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Alexander the Great is regarded as the world's most renowned military leader. He was born during a time when there was a lot of brutality and tyranny. Alexander, on the other hand, used his great knowledge from Aristotle to gather his armies in wars that were nearly impossible. He desired to aggressively extend his civilization over the whole world, demonstrating to the world that he was capable of sustaining a vast empire both economically and politically. Alexander was an intelligent ruler and even after his death several cultures continued to respect him. At a young age, Alexander had envisaged big building projects in Egypt. Even when many great conquerors had visited the coast of Egypt, none grasped the importance of building a town on the site where Alexander founded Alexandria. None had the idea that such a project would in the future develop into a center for a massive exchange in commerce between the western Mediterranean and Egypt. The distinctive leadership qualities of Alexander the Great brought several changes in Egyptian society including the economic, political and cultural factors that became the biggest cause of Egypt conquest as this particular region rose in a better economic, political and social state of the world.
Alexander spent six months in Egypt, which was essential to his future strategies. His conquest of Egypt in 332BC marks the start of Greek period in Egypt. Even though Egypt had been a Persian territory, Alexander did not face any resistance from either countries and thereby entered Egypt easily. Instead, the Egyptians welcomed him and saw him as a triumphant deliverer. While in Egypt, sources reveal that Alexander had the eagerness and participation in the planning of the city. It was in Alexandria where he buried his best friend and where he was laid to rest. Alexander chose Egypt because Alexandria held the secured arrival of reinforcement and other supplies from the West. There are cultural, political, and economic consequences of Alexander’s conquest.
Historical Interaction: Economy
Upon entering Egypt, Alexander ordered the design of a city that was founded in his name adjacent to the mouth of River Nile. The city named Alexandria became a business centre as well as Military Macedonian outpost. This was the beginning of many business centers that came into existence as trade continued to thrive in Egypt. Trade flourished across the Hellenistic world as a center of imports, and manufacturing began in Egypt. Egyptians produced cotton cloths and traded them. Furthermore, they produced other goods and materials, such as silk, paper, jewelry, salt, and alcoholic drinks. There was a massive increase in the international trade and fraternization of many people from many nations achieved with the help of the contributions of Alexander. In his quest to keep the culturally diverse empire together, Alexander implemented a consistent economic plan. He adopted the Attic customary of coinage and spread it in the entire empire immediately after his father, Phillip, was assassinated. However, there is a possibility that the decision of coinage came from Phillip. He later on approved the minting of non-Attic standard coins, which undermined his envisioned concept of a unified economic plan. No one can question Alexander’s impact to the economy. Due to his enormous eastward mobilization and colonization, the trade routes that existed between east and west became easily assessable and safer. The Greek economy was enhanced by Alexander’s conquest since its foreign markets were expanded thereby increasing exports. However, it is worth noting that most economic and civic reforms by Alexander were conflicting and died alongside with him. Even though Alexander did not live to see Alexandria being built, the city became a major economic and cultural center in the world of Mediterranean both in the Macedonian rule and the following centuries.
Historical Interaction: Politics
The end to Persian rule in Egypt was brought when Alexander’s forces occupied the country. Before Alexander departed Egypt, he reorganized its administration in a manner that was well thought. He appointed Cleomenes of Naucratis who was a Greek residing in Egypt and Ptolemy 1 who had been his general in Macedonia to govern Egypt. However, despite naming two Egyptian governors, power was retained by Ptolemy who later took total control of Egypt. Alexander preserved the Ancient Egyptian local government’s system by appointing both Greeks and Egyptians to the country’s military and financial offices. The Egyptians held the administrative positions. Therefore, there were new methods of government in various administrations including financial military and civil. Just as Alexander was fast at altering and modifying his tactics in battle to meet new challenges, so was the manner in which he adapt novel political approaches to suit various regions of his empire. He threw aside leaders that were unsuccessful and considered more practical solutions. Politically, after the death of Alexander, there were many Greek government officials in every Judean village that were surrounded by Greek cities. Force was applied to move Jewish families across the empires. A significance percentage of Jewish population dispersed to Egypt.
The Greek city-states considered Macedonia to be backward and semi barbaric during the time when Philip II, Alexander’s father, reigned. The cities operated independently of each other and had different cultures and government styles. Before his death, Alexander’s father had planned an invasion to the Persian Empire that was vast covering Egypt all the way to the Indus River and stretched to the Indian Ocean from the Caspian Sea. The Persian Empire had excellent resources that made it impossible for any invasions. However, Alexander was brave enough to cross the Hellespont and attack the Persian Empire including Egypt by 334 BCE.
Historical Interaction: Culture
Alexander tried to merge cultural elements of the Greeks and those of Egyptians. Additionally, Alexander recruited local people to join his army, an act that brought hostility from Macedonian and Greek soldiers. From a strategic perspective, Alexander would have looked foolish if he failed to use troops from the regions that he had conquered. For example, the development of Epigoni as well as the enhancement of Persian troops that served alongside with the Macedonian elite portray that Alexander was a step further than just calling upon the support of Egyptians. However, other historians have a different point of view regarding Alexander and his military decisions. For example, Bosworth and Worthington assert that the military decision by Alexander concerning the Egyptians counterbalanced his army. Alexander made a pilgrimage to the Egypt’s great temple and he made an oracle of the Egyptian sun’s god called Amon-Ra that both the Greeks and Macedonians related with Zeus Ammon. Since the pharaohs of Egypt were seen as Amon-Ra sons, Alexander also wanted the god to recognize him as his son because he had become a new Egypt’s ruler. Alexander once visited the oracle in the desert at the god’s temple, which was said to be a dangerous adventure. However, the legends assert that he got blessed with heavy rain on his way and received guidance from the ravens to cross the dessert. After his death, there was an immense spread of Hellenistic civilization when Greek became the business language just as English is today. In the past, there had been confusing mistakes because financial and business transactions were carried out via an interpreter. By adopting Geek as a universal language, Alexander simplified commerce and the exchange of entrepreneurial ideas. Education was conducted in the Greek language, which guaranteed the extension of Hellenic culture to ensure that all nations that had followed different lines of traditions, thoughts and customs, were a part of a common civilization or citizens of the same world. The Greek language became the paramount agent of the unification of the East and West. Every speech and literary work was done in Greek to make sure that the message reached a wide public. With a universal language, the people from the West were able to easily access oriental knowledge
The greatest consequence of the rule of Alexander was the extension of Greek culture. Moreover, there was an opening up of a vast territory that had been seen as useless until the nomad tribes that were conquered were trained to conform to the civilization. The impetus that resulted was given to the building of cities there was development of harbors and ships to aid travel both on sea and land. In addition, Alexander’s dream was partially realized as all religions and fraternization were tolerated universally. Furthermore, he had arranged a mass ceremony when many Macedonian soldiers got married to Egyptian women. This was a strategy of creating a unified society with people from different cultures. In his mind, Alexander knew that the children resulting from such intermarriages would in future embody blood that was both Macedonian and Egypt. In Egypt, Alexandria became the cross-cultural meeting place with a museum and a library that attracted diverse scholars across the Hellenistic kingdoms.
This paper has used both primary and secondary sources in support of the thesis statement that “The distinctive leadership qualities of Alexander the Great brought a lot of changes in Egyptian society including the economic, political and cultural changes that became the biggest cause of Egypt conquest as this particular region rose in a better economic, political and social state of the world”. The architecture of the Hellenistic cities education and religion give evidence that there are new cultural norms that combine elements from East and West. Common to all historians is the belief that cultural assimilation marked a unique characteristic of the Hellenistic Age. The nature of the motivations and intentions of Alexander was determined through the examination of his actions and behavior. Some of the primary sources that give such information include Plutarch despite the fact that he wrote after the death of Alexander. Plutarch epitomized the most celebrated parts of Alexander’s story. He wrote about the life of Alexander and gave more attention to the marks and indications of the soul leaving more weighty matter and great battles for other writers to address. However, the information collected from primary documentation helps to understand the decisions and behaviors of Alexander. Many historians have focused on the issues that include Alexander’s inclusion of Persians as a part of his army, political administration the adoption of Persian dress, Mixed marriages that were arranged at Susa and Alexander’s dream of harmony between the Greeks and Persians. Hammond has also noted that Alexander had trained local troops to be responsible for defending their satrap and policing.
Indeed, the distinctive leadership qualities of Alexander the Great brought several changes in Egyptian society including the economic, political and cultural factors that became the biggest cause of Egypt conquest as this particular region rose in a better economic, political and social state of the world. Alexander’s unique personality was admired by many people including his successors. Alexander’s generals that later became kings attempted to emulate his example both in war and by encouraging the expansion of Hellenic culture. These generals also tried just as Alexander to work for the benefit of their subjects.
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