Write 6 pages with APA style on Alexander: The Ambiguity of Greatness. For the purpose of this paper, I will focus on Rogers arguments on Alexander’s abilities as a military strategist as well as his acts as a person as they relate to other historical figures he has been compared to.
To understand Alexander’s drive, we must first understand where Alexander came from, and how he was brought up. Born to Philip II of Macedonia, and Olympias, a princess of Epirus, in 356, Alexander was raised as royalty, and provided with the best training and tutors, including Aristotle himself, Greece had to offer. His mother, a devoted member of the Dionysian cults, claimed Alexander came from not only royal blood, but was also a direct descendent of Achilles of the Iliad. When Aristotle came to tutor the future king, he gave Alexander a copy of the Iliad, a possession Alexander kept with him throughout his quests. Because his mother had claimed he was a descendent of the gods themselves, Alexander came to take on that persona, believing that the gods had deemed him as being one of the “best”, and believed that he could achieve “everlasting glory that came from achieving great deeds of arms” (8). He structured his life around those mythical figures from the great Homeric writings, and even traveled to the sites of the Iliad and the battle of Troy, to make sacrifices to the fallen heroes of that tragedy. Rogers ascertains that this upbringing, and the belief system of being a descendent of the gods that his mother instilled on him, drove Alexander throughout his life.
Probably the most prominent argument Rogers makes in defense of Alexander’s reputation and his place in history, is on his military genius. His claim stems from the fact that Alexander was never beaten in any battle throughout his ten year crusade. He attempted tactics that had never been used before, often surprising his enemies into defeat. The most prominent of the battles that Rogers discusses are, The Battle at the River Granicus, The Battle of Gaugamela and The Battle of Hydaspes. Each displayed a new tactic Alexander thought up to defeat his enemy, often facing great odds against him. All three of these battles displayed tactical techniques that were born from Alexander himself upon assessing certain defensive and offensive positions. In further defense of this position, Roger’s asserts, “Alexander’s logistical achievements is the standard by which all others in pre-modern military history are measured” (284).
The first battle mentioned, The Battle at the River Granicus introduced Alexander’s cunning as a military officer. The Persians had the high ground, so Alexander seeing the problem found the solution to draw the Persians to the water by sending in an initial attack to draw the left and right wings of the opposing armies down. This gave the left and right wing of Alexander’s army time to cross the river and draw up behind them. This effectively broke the Persian armies center and they were ultimately defeated. .
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