Was Alexander The Great Really That Great?

Alexander (356-323BC) was to become one the greatest soldier-generals the world had ever seen.

According to ancient sources, however, he was physically unprepossessing. Short and stocky, he was a hard drinker with a ruddy complexion, a rasping voice, and an impulsive temper which on one occasion led him to kill his companion Cleitus in a violent rage.

As his years progressed he became paranoid and megalomaniacal. However, in 10 short years from the age of 20 he forged a vast empire stretching from Egypt to India. Never defeated in battle, he made use of innovative siege engines every bit as as effective as the fabled Trojan Horse, and founded 20 cities that bore his name, including Alexandria in Egypt.

His military success was little short of miraculous, and in the eyes of an ancient world devoted to warfare and conquest it was only right to accord him the title of “Great”.

See other: Which Greek Legends Were Really True?

5 thoughts on “Was Alexander The Great Really That Great?

  1. Unsurprisingly, no conqueror has ever billed himself as, (blank) , the Mediocre.

  2. ‘Miraculous’ contains the thread of the unexplainable. I once spent 55k words explaining how Alexander the Great came to be great, to the Romans (no one called him ‘The Great’ before the Italians did) and it very much dispelled the grandiosity of the man. However, I think it is safe to assume no other Alexander even came close to achieving what he achieved and, in that sense, isn’t he The Great Alexander?

  3. In other words, Alexander wasn’t that Great, but any man who left such a legacy as he did – be they a mix of fables and real accomplishments – must have achieved something worthy of note?

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