Influences of Alexander the Great
In the span of twelve years, the Macedonian king Alexander the Great conquered a vast empire stretching from Greece to modern day Pakistan, consuming the great Persian empire and absorbing many smaller kingdoms in the process. Alexander was a headstrong, violent, extremely brave, politically cunning, and gifted leader who was loved by his men. Very few individuals throughout history have affected the world to such an extent as he. This essay will examine the effects of Alexander the Great’s campaigns and explain why they were so influential in shaping western world. The effects of these campaigns that will be examined are his unification of western civilization and how they changed western culture, his making Greek the common language throughout his empire and the effects of this, and his legacy as a political and military leader and how they have influenced people throughout history.
To begin with we will examine the effects of what is considered Alexander’s Greatest accomplishment, the conquest and unification of the western half of the European continent. By conquering and replacing quarrelsome kingdoms with more amicable leaders, Alexander was able to exact an era of peace across his empire. Instead of imposing his own ideas of truth, religion, or behavior upon those he conquered, as long as they willingly kept the supply lines open to feed and equip his troop, he let them practice their native beliefs. This is important because it placated the conquered people, preventing revolt as well as allow for the relatively peaceful flow of culture and philosophy throughout the western continent. Greek however had the strongest influence during this period because of Alexander’s conquest. His empire, at it’s height, which spanned from Greece to modern day Pakistan, was conquered through a series of campaigns directly led by himself. Not once was he defeated by an enemy general in his campaigns. The most notable of these was the one against the Persian empire. It is estimated that 50 million people, or approximately 40% of the world's population, lived in the persian empire at this time. The Persian army was considered the most powerful the world had ever seen. Had Alexander been defeated at the battle of Issus, Granicus or any number of other critical battles during this campaign, it is possible that the Persian thought rather than the Athenian thought would have contributed to western philosophy. Instead, his conquest of Persia and a number of smaller kingdoms allowed for the diffusion of cultures throughout his empire after his death. This diffusion came to be known as the Hellenistic Age, which literally means the dissemination of greek culture. That is because this period was the pinnacle of Greek influence in the ancient world; it was an age where Greeks, Persians and Asiatic cultures became intertwined. This cultural diffusion was so impactful that, even when the Romans came to power centuries later, they still felt the influence of this period. One example can be seen in Roman religion. Of the Roman gods and goddesses, many bear striking resemblance to Greek god’s. This is because as time passed, The Roman’s adopted the Greek god’s, absorbing them into their own pantheons. Another example is the influence of Greek art. Portraits became more realistic, and the use of Greek style portraits continued on into the Parthian period. In essence Alexander’s conquests led to the deep rooting of Greek influence throughout western history. His policies and methods allowed for the diffusion of cultures that can still be felt today. For a time, for better or worse, the Western world became a single place. It was united by a common culture and language that left its mark on literature, language, and politics.
Another influence that was a direct result of Alexander The Great’s conquest was the diffusion of the Greek language across the continent. As the greek culture...
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