Was Alexander Great?

Oct 2007
96
New York, NY
#21
AlpineLuke said:
...the real point is the cultural context. We love to define this or that leader "great", following a Roman habit: Romans adored to define a leader "magno"...
Indeed. The certain earliest attested literary mention of Alexander as ‘the Great’ occurs in the Roman playwright Titus Plautus’Mostellaria (The Haunted House); set in Athens, the slave Tranio compares himself to Alexander ‘the Great’(magnum) and Agathocles of Syracuse. The play was probably written at the latter part of the 3rd century BCE (Plautus’ lifespan was 254-184 BCE). But judging by the apparent casual, non-explanatory context of the given cognomen (viz. the audience knew that Alexander the Great had already entered historical common dialogue, etc., by their time), it seems that Alexander was thought of as ‘the Great’ for some time already. The Hellenistic-era Heidelberg Epitome also identifies Alexander as ‘the Great’, which may have been compiled before Plautus by perhaps Hieronymius of Cardia also reads ‘the Great’ as if it is common knowledge. But it may have been authored by Byzantine scholars who attached ‘the Great’, as they knew full well of the prevailing cognomen by their time. It could very well have originated during the early reign of Ptolemy I, who did hijack Alexander’s funeral retinue, which proved useful for Ptolemy to promote his rule.

Regardless, Alexander symbolizes a watershed in the development of the ruler cult; indeed, the bestowing of divine honors to a living ruler became a prevalant phenomena amid the Hellenistic Age.

Ashoka maurya alluded to something important regarding Alexander’s image: to the eastern regions of the world who knew of him fairly well, he is seen in a darker shade - hence the term of an accursed one with two-horns known as “Iskander”.

Great stuff! This could be a loaded thread, BuckBradley.

James :)
 
Mar 2019
1,212
Kansas
#23
I would recommend this book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TOXQKOY/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Gabriel tears down the myth of Alexander as a great general and 'hero' fairly effectively.
Yet in his introduction to Subotai the Valiant: he says this

This book tells the story of Subotai the Valiant, one of the greatest generals in military history, surely the equal of Hannibal and Scipio in tactical brilliance and ranking right along with both Alexander and Caesar as a strategist.
 
May 2018
672
Michigan
#24
That's interesting. Gabriel doesn't pull any punches on Alexander. He criticizes his generalship and his mental health (I suppose murdering your friends while on a drunken bender isn't an act of sanity) and directly calls him a conquistador whose credit really deserves to go to the subordinate generals and army created by his father.
 
Jul 2017
2,283
Australia
#25
That's interesting. Gabriel doesn't pull any punches on Alexander. He criticizes his generalship and his mental health (I suppose murdering your friends while on a drunken bender isn't an act of sanity) and directly calls him a conquistador whose credit really deserves to go to the subordinate generals and army created by his father.
I might give that a read. The premise seems a bit too far fetched though.
 
Nov 2011
1,011
The Bluff
#26
What I'm saying is, his greatness came from his astounding success and achievement, as well as his legacy and impact, rather than his unmatched wisdom, military leadership, charisma, or talents over many of his contemporary or later great people.
His astounding success and achievement, as well as his legacy and impact came from his military leadership, charisma and talents. I don't understand how that is not evident to you.
 
Likes: Aelfwine
Nov 2011
1,011
The Bluff
#27
Mar 2019
1,212
Kansas
#30
That's interesting. Gabriel doesn't pull any punches on Alexander. He criticizes his generalship and his mental health (I suppose murdering your friends while on a drunken bender isn't an act of sanity) and directly calls him a conquistador whose credit really deserves to go to the subordinate generals and army created by his father.
Well I think there is little debate about his mental state. At the very least he had an ego the size of a small moon lol. And while the argument about the quality of the army was more a function of his father rather than Alexander, what he did with that army was extraordinary. Most are reasonably aware of his major battles, but the real genius lies in the times when things did not go right. His ability to think out of the box to get his army out of trouble when they were ambushed or trapped is a sign of the military mind he had.
 

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