The Heroism, Compassion and Downfall of Alexander the Great

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In conquests from Greece and Egypt to Afghanistan, the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) founded cities-often named for himself-in key military and trading locations; Alexandria, in Egypt, is the only one still thriving today. Alexander was often involved in the planning; here, he gives instructions to the Greek architect Dinocrates. Behind them, massive walls are under construction.  1736-1737 (Baroque) By Placido Costanzi (Italian, 1702-1759)

In conquests from Greece and Egypt to Afghanistan, the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) founded cities-often named for himself-in key military and trading locations; Alexandria, in Egypt, is the only one still thriving today. Alexander was often involved in the planning; here, he gives instructions to the Greek architect Dinocrates. Behind them, massive walls are under construction. 1736-1737 (Baroque) By Placido Costanzi (Italian, 1702-1759)

I am not one of the historians or religionists that finds it necessary to practically sanctify Alexander as a Saint or Messiah-Like figure.  YES there are such people who practically venerate Alexander.  In fact before the anti-Greek and Anti-cCatholic homophobic Protestants got to work defaming Alexander, he WAS ‘lionized’ and treated like a super-human Messianic Savior King by many ancient historians, even some cCatholic Christians.   So was Alexander a saint, a rajarshi or a despot?  My own opinion is that the truth is somewhere in between what the most favorable and unfavorable AUTHENTIC ANCIENT SOURCES had to say about him.   He certainly had many truly amazing personal qualities that inspired the great love and loyalty of not only his soldiers, but even the respect and admiration his military enemies. 

Here is one of my favorite stories about Alexander, which has supposedly been derived from some enemy’s oral tradition.  There are various versions of this story now, but it seems that the core of the story remains the same, and is therefore somewhat credible….

Alexander the Great was never once defeated in battle. However, he once faced a potential mutiny, so he walked into the midst of his men and declared,  “These scars on my body were got for you, my brothers. Every wound, as you see, is in the front. Let that man stand forth from your ranks who has bled more than I, or endured more than I for your sake. Show him to me, and I will yield to your weariness and go home.” Not one single man stepped forward. Instead, a great roar came from the men asking Alexander to forever lead them forward.

Alexander the Great was never once defeated in battle. However, he once faced a potential mutiny, so he walked into the midst of his men and declared, “These scars on my body were got for you, my brothers. Every wound, as you see, is in the front. Let that man stand forth from your ranks who has bled more than I, or endured more than I for your sake. Show him to me, and I will yield to your weariness and go home.” Not one single man stepped forward. Instead, a great roar came from the men asking Alexander to forever lead them forward.

Once after a fierce battle, alone Alexander was returning to his own camp, when he came upon a wounded enemy soldier.  The man needed immediate medical care, but he was too far from his own army’s line and camp to be found and saved.  Alexander considered carrying him to his own camp, but that was too far, and due to his injuries the soldier could not be moved.
So, Alexander, not wanting to leave him to die a slow death attacked by animals, decided to stay with the man and care for him.  This took days and during that time the soldier was treated with great skill and tender mercy by the young Macedonian King. When the soldier had recovered enough to walk back to his own army, Alexander left him.
Arriving at his own camp, Alexander was greeted with the great relief of his own army, who feared that he was dead or a captive of the enemy.  They had been waiting for the enemy to send word that he was their hostage, or that they had his body.
At the enemy camp, they rejoiced to see their fallen friend again, and listened in amazement as he told of his days in the care of the young  King of the Macedonians.
***********
Alexander the Great Refuses to Take Water. When the Macedonian troops were crossing a desert they suffered greatly from lack of water. A few drops were found and offered to the king. Seeing his companions looking thirstily at the water, Alexander refused the offer, saying, "If I drink alone, my companions will lose courage." 1792 by Giuseppe Cades

Alexander the Great Refuses to Take Water.
When the Macedonian troops were crossing a desert they suffered greatly from lack of water. A few drops were found and offered to the king. Seeing his companions looking thirstily at the water, Alexander refused the offer, saying, “If I drink alone, my companions will lose courage.” 1792 by Giuseppe Cades

There are volumes of ancient written accounts, and then later written accounts of oral traditions about Alexander that depict him as a very unusual person, with many virtuous qualities. However, after some terrible personal traumas, including the death of his life-long best friend, and murderous betrayals by some close persons who had been trusted by him, he seemed to sink into a deep depression, and by some accounts became an alcoholic.

According to some historians, after what seemed like a complete breakdown, he was never the same again.  His former benevolence was gone and he did not trust anyone anymore, except his Gurus and GOD / SERAPIS-AMUN of SIWA, who mercifully sent him to his long-predicted death in Babylon.
Thus according to some historians, he had a former epoch of genius and success as a Kshatriya, marked by some very noble ideals and behavior that inspired tens of thousands of soldiers to join him.  But this was followed by a season  of tragic loss, betrayal, bad choices, loosing the confidence and respect of the men that he had earned, and then his alcoholism and/or lmental illness-related terrible behavior, which was completely out-of-character for him.
Whatever the cause, by the time of his death, he seemed ‘no longer himself’ and to be weary of living.  Otherwise he would not have gone to Babylon, because, due to the Prophecy that he would die in Babylon, it was thought that he would be immortal as long as he did not go there.Perhaps he was unable to recover from his old wound, because he was depressed and his immune system was suppressed.  Whatever the case, he left his body according to the Sages’ Prophecy, in Babylon, due to a wound-related illness. Thus, Alexander the Great, having conquered all of the way from Europe and Egypt to North West India, created a New Era in that vast Region, changing the future of the entire World in the process.
What he lacked in physical stature and power he made up for with courage, intense training and austerity. In fact, his small size compared to the noble youth of his peer group has been ascribed to the austerities that his Teacher (Master Aristotle) and his Father King Phillip made him perform to toughen-him-up as the future King of the Macedonians. Some accounts say that he was deprived of food and physically pushed to such austere limits growing up that it stunted his growth. Still, though small, he was capable of amazing feats. One account described how he would run along side his chariot to stay fit between campaigns, and that in wrestling and other martial arts contests no one (except Hephastion) could defeat him. Whatever austerity a soldier of his could perform, he could best it. And, He would never ask anyone to do anything that he was not willing to do himself. He was also humble and even self-effacing. I like the stories about how he was often NOT recognised as the King, and he would let his best Friend, Hephastion, who was much taller and kingly-looking pretend to be him. Thus Alexander could observe others interacting with King Alexander (Hephastion) while he was pretending to be just a common soldier. There is one famous incident in his conquest of Persia when he was not recognised as the King. 

This reminds me that the movies about such important historical figures are usually utter trash, like the most recent big production about Alexander. It was practically a character assasination with all kinds of concocted psycho-sexual related violence in it. The makers of the movie completely changed key elements in his relationships with others. For example, Hephastion was the larger and much more physically impressive of the two men, and by all accounts was an extremely masculine take-charge kind of military man. But, in the recent Movie (with Colin Farrel) Hephastion was made to look more like an effeminate love-interest of Alexander’s. The Movie also protrayed Alexanber

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About Collected Works of Sri Bhakti Ananda Goswami

This site is a repository of the written work of Bhakti Ananda Goswami managed by one of his students, Vrndavan Brannon Parker. Bhakti Ananda Goswami is a practicing Catholic Hermit under private vows, and a Vedic Monk in the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya-Vaishnava Lineage Tridanda Sannyasi and Siksha (Instructing) Master. His research provides the evidence proving that at the ultimate source there is only One Religion and Divinity yet there are multiple expressions of that religion and Divinity. Read the various collected articles on this site revealing that ancient Humanity was highly evolved and motivated by transcendent and life affirming impulses leading to High Civilization. (Please Note that this site is not maintained and updated by Bhakti Ananda Goswami himself but is managed by one of his students. Though he does scan the site he is not always able to respond to messages or comments.)

3 responses »

  1. My completed statement from above: The Movie also portrayed Alexander in a very strange way. It might have either divinized or demonized him, but instead it really just depicted him as pathological and pathetic. Thus there was very little that was great about the Alexander of the Movie. It distorted his important relationships for cheap tabloid type thrills, which makes me wonder if the makers of the Movie ever read anything anciently authentic about him. He deserved so much better than such a ill-conceived and executed production.

    Great sets, costumes and movie magic should not be wasted on stories lacking greatness. The real story of Alexander did not lack in greatness and was worth telling, but instead the Movie’s Producers gave the World a cheap psycho-sexual story-line punctuated by various slaughters. As an historian I hate it when people dare to fictionalize history by impersonally altering the character and acts etc. of real historical persons. If we accept an erroneous version of someone, we are not completely without responsibility. The error or purposeful sin of defamation is primarily on those who concocted and used the erroneous version .

    My apologies for the abrupt end of my above post. During the last year I have had a problem with blacking-out from low oxygen while at the computer. Sometimes it has happened many times an hour. Now my 91 year old Dad regularly checks on me to make sure that I am conscious when I am up at the computer. I have also begun to use oxygen while up at the computer, but when I stop breathing, it does no good. When I black out with the mouse in my hand, anything or nothing from a click might result.

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