The researcher of this paper explores the Iliad influenced on Alexander The Great. Human civilization has its own way to produce great authors and literatures. But often these authors and their literatures become so influential that they tend to shape the course of history. …
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The paper "How the epic poem Iliad influenced Alexander the Great" states the influence of Iliad to Alexander the Great. To a great extent, Iliad’s world was a world of heroism for Alexander. Homer’s heroes -especially, Achilles- had influenced the young mind of Alexander in his youth. But this world also taught him morality and courage to a considerable extent. It was the courage of Achilles’ courage -to go against Agamemnon’s tyrannous, unreasonable and despotic behavior- that inspired Alexander to raise his voice often against his father’s royal policies. Though he inherited much of the war-tactics and the wisdom of fighting and winning a war from his father Philip of Macedon, textual evidences from the “Iliad” show that a significant part of Alexander’s war-tactics had been induced and modulated by the war-tactics of Homeric heroes. This paper will explore into how Alexander had been influenced by Homer’s epic poem ‘Iliad’. Alexander’s real-life activities will be compared with the textual evidences in the poem. During the formative years of his early life Alexander had been greatly influenced by the “Iliad”. Since his time, he has turned into a legendary personality. He appears to one of the most influential historical personalities who tamed the world by their courage. But this legendary personality himself has been inspired tremendously by the Greek mythologies and legends. During the early years of his life, Alexander studied the ‘Iliad’. The courage and heroism of the Greek heroes....
The courage and heroism of the Greek heroes in the story were greatly shaping the young mind of Alexander. Especially the Homeric hero Achilles attracted him so much that he decided to imitate him in his real life. Till his death, the Achillean motivation to fight in a war has haunted Alexander’s mind. This Achillean motivation is best described in the following speech of Achilles: “If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, / my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. / If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, / my pride, my glory dies. . . .”1 The famous Historian Plutarch comments that being pleased by Alexander’s passion for Achilles, Aristotle himself prepared an annotated copy the ‘Iliad’ and gave it to the young boy. This annotated copy of the Iliad accompanied Alexander till the last day of his life. He even slept with it under his pillow, as Chris Whitten says in this regard: “Emulating the famous hero was apparently encouraged by his teacher, the great philosopher Aristotle….Aristotle personally annotated a copy of the Iliad for Alexander. Alexander kept it with him throughout all his later travels, even sleeping with it under his pillow.”2 Another event in Alexander’s life inspired him to mould his life after Achilles. His mother, Olympias, had been able to convince young Alexander that he was the descendant of Achilles and Hercules. Though Olympias’s story seems to be a sheer fantasy, it shook Alexander’s young mind vehemently and prepared him mentally to keep the fantasized Achillean heroic family tradition intact. Iliad’s Role on Alexander’s Conflict with Philip II From the very beginning of his career in the Macedonian Army, Alexander began to react against
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