Research Paper, 2 pages (500 words)

Was alexander really great?

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Greatness is an umbrella term that can hold several different meanings and interpretations. In the case of Alexander the Great, it has a very specific meaning that reflects upon the achievements and success of his life time, despite the many character flaws and failings he undoubtedly possessed. Alexander the Great definitely deserves this appellation for three main reasons. Firstly, he conquered an incredibly vast area for his young age and lack of experience; secondly he left his mark on society which has lasted till contemporary day; and thirdly he completely revolutionized military techniques and styles.

Firstly, Alexander the Great fought in horrific battles that rewarded him with a huge amount of land, resources and prosperity. He engaged in conflicts including the Battle of Granicus, Battle of Isus and the Battle of Tyre, leading him to conquer nations now known as Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and a large portion of India. His ambition certainly paid off, and as Arrian, an historian living at the time of Alexander wrote, ”…He would always have searched beyond for something unknown, and if there had been no other competition, he would have competed against himself. This source is quite reliable, as it reinforces other accounts of his attitude correctly, however Arrian basically recorded all the conquests of Alexander the Great, so it may be influenced or recorded with a certain bias that Alexander himself imposed. Secondly, Alexander the Great helped to establish Greek society and spread it over the world. He single handedly created aculturethat has maintained itself till this very day. It truly is a great feat to form a society, including language, etiquette, customs and traditions that will last thousands and thousands of years.

Historian Professor Paul Cartledge stated in his manuscript Hunting for a New Past “ the great leader’s achievements – both in his lifetime and posthumously are simply staggering, as they have lasted the generations to still be evident today. ” Cartledge’s opinion, although we must keep in mind it is only his opinion, is certainly reliable as he is a modern day expert on Greek culture and greek history, quoting in an edited and published official manuscript.

Lastly, the military wisdom and knowledge that Alexander the Great not only possessed, but created himself, is astounding. The number of battles and wars he planned and executed is truly great, and especially in such a successful manner. This is one of his greatest attributes, and the skill he is most remembered for. A tapestry called Alexander the Great in Battle, discovered in 1661 by archaeologist Charles le Brun, reflects upon this concept. It depicts Alexander riding into battle and slaying his enemy with strategy and premeditated decision.

Although it may be not completely reliable as it seems to portray the romantic myth of Alexander as a ferocious and fearless warrior, it does hold a concise example of his skill in military prowess. Overall, Alexander the Great deserves his namesake because despite having many character flaws, he was an exceptional man who achieved some astounding feats. The vast land he conquered at such a young age, as well as his long lasting impacts on Greek society, and finally his military intelligence and success prove that Alexander truly was a great individual.

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