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

Nov 2011
1,046
The Bluff
#91
Good luck explaining the burning of Persepolis. Wrecking monuments to Cyrus the Great was also not a smart move. Nor was killing the man who saved your life. Reckless behavior also leads to an early death.
As has been explained, Alexander did not burn Persepolis; he burned the palace just as the Persians destroyed the Acropolis of Athens. Just which monument to Kyros did Alexander wreck?
 
Nov 2011
1,046
The Bluff
#92
The reason for my picking of 200 years prior was Cyrus the Great who decided not to attack civilians or sack cities - he received immense praise for it by the Greeks (Xenophon wrote an entire book) and just about all other cultures who wrote from that era, including the Jewish population, who during the Hellenistic era called him "Messiah."
Kyros defeated the Lydians during the rebellion of Croesus and had that king stand by and watch while the victorious Persians sacked Sardis. You may need to revise your view.

You do not win empire by being some Achaimenid version of Jesus Christ. The "Kyros Cylinder", much cited as evidence that the Achaimenid conqueror was some benevolent and uniquely tolerant king, is a propaganda statement straight out of the Babylonian and Assyrian playbooks. No evidence exists that any far reaching social programme was was put into place. The new conqueror simply presented himself as a normal, legitimate ruler following all the normal tropes.
 
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Nov 2011
4,767
Ohio, USA
#94
Not really.

America is the only country to have used a Nuclear bomb on a foreign enemy in the history of the world, twice!

The Mongols actually for the most part laid down a "Surrender or be masacred" ultimatum, they preferred people to surrender and it was on pretty good renown that if you open your gates your people would be spared.

Honestly, where does America get all this good press from? I have to admit, their marketing machine is more a sight to behold than their military capability imo.
Just because they spout democracy even though there version is corrupt to hell and adopt this European enlightenment of the world doctirne (which they adopted from European practice) doesn't mean they actually are what they claim, allow me to run a little historical fact check for you ..............

The only country outside of Africa to have a national level slave infrastucture (modern times).

Played genocide on the Native American Indians.

Has been engineering and starting wars around the world more than any other nation since WWII, even Russia struggles to keep up.

Libya, Iraq x2, Afghanistan, Vietnam etc and 2x Atomic bombs.

Just because all you see on TV is flashy F-15 jets and Aircraft Carriers people don't actually see the devastation on the ground and so for some reason of video game unrealism modern people seem to think ancient times were much worse .......... they aren't, they can't even hold a candle to what we can do in a matter of hours but because they have to butcher by hand we seem to think their massacres are worse.

Yes we can do it at the push of a button, one press of a button can kill 500 people in one sitting.

........... and you want to give it the old "America gets demonized" spiel, no my mate, they don't get demonized anywhere near what they should be ........ at all.

If Russia or China did half of what America has this last century they'd be ousted as monsters around the Western press.
*sighs*

Do you how many more military AND especially civilian casualties would have resulted if American troops either invaded the Japanese home islands or tried starving Japan into surrender through naval blockade? Certainly a hell-ton, and those were the only other options besides using the atomic warheads the Americans had just developed.
 
Nov 2011
4,767
Ohio, USA
#95
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.
This sounds really angry. Did Alexander's corpse somehow come back to life, find you, and try to torture you?. Seriously, you're acting as if you were close to someone he killed or something.
 
Likes: aggienation

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,895
#97
No. I'm making the argument that this was business as usual. As it continued to be. The exceptions being the selling off of the citizenry into slavery for money. A situation I'm sure those citizens were happy to see as neither harming them or their lives. Life was a far different and cheaper commodity in ancient times as the Romans demonstrate in spades and as the Spartans showed at Plataia and after Aigispotami.

As for Thukydides and Melos, the Athenian is crafting and relating the incident in a way to demonstrate what the powerful do. Those with power do; those without simply accept.

Can you provide the source evidence which supports the notion that, by the fourth century BC, "for over 200 years it had already been established that a good leader doesn't sack cities or harm civilians"?
If you're only making the argument that " that this was business as usual." then you're wasting my time. My post doesn't contest that. It was about the moral viewpoints of attacks on civilians by governments/militaries and how even "business as usual" does not equal morality.

You continue with a bunch of red herrings which have nothing to do with your argument (many of which I addressed in another post in this thread anyway).

Now if by " I'm making the argument that this was business as usual" and therefore burning cities and harming civilians is universally acceptable from a moral perspective, then we have a contention. If you want to go that route, I will oblige you with a response.
 
Nov 2011
1,046
The Bluff
#98
If you're only making the argument that " that this was business as usual." then you're wasting my time. My post doesn't contest that. It was about the moral viewpoints of attacks on civilians by governments/militaries and how even "business as usual" does not equal morality.
Business as usual and passed without comment. The Greeks were only appalled at the fact that Thebes was actually destroyed root and branch. A destruction, I would add, bayed for by the enemies of Thebes who enjoyed it greatly and participated enthusiastically. Just as Thebes wished to do to Athens. The Spartans refused that not for any love of Athens or moral reasons but to ensure that an Athens, subject to Sparta, provided a bulwark against Thebes. The Illyrian king, Glaucias, could sacrifice children before battle with Alexander. As I said, this was a different time when life was a far cheaper commodity that today.

You continue with a bunch of red herrings which have nothing to do with your argument (many of which I addressed in another post in this thread anyway).
Any list of examples would, it seems, be adjudged "red herrings" by yourself so as they need not be addressed. I raised Plataia and Aigospatamoi where citizenry were murdered; the first after the final surrender of the town and the second of Athenian citizens in the fleet. Melos you raised yourself, incorrectly claiming that Thukydides criticised his own state for it. He did not; he merely related it and structured as a piece demonstrating what those with power do and those without suffer. The Romans had no moral quibbles with such slaughter, indeed they reveled in it awarding triumphs on the basis of numbers killed. So much for red herrings or is Kyros' sacking of Sardis (something you pass over without comment) also a red herring?

I note you've not provided any evidence for the supposed fact that "by this time for over 200 years it had already been established that a good leader doesn't sack cities or harm civilians".
 
Jan 2019
99
Finland
So I think we should get back to the topic... was Alexander as bad of a commander as some people make him out to be regarding his army, his luck, and the state of Persia at the time? Why or why not?
Alexander had a great army but not overwhelmingly so as the phalanx was often in trouble or at least stalemated by enemy infantry, the cavalry with Alexander at its head being the deciding factor in most pitched battles. And being in the thick of battle there has to be luck involved too. As long as we remember that him being called "the Great" means that he was a great conqueror (with all the implied violence), not in terms of being an objectively wonderful human being then there shouldn't be a problem.
 

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