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Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (circa 1398 – February 3, 1468), a German metal-worker and inventor, achieved fame for his contributions to the technology of printing during the 1440s, including a type metal alloy and oil-based inks, a mould for casting type accurately, and a new kind of printing press based on presses used in wine-making. Tradition credits him with inventing movable type in Europe, an improvement on the block printing already in use there. By combining these elements into a production system, he allowed for the rapid printing of written materials and an information explosion in Renaissance Europe.
Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz, as the son of a merchant named Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden, who adopted the surname "zum Gutenberg" after the name of the neighborhood into which the family had moved.
Block printing, whereby individual sheets of paper were pressed into wooden blocks with the text and illustrations carved in, was in use in Europe and East Asia long before Gutenberg. The Koreans and Chinese knew about movable metal types at the time, but due to the complex nature of the Chinese writing system, printed material was not as abundant as that of Renaissance Europe.
It is not clear whether Gutenberg knew of these existing techniques or invented them independently. Some also claim Dutchman Laurens Coster as the first European to invent movable type.
Gutenberg certainly introduced efficient methods into book production, leading to a boom in the production of texts in Europe, in large part due to the popularity of the Gutenberg Bibles, the first mass-produced work, starting on February 23, 1455.
Gutenberg was a poor businessman, and made little money from his printing system.
Gutenberg began experimenting with metal typography after he had moved from his native town of Mainz to Strassburg (then in Germany, now Strasbourg, France) around 1430. Knowing that wood-block type involved a great deal of time and expense to reproduce because it had to be hand carved, Gutenberg concluded that metal type could be reproduced much more quickly once a single mould had been fashioned. His first efforts enabled him to mass-produce indulgences, printed slips of paper sold by the Catholic Church to remit the temporal punishments in Purgatory for sins committed in this life.
In 1455 Gutenberg demonstrated the power of the printing press by selling copies of a two-volume Bible (Biblia Sacra) for 300 florins each. This was the equivalent of approximately three years' wages for an average clerk, but it was significantly cheaper than a handwritten Bible, which could take a single monk 20 years to transcribe.
The one copy of the Biblia Sacra dated 1455 went to Paris and was dated by the binder.
The money Gutenberg earned at the fair was not enough to pay Fust back for his investments. Fust sued, and the court's ruling not only effectively bankrupted Gutenberg, it awarded control of the type used in his Bible, plus much of the printing equipment, to Fust. So, while Gutenberg ran a print shop until just before his death in Mainz in 1468, Fust became the first printer to publish a book with his name on it.
Gutenberg was subsidized by the Archbishop of Mainz until his death. Gutenberg was also known to spend what little money he had on alcohol, so the Archbishop arranged for him to be paid in food and lodging, instead of coin.
Gutenberg BiblesGutenberg Bible, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
The Gutenberg Bibles surviving today are sometimes called the oldest surviving books printed with movable type, although the oldest surviving book was published in Korea in 1377. As of 2003, the Gutenberg Bible census includes 11 complete copies on vellum, 1 copy of the New Testament only on vellum, 48 substantially complete integral copies on paper, with another divided copy on paper, and an illiminated page (the Bagford fragment).
Other printed works
The Bible was not Gutenberg's first printed work, for he produced approximately two dozen editions of Ars Minor, a portion of Aelius Donatus's schoolbook on Latin grammar, the first edition of which is believed to have been printed between 1451 and 1452.
Although Gutenberg was financially unsuccessful in his lifetime, his invention spread quickly, and news and books began to travel across Europe far faster than before. It fed the growing Renaissance, and since it greatly facilitated scientific publishing, was a major factor in originating the scientific revolution. Literacy also increased as a result. Gutenberg's inventions are sometimes considered the turning point from the Mediaeval Era to the Early Modern Period.
The term incunabulum refers to a western printed book produced between the first work of Gutenberg and the end of the year 1500.
There are many statues of Gutenberg in Germany, one of the more famous being a work by Thorvaldsen, in Mainz, which is also home to the Gutenberg Museum.
The Gutenberg Galaxy and Project Gutenberg commemorate Gutenberg's name.
This page about Johann Gutenberg includes information from a Wikipedia article.
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The Gutenberg Galaxy and Project Gutenberg commemorate Gutenberg's name. Some of the main ones are:. There are many statues of Gutenberg in Germany, one of the more famous being a work by Thorvaldsen, in Mainz, which is also home to the Gutenberg Museum. Around seventy towns or outposts are claimed to have been founded by Alexander. The term incunabulum refers to a western printed book produced between the first work of Gutenberg and the end of the year 1500. For example, he is held to be the companion of Aristotle and the direct student of Plato. Gutenberg's inventions are sometimes considered the turning point from the Mediaeval Era to the Early Modern Period. The traditional non-Western accounts differ from what we now know about the life of Alexander on a number of points.
Literacy also increased as a result. By the 12th century such important writers as Nezami Ganjavi were making him the subject of their epic poems, and holding him up as the model of the ideal statesman or philosopher-king, an idea adopted from the Greeks and elaborated on by Muslim philosophers like al-Farabi. It fed the growing Renaissance, and since it greatly facilitated scientific publishing, was a major factor in originating the scientific revolution. Despite his supposed sins, by the Islamic period the adoption of Pseudo-Callisthenes' accounts meant that the image of Alexander was on balance positive. Although Gutenberg was financially unsuccessful in his lifetime, his invention spread quickly, and news and books began to travel across Europe far faster than before. Alexander is also blamed for ending the golden age of Zoroastrianism by seizing and destroying the original golden text of the Zend Avesta by throwing it into the sea. The Bible was not Gutenberg's first printed work, for he produced approximately two dozen editions of Ars Minor, a portion of Aelius Donatus's schoolbook on Latin grammar, the first edition of which is believed to have been printed between 1451 and 1452. Pahlavi sources on the Alexander legend devised a mythical genealogy for him whereby his mother was a concubine of Darius II, making him the half-brother of the last Achaemenid shah, Darius III, probably in order to justify his domination of the old Persian Empire.
As of 2003, the Gutenberg Bible census includes 11 complete copies on vellum, 1 copy of the New Testament only on vellum, 48 substantially complete integral copies on paper, with another divided copy on paper, and an illiminated page (the Bagford fragment). Islamic accounts of the Alexander legend, particularly in Persia combined the Pseudo-Callisthenes material with indigenous Sasanid Persian ideas about Alexander. The Gutenberg Bibles surviving today are sometimes called the oldest surviving books printed with movable type, although the oldest surviving book was published in Korea in 1377. Alexander was often identified in Persian and Arabic-language sources as "Dhû-'l Qarnayn", Arabic for the "Horned One", possibly a reference to the appearance of the Hercules head that appears on coins minted during his rule. Gutenberg was also known to spend what little money he had on alcohol, so the Archbishop arranged for him to be paid in food and lodging, instead of coin. Some believe that, excepting certain religious texts, it is the most widely-read work of pre-modern times. Gutenberg was subsidized by the Archbishop of Mainz until his death. A Mongol version is also extant.
So, while Gutenberg ran a print shop until just before his death in Mainz in 1468, Fust became the first printer to publish a book with his name on it. It is the source of many incidents in Ferdowsi's "Shahnama". Fust sued, and the court's ruling not only effectively bankrupted Gutenberg, it awarded control of the type used in his Bible, plus much of the printing equipment, to Fust. The "Romance" is regarded by most Western scholars as the source of the account of Alexander given in the Koran (Sura The Cave). The money Gutenberg earned at the fair was not enough to pay Fust back for his investments. From these, versions were developed in all the major languages of Europe and the Middle East, including Armenian, Georgian, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, Serbian, Slavonic, Romanian, Hungarian, German, English, Italian, and French. The one copy of the Biblia Sacra dated 1455 went to Paris and was dated by the binder. Latin and Syriac translations were made in Late Antiquity.
This was the equivalent of approximately three years' wages for an average clerk, but it was significantly cheaper than a handwritten Bible, which could take a single monk 20 years to transcribe. This text underwent numerous expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages, exhibiting a plasticity unseen in "higher" literary forms. In 1455 Gutenberg demonstrated the power of the printing press by selling copies of a two-volume Bible (Biblia Sacra) for 300 florins each. In the first centuries after Alexander's death, probably in Alexandria, a quantity of the more legendary material coalesced into a text known as the Alexander Romance, later falsely ascribed to the historian Callisthenes and therefore known as Pseudo-Callisthenes. His first efforts enabled him to mass-produce indulgences, printed slips of paper sold by the Catholic Church to remit the temporal punishments in Purgatory for sins committed in this life. (When Onesicritus read this passage to his patron, Alexander's general and later King Lysimachus, Lysimachus quipped "I wonder where I was at the time."). Knowing that wood-block type involved a great deal of time and expense to reproduce because it had to be hand carved, Gutenberg concluded that metal type could be reproduced much more quickly once a single mould had been fashioned. Writing after Alexander's death, another participant, Onesicritus, went so far as to invent a tryst between Alexander and Thalestris, queen of the mythical Amazons.
Gutenberg began experimenting with metal typography after he had moved from his native town of Mainz to Strassburg (then in Germany, now Strasbourg, France) around 1430. His court historian Callisthenes portrayed the sea in Cilicia as drawing back from him in proskynesis. Gutenberg was a poor businessman, and made little money from his printing system. Alexander was a legend in his own time. Gutenberg certainly introduced efficient methods into book production, leading to a boom in the production of texts in Europe, in large part due to the popularity of the Gutenberg Bibles, the first mass-produced work, starting on February 23, 1455. All include a considerable level of fantasy, prompting Strabo (2.1.9) to remark, "All who wrote about Alexander preferred the marvellous to the true." Nevertheless, the sources tell us much, and leave much to our interpretation and imagination. Some also claim Dutchman Laurens Coster as the first European to invent movable type. Plutarch can't resist a good story, light or dark.
It is not clear whether Gutenberg knew of these existing techniques or invented them independently. Arrian presents a flattering portrait, Curtius a darker one. The Koreans and Chinese knew about movable metal types at the time, but due to the complex nature of the Chinese writing system, printed material was not as abundant as that of Renaissance Europe. In effect, each presents a different "Alexander," with details to suit. Block printing, whereby individual sheets of paper were pressed into wooden blocks with the text and illustrations carved in, was in use in Europe and East Asia long before Gutenberg. The "problem of the sources" is the main concern (and chief delight) of Alexander-historians. . Much is recounted incidentally in other authors, including Strabo, Athenaeus, Polyaenus, and others.
Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz, as the son of a merchant named Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden, who adopted the surname "zum Gutenberg" after the name of the neighborhood into which the family had moved. The five main accounts are by Arrian, Curtius, Plutarch, Diodorus, and Justin. By combining these elements into a production system, he allowed for the rapid printing of written materials and an information explosion in Renaissance Europe. Instead, the modern historian must rely on authors who used these and other early sources. Tradition credits him with inventing movable type in Europe, an improvement on the block printing already in use there. Unfortunately, these works were lost. Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (circa 1398 – February 3, 1468), a German metal-worker and inventor, achieved fame for his contributions to the technology of printing during the 1440s, including a type metal alloy and oil-based inks, a mould for casting type accurately, and a new kind of printing press based on presses used in wine-making. Another early and influential account was penned by Cleitarchus.
World Almanac's Ten Most Influential People of the Second Millennium. These included his court historian Callisthenes, his general Ptolemy, and a camp engineer Aristoboulus. William Caxton. Alexander himself left only a few inscriptions and some letter-fragments of dubious authenticity, but a large number of his contemporaries wrote full accounts. Francysk Skaryna. The ancient sources for Alexander's life are, from the perspective of ancient history, relatively numerous. Incunabulum. Alexander himself, while still a young boy, tamed this horse after experienced horse-trainers failed to do so.
Typography. Alexander had a legendary horse named Bucephalus (meaning "ox-headed"), supposedly descended from the Mares of Diomedes. Printing. A strong oral tradition, although not attested in any extant primary source, lists Alexander as having epilepsy, known to the Greeks as the Sacred Disease and thought to be a mark of divine favour. According to one story, the philosopher Anaxarchus checked the vainglory of Alexander, when he aspired to the honours of divinity, by pointing to Alexander's wound, saying, "See the blood of a mortal, not the ichor of a god." In another version Alexander himself pointed out the difference in response to a sycophantic soldier. From his boyhood he believed "one should not be parsimonious with the Gods.".
One undeniable characteristic of Alexander is that he was extremely pious and devout, and began every day with prayers and sacrifices. As a result, Alexander's character is skewed depending on which way the historian's own culture is, and further muddles the debate of who he truly was. Tarn wrote in an age where world conquest and warrior-heroes were acceptable, even encouraged, whereas Green wrote with the backdrop of the Holocaust and nuclear weapons. Tarn, who wrote during the late 19th century and early 20th century, and who saw Alexander in an extremely good light, and Peter Green, who wrote after World War II and for whom Alexander did little that was not inherently selfish or ambition-driven.
W. Good examples are W. Alexander's character also suffers from the interpretation of historians who themselves are subject to the bias and idealisms of their own time. To this way of thinking, Alexander was, first and foremost, a general rather than a statesman.
It is further claimed, in response to the view that Alexander was generally tolerant of the cultures of those whom he conquered, that his attempts at cultural fusion were severely practical and that he never actually admired Persian art or culture. Some proponents of this view cite the destructions of Thebes, Tyre, Persepolis, and Gaza as examples of atrocities, and argue that Alexander preferred to fight rather than negotiate. Partially in response to the ubiquity of positive portrayals of Alexander, an alternate character is sometimes presented which emphasizes some of Alexander's negative aspects. One unresolved topic involves whether Alexander was actually attempting to better the world by his conquests, or whether his purpose was primarily to rule the world.
Modern Alexandrists continue to debate these same issues, among others, in modern times. The murder of his friend Clitus, which Alexander deeply and immediately regretted, is often pointed to, as is his execution of Philotas and his general Parmenion for failure to pass along details of a plot against him, though this last may have been prudence rather than paranoia. Most refer to a growing instability and megalomania in the years following Gaugamela, but it has been suggested that this simply reflects the Greek stereotype of a Medizing king. Ancient sources are generally written with an agenda of either glorifying or denigrating the man, making it difficult to evaluate his actual character.
To Zoroastrians, on the other hand, he is remembered as the destroyer of their first great empire and as the leveller of Persepolis. Alexander is remembered as a legendary hero in Europe and much of both Southwest Asia and Central Asia, where he is known as Iskander or Iskandar Zulkarnain. Much about Alexander's personality and aims remains enigmatic. Such views tend to be anachronistic, however, and the sources allow a variety of interpretations.
Modern opinion on Alexander has run the gamut from the idea that he believed he was on a divinely-inspired mission to unite the human race, to the view that he was the ancient world's equivalent of Napoleon I of France or Adolf Hitler, a megalomaniac bent on world domination. . To date there is no evidence to support these claims. Myths of Alexander's wife having murdered Alexander have been widely discussed and debated by historians.
Alexander's conquests also had long term cultural effects, with the flourishing of Hellenistic civilization throughout the Middle-East and Central Asia, and the development of Greco-Buddhist art in the Indian subcontinent. In the East, they had been dramatically reduced by the expansion of the Parthian Empire and the secession of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. By the 1st century BC though, most of the Hellenistic territories in the West had been absorbed by the Roman Republic. By 270 BC, Hellenistic states consolidated, with:.
Control over Indian territory was short-lived, ending when Seleucus I was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya, the first Mauryan emperor. Antigonus I ruled for a while in Asia Minor and Syria, but was soon defeated by the other four generals. Alexander's empire was divided at first into four major portions: Cassander ruled in Greece, Lysimachus in Thrace, Seleucus I Nicator ("the winner") in Mesopotamia and Iran, and Ptolemy I in the Levant and Egypt. Ultimately, the conflict was settled after the Battle of Ipsus in Phrygia in 301 BC.
After Alexander's death his empire was divided among his officers, first mostly with the pretense of preserving a united kingdom, later with the explicit formation of rival monarchies and territorial states. Main article: Diadochi
Its current whereabouts are unknown. According to Aelian (Varia Historia 12.64), Ptolemy stole the body and brought it to Alexandria, where it was on display until Late Antiquity. According to legend, Alexander was preserved in a clay vessel full of honey (which acts as a preservative) and interred in a glass coffin. No contemporary source can be fully trusted because of the incredible level of self-serving recording, and as a result what truly happened to Alexander the Great may never be known.
Before long, accusations of foul play were being thrown about by his generals at one another, making it incredibly hard for a modern historian to sort out the propaganda and the half-truths from the actual events. Alexander's death has been surrounded by as much controversy as many of the events of his life. He answered famously, "The strongest." Before dying, his final words were "I foresee a great funeral contest over me." Alexander's 'funeral games', where his marshals fought it out over control of his empire, lasted for nearly forty years. On his death bed, his marshals asked him who he bequethed his kingdom to - as Alexander had only one heir, it was a question of vital importance.
What is certain is that Alexander died of a high fever in early June of 323 B.C. Alexander's death has been reinterpreted many times over the centuries, and each generation offers a new take on it. Neither story is conclusive. These theories often cite the fact that Alexander's health had fallen to dangerously low levels after years of overdrinking and suffering several appalling wounds (including one in India that nearly claimed his life), and that it was only a matter of time before one sickness or another finally killed him.
Various other theories have been advanced stating that the king may have died from other illnesses, as well, including the West Nile virus. However, many other scholars maintain that Alexander was not poisoned, but died of natural causes, malaria being the most popular. All had powerful motivations for seeing Alexander gone, and all were none the worse for it after his death. The original story stated that Aristotle, who'd recently seen his nephew executed by Alexander for treason, mixed the poison, that Cassander, son of Antipater, viceroy of Greece, brought it to Alexander in Babylon in a mule's hoof, and that Alexander's royal cupbearer, a son-in-law of Antipater, administered it.
Alexander, coming to Babylon, had at long last disaffected enough of his senior officers that they formed a coalition against him and murdered both him and Hephaestion within a space of only a few months, intending on ending his increasingly unpopular policies of orientalism and ending any further military adventures. The poisoning theory derives from the traditional story universally held in antiquity. Various theories have been proposed for the cause of his death which include poisoning by the sons of Antipater, murder by his wife Roxana , and sickness due to a relapse of malaria he had contracted in 336 BC. He was only 33 years old.
On the afternoon of June 10-11, 323 BC, Alexander died of a mysterious illness in the palace of Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon. Several hundred allied horse rounded out the cavalry, but were inferior to the rest. Of light cavalry, the prodomoi (runners) secured the wings of the army during battle and went on reconnaissance missions. The organization of the Thessalian cavalry was similar to the Companion Cavalry, but they had a shorter spear and fought in a looser formation.
The riders did not carry shields. The horses were partially clad in armor as well. They were equipped with a 12-14 foot lance, the xyston, and heavy body armor. The Companion cavalry (hetairoi, friends) was divided into eight squadrons called ile, 200 strong, except the Royal Squadron of 300.
The heavy cavalry included the "Companion cavalry," raised from the Macedonian nobility, and the Thessalian cavalry. The best peltasts were the Agrianians from Thrace. Peltasts are considered to be light infantry, although they had a helmet and a small shield and were heavier then the psiloi. Alexander also had light infantry units composed of peltasts, psiloi and others.
They carried a shorter spear, a dora, which was six or seven feet long and a large aspis. In addition to the units mentioned above, the army included some 6,000 Greek allied and mercenary hoplites, also arranged in phalanxes. Sometimes hypaspists are mentioned in the front line of the battle just between the phalanx and the heavy cavalry and seem to have acted as an extension of the phalanx fighting as heavy infantry while keeping a link between the heavily clad phalangites and the companion cavalry, but they also accompanied Alexander on flanking marches and were capable of fighting on rough terrain like light troops so it seems they could perform dual functions. Their armament is unknown; it is difficult to get a clear picture from ancient sources.
One of the battalions was named the Agema and served as the King's bodyguards. Another important unit were the hypaspists (shield bearers), arranged into three battalions (lochoi) of 1,000 men each. Modern historians believe most of the phalangites did not wear heavy body armor at the time of Alexander. It is unclear whether the phalanx used body armor, but heavy body armor is mentioned in Arrian (1.28.7) and other ancient sources.
Many modern historians claim the phalanx used a smaller shield, called a pelta, the shield used by peltasts. Arrian mentions large shields (the aspis) but this is disputed; it is difficult to wield both a large pike and a large shield at the same time. For protection the soldier wore a Phrygian-style helmet and a shield. Each soldier had a long pike called a sarissa, which was up to 18 feet long, and a short sword.
The main infantry corps was the phalanx, composed of six regiments (taxies) numbering about 2000 phalangites each. About one third of the army was composed of his Greek allies from the Hellenic League. It was composed of light and heavy troops and some engineers, medical and staff units. The army of Alexander was, for the most part, that of his father Philip.
This idea, however, subsists upon a misunderstanding of "dress," used in the sense of "attire." In fact, it was Athena who was the cross-dresser, wearing armor when Greek women and other goddesses did not. It has been proposed that Alexander was also a "cross-dresser," on the grounds that he was known to wear the "silvery dress" of Athena, which he received from priests at Troy. See History of Homosexuality for more information. If Alexander's love life was transgressive it was not for his love of beautiful youths but for his involvement with a man his own age, in a time when the standard model of male love was pederastic.
Such debates, however, are considered anachronistic by scholars of the period, who point out that the concept of homosexuality did not exist in Greco-Roman antiquity: sexual attraction between males was seen as a normal and universal part of human nature since it was believed that men were attracted to beauty, an attribute of the young, regardless of gender. Others argue that the same can be said about all our information regarding Alexander. They argue that historical accounts describing Alexander's relations with Hephaestion and Bagoas as sexual were written centuries after the fact, and thus it can never be established what the 'real' relationship between Alexander and his male companions were. People of various national, ethnic and cultural origins regard him as a national hero.
The suggestion that Alexander was homosexual or bisexual remains highly controversial and excites passions in some quarters in Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, and diasporas thereof. Besides Bagoas, Curtius mentions yet another lover of Alexander, Euxenippos, "whose youthful grace filled him with enthusiasm." (VII.9.19). (This Bagoas should not be confused with Bagoas the former Persian Vizier, nor the Bagoas son of Pharnuches who became one of Alexander's trierarchs.) Whatever Alexander's relationship with Bagoas, it was no impediment to relations with his queen: six months after Alexander's death Roxana gave birth to his son and heir Alexander IV. Bagoas must have endeared himself to them by his courage and fortitude during that harrowing episode.
At this point in time, the troops present were all survivors of the crossing of the desert. "Bagoas [...] sat down close by him, which so pleased the Macedonians, that they made loud acclamations for him to kiss Bagoas, and never stopped clapping their hands and shouting till Alexander put his arms round him and kissed him." (Plutarch, The Lives). Their relationship seems to have been well known among the troops, as Plutarch recounts an episode (also mentioned by Athenaios and Dicaearchus) during some festivities on the way back from India, in which his men clamor for him to openly kiss the young man. The word is not used even for Hephaestion.
Bagoas is the only one who is actually named as the eromenos — the beloved — of Alexander. Bagoas, a eunuch exceptional in beauty and in the very flower of boyhood, with whom Darius was intimate and with whom Alexander would later be intimate," (VI.5.23). Curtius maintains that Alexander also took as a lover ".. This would be in keeping with the ancient omnivorous approach to sexuality.
He fathered at least two children, Heracles born in 327 BC by his mistress Barsine, the daughter of satrap Artabazus of Phrygia, and Alexander IV of Macedon by Roxana in 323 BC. Later in life, Alexander married several princesses of former Persian territories: Roxana of Bactria; Statira, daughter of Darius III; and Parysatis, daughter of Ochus. But you won't be able to, for you are ruled by Hephaestion's thighs." And Curtius reports that "He scorned [feminine] sensual pleasures to such an extent that his mother was anxious lest he be unable to beget offspring." To whet his appetite for the fairer sex, King Philip and Olympias brought in a high-priced Thessalian courtesan named Callixena. Letter 24 of those ascribed to Diogenes of Sinope, thought to be written in either the 1st century or the 2nd century, and probably reflecting the gossip of Alexander's day, exhorts him: "If you want to be beautiful and good (kalos k'agathos), throw away the rag you have on your head and come to us.
Many discussed his ambiguous sexuality. As Aelian in his Varia Historia (12.7) claims, "He thus intimated that he was the object of Alexander's love, as Patroclus was of Achilles.". There the two friends made sacrifices at the shrines of the two heroes Achilles and Patroclus, Alexander honouring Achilles, and Hephaestion, Patroclus. Hephaestion makes his appearance in the histories at the point when Alexander reaches Troy.
They had most likely been best friends since childhood, for Hephaestion too received his education at the court of Alexander's father. Alexander's greatest emotional attachment is generally considered to have been to his companion, cavalry commander (chiliarchos) and most probably lover, Hephaestion. Many historians argue if this was the cause of his death. While invading the ancient city of Mali along the shore of India he received a nearly fatal wound from an arrow in his chest.
On his return to Babylon, he fell ill and died. He conducted a campaign of extermination against the Cosseans to assuage his grief. Alexander was distraught. After traveling to Ecbatana to retrieve the bulk of the Persian treasure, his closest friend and probable lover Hephaestion died of an illness.
It is not certain that Alexander adopted the Persian royal title of shahanshah ("great king" or "king of kings"), but most historians think that he did. His attempts to merge Persian culture with his Greek soldiers also included training a regiment of Persian boys in the ways of Macedonians. In an attempt to craft a lasting harmony between his Macedonian and Persian subjects, he held a mass marriage of his senior officers to Persian and other noblewomen at Opis, but few of those marriages seem to have lasted much beyond a year. Alexander executed the ringleaders of the mutiny, but forgave the rank and file.
As a gesture of thanks, he paid off the debts of his soldiers, and announced that he would send those who were over-aged and the disabled veterans back to Macedonia under Craterus, but his troops misunderstood his intention and mutinied at the town of Opis, refusing to be sent away and bitterly criticizing his adoption of Persian customs and dress and the introduction of Persian officers and soldiers into Macedonian units. Discovering that many of his satraps and military governors had misbehaved in his absence, Alexander executed a number of them as examples on his way to Susa. He sent much of his army to Carmania (modern southern Iran) with his general Craterus, and commissioned a fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus, while he led the rest of his forces back to Persia by the southern route through the Gedrosia (present day Makran in southern Pakistan). Alexander was forced to turn south, conquering his way down the Indus to the Ocean.
Alexander, after the meeting with his officer, Coenus, was convinced that it was better to return. Exhausted and frightened by the prospect of facing another giant Indian army at the Ganges, his army mutinied at the Hyphasis (modern Beas), refusing to march further east. East of Porus' kingdom, near the Ganges River, was the powerful kingdom of Magadha. Alexander continued on to conquer all the headwaters of the Indus River.
After victory, Alexander made an alliance with Porus and appointed him as satrap of his own kingdom. Alexander fought an epic battle against Porus, a ruler of a region in the Punjab in the Battle of Hydaspes (326 BC). Alexander took Aornos by storm (see Siege of Aornos). Many people had fled to a high fortress called Aornos.
King Omphis, ruler of Taxila, surrendered the city to Alexander. With the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana (Roshanak in Bactrian) to cement his relations with his new Central Asian satrapies, in 326 BC Alexander was finally free to turn his attention to India. However, the evidence is strong that Callisthenes, the teacher of the pages, must have been the one who persuaded them to assassinate the king. Later in the Central Asian campaign, a second plot against his life, this one by his own pages, was revealed, and his official historian, Callisthenes of Olynthus (who had fallen out of favor with the king by leading the opposition to his attempt to introduce proskynesis), was implicated on what most historians regard as trumped-up charges.
In a drunken quarrel at Macaranda Samarkand, he also killed the man who had saved his life at the Granicus, Clitus the Black. Although Philotas was convicted by the assembled Macedonian army, most historians consider this one of the king's greatest crimes, along with his order to assassinate his senior general Parmenion, Philotas' father. Here, too, a plot against his life was revealed, and his Companion and friend Philotas was executed for treason for failing to bring the plot to his attention. This cost him much in the sympathies of many of his Greek countrymen.
During this time, Alexander adopted some elements of Persian dress and customs at his court, notably the custom of proskynesis, a symbolic kissing of the hand that Persians paid to their social superiors, but a practice of which the Greeks disapproved; the Greeks regarded the gesture as the preserve of deities, and believed that Alexander meant to deify himself by requiring it. In the process he captured and refounded Herat and Samarkand, and he founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including one near modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and Alexandria Eschate ("The Furthest") bordering today's Chinese Turkestan. His three-year campaign against Bessus and his successor Spitamenes took him through Media, Parthia, Aria, Drangiana, Arachosia, Bactria, and Scythia. With the death of Darius, Alexander declared the war of vengeance at an end, and released his Greek and other allies from service in the League campaign (although he allowed those that wished to re-enlist as mercenaries in his imperial army).
Bessus then declared himself Darius' successor as Artaxerxes V and retreated into Central Asia to launch a guerrilla campaign against Alexander. He then set off in pursuit of Darius, who was kidnapped, and then murdered by followers of Bessus, his Bactrian satrap and kinsman. Alexander allowed the League forces to loot Persepolis, and he set fire to the royal palace of Xerxes, allegedly in revenge for the burning of the Athenian Acropolis during the Second Persian War. Sending the bulk of his army to Persepolis, the Persian capital, by the Royal Road, Alexander stormed and captured the Persian Gates (in the modern Zagros Mountains), then sprinted for Persepolis before its treasury could be looted.
From Babylon, Alexander went to Susa, one of the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its treasury. While Darius fled over the mountains to Ecbatana (modern Hamadan), Alexander marched to Babylon. Darius was forced to flee the field after his charioteer was killed, and Alexander chased him as far as Arbela. Leaving Egypt, Alexander marched eastward into Assyria (now Iraq) and defeated Darius and a third Persian army at the Battle of Gaugamela.
He founded Alexandria in Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic dynasty after his death. In 332 BC-331 BC Alexander was welcomed as a liberator in Egypt and was pronounced the son of Zeus by Egyptian priests of the god Ammon at the Oracle of the god at the Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert. Alexander passed near but probably did not visit Jerusalem. Proceeding down the Mediterranean coast, he took Tyre and Gaza after famous sieges (see Siege of Tyre).
She disowned him and adopted Alexander as her son instead. Sisygambis, the queen mother, never forgave Darius for abandoning her. Darius fled this battle in such a panic for his life that he left behind his wife, his children, his mother, and much of his personal treasure. Alexander's army crossed the Cilician Gates and met and defeated the main Persian army under the command of Darius III at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC.
It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to decide which story is correct. Another version claims that he did not use the sword, but actually figured out how to undo the knot. At the ancient Phrygian capital of Gordium, Alexander "undid" the tangled Gordian knot, a feat said to await the future "king of Asia." According to the most vivid story, Alexander proclaimed that it did not matter how the knot was undone, and hacked it apart with his sword. At Termessus Alexander humbled but did not storm the Pisidian city.
From Pamphylia onward the coast held no major ports, so Alexander moved inland. From Halicarnassus, Alexander proceeded into mountainous Lycia and the Pamphylian plain, asserting control over all coastal cities and denying them to his enemy. Alexander left Caria in the hands of Ada, the sister of Mausolus, whom Orontobates had deposed. At Halicarnassus, Alexander successfully waged the first of many sieges, eventually forcing his opponents, the mercenary captain Memnon of Rhodes and the Persian satrap of Caria, Orontobates, to withdraw by sea.
After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle of Granicus, Alexander accepted the surrender of the Persian provincial capital and treasury of Sardis and proceeded down the Ionian coast. Alexander's army crossed the Hellespont with about 40,000 Greek soldiers. Alexander immediately ordered the execution of all of his potential rivals and marched south with his armies in a campaign to solidify control of Greece and confront the Persian Empire. Greek cities like Athens and Thebes, which had pledged allegiance to Philip, were not quick to pledge the same allegiance to a 20-year-old boy.
After Philip's death, the army proclaimed Alexander, then aged 20, as the new king of Macedon. Plutarch mentions an irate letter from Alexander to Darius, where Alexander blames Darius and Bagoas, his grand vizier, for his father's murder, stating that it was Darius who had been bragging to the rest of the Greek cities of how he managed to assassinate Philip. However, in recent years Alexander's involvement has been questioned and there is some reason to believe that it may have been instigated by Darius III, the recently crowned King of Persia. Philip's murder was once thought to have been planned with the knowledge and involvement of Alexander or Olympias.
The assassin was supposedly a former lover of the king, the disgruntled young nobleman (Pausanias), who held a grudge against Philip because the king had ignored a complaint he had expressed. In 336 BC, Philip was assassinated at the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra to King Alexander of Epirus. The cavalry wing led by Alexander annihilated the Sacred Band of Thebes, an elite corps previously regarded as invincible. Alexander also assisted his father at the decisive battle of Chaeronea in this year.
In 338 BC, Philip created The League of Corinth. In 339 BC Philip divorced Alexander's mother, leading to a quarrel between Alexander and his father which threw into question Alexander's succession to the Macedonian throne. When Philip led an attack on Byzantium in 340 BC, Alexander, aged 16, was left in command of Macedonia. According to Plutarch (Alexander 2.1), his father descended from Heracles through Caranus and his mother descended from Aeacus through Neoptolemus and Achilles.
After his visit to the Oracle of Ammon at Siwah, according to all five of the extant historians (Arrian, Curtius, Diodorus, Justin, and Plutarch), rumors spread that the Oracle had revealed Alexander's father was Zeus, rather than Philip. Aristotle was Alexander's tutor; he gave Alexander a thorough training in rhetoric and literature and stimulated his interest in science, medicine, and philosophy. Alarmed by this, he consulted the seer Aristander of Telmessus, who determined that his wife was pregnant and that the child would have the character of a lion. In Philip's dream, he sealed her womb with the seal of the lion.
Olympias dreamed of a loud burst of thunder and of lightning striking her womb. Plutarch (Alexander 2.2-3) relates that both Philip and Olympias dreamt of their son's future birth. According to Plutarch (Alexander 3.1,3), Olympias was impregnated not by Philip, who was afraid of her and her affinity for sleeping in the company of snakes, but by Zeus. Alexander was the son of King Philip II of Macedon and of Epirote princess Olympias.
. Already during his lifetime, and especially after his death, his exploits inspired a literary tradition in which he appears as a towering legendary hero in the tradition of Achilles. Alexander himself lived on in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek peoples. His conquests ushered in centuries of Greco-Macedonian settlement and rule over non-Greek areas, a period known as the Hellenistic Age.
After twelve years of constant military campaigning, Alexander died, probably of malaria, typhoid or possibly a viral encephalitis. This was extremely unusual for the ancient world. Alexander integrated non-Greeks into his army and administration, leading some scholars to credit him with a “policy of fusion.” He encouraged marriage between Greeks and non-Greeks, and practiced it himself. Following the unification of the multiple city states of Ancient Greece under the rule of his father, Philip II of Macedon, (a labor Alexander had to repeat - twice - because the southern Greeks rebelled after Philip's death), Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia, and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as the Punjab.
In north-east India and modern day Pakistan he is known as Sikander-e-Azam (Alexander the Great) and many male children are named Sikander after him. He is also known in Eastern traditions as Dhul-Qarnayn (the two-horned one), because an image on coins minted during his rule seemed to depict him with the two ram's horns of the Egyptian god Ammon (it is believed by some that the Dhul-Qarnayn mentioned in the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, is Alexander the Great). Alexander is known in some Eastern traditions such as Middle Persian literature as Alexander the Cursed due to his burning of the Persian capital and national library. Alexander III (late July, 356 BC–June 10, 323 BC), commonly known in the West as Alexander the Great or Alexander of Macedon, in Greek Μέγας Ἀλέξανδρος (Megas Alexandros), King of Macedon (336 BC-323 BC), was one of the most successful military commanders of the ancient world.
An epic science fiction animated retelling of the story called Reign: The Conquerer by Peter Chung of Aeon Flux fame debuted on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block variety show in 2003. Steven Pressfield's 2004 book The Virtues of War is told from the first-person perspective of Alexander. A further trilogy of novels about Alexander was written in Italian by Valerio Massimo Manfredi and subsequently published in an English translation, entitled The Son of the Dream, The Sands of Ammon and The Ends Of The Earth. A 1965 Hindi movie 'Sikandar-E-Azam' directed by Kedar Kapoor starring Dara Singh as Alexandar depicts Alexandar's Indian conquest with Porus.
In addition to the fiction, Renault also wrote a non-fiction biography, The Nature of Alexander. Alexander also appears briefly in Renault's novel The Mask of Apollo. From 1969 to 1981, Mary Renault wrote a historical fiction trilogy, speculating on the life of Alexander: Fire from Heaven (about his early life), The Persian Boy (about his conquest of Persia, his expedition to India, and his death, seen from the viewpoint of a Persian eunuch), and Funeral Games (about the events following his death). Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso's 1998 album Livro includes an epic song about Alexander called "Alexandre.".
The song describes Alexander's life, but contains one inaccuracy: in the song it is stated that Alexander's army would not follow him into India. The British heavy metal band Iron Maiden had a song entitled "Alexander the Great" on their album Somewhere in Time (1986). Numerous television series about Alexander have been created. .
Baz Luhrmann had been planning to make a very different film about Alexander, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but the release of Stone's film eventually persuaded him to abandon the project. Oliver Stone's film Alexander, starring Colin Farrell, was released on November 24, 2004. Bond's 2000 album Born includes a song titled Alexander the Great. A 1941 Hindi Movie 'Sikandar' directed by Sohrab Modi depicts Alexander the Great's Indian conquest.
A 1956 movie starring Richard Burton titled Alexander the Great was produced by MGM. Kandahar (Alexandropolis), Afghanistan. Iskenderun (Alexandretta), Turkey. Alexandria Eschate, "The furthest", Tajikistan.
Alexandria on the Indus (Alexandria Bucephalous), Pakistan. Alexandria of the Arachosians, Afghanistan. Alexandria on the Oxus, Afghanistan. Alexandria of the Caucasus, Afghanistan.
Alexandria in Ariana, Afghanistan. Alexandria Asiana, Iran. Alexandria, Egypt. The Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus by Junianus Justinus, which contains factual errors and is highly compressed.
The books immediately before and after, on Philip and Alexander's "Successors," throw light on Alexander's reign. Bibliotheca historia (Library of world history), written in Greek by the Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus, from which Book 17 relates the conquests of Alexander. Life of Alexander (see Parallel Lives) and two orations On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander the Great (see Plutarch: Other Works), by the Greek historian and biographer Plutarch of Chaeronea;. Historiae Alexandri Magni, a biography of Alexander in ten books, of which the last eight survive, by the Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus;.
Anabasis Alexandri (The Campaigns of Alexander in Greek) by the Greek historian Arrian of Nicomedia;. The Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt and Cyrenaica. The Seleucid Empire in Asia. The Antigonid Empire, centered on Greece.