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Who is ?Great??
In history there are few people who can be termed ?Great? and even fewer who deserve to be called so. Alexander, the son of King Phillip of the Macedonians, was one of these truly ?Great? people. He not merely ruled the largest know empire, was declared a God, lead his troops in battle, and conquered foreign cities, his first being at the age of sixteen, but he did it all within a thirteen year time period.
Not only did he do all of this, but also it was done within thirteen years. When Alexander became the new King of Macedonia, many believed him to be to young to rule. They felt that he didn?t have the experience needed to be their new leader. They had no way of knowing of the many things that he would come to accomplish in such a short time period.
Alexander?s first great accomplishment occurred when he was just sixteen years old. At this time, his father went away to war leaving Alexander to serve as a regent of Macedon. During his father?s absence, Alexander led an expedition to a wild region that is now known as modern day Bulgaria. Once there, he subdued the rebellious barbarians and established his first city, Alexandropolis. On the return from his trip, King Philip was so impressed by his son?s achievement that he appointed him a general in the royal army. (www.mrdowlings.com)
When Alexander turned his attack towards Persia, his forces were much smaller than his opponent?s. Alexander?s army conquered Persia anyway, by
winning a series of battles in which his troops were better trained and organized than the Persian army. His soldiers also admired Alexander because of his personal participation in the battles. He led his soldiers into battle instead of remaining behind the lines as was common for military leaders to do at that time. This allowed the troops to see that Alexander was sharing their danger, and was not asking them to take any risks he would not take himself. Later on, he once again went to march with his troops across a large body of water on their way to a surprise attack on Craterus. During this invasion, Alexander becomes the first commander to use something like a platoon. A platoon is a military unit that is composed of two or more squads or sections, normally under the command of a lieutenant. His method of crossing the river so long ago is still used today. (Dodge, 19)
In 332 B.C.E., Alexander moved southward into Egypt where he rested his troops. The Egyptians welcomed him as a hero since he freed then from the ruthless Persian rule. For his remarkable accomplishment, the Egyptians crowned him as their new pharaoh and declared him a god. Shortly afterward, he founded the magnificent city of Alexander Egypt, which became the foundation of learning and Egyptian culture. (Burns, 205)
These things are not easy tasks that everybody is capable of doing. In order to conquer such a great landmass, this king must no only have to be an excellent military leader, but a trusted person as well. Then to be named a god is something that very few mortal people have been able to accomplish. Alexander the Great was indeed a person with a trail of great accomplishments, which entitles him to bare the name ?Great.?
Burns, Edward McNall; Hull, Richard W.; Lerner, Robert E.; Mecham, Standish; Ralph, Phillip Lee; Wood, Alan T.. World Civilization- Ninth Edition, New York, New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1997
Dodge, Theodore Ayrault. Great Captains, Port Washington, New York: Kennikat press, 1968
Mr. Dolings Electronic Passport, http://www.mrdowling.com Fall 2000
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