Thoughts

Alexander – The Great?

Alexander - The Great

4th Century BCE.

“You are the son of Zeus. You are a divine being. You are destined to conquer the world. Go son, make the prophecy come true… ”, his mother wished him, as the young Macedonian King left to conquer the world.

He was groomed not only in warfare, science and arts, but also in ambition. A sense of greatness and divinity was ingrained into him via various myths and legends – In other words, stories.

It was not clear whether he believed in his abilities or his pre-ordained world-conqueror prophecy (more), but he never lost a single war. He was a rare person among the royal lineage whose ambition matched his intelligence. Combined with the power, discipline and loyalty of the forces he commanded, his might was simply unstoppable. The very sight of his army and the tale of his conquests made enemies shiver.

Many Kingdoms surrendered as soon as they became aware of his army approaching them. The valiant and more powerful among them fought, but lost. He routinely defeated armies five times larger than his own – he was simply an intelligent commander and an unprecedented war strategist.

Whether Kingdoms surrendered or were defeated, they ended up paying a huge price, while accepting his sovereignty. After every war, men were killed, women & children were sold to slavery, entire cities & palaces were looted, and houses were razed to the ground. But he was benevolent to his own armies and the armies that he annexed into his empire. He paid them well & offered other benefits (like tax exemption) to the families of the slain warriors.

His empire stretched across Macedonia, Athens, Egypt, Persia & North-Western India – Over 52 Lakh Square Kilo-Meters. He was ruling the single largest territory in the world, as known until then. The prophecy had become true – He (almost) conquered the whole world!

He was fully drunk in his wine (and his success) when a robber – pirate of the sea – captured by his army, was brought in front of him.

“What makes you think that you could molest the sea?”, he asked the pirate.

The pirate replied in a diffident but honest tone, “The same as you when you molest the world. Since I do this with a little ship, I am called a pirate. You do it with a great fleet and are called emperor!”

Even in his inebriated state, he (Alexander) realized the truth in those words.

True story, based on the life history of Alexander, the Great.
Reference: Wikipedia Article on Alexander – The Great. Image credit: Photo by Marsyas, published under this license.

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