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Author Topic: Travels with Alexander the Great  (Read 1507627 times)

Offline Brokeback_1

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2007, 07:14:19 PM »
There are people who are naturally heroic, stand up and show up, the sort you want to be with when, say, the World Trade Center collapses.

My youngest brother is hardly hypermasculine. He is also a natural hero. He is the sort of person you automatically go to when there is a serious situation. Such as , uh, the WTC lol. He is a 17 year NYPD veteran,known for quiet authority, defusing situations, and chasing rapists through a subway tunnel because there is NO WAY someone will get away with that when he is around. He was so annoyed at 911 that he went to Iraq, where he was injured and says 'oh yeah.'

You do not have to be built like Apollo or bluster like an Homeric Hero to be one.
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe but nothing could be done about it, & if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it

Offline magicmountain

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2007, 07:43:35 PM »
There are people who are naturally heroic, stand up and show up, the sort you want to be with when, say, the World Trade Center collapses.

My youngest brother is hardly hypermasculine. He is also a natural hero. He is the sort of person you automatically go to when there is a serious situation. Such as , uh, the WTC lol. He is a 17 year NYPD veteran,known for quiet authority, defusing situations, and chasing rapists through a subway tunnel because there is NO WAY someone will get away with that when he is around. He was so annoyed at 911 that he went to Iraq, where he was injured and says 'oh yeah.'

You do not have to be built like Apollo or bluster like an Homeric Hero to be one.

I totally agree. Which just goes to show that even heroes get stereotyped!
The power of Love came into me
and I became fierce like a lion
then tender like the evening star - Rumi

Offline Nikki

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2007, 07:50:15 PM »


Achilles and Patroklus - history's first heroic boyfriends!



Jo, OMG -- the shirt -- it's too much!  I want one!  LOL LOL
The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft.

If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven!

Offline magicmountain

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2007, 08:28:54 PM »
Here's the web site. They say they've temporarily sold out.

http://age-of-bronze.com/aob/issues/ap_tshirt.shtml
The power of Love came into me
and I became fierce like a lion
then tender like the evening star - Rumi

Offline magicmountain

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2007, 10:50:31 PM »
Mount Macedon Moments



Hephaistion: Your folks run you off?

Alexander: I ran myself off. My father got murdered by his ex-lover because he had been gang
raped by friends of a subsequent lover of my father who then did nothing about it. My mother is a witch
who is suspected of plotting his death and keeps pet snakes. She runs around naked in the middle of
the night out in the hills somewhere and comes home in the morning with bloodstains all over her.

Hephaistion: Sorry I asked.

(Note: All the above is true. I told you Alexander's life was stranger than fiction!)





Hephaistion: Tell you what, we could have had a good life together! A real good life. You wouldn’t
do it Alex! So what we got now is the Persian Empire. That's all we got boy.  Count the damn few
times we've been together in 20 years and then ask me about Mexico. I’m not you. I can’t make it on a couple
of hugs and misty-eyed looks once or twice a decade!

Alexander: ………………….Where the hell is Mexico Heph?


« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 06:35:32 PM by magicmountain »
The power of Love came into me
and I became fierce like a lion
then tender like the evening star - Rumi

Offline Nikki

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2007, 04:52:11 PM »


Jo - I was overcome by beauty and mirth!!
The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft.

If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven!

Offline magicmountain

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2007, 06:05:21 PM »
What did Alexander look like?



Inspiring fear or melting charm?

Alexander was reputedly a strong, handsome commander with one eye dark as a night and one blue as a sky.

Peter Tsouras in his book Alexander: Invincible King of Macedonia describes Alexander in the following way:

"He was below average height and of medium build, though tough and well muscled with a legendary iron constitution. His complexion was ruddy, and when exercised he face and chest would take a high colour. His hair is variously described as blond or tawny. It was thick, and he wore it swept back and to the sides to resemble, as many said, a lion’s mane. His eyes were said to be of different colours, one brown and the other gray or green. That alone would have arrested those who met him, but in the ancient world it was a magical sign of divine favor as well. What was truly magical was the look of the eyes. Contemporaries said they had a melting charm."

According to one historian there was something in his appearance that aroused fear.

Of course most representations of Alexander are idealised (see busts below left). However, it is generally
considered that the busts (below right) are nearer the mark





Alexander's eyes - was he bi-ocular as well?

Could it be really true that Alex's eyes were of different colours? The short answer is yes. According to Wiki, there is an ocular condition called heterochromia (also known as a heterochromia iridis or heterochromia iridium) in which one iris is a different color from the other iris (complete heterochromia), or where the part of one iris is a different color from the remainder (partial heterochromia or sectoral heterochromia). Uncommon in humans, it is often an indicator of ocular disease, such as chronic iritis or diffuse iris melanoma, but may also occur as a normal variant. Sectors or patches of strikingly different colors in the same iris are less common. Alexander the Great and Anastasios the First were dubbed dikoros (dikoros, 'with two pupils') for their patent heterochromias. In their case, this was not a true dicoria (two pupils in the same iris).
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 08:43:08 PM by magicmountain »
The power of Love came into me
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then tender like the evening star - Rumi

Offline magicmountain

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2007, 06:23:21 PM »
Anyone can be great, FABULOUS is something else again.

After all - Alexander did declare himself to be divine!


Discover the ten top reasons why Alexander was not only Great...

http://www.livescience.com/history/top10_alexander_great.html

but Fabulous as well!



http://www.amazon.com/Alexander-Fabulous-Brought-World-Knees/dp/1555838979/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-1704308-2243922?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191975708&sr=1-1
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 08:51:23 PM by magicmountain »
The power of Love came into me
and I became fierce like a lion
then tender like the evening star - Rumi

Offline Brokeback_1

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2007, 07:19:12 PM »
The two top busts are probably--not certainly but probably--accurate depictions of Alexander. Roman historians always tended to Romanise him when they described him. They made him an Italian blonde, darkened the eyes etc. That tale about his bicolor eyes is very late and I have never believed it, it comes from a bastardised Roman fragment someone put into the Alexander romance.....which reminds me, if you want this thread to be more then fluff, we need to get janie-g in here. That woman is a recognised  Alexander scholar, the real deal!

He was a golden blonde. In that family it was normal. It was normal for Greeks everywhere. They darkened over time, due to invasion, deportation, massacre, rape, you name it. This does not mean that all Greeks were blonde, far from it: even in Scandinavia, only 2/3rds are blond today. But--big but--it was common. And even today there are blond Greeks. Yet there has been a huge admixture of 'barbarian' blood.

I think the greatest and most horrific causes were as follows:

In the 6th century the Roman Danube frontier, which had been repeatedly violated so badly that the entire Balkans were already a shambles, cities in a state of collapse, completely collapsed. The Augustus ordered the army to take winter quarters on the far side of the river and it mutineed. The result was not a trickle, but a FLOOD into and onto Roman territory of complete barbarians. And I mean barbarians so so barbaric the Germans thought they were barbarians. This invasion ripped Greece and the entire peninsula from the civilised world for centuries; the EASTERN civilised world, which still was civilised. In the east, the lights had never gone out......

As a result of this invasion  the Macedonians and Greeks were killed. If they lived, it was as refugees on the islands. On the whole peninsula the lights stayed on PARTIALLY in one city, Thessaloniki, and it was turned into a farmtown with  huge walls from the great days  defended by people who tilled fields during the hours of daylight and retreated behind those walls at night. There was no security, the surrounding lands were completely barbarian. There was no overland communication between that city and Constantinople.

The empire held Attica and Athens. That's it. AND it was not the Athens we think of, the city was completely destroyed except for the Acropolis. The Greeks either fled to the islands, to Constantinople, to Ionia and Bithynia or died. It is felt that most were slaughtered, for only the lucky ones managed to 'get out'>>>an early example of genocide in Europe. Greek as a language became virtually  extinct in it's homeland.

Imperial control did not restore itself for centuries, and when it did, yes the Greeks came back BUT they were a minority. The language was spread with the Christianisation of the barbarians. So the Greeks of today are very mixed. The base is there, it always has been and always will be, but there have been huge population changes.
------------------------------------------------------------
Remember he was Macedonian, desendant of the heros  in Homer. the ancient traditions were very much alive in his day, straight from the Dorian Invasions. So were the bloodlines.

They ended with HIM.

Why?

The Macedonians got power and money.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 07:26:32 PM by Brokeback_1 »
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe but nothing could be done about it, & if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it

Offline magicmountain

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2007, 08:42:00 PM »
The mystery of Afghanistan’s blonde, blue-eyed children


Are the Afghan children pictured above nearer in their genetic makeup to Alexander’s Macedonians than the Greeks of today?

Thanks for that contribution BB. Our first serious discussion post which is much welcomed!

I’m sure you would also be interested in the genetic consequences of Alexander’s travels at the other end of the Empire in Afghanistan where it is thought the Macedonians left a trail of their DNA. The 2003 Spectator Alexander in Afghanistan Expedition and University College, London have been using the latest genetic technology to test the following two hypotheses.

•   These people may be the descendants of the Macedonian soldiers who settled in one of the Alexandria's which Alexander founded and who subsequently moved higher up the mountains over the past 2,300 years.

•   These people share a common ancestry with the Greeks as certain tribal groupings in Afghanistan may well be descended from Indo-Europeans, a prehistoric people who spread their languages across Asia and Europe.

A progress report of the expedition’s research is contained in the paper at the following link.

http://www.matthewleeming.com/pages/alexander.pdf

More information can be found by clicking and scrolling down the following websites:

http://www.matthewleeming.com/pages/alex.html
http://ukcommentators.blogspot.com/2004_04_18_archive.html

Postscript

I guess when starting up this thread I wasn’t sure who the audience/participants might be. Some may not know an awful lot about ancient history or Alexander but enjoy finding out more in a fun environment. However, I’m sure others, like yourself, would appreciate some more serious, meaty discussions. I personally like both erudite discussion mixed up with a bit of fun here and there and hopefully there is room for both. But so far, as you remarked, there has been more flyweight fluff than heavyweight history so thanks for redressing the balance and let’s have more!




The power of Love came into me
and I became fierce like a lion
then tender like the evening star - Rumi

Offline magicmountain

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2007, 10:06:19 PM »
In the interests of balance I thought I would repost here some thoughts  I recently posted in the Book Thread about the source of Alexander's fascination for us nearly 2,500 years after his death.

In reading The Persian Boy and Renault's other two books in her Alexander trilogy (Fire From Heaven and Funeral Games), I have often pondered on the enduring appeal of Alexander and the emotional power of his representation throughout history. Such numinous power usually resides in archetypes*. (Some discussions on the Twin Brother/Twin Soul Archetype canvassed this possibility in relation to Jack and Ennis in the BBM Symbolism thread a while back). I think this is what might have grabbed hold of Mary Renault (not to mention her readers!).

It occurred to me that somehow Alex’s eternal youthfulness, his aspirational focus and achievement has a universal appeal. For me it is his very boyishness captured so brilliantly by Renault in The Persian Boy and Fire From heaven (and even in the recent film) which gave me a clue. But what archetype? A brief google brought me the answer which I now quote.

In many cultures, the Golden Boy is an archetype of the perfected male child. He is the favorite son. Everyone needs someone to look up to: a model and a hero. The Golden Boy exists to fill that role. The Golden Boy does not symbolize mere technical brilliance, nor unqualified honesty and temperance, but rather the synergistic combination of the two, which makes one truly admirable.

Popular acclaim is part the archetype.  No avatar can remain strongly linked to the Golden Boy without it. Until the 20th Century, the Golden Boy was a minor archetype strongly associated with the Warrior.  After the establishment of the modern Olympic Games, the archetype underwent a revival, as avatar-athletes like Jesse Owens redefined the Golden Boy's focus from battle to more general competition. 

Competitions, especially the Olympics and other athletic events, are strongly associated with the Golden Boy, as many of the archetype's avatars participate at all levels.  Military trappings are still linked slightly to the archetype, as are the symbols of chivalry. 

The Golden Boy is strongly dependent on popular acclaim; anything less than a reputation as one of the world's greatest contenders in his or her chosen field weakens the link to the archetype. 


However the quote ends with the following proviso:

The Golden Boy is as honorable as he is capable, as dedicated as he is virtuous; he is good in all senses of the word. He is beyond reproach.  A criminal or dishonest public persona, or even a reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct, likewise damages the link. 

That is where I think the tension around Alexander exists with modern day historians. Golden Boy or Mad Maniac? Mary Renault, however, overleapt all of that. In her preface to TPB she includes the following quotation: If anyone has the right to be measured by the standards of his own time, it is Alexander.

* Note: Archetype definition:
1. An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype: “‘Frankenstein’ . . . ‘Dracula’ . . . ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’

2. An ideal example of a type; quintessence: an archetype of the successful entrepreneur.

3. In Jungian psychology, an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the past collective experience and present in the individual unconscious.

For a YouTube Tribute to the Eternal Golden Boy see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9xbO7PiwJw&mode=related&search=

(View full screen for best effect!)
« Last Edit: October 09, 2007, 10:23:18 PM by magicmountain »
The power of Love came into me
and I became fierce like a lion
then tender like the evening star - Rumi

Offline Brokeback_1

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #41 on: October 10, 2007, 02:21:24 AM »
Hey that was great!!

I'm not trying to be erudite though, it's just I know the background and try to fill it in. Why?

You said it yourself:

"That is where I think the tension around Alexander exists with modern day historians. Golden Boy or Mad Maniac? Mary Renault, however, overleapt all of that. In her preface to TPB she includes the following quotation: If anyone has the right to be measured by the standards of his own time, it is Alexander."

I got not just annoyed but damned upset at those in the book thread who kept bringing up Adolf Hitler in comparison to Alexander. In the standards of not just his Age but his entire civilisation, Alexander was not considered an evil animal but a great Prince, a great Hero, someone to be emulated.  I will say for a fact that Adolf Hitler, in the ancient world, would have been considered not just evil but archtypically evil, a creature so bad he would have been thought a demon from hell. I think he may even have been one myself, and I am nopt an illiterate shepherd lol! Who in our day would emulate Adolf Hitler and be praised by any but criminals???

In his own Age his enemies honoured him: the Persians were willing to follow him, he extended the honest hand of friendship to the hereditary enemy of his entire culture. No great mystery either! The two forces, Persian nobility and Macedonian King, found that upon close association they liked and respected each other. Somehow I don't see Adolf doing that with Slavs and Gypsies and Jews....

This says a great deal!  The Romans followed the Siren Song of Alexander as their great dream. He was THE MAN to Romans. Julius Caeser wept at age 33 as he reflected  at the same age Alexander had done it all while he himself had done very little. Trajan tried to emulate Alexanderr and came closer then anyone else. The great Julian went mad following Alexander....or so the Christians said, perhaps because they wanted to and did kill him.

The Christians did everything possible to denigrate his legend: Alexander made them distinctly nervous. His tomb may well still be there, the report it was destroyed in the 270's-80's during riots is completely false, IMO. It simply falls from view after the Arab Conquest in 6 something, I forget the date Rome simply handed over Egypt. They couldn't even try to hold it, they were exhausted from the Great War. A year later they said WTF did we just DO and tried to get it back but Alexandria was still so strong they couldn't take it. And the Egyptian Christians were so completely alienated from 'heretical persecuting Constantinople'  they didn't WANT them back.

NO Roman Emperor, christian or pagan, would have ever countenenced the destruction of his body, ever. Nor can I see the early Arabs doing it: they honoured his memory. It says even more that the first Moslems revered him.


------------------------------------------------------

Alexander caught my imagination as a teenager. I was half pagan, Iliad was my favorite story, I found him a person to EMULATE. No I didn't want to conquer the world lolol but there was something about him: 'To hate excellence is to hate the Gods!' That exclamation of his caught my mind. And like a lot of people I needed someone like him to look up to, freely admitted.

You got a admit it Ennis, the real story  is awesome! Sweet!! Phat!!! Brilliant!!!

If it had been made up, nobody would have believed it.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 02:29:39 AM by Brokeback_1 »
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe but nothing could be done about it, & if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it

Offline Brokeback_1

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #42 on: October 10, 2007, 02:35:52 AM »
Hey, I met a Macedonian Afghan in New York City! In Chelsea. For real! Blond as they come, and blue eyed. He had no doubt his people were Macedonians. He said they fled to the hills and stuck to themselves, which is why they'd survived. He told me they'd been settled in a city, didn't have a clue which one but claimed Alexander had founded it and his ancestors had been his men. As he said, they fled to the hills '...many years ago. Centuries. Nobody knows who we were running from but it was safe. We stay by ourselves, we don't marry the others.'

*edited to add he was a very nice guy, admitted to the US as a refugee teenaged boy during the last year of the Soviet invasion.


His first job here was driving a taxi. He said the first days he did it, he thought avoiding execution  by the Red Army was easier and  safer then HIM driving a car.

LOL
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 05:58:56 AM by Brokeback_1 »
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe but nothing could be done about it, & if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it

Offline magicmountain

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #43 on: October 10, 2007, 04:46:44 AM »
I suppose it is human nature to take potshots at anything or anyone apparently placed on a pedestal. In addition, historical judgements go through fashions as do historical personages be they statesmen, authors or kings. Hence Alexander is seen as a particularly juicy target. Some academics appear to have built careers out of chipping away at his reputation. In Alexander and the East: The Tragedy of Triumph, A.B. Bosworth compares Alexander conquest with the depredations of Cortes in the Americas. He sets out to prove that far from being Alexander’s greatest triumph in battle strategy, the Hydaspes battle was a pushover and Porus never had a chance anyway. He minimises the suffering of the Macedonians march through the Gedrosian Desert in order to maximise the suffering of the local inhabitants as the army marched through taking their food supplies.

It seems there are two polarised views of the man. Manic depressive, paranoid drunkard drama queen and terrorist on the one hand and courageous, generous, enlightened visionary on the other. As we know nobody is all good or or all bad – but somehow he polarises people into these camps. So it is difficult to get to a balanced view!

All I can say that the response to Alexander is instinctive – you either sense at a gut level that here is someone very special and you respond to that or you don't. It just somehow shines through. And that gut feeling has to be pretty strong because, let’s face it - conquering and subduing territory and people is a brutal business and you have to know that he engaged in behaviour that would be condemned today. Once he defeated Darius, Alexander understood that for long-term victory and stability to be assured, he had to crush the remaining opposition in the Empire completely. Just over 60 years ago Dresden and many towns in Germany were flattened to achieve just that aim. But a lot has changed in those 60 years in terms our sensibilities in these matters. Today we just don’t subscribe to that strategy in warfare because, even if it were true, the general public would never stand for it (unless presumably our very survival was at stake!)

Historian Paul Cartledge acknowledges this in addressing those who would condemn Alexander with the following quotation by Robert Lowell:

No one was like him. Terrible were his crimes –
But if you wish to blackguard the Great King
Think how mean, obscure and dull you are,
Your labors lowly and your merits less …


A.B Bosworth take note.

Yes for the ancients Alexander was indeed THE MAN. When Augustus had paid homage to Alexander at his tomb, he was asked whether he would like to view Ptolemy’s body as well. He declined the offer saying: 'I came to see a King, not some corpses'.

« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 06:21:10 AM by magicmountain »
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Offline magicmountain

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Re: Travels with Alexander the Great
« Reply #44 on: October 10, 2007, 06:11:17 AM »



HEPHAISTION Omnium amicorum carissimus to the king: dearest of all the friends.

Hephaestion was the man Alexander loved, and for the rest of their lives their relationship remained as intimate
as it is now irrecoverable: Alexander was only defeated once, the Cynic philosophers said long after his death,
and that was by Hephaestion's thighs.

At the age of thirty Alexander was still Hephaestion's lover although most young Greeks would have grown
out of the fashion by then and an older man would have given up or turned to a younger attraction.
Their affair was a strong one; Hephaestion grew to lead Alexander's cavalry most ably and to become Vizier
before dying a divine hero, worthy of posthumous worship.

Robin Lane Fox: Alexander the Great
Alexander and Hephaistion

When Alexander and Hephaestion went to meet Sisygambis, mother of the Persian King Darius whom he had just defeated in battle, she prostrated herself at the feet of the most kingly figure. She chose by the mistake the taller Hephaestion! Alexander is said to have responded:  "Don't worry mother, he is Alexander too." When Hephaistion died, very likely of typhoid fever, Alexander went mad with grief. He ordered the doctor to be hung and arranged a gigantic funeral pyre at enormous cost. He himself died a bare three months later.



Bust of Hephaistion

Everything you ever wanted to know about Hephaistion can be found here:

http://myweb.unomaha.edu/~mreames/Hephaistion/hephaistion.html




The power of Love came into me
and I became fierce like a lion
then tender like the evening star - Rumi