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Mainstream, VOL LV No 41 New Delhi September 30, 2017

Alexander, the Great Conquerer!

Friday 29 September 2017, by J.J. Roy Burman

It is astounding to think of Alexander, the Great, as a conquerer. But it is indeed a fact that he is popularly known as a great Greek emperor. However, most do not know the fact that he was not a Greek. He was born in Pella, a tribal pocket of Macedonia, which became a part of Yugoslavia. It can thus be concluded by all means that he was a tribal by birth. He inherited the escalated political position from his father, Philip.

Alexander started his political career under the tutelage of the great scholar, Aristotle.

Alexander, as a part of military exercise by conquerring parts of North Africa, reached West Asia. From there he reached Persia (present-day Iran) and defeated King Darius and followed further in his expedition to North West India. But his mission came to an abrupt end due to unaccounted death at the age of 32 years.

The main argument I pose to place here is that in the course of just around 10 years of military mission, Alexander could establish a suzerain covering vast streaches of land. He at best conquered regions and consolidated his rule. He at best conquered a large territory, and there was no empire. It may be realised that Akbar, the Great, took 54 years to establish his empire distributed over a number of citadels. We cannot name one such citadel of eminence that was brought under the rule of Alexander. He was at best a conqueror and not an emperor. The historical oracles emanating from the West are largely responsible for the creation of a more than life-size image of Alexander from Macedonia. This was a centre of long-distance trade route.

The case of Alexander proved that under given circumstances even tribes can establish wide-ranging trade barters and citadels.

Prof J.J. Roy Burman belongs to the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

ISSN : 0542-1462 / RNI No. : 7064/62