Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great - Clas-150g Professor Farenga 11/29/07...

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Clas-150g Professor Farenga 11/29/07 Alexander: Champion or Betrayer? Alexander’s image has often been shrouded by dispute. His actions and undertakings have left scholars and historians in debate about whether Alexander was a Greek hero or a villain. Despite negative notions commonly associated with his rule, the often-unrealized legacy left by Alexander profoundly impacted the world. It is important to remember that before Alexander Greek and Macedonian culture had been centered around the Aegean Sea; after him, most of the known world had been Hellenized. (Stewart 1) 5 . Alexander’s Hellenization of the world changed the world people lived in and resulted in the wide-spread Greek influence seen in the world today. There is no question then that Alexander the Great championed Greek cultures and values throughout the world and was thus a champion of Greece. On the advent of Alexander’s sudden ascension to the throne Macedonia was at a major crossroads. King Philip II of Macedonia had completed the subjugation of the Greeks to the south and was setting his sights on the great Persian Empire to the east. Philip’s untimely murder, however, left the kingdom without a definite heir. (Fox 20) 2 . Alexander, his son, was the front-runner for the position of king upon his father’s death, but he faced competition. (Adams 57) 1 Alexander quickly had people with legitimate claim to the throne deposed of and took deliberate steps to ensure his kingship. People who claim that Alexander was a tyrant might cite
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this source against him saying that he killed all those who stood in his way in cold blood, not following traditional Macedonian law. However, just the opposite is true. If war broke out between Philip’s potential successors, each vying for Philip’s throne, thousands of lives would have been lost. Furthermore, it was only customary for a shuffle of power to occur among the candidates for the throne. These power struggles often turned into full-fledged civil wars, resulting in mass bloodshed. Alexander’s determination resulted in him making a strong stand and asserting himself as king of Macedon, saving countless lives. Soon after Philip died and Alexander launched a campaign against Macedonia’s enemies to the north, there was trouble in Greece. Demosthenes, the Athenian orator, spread rumors of Alexander’s death, hoping to incite a revolt against the Macedonians. Thebes, ecstatic to hear such news, took immediate action and attacked and killed two Macedonian guards and proceeded to besiege the Macedonian garrison on the Cadmeia. (Pomeroy 272) 4 Alexander, upon hearing the news, rushed down to Thebes and demanded their immediate surrender. It is important to note that Alexander gave Thebes the chance to surrender multiple times, hoping to end the conflict without bloodshed. Thebes, however, was not interested in a peaceful resolution. On the fourth day, Alexander attacked the city with his Greek allies from the Corinthian League. During
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This essay was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course CLAS 150g taught by Professor Farenga during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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Alexander the Great - Clas-150g Professor Farenga 11/29/07...

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