the oath of Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great gave this oath at Opis in 324 BC. It
was at a banquet before 9,000 Greek and Asian officers.
The Oath has been quoted mostly from Ptolemy who had
possessed Alexander's diary. Others were Plutarch, and
Erathostenes. Over the centuries wording has been changed
but the main points are still there.
It is my wish, now that wars are coming to an end, that you should all
be happy in peace. From now on, let all mortals live as one people,
in fellowship, for the good of all. See the whole world as your
homeland, with laws common to all, where the best will govern
regardless of their race. Unlike the narrow minded, I make no
distinction between Greeks and Barbarians. The origin of citizens, or
the race into which they were born, is of no concern to me. I have
only one criterion by which to distinguish their virtue. For me any
good foreigner is a Greek and any bad Greek is worse than a
barbarian. If disputes ever occur among you, you will not resort to
weapons but will solve them in peace. If need be, I shall arbitrate
between you. See God not as an autocratic despot, but as the
common father of all and thus your conduct will be like the lives of
brothers within the same family. I on my part, see you all as equal,
whether you are white or dark-skinned. And I should like you not
simply to be subjects of my Commonwealth, but members of it,
partners of it. To the best of my ability, I shall strive to do what I
have promised. Keep as a symbol of love this oath which we have
taken tonight with our libations.
Top 10 Reasons Alexander the Great
Was, Well ... Great!
1. Defeated the Persians
• After less than a year in Egypt, Alexander
resumed to chasing after the Persian emperor,
Darius III. At the plains of Gaugamela, Darius
assembled an army of 200,000. Alexander's
47,000 men attacked Darius' flanks, splitting
the Persian forces, while Alexander charged
into the center. Darius escaped by horseback,
only to be later killed by one of his own
men. Having conquered the Persians,
Alexander was named King of Asia. He
took Babylon and Persepolis, the Persian
capital. In an attempt to solidify his rule, he
began to dress like a Persian, and married a
Persian dancer named Roxanne. His men
found it unbecoming of their king that he
thought it necessary to please a defeated
2. Founded Alexandria; Became
Poster Child for Librarians
• Besides razing cities, Alexander also
founded about 20 new ones, naming most
of them after himself. The most enduring
of these is Alexandria on the coast of
the Nile delta. In a superb natural harbor
where the Persians had once erected a
fortress, Alexander had his architects build
a grand city along Greek
lines. Alexandria later developed into a
cosmopolitan port, with schools, theater,
and one of the greatest libraries of
antiquity. Greeks ran the city's
administration, but Egyptians were
allowed to keep their customs and
religion. Egyptians could only become
citizens if they learned Greek and accepted
Greek traditions.
3. Simply Divine: Declared Son of a
• After defeating the Persians at the Battle of
Issus, Alexander decided to enter Egypt,
which had been under Persian rule for
almost 200 years. The Egyptians despised the
Persians for their heavy taxes and religious
intolerance. They gladly anointed Alexander
as pharaoh, initiating a cultural exchange
between Greece and Egypt that lasted for
the next three hundred years. While
in Egypt, Alexander also made the dangerous
journey across the desert to the shrine of
Zeus Ammon. It is said that he was guided
by ravens and blessed with rain. Upon his
arrival, the priest apparently told him he was
the son of Zeus.
4. Untied Gordian Knot, Loosed
Metaphor for the Ages
According to legend, the Phrygians, who lived in what is now central Turkey,
were told by an oracle to make king the first man to ride into town in an
oxcart. As luck would have it, this man was Gordius, a poor peasant. After
his coronation, Gordius dedicated his cart to the god Zeus and tied it to a
pole outside the temple. The knot was made of cornel bark, which hardened
over time. It was said that whoever untied this intricate knot would conquer
all of Asia. Alexander could not pass up such an opportunity, but there were
no ends to the knot for him to even get started. In frustration, he sliced it in
half with his sword, proclaiming, "I have loosed it!" The Gordian Knot has
since become synonymous with an intractable problem that requires an
unconventional solution.
5. Crossed the Hellespont
After solidifying his rule
of Macedonia and Greece, Alexander
looked east to Asia and the Persian Empire,
which was led by Darius III. Alexander
assembled an allied Greek army of 5,000
cavalry and 32,000 infantry to avenge the
Persian invasion of Greece in 490 B.C.
With 60 naval vessels, Alexander crossed
the Hellespont (a narrow strait separating
Europe and Asia - now called
the Dardanelles) in 334 B.C. From his ship,
Alexander threw his spear onto the shore.
As he took his first steps in Asia, he pulled
his weapon from the sand and declared
that these lands would be won by the
spear. Being quite fond of the Trojan War
story -- even keeping a copy of Homer's
Iliad tucked under his pillow, Alexander
made a special trip to Troy to perform
several sacrifices and to trade some of his
armor for a sacred shield in the
Temple of Athena.
6. Perfected Macedonian Military
Style, the Phalanx
• The most distinctive element of the Macedonian war machine was
the phalanx. Developed by Alexander's father, the phalanx was a
tight formation of soldiers - usually 16 by 16 - carrying shields and
sarisses. The back rows of the phalanx held their sarisses upright,
hiding the movement of forces behind the lines, while the front rows
kept the enemy at bay with an impenetrable wall of sharp pikes. On
flat terrain, the phalanx proved unbeatable. Alexander also had at his
disposal light auxiliaries, archers and a cavalry. Thanks to his father,
Alexander’s army was largely a professional one. In earlier times,
Macedonians would stop fighting during the harvest, but Philip and
Alexander paid the men enough that they could afford to be soldiers
full-time. This meant they were often better trained than their
7. Assumed Father's Throne in Timely, but Ruthless, Manner
• Alexander's father, Philip, was stabbed by one of his
bodyguards in 336 B.C. at a wedding banquet. Although few
scholars think that Alexander was directly involved in the
assassination, he wasted no time dispatching any possible rivals
- even instructing his mother, Olympias, to execute the infant
son of Philip's last wife. Alexander spent the next two years
quelling rebellions in the lands conquered by his
father. Thebes revolted on a false rumor that Alexander was
dead. Showing no mercy, Alexander slaughtered or sold into
slavery 30,000 inhabitants before leveling the city to the
ground. By setting such an example, there were no significant
uprisings in Greece.
8. Tamed the horse Bucephalus
• Philip, Alexander's father, bought a horse
called Bucephalus for the exorbitant price of
13 talents (1 talent = 27 kg of gold), but the
rambunctious animal bucked all comers.
Watching the futile attempts, Alexander
noticed that the animal was frightened by its
own shadow. He bet his father that he could
mount the horse. By turning Bucephalus
toward the sun so its shadow was behind it,
Alexander was able to climb into the saddle
and gallop around triumphantly. To which his
father said: "My boy, you must find a
kingdom big enough for your
ambitions. Macedonia is too small for you."
Bucephalus remained Alexander's faithful
steed until it died in what is now present-day
Pakistan, fighting elephant-mounted brigades.
9. Trained in philosophy
by Aristotle
How many of history's great leaders can claim to have
had one of the great philosophers as their personal tutor.
Out of all the intellectuals at the prestigious Academy in
Athens, Alexander's father, Philip, chose Aristotle (384322 B.C.) to instruct his 13-year-old son. Aristotle, who
had been the student of Plato, was offered a handsome
salary to move to the town of Mieza, deep in the
Macedonian countryside. In the nearby Temple of the
Nymphs, Aristotle taught the young prince geography,
zoology, politics and medicine. Alexander was greatly
influenced by the philosopher's teachings. On later
military campaigns, Alexander brought scientists with him
and sent plant and animal specimens back to his former
10. Extended Empire Into India; Partied -and Died -- Like a Rock Star
Alexander's vision of Asia was that it ended just
on the other side of India. Wanting to conquer
the continent, he persuaded his men to march
east. The Indian king Porus and his elephants fell
to Alexander, but the weather and the mountains
wore out his men. It soon became clear that Asia
was larger than had been estimated. With his
campaign suffering from "mission drift",
Alexander succumbed to his men's pleas and
turned back. But he decided on a circuitous
route: down India's rivers to the ocean, then
along the coast back to Persia. It was probably
Alexander's greatest mistake, as 15,000 of his
men died of starvation or heat in the Gedrosan
Desert -- more than all those he lost in battle. The
journey may have taken its toll on Alexander as
well. At a banquet back in Babylon, he drank
excessively -- as usual -- then fell ill of a fever,
most likely due to malaria. He died a few days
later, just shy of his 33-rd birthday.
Andy Warhol &
Alexander the Great
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