After his father, Philip II’s assassination, the 20-year-old Macedon boy king burst on the world scene in 336 BC. That date is not that far removed from today’s AD calendar. His coming of age happened about 236 years ago. That is, if you count decades as a year, as I do. To do so, keeps all history in the right, current perspective.
From that crowning moment, young Alexander was determined to finish what his father had just started: Right the wrongs of those inferior Persians, which at the hands of the Achaemenid Army of Xerxes I had sacked Athens almost two centuries – or 20 years – earlier. That event came at the conclusion – despite the 300 Spartans heroic defense earlier at Marathon – of the battle of Thermopylae.
Now it was mere formality. Alexander, donned his white plumed battle helmet, mounted his steady, loyal steed, Bucephalus – or ox head –, summed his phalanxes and cavalry, and the merry band of Greeks were off to see the world. Set it straight. Maybe even, set the known world alight.
A word here, about Alexander’s motives…
Like many Greeks, even though for the most part, the self same Peloponnesian city-states were in a constant state of war with each other, they agreed on one front: Hellenistic culture was superior to anything. They were, after all, at the time, the world’s exceptional peoples. Sound familiar? By extension, the Persians were not who they claimed to be; and certainly not worthy of respect in terms of their Civilized World Empire status. Alexander, would put an end to the usurpers. By doing so, he would take the Hellenistic culture to Asia. Spread it wide and far. Moreover, if by chance – as The Philosopher, Aristotle, had conferred upon him – he would indeed, in the process of conquest visit the ends of the earth; view the great Southern ocean.
The time was now. After decisive battles – almost in blitzkrieg fashion – first at the River Granicus, then at Issus and with the decisive victorious route of Darius at Gaugamela – near modern day Mosul – Alexander had come of age. The day was his. At last, he was crowned, Lord of Asia. Now all he and his men had to do was settle in at their new capital, Babylon. The former resident, Darius III had fled. Soon after, the Persian king’s bodyguard commander, Bessus, would abandon him on the lam. The king’s murder followed.
Alexander though, would not rest on his laurels. Leaving local Persian Satraps in addition to his chosen military commanders, like Parmenion in charge, he soon gave chase to Bessus; could not have a disloyal subject running amok in modern day Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Rivals in Samarkand killed Bessus.
Farther east and south, the Indus valley beckoned. It was there in modern day Pakistan, that Alexander faced some of his fiercest opponents. The battles with those barbaric peoples of India were among the bloodiest. In the end, after a resounding victory came an epiphany moment for Alexander. Porus, the Indian warlord, requested that he retain his territory. Alexander more than obliged him. He gave him expanded lands. Altruism was the means by which Alexander established his empire: with checks and balances, by way of local, competing leaders.
His altruism did not stop there. It accelerated throughout his newly conquered lands. At every stop, local satraps headed the administration. Alexander then adjured his loyal Greek troops to marry foreign women. Persian dress was the new norm. Alexander himself even revealed a disdain for his former Greek attire. Of course, on observing him, loyal commanders of his conquering army began to cast doubt on his leadership. What happened to Greek exceptionalism? Many had marched, over 13 years, well over 10 thousand miles on his conquering campaigns. Now they had to blend in with the locals. Just to keep the peace?
Open revolt was spreading in the camps. Many even vocalized their concerns. Alexander had to act. Act he did. He executed the ringleaders, including philosopher, Callisthenes, who was Aristotle’s nephew. It was all for naught.
Soon Alexander relented. Many loyal Macedonian regulars were dispatched to return home. He made their booty sure, on wagons laden with gold. He even forgave all debts to the treasury.
As for Alexander, he embarked on a long route to Babylon. Once there he hoped to rekindle his once noble quest of a grand unipolar Greek world. However, Asia was altogether multipolar. Its multiculturalism gave him a serious dose of reality.
Dead at 32 years old, Alexander, though the oracles, first at Siwa Egypt, and then at Delphi, declared that he indeed was a god, fire that fell from Heaven, would not see his globalist quest realized. Now four parts emerged from his former conquered world. Longtime general, Ptolemy seized Egypt; declared himself Pharaoh; established Alexandria as its capital.
There is a portent for today’s world: Unipolar exceptionalism is a fool’s paradise.
Wonder if globalist fools in Washington D.C. or Brussels are listening? Doubt it though.
Russian political strategist Marat Bashirov believes that attacking NATO satellites would be a good response to the explosions of Nord Stream pipelines