Saturday, October 8, 2016

October 8 - Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great

Alexander III of Macedon (or Alexander the Great, as we commonly know him) was an ancient Greek king and a legend of militarism, now recognized as one of the most influential individuals in all of history. He founded over twenty cities across the Persian empire and into India. His campaigns greatly increased contact and trade between the East and West, creating a legacy of Greek cultural influence still felt today. Beyond being cited as the greatest military leader of all time (he was undefeated in battle), Alexander was also famously bisexual. He was married three times to different women, once out of love and twice for political gain, and had at least two sons (a third with a mistress is contested). His most enduring relationship, however, was with his bodyguard and army general, Hephaestion. Though he had three wives and a harem of women available to him, his close friendship and possible sexual relationship with Hephaestion was the one which seemed to have the most bearing on his life, with the two often comparing themselves to Achilles and Patroclus (who are also assumed to have been lovers as well as friends). Upon Hephaestion's death and following a funeral similar to how a King would be sent to the afterlife, further fueling historical speculation that Hephaestion was akin to Alexander's queen, Alexander was devastated; this death is believed to have contributed to Alexander's own failing health and mental state. He died mere months after his closest acquaintance.

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