Thursday, May 19, 2011

BBC - In the footsteps of Alexander The Great

In the footsteps of Alexander the Great

In this award winning adventure Micheal Wood embarks on a 20000 mile journey in the foot steps of Alexander's triumphal march from Greece to India. Travelling with Lebanese traders, Iranian pilgrims and Afghan guerillas, by jeep, train, boat, camel and on foot, he interweaves the momentous events of the past with present day reality and brings us new insights into a man whose myth and acheivements still resonate down the centuries.

"We saw things I can scarcely believe. We took shelter for the night with an Afghan warlord who had delivered pizzas in the United States, and were hauled off to jail more than once. It was one of the great experiences of my life" - Michael Wood

Alexander the Great (Greek: Μέγας Aλέξανδρος , Megas Alexandros; July 20 356 BC -- June 10 323 BC) also known as Alexander III, was an ancient Greek king (basileus) of Macedon (336--323 BC). He was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks.

Following the unification of the multiple city-states of ancient Greece under the rule of his father, Philip II of Macedon (a labour Alexander had to repeat because the southern Greeks rebelled after Philip's death), Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as the borders of Punjab. Before his death, Alexander had already made plans to also turn west and conquer Europe. He also wanted to continue his march eastwards in order to find the end of the world, since his boyhood tutor Aristotle had told him tales about where the land ends and the Great Outer Sea begins. Alexander integrated foreigners into his army, leading some scholars to credit him with a "policy of fusion." He encouraged marriage between his army and foreigners, and practiced it himself. After twelve years of constant military campaigning, Alexander died, possibly of malaria, West Nile virus, typhoid, viral encephalitis or the consequences of heavy drinking.

Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, before realizing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following Alexander's death a series of civil wars tore his empire apart which resulted in the formation of a number of states ruled by the Diadochi - Alexander's surviving generals. Although he is mostly remembered for his vast conquests, Alexander's lasting legacy was not his reign, but the cultural diffusion his conquests engendered. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic culture, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire until the mid-15th century. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, and features prominently in the history and myth of Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which generals, even to this day, compare themselves; military academies throughout the world still teach his tactical exploits.

His conquests ushered in centuries of Greek settlement and cultural influence over distant areas, a period known as the Hellenistic Age, a combination of Greek and Middle Eastern culture. Alexander himself lived on in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. After his death (and even during his life) his exploits inspired a literary tradition in which he appears as a legendary hero in the tradition of Achilles.

Μέγας Αλέξανδρος Φίλιππος Μακεδονικό Βασίλειο Ελλάς Μακεδονία Θεσσαλονίκη

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