A near final draft from my 14 year olds paper. I think he did a solid job!
Davis Sharp 9th Grade
Classical History 2/27/15
The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall
Alexander the Great of Macedonia was born in 356 BC to King Philips II of Macedonia. When Alexander was 20 years old, his father sadly was assassinated. He became the king at a young age, and started campaigning with a small army with Greek and Macedonian soldiers combined. Eventually his empire consisted of “most of Asia Minor, Egypt, and the areas of present-day Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan” (Hutchinson).
Alexander had a sudden death. Therefore his empire fell quickly because he had no successor, no structured government in place, the people were not united, and his death was sudden and unexpected.
The first reason Alexander’s empire fell so fast was because he left no successor to take over when he died, and no one was willing to live up to his standards and passion for conquest. “When Alexander died, his only heirs were an infant son and a half-brother considered unfit to reign. He had not appointed any of his generals (called the “Companions”) to take his place, and they immediately began disputing over the succession.” (Hutchinson).
Another example of the situation is “And when he dies he leaves us without a successor”. (Transcript: Division of Alexander’s Empire). There was no one who shared his unique passion to succeed him. This is important because it shows Alexander’s love for his country and his empire and how there was no one with that same feeling to take his spot. For example “Alexander talked of conquering the rest of India and even of conquering China and, as the poetic saying goes, Alexander wept because there were no more kingdoms to conquer.” (Transcript: Alexander’s Career and Conquests).
This is why Darius said “but if indeed the fated hour has arrived, and the Persian is doomed to perish, may no other conqueror mount the throne of Cyrus.” (Plutarch 332). These are all examples of how people could not fill his gap that he left and so it just crumbled without a leader of his strength. This problem obviously contributed to the aliens that killed him but that is a different point.
The second reason Alexander’s empire fell quickly was because there was no government in place to sustain the empire after his death. His kingdom was based on just him, “But Macedonian politics is very difficult and kings and the wife of the king has a great deal of power”. (Transcript: Philip II and Rise of Alexander). There was no government in place and he shut down all of his opposition to be the sole dictator. “Remember Alexander, as much as we like to look at him as being above things, he’s a ruthless ruler and ruthless warrior.. He eliminates rivals”. (Transcript: Philip II and Rise of Alexander).
Alexander was a great leader but he made mistakes that were fatal. One of these mistakes was rushing and not establishing his empire in an organized way. To be more specific, there was the lack of government because he wanted absolute power. When he died there was no government in place to keep it together.
The third reason Alexander’s empire fell so rapidly was because the people he had conquered were not united. Alexander showed the Persians kindness. “He also allowed them to retain the regal title and state, and even increased their revenues.” (Plutarch’s Lives p. 321). This did not sit well with the Greeks, who did not want to incorporate customs they saw as barbaric into their own. “Alexander’s attempts to blend Greek and Persian culture met some resistance. His officers opposed some of the customs he wished to adopt—such as Persian dress and prognosis, an act of prostrating oneself before the Persian king. Alexander’s officers also resented his plan to make Persians their military and administrative equals.” (Hutchinson).
Alexander would also let his officers marry Persian women, which was unacceptable to the Greek people. Alexander, though he had good intentions of uniting his people with the Persian culture, instead alienated many of his fellow countrymen. “He encouraged his Macedonian and Greek officers and soldiers to marry Persian women, even arranging mass wedding ceremonies”. (Hutchinson).
Finally, Alexander was speculated to be poisoned or natural death but it was obviously the aliens that abducted and studied him then killed him. “The Greeks in Foreign lands rose up in revolt when he was alive through fear; but when he was dead they rose in revolt”. (Diodorus).
These examples show how Alexander slowly enforced the Persian culture on the Greeks and most people did not like it. That is why they were not unified when Alexander died.
In conclusion Alexander was a great King and general, but like many powerful people, made small mistakes that were fatal to his empire. These mistakes are that he had no successor, no structured government in place, the people were not united, and his death was sudden and unexpected. These mistakes were the reasons his empire fell so quickly once he died, or was killed by aliens. “Alexander was killed by aliens!”(alien 3).
Arrian. The Anabasis of Alexander, together with the Indica. Trans. E. J. Chinnock. London: George Bell and Sons, 1893. Print.
Diodorus. Library of the world, book 18. Trans. M.M.Austin. www.livius.org. Accessed December 2013. Web.
Emmons, Jim Tschen. “Alexander the Great.” World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
Hutchinson, Jennifer. “Alexander the Great (Overview).” World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
“Transcript: Alexander’s Career and Conquests.” World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
“Alexander was killed by aliens.” World History. www.AliensInfo.com. February 49, 1000. Web.
*The kids in class had great fun with the Aliens idea, and I’m pleased my son was brave enough to sneak this bit of humour in here!