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Alexander and the End of the Classical Period

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Alexander and the end of the Classical Period

Alexander is often described as one of the most prolific leaders of all time. Some historians look back on his life with cautious awe and focus on his conquering of most of the known world before his early death.

Alexander had many nicknames; Alexander the Great, the two-horned one, and Sikandar (meaning Expert), are just a few of them. Although not everyone thought Alexander was so great. In the Asian territories that he conquered, he is often called "the accursed one" or "two-horned Satan." (Allen, Brooke Hudson Review) His death marked the end of the Classical Period and ushered in the Hellenistic period.

I do not believe that the reign of Alexander would have been able to survive much longer because Alexander was always seeking to live a life akin to that of Achilles, a theme which is reflected in literature written about Alexander. (Wikipedia) Because Alexander was never satisfied with the lands he had conquered, or the people he had enslaved, I believe he would have pushed his army and stretched out their defenses so thin that a drastic drop in numbers from disease or exhaustion, or a revolt by his army would have been seen. I believe that the army would have noticed that they were experiencing a decline in their marginal returns and that they were putting forth a lot of effort and giving up time, a family, and even their lives to follow and glorify a man who only wanted to conquer the world.

Alexander, at times, acted like a spoiled child; after he murdered Cleitus, his old friend and one of the two commanders of the Companion Cavalry, for speaking against him and telling him he could never measure up to the greatness of his father, Phillip II of Macedon, he stayed in his room and would not accept food, water or visitors. (http://www.dragonrest.net/histories/alexander.html) This is not the mark of a strong leader, but that of a man ruled by his emotions and, perhaps, too much wine.

Alexander also was a man who adopted certain parts of different cultures, such as the "symbolic kissing of the hand that Persians paid to their social superiors" (Wikipedia), and the Greeks disapproved of this adoption, thus a plot to kill Alexander was formed. Alexander found out about this plot and many Macedonians were killed, including his companion Philotas who was executed on grounds of treason for not notifying Alexander of this plot.

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