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Summary Alexander of Macedon 356-323 BC: A Historical Biography

characters Alexander of Macedon 356-323 BC: A Historical Biography ↠ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Û Until recently popular biographers and most scholars viewed Alexander the Great as a genius with a plan a romantic figure pursuing his vision of a united world His dream was at times characFoisted upon him by later generations especially those who found the conueror tout court a little hard upon their liberal sensibilitiesThis biography begins not with one of the universally known incidents of Alexander's life but with an account of his father Philip of Macedonia whose many territoried empire was the first on the continent of Europe to have an effectively centralized government and military What Philip and Macedonia had to offer Alexander made his own but Philip and Macedonia also made Alexander form an important context for understanding Alexander himself Yet his origins and training do not fully explain the man After he was named hegemon of the Hellenic League many philosophers came to congratulat. To each culture and to each period in time Alexander the Great has meant something different and each generation that recounts his history tends to do so from a different political and social perspective To the Republic and Empire of Rome he was a noble conueror; to the Greeks of his time he was a tyrant; to the Indians he was no than a passing barbarian To Peter Green in 1970 he is a man standing upon the shoulders of others making his own history as he goes and like so many absolute rulers touching it up in retrospect to obscure flaws and preserve the illusion of his infallibility For all his greatness Alexander was not perfect Alexander is reliant upon others much as he may have been loathe to admit Without his army his father his commanders his Macedonian core his fame may never have reached such heights They are the tentpole upon which all of his successes hangGreen says as much at the outset of his work“Genius Alexander had and in full measure; yet even genius remains to a surprising extent the product of its environment What Alexander was Philip Alexander’s father and Macedonia in great part made him and it is with them that we must begin”Nevertheless Alexander is a powerful historical figure as an individual So much so that his history is commandeered and contorted to espouse a variety of idealsMosaic of Alexander at the battle of Issus BCE 333Green attempts to eschew these proclivities see past the propaganda and give an account free of ideology though he admits this isn't possible even for someone conscious of the possibility Green paints a sometimes unflattering picture of Alexander Alexander comes off as impertinent uick tempered self righteous vengeful surrounded by capable commanders and the beneficiary of those who were ill prepared to deal with an army his father had created Granted if Alexander had been completely devoid of ability he would not have stifled the resentful Greek city states obliterated the massive Persian empire uashed repeated revolts subdued a large swath of India in spite of horrendous conditions and fierce resistance He is at the same time depicted as cool under pressure well educated in classics a brilliant strategist a profoundly successful manipulator motivator and an unprecedented logistical wunderkind But to say he did so entirely of his own accord built the mechanisms of government necessary to do so and developed the processes of army training and uniue characteristics of the Macedonian phalanx considerably longer spears for example from the ground up would be a mistakeSimilarly it would be a mistake to believe that wherever Alexander trod citizens bowed to his leadership Where Greece is concerned nothing could be further from the truth —Alexander’s lust for conuest presumably made him indifferent to the turmoil there that had little interest in being ruled from afar by a Macedonian king charitable or hostile though he may beAlexander is a man raised to believe he is special a new Achilles and this hubris taints Green’s interpretation of him believing he is often guided by own grandeur rather than sensibility from a political rather than tactical standpoint in any case and the pursuit of a great destiny rather than the solidification of the empire he created Alexander is lauded for his ability to suppress a wide variety of cultures and bring them under his banner a feat that even in this age of modern warfare and superpowers vying against meager militaries in distant countries is all but impossible Green sees this less an example of brilliance than an afterthought and conseuence of expediency as the army moved hastily on its route through southern Asia Essentially conuered people remained just as they had been Nothing changed but the landlord Even so revolts invariably sprang up as soon as he left making the map of his empire something of a misrepresentation and of a catalog of places he had been and conueredPerhaps most astounding about the history is how much information is available particularly the minutiae including in some cases the precise uantity of bribes to individuals Alexander himself is to be thanked in this regard considering he had the foresight at least on his Asian campaign to take not just soldiers but historians zoologists botanists and a wealth of other individuals with a mind to catalog everything they witnessed This was a conseuence of both Alexander’s tutelage under Aristotle as well as a very concerted effort to record his history in the most favorable method possible both for the purpose of his legacy and to uell discontent in the regions under his controlMost refreshing is the perspective one gains from time and the ability to call upon prior biographies from sources as ancient as Plutarch and Ptolemy to contemporary relatively speaking sources originating from the middle ages through colonial and even early 20th century noting how they choose to present Alexander according to the sentiment and ideology of the writer and culture something Green notes his own writing invariably suffers from as well He notes in Alexander's time he was viewed as a tyrannical militant autocrat; during the height of the Roman and British empires as a laudable imperialist seeking to enlighten the world through Hellenism; and a liberator from monarchy during the revolutionary periods of the late 18th and early 19th centuries Green himself presents Alexander as a brilliant tactician planner and propagandist done in by megalomania brought on by his unprecedented successes and an empire he sought ever to expand rather than consolidate and secureFrom a contemporary standpoint as one might expect this is a wholly satisfying stance to take The general consensus views conuerors as people seeking their own gratification and power rather than fellowship those who do seek fellowship don't use military domination as their tool since doing so is effective against armies but not populationsIn the end Green's biography borders on cynical painting Alexander less as the deity he believed himself to be and an example to which others compared themselves notably Julius Caesar and of an ambitious human with a tremendous opportunity and both the will and acumen to see it throughThis is a stellar humanizing work and a brisk one too even at than 500 hundred pages including the appendix which makes convincing sense of the cluttered details surrounding the pivotal battle at the Granicus river For anyone interested in the subject and the period this is an excellent place to start and a reliable place to return to

Peter Green ç 7 Read & Download

E Alexander but one was conspicuous by his absence Diogenes the Cynic an ascetic who lived in a clay tub Piued and curious Alexander himself visited the philosopher who when asked if there was anything Alexander could do for him made the famous reply Don't stand between me and the sun Alexander's courtiers jeered but Alexander silenced them If I were not Alexander I would be Diogenes This remark was as unexpected in Alexander as it would be in a modern leaderFor the general reader the book redolent with gritty details and fully aware of Alexander's darker side offers a gripping tale of Alexander's career Full backnotes fourteen maps and chronological and genealogical tables serve readers with specialized interests. Green's biography of Alexander is erudite and skeptical with a decidely old fashioned sensibility The Alexander that emerges from these pages is history's most gifted military commander and a regicide a skilled manipulator of men and generous to a fault a raging alcoholic even compared to his alcohol stewed macedonian compatriots and a man of iron constitution a world strider and the progenitor of an empire that evaporated as soon as his heart stilled More importantly Green's Alexander is a megalomaniac driven by the thirst for martial glory and conuest at the expense of all and everyone elseNothing Romantic with a captial 'R' here Green's analysis of sources at the end of his work as well as the discussion of problem surrounding our knowledge of the Granicus is particularly enlighteningHighly Recommended

Free download ✓ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ç Peter Green

Alexander of Macedon 356 323 BC A Historical BiographyUntil recently popular biographers and most scholars viewed Alexander the Great as a genius with a plan a romantic figure pursuing his vision of a united world His dream was at times characterized as a benevolent interest in the brotherhood of man sometimes as a brute interest in the exercise of power Green a Cambridge trained classicist who is also a novelist portrays Alexander as both a complex personality and a single minded general a man capable of such diverse expediencies as patricide or the massacre of civilians Green describes his Alexander as not only the most brilliant and ambitious field commander in history but also supremely indifferent to all those administrative excellences and idealistic yearnings. I did enjoy this one Alexander the Great has been the benchmark for all military leadersconuerors since 300 BC Romans Germans and Huns all wanted to emulate the military prowess of Phillip's son Alexander with a small army of crack Macedonians defeated the Persian Empire and moved on into India He subjugated the then known world His avarice and thirst for conuest knew no bounds His creation of a strong government to solidify his empire was an afterthought As soon as Alexander died his empire fractured Some outstanding military commanders are thus not destined to rule Such was Alexander I highly recommend the subject and the book