Alexander the Great, Similar to no Other Human Being
Former Minister of Macedonia and Thrace,
President of Macedonian Hestia
Translated by Nina Gatzoulis
Supreme Secretary of the Pan-Macedonian Association USA
"Not even to me seems possible that without divine intervention he turned out to be similar to no other human being". Arrian completes his book, "Alexander's Ascend" with the previous statement and evaluation.
Plutarch in his book "Morals about Alexander's Fate or Virtue”, writes that "States which never got to know Alexander, were as though they never saw the light of the sun". At another place of the same book he says, "If one judges from what Alexander taught and did, it is verified that he was a Philosopher".
The American producers, who aspire to make a film about the life of Alexander the Great, should not ignore the two quotations of the above two well-known and respected philosophers. Hollywood, due to its influence and authority, but also, as former President Clinton wrote, due to the supremacy and muscle USA exercises on a global level, must not be lured into casual scripts and ignore Alexander's magnificence and the fact that he was born human, lived as a superhuman and died as God. Alexander's accomplishments and endeavors had a profoundly positive effect in the development of future societies.
The mighty Romans were the first people to name Alexander “Great”. They deified him and not only considered him a role model, but also embraced his life, as well as the arts and sciences that he spread in the East. It was through the Romans that the Greek civilization and culture were transferred and established in the West and thus the western civilization was paved and took roots in the western world. Chateaubriand wrote, "if someone was compared to a God, that was Alexander". The preceding quotations are not casual comments.
Alexander's speech at OPIS in 324 BC, otherwise known as Alexander's Oath, given about one year before his death in the presence of 9.000 Greek and Asian Officers, has become the beacon of State Leaders and International Organizations in their route toward the third millennium. The main points made in this speech have been reported to be as follows:
oNow that the wars are over, I wish you to find happiness through Peace.
oMay all mortals live from now on in Harmony, as one Nation, for the sake of common Prosperity.
oConsider the World as your Country, with common Laws, governed by men of merit, regardless of race.
oI do not distinguish people as Greeks and Barbarians, as do the narrow minded.
oI am not interested where people come from or which race they were born in.
oI only distinguish people according to their virtues.
oTo me every virtuous foreigner is Greek and each non virtuous Greek is worst than a Barbarian.
oIf you are ever faced with differences, do not resort to arms, but resolve them peacefully. If need be, I can act as your arbitrator.
oGod should not be viewed as an authoritarian Ruler, but as our common Father.
oAs for myself, I consider all, be black or white, as equals.
oI wish you to be my partners and not just members of our commonwealth.
oAs far as I can, I shall see to it that all I have promised you comes true.
oRegard this Oath, as a Symbol of Love.
The Oath at OPIS conveys a message, which originated in Macedonia and has not been emphasized enough. The message, emanating from Alexander's native land, was not to conquer nations or to acquire riches, or even to satisfy rivalry passions between nations, but to unite all people with the bonds of Peace, amalgamation and mutual communication.
Alexander's comments to Diogenes during their brief encounter in Corinth, his policy during his expedition to the East, culminating with the Oath at OPIS and the historic fact, recorded by Diodoros, that "the enemies were required by the conqueror to be happy", all attest to the fact that Alexander's ambition was to civilize and not to conquer. The young king respected the Public Treasury and he was a philanthropist. Professor Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, who has been one of the most respected, well read and broadly accepted Statesmen of Greece, wrote that Alexander severely penalized those who abused the Public Treasury or ill-treated the citizens of his Commonwealth.
As Plutarch notes, Alexander expressed the above policy, before he initiated his expedition in the East. The recorded occasion was during the time when he met the famous Greek philosopher Diogenes in Corinth. When Alexander asked Diogenes what he would like to have from the Macedonian King, the philosopher answered that the only thing he wished, was for Alexander to move, so he does not obscure the sun. Diogenes' reply did not anger Alexander and who said, "If I did not intend to merge the barbarian nations with Greece, and by going through the Continent to bring civilization to it and then come across the end of the world and ocean, in order to extend Macedonia that far and spread and convey to all nations Hellenic Justice and Peace, I wouldn't be contend doing nothing and just using the power for corporal pleasures. However, I would be envious of Diogenes' simplicity".
Indeed throughout his life Alexander never used his authority for pleasures.
When Alexander was leaving Macedonia to undertake his expedition against the Persians, he distributed his property and belongings. Alexander was asked what would he keep for himself and his answer was that he only will keep HOPE.
Jews throughout the centuries have been using the name Alexander. This has been in accordance with their High Priest’s decision, that "Alexander's name should remain in eternity". The decision was taken, because when he visited Jerusalem, Alexander the Great exhibited respect towards the High Priest and for the Jewish religious worship. It is said that when the Jews of Jerusalem offered Alexander gold and silver, he refused to accept them and that the Jewish High Priest told Alexander: “We serve only one God, who created Heaven and Earth and all visible and invisible things, no human being is able to explain”. To this Alexander replied: “As worthy worshipers of the true God, be in Peace, for your God is my God and my Peace is your Peace. I shall not treat you any different from the other nations, since you serve the living God”
A few years ago our Ambassador to Islamabad, Pakistan's capitol, told me that even today, Pakistani school students are learning that when Alexander died, his remains were placed in a coffin with his hands outside the coffin. The crowd was taking Alexander's remains around the city shouting, "Alexander hands were clean when he was born and with clean hands he goes to the other world". Pakistanis even today regard Alexander as their national hero.
Alexander never followed Aristotle's advice that he should treat the Greeks differently than the non-Greeks. By respecting the traditions of the people he conquered, eliminating discrimination and prejudice between conquerors and conquered, Alexander the Great elevated the peoples he conquered from an economic, social and political point of view to a higher echelon. And, that is the reason why Alexander, even today, is being loved and respected by a multitude of nations in the East and West and various legends of different nationalities claim Alexander as their own. Montesquieu, the great French political philosopher, wrote, "when Alexander was gone, nations became orphans".
Voltaire, according to Pavlos Tzermias, wrote, "Alexander changed Asia's, Greece's and Egypt's nature and gave the world new direction". Alexander with his marriage to Roxane, Darius' daughter, was the first one to revoke racial discrimination. He reaffirmed his stance about inequity, by assigning individuals from within the peoples he conquered to assume responsible governing positions in his Commonwealth.
Alexander's behavior toward Persian King Darius' family, which he had captured (his mother, wife and children), was admired by all for the respect that he showed to the royal members. He did not treat his opponent's family as a conqueror and as mighty King would treat his enslaved subjects. Darius' mother came to love Alexander as her own son, because he treated her with respect and the purity of his youth became evident to her. She refused to abandon him, when there was a plot that gave her the opportunity to escape. When Alexander passed away, she went on a hunger fast for five days and as Professor Panagiotis Kanellopoulos wrote, she committed suicide.
"Darius, you have been conquered by an enemy whose character is far superior of any other human…This enemy is virtuous and brave". These were the comforting words to Darius, offered by Stateiras' (wife of Darius) manservant, who had escaped, when he saw Darius lamenting after the news he received about his wife's death while she was giving birth to their child.
Droyzen in his book The History of Alexander the Great (of R.I.S. Apostolidis, published by Trust Bank, p.301), wrote that when Darius was informed that the Macedonian King showed every respect toward his captive family and that the dead Stateira was buried with all honors fit for a Queen, he raised his arms toward the sky saying, "If I return a conqueror I want to be able to return Alexander's kindness during my family's misfortune, and if we cease ruling may the Gods intervene so no other than Alexander should occupy the throne of Persia".
Alexander, by liberating various cities in the East, which were under bondage, abolished Oligarchy and established Democracy. He founded cities, theaters, and gymnasiums, built new roads, established common currency and promoted commerce among nations. He mitigated the Greek Civilization in the East and extremely influenced the Arab nations. As Dennis Overbye of New York Times wrote, the meeting of the two Civilizations, the Greek and Arabian, became an important historic fact. The Arabs translated the Greek literary works into Arabian, which subsequently were passed to Europe during the 12th century AD through Latin, thus establishing the basis of the European Renaissance.
Dr. Constantine Romanos, Assistant Professor of the Philosophy Department of Aegean University, in his interesting book The Hellenistic Islam, describes "the missing Hellenistic legacy of Islam, is the missing link of the History of Civilization". As Dr. Romanos mentions, no research has been done in Greece about this issue; the Former Metropolitan of Great Britain, Methodios Fougias, carried out the only serious attempt to be mentioned. Metropolitan Methodios' remarkable research, combined with the reopening of Alexandria's Library and the commenced reports of various Egyptian scientists in regards to the great benefits of the legendary Library of Alexandria, the works of hellenized Islam philosophers in the Medieval period, have gained interest on an international level.
As D. Overbye of New York Times (newspaper Kathimerini 11/4/2001) observed, the scientific work of the Arab philosophers, which was the end result of the success of Alexander the Great, was interrupted by the Crusades, the Mongols and the Ottomans. The latter imposed their presence for about five centuries and during that period there was no academic scholarship at all in the area. Overbye wrote that the Ottomans were not interested in sciences and Dr. Romanos observed that they did not identify with Islam.
It is not by chance, that Mohammed the Prophet, refers in the Koran to the Double-horned King (Alexander) as a prophet, who has the ability to punish those who wrong others and reward the individuals who carry out good deeds.
Buddhists consider Alexander equal to God.
St. Nectarios in his book The Ecumenical Synods writes, "Hellenism which spread by Alexander, paved the way for Christianity by Emperor Constantine the Great".
St. Vasilios the Great, does not by chance present Alexander the Great as role model of self-discipline to young people.
Mankind today needs a positive projection of Alexander's deeds and work and this is an ardent aspiration of UN. This goal could be satisfied by a film supported by true historic verity, rather than imaginary or profiteering scripts, aiming to humiliate Alexander, whom the passing of time has indeed respected. This could not only result in insulting nations conquered by Alexander, but it would also offend the faithful of other great religions.
Arrian in his book The Ascension of Alexander VII, mentions that according to Aristovoulos (historian who was accompanying Alexander) the Macedonian King was diligent, fearless, brave and respectful to Gods, was also self-disciplined in his corporeal pleasures. Arrian adds that it is not of great significance that Alexander committed some errors. He was the only King who was remorseful about his mistakes and this has to do with his gentle nature. According to Aristovoulos, the Symposia, in which Alexander participated, did not last long, since Alexander did not drink much.
Plutarch, employing Alexander's journal as source, writes in his book Parallel Lives (chap. 23): "Also in wine he was less self-indulgent than what he was considered. He was of the habit of staying at the Symposia talking much, but drinking little". Plutarch adds that he was also temperate in eating.
Alexander is honored and will be honored and respected forever by the great religions of the world. Scripts, therefore, and other attempts to blemish his personality, are ineffective. Regardless of what has been mentioned above, common sense falsifies allegations about Alexander's homosexuality or drinking habits. It would be impossible for Alexander to lead his army in such successful military campaigns, that no one before and after him was able to achieve, if these attributes were true.
Film scripts which attempt to portray Alexander the Great as homosexual are of poor taste and lack seriousness. Plutarch in his Morals - About the Fate and Virtue of Alexander (p 333, chap. 12), states: "Let us bring up the deeds of those who have generally been identified as Philosophers and let us compare their deeds with the deeds of Alexander. Philoxenos, his coast guard commander, wrote to Alexander that he found in Ionia a very handsome boy, one that could be compared to none other in beauty, and if Alexander wanted the boy he could send the youth to him. The King replied to him in bitter, scolding manner: "Horrible man, have you known me up to now guilty of such crimes? How dare you flatter me with such vile pleasures?"
Other points that could be brought to disprove Alexander's homosexuality allegations are:
a) Alexander was married to Roxane and they had an heir,
b) Alexander also married to Darius' daughter,
c) A Queen of the East asked Alexander to father a child with her.
In this age of loss of direction and human dignity, we search for great man to guide and inspire our youth and elevate the quality of life. Falsification and degradation of the personalities and statuses of long established History's heroes for political or materialistic gains and minimization of their positive effectiveness, is not only offensive to every civilized human being, but is also a crime against humanity itself. In the case of Alexander the Great, nothing undertaken by those who now wish to turn historical facts around, in order try and belittle him or tarnish his fame with unfounded claims, can affect his grander and place in History.