Alexander as Achilles

Thu Aug 6 00:21:34 2009
Our sources frequently portray Alexander as determined, audacious, impetuous and even reckless. I don’t think I can completely accept this picture. We know the extant sources are heavily dependent on official Alexander propaganda. It is clear that he carefully controlled these perceptions with the careful intelligence and foresight he inherited from his father. The bold and rash “Alexander” sounds far too much like the fictional Achilles and less like a military leader with the ability to actually conquer the world. However, being perceived as Achilles could be very useful in leading armies of Greeks. Just like being perceived as a god might impress Egyptians or as an oriental potentate might impress Persians—all perceptions Alexander was very adept at cultivating when it was to his advantage. Knowing that one would almost expect the Greek sources to portray him as the mythical hero Achilles?

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~ by severalfourmany on August 6, 2009.

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