Alexander: The Ambiguity of Greatness by Guy MacLean Rogers

By Guy MacLean Rogers

For almost and a part millennia, Alexander the good has loomed over heritage as a legend–and an enigma. Wounded again and again yet continuously effective in conflict, he conquered many of the identified global, simply to die mysteriously on the age of thirty-two. In his day he was once respected as a god; in our day he has been reviled as a mass assassin, a tyrant as brutal as Stalin or Hitler.

Who used to be the fellow in the back of the masks of strength? Why did Alexander embark on an extraordinary application of worldwide domination? What accounted for his incredible luck at the battlefield? during this luminous new biography, the esteemed classical student and historian man MacLean Rogers sifts via hundreds of thousands of years of historical past and fable to discover the reality approximately this complicated, ambiguous genius.

Ascending to the throne of Macedonia after the assassination of his father, King Philip II, Alexander came upon whereas slightly out of his youngsters that he had a unprecedented expertise and a boundless urge for food for army conquest. A virtuoso of violence, he used to be proficient with an uncanny skill to imagine how a conflict may spread, coupled with devastating decisiveness within the box. Granicus, Issos, Gaugamela, Hydaspes–as the victories fixed, Alexander’s ardour for conquest accelerated from towns to international locations to continents. while Persia, the best empire of his day, fell prior to him, he marched right now on India, meaning to upload it to his holdings.

As Rogers exhibits, Alexander’s army prowess purely heightened his exuberant sexuality. although his flavor for a number of companions, either female and male, was once tolerated, Alexander’s quite enlightened remedy of girls was once not anything wanting innovative. He outlawed rape, he put clever girls in positions of authority, and he selected his other halves from one of the peoples he conquered. certainly, as Rogers argues, Alexander’s fascination with Persian tradition, customs, and sexual practices can have resulted in his downfall, maybe even to his death.

Alexander emerges as a charismatic and strangely smooth figure–neither a messiah nor a genocidal butcher yet some of the most resourceful and bold army tacticians of all time. Balanced and authoritative, this terrific portrait brings Alexander to existence as a guy, with out diminishing the facility of the legend.

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The Sibyl predicts catastrophe for Egyptian idolators, laid low by the hand of God through the agency of an Asian conqueror, and then redeemed when they prostrate themselves before the true Immortal. 26 Once again, the eschatology holds central place and drives the entire passage. In this context it looks ahead to the smashing of idolatry, to transformation, conversion, and redemption. 27 A noteworthy point demands attention, one missed by all those who have written on the subject. Designations like Ptolemy VI or Ptolemy VII may be a convenience for modern scholars, but they lack ancient authority.

Pl. Phdr. 315. See Nikiprowetzky (1970), 37±53; Peretti (1943), 53±69. 90 See Sib. Or. 3. 1±7, 162±4, 196±8, 295±9, 489±91, 698±9. 91 Ibid. 110±55, 401±32. 92 Ibid. 248±56, 414±18. 93 Ibid. 809±29. 89 36 Erich Gruen appropriation indeed. The Sibyl's origins precede even Babel. She thus asserts a universal heritage, embodying Hebrew traditions and later subsuming the authority of the Erythraean Sibyl, most venerated of the Hellenic prophetesses. Jewish identity stands in the forefront here. The keepers of the faith who had also absorbed pagan learning, literature, and legends claimed a place in both worlds but held ®rm to their core.

Similar doubts need to be applied to other inferences about historical events or personages lurking behind the Sibyl's dark pronouncements. 51 But Mithridates would hardly qualify as a `mistress'. And his fearsome war against Romans and Italians would certainly not suit a prediction of subsequent peace and harmony. Elsewhere, a cryptic oracle regarding Macedonian terrors unleashed upon Asia has stimulated a wealth of scholarly speculation. 49 Cf. Hor. Epod. 9; Carm. 1. 37; Verg. Aen. 8. 675±728; Prop.

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