Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Alexander the Great...

We wrapped up Ruben's study of Greece with Alexander the Great by John Gunther. This classic Landmark book was a fabulous read. I was very intrigued when Gunther mentioned Plutarch as a source throughout. It made me want to further our study by reading Plutarch, which is something I've noted for future studies.

Was Alexander, in deed, great? Alexander was charming and intelligent. Around age fourteen, he tamed a wild horse that no one else could master. He was tutored by Aristotle until the age of sixteen. Alexander was a strong leader. He conquered what was nearly the entire world in his time. However, as Gunther points out, Alexander couldn't conquer himself. He was full of pride and at times, considered himself a god. Alexander was quick to anger and in one of his outbursts, he killed his best friend, which he much regretted later. Alexander became a drunkard and eventually "turned into a maniac."
Alexander's end was that of a man who, for good reasons or bad, had conquered almost the entire world, but who had never been able to conquer himself. The conquest of self is the greatest victory of all, but Alexander even when he was at the height of his power had never been able to achieve it. (Chapter 19)
Alexander's pride went before his fall. After a celebratory feast, at which he indulged and drank all night, he developed a cold and high fever. In less than two weeks, he died at the young age of thirty-two after reigning for twelve years.  Alexander never mastered self-governance, which according to Gunther, "is the greatest victory of all."  In the end, one is left to argue that maybe Alexander was not that great.

Alexander the Great by John Gunther has more recently been republished by Sterling in a paperback form. It is a suggested read in Heart of Dakota's Creation to Christ and TruthQuest History,.

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