ALEXANDER THE GREAT



One could literally write a novel in epic form on
Alexander the Great’s uncharacteristically eventful life. I
have decided that my poem’s form shall be an excerpt from an
imaginary epic written by a Greek author shortly after
Alexander’s unfortunate demise. This section is a scene
where Alexander himself, while on his deathbed, is restating
his life.

“I was brought into existence in Pella,
a child of divine birth1, to my devoted parents
Philip II, ruler of Macedonia,
and Olympias, princess of Epirus on the sixth of
Hecatombaeon. On this day the Temple of Artemis burnt to
the ground, signifying my future glory.
I was taught only by the finest.”

“While in my teens I was not only a student of Aristotle,
but I also performed the accomplishment of mounting
Bucephalus.2 I took much pleasure in entertaining amany
Persian ambassadors while my father was away. Philip left
me in charge of Macedon at only 16, when he left to conquer
the Byzantines. At the age of 18 I was granted the honor
of becoming an ambassador to Athens, at which to the offer I
accepted.”

“In the summer of 336 BC I was 20 years of age when my
father was assassinated at the theater. Some said I was a
conspirator to the death of my father, while I
surreptitiously know it was my mother’s ill fated plans. I
then acceded to the throne of Macedonia, and quickly
assembled the League of Corinth, and was confirmed as the
general of the anti-Persian movement.”

“I soon found myself endangered by not only enemies abroad,
but also at home. I personally demanded their execution.
In the spring of 334 BC I began my conquest to unite all
people and control this new world brotherhood of all men.”

“Before I could take on Persia I needed to calm the vast
seas of uprising in my own country. I headed north and
crushed the defecting Thracians. Upon my return home I
devastated the threatening Illyrians, and went on to Thebes,
which had revolted against my warnings. I took the city
with great force and burnt it to the ground, sparing only
the temples of the gods, and the house of the poet Pindar.
I sold the suffering citizens, nearly 8,000 in number, into
slavery. My absence of compassion toward the Thebians
taught all other Greek city-states a valuable teaching.
They all agreed to be placed under my superior rule.”

“I began my encounters with the Persians in March of 334 BC
by crossing Hellespont with a colossal army of 30,000
infantry and 5,000 cavalry, a group of both Macedonian and
Greek troops. My Macedonian officers included only the
best; Antigonus, Ptolemy, and Seleculus - all unmatched in
military strategy. At the Granicus river, in the proximity
of ancient Troy, I encountered an army of Greek hoplites and
Persians. Their number was greater than our own - near
40,000 warriors. My forces destroyed the adversaries - we
lost only 110 men. Soon after all the city-states of Asia
Minor submitted to my rule.”

“While going through Phrygia I performed one of my greatest
accomplishments. I had heard of an oracle promise that
whoever could undo the Gordian Knot would become the next
ruler of Asia. This intricate knot had been tied by King
Gordius of Phrygia. With my own sword I cut through this
tangled puzzle, one fit for Zeus himself.”

“I continued on southward and at Issus I encountered the
central Persian army. Under the order of King Darius III
Persia’s military of over 500,000 men was conquered. King
Darius, now lost without his army, fled northward, leaving
his own mother, wife, and children to the mercy of myself.
I demanded they be treated as the royalty they are,
consuming only the finest ambrosias and dwelling in the most
luxurious quarters available.”

“All the actions of war were to my favor. I was the king,
my armies the pawns. In less than one year after the battle
of Issus I conquered Tyre and Gaza, and traveled on to
Egypt. In November of 332 BC I was crowned as a pharaoh by
the Egyptians.”

“In the spring I made a journey to the grand temple and
oracle of Amon-Ra, located at Siwah. The temple was built
high of carved stone, a spectacle to any mortal’s eye.
Earlier Egyptian pharaohs of Egypt were believed to be sons
of Amon-Ra and I, now the ruler of not only Egypt, but all
of the Mediterranean, proclaimed myself a son of Amon-Ra as
well. Later that year I ordered the commencement of the
construction of Alexandria. This beautiful city on the
mouth of the delicate Nile, was to become the cultural
center of my kingdom.