Alexander the Great

“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion” said Alexander the Great and spoken like a true leader. Alexander was one of the most famous conquerors in World History; an ingenious military leader but also a subject of controversy. On the one hand he was a brilliant tactician and leader, but he could also be ruthless and cruel.

Those of you interested in this fascinating historical figure will have a chance to indulge on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m., the occasion being an Archaeological Associates of Greenwich Lecture. Entitled “Did Alexander the Great visit Jerusalem?” and hosted by Getzel Cohen, Professor of Classics and History at the University of Cincinnati the event will be free to members of the Bruce Museum and $10 at the door. For further information please log onto Brucemuseum.org.

From an early age Alexander was very ambitious, and he was anxious to battle and worried that his father would win all the victories before him. When his father was assassinated, Alexander succeeded him to the throne at the age of twenty. Some of the ancient writers believed he himself had something to do with the crime.

Whatever the case, Alexander started a war against Persia defeating an army of 40,000 Persians and Greek mercenaries, losing only 110 men. Alexander was then to conquer Tyre and Gaza, marching into Egypt where he was celebrated as a liberator. Alexander headed for Persepolis, the capital of Persia, which he looted of its riches and then burnt. There, his companions conspired to kill him but the venture failed and the perpetrators executed.

All of Persia now belonged to his kingdom, but this was not enough… He decided to turn east; towards India. The army traveled through the Afghani mountains and when they reached the other side they were greeted by King Taxila whose kingdom was across the Indus river.

At the end of the river Indus, Alexander fell ill with fever, and soon died of the disease. At the end he could barely speak, and his officers paraded by his deathbed. When asked who would succeed him Alexander replied “the worthiest” and died without naming an heir.

Studying the lives of infamous men like Alexander the Great is so edifying because it teaches us so much about our own humanity. But beyond that, lectures like the November 30 Bruce Museum offering inspire us to reach ever higher within the context of our own lives. After all, only somebody like Alexander the Great could enthuse his troops by saying “There is nothing impossible to him who will try!”

Victoria Baker of Greenwich is an opera singer. A winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists across the world (notably at Lincoln Center). She teaches piano & voice privately in Greenwich. For questions that deserve answers, and may be in print, please call 203-531-7499 or send email to [email protected]

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