Contributions of Ancient Greece – Alexander III the Great
Alexander III the Great, the King of Macedonia and conqueror of the Persian Empire is considered one of the greatest military geniuses of all times. Alexander was born in 356 BC in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia. He was son of Phillip II, King of Macedonia. He spent his childhood watching his father make Macedon a great military power, winning victory after victory on the battlefields. When Alexander was 13, his dad hired the Greek philosopher Aristotle to be his personal tutor. For three years Aristotle taught Alexander about literature and got him interested in science, medicine, and philosophy.
Phillip II left his 16 year old son, Alexander, the power to rule Macedonia in his absence while he went to battle. The Thracian tribe of Maedi rebelled and was a danger to the Macedonia, so Alexander put an army together and defeated the Maedi. Two years later Alexander destroyed the Greek army. At the age of 16 Alexander proved he was able to rule his country. Alexander was a great general, but he contributed to today’s society also. His main goal was one world, one people, one ruler. He wanted people to freely trade, travel, and live wherever they want to.
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He wanted to combine the best and the worst of all the cultures and create one nationality where everybody is equal. He created a common system of currency for the entire kingdom. The western world became almost a single place. It was brought together by a common culture that shows in our language, literature, and education today. The Greek language was a tool that Alexander the Great used to bring the Greek territories together. Although he was Macedonian, the main culture of his region was Greek. Alexander spoke Greek and Greek was the culture and language of business and government.
When he conquered a new area, he was concerned with ruling it and making it part of the empire. His managers would have spoken Greek and practiced Greek culture. His judges would be Greek and his laws would have Greek ideas. If you wanted to do business with the government, you needed to speak and act Greek. If you wanted your deals enforced by a court then they needed to be in Greek. Before the growth of his empire, there were hundreds of small languages. When he imposed the use of the Greek, it created a common language that expanded the culture that united he conquered territories. Just like how a common language bonds a country today so does the literature. Alexander’s father was an excellent general, but his mother was extremely intelligent. At the age of thirteen he became a student of Aristotle. It was Aristotle who inspired Alexander’s great love for literature. Alexander’s attempted to combine Western culture with Eastern culture by creating a ‘Hellenistic’ world. Hellenism is when Greek culture was blended with the cultures of other nations. He did this by introducing Greek culture all the way to India.
His cities were well-known for being centers of learning. Alexander opened the way for ideas to be spread. He started a kingdom where people could mix and that encourage learning. He started the love for education and the exchange of cultures. Education was much more widespread than ever before because Greek was the language of the educated world. The result was a great increase of volume in literature. This is seen in many areas of education today like mathematics, science, geography, philosophy, and astronomy. Alexander’s influence on the development of the world is not to be doubted.
He founded an estimated seventy cities. He opened up trade and communication between East and West. The Hellenistic Age lasted from 800 B. C. until the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B. C. Although, he died before his 33rd birthday, he untied whole territories with one common currency and Greek language. The conquest of Alexander had sparked an inspiration among the people to become educated. Because of this, there were contributions in the fields of mathematics, science, geography, philosophy, and astronomy we still learn about today.
“Alexander the Great.” – New World Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Alexander_the_Great>. “Alexander the Great (Alexander of Macedon) Biography.” Alexander the Great (Alexander of Macedon) Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://www.historyofmacedonia.org/AncientMacedonia/AlexandertheGreat.html>. Krieger, Larry, Kenneth Neill, and Edward Reynolds. World History: Perspectives on the past. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 1997. Print.