Does Alexander the great deserve the title “great”?

DoesAlexander the great deserve the title “great”?



Questionsthat arise

Criteriafor determining the level of greatness


Leadfrom the front

Captureand conquer



Politicalquests were alive


Prowessin making judgment


Interestedin mysteries attributed to medicine




Someof the leaders of the ancient era are noted to have done significantaccomplishments during their tenures. Such accomplishments have seento it that their legacies have been carried on over generations andone such leader is Alexander the great. There have been issuessurrounding the term “the great” as to whether or not the name isworth referring to Alexander. Alexander the great ascended to powerafter the assassination of his father, and with the energy that hehad, he took the mantle of leadership with full throttle. Someinstances in the history of Alexander prove that he was indeed great.Alexander was a military guru who excelled in every battlefield, tothe extent that he lost no battle during his tenure. He led his troopto war, and his life was almost cut short during his missions. Hisbravery and courage allowed him to conquer territories which hebrought under the leadership of Macedonia. Alexander excelled inpolitical leadership where he was admired by many because of hisskills. The shrewd judgment that he had facilitated his leadershipthat he had. His judgment was promoted by the education that wasinstilled in him by his tutor, Aristotle. The Education thatAlexander received in the field of medicine not only supported histalent but also helped him save his life and that of his troopmembers in the battlefield. Alexander received excellence in otherareas apart from those mentioned above, and these were in the areasof love, exertions, care for religion and beauty.

Theabove information confirms that Alexander deserves the conferment ofthe title “the great” given that he was a remarkable leader.Alexander supported some causes like education, which in turn madehim famous. The legacy of Alexander the great still lives on becauseof the many accomplishments that he made during his era. His positiveaspects should be emphasized and emulated, and his negative ones canbe viewed as learning points.

AlexanderIII of Macedon’s name has remained in the history of the world. Heis believed to be the greatest warrior to have ever lived in theuniverse. Many questions can arise as to why people would refer tohim as the great. To explore the reasons as to why he was given thetitle &quotgreat,&quot it is necessary to understand what it meansby greatness. The word great defines a scenario or an individual asbeing excellent in various endeavors. The term great can be used tooffer definition to something or someone as having an intensity thatis better in extent than what is deemed to be normal or average. Withthe above definition in mind, it is only fair to affirm to whathistorical information has coined Alexander of Macedon as being“great.&quot The points presented in this paper agree to the factthat Alexander of Macedon was indeed great.

Inthe identification of the criteria for determining the level ofgreatness in an individual, some factors come into play. In thehistorical setting, the criteria for greatness are drawn from anindividual’s prowess in both military and politics. Military andpolitics form part of what Alexander is gauged upon, and this isdrawn from vast literature and readings that point out the successthat he enjoyed in the areas as mentioned earlier. According to theassessments of another author, Alexander is also believed to haveexcelled in beauty, judgment, exertions, love, honor, danger and carefor religion (Hostetter 8). These writings among many other availablewritings confirm the conferment of the title great to Alexander. Theproceeding sections will, therefore, seek to look at the criteria ofmilitary, politics, and judgment which would, in turn, offer anemphasis on the topics concerning the greatness of Alexander ofMacedon.


Itis very clear that in the historical era, the war was seen to becritical given that the parties at war would have much to gain thanto lose when they won. Alexander understood the place of the militaryin his era, and he would lead on the front. A flashback to theyouthful days of Alexandra shows that as a young lad, he was taughthow to fight by Leonidas and how to ensure hardships in marches aswell (Mark para.2). Flash forward into Alexander’s adulthood, hewon his first battle at the age of eighteen (Mark para.6). Aftertaking over the leadership of Macedonia after the demise of hisfather, Alexander would go on to participate in multiple battles.Early on in his military days, Alexander employed a strategy thatwould ensure supplies and money were obtained from the territory thathe conquered in the battles he indulged in.

Inevery battle that Alexander indulged in, his army appeared frailgiven the outnumbering that his troop faced. However, in the face ofsuch outnumbering or outgunning by the opposing armies, Alexander,and his team won all their battles. With just a small army comparedto the armies of the enemies, Alexander managed to capture andconquer the likes of Syria, Egypt, Phoenicia, and the Persiancampaigns, just to mention a few and some areas he placed under siegelike Tyre, the island city (Mark para.7 and 8). Alexander won battleswhere his enemies had mighty military armor like elephants and horsearchers. In his military quests, it is notable that Alexander wasvery courageous and full of energy and this made him and his army winon the battlefield despite their limitations in numbers and armory.Alexander’s bravery was to the extent that he lost touch of hismortality. He was, in fact, wounded in some wars but he still exposedhimself to danger because of the virtues of bravery and boldness(Hostetter 8). The readings on his accounts, at least the availableones do not mention of Alexander having any form of thought on fearwhile pursuing his military quests (Hostetter 10).


Alexander’spolitical quests were alive, similarly to his military ones.Alexander ascended to the leadership of Macedonia after his father’sassassination. His father Phillip had many plans for Macedonia, oneof which included a campaign against Persia (Hemingway andHemingway). The military conquests that Alexander and his fatherengaged in served the purpose of increasing the political territoryof Macedonia. Apart from increasing the political territory ofMacedonia, Alexander’s reign portrayed political leadership skillsthat were profound. Alexander had a focused vision regarding theexploits that he wanted to undertake. His compelling vision and thecommunication of it won him the commitment of his followers.Alexander led his troops from the front, and this occurrence won himthe favor of his army. He led his troop to excellence in everybattlefield to the point that he almost lost his life.

Asa political leader, Alexander encouraged innovation, and this isvisible given the armor that Macedonia used for battle was developedover time. The innovation in army machinery accorded Macedoniastrategic advantage against its enemies, especially in the lateryears of Alexander’s leadership. Alexander also promoted groupidentification, a scenario that supported exceptional levels ofeffort from his troop members which boosted their confidence.Alexander used his oratory skills which acted as hypnosis for hisfollowers and coupling these skills with the fact that he led byexample, promoted more hard work. Alexander had sound executionskills which placed him many steps ahead of his enemies. Hisleadership ensured he could make interpretations on the next movethat was planned by his enemies, and he would, as a result, lead histroop in a manner that he would use speed and surprise but withprecision. Alexander’s political leadership was simply aimed atexercising political power on the territories that he sojournedduring battles, facilitated by his courageous troop and as a resultbring the captured territories under the control of Macedonia.

Prowessin making judgment

Aleader who makes a sound judgment is critical to the wellbeing of aparticular region. It is this kind of sound judgment that was notedin Alexander that prompted him to be considered as one of the greatminds and leaders of his time. When looking at his early life,Alexander was subjected to Aristotle, a Greek philosopher who washired by Phillip, his father, to be his private tutor (Plutarchpara.11). Aristotle and Alexander’s relationship would bloom lateron in life especially during Alexander’s campaign (Plutarchpara.12). Alexander acquired from Aristotle, the doctrines ofpolitics and morals among many other learning points. It is criticalto note that Alexander was inclined to the desire for knowledge. Itis the general learning and the doctrines that he garnered fromAristotle that helped Alexander in making his judgments. It is thesaid teaching that turned Alexander into not only a great man buttalented as well (Lainas,et al. para.1).

Itis evident from the literature that Alexander was interested in themysteries attributed to medicine and he always considered the subjectto be more of art (Lainas,et al. para.1).The training that he got in the field of medicine saved not only hislife but the life of his troop on many occasions as noted by Lainas,et al. (para.1).The literature by Lainas,et al. (para.1),states that the knowledge in medicine that Alexander had contributedto his greatness. The explanation that is given is that, without theknowledge and passion that Alexander had in medicine, his way ofliving would not have been influenced by the subject and as a result,he would not have created his empire. Alexander further promoted thedevelopment of learning to other generations which were facilitatedby early scholars like Aristotle his tutor, Socrates and Plato(Lainas,et al. para.1).

Finally,other criteria, though deemed to be minor, contributed to Alexanderbeing referred to as the great, were his care for religion and hisphysical beauty. Alexander was admired by many because of his way oflife and personality and the fact that he was reasonable to someissues including religion, that occurrence made him a favorite amonghis followers.


Withthe above background on the life of Alexander of Macedon, it isevident that he indeed deserved to be referred to as the &quotgreat.&quotFrom his days as a young lad, Alexander was different, and it isclear that he was destined for greatness. After assuming leadershipafter his father, Alexander went on to receive immense success inalmost every area of his life. He was a military genius who, manytoday, marvel at his accomplishments. He captured, conquered, andseized territories and brought them under the political jurisdictionof Macedonia. His expansion of the Macedonian territory began as adream of his father which he realized. Alexander received success inthe political arena where he was a favorite of his followers. Hisoratory skills facilitated his political endeavors. Asides fromimposing political leadership success, Alexander was good withjudgment, a virtue that was promoted by his desire to learningmedicine. His judgment skills saved his life and that of his troopmembers on many occasions, and this made him even more famous. Thelist regarding his greatness is endless given that his care forreligion, his physical beauty, his courage, bravery, boldness andlove for danger are considered in coining him as the great leader ofhis time.


Hemingway,Colette, and Seán Hemingway. “The Rise of Macedonia and theConquests of Alexander the Great.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of ArtHistory. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000 2004

Hostetta.World Civilization.n.d.

Lainas,Panagiotis, et al. &quotMost brilliant in judgment&quot: Alexanderthe Great and Aristotle.&quot TheAmerican surgeon71.3 (2005): 275-280.

Mark,Joshua, J. “Alexander the Great.&quot 2013. Retrieved September29, 2016, from

Plutarch.Alexander. n.d. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from