Essay on Alexander the Great Historiography

2423 Words Jan 29th, 2014 10 Pages
Alexander the Civilizer or Alexander the Tyrant?
Alexander the Great was only 20 years old when he became king in 336, BC and, thanks to his father Philip II and to his education under Aristotle, he was a very competent and able commander. He learned early how to ride a horse, use weapons and command troops. He conquered the Greeks and then led them into battle against the Persians. He liberated Egypt. He then defeated Persia and marched his troops across Iran and Afghanistan, and could go no further because he got sick and died. According to most accounts, he was intelligent, handsome, and a successful military leader, one who cared about his men and paid attention to even the lowest soldier. He respected his enemies by
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He forced his men to marry without their consent along the way, controlled the writings of his chief historian, and considered himself related to Zeus. In this light, Alexander the Great seems more a tyrant than a great "civilizer."
Example 1
Alexander's military prowess were only possible due to the actions of his father, Philip II. According to Richard Gabriel, author of Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander (2010), Philip II laid the foundations by unifying Macedonia and Greece, centralizing the administrative power in his territorial state, setting up Greece's first federal system, reforming and building a modern national army, and revolutionizing warfare in Greece and in the West in general. He was a tactical genius; one of the greatest captains of a new age of warfare that he began through his strategic use of the Macedonian phalanx. He excelled at politics, far better than his son. Gabriel purports that Philip's greatness has been minimized by the classicist writers who have focused on Alexander. Without Philip's accomplishments, Alexander's victories would not have been possible. However, since classical historians Arrian, Plutarch, and Quintus Curtius Rufus focused much of their writings on Alexander, not Philip, the focus insinuated a bigger importance on Alexander’s actions, not how the situation was ripened by those that came before. He seems to

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