus relied on the
same Klitarchus, but presented events without strict chronological sequence. In
his portrayal, Alexander turns out to be a sharply negative character  –
insidious, arrogant, causing universal fear and hatred, who imposed on many
countries the “yoke of slavery” . At the same time, Trog notes that “there was
not a single enemy that Alexander would not have defeated, there was not a
single city that he would not take, not a single people that he would not
conquer” …Plutarch included a biography of Alexander in his Comparative
Biographies, pairing it with the biography of Guy Julius Caesar (by then
comparing the two generals was a hackneyed topic ). Plutarch was most interested
not in large-scale historical events, but in the personality of the tsar,
revealed in small details ; he recognizes Alexander as a great warrior, writes
about his generosity, temperance, benevolence .

The researchers recognize the most
reliable source as “Anabasis of Alexander”, written by Arrian in the 2nd century
AD. e. For this historian, the Roman Empire was the political ideal, and
Alexander the predecessor of the Roman emperors. Arrian used a wide range of
sources (primarily the memoirs of Ptolemy) and tried to approach them
critically, but at the same time he was often biased: many facts that showed his
hero in a bad light, he lowered or relegated to the background. Together with
Plutarch, Arrian is considered to be one of the main creators of the classic
image of Alexander – a brave and magnanimous conqueror, an object of admiration
and imitation .

The formation of a cycle of fantastic
legends associated with Alexander dates back to the ancient era, although
individual legends began to appear during his lifetime 
. Together,
they created a tradition of truthful and fictitious information about Alexander,
which in historiography is known as the “vulgate” . At some point, “The Novel of
Alexander ” was created in Greek. The time of the formation of its final version
is unclear – it could have been the period from the reign of Ptolemy II (3rd
century BC) to the beginning of the 3rd century AD. e.The “novel” is of a
fantastic character, and it was written based on materials from historical
writings, memoirs and semi-legendary legends, and there were even more sources
than in five surviving historical works about Alexander . The author of “Roman”
is unknown; in one of the manuscripts Callisthenes is called as such, but since
this cannot be true, sometimes scientists speak of 
Pseudo-Callisthenes . There
is an opinion that the first versions of the text before its final processing
appeared in the East, where there was an urgent need to justify the Macedonian
conquests . The facts in the novel are often distorted, the chronology is
broken . In the classical form, the novel consisted of 10 parts, although in
earlier versions, perhaps, there were practically no topics concerning Greece .



Medieval West

Evgeny
Kostyukhin on the medieval perception of Alexander.

In the early Western European
Middle Ages, history is rethought and acquires a new pattern, the past
is closely related to the present and similar to it. So, Priam is called
the first king of the Franks, Alexander the Great – Greek, and Caesar –
Roman Charlemagne , they walk around the world with twelve peers and
destroy the Saracens .

During the thousand years between
antiquity and modern times, information about Alexander was mostly drawn not
from the works of ancient historians: Quintus Curtius Rufus began to be read
only in the XII century, and Arrian and the corresponding part of Plutarch’s
Comparative Biographies – in the Renaissance. The main source of information
about the king of Macedonia was “The Novel of Alexander” in various variations,
one of the most popular books of its era. This novel and the various works
created on its basis were filled with fantastic stories about how the title
character travels the world, descends to the bottom of the sea, flies through
the sky, meets with sages and listens to their stories.The tradition associated
with the “Roman” is divided into four branches: Western (based on a number of
Latin translations of the book), Byzantine , Eastern Christian (talking
about Armenia , Syria , Coptic culture ), Muslim. In the era of the Late Middle
Ages, legends about Alexander appeared among the Eastern Slavs, Ethiopians,
Mongols, and the peoples of Indochina .

In Catholic Europe, beginning in the 12th
century, The Novel of Alexander served as a source of material for a number of
knightly novels. As a result, this plot became one of the two most popular in
the literature of the time – along with the tales of King Arthur . Around
1140, Alberic of Besançon wrote a novel in Old French, and Lamprecht the
German created a reworking of this novel in German (“Song of Alexander”). A
number of fantastic innovations in the legend appeared in these works: the main
character is dressed in armor, tempered in dragon’s blood; his army reaches the
place where the sky touches the ground;along the way he encounters people with
six arms and flies the size of a dove; finally, Alexander tries to impose
tribute on the angels in paradise .

At the end of the 12th century, Walter
Chatillonsky wrote the poem “Alexandreis” in Latin (one of the sources for it
was the work of Quintus Curtius Rufus). Alexander Parissky created the most
voluminous (16 thousand verses) and one of the most popular poems about the king
of Macedonia, which had a huge impact on poetry in folk languages ​​in different
countries of Western Europe 
. Poems
about Alexander began to appear in England , Germany , Spain , Czech
Republic … In the 13th century, prose novels and further processing of the
text, which were very popular, appeared on their basis.In the later editions of
the Novel about Alexander, the idealized image of the tsar as a courageous but
humane commander was finally formed . For a long time this character was an
example of a ruler for European culture and was included, in particular, in the
list of nine worthy ones (other righteous pagans were Hector and Guy Julius
Caesar). In different versions of the novel, there are allusions to events
relevant to their time: for example, in the Czech poetic “Alexandreis” of the
early 14th century, there are many references to Czech reality, to the dominance
of Germans and German culture in Prague .



Along with the novels about Alexander,
there were other works that supplemented the legend about him with new fictional
details. Thus, in the XIII century, created , which is based on the popular
legend about Aristotle and Phyllis, Alexander’s mistress .

The mention of the Macedonian king in
the Bible 
played a special role in
the development of the tradition of Alexander in Catholic Europe . In the First
Book of Maccabees, Alexander is presented as a moderately hostile conqueror to
the Jews, one of whose successors was Antiochus IV Epiphanes , the persecutor of
Judaism . And in the Book of the prophet Daniel , which the king allegedly
read , he is not named directly, but is considered as part of the divine plan to
save the Jewish people. In this book Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar about the
forthcoming alternation of the four kingdoms (Dan. 39-40);Christian writers
starting with Hippolytus of Rome (II century), saw in the third of them,
“copper, which will rule over all the earth”, the power of Alexander . The
fourth kingdom, “iron”, they considered the Roman Empire, after the collapse of
which the Kingdom of God was to be established. Thus, Alexander’s activity was
built into the Christian model of world history .

The first historians to use this model
criticized Alexander. Thus, Orosius writes that the Macedonian conquests became
a disaster for the whole world , reports about “a multitude of atrocities” and
the inability of the king to get enough of human blood . Later, under the
influence of “The Novel of Alexander”, the assessments become more positive: the
tsar turns into a knight without fear or reproach, an exemplary ruler and an
inquisitive researcher. World chronicles, including the story of Alexander, are
overgrown with implausible details. Thus, Otto of Freisingen (XII century), the
Macedonian king rules all lands to the end of the world, and the “Imperial
Chronicle” (also of the XII century) says that the Saxons fought on the side of
Alexander .



Eastern Christian cultures

In parallel, the story about Alexander
developed in the Eastern Christian world. In Byzantium, this development took
place on the basis of a number of Greek versions of the Roman (the latest
appeared in the 15th century); new pictorial details appeared thanks to the
dictionary of the Court , the chronicles of John Zonara and George the
Monk . Byzantium became the source of a corresponding tradition for Eastern
Europe: pagan peoples, receiving baptism according to the Eastern rite, received
an inoculation of Greek culture, so that the legends about Alexander began a new
life in new languages. The first was Bulgaria (X-XI centuries), and in the XII
or even XI centuryfirst translations of texts about Alexander appeared in Kievan
Rus … The “Serbian Alexandria” belongs to the XIV century, which played a
great role in the literature of the whole Eastern Europe . It was created
presumably in Dalmatia on the basis of one of the late Byzantine editions of the
“Roman about Alexander” with the addition of Western European motifs and was
quite a typical knightly novel ; references to ancient texts were reduced, but
the Christian component was strengthened .At the end of the 15th century, the
text of “Serbian Alexandria” was included in the Russian collection of
Euphrosynus, and in the 17th century, after temporary oblivion, it was widely
circulated in the Russian kingdom .

The novel ended up in the Grand Duchy of
Lithuania in the form of translations of Western European editions from Latin
into Old Belarusian language and immediately became one of the most popular
secular works. Later, in addition to these translations, copies of Serbian
Alexandria distributed , and then compilations appeared, in which the two
traditions were combined . Due to the popularity of the novel, some plots from
it ended up in Belarusian folk tales .

The novel about Alexander was very early
translated into Armenian (in the 5th century). Later it was translated
into Middle Persian , and at the beginning of the 7th century from this language
into Syrian. The hero of the Syrian edition of “Roman” is a stern ruler on a
great mission to create a world power; in particular, through Central Asia, he
makes a trip to China. From the Syrian language “Roman” was translated into
Coptic and Arabic, and from the latter in the 15th-16th centuries – into the
Ethiopian language (researchers note that the Ethiopian edition is more like not
a translation, but an independent work ). The Arabic version formed the basis of
the Muslim tradition about Alexander .



Muslim tradition


Ferdowsi . Shahnameh 
. Per. VVDerzhavin.

And Ardashir opened his mouth
before them:

“Hey, glorious in their knowledge,
Who have grasped the

essence of everything
in their hearts!

I know that there is not one among
you,

Who would not have heard how Iskandar ,
a stranger, of a low birth , subjected

Us to hardships ! He cast the
glory of the ancient into darkness, The whole world is clamped in a
violent fist. <…> Remember Iskandar, who destroyed the Most Glorious,
destroyed the color of the universe. Where are
they all
 ? Where is their majestic shine? Only a bad name
remained about them. Not in blooming heaven – in a chilling hell They
went. Haftwad is not eternal! “

 

 

The concept of Alexander in Muslim culture
is based largely on the 18th chapter of the Koran , which
mentions Dhu’l-Qarnain 
. This is a
righteous man and a great king who professed faith in one God and fought with
the pagans; in particular, he built a wall that protected the civilized world
from the Yajuj and Majuj tribes . This king was often identified with Alexander,
who thus began to look like an adherent and protector of Islam, close in status
to the prophet .

The Persians after the Arab conquest had
a rather complex attitude towards the personality of Alexander. In
the Zoroastrian “Book of the Righteous Viraz,” the Macedonian king is presented
as a messenger of the ruler of evil Angra Mainyu (see the sidebar on the
right); on the other hand, court historiographers portrayed Alexander as a
descendant of the Achaemenids in order to substantiate the theory of hereditary
succession to the Persian throne , and this tradition, more positive in relation
to the king, gradually merged with the Muslim one. The poet Ferdowsi in the
classical Persian epic Shahnameh(about 1000) included Alexander among the rulers
of Iran, described his philosophical conversation with the sages in a neutral
manner, but through the mouth of King Ardashir voiced a negative assessment of
the conqueror; however, the king changes under the influence of conversations
with priests, brahmanas, philosophers and thanks to his acquaintance with the
“flourishing city” . A separate poem ” Iskender-name ” in the cycle ” Khamsa “
was dedicated to Alexander Nizami Ganjavi (end of the 12th century), depicting
the king as an ideal Persian ruler who defeated Zoroastrianism and paved the way
for the true faith …The work is built on principles close to the European
knightly novel, but Nizami consistently pursues his own philosophical line, and
Alexander conducts scholarly conversations with Greek and Indian sages. In
addition, the poem contains a utopian element: while traveling to the north,
Alexander finds a land where there is an ideal society without supreme power,
poverty and vices .

Various legends about Alexander were in
circulation throughout the Muslim world. One of the most popular stories was the
legend of Alexander’s two horns, which he carefully concealed from everyone; one
barber told this secret to the reed from which the pipe was made, and as a
result the whole world learned about the horns. The appearance of this plot was
often associated with the Greek myth of Midas , but in the middle of the 20th
century it was suggested that the legend originated in the East. … In Syrian
literature, there were several tales about Alexander, who is presented as a
rural hero-hero who, by strength and courage, got the best horse, the best sword
and the most beautiful girl.The widespread nickname “Two-Horned” there is
explained by the fact that Alexander “attached two swords to his head like horns
and struck enemies with them” . In Georgian and Tajik folklore, the name of
Alexander is associated with the abolition of the ancient custom
of gerontocide (the killing of old people who have reached a certain age) . In
Azerbaijani folklore, Alexander sets fire to the sea so that the king of the sea
would pay him tribute – miraculous gifts .

In Turkish literature, the court
poet Ahmedi was the 
first to use
the story about Alexander in his Iskander-name (1400). His poem was both an
imitation of the poem of the same name by Nizami , and a response to it . In
general, the fantastic and adventurous element of Ahmed is much stronger than
that of Nizami and Ferdowsi; moreover, the author was influenced by Sufism,
which was reflected in the content of the poem. There was also a more accessible
prose version of “Iskander-name” in terms of language and content, created by
Khamzavi, brother of Ahmed .

The Central Asian Turkic poet Alisher
Navoi (15th century) in his work “Iskander’s Wall” described his ideal of state
structure against the background of fantastic stories about the life of
Alexander (the search for living water, the construction of a wall to protect
against barbarians, etc.) .



New time

During the Renaissance, the perception of
Alexander within the framework of European culture changed
significantly. Various versions of the “Novel of Alexander” remained very
popular among the people, but at the same time the first editions of Arrian and
Plutarch appeared after a thousand-year hiatus. As a result, the ideas of the
most educated part of society about the Macedonian king turned out to be much
closer to historical facts than before, and it became possible for the emergence
of scientific literature on this topic. The biography of Alexander provided
material for a number of plays of the 16th-17th centuries, in which the
relationship between the main character and various women from his environment
became the plot basis.The king in these plays is portrayed as a gallant lover, a
knight without fear or reproach, who, as a rule, out of generosity sacrifices
his feelings for the happiness of others .

One of the first playwrights who turned to
this story material was Hans Sachs : in a 7-act tragedy, he described the Tsar’s
entire life (1558) 
. The
representative of the English “Elizabethan age” John Lily wrote the tragedy
“Campaspa” in 1584 based on the story told by Pliny the Elder (in this play
Alexander fell in love with the Theban woman Campaspa, but upon learning of the
artist Apelles ‘ s love for her , he made the couple happy). In France in the
17th century were written and staged the tragedies “Death of Alexander”
by Alexander Hardy , “Alexander the Great” by Jean Racine .The success of
Racine’s play (1665) was fueled by a benevolent attitude Louis XIV : the king,
having watched the performance, found in the theatrical Alexander a lot of
similarities with himself . The twelve-volume gallant-heroic novel Cassandra
(1642-1645) by Gauthier de Calpreneda (1642-1645) , which tells about the
rivalry between the two wives of the king, Roxana and Statira, gained great
popularity ; the same storyline formed the basis of the play “The Rival Queens,
or The Death of Alexander the Great” (1677), written by one of the foremost
playwrights of the English Restoration, Nathaniel Lee . In Spain,Lope de
Vega (1604-1608) and Calderon (1657) wrote about Alexander .

With the strengthening of absolutism in
Europe and the spread of historical knowledge, the close monarchs are
increasingly compared them with the great rulers of antiquity. Thus, the court
poets and painters of Louis XIV often depicted him in the image of
Alexander . Peter I is credited with the phrase uttered during the Northern
War : “My brother Karl imagines himself to be Alexander, but he will not find
Darius in me.” Voltaire in 1765 compared Catherine II with the queen of
the Amazons, hinting at the legendary meeting of Alexander with this queen, and
“Catherine, according to Voltaire’s logic, is so great that the roles must
change – Alexander the Great himself would have to seek Catherine’s attention” .

With all this, in the literature of the
18th century, less often than before, ancient material was used in general and
the image of the Macedonian king in particular; now Alexander regularly became
only a hero of operas. Among the librettists who paid attention to him
was Pietro Metastasio (1729), and among the composers – Georg Handel (opera Por,
1731). The figures of the Enlightenment critically examined the personality and
work of Alexander. Charles de Montesquieu first drew attention to the economic
aspects of the Macedonian conquests; Voltaire, who recognized Alexander’s
greatness as a commander and statesman, noted his serious shortcomings.Guillaume
de Saint-Croix characterizes the Macedonian king as a bloodthirsty tyrant and
questioned the very possibility of setting him up as an example to European
monarchs . As a positive literary character, Alexander rarely appeared at that
time; one such case is Friedrich Hölderin ‘s poem Alexander ‘ s speech to the
soldiers at Issus (1785), which became an emotional protest against tyranny .

In the 19th century, Alexander became the
hero of a few poetic and prose works, and all of them are of interest only to
literary historians .



In historiography

Attempts to investigate the activities of
Alexander have been made since the Renaissance, when the main body of ancient
texts was put into circulation. Systematic study began only in the 19th century
with the emergence of historical scientific schools; many scholars used the
personality of Alexander in the framework of solving political problems that
were relevant for their era. Outstanding scholars of antiquity Barthold
Niebuhr , Ernst Curtius , George Groth treated Alexander sharply
negatively . Georg Hegel adhered to other views , who ranked Alexander as one of
his “worldly acting individuals” . Hegel’s follower Johann Droysen broke the
trend in historiography, who in his “History of Hellenism” (the first volume
dedicated to Alexander, was published in 1833) drew parallels between ancient
Macedonia, which united Greece, and the Prussian kingdom, a potential unifier of
Germany . Droysen challenged the opinion prevailing since the Renaissance that
the era of Alexander was the boundary between the heyday of the ancient world
and its decline and degeneration. For this scientist, the conquest of Persia
marked the beginning of the synthesis of Eastern and Western cultures, which, in
turn, created the basis for the emergence of Christianity. Alexander, “a young
hero who creates a new world,” is opposed by Droysen to Demosthenes with his
“narrow patriotic hatred” .

Later, Alexander was often idealized,
speaking from the standpoint of extreme Eurocentrism. Thus, the author of the
History of Greek Culture, Jacob Burckhardt, saw the king as the bearer of the
great mission to spread Greek civilization among the barbarians of the
East ; for Alexander’s conquests are assessed in line with the concept of
“beneficent imperialism” and are presented as an undoubtedly progressive
phenomenon . John Magaffy , and others adhered to similar positions . For Arnold
Toynbee, Alexander was a genius who single-handedly created the Hellenistic
world. … AlexanderMikhail Rostovtsev and some other representatives of
Anglo-American historiography considered Alexander to be the herald of the
“brotherhood of peoples” . Similar views persisted later: in particular, in the
entire Greek historiography of the 20th century, Alexander, as a rule, was
presented as a bearer of high culture and the leader of Western civilization in
its eternal struggle with the East . The art of war Alexander devoted a separate
work of a US military historian , seeking to learn from the campaigns of
Alexander lessons for the present .

Particularly much attention was paid to
Alexander by German scholars who made the greatest contribution to the
apologetic tradition 
. In the
1920s and 1940s, many German researchers approached this problem from a Nazi
perspective; among them are Helmut Berve (he wrote in 1926 his fundamental work
“The Empire of Alexander on a Prosopographic Basis”) and Fritz
Schachermeir … Both of these scholars have moved away from their previous
positions after the Second World War. Schahermeir created a scientific trilogy
in which he critically examined the activities of Alexander;for him, the tsar is
a cruel and fanatical man, often succumbing to his passion for destruction,
breaking the tendency towards rapprochement between Macedonia and Greece, which
was outlined thanks to Philip II. According to Schahermayr, Alexander and his
father belonged to different types of historical figures – “unbridled” and
“rational”, respectively .

In the second half of the 20th century,
other major studies appeared that critically evaluated the activities of
Alexander. British historians Robert David Milnes and Peter Green portrayed him
as a politician driven by only cold calculation . Pierre
Briand ‘s monograph focuses on the opposition to Alexander . Among the case
studies, a two-volume work by Alfred Bellinger on Macedonian coinage with an
insight into Alexander’s economic policy stands out .

In Soviet historiography, Alexander the
Great was primarily studied by Sergei Kovalev (published a monograph about him
in 1937) , Arkady Shofman (published the two-volume History of Ancient Macedonia
in 1960-1963, a separate work, The Eastern Policy of Alexander the Great in 1976
and articles) and Gennady Koshelenko (“The Greek policy in the Hellenistic East”
in 1979, a number of articles) .



In the culture and politics of the XX-XXI
centuries

In the 20th century, the personality of
Alexander again found itself in demand in fiction 
. In
1905, Jacob Wasserman’s novel Alexander in Babylon published . After the First
World War, many writers actively criticized the very idea of ​​conquest, and
this was most clearly manifested in the work of Berthold Brecht . In the 1920s
and 1930s, in several poems, he criticized Alexander’s striving for world
domination and drew attention to the fact that the merits of the entire army are
attributed to one person; in the radio play “The Interrogation of Lucullus “
(1940-1941), Brecht defends the opinion that Alexander’s fame in heaven means
nothing .

Klaus Mann used
the image of Alexander to draw artistic parallels with anti-fascism (“Alexander.
Novel-Utopia”, 1929). On the other hand, the leadership of the Third Reich
appealed to this image when implementing their plans of conquest in the East
during World War II (this was not prevented by the fact that Adolf Hitler was
rather critical of Alexander, seeing an example to follow in Pericles ). In Nazi
Germany, a number of major works of art about Alexander were written, the
authors of which were Zdenko von Kraft, Paul Gurk, Hans Baumann. Accordingly,
after 1945, the attitude towards the Macedonian king became more critical .

In the 1930s, the Soviet writer Vasily
Yan created the story ” Lights on the Mounds 
“,
dedicated to Alexander’s wars in Central Asia. In a spirit characteristic of his
time, he described the class and national liberation struggle of the population
of Sogdiana; Alexander in this story is depicted as a complex personality . The
English writer Aubrey Menen used the image of the king for a humorous
juxtaposition of the Macedonian empire and British rule in India . Since the
second half of the 20th century, Alexandra has often been seen as a harbinger of
globalization and anti-colonialism. In the fictionalized biography of the king
“Alexander the Great, or a novel about God” byMaurice Druon there are elements
of psychoanalysis and mysticism, thanks to which she stands out among other
popular biographies of the commander. The historian Arnold Toynbee described
the hypothetical future of the Macedonian Empire if Alexander had lived 36 years
longer .

Alexander acts in Lev Oshanin ‘s poem “Water
of Immortality”, in the novels of Ivan Efremov ( “Thais of Athens” ), David
Gemmel (“The Macedonian Legion”, “The Dark Prince” – 1990-1991), Yavdat
Ilyasov (“Sogdiana”), in trilogies by Valerio Massimo Manfredi (“Alexander the
Great. Son of a Dream”, “Alexander the Great. The Sands of Amun”, “Alexander the
Great. The Limits of the World”), in the stories of Lyubov Voronkova (“Son of
Zeus” and “Through the Centuries”).The image of the Macedonian king began to be
used by writers working in the genre of fantasy and gay novel ( 
Gay
Novel
). In the latter
case, Mary Renaud’s books became style-forming – “Divine Flame”, “Persian Boy”,
“Funeral Games” .

The theme of homosexuality also occupies
an important place in the feature film Alexander (USA, 2004) , directed
by Oliver Stone and starring Colin Farrell 
. This
film is not “biographical” in the full sense of the word: the scriptwriters
missed many important moments in the biography of the title character, which
makes many of Alexander’s actions seem irrational to the audience. Overall, the
film reproduces the heroic myth of the king of Macedonia with a particular focus
on conquest. The emphasis on the king’s Oedipus complex and his fear of women
was probably intended to bring Alexander closer to the modern viewer through
well-known Freudian motifs. …Several films have also been made about
Alexander. These are the 1956 Hollywood peplum Alexander the Great (USA, 1956) ,
a 1968 television film shot in the United States and ranked 34th among the 50
worst films in the TV Guide rating , Theodoros
Angelopoulos ‘ phantasmagoria about the events of the 20th century ( 1980).

In the modern world, two states claim the
status of a kind of heirs to the Macedonian kingdom: the Slavic-speaking North
Macedonia and Greece, which includes the territorial core of Ancient Macedonia 
with
its capitals and the birthplace of Alexander, Pella. The first of them,
immediately after its inception in 1991, began to create the cult of Tsar
Alexander; this manifested itself in the naming of streets in cities and the
creation of a number of monuments. In December 2006, the airport in Skopje ( 
Aerodrom
Skopje “Aleksandar Veliki”
 ) received
the name of the king, in 2011 a 12-meter equestrian statue appeared in the
center of this city, implying Alexander, but since this violates interim
international agreements, the statue was named ” Warrior on horseback “… The
Greeks consider such actions of their northern neighbors a provocation,
insisting that ancient Macedonia is part of the Greek cultural tradition . At
the beginning of 2018 the Government of the Republic of Macedonia for the first
time went back down: within the framework of the settlement of the dispute on
the name of the new state , it agreed to rename the airport and named in honor
of Alexander the highway .



In the visual arts



Antiquity

Many images of Alexander belong to the
ancient era. Some were created during the life of the king, but researchers are
skeptical about the possibility of judging from them how Alexander looked: not
in all cases the identification looks indisputable. In addition, the artists
probably resorted to idealization, depicting not individual features, but rather
typical, in their opinion, for great rulers .

Sources report three artists being
granted the exclusive right to portray Alexander. They are the painter Apelles ,
the sculptor Lysippos and the stone carver Pyrgothel. … Lysippos, according to
Plutarch and Arrian, sculpted a number of statues of the king; one of them was
delivered around 334 BC. e. in the Macedonian city of Dion, another, part of a
sculptural group depicting the hunting of Alexander and Crater for lions, about
321 BC. e. in Delphi. Several marble busts of the king have survived, which,
apparently, are Roman copies from Greek originals (in particular, the so-called
“Herma from Azara”).Alexander is also depicted on a sarcophagus made around 325
BC. e. in Sidon and associated, apparently, with the name of the local king
Abdalonim; on one side of the sarcophagus, the royal hunt is captured, on the
other – a battle (it is unclear whether any specific battle was meant) .

Of all the works of antique painting
devoted to this topic, two have survived. One of them, created around 330
BC. e., – the image of the royal tomb hunt in the city of Vergina . The second
is the famous ” Alexandrova Mosaic ” found in Pompeii . She captured the battle
between the Macedonians and the Persians; on it, Alexander, riding a horse,
without a helmet, strikes one of the enemies with a spear, and his gaze is fixed
on Darius, who is ready to take flight .



Middle ages

For medieval artists, the most
interesting were the plots not from the historical, but from the legendary
biography of the tsar, developed in the “Novel about Alexander”; the main
character was always portrayed as a contemporary of the author. Among the most
popular subjects was the flight of Alexander with two vultures, which became the
theme of reliefs in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice (late 11th century), in
the Romanesque churches of Basel and Freiburg (12th century). This same episode,
coupled with the story of how Alexander descended to the seabed, and several
historical subjects, became the theme for two tapestries woven at the Burgundian
court around 1460 .

Of great importance for the theme of
Alexander in art (especially north of the Alps) was the tradition of ” nine
worthy 
“. The sculptures of these
characters, including Alexander, appeared in the Cologne City Hall in the , at
the very end of the 14th century – on the market square of Nuremberg . In 1457
this theme was used in the murals on the walls of the weaving guild building
in Augsburg . Around the same time, a richly illustrated codex was created with
a translation of Quintus Curtius Rufus into French, which was intended for the
Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good .



Modern and contemporary times

Since the 15th century, interest in the
historical Alexander has been growing in European society. At the same time, it
was not known what the Macedonian king looked like (mosaics, reliefs from Sidon
and busts were found much later), so a variety of statues and reliefs were
mistaken for his image. In the performance of artists of the early modern era,
Alexander looked devoid of individual features. So, in the painting by Albrecht
Altdorfer “The Battle of Alexander” (1529), the face of the protagonist is not
visible at all: you can only distinguish the figure of a horseman with a spear
chasing Darius’s chariot .

The 16th-17th centuries were
characterized by the creation of large pictorial cycles about the main stages of
Alexander’s biography. The most characteristic was the cycle of Charles Lebrun ,
created in the 1660s-1670s by order of Louis XIV. In a number of cases, the
painter was required to illustrate certain parallels in the fates of Alexander
and the customer. Thus, Pope Paul III, before his election, bore the name 
Alessandro ,
and as the head of the church he wanted to create an anti-Turkish
coalition; accordingly, in the 1540s, Perino del Vaga decorated the Castel
Sant’Angelo for him withwall paintings depicting the victories of the Macedonian
king over the Persians (the latter were supposed to symbolize the Ottomans) . On
the Villa Farnezina on the occasion of the marriage of its owner, Agostino
Chigi, the artist of Sodom decorated the bedroom with a fresco with a scene of
the wedding of Alexander and Roxana (1510s). Francesco Primaticcio, commissioned
by Francis I, depicted Alexander with his lovers (Roxanne, Timoclea, Phalestrida
and Campaspa) on the walls of the chambers of the royal mistress Anne de
Pisleux in Fontainebleau .

The most popular in this era was the plot
“Alexander and the daughters of Darius”: the artists depicted the meeting of the
king with the daughters of his enemy after the battle of Issus, when Alexander,
according to ancient authors, demonstrated his generosity. In terms of
monumentality, among the paintings dedicated to this topic, the canvases
of Paolo Veronese (1565-1570) and Charles Lebrun (1660/61) stand out. In
1779, David turned to this plot , trying to increase the drama: in his version,
Alexander meets the princesses while lying on his deathbed.Popular were also
stories about the meeting of Alexander and Diogenes (these were variations on
the theme of communication between the ruler and the subject) and about Apelles,
to whom the king ceded his beloved. The latter topic interested artists, as it
allowed them to speak about court art. …

In the 19th century, art was distancing
from antiquity: the biography of Alexander ceased to be a collection of moral
examples and remained only a source of material for historical painting. The
distance became especially noticeable in the transition to realism; Karl von
Piloti demonstrated this with his painting The Death of Alexander in Babylon
(1885). In the XX-XXI centuries, the image of Alexander is used in the visual
arts only occasionally, and this is due either to local patriotism (for example,
in the capitals of the two current Macedonians, Thessaloniki and Skopje , two
monuments to the king appeared – in 1974 and 2011, respectively), or openly
commercial interests, as in the work of Andy Warhol .



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