Is Alexander the Great actually as bad as some people say he is?

Aug 2019
38
tilted towers
The main criticisms that I hear some people have of Alexander the Great is that his Army was already trained by Philip and that the Persians had a very weak army and incompetent leader.

Of course he had a great army, and I'm sure it helped, but I don't believe all the credit should go to the army alone. He fought in a lot of different terrains and at Granicus, Issus, Jaxartes, and Hydaspes there were rivers that would've hindered the Phalanx, but he still won all of those battles. That tells me that his victories were more than just his army being superior, and that there were actual obstacles that needed to be overcome. If we say that his Army was the main reason he won, then that should apply to Caesar as well. The Roman army pre-Marius already proved that it was no worse than the Phalanx, so would that mean Caesar had an even bigger advantage since he fought Gauls, who were probably worse than the Persians. But Caesar's victories were still very impressive in my opinion, and I find it odd that people don't criticize Caesar for his army as much people criticize Alexander.

And about Darius III being incompetent, what makes people say that? I'm no Military expert, so I might be missing something, but Darius III didn't really make any terrible decisions from my understanding. IIRC he even outmaneuvered Alexander before Issus and his right flank was giving Parmenion a lot of trouble at Gaugamela which means that his Cavalry could hold up against the Macedonians.

As for him running away twice, did he have a choice though? If he died there his empire would probably be gone, so it would be better to be alive than otherwise.

I know there are people that are more knowledgeable about this than me, so please exlplain if you disagree and correct me if I said any wrong information.
 

Duke Valentino

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,327
Australia
I swear this gets regurgitated every couple of months. He earned his keep when he took that army and conquered the Persian Empire. He faced challenges that any lesser general would have failed at.

Darius seemed competent enough, and there's a lot of "stereotypes" associated with him, a legacy of the Greek sources we base our knowledge of the time on.
 
Feb 2019
526
Thrace
From a military standpoint at least he's as good as they say. Peerless. As an administrator of an empire, he never got the chance to show his skills properly, so we'll never know. That sums it up for me.
 

fascinating

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,403
No he is not bad, and people don't say he is, because he is dead.

Maybe he WAS bad though, when he was alive.

I'm not being too pedantic am I? All criticism gladly accepted.
 
Jun 2019
39
USA
He is the most overrated general in history. Far from being chivalrous or even noble, he was an angry, spoiled, genocidal, war-mongering megalomaniac and mamma's boy with the worst daddy problems in history. Honestly, If there was ever a historical figure deserving to be cast aside and thrown into the ash heap of history and forgotten forever this guy definitely scores close to first place. Destroyed much and created little. Only redeeming quality was his physical courage and insane luck.
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
He is the most overrated general in history. Far from being chivalrous or even noble, he was an angry, spoiled, genocidal, war-mongering megalomaniac and mamma's boy with the worst daddy problems in history. Honestly, If there was ever a historical figure deserving to be cast aside and thrown into the ash heap of history and forgotten forever this guy definitely scores close to first place. Destroyed much and created little. Only redeeming quality was his physical courage and insane luck.
Ah, I recognise you from the last time you went on an angry, absurd rant about Alexander. I know you ignored all of these requests last time, but I may as well try again: what sources have you used to form your opinion on Alexander?
 
Jun 2019
39
USA
Ah, I recognise you from the last time you went on an angry, absurd rant about Alexander. I know you ignored all of these requests last time, but I may as well try again: what sources have you used to form your opinion on Alexander?
Again. Most my claims are common knowledge (back by multiple sources). The problem lies more with hero worship and outcome bias, especially when it comes to risking one's life in suicidal cavalry charges or conquering the Persian Empire.

But here's your quote again from 2016. I like how you doubt Alexander's ability and persona after reading Arrian, but still try to save face in the end.

I recently finished The Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian, and while it was certainly an interesting read, it almost entirely focused on the military aspects of Alexander's life (with some lengthy detours discussing the issue of his self-proclaimed divinity), which obviously was Arrian's intention, and in that he succeeded very well. Still, I'm interested in knowing more about Alexander as a man and as a ruler. He seemed to be charismatic and intelligent, but also extremely volatile and dangerously glory-hungry. These not-so positive aspects are what intrigue me though. So are there any books that delve into greater detail about the man himself, and not just his military successes (though they were impressive)?
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Again. Most my claims are common knowledge (back by multiple sources). The problem lies more with hero worship and outcome bias, especially when it comes to risking one's life in suicidal cavalry charges or conquering the Persian Empire.
"Common knowledge" is not a source. Either name some sources that you've actually used, or I'll be forced to assume you actually haven't read anything on Alexander and are just making up nonsense.

But here's your quote again from 2016. I like how you doubt Alexander's ability and persona after reading Arrian, but still try to save face in the end.
It's funny that you went through my post history trying to find something incriminating, in your eyes. Even though not surprisingly you completely misunderstood the point of my post. I was not saying he wasn't a great general or great historical figure, but that I'd be interested in reading a history of him that goes into more depth in his personality and private life, since his personality is more complex than his unambiguously brilliant military career. How can you read what I said and believe I "questioned his ability"? I never questioned it. I mentioned the negative aspects of his personality, which nobody disputes, not his skill as a commander or conqueror. I also never called him overrated, and have defended him against accusations of such in the past.