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Alexander the Great as a Military Leader

This research paper summarizes and evaluates

Alexander the Great's skills and accomplishments as a military leader and his shortcomings as well as his gifts in consolidating his victories in the realm of politics.

King at 20 and dead of fever at 33, Alexander in 13 years conquered most of the known world, generally in the face of insuperable odds. He was able to do so in part because he inherited a superb army, an alliance and a sense of mission from his father, King Philip II of Macedon, but most of all because he excelled in all the arts of war. An extraordinarily brave and inspiring leader in battle, Alexander shared the privations and sufferings of his small band of devoted followers and spurred them on to feats of endurance and courage unparalleled in ancient history.

Alexander's tactical and strategic genius as a military leader was coupled with remarkable political astuteness which enabled him to retain and capitalize upon his conquests. Free of any political ideology other than belief in Greek civilization and his own destiny, he was ruthless toward his enemies but surprisingly moderate toward many individuals and peoples he conquered. He knew how to expand the power of his small conquering force by accommodating to local custom and by making clever use of religious beliefs. However, toward the end of his life, his dream of an Eurasian empire may have caused him to succumb to a touch of megalomania and to lose touch with his own supporters who became more and more disenchanted with him. Whether he could have realized his plans for further conquests or stumbled over their grandiosity, will never be known, but Alexander probably was well down the road of biting off more than he could chew.

According to Hammond, from Philip (383-336) "Alexander was to inherit the most formidable army in Europe" (15). Regarded as barbarians by the Greeks because of their lack of culture, primitive economy and willingness to do t...

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