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Was Alexander really great?

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Introduction

Was Alexander really great? The death of Alexander in 323BC, greatly affected many people throughout Greece and Macedonia. He had gained a lot of respect during his reign, which had earned him the title 'Alexander the Great', however it is important to consider to what extent was this due to the use of propaganda. All of the sources, which are available to us, portray Alexander as a heroic and victorious leader; nevertheless we must remember that the writers of these sources are probably extremely biased towards him. Alexander was only 31years old when he died and had achieved much more than many other leaders in his short lifetime. When he was just 20 years old Alexander invaded Persia and his first battle was at River Granicus in 334BC. ...read more.

Middle

This also describes the equipment that Alexander and his troops were using which gave them an immediate advantage over the Persians. In Plutarch's version of the Battle of River Granicus he states:- "It is said that 20000 foot soldiers and 2500 horsemen died on the Persian side, while according to Aristoboulos, losses among Alexander's men amounted to 34 dead of whom 9 were foot soldiers." I expect that Plutarch has over exaggerated, as these figures are rather unbelievable however they do highlight the fact that these sources are most probably biased to create more support for Alexander. Determination is a necessary requirement for a great leader and in the Alexander Romance description of the Battle of Issos in 333BC we are informed of Alexander's great determination. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that Alexander was a good speaker and tried to boost his soldiers' morale by making speeches, which congratulated their efforts. Overall I think that all the sources of Alexander, which are available to us, portray him as a great and victorious leader. However this is probably because when Alexander was alive he had created a very respectable image of himself, which made him more popular among his people. There is no doubt that Alexander was a successful leader and his victories prove this, he was very young when he died and had achieved much more than most previous leaders, however we must remember that the sources from which we obtain this information about Alexander are presumably quite biased as the writer would have wanted to make it seem that they were close to Alexander and that their account was personal. Nicola Phillips Classical civilisations summer 2003 ...read more.

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