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

Caesarmagnus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,640
Australia
Nixon was overwhelmingly reelected in 1972 in one of the most one sided elections in recent memory. This was long after the public learned about these numerous Vietnam atrocities. If this stuff was really so unappealing to the American public they could have shown him the door. That they didn't tells me a lot about what the public at large thought.
The fact a majority were still good re-electing him doesn't change the fact that a lot of people were furiously opposed to Nixon, and there was much public criticism of his actions in the war, which tainted his legacy. In ancient Rome it was totally different because there was 0% criticism of atrocities by Rome, zero protests, zero public debate about being too brutal, and zero legacy tainting from brutality to Rome's enemies (quite the reverse usually). Nixon won 60% of the voters in 1972, but that means 40% were still against him; and clearly from the protests and mass movements against him (and Vietnam more specifically) there was widespread opposition by many people. In ancient times that number was 0%. ZERO. There were no protests or opposition movements against brutality inflicted on non-Romans. There were also consequences to stuff that happened in Vietnam. Not as many as we could hope for, but numerous court martials and the like happened. Again; there is no evidence of any such thing happening in Ancient Rome.

EDIT; and yes, protests are important, they show us what the feelings of society were towards an issue. The Vietnam protests show us a lot of people were against the war. The anti-war movement shows us that. The fact many of the atrocities were hidden by the people committing them shows us the moral climate of the times. The fact that, when some of these atrocities were uncovered, there were numerous court martials etc, shows us the moral expectations of the times. The fact NONE of this happened in ancient times also tells us a lot too. It's pretty basic stuff. Ancients had slave markets because it was deemed moral to do so. We don't because it's not. Keep ignoring reality though.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Tokugawa Ieyasu

fascinating

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,405
and yes, protests are important, they show us what the feelings of society were towards an issue
Not really. They show only the feelings of a section of society, usually a very small section. For example the million man march would only have been less than 1% of the male population. It was meant to be exclusively for black males, but that would mean that 95% or so of that category did not attend. The real opinion of voters can only be guaged by the secret ballot.

The fact NONE of this happened in ancient times also tells us a lot too.
None that we know about - not quite the same thing.
 

Caesarmagnus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,640
Australia
Not really. They show only the feelings of a section of society, usually a very small section. For example the million man march would only have been less than 1% of the male population. It was meant to be exclusively for black males, but that would mean that 95% or so of that category did not attend. The real opinion of voters can only be guaged by the secret ballot.


None that we know about - not quite the same thing.
Even if opposition to the war was only from say 5% of the populace, it was not even an issue in Ancient Rome. Nor are we looking only at protests, but a multitude of factors I cited. If human rights abuses were ok, why were they being hidden by the people committing them? Why, when they were uncovered, was there outrage? Why were there court martials? Why were the defences to these court martials invariably "I didn't do it"? If it was ok, there would be no need to hide your actions. In Ancient times they sure were open about it, as I noted with many examples. The morals of society had clearly changed, as all this and much more shows. Protests and the like don't show us everything, but they are one of many key indicators which I mentioned or alluded to. I'd say the existence of slave markets in every facet of Roman society, and the ownership by most Romans of slaves, is frankly the much more telling evidence of how moral attitudes changed, but there are many, many other examples too.
 
May 2015
304
villa of Lucullus
The fact a majority were still good re-electing him doesn't change the fact that a lot of people were furiously opposed to Nixon, and there was much public criticism of his actions in the war, which tainted his legacy. In ancient Rome it was totally different because there was 0% criticism of atrocities by Rome, zero protests, zero public debate about being too brutal, and zero legacy tainting from brutality to Rome's enemies (quite the reverse usually). Nixon won 60% of the voters in 1972, but that means 40% were still against him; and clearly from the protests and mass movements against him (and Vietnam more specifically) there was widespread opposition by many people. In ancient times that number was 0%. ZERO. There were no protests or opposition movements against brutality inflicted on non-Romans. There were also consequences to stuff that happened in Vietnam. Not as many as we could hope for, but numerous court martials and the like happened. Again; there is no evidence of any such thing happening in Ancient Rome.

EDIT; and yes, protests are important, they show us what the feelings of society were towards an issue. The Vietnam protests show us a lot of people were against the war. The anti-war movement shows us that. The fact many of the atrocities were hidden by the people committing them shows us the moral climate of the times. The fact that, when some of these atrocities were uncovered, there were numerous court martials etc, shows us the moral expectations of the times. The fact NONE of this happened in ancient times also tells us a lot too. It's pretty basic stuff. Ancients had slave markets because it was deemed moral to do so. We don't because it's not. Keep ignoring reality though.
I would have to question the relevance of a minority of people opposing something. In virtually every era we can find some people that are opposed to things which are accepted by the mainstream. At what percentage of the population do you think that opposition somehow becomes relevant? If your criteria is that nobody can be against something I think that would narrow things down a lot.

By American electoral standards, Nixon's victory was among the most decisive in history since the popular vote was adopted. He won 49 states and the only election since then more decisive was Reagan's landslide victory in 1984. Your comeback is that plenty of people voted against him but few have even come close to winning as decisively. He was given a greater mandate by the public than Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and countless others.
 

Caesarmagnus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,640
Australia
I would have to question the relevance of a minority of people opposing something. In virtually every era we can find some people that are opposed to things which are accepted by the mainstream. At what percentage of the population do you think that opposition somehow becomes relevant? If your criteria is that nobody can be against something I think that would narrow things down a lot.

By American electoral standards, Nixon's victory was among the most decisive in history since the popular vote was adopted. He won 49 states and the only election since then more decisive was Reagan's landslide victory in 1984. Your comeback is that plenty of people voted against him but few have even come close to winning as decisively. He was given a greater mandate by the public than Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and countless others.
1) That's not true, because minorities aren't always opposed to things, and not always to the same things. For instance, there were never in the history of the Roman republic, early Empire, etc, protests about being too brutal to the enemies of Rome. It just wasn't an issue at all it seems. That tells us something. In contrast there were many protests about false comparisons you keep using, like Vietnam, and that also tells us something. More compelling still is that the protests in Vietnam and the anti-war movement, while not a majority originally, continued to increase in strength until they became the majority position. America got out of the war because there was so little public support for it, and now today it has become the normal position that the Vietnam war was a disgrace.
2) As I explained, the protests were JUST ONE indicator. There are other indicators I mentioned, and which your latest post utterly ignores. The only metric is not the 1972 election. Elections are fought on lots of issues; economics, crime, poverty, etc. Foreign policy rarely ranks as the top concern. It was an issue that cost alot of votes no doubt, but it's too simplistic to say "well Nixon won in 72 against an anti-war platform candidate, so people must have supported the war still". Nixon was in fact very lucky. The Democrats had first poisoned their brand in 1968 in the party convention riots, in which the Democrats also supported the war FYI, and the resulting reforms had unexpected results. Nobody understood initially how the new primary dominated system would work, and stronger candidates than McGovern spent too little time and money focused on the small states at the start (the opposite of what happens today). McGovern designed the new process, and probably had a better understanding of how it would work; his hard campaigning in the early small states gave him momentum that other more nationally viable candidates lacked, and as a result McGovern ended up as the Democratic candidate, despite his selection being opposed by many even in the democratic party. He was a very weak candidate, and Nixon winning with the wider appeal and recognition he enjoyed as the incumbent is not surprising. Remember also that many people who were opposed to the war differed on how to end it, and did not like McGoverns solution. Right after the election Nixon was overtly calling for the war to end anyway; "Peace with honor", peace accords and all that (sure, he failed, but he could see the war was becoming more and more unpopular).

At any rate; the other indicators I gave have been utterly ignored by you. We draw our conclusions from all of them taken as a whole, and the conclusion is morality has changed. You can't pick one indicator, make a false comparison, then run with it and think that'll fly. When you make your next post, please don't write a sermon about the 1972 elections or the anti-war movement, or if you do make sure you address the other stuff I mentioned.
 
Nov 2008
1,417
England
I know forum threads have a tendency to deviate, to drift from the original topic, but discussing Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton in a thread about Alexander the Great is in my opinion straying too far from the original subject.
 
May 2015
304
villa of Lucullus
We have numerous surviving writers accounts from the time of the Roman empire in which authors weigh in on the actions of various people. We see a number of instances in which different actions are condemned which helps give us an idea of the morality of at least certain individuals from that time period although its not always clear what the public at large thought.

I'm reading Livy's account of the second punic war and early on he criticizes Hannibal for ordering the killing of all adult males upon the fall of Saguntum. He mentions that the order may be understandable given the fanatical resistance he encountered but still seems to view it as a terrible thing to do. That seems to go against your view that Romans felt any sort of atrocities in war were perfectly fine.

Another example is Crassus's invasion of Parthia. Plutarch indicates this invasion was deeply controversial in Rome because at that point Parthia had never done anything to harm Rome or its allies and the public didn't feel it was right to attack them without just cause.
 

Caesarmagnus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,640
Australia
We have numerous surviving writers accounts from the time of the Roman empire in which authors weigh in on the actions of various people. We see a number of instances in which different actions are condemned which helps give us an idea of the morality of at least certain individuals from that time period although its not always clear what the public at large thought.

I'm reading Livy's account of the second punic war and early on he criticizes Hannibal for ordering the killing of all adult males upon the fall of Saguntum. He mentions that the order may be understandable given the fanatical resistance he encountered but still seems to view it as a terrible thing to do. That seems to go against your view that Romans felt any sort of atrocities in war were perfectly fine.

Another example is Crassus's invasion of Parthia. Plutarch indicates this invasion was deeply controversial in Rome because at that point Parthia had never done anything to harm Rome or its allies and the public didn't feel it was right to attack them without just cause.
1) you just dodged my request completely. What about those other factors I mentioned, indicating moral standards were different? Eg the court martials, the slave markets, etc.
2) your response is 2 irrelevant examples. The first is an example of brutality AGAINST Rome, so of course they're going to be critical of it. I explained this already. The second has nothing to do with brutality in war, rather about the justification for starting a war (and is of dubious accuracy anyway).
 
Aug 2015
1,952
Los Angeles
Another example is Crassus's invasion of Parthia. Plutarch indicates this invasion was deeply controversial in Rome because at that point Parthia had never done anything to harm Rome or its allies and the public didn't feel it was right to attack them without just cause.
Can you quote Plutarch?