Dzhambul in the court of Alexander of Macedon?

Copyright © 2003 by Hugo S. Cunningham
Italicized text copyright © 1991 by Peter Green
first posted 20030407
redone 20030407

Source for specific cites on this page: Peter Green, Alexander of Macedon (356-323 BCE): A Historical Biography, University of California Press, Berkeley -- Los Angeles -- Oxford, 1991; cloth, 617 pp.

Introductory notes

Alexander of Macedon (aka "Alexander the Great") was the greatest general of all time, consistently winning battles even against what looked like overwhelming odds. Taking a powerful Macedonian army bequeathed to him by his gifted father Philip, he smashed, in succession, surrounding barbarian tribes to the north and west, the independent states of Greece, the Persian Empire, warlike peoples of Afghanistan and the Central Asian steppes, and kingdoms of the Indus Valley.

As a conqueror, however, he ranks below some others (notably Genghis Khan) who concerned themselves with governing their newly won territories and building lasting institutions for their heirs. Alexander's empire fell apart soon after his death.

He was reviled as a tyrant by the Greeks in whose name he claimed to rule, though in modern times he has been adopted as an icon by Greek nationalists. Though often touchingly loyal to friends, he was notably savage toward those who got in his way, even by the standards of a rather savage age. Certain people knew how to stay on his good side, however:

[from Green, p. 168]

[After crossing the Hellespont with his armies in early spring of 334 BC, Alexander made sacrifices and sought omens in Ilium.]

Return to
the home page of Dzhambul, awarded the "Order of the Red Banner of Labor" for turning out copious flattery of Comrade Stalin.