Alexander the Great aspired more hopes and dreams than any man who had ever existed in the history of humanity. He was a noble hero, a righteous politician, flawless tactician, and even referred himself as the son of Zeus. To acquire the title “Great” one must do great deeds, but was Alexander truly great? By age 30, he had conquered what was the known world and that alone is a feat worth titling as great . Alexander merits the title of “Great” because he is still talked about today for his conquering of Persia and the spreading of Greek culture throughout his conquering.
As Alexander the Great left Macedonia to conquer Persia, he decided not to attack Persia first but capture Egypt, who is ruled by Persia at the time. For six months, Alexander and his army stayed in Egypt where Alex himself is brought to his knees upon seeing pyramids where people place much emphasis on rituals and worshipping. Luckily for Alexander, the Egyptians hated the Persians for having little respect for their traditions and culture, so Alexander is revered and hailed as their savior and liberator.
The Oracle of Siwa recognized Alexander’s greatness by giving him the highest honor of anointing him pharaoh. Out of respect, Alexander fused his religious deities with the Egyptians, praying to Amun as if it were Zeus. Alexander and his army travelled to the coast of Lake Mareotis in Egypt and found their location ideal for a city. His brilliant mind explained the exact layout of the future city to his architects. Here in Alexandria, the city named after him, people would worship both Egyptian and Greek gods and even utilize the harbor on the coast as a trading route.
Alexander even constructed aqueducts and an irrigation system for the city. By blending Egyptian and Greek gods and technologies from Greece to Egypt, other cultures were now adopting Greek customs and thus started Hellenism. To occupy all the Mediterranean coast, Alexander decided to attack King Darius III just south of the village of Issus in present day Turkey. Though the land was quite rough and difficult to fight on, Alexander purposely chose that location to plow through Darius’ archers who were stationed on top of the hill.
By strategizing against all the odds, Alexander the Great and his army killed many generals, Darius’ body guard, and caused Darius and his main infantry to flee. Cowardly, Darius left his wife, two children, and mother whom Alexander all captured thus, forcing Darius to send him a peace treaty. To which Alexander responded, “Your ancestors came to Macedonia and the rest of Greece and did us great harm… You sent money to my enemies and allies to fight against me and I plan to deal with you as a criminal… I am coming after you wherever you are.  Alexander’s letter reveals more incentive towards his conquering of the world and to Alexander, his cause is more than just. To Alexander, he is fighting for renown, glory, and to punish those who have done him and his culture wrong. By sending that letter back to Darius, it was the nicest way Alexander could spit in his face without actually doing so. Two years have passed since the battle of Issus and Alexander and his troops cross the Tigris and Euphrates river where Darius is rallying men from all parts of Persia. Alexander knew a great battle was destined and readied his army for the battle of Gaugamela.
By wedging his army through the cracks of Darius’ infantry, Alexander successfully broke up Darius’ army causing him to flee once more. Darius’ predecessor, Bessus, murdered Darius before he had another chance to face Alexander. Upon Alexander hearing this, he was disheartened Darius had died such a dishonorable death so he respectively gave Darius a proper burial. To many, the war between the Macedonians and Persia ended with the death of Darius, but Alexander’s greatness did not stop until he too had passed from either poison or disease in June, 323 B. C.
To have been given the chance to meet Alexander the Great would be an honor but to see through Alexander’s eyes as he saw the world would be indescribable. To him, he conquered the known world, reclaimed honor for Greece, spread the culture of his people as well as acquire knowledge of other cultures, and above all gave respect to those who perished; Alexander is beyond “Great. ”
Michael, Wood, Dir. In the Footsteps of Alexander. Dir. David Wllace. Perf. Wood, Michael. BBC, 1998. Film. . Arrian: Alexander the Great: Selections from Arrian. 1st. Cambridge University Press, 1982. 47-69. Print.