Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Alexander the Great

Alexander was born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia, in July 356 BC. His parents were Philip II, King of Macedon, and his wife Olympias.

As a young child he was tutored by the great philosopher, Aristotle. Aristotle taught a variety of subjects including philosophy, poetry and ideals of government. To some extent, these ideals influenced Alexander when he was later governing conquered nations.

Alexander had a love of music and books, when asked what is greatest possession was, Alexander replied Homer's Iliad. However, he also had a ruthless nature which he displayed on being crowned King. Alexander soon moved to have all potential challengers killed (including his infant half brother)- so he could be the undisputed King. When a friend was found guilty of treason, he also executed his innocent father (who had been a loyal general to Alexander).

On coming to the throne, Alexander united the warring factions in Greece, before leading his army into Persia. Although seemingly outnumbered, Alexander led his army to a decisive victory. It was said that during his reign, Alexander remained undefeated. After beating the Persians, Alexander led his faithful army further East until they came to the regions of Afghanistan and India. Again Alexander proved militarily successful and went onto establish cities in many different countries.

Although, Alexander was ruthless in eliminating rivals to the throne, his treatment of occupied territories was remarkably progressive and tolerant. Alexander forbid his troops from raping and pillaging, but, established new democratic governments, incorporating the local customs of the area. He allowed religious tolerance for the different religious groups.

Many stories tell of the loyalty and faith his army had in Alexander. Once they were returning across a desert with hardly any water left. It is said that Alexander's will alone, kept his troops focused on making the return journey. At one point, his army collected a small pitcher of water from the remaining supplies and offered it to Alexander. Alexander said nothing and disdainfully through the precious water into the sand. It was incidents like this which created a God-like image around Alexander. He himself said, it was only sleep and sex which reminded him he was a mortal.

However, he enjoyed a passionate life of drinking, womanising and reveling. For a man seemingly invincible on the battlefield, he ironically died at the early age of 32.

From : www.biographyonline.net