ALEXANDER THE GREAT: THE MAN AND HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS
This research paper summarizes and evaluates Alexander the Great's skills and accomplishments as a military leader and his shortcomings as well as the political gifts which formed part of his complex personality. Alexander (356-323 B.C.) earned the title the Great primarily because of his remarkable military exploits. His accomplishments as a ruler proved to be largely transitory. His lasting legacy was the preservation and spread of Hellenistic culture which his conquests made possible, but which never ran very deep in Persia and regions further to the East.
A king at 19 and dead of fever at 33, Alexander in a relatively brief span of time conquered most of the then known world, often in the face of insuperable odds, during the course of campaigns which involved arduous marches over 17,000 miles. He was able to do so in part because he inherited from his father, King Philip II of Macedon, a superbly trained and disciplined army, a burgeoning alliance with Greek city-states and a sense of mission. He was an exceptionally courageous and inspiring leader of men in arms. His innovations in military tactics enabled his forces to outmaneuver and repeatedly defeat the much more populous and wealthier Persian Empire in five years. He then went on to achieve even more remarkable victories in the remote, forbidding and hostile mountainous and arid regions of Central and South Asia.
During the course of his conquests, Alexander displayed considerable political astuteness which enabled him to exploit weaknesses among his adversaries and to attract allies to his cause. Free of any political ideology other than his belief in the superiority of 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 and logistical base of his small conquering force by accommo...