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37. Alexander the Great - Why He is Immortal and Relevant Today

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

Why Alexander is So Great ?

Circa 368 BC.

Once upon a time in Royal Army Training Grounds of Pella Region in Macedonia.....

A Royal Horse Trainer and Tamer brought a wild horse recently caught in forest and presented to the King.

He Said, " Your Highness, this is a wonderful breed of horse with maximum sustaining power and runs very fast... "

King said " Has it been trained and groomed for riding ".

Trainer said, " we are trying for last a few days, but its becoming difficult to ride it ....."

Then King announced, " Whoever trains and harnesses this horse, make it ridabe, I will give him a pot of gold ....."

A few of the Best Trainers came one after the other, trying their best to control and harness and ride, putting their best efforts,..None could succeed after several hours and Days ....."

It was around 10:30 am, a 12 year old boy came, a young prince and son of the King, asked his father " Your Highness, can I try...."

King laughed loudly " what ? you want to harness and ride this horse, where, these master trainers could not do anything...but, you want...hmmm....!!

" Its a wild horse, it will stamp you down"....but, this 12 year boy

insisted and requested his father again.....!!

This time, his father agreed, though he did not like it.....

But, that boy started gauging the body and eye coordination of this wild horse for some time, trying to approach the Horse Tack and Breast Plate... the horse suddenly threw away the boy....

Everybody there started laughing ...,

In a few minutes..... He some how managed to take the horse in different direction of the sunlight....slowly the horse started responding to his a another few minutes, he claimed the horse.....started riding that wild horse....

Everybody started shouting in thundering voice, "Great!!", "Wonderful!!" "Bravo!!"

From that point onwards, that boy never looked back in his as the world never stopped looking into his life year after year, country after country , whole world forever....The Legend goes on and on, there after forever...

That 12 year Boy, ascended to the throne of a Kingdom at age of 20 years and started the conquest of the country after country, continent after continent, crossing all the rivers and seas on the way and conquered almost entire known world at time in the short span of 13 years, giving a very doubt to human mind , whether he is human or god.

He changed the Civilisation of mankind and course of history, shaped the world one way or other , in which we live in.

All Military Academies and Governments alike started studying his life, his administrative abilities, his battlefied strategies and tactics continuously forever. His life study had became almost an encyclopedia.

He had became the epitome of the Emperor and sysnomomous with Leadership and World never seen One like him even after in long 2,350 Years.

So Legends like him are rarest of rare and World will only get to experience Humans like him only once , an Infinitely Exlusive Club.

I. Alexander the Great

Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty.

He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, and by the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to northwestern India ( now , Pakistan ) . He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history's most successful military commanders.

During his youth, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until age 16. After Philip's assassination in 336 BC, he succeeded his father to the throne and inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father's pan-Hellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of Persia.

Upon his father's death, Alexander moved quickly to consolidate power. He gained the support of the Macedonian army and intimidated the Greek city states that Philip had conquered into accepting his rule. After campaigns in the Balkans and Thrace, Alexander moved against Thebes, a city in Greece that had risen up in rebellion, conquering it in 335 B.C., and had it destroyed.

In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire) and began a series of campaigns that lasted 10 years. Following the conquest of Anatolia, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela.

He subsequently overthrew Persian King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Beas River.

Alexander endeavoured to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea" and invaded India in 326 BC, winning an important victory over the Pauravas at the Battle of the Hydaspes. He eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops, dying in Babylon in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in the establishment of several states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander's surviving generals and heirs.

Alexander's legacy includes the cultural diffusion and syncretism which his conquests engendered, such as Greco-Buddhism. He founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century AD and the presence of Greek speakers in central and far eastern Anatolia until the Greek genocide of the 1920s. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mould of Achilles, and he features prominently in the history and mythic traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures.

He was undefeated in battle and became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves. Military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics. He is often ranked Numero Uno among the most influential people in history.

II. Some of his Notable Conquests

1. Into Egypt

Alexander moved south along the eastern Mediterranean, a strategy designed, again, to deprive the Persians of their naval bases. Many cities surrendered while some, such as Tyre, which was on an island, put up a fight and forced Alexander to lay siege.

In 332 B.C., after Gaza was taken by siege, Alexander entered Egypt, a country that had experienced on-and-off periods of Persian rule for two centuries. On its northern coast, he founded Alexandria, the most successful city he ever built.

He also travelled to Libya to see the oracle of Ammon. Traveling through unmarked desert, his party made his way to the temple .

2. Final battle with Darius III

With the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt secured, the Persians were deprived of naval bases, and Alexander was free to move inland to conquer the eastern half of the Persian Empire.

At the Battle of Gaugamela, fought in 331 B.C. in northern Iraq near present-day Erbil,

Alexander is said by ancient sources to have faced may be around 200,000 or more against Alexander troops around 45,000). Darius III brought soldiers from all over, and even beyond, his empire. Scythian horsemen from his northern borders faced Alexander, as did "Indian" troops (as the ancient writers called them) who were probably from modern-day Pakistan.

Again, in a bid to stymie Darius III's superior numbers, Alexander moved his troops toward unlevel ground. Darius sent his cavalry after them and Alexander countered with his. His horsemen, while taking heavy losses, held their own. Darius responded by sending his chariots against Alexander's phalanx infantry, a bad move, as they were cut to pieces by javelins.

The battle soon became a war of nerves. "For a brief period the fighting was hand to hand, but when Alexander and his horseman pressed the enemy hard, shoving the Persians and striking their faces with spears, and the Macedonian phalanx, tightly arrayed and bristling with pikes, was already upon them, Darius, who had long been in a state of dread, now saw terrors all around him; he wheeled about — the first to do so — and fled," wrote Arrian. From that point on the Persian army started to collapse and the Persian king fled with Alexander in hot pursuit.

Darius III would flee into the eastern part of his empire, hoping to rally enough soldiers for another battle. Betrayed by one his satraps named Bessus (who claimed kingship over what was left of Persia), Darius was captured by his own troops and killed.

Alexander was saddened when he found his dead body. He respected Darius as the head of the mighty Persian Empire, though Alexander regarded himself as a higher authority because he believed his power came from the gods, according to Abernethy. He sent Darius's body back to Persepolis and ordered that he be given a royal burial. 

Alexander's days in central Asia were not all unhappy. After his troops had captured a fortress at a place called Sogdian Rock in 327 B.C. he met Roxana, the daughter of a local ruler. The two married and, at the time of Alexander's death, they had an unborn son.

3. Return to Persia

Alexander returned to Persia, this time as the ruler of a kingdom that stretched from the Balkans to Egypt to modern day Pakistan. In 324 B.C., he arrived in Susa, where a number of his innermost advisers got married.

Alexander took two additional wives in addition to Roxana, whom he had married in central Asia. One was Barsine, daughter of Darius III, and another a Persian woman who Arrian identified as Parysatis. Roxana likely did not take kindly to her two new co-wives and, after Alexander's death, she may have had them both killed.

In 323 B.C., Alexander was in Babylon, his next major military target apparently being Arabia on the southern end of his empire.

In June 323 B.C., while he was readying troops, he caught a fever that would not go away. He soon had trouble speaking and eventually he died. (Recent research suggests Alexander may have been poisoned.)

III. Alexander's legacy

"Perhaps the most significant legacy of Alexander was the range and extent of the proliferation of Greek culture," said Abernethy. "The reign of Alexander the Great signaled the beginning of a new era in history known as the Hellenistic Age. Greek culture had a powerful influence on the areas Alexander conquered."

Many of the cities that Alexander founded were named Alexandria, including the Egyptian city that is now home to more than 4.5 million people. The many Alexandrias were located on trade routes, which increased the flow of commodities between the East and the West. 

"Goods and customs, soldiers and traders all mingled together," said Abernethy. "There was a common currency and a common language (Greek) uniting the many peoples of the empire. All religions were tolerated. It was to be a golden age that lasted from the death of Alexander in 323 B.C. until 31 B.C., the date of the conquest of the last Hellenistic kingdom by Rome, the Lagid kingdom of Egypt."

IV. 11 Leadership Lessons from Alexander the Great ( from INSEAD Professor )

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, INSEAD Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development & Organisational Change 

Visionary, team builder, mentor, he shows us some timeless leadership lessons but also some glaring failures.

Although the ‘Great Man’ theory of leadership belongs to the scrapheap of history, its allure continues to mystify. Underlying this theory is the assumption that if the right man (yes, it is often assumed to be a man) for the job emerges, he will almost magically take control of a situation and lead a group of people into safety or success. While such leaders are rare, there are times when a singular individual steps out from the crowd and serves as a paragon of leadership.

One such individual was Alexander the Great; one of history’s most famous warriors and a legend of almost divine status in his own lifetime. He falls into the elite category of individuals who changed the history of civilisation and shaped the present world as we know it.

From a leadership perspective, it’s not very difficult to say that Alexander was without peer. He could be magnanimous toward defeated enemies and extremely loyal toward his friends. As a general, he led by example, leading from the front.

Alexander’s reign illustrates a number of important leadership lessons which remain applicable to business and political chiefs today:

1. Have a compelling vision

Alexander’s actions demonstrate what can be accomplished when a person is totally focused—when he or she has clarity coupled with a ‘magnificent obsession’. Through dramatic gestures and great rhetorical skills, Alexander spoke to the collective imagination of his people and won the commitment of his followers.

2. Be unsurpassed in execution

Alexander not only had a compelling vision, he also knew how to make that vision become reality. By maintaining an excellent information system, he was able to interpret his opponent’s motives and was a master at coordinating all parts of his military machine. No other military leader before him ever used speed and surprise with such dexterity. He knew the true value of the statement “One is either quick or one is dead!”

3. Create a well-rounded executive team

Alexander also knew how to build a committed team around him and operated in a way that allowed his commanders to build on each other’s’ strengths.

4. Walk the talk

Alexander set the example of excellence with his leadership style; he led his troops quite literally from the front. When his troops went hungry or thirsty, he went hungry and thirsty; when their horses died beneath them and they had to walk, he did the same. This accessibility only changed when he succumbed to the luxury of Persian court life.

5. Encourage innovation

Alexander realised the competitive advantage of strategic innovation. Because of his deft deployment of troops, his support for and reliance on the creativity of his corps of engineers, and his own logistical acumen, his war machine was the most advanced of its time.

6. Foster group identification

Alexander created a very astute propaganda machine to keep his people engaged. His oratory skills, based on the simple language of his soldiers, had a hypnotic influence on all who heard him. He made extensive use of powerful cultural symbols which elicited strong emotions. These ‘meaning-management’ actions, combined with his talent for leading by example, fostered strong group identification among his troops, and motivated his men to make exceptional efforts.

7. Encourage and support followers

Alexander knew how to encourage his people for their excellence in battle in ways that brought out greater excellence. He routinely singled people out for special attention and recalled acts of bravery performed by former and fallen heroes, making it clear that individual contributions would be recognised. He also had the ability to be a ‘container’ of the emotions of his people through empathetic listening.

8. Invest in talent management

Extremely visionary for his time, Alexander spent an extraordinary amount of resources on training and development. He not only trained his present troops but also looked to the future by developing the next generation.

9. Consolidate gains

Paradoxically, three of Alexander’s most valuable lessons were taught not through his strengths but through his weaknesses. The first of these is the need to consolidate gains. Alexander failed to put the right control systems in place to integrate his empire and thus never really savoured the fruit of his accomplishments. Conquest may be richly rewarding, but a leader who advances without ensuring the stability of his or her gains stands to lose everything.

10. Succession planning

Another lesson Alexander taught by omission is the need for a viable succession plan. He was so focused on his own role as king and aspiring deity that he could not bring himself to think of the future when he was gone. As a result, political vultures tore his vast empire apart after his death.

11. Create mechanisms of organisational governance

The final lesson that the case of Alexander illustrates (again by omission) is the paramount importance of countervailing powers. Leaders have the responsibility to put proper mechanisms of organisational governance into place, using checks and balances to prevent faulty decision-making and the abuse of power.

Alexander began his reign as an enlightened ruler, encouraging participation by his ‘companions’—loyal soldiers drawn from the noble families in Macedonia. But like many rulers before him, he became addicted to power. Hubris raised its ugly head. As time passed, Alexander’s behaviour became increasingly domineering and grandiose. He tolerated nothing but applause from his audience, so his immediate circle kept their reservations to themselves. As a result he lost touch with reality, another factor leading to his failure to consolidate his empire. Epilogue

In the entire human history, World never seen a Emperor and Conqueror like him before and after.

He is shining like Thunder Star in the Galaxy of Powerful Rulers and Leaders.

Probably, he might be the only Military Commander, who attained a divine status and considered as a demi god in his life time..

So , The Legend of Alexander lives on forever in this world inspiring future generations of Strategists, Tacticians, Administrators, Warriors and Rulers alike.

MM Rao


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