History has asked us to study and interpret past events and from that research we should learn from the mistakes of man or use the knowledge to improve our current lives. Throughout the study of history we have hard evidence and we also get folklore, or tales of events that represent that of a game of telephone. The ultimate goal of a historian is to accurately depict events and translate them as they occurred. With modern news and technology our future descendents of this planet will have no problem gaining a vast understanding of how we lived and the historic events that took place. This however is not true of past and present historian’s analysis of one of the greatest leaders in the history of the ancient world. Alexander, son of Philip the II, king of Macedon is brought to light with many different opinions. Was this man the ruthless ruler that brought down empires and siege cities while killing innocent in droves? Was he a gracious man of honor that sought to unite the ancient world? Perhaps he was a mad man who thought of himself as a God and his conquest was sought in vein. These are some of the questions that I asked myself while researching this one man’s life. There is a plethora of hard evidence that all historians and journalist agree on about his conquest and his life, but when it comes to his character the discrepancies are remarkable. “To some, he is perceived as a blood-thirsty megalomaniac who should be ranked in the annals of history with Stalin and Hitler, while to others he is a visionary devoted to harmony among races and a united world. Many see him as a man motivated by a need to explore the world while others are convinced that he was only out to plunder the riches of the east” (Borgia 1).
To know a man is to know where he came from, who he was surrounded by and what influenced him the most. At a young age he possessed the skills of greatness. “From the time Alexander was a boy he was fearless. When no one else could tame the giant horse Buchephalus, Alexander succeeded” (Brown 1). His father saw the warrior in the young boy and told him that he should seek out a larger empire as Macedonia was too small for him. Alexander’s parents, Philip the II and Opympias wanted the best education for their son and so they sought out three of Macedonia’s greatest teachers to educate the young boy. “His first teacher was the harsh Leonidas… Leonidas was a strict disciplinarian who instilled in Alexander his Spartan nature which became famous during his Persian Indian expeditions” (Nosotro 2). We know that Leonidas was so strict that he would check his belongings to make sure that he did not have any luxuries, because of this he was not a favorite of Alexander. On the other side of it, because of Leonidas background and his Sparta past, Alexander learned skillful war tactics that would help him later in life. The second teacher in his life was Lysimachus, “Lysimachus taught Alexander to play the lyre, and taught him an appreciation for the fine arts of music, poetry, and drama” (Nosotro2). This is where we begin to see the impression the stories of Homer had on Alexander’s life. He reveled in the life of Achilles and it is well know that he later went on his long conquer with the idea that he himself was an extension of Achilles leading his men. This perception of the great Achilles also came from his mother, “She claimed to be a descendent of Achilles, the warrior hero of Homer’s Iliad” (Brown 1). Perhaps the most important figure in his early development was that of Aristotle. As his parents wished for him to have the greatest education they hired Aristotle to mentor the young Alexander. “Under Aristotle, Alexander learned philosophy, ethics, politics, and healing, all of which became the utmost importance for Alexander in his later life” (Nosotro 2). It is important to know that these teachings of ethics and politics were essential for how he created a respectful nature to his defeated enemies after battles....
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