Let's all be random, shall we?

Biography


Because someone demanded that I prove I can provide both quantity as well as quality.

Alright, not quite 2000 words, but 1766 is close enough (not counting title, or bibliography)

 

Alexander the Great

He was revered as the greatest king that had ever lived, military genius combined with a charismatic posture granted him Asia, while ruthless oppression kept his starting point. He conquered his world at the early age of 32. In his twenties, he became the ruler of Macedon, leaving a trail of murders in his wake, and then took over the ancient world with a speed and efficiency unheard of. The things he did in life earned him a full blown legend that bears little resemblance to facts, filled with fantastical tales of battle. Alexander of Macedon evolved and became known as Alexander the Great. His daring exploits, intellectual endeavours and a mind to become the best, earned him a place as the king of Kings.

His childhood paved a sturdy path for his future greatness. Before his birth, which was on July 20th, 336 BC, in Pella, Macedon, and both his parents had dreams about his destined path, and upon the date of this birth, things happened. His father’s horse won a race, one of his generals conquered a city, and the temple of Artemis burned down. Supposedly, the goddess was attending the king’s birth. Philip III was greatly pleased, taking this as an omen and trained Alexander for his part as the heir. At age ten, a merchant came and brought a horse that would let no one ride it. Alexander found that the horse was afraid of its own shadow, and gently tamed the horse. Overjoyed, Philip bought him the horse, whom Alexander had named Beucephalus and stayed with him for the entirety of his life. His mother, Olympias, also spared no small part of her life on her son, getting her relative to teach Alexander. Three years later, Philip decided that Alexander required a higher education and gone scholars before setting upon Aristotle, whom taught Alexander within Meiza, where Alexander would meet many of his future generals. He developed for the works of Homer, especially the Illiad, which Aristotle granted him a copy. Perhaps, however, his future fondness for conquest stemmed from his model, Achilles.

He was driven, not crazed, ambitious, but realistic, sought deification, spawned only by evidence. Through his entire life, he was heralded as special in one way or another, through the circumstance of his birth, his intellect, or accomplishments. Before becoming king, there was a period when he was shunned by his father. After the party that celebrated Philip’s marriage to Cleopatra, Attaus made a comment on how Macedon needed a legitimate heir, implying that Alexander, who was only half Macedonian, was a bastard child, which he voiced, then, launched his goblet at his uncle, Philip then drew his sword, but pointed it not at the one who insulted his heir, but the future king himself. By either luck or drunkenness, he tripped, and fell into a useless heap on the ground, and Alexander said, “Here is the man who was making ready to cross from Europe to Asia, and who cannot even cross from one table to another without losing his balance.”(King, The Family) After this event, he fled, taking his mother with him, then dropping her off with her brother. This caused a certain imbalance within his mind, filling him with thoughts of wedding his mother and killing his father. Once he began his road of conquest, he was quickly lead to believe he was a god, with victory after victory, and an uncanny insight to the human mind. The oracles that he put faith into all provided him with answers that further pushed his self-deification to astounding heights, and insisted upon the people around him to respect him as they would a god.

Alexander’s great empire had to have started somewhere, and the base of this road of conquest. His father was an underhanded, shady type of person. Who created a strong army and relatively stable empire for which the loud, more glory driven Alexander could build upon. Their differences drawn clearly from a Roman writer’s words; “Each had his own method of gaining victory, Alexander making war openly, and Philip using trickery; the latter took pleasure is duping the enemy, the former in putting them to flight in the open.” (Cantor, page 38) Philip left Alexander a great many assets, a good education from Aristotle, an experienced army, and ambitious mother. Said mother, Olympias, disposed of any potential candidates for the throne, killing Cleopatra and her unborn child. The army that was left were experienced and efficient, forming the base of the force that would march into Persia and beyond. At age twenty, he was proclaimed king by the army and nobility. Alexander has an intelligent mind, learned quickly, was charismatic, with a personality to lead the enemy. He also had an unusual insight into the human thought process, contributing to many of the shock tactics he would later employ.

He tore through the world he lived in with frightening speed, creating an empire that stretched itself across the world they knew. At the death of Philip, many states began to revolt, ignoring advice, Alexander road into Thessaly, with 3000 cavalrymen. They road over the mountains, and was at the enemy’s rear come sunrise. They surrendered, and added to the Macedonian army, soon after, he was appointed commander of the soon to come war with Persia. He decided to secure his northern edge of the current Macedonian empire before proceeding. He displayed deep insight into the human mentality, when at the battle against Illgia, he had fallen into a trap, cut off from support and supplies, he used a shock tactic, ordering his men to form and perform their drills in utter silence. The barbarians drew closer, enthralled. Alexander waited until the best psychological moment, then, with a prearranged signal, the left flank of the cavalry charged, and the soldiers beat their spears on their shields, and let out a war cry, scared the opposing tribe and held them off until the catapults could arrive. The battle ended with a Trojan Horse technique. Without other consequence, the two rebellious rulers fled, leaving their armies behind. While this was happening, Thebes and Athens once again revolted, then Alexander again reacted immediately, the other cities hesitated, while Thebes continued with utmost vigour. It was turned into an example, with the city completely decimated. Crossing Hellespont with about 42 000 soldiers, he did not encounter any Persian forces, which was Darius’ looking down on Alexander, and not perceiving him as a threat. With the intent to stop Alexander, Memnon of Rhodes suggested to destroy all the resources Alexander’s army would need to depend on, however, the Persian rulers declined, wanting to continue their easy life, and many surrendered to Alexander with little fight, and allowed to stay. The Persian emperor placed and army of 75 000 on the bank of the Grancius River, but that had hindered the army, as it was a place advantageous to Alexander, but unhelpful to the Persian forces. After this, Darius began to consider the Macedonian force a serious threat. Alexander gained the support of the population in Asia Minor by liberating them from tyrants, while playing the part of one back in Greece. Many others had witnessed his abilities and submitted wilfully, and he replaced their rulers with ones of his own choosing. He renewed his lost vigour (from the threat of losing Greece, and possibly Macedonia) when he ‘untied’ the knot at Gordium, and gained news of Memnon’s death. At a passing that is often referred to as gates, Arsames left a small force there, taking the bulk of the army to destroy the plains that lay beyond. However, the ones that were left thought that they had been abandoned and fled, and Alexander gained entry with no problems. Darius III opposed Alexander in the Battle of Issus in Turkey, with an army much larger than Alexander’s own but once again hindered by their poor choice of the battle on a riverbank. Alexander’s small force decimated the Persian army, with 70 000 dead, and 40 000 prisoner, in contrast to Alexander suffering a loss of a mere 280. After fleeing, Darius sent a letter to his rival, offering peace, and half his land. Alexander, however, set his sights on the entirety of Asia. After, Alexander captured Tyre with a 6 month siege and a huge undertaking in the form of a causeway. After the terror at Tyre, his march into Egypt was largely unopposed with the exception of Gaza, which was eventually taken by force. He then left Egypt in 331 BC and continued into Persia and again defeated Darius in the Battle of Gaugamela were the location was advantageous to the Persians. The decisive event was when human wedges Alexander formed to cut into the Persian army. He then tracked Darius until the latter’s death at the hand of Bessus, and declared himself the ruler of the Archimiend Empire. In the winter of 327 BC, he took it upon himself to subdue the clans in the Indian subcontinent, with the ending in the Battle of Hydaspes. He admired the leader of the opposition, and granted him land and gained a capable ally. Soon, however, his army tired and nearly committed mutiny, which convinced Alexander to return instead of pressing further into India.

The end of the King’s life marked the end of his vast empire, and left a lasting mark on the world. He died an early death at age 32, on June 10th, 323 BC, in Babylon. His death was caused by poor heath, getting various diseases from his march to India, accompanied by heavy drinking, and had, “As soon as he drank from the cup he shrieked aloud as if smitten by a violent blow.” (King, Alexander’s Death)  Before his death, he was asked who to leave his empire, to which he replied, “To the strongest.” His son and brother ruled together, if only in name, and a power struggle resumed in Asia. Alexander’s escapade spread Greek culture across his conquered lands, traces of which still remain. 2000 some years after his death, today, and military academies still study his tactical pursuits and modern generals still gauge themselves against Alexander the Great.

Alexander’s foundations were solid, his mind sharp and ambitions great. Using his limited military force wisely, he defeated the vast Persian Empire, who’s numbers far surpassed his, but lead by incompetent leaders. Psychological warfare was waged with deadly accuracy and dangerous exploits were carried out with terrifying effectiveness. There are few that fit so well to the role of the king of kings better than he.

 

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2 responses

  1. True, but he called it one O.o

    February 22, 2011 at 7:51 am

  2. Jeffery

    biographies are different from essays, you know?

    February 22, 2011 at 5:30 am

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