Alexander: The Ambiguity of Greatness by Guy MacLean Rogers

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By Guy MacLean Rogers

For almost and a part millennia, Alexander the good has loomed over historical past as a legend–and an enigma. Wounded time and again yet constantly positive in conflict, he conquered lots of the identified global, simply to die mysteriously on the age of thirty-two. In his day he was once respected as a god; in our day he has been reviled as a mass assassin, a tyrant as brutal as Stalin or Hitler.

Who was once the fellow in the back of the masks of strength? Why did Alexander embark on an unheard of software of world domination? What accounted for his outstanding good fortune at the battlefield? during this luminous new biography, the esteemed classical pupil and historian man MacLean Rogers sifts via millions of years of historical past and fable to discover the reality approximately this complicated, ambiguous genius.

Ascending to the throne of Macedonia after the assassination of his father, King Philip II, Alexander chanced on whereas slightly out of his adolescents that he had a unprecedented expertise and a boundless urge for food for army conquest. A virtuoso of violence, he used to be proficient with an uncanny skill to imagine how a conflict might spread, coupled with devastating decisiveness within the box. Granicus, Issos, Gaugamela, Hydaspes–as the victories fixed, Alexander’s ardour for conquest accelerated from towns to nations to continents. while Persia, the best empire of his day, fell sooner than him, he marched instantly on India, aspiring to upload it to his holdings.

As Rogers exhibits, Alexander’s army prowess in basic terms heightened his exuberant sexuality. although his flavor for a number of companions, either female and male, was once tolerated, Alexander’s particularly enlightened therapy of ladies was once not anything wanting innovative. He outlawed rape, he put clever ladies in positions of authority, and he selected his better halves from one of the peoples he conquered. certainly, as Rogers argues, Alexander’s fascination with Persian tradition, customs, and sexual practices can have ended in his downfall, maybe even to his death.

Alexander emerges as a charismatic and unusually glossy figure–neither a messiah nor a genocidal butcher yet essentially the most creative and bold army tacticians of all time. Balanced and authoritative, this excellent portrait brings Alexander to existence as a guy, with no diminishing the facility of the legend.

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What were the chief differences between traditional ways of exerting power and naval arche that are important for appreciating the broader military and conceptual background for the History? The most significant difference is that traditional land-based warfare did not, generally speaking, require the outlay of money by the polis. The individual citizen-soldier was responsible for his own equipment and sustenance, the acquisition of which required individual wealth, but not necessarily money. Whatever the form of wealth used by an individual to procure weaponry and food, it is important to stress that the polls traditionally did not play a role in acquiring the necessary prerequisites of military campaigns.

Homer Ody. 78-99; Hes. W&D 319-26; Solon, fr. 13; Theog. 227; see also Immerwahr, Form and Thought, 206-7; Jaeger, Paideia l, esp. 70, 201-2. Page 16 by our ability to use our farms and land, the loss of which you consider so important. 2)55 In an author such as Herodotos, all of the above would have led inevitably to disaster. But Thucydides rejects such a traditional view in treating the wealth of Athens, and his novel approach is especially remarkable given the disquiet that the existence of the arche itself could occasion and the strong moral elements of the History, which have been a focus of Thucydidean scholarship, particularly within the last few decades.

21. Robinson, "Collaboration," 117-40; cf. Atmore, "Extra-European Foundations," 106-25. M. Eckstein for these references. 22. Robinson, "Collaboration," 118. Page 9 arche, the initial flow of wealth was in the opposite direction of that in modern Western imperialism, the basic idea that, put simply, domination is possible only with the support of locals (that is, local elites) is one with which Thucydides is in accord and for which he provides evidence. As Robinson observes in the case of European imperialism in Asia and Africa, "the irony of collaborative systems lay in the fact that although the white invaders could exert leverage on ruling elites they could not do without their mediation.

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