To what extent is it possible to judge how the early experiences of Alexander the Great shaped his future?
Alexander was born in 356 BCE, his father was Philip II of Macedonia and his mother was Olympias of Epirus. There are a lot of myths and legends surrounding his birth, such as the fact that Philip dreamt that Olympias’ womb was struck by lightning causing a fire that spread far and wide before dying away, other stories include the one in which Philip dreams that he puts a seal on his wife’s womb bearing the image of a lion; suggesting as a seal is only put on something of value/or when there is an object for the seal (i.e. The seal signified Olympias’ pregnancy). As mentioned earlier the lightning bolt to the womb suggests the baby in Olympias’ womb would become the son of Zeus (i.e. the lightning bolt was associated with Zeus). Alexander also had Aristotle as a tutor; Philip decided that the most intelligent man in all of Greece was the only one suited for the job.
Alexander’s mother (Olympias) is said to have been a large influence over his life. Olympias’ jealousy of Philip’s new wife (Cleopatra) fed into Alexander’s feelings towards his father. Plutarch states that: “He admired his father but did not love him”. One huge factor for Alexander was perhaps the role of Aristotle; Aristotle taught Alexander everything from Philosophy to chemistry and all the other sciences. Alexander once studied the Iliad with Aristotle, and later on Alexander invaded the Persian Empire; Alexander could have invaded for revenge: Alexander saw the invasion of the Persian Empire as following in the footsteps of Achilles and avenging those who had fallen at Troy, otherwise it was to avenge those lost at the Persian invasions of Greece in 490 and 480 BCE. Either way, Alexander was greatly influenced by the Iliad (Alexander is said to have thrown his spear into the sand on the shores of Asia in theory ‘Killing Asia’.)
Plutarch’s Life of Alexander is one of the most...
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