Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Drangiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Macedonia, Philip’s life-work - Alexander’s heritage.

When we read about Alexander the Great, we easily get the impression that he is the genius who decided to cross the Hellespont to conquer the rest of the world, winning every single battle and playing the political correct move each time he encounters a new city on his path.

Evidently, he had to settle a few matters “back home” first but they seem futile in comparison of what is achieved later on in Asia. Such a statement is only partially true since we have little or no background information of what the status of and in Macedonia was when Alexander became king in 336 BC. Ancient writers have not been very helpful in that field as they generally start Alexander’s history at the moment he sets out to Asia. Plutarch is the only one to relate some details about his youth. So, it is not surprising that our overall picture of Alexander is somehow distorted.

  
Pushing aside the heroics for the moment, we know that Alexander at the age of 16 was made Regent of Macedonia by his father, King Philip II who was leading a dangerous campaign around Perinthus. The King’s calculated assignment to appoint his son with such a trustworthy position cannot be underestimated! When Alexander was 18 years old, Philip felt confident enough to place him opposite the Theban Band at the Battle of Chaeronea, where the young prince and his cavalry killed the unbeatable Theban Band to the last man, eliminating a centuries-long entity for good. King Philip must have been very clever and realistic to judge the capabilities of his son. Not many fathers would do that and, as it turned out after the King’s assassination, no friend or foe either. None of them believed Alexander would so handily continue in his father’s footsteps. He led an attack at lightning speed against the northern tribes all the way to the Danube and south against Thebes who secretly hoped to stand a good chance against the young King. These fights went down in our history books with only a few lines as Alexander’s great tactical manoeuvres are overshadowed by his later conquests in the East.
  
Yet we forget that up to this point we owe most of Alexander’s successes to his father, for Alexander’s genius was not born overnight. Although we know that Philip led many a fight against his Macedonian neighbours, we generally ignore that this was a never-ending struggle. The stubbornness of the Balkan people certainly was no less than that of the Bactrians Alexander had to face in Central Asia years later. On top of that, Athens with Demosthenes in the front rows was always cross. As soon as Philip dared to sneeze so to speak, Demosthenes had his critics ready and Athens listened.
       
It generally is beyond our awareness that Philip was the one who restructured and united Macedonia – a far from easy task (the present politic situation in Greece is nothing new). Philip cemented the loose city-states into one country, Greece, and with the League of Corinth he made sure they would no longer fight each other. What an accomplishment! Philip understood like no other the art of diplomacy, besides being an excellent tactician and general. He knew how to eliminate each enemy at the right time and how to manipulate his opponents pending the ideal moment to act.

When Philip II of Macedonia is assassinated in 336 BC, he was at the top of his power ruling over an enlarged Macedonia and a unified Greece (all the Greek city-states except Sparta). Alexander could almost immediately leave for Asia, were it not that because of his youth he first had to prove himself a worthy successor to his father – on the one hand towards the neighbouring tribes and on the other hand towards Greece as heir to his father’s title of hegemon of the League of Corinth.



It is clear that the kingdom of Macedonia as inherited by Alexander had been conquered with bits and pieces by his father over a period of a good twenty years. When Philip was elected king (he was only meant to be regent for the infant Amyntas, his brother’s son), the country was on its knees and only a miracle could save it. Well, Philip was that miracle and he made it work. He spent little time at his palaces of Pella or Aegae, and often had to fight simultaneously on different fronts, from Thessaly and Thebes to the Black Sea. He went through immense efforts to make peace with everybody and in between all the bickering and the revolts he managed to rule the country, lead the economy to heights unheard of, and negotiate with every single ambassador in appropriate style! Not an ideal setting to pamper Alexander in a care-free youth. It is evident to see where this young king got his determination from! Yes, like father, like son! What an example he was for Alexander!

2 comments:

  1. A well-deserved tribute to the father who made it all possible for the son - by what he fought for, what he constructed, what he opted for (like bringing in Aristoteles as a teacher!), what he loved in his son ; in short, both by what he left done for him ánd what he left for him to be done.
    Nice homage, Argyraspid!
    Oxyatres

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  2. Thank you, Oxyatres, for sharing my admiration for King Philip II of Macedonia who has been badly neglected by history and by historians as well.

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