The Successes of Alexander the Great

by Jared Garcia, Josue Souza, Aminta Gamez, Ryan Lane

http://alexandermosaik.de/en/reconstruction_of_the_mosaic.html

Alexander (far left) in the battle of Issus
Kruck, Werner. Battle of Issus. 1st century BC. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples. alexandermosaik.de Web. 5 Dec. 2015

What made Alexander “Great”?
The Macedonian King’s ambitions lent extension of Macedonian rule over Greece, Central Asia and land in India. In order to maintain Macedonian rule over a vast empire and unite people, he used several tactics to complete his conquests. Alexander was a brilliant military leader, an amazing tactician and he did so much in the years he ruled that he was named “the Great”.

What were Alexander’s tactics to unite and rule his empire?
First, defeat his enemies. Second, spread Greek ideas and mesh them with Macedonian ideas. Third, take advantage of religion as a steppingstone. Lastly, adopt foreign ways to finalize unification of people and consolidate his ruling.

How did he manage to rule an empire?
At the age of 20 Alexander takes the throne after his father, Philip II, had died. So he connects himself to Heracles, saying that he is descendent of him. Which is very important because Heracles was looked at as “the hero” of mythology. Heracles was the strongest of them all and to connect your self to someone that many people have told stories about and looked up to is very important, it allows justifies why he is the ruler of Greece and why he is allowed to rule, instead of someone else. He also links himself to the great god Zeus. He’s claimed to be Zeus’ son, there for a making himself a demigod, and essentially a hero people look up to. Throughout mythology we see that being a son of a god has its advantages since you are looked up to and are someone who shouldn’t have there authority challenge and is someone who you know has the divine right to rule.

Bust of Alexander the Great
Dunn, Andrew. AlexanderTheGreatBust. 2004. British Museum, London. andrewdunnphoto.com. Web. 5 Dec. 2015

In order to unite so many different people, what was his plan to do this?
Throughout his conquest, Alexander, the brilliant man he is, utilizes the norms and practices of other cultures, and he is able to adapt and even uses some things in other cultures to further his own power. Although he is only half Greek, Alexander understands the importance of mythology to the Greeks, and how if you are connected to a person of myth you can establish legitimacy to ruling the Greeks.
We can see an example of Alexander utilizing other cultures to gain power, when he is in Persia. He connects himself with the royal family. Not only does he connect himself to the royal family but creates a link between Greek/Macedonian and Persian gods. Alexander was trying utilized Persians gods and connects it with Greek gods so that he can have an advantage over the people in Persia to make them believe he was doing what the gods wanted him to do.
The way that Alexander was able to spread the Greek culture and ideas was in the cities he built. Like Greek cities, the cities he built in the places he conquered had marketplaces, temples, and theaters. One of the most famous of the new cities was called Alexandria. It was located in Egypt near the sea. Alexandria was designed with wide major streets crossed by narrower streets. It had many Greek features. It had a marketplace, a university, a gymnasium, and a theater. The city also boasted law courts and a library. There was even a temple dedicated to Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea within it. This shows that Alexander was not only able to conquer Egypt, but he was also able to convince them to adopt major parts of the Greek culture within a newly built city.
Alexander’s plan to use the religion of the place he is conquering. When he began to attempt to conquer Egypt and Persia he recognized their gods and treated them as equals to the Greek gods. He would visit oracle sites, make sacrifices, and would have temples built in their honor. On one occasion, he visited the oracle site of the Egyptian god Ammon. When he arrived, a priest welcomed him as “God’s son.” When the priest said this it helped Alexander gain the loyalty of the Egyptians. After being called “Gods son”, Alexander began encouraged the idea that he himself was a god. After his visit to the Egyptian oracle, he began to start wearing a crown of two rams’ horns. This crown was the sacred headdress of the Egyptian god Ammon. Seeing Alexander wearing the crown encouraged the Egyptians to accept him as a god. So by accepting and then becoming part of the Egyptian religion, Alexander was able to be hugely accepted by Egyptians and then was also able to keep peace between Greek and Egyptian culture while he was conquering Egypt.

Were his conquests successful?
An example of Alexander the Great successfully utilizing other cultures to benefit him is when he is invading India. His conquests in India lead him to a battle against 2 kings of Indian tribes. During the battle the Indian army had brought out something that Alexander had never seen in battle before, which were the war elephants. Alexander the Great was not accustomed to fighting war elephants since he never had, so he was brilliantly able to adapt to these new instrument of war and was able to defeat the elephants. It is only because Alexander is so gifted in being able to adapt to different cultures and adapt to the situation at hand that he was able to defeat the Indian army.
Another example is when he goes into Egypt during the campaigns of Persia. Egypt saw him as a liberator and welcomed him with open arms. Alexander the Great sets up the city of Alexandria to link it to Greece. Also wile in Egypt he rebuilds temples for the Greeks, and he openly embraces the Egyptian culture, which can be seen as a political move to try and have them as an ally or even try to rule Egypt himself.
Alexander’s tactic to show respect for the cultures of the people he conquered. For example, in Persia he adopted the Persian system of government. He allowed Persian governors to run the day-to-day business of their lands. Alexander also borrowed Persian customs. He began wearing decorative Persian-style clothes. He received official visitors as a Persian king would, in a luxurious tent. The tent was supported by 30-foot columns. The columns were covered in gold and silver and decorated with precious stones. Alexander even encouraged marriage between Macedonians and Persians. He himself even married the eldest daughter of Darius.

Alexander covering the body of Darius with his cape
Steakley, James. Den Leichnam des Darius. 2009. Privately Owned. Wikimedia.com. Web. 5 Dec. 2015.

 

In Conclusion
Alexander the Great was a man that conquered many places. The places that are most surprising are Persia and Egypt, he was able to conquer Egypt by mixing into their religion and make him very trustworthy to them. He was able to conquer Persia by embracing their style of clothing and making himself look very much like a Persian. He not only made himself look like a Persian but he demanded that he be greeted like a Persian king when meeting people. By doing these things and fully embracing other cultures and their beliefs, Alexander the Great was well liked everywhere, even while he was conquering their land.

Works Cited

Walbank, Frank W. “Alexander the Great | King of Macedonia.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 07 Apr. 2015. Web. 05 Dec. 2015. <http://www.britannica.com/biography/Alexander-the-Great&gt;.
Pomeroy, Sarah B. A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society, and Culture. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. Print.

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Aside

Jacquelyn, Kristen, Miranda

BASICS

Socrates who was believed to be born in Classical Athens had lived his childhood during the Golden Age. Where his father Sophroniscus made a living as a stonemason and his mom, Phaenarete had been a midwife.

          YOUNG SOCRATES

Socrates_Louvre

Bust of Socrates

THE YOUNG PHILOSOPHER

Many people seemed to give Socrates a bad reputation since he would walk around Athens with his hair a mess, with no shoes, and with dirty clothes. People started to wonder why he went from a war hero to someone who seemed to not care anymore. Socrates had started living his life constantly questioning what he was doing, and how to live what he had called a “good” life. As a philosopher he gained many followers of his beliefs. One of his well-known followers or “student” was another philosopher named Plato. Who would later carry out Socrates’s philosophical ways. Socrates was known for constantly pushing the limits of ones human knowledge.

HIS FOCUS IN LIFE

  • Euthyphro – Piety/Impiety
    • The persecution of Socrates questions on whether his actions are deemed piety/impiety. In the discussion with Euthyphro, Socrates can be seen in the story as a patient witness to Euthyphro claims on the right path towards being piety. As he claims when he heads to his on personal trial on the same day of Socrates as the plaintiff to a murder that he believes was committed by his own father. Socrates on the other hand can be seen heading to trail for being accused of corrupting the youth and lack of faith in the gods. Though compared to Socrates own trial, he can be shocked of this knowledge of knowing that Euthyphro has brought about charges against his own father. Due to the knowledge of the ways of the value of connections between families in Ancient Greece, in which family is the most important factor in Greek culture. Though the main focus of “Euthyphro” is whether the actions of his father lead him towards the path of impiety. Seeing as one of the workers of Euthyphro’s father was in fact at fault for killing one of his servants, he sought justice by sending a messenger off to the city to see the steps needed to be taken to complete this task. Although in the process of doing this he had decided to tie up the killer and toss him a ditch till the appointed time, who unfortunately didn’t live to hear the messenger’s verdict due Euthyphro’s father’s lack of care throughout the time. This Euthyphro deems enough fact to charge his own father for his actions that lead towards the man’s death. This leads Socrates to begin questioning Euthyphro’s on the facts that make a man to be pious, which causes an obscuring view of a determined answer of a proper term for piety/impiety. Though from a person’s own perspective that piety can only be achieved if they hold a honest/pure amount of virtue and their own beliefs.

 

  • Death and Immortality

 

  • Symposium
    •  The speech given by Socrates concerning the “Ladder of Love”, best describes the process of how humans build up a close relations towards one another. All human beings that are born into existence wish to be remembered in some way in hopes of staying immortal to others in history. To succeed in this great heroic figures would be portrayed in sacrificing themselves for those they love in retribution and passion. The “Ladder of Love”, basically shows us the stages of human interest for one another through desire for another body to the possible similarities between one another and how they truly connect in the final stages, such as in observing that persons characteristics and knowledge within them. Although humans can be seen searching for love in

      hopes of living life forever due to the magnificent feelings it grants them. Although in learning love in this process is that love doesn’t have to be about a person physically touching another human being, but also spiritual, such as loving another from a distance and knowing their partner feels the same for them.

      The explanatory strengths of this speech is that it describes the facts of how an actual person in the motion of the beginning, middle, and ending of falling in love with one another. Although the theory of Socrates speech could questionable, due to the fact that the source he originally found this speech could be lacking some truth, especially with the facts that Socrates himself claims that not even he knew that much about love. Though the philosophical work that’s portrayed within the speech in process of desire for a lover to having a deeper understanding for their personal being.

 

  • On the Nature of the Soul

 

  • Republic
    • In books I and II, Socrates and his fellow scholars can be found within Celphalus’ house, speaking of how to achieve a good lifesocrates and platothrough the process of justice. Thus causing Socrates to give his own speculation of the term of justice, which he believes to be the process of “telling the truth and paying ones debts” as the only exempt way to achieving a good life. Although this causes each scholar within the house to go into a deeper discussion of the advantages and disadvantages with his own term of justice, thus giving their own conclusions over the form of justice.

EXECUTION

  • Was tried for two charges:
    • Corrupting the youth
    • Impiety
      • Failed to acknowledge the Gods
      • Created new Gods, or lack thereof
  • He also questioned almost everything, which Greek authority did not agree with
  • Was killed by being forced to drink Hemlock, a poisonous plant.

 

death-of-socrates-H

Works Cited

  • Plato, and C. D. C. Reeve. “Euthyphro.” A Plato Reader: Eight Essential 

Dialogues. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2012. N. pag. Print.

  • Plato, and C. D. C. Reeve. “Republic.” A Plato Reader: Eight Essential

Dialogues. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2012. N. pag. Print.

  • Plato, and C. D. C. Reeve. “Symposium.” A Plato Reader: Eight Essential

Dialogues. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2012. N. pag. Print.

 

Spartan Agoge

WHAT IS IT: AGOGE IS THE RIGOROUS EDUCATION AND TRAINING REGIME THAT WAS MANDATORY FOR ALL MALE CITIZENS EXCEPT THE FIRSTBORNS OF RULING HOUSES IN ANCIENT GREECE.

WHEN DID IT START:AS SOON AS A CHILD WAS BORN IN SPARTA, THE MOTHER WOULD WASH IT WITH WINE, IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE THAT IT WAS STRONG. IF THE CHILD WAS WEAK, IT WOULD DIE SOON. LATER IT WAS BROUGHT BY HIS FATHER TO THE ELDERS, WHO INSPECTED CAREFULLY THE NEWBORN INFANT. IF THEY FOUND THAT THE CHILD WAS DEFORMED OR WEAKLY, THEY THREW IT INTO KAIDA, THE SO CALLED APOTHETAE, A CHIASM AT A CLIFF, OF THE MOUNT TAYGETOS.WHEN THE YOUNG SPARTAN BOY REACHED SEVEN HE WAS DEEMED TOO OLD TO BE CODDLED BY HIS PARENTS AND WAS TAKEN FROM THEM TO LIVE A MILITARY LIFE FOR THE REST OF HIS EXISTENCE.

IT BEGINS: HE WAS PLACED IN A COMMUNAL BARRACKS WITH OTHERS HIS AGE, SUPERVISED BY AN OLDER BOY REFERRED TO AS A EIRENA WHO HAD RESPECTIVELY BEEN THE STRONGEST IN HIS CLASS (AND WAS HIMSELF UNDERGOING SOMETHING LIKE OFFICER TRAINING). FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS THESE SPARTAN BOYS WERE CONDITIONED PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY.
THEY  WERE EDUCATED ENOUGH TO COUNT SOLDIERS IN A FORMATION, READ WAR SAGAS AND SING AND RECITE WAR POETRY. INSTRUCTED IN SCHOLASTICS, WARFARE, STEALTH, HUNTING AND ATHLETICS
SUFFERING INCREASES: AT AGE 12, INITIATES WERE DEPRIVED OF ALL CLOTHING EXCEPT FOR A RED CLOAK(HIMATATION) AND FORCED TO SLEEP OUTSIDE AND MAKE THEIR OWN BEDS FROM REEDS FROM THE BANKS OF EUROTAS. THESE INITIATES WERE TAUGHT TO ENDURE PAIN,HUNGER,THIRST,COLD,FATIGUE,AND A LACK OF SLEEP AND WOULD EVEN BATHE IN COLD WATERS. THERE WAS NO ARGUING WITH SUPERIORS OR DENYING/IGNORING THE LAWS OF LYCURGUS

THE SPARTAN BOYS WERE ENCOURAGED TO STEAL FOOD. IF THEY WERE CAUGHT THEY WERE PUNISHED BUT NOT FOR STEALING BUT FOR BEING CAUGHT.A WELL-KNOWN STORY THAT PROVES THE SPARTAN TRAINING AND LOYALTY IS THIS: ONCE, A  SPARTAN BOY CAPTURED A LIVE FOX AND INTENDED TO EAT IT. ALTHOUGH BOYS WERE ENCOURAGED TO SCROUNGE FOR FOOD, THEY WERE PUNISHED IF CAUGHT. THE BOY NOTICED SOME SPARTAN SOLDIERS COMING, AND HID THE FOX BENEATH HIS SHIRT. WHEN THE SOLDIERS CONFRONTED HIM, HE ALLOWED THE FOX TO CHEW INTO HIS STOMACH RATHER THAN CONFESS, AND SHOWED NO SIGN OF PAIN IN HIS BODY OR FACE. THIS WAS THE SPARTAN WAY

TRAINING: SPARTAN INITIATES WERE TRAINING IN RUNNING,JUMPING,THROWING SPEARS, MARCH, PATROLS, AMBUSHES AND MOCK BATTLES.
THERE WAS SPECIAL ATTENTION TO CLIMB HILLS AND DESCEND SAFELY

spartan-wrestling
THOSE WHO DEMONSTRATED MOST LEADERSHIP WERE SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE KYPTERIA
EVERY AUTUMN, ACCORDING TO PLUTARCH ,THE SPARTAN WOULD PRO FORMADECLARE WAR ON THE HELOT POPULATION SO THAT ANY SPARTAN CITIZEN COULD KILL A HELOT WITHOUT FEAR OF BLOOD GUILT.

THE KRYPTES WERE SENT OUT INTO THE COUNTRYSIDE WITH ONLY A KNIFE TO SURVIVE ON THEIR SKILLS AND CUNNING WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS TO KILL ANY HELOT THEY ENCOUNTERED AT NIGHT AND TO TAKE ANY FOOD THEY NEEDED. ONLY SPARTANS WHO HAD SERVED IN THE KRYPTEIA AS YOUNG MEN COULD EXPECT TO ACHIEVE THE HIGHEST RANKS IN SPARTAN SOCIETY AND ARMY. IT WAS FELT THAT ONLY THOSE SPARTANS WHO SHOWED THE ABILITY AND WILLINGNESS TO KILL FOR THE STATE AT A YOUNG AGE WERE WORTHY TO JOIN THE LEADERSHIP IN LATER YEARS.
AT AGE 20 WAS THE END OF THE AGOGE AND MILITARY SERVICE BEGAN UNTIL THE AGE OF 60 . THE SPARTAN SOLDIER WAS HOUSED IN A PUBLIC BARRACS OF 15 OR SO TO EAT AND SLEEP. THIS WAS DONE UNTIL THE AGE OF 30 WHEN HE COULD LIVE WITH HIS WIFE.
ANY SPARTAN THAT WAS WASHED OUT OF THE AGOGE WOULD SHAME HIS FAMILY AND THE BLOODLINE WOULD MOST IKELY NOT BE PERMITTED TO CONTINUE FROM THAT SON.

WORKS CITED
HTTP://WWW.SIKYON.COM/SPARTA/AGOGI_EG.HTML
HTTP://SUITE101.COM/A/AGOGE-SPARTAN-MILITARY-TRAINING-A15311
HTTP://WWW.HISTORY.COM/NEWS/HISTORY-LISTS/8-REASONS-IT-WASNT-EASY-BEING-SPARTAN
HTTP://PENELOPE.UCHICAGO.EDU/THAYER/E/ROMAN/TEXTS/PLUTARCH/MORALIA/SAYINGS_OF_SPARTANS*/UNKNOWN.HTML
HTTP://WWW.HISTORYWIZ.COM/DIDYOUKNOW/SPARTANFAMILY.HTM
HTTP://HISTCLO.COM/CHRON/ANCIENT/GRE/CITY/SPAR/SPAR-GF.HTML
GYMNASIUM OF VIRTUE (STUDIES IN THE HISTORY OF GREECE AND ROME)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The City Dionysia

Artist's Impression of Theater of Dionysus

City Dionysia

Kairete! (Greetings!) Grab your favorite festival food—nuts, dates, figs, grapes… and of course, a glass of wine, and settle in to the City Dionysia, the festival of the god of wine and ecstasy. The festival that produced some of the greatest tragedies of all time and is one of a few festivals honoring the god who is often left out of other ancient epic literature and history. The City Dionysia was a festival that began in the 6th century BCE. It was held in Athens in honor of the god Dionysus Eleuthereus. The festival was a city-wide event, attended by women, men, children, and even slaves. Many people traveled from all over Greece for the festival. (3)Neck Amphora

Who was Dionysus?

Dionysus (Bacchus in Roman mythology) is the god of wine, fertility (particularly agricultural and male), madness/drunkenness, and poetic drama. He was also connected with death and re-birth. His female followers, or cult, were called the maianades in Greek and the bacchants in Latin. (2)

Dionysus is purported to be the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele. When Hera heard that Semele was pregnant by Zeus, she appeared to her as a crone and convinced her to doubt that Zeus was the father.   Semele was killed instantaneously when she demanded to see Zeus in his full form to prove that he was in fact the father of her child. Zeus then removed Dionysus from his mother’s womb and re-made him, and placed him in his thigh, from which he was born. He married Ariadne, daughter of Minos, king of Crete. Ariadne had been previously abandoned on an island by Theseus.  There are other stories conflicting with this one, however Zeus is a constant in the other myths and this is the most well-known story of his origin.

Some images associated with Dionysus are the satyr (man-goat), the wine chalice, the ivy wreath, the thyrsus (a staff with a pine cone at top—a phallic symbol of male virility), grapes and grape vines, and the phallus itself. (2)

What was the City Dionysia?

All other sanctuaries were closed, removing access to other deities. The dead were able to roam around the city during the festival, emphasizing the link between death/re-birth and Dionysus.

At sunset of the first day Pthoigia, the festival begins with the opening of the first wine of the year. The statue of Dionysus was carried from the temple to the Theater of Dionysus at the foot of the Acropolis. During the procession, young girls carried phalloi, or phalluses.The temple was sprinkled with the blood of pigs sacrificed to Dionysus for purification prior to the performances.

The second day, called Choes included drinking contests—participants sat in silence while chugging the wine.

The third day, Chrytoi, begins at sunset of the second day. The wife of the king becomes the wife of Dionysus, copulating with him that night (or a masked person). This was also the day of tragic performance.

The worship of Dionysus was conducted in this way for a number of reasons. Firstly—to celebrate fertility and the flourishing of the vines, the first wine of the year was consumed at the festival. Secondly, the performance of the dramas was a way to encourage crowd participation in the imitations and the madness of suspending disbelief and to take part in cognitive efforts as a community by experiencing thoughtful reflections on their values and society. (1,3)

Who was involved?

Typically a political figure would sponsor the events to bring name recognition and positive rapport to his political ambitions.  The tragedians would also write and direct performances of their plays for the tragedy competitions, using male actors and chorus members. The most famous of the Athenian tragedians were Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. (1,3,4)

What is the relevance of the festival?

The City Dionysia as a concept may at first seem an absurd combination of wine, worship, and drama but we continue to participate in community activities like this today. Concerts, movies, sporting events, even political rallies can produce the ecstatic feeling of being outside of oneself and part of the community as a whole. Not only that, but the tragedies performed served as inspiration and foundation for many classics of the Western World—including Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy, among many others.

Sources:

  1. In The Theater of Dionysos, Richard C. Sewell, 2007, McFarland & Company Publishers, North Carolina, USA
  2. Library; Apollodorus; Anthology of Classical Myth; 2004;  Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis, IN
  3.  The Dramatic Festivals of Athens Sir Arthur Pickard-Cambridge, 1968, Oxford University Press London, England
  4. Pomeroy, S. B., Burstein, S. M., Donlan, W., & Roberts, J. T.; 2009, Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York, 10016

Image Sources

  1. http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=tappan&book=greek&story=pericles Retrieved 12/6/2013
  2. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Neck_amphora_Dionysos_Louvre_F36bis.jpg Retrieved 12/6/2013