Perks that Alexander the Great had and nobody else did: Aristotle as a teacher, a great predecessor, the Persian Empire

Fareeha Arshad
A statue of Alexander the Great in TajikistanFlickr
Alexander the Great was only thirty-two years of age when he died. Despite the short life he lived, he made a name for himself for centuries to come. His empire stretched over three continents and was a Greek ruler, a Persian King, and an Egyptian Pharaoh at the same time.

Alexander was a strategic leader, an unmatched commander, and a wise human being — the culmination of such strong personality traits made him truly ‘great’. Let’s look at some of the perks that truly made him stand out from other leaders in history.

1. Alexander had Aristotle as his teacher
Statue of Aristotle at the University of FreiburgWikimedia Commons

One can never beat that. Growing under the influence of the father of philosophy is truly mind-blowing.

Alexander’s father, Philip II of Macedon, hired Aristotle as a court philosopher. Apart from his duties at the court, Aristotle spent time with the young Alexander and gave him basic knowledge of mathematics, sciences, literature, and philosophy. Thus, Aristotle could have played a fundamental role in shaping the mind of the teenage prince to become the great warrior he was.

2. Alexander had an equally great predecessor
Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the GreatFlickr

History bears witness that most great leaders often have a dedicated predecessor or a passionate mentor. This fact remained true even for Alexander the Great. His father, Phillip, worked hard and created a superpower out of the Kingdom of Macedonia amidst other ancient Greek cities.

The Macedonian army boasted of excellent cavalry to fight even the most brutal battles and a unique Macedonian phalanx. This rectangular phalanx included men holding tall spears marching in closely-knit formations in several rows. Similar phalanxes remained a popular fighting strategy in the battlegrounds for a long time in history.

After his father’s death, when Alexander inherited the throne, he also inherited one of the strongest armies in the world. Phillip’s significant contributions provided a major headstart for the twenty-year-old Alexander to march towards his enemies and conquer the lands without any significant setbacks.

3. Alexander had the great Persian Empire at his disposal

The Mediterranean region was under the control of the great Persian Empire for a couple of centuries until Alexander took control of this land. During the battle to occupy the Mediterranean lands, Alexander and his 50,000 army came face to face with the mighty Persian army with two and a half million soldiers headed by King Darius III.

During one of their battles near the town of Gaugamela in Persia, Alexander commanded over a thousand of his men to bait Darius’ troops. Also called the “pawn sacrifice”, this strategy of Alexander forced Darius to get distracted. This allowed Alexander to proceed with his next strategic move, where he launched a full-fledged attack on the Persian army.

Despite being very low in number, Alexander successfully won this infamous battle against Darius and his army. Not much later, Darius was murdered by his cousins, and this turn of events made Alexander the unrivalled King of Persia, his empire stretching into Iran, Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan.

What all perks about Alexander can you think about, that truly made him 'great'? Do let us know in the comments seciton.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

Texas State

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