ALEXANDER THE GREAT Themes: Religion, Divinity and Propaganda
Alexander’s Ancestors Heroes to be honoured Achievers to match… …and to surpass?
The Conquest of Asia Minor Troy Granicus River (334BC) Gordium Miletus Halicarnassus Issus (333BC) Tarsus map: www.wargamer.com
The Visit to Troy • Why Troy? • A very famous place • Alex’s army was new Gk army, reconquering the East. • Alex wanted to stress his association with Achilles • Personal curiosity may have played a part. • Re-enactment • Tomb of the first Greek soldier to set foot on Trojan soil. • Sacrificed to several gods during crossing. • Visited Troy, where Alexander and Hephaistion laid wreaths on the tombs of Achilles and Patroclus. • Performed sacrifices at Troy.
The Gordian Knot Read Hamilton’s account of Alexander at Gordium (pg.64) and note down the different ways that the primary sources say Alexander solved the problem of the Gordian Knot: Callisthenes: (Aristotle’s nephew and Alex’s official historian) Aristobulous: (One of Alex’s generals)
Egypt Welcomes Alexander Video click here. Hamilton, page 75 • Three stops: • Memphis (Cairo) • Alexandria • Siwah Hamilton, page 74 Hamilton, page 74
Callisthenes and Proskynesis • What does this issue have to do with: • Religion? • Propaganda? • Alexander’s nature?
The Rock of Aornus Not strategically important, but…
The Town of Nysa Also not strategically important, but… 'Sire, it is the request of the people of Nysa that you show your reverence far Dionysus by leaving them free and independent. For when Dionysus, after his conquest of the Indians, was on his way homeward towards the Greek sea, he founded this city as a memorial of his long journey and his victory, leaving to inhabit it those of his men who were no longer fit for service - who were also his Priests. He did but as you have done; for you too founded Alexandria in the Caucasus and Alexandria in Egypt and many other cities as well, and will found yet more hereafter, in that you will have surpassed the achievements of Dionysus.” - Arrian
The Mutiny at the River Beas (Hyphasis) Soon after the Jhelum battle, Alexander’s men refused to go any further. Alexander sulked in his tent, but his men refused to budge. So Alexander ordered a sacrifice to the gods to see whether the Macedonians should cross the Beas River. The priests reported that they should turn back.
The Theoroi (Sacred Envoys) “If Alexander wants to be the son of Zeus, let him. Why not Poseidon too, while he’s at it?” – Demosthenes of Athens
Alexander’s Competitive Nature and Need for Glory Gordium Zeus’s wagon Troy Achilles / Greeks Nysa Dionysus Siwah Son of Zeus? Gedrosian Desert Persian Kings Rock of Aornus Heracles Babylon A Living God?
The Request for Deification Alexander’s megalomania reached its peak in 324BC, when he requested to be deified (acknowledged as a god). This request was unusual for a living person to make, but would put him on a par with past heroes like Heracles. “If Alexander wants to be the son of Zeus, let him. Why not Poseidon too, while he’s at it?” – Demosthenes of Athens Soon after this, Alexander received sacred envoys (theoroi) from the Greek States to grant his wish by crowning him with gold. They may also have come to question him about the Exiles Decree.
The Death of Hephaestion • Hamilton pages 145-146 • When, how and why did Hephaestion die? • List the ways that Alexander grieved for him. A great site telling Hephaistion’s story: http://myweb.unomaha.edu/~jreameszimmerman/Hephaistion/hephaistion.html
The Death of Alexander Three Bad Omens… Read Hamilton pgs 147-148 and explain what these were. Alexander caught malarial fever after a night of heavy drinking and died two weeks later on June 10, 323BC. Read Hamilton’s account pages 151-153. Q: What is the possible ‘conspiracy theory’ surrounding Alexander’s death?
After Alexander – ‘The Hellenistic Age’ 300BC – The Kingdoms of the Successors Lysimachus Cassander Seleucus Ptolemy