TIL Aristotle was Alexander the Great's private tutor and from his teachings developed a love of science, particularly of medicine and botany. Alexander included botanists and scientists in his army to study the many lands he conquered.

TIL Aristotle was Alexander the Great's private tutor and from his teachings developed a love of science, particularly of medicine and botany. Alexander included botanists and scientists in his army to study the many lands he conquered.


Alexander also brought along the grand-nephew of Aristotle, Callisthenes, as his historian. Callisthenes talked a little too much smack, was ratted out in an assassination plot that may or may not have been real, and died in prison shortly thereafter.


A shame...had he only done his callisthenics he'd would have had the strength to escape jail


Just straight up uncle iroh his way outta there?


It's a long, long way to Ba Sing Se!


But the girls in the city they look so pretty


That is a really callous thing to say.


Well maybe if he’d spent less time reading papyrus and more time working in the fields he’d have the necessary callus to climb out of his cell and get away.


"Callisthenes, it's your mother. Call us."


Goddamn it! All you guys take my upvotes.


Aristotle sent someone to poison Alexander as revenge for his death and for Alexander adopting Persian customs according to some people. And knowledge about poisonous plants and medicine would be useful in making a suitable poison


Sounds interesting but I’ve never heard that before. Do you have a source?


Callisthenics still the least favorite subject in the ancient world.


I hated that shit in PE


And yet the homeless guy who compared Alexander’s father to a slave gets to live.


Was that Demosthenes? That sounds like something he'd say.


No, Diogenes the Cynic. He said it right to his face too.


Shout out to the Aeon Flux guy for teaching me this via Reign: the Conqueror


He also taught me that alexander wore thongs into battle, as is the custom in those days


reminds me of the south park canadian royal wedding "and the princess wipes the vanilla pudding off the prince's face, as is tradition"


The clothing and art style for that show was so weird lol.


Wait what? Do they have an official historical name?


He really wore a [linothorax](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linothorax). These things are really amazing. We never knew what they were made out of really. The "lino" means "linen," but why are they wearing linen for armor? A few years ago a guy named Aldrete and his students at U. Wisconsin starting to work on reconstructions (since none have survived from the ancient world, being, you know, linen), and I happened to see a presentation of his research he gave at Santa Barbara in... 2010? Funny thing: TSA couldn't figure out what his samples were and confiscated them, but he had his talk and his video demonstration. They ended up laminating the linen with glue in several layers, each layer of linen with the weave running perpendicular to the last, like plywood. It's excellent, judging from the video demonstrations, against slashing, and while it's not great against thrusts or arrows (they tested the arrows at point blank), it provides enough resistance that is unlikely that a thrust or arrow would damage a vital organ. Basically, you'll probably get a scratch, but nothing a band aid can't fix. They are also cheap, light, and cool, as opposed to what we usually think of as metal armor of some sort. [Here's](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Mosaic#/media/File:Battle_of_Issus_mosaic_-_Museo_Archeologico_Nazionale_-_Naples_2013-05-16_16-25-06_BW.jpg) a Roman mosaic of Alexander wearing one. He's the dude on the left.


Could say a proto-kevlar. Thanks for sharing.


Yeah, that's a problem. Because we don't have any ancient examples left, we can't know whether this laminate method is what they did, or if our friendly professor borrowed a method he knew worked in the modern world (whether kevlar or plywood). But we do know they could have made the linothorax that way, and it would work.


When I was bored in elementary I laminated as many sheets of paper and glue as I could and it was basically unbreakable for a kid at least.


lol don't take my comment too seriously, it was just a reference to the weird art style in that animated [show](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0295765/)


Damn so dude was just out in a thong in battle? I'd be worried about my junk falling out and getting sliced 😂


[Napolean did the same when he invaded Egypt.] (https://youtu.be/fVC8EYd_Z_g?t=478) He took a myriad of scholars and scientists like historians, biologists, to record and document Egyptian history and Egypt itself.


Yeah, his expedition force was also the ones who discovered the Rosetta stone which was vital in deciphering ancient hieroglyphs.


I don't understand why people here hate Alexander the Great more than other conquerors of the time.


He was more successful.


"They hate us cuz they ain't us!"


Hate us cuz they anus




Hate us because they sus


[Hector's Rectum](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDRxAtW-fuk)


Fuck a senior citizen, suck a wiener, sit and spin


Because they anus?


That still rings true today with certain people around the globe, actually.


Before the age of 30 too. In 10 years he basically conquered the world. He was the head of cavalry by 18.


By his 26th birthday, he had conquered Persia, the most powerful and advanced civilization of that era.


When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer … [Eric] Bristow's only 27.


Having done so with two of the most impressive major battles ever, Issus and Gaugamela. For a generation that constantly bitches and moans about how hard and annoying group projects are because of uncooperative teammates, youd think they would understand best the level of masterful leadership needed to lead a fucking nation of experienced soldiers against the Persian superpower…and fucking annihilate them. Then continue leading them to the edges of the known world, into the literal darkness and mythos of what they knew the world to be.


People raise up Alexander and yet forget that the military machine he used was created and designed by his father Philip. Philip was the genius. Alexander was born on third base.


Phillip II also needed all his life to accomplish a fraction of what alexander did. Theres a reason even contemporaries were questioning whether he might be a descendend of zeus. The man accomplished unbelievable thinks in barely any time. Having a good army was definitely a prerequisite but certainly not the reason he did this.


Let’s not minimize the role of having a highly trained and equipped army ready to go in conquering another land lol.


Philip died when he was like 46. He was planning to invade Persia. Which Alexander did with Philip’s army after Philip died.


Isnt he the most succesful in history?


Arguably, although Genghis Khan conquered about twice the area so there is a strong case for him.


I think part of what makes Alexander so impressive is the short timeframe. From when he first took power until his death was just 13 years while Genghis Khan was in power for almost thirty. On the other hand Alexander owed a lot of his success to his father's military reforms and acquisition of hegemony over most of Greece. Genghis Khan on the other hand essentially did this part (uniting the Mongol confederations under him) himself *before* launching his conquests. Philip and Alexander really can't be separated. The son is more famous but it was two brilliant rulers back to back that was the real lightning in a bottle for Macedon. Plus I also personally think if Alexander had lived longer he'd probably have a more mixed legacy - would he have been as successful in administering his empire as he was at conquering it?. Plus Genghis Khan left behind an empire that continued to grow after his death, while Alexander's fractured pretty much immediately on his death. That arguably enhances his achievements and detracts from Alexander's.


I'm not a historian, but I think ghenghis khan conquered a whole lot of empty land in Central Asia too. Land that is still, to this day, a lotta nothin


He very much did. But khan conquered more settled land and I'd hazard more people than Alexander did. But yes the mongols as a whole controlled and liked owning large open empty expenses of land. It was quite literally homey to them.


I started to line up a comment about Alexander. Then I remembered there are a lot of people on Reddit who also hate Galileo. So, I don't really know that's theres a proper order.


Why do they hate Galileo? Are they ~~helio~~ geocentrists? Edit: thank you, /u/Wide_Big_6969


I think it is the difference of culture. It seems to me like in some countries Galileo is taught as being a genius before his time his time, who was prosecuted by the church for his science, because reasons?!?! In my country Galileo is taught as one of the first modern proponents of heliocentric world view and a huge contributer to modern science and astronomy. Sadly the data at the time could not support his heliocentric theory, because of the fix-star problem. He also wouldn’t stop harrasing the pope, who was his main patreon, over religious belief and in the end the pope put him in house arrest. If you are raised with the first story, then I assume that the second way of looking at Galileo can be seen as an attack.


In my country the first is indeed the main story, because it went against the church's dogmas. The catholic church wasn't interested in science, reason or anything that went against their dogma. Basically Gallileo stood up against (in that time) a fascist regime and ideology.


That is cool(Edit: I really mean that this is cool. It is not the story I grew up with, so I find it really cool that there is a totally different story about the man, than I grew up with), but I also find it strange, because the pope and the church are his main patreons paying him to do this research. I assume what have happened though is that before the internet people just didn’t speak so much across cultures so each country developed these these myths or narrative stories about real events or great persons, that fits into the nations greater story about itself and its enemies, but is a little bit of from reality. Like Napoleon is a hero in France, but a tyran and small man in the UK. Here in Denmark there is a big story about how one of our great sea heroes was setup and assasinated in Germany. I was like 30, when I learned that he just got killed in a duel over a misunderstanding.


Americans traditionally grow up with the same stories about such things that were taught by the British back in the day. Which is why we think Spain was evil, the Catholics were “anti-science” even though they ran universities and were the patrons of dudes like Galileo, etc… The old British propaganda still lives here when it often has died in actual England.


I assume you're talking about Tordenskiold (Thundershield), who hilariously enough was really a Norwegian.


The Catholic Church and others push myths about Galileo. That's how you learned them.


I think this is more about your prejustices than reality. I live in a protestant country that was very anti-catholic at the time and for the next several hundred year. If anything I would assume that our own prejustice would come from the fact that we are the home country of Tycho Brahe. Tycho Brahe tried to prove that the sun was at the center of the universe by meassuring the Parallax to the stars. When he found the parallax was 0 he concluded that either earth was standing still or the stars was ridicules far away. Neither Galileo nor Kepler was able to solve the parallax problem which is part of why it takes so long to move away from a geocentric world view.


Tycho Brahe believed in an overly complex model in which all the planets moved around the sun except the earth, I believe. Kepler believed in the concept of order. When Galileo told Kepler that Jupiter had four moons, Kepler responded, well, then we will find Mars has two moons. In a great irony Kepler was kinda correct. Mars has two moons, but Kepler wanted that based on no proof because if the Earth had one moon and Jupiter had four then it followed that Mars will have two? Cause that would be orderly. In actuality, the amount of moons has nothing to do with position. Kepler simply believed things cause he wanted order. Galileo on the other hand wanted simplicity. Galileo believed the universe was infinitely comprehendible by the average person. You just have to change your perspective to understand the abstraction that the earth moves and that motion and it's laws are the same everywhere. Our senses are fooled by standing on the earth. The parallax issue wouldn't be solved till much later and Foucault's pendulum after that. At which point, Tychos model would finally die. What Galileo did do was to prove the moon was created of the same matter as earth. That meant that the celestial bodies all were made of the same matter as here. Their compositions may be different in different amounts, but they were definitely not made of a fifth element called quintessence which was believed before. He proved that the moon of earth was not the only body that circled another body. Jupiter had bodies surrounding it and revolving around it. So, earth was no longer the only body with satellites. Before that, it appeared that the moon and sun orbited the earth and it was natural to think the earth had the only close body revolving around it. He surmised via sunspots that the sun rotated. He proved that Venus had phases based on it's revolution around the sun. Because of all of this, you COULD believe that the earth had to be singular, but you would be doing so at your own hazard. Galileo's point was that the earth wasn't singular in the heavens. And he was right. Did he get things wrong, yes. But, was he right that the Catholic Church founding fathers agreed that the Church should not countermand science, yes. Was he correct that the earth rotated and revolved around the sun. Yes.


you mean geocentrists?


Ah yes, my mistake. Thank you, kind redditor.


No we just can’t stand him or Figaro. Stupid ass singing bitches


I don't hate Galileo but I do hate the myths surronding his persecution and using it as a science vs religion fable. The situation around Galileo is way more complicated than that and the heliocentric theory was not immediately obivious at the time, it was lacking evidence even compared to other hypotheses.


Naw, lots of people starting with the Catholic Church have had a very oppositional view of him in particular. Overall the Church was a supporter of science, but they made a huge error in judgement over the Galileo Affair and it's all anyone remembers. The Galileo attacks range in all forms. It's weird to see people use them cause I don't think they know that they are using a 300 year old attack against a dude who's been dead 400 years. The best of all attacks: Galileo was a meanie meanie poopie head that deserved threats of torture, censure of his works, having his movements curtailed, renouncing his life's work. Because, you know, he was a difficult person and they are their own worst enemy.


Sadly, it is looking like our education system has all the depth of a tic tok video.


> Why do they hate Galileo? he had a very petulant personality


After reading Galileo's Daughter I got the impressiom that he was more frustrated with the Church, as he felt what he was doing was bringing people closer to understanding God. I never got "petulant" from him. He's a guy who literally saw things with his own two eyes, things that if spoken about the church would have exiled or executed a person of lesser standing. He was a deeply religious man, this contrast between what he had been brought up to believe and the Church's denial of what you could see with your own eyes basically turned his world upside down. Then again maybe I'm wasting my time here. Calling Galileo "petulant" after what he went through in the later half of his life is peak reddit. > Sure he was put on house arrest and the only connection he had with the outside world was largely through written letter but did you see his *attitude* during the whole thing? The nerve of some people.


Reddit is full of spoiled western bedroom brats who live in judgement of people of history for not living perfect lives that conform to modern sensibilities.


More than anything reddit is contrarian, and likes to think they know something other people don't. That's why you get posts up here about what a nice guy Genghis Khan was from time to time.


Reddit being contrarian has almost moved into meme territory- maybe it has already. Every single time somebody asks a question because they're out of the loop or it's a subject they don't have knowledge in, instead of helping the person, everybody just downvotes, and then 3 or 4 do the "lol what you didn't know that this barely heard of artist back in the year 1192 painted his first work while dealing with the sudden illness of his pet rabbit??? Lol how dumb you are!" It's a meme at this point. It's hilarious but gross at the same time


Not to be *contrarian*, but this isn't exactly a phenomenon unique to Reddit. Ever heard of Cunningham's Law? Coined in 2010, it goes "the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer". If I were to take it one step further, I'd say that this is essentially the default state of humanity -- we beg to differ. If you put enough people in the same room together, interesting disagreements naturally arise. Why else would the ancient Romans build forums? Why else would the Ottomans flock to coffee houses? Why else I am compelled to argue about the very history of arguing?


I think if you look at humanity as a whole this is true, but if you magnify your view it starts to become false. Reddit is said to have a "hivemind" for a reason. Religions are said to indoctrinate people for a reason. Nationalism, racism, et cetera I hope I explained that well enough to convey what I'm thinking but I fear I haven't. I'm trying to say that I think things break down essentially to hivemind vs hivemind, essentially.


I think I follow what you're saying. There's a dogma, or perhaps a culture. Of course, dogma typically demands uniformity. How can a "hivemind" argue with itself? Perhaps it's performative? If Reddit has a culture of contrarianism, that's more-or-less just a culture of individualism -- rewarding rebellion over conformity. Individualism is hardly unique to Reddit, I would argue.


Haven’t subsects of religion been fighting over specifics of dogma for hundreds of years? The hivemind has many small chambers to the hive.


> Reddit being contrarian has almost moved into meme territory I think it's already *such a meme* that "Reddit being contrarian has almost moved into meme territory" is, itself, also a meme at this point. I don't think ""Reddit being contrarian has almost moved into meme territory" is, itself, also a meme at this point." is a meme yet, though.


Ha, you think """Reddit being contrarian has almost moved into meme territory" is, itself, also a meme at this point."" isn't a meme? Lol how dumb you are!


In some alternate universe where the most crushing events have to become reality as a cause and effect, we would now find out that /u/DJRoombasRoomba's post was, itself, copypasta.


What exactly is copypasta? I've seen the word before, and I know people copy and paste stories or comments or whatever, but is there any deeper meaning to it?


Nope, just... memes in paragraph/essay form. Though usually the reference to it is, itself, as short as a normal meme. Most people don't bother verbally saying the whole "What did you just say to me you little shit" ConfirmedKillsSeal pasta, they just make a quick reference to confirmed kills and little shits and whoever gets it gets it. In text form though, might as well copypaste the whole thing.




It’s almost like with such a large user base that it’s representative of some of the best and brightest and worst and dimmest.


I mean hey, many of us have some blood relation to the guy. Can't bad-mouth your own ancestor.


Dude if millions of people traffic a site youre going to have significant “contrarian” opinions..have yall ever talked to people in real life? Very few people have the EXACT same opinions formed the EXACT same way.


Reddit 100% attracts a certain kind of person.


It’s the 7th most visited website in the US. 1 place above Pornhub. Reddit isn’t exactly the safe haven for millennial, CS geek, enlightened-4chan users that it was 10 years ago.


The generic redditor archetype is still a thing. Condescending and humorless (just see pun chains or literally any thread on "comedy" subs, some of the most unfunny shit in existence) are the first things that come to mind. How often do you see a comment with a least some nuance about a complex topic and then the most upvoted reply chain below consists of the same 1 sentence, surface level replies that are made every single time the issue is brought up. It happens with anything remotely political or sociopolitical the most. Reddit for the most part is only worth using for the niche interest subs because that's where the diversity of thought is, to some degree.


Those are the kinds of people who post the most though. Visitors are still visitors.


Have you ever played Civ?


I agree, virtual Alexander is a douchebag to play against. One of the most expansionist empires and he's always meddling with too many city states.


All he did was conquer the known world without losing a single battle, founded cities, expanded Greek culture into the Indian subcontinent, and created a legacy that would be emulated for thousands of years to come. I mean, is he even trying...?


But how much of that was just his father's emerald money?


If all it took to conquer the known world was some inheritance money, conquerors like Alexander would have been a dime a dozen. Alexander the Great was one of the most talented humans of all time, there’s no two ways about it.


I was being sarcastic. The emerald money thing is what people always say about Elon Musk on here.


Ah I gotcha. On a side note, this concept makes historical figures like Genghis Khan and even Julius Caesar all the more impressive to me. Caesar came from a relatively well-to-do and old family, but he absolutely was a small fry in the grand scheme of things coming up. Genghis Khan was an absolute nobody I’m pretty sure.


Definitely. Even Alexander, he may have been a king, but the king of a tiny blip on the map that most people wouldn't have even heard of these days were it not for him.


I could be mistaken, but I believe his empire was the largest the world had ever seen at the time. Even by today’s standards, it wasn’t a “blip on the map”. The empire stretched from Greece and northern African all the way to the Himalayans.


Right, but he made it that big. It's not like he was handed an empire that big, he was handed a tiny corner of Greece then turned it in to something that big.


Hate seems like the wrong word. And I definitely wouldn't say I *like* any conqueror by comparison. Like Julius Caesar is a very compelling historical figure but I would never say that I *like* him. The man genocided millions of Celts simply to advance his own political career. Even by ancient standards he was a terrible person. There are a lot of individuals from antiquity that fall into this category. Interesting to learn about but completely undeserving of adoration. I think the difference between a figure like Caesar and one like Alexander is that the more you learn about Alexander the more you learn he was kind of a spiteful and narcissistic man-child mostly devoid of any redeeming quality aside from his tactical brilliance. And due to a petulant midlife crisis temper tantrum, his empire fell apart the moment he died.


>The more you learn about Alexander the more you learn he was kind of a spiteful and narcissistic man-child mostly devoid of any redeeming quality aside from his tactical brilliance. Well this certainly isn't what Plutarch wrote about him. Stubborn, temperamental, and at times impulsive yes, but those traits weren't seen as negative in a ruler. After all, the gods were also stubborn, temperamental, and at times impulsive. Plutarch describes Alexander as reasonable, generous, and a lover of science and art. Some more on Alexanders character: *Aristotle told Alexander to treat Greeks as friends, but barbarians like animals; but Alexander knew better, and preferred to divide men into good and bad without regard to their race .... "5 Alexander probably realized that it would be easier, by treating the inhabitants of a conquered country as free men rather than as slaves, to deal with the problems of administration. Radet supports this opinion, when he says that Alexander regarded the difference between one nation and another as "moins une question de race qu'une affaire de culture."' Although Alexander did not accept Platonic Homonoia, his theory of the unity of mankind was not inconsistent with the Platonic thesis that anything is possible, if the structure is harmonious and pleasing.* From Henry M. de Mauriacs Alexander the Great and the Politics of Homonoia. Perhaps you have some better sources?


Indeed. Unlike other conqerors Genghis or Atilla who were sacking and razing kingdoms left, right, and center, Alex wanted inclusion and cross-cultural relations. A lot of his generals even disliked him for adopting the Persian ways.


> narcissistic Isn't that part of what made him the force that he was? You don't set out to to conquer everything on the map if you don't have a decent bit of that in you... Also, to quote the poet Kid Rock, "It ain't cocky, motherfucker, if you back it up".


Anyone who gives himself the suffix "the great", deifies himself as the son of Zeus, and names more than 70 separate cities after himself is going to have a respectable ego to be sure. Having an enormous ego isn't the problem. Plenty of other similar historical figures are also characterized that way. The issue is that Alexander never gives any indication of having an ounce of humility to balance it out. Or any other redeeming quality for that matter.


> Or any other redeeming quality for that matter He was one of the most tenacious and driven individuals in all of history, was extraordinarily intelligent to the point of being a literal genius when it comes to strategy, was a patron of the arts and science, treated the nation's and people that he conquered who bent the knee well enough that his soldiers literally threatened to revolt over it, was as ambitious as they come, and had a way with and understanding of people that was fairly unparalleled... Its not like he didn't have plenty of negative qualities, but acting like he had no good ones isn't remotely accurate.


>Or any other redeeming quality for that matter. dude.. wtf are you even talking about. There's tons of things the dude did wrong, like many rullers at his time (centuries before Julius). But he also clearly some good things inevitably came out of it: "Perhaps the most significant legacy of Alexander was the range and extent of the proliferation of Greek culture," said Abernethy. "The reign of Alexander the Great signaled the beginning of a new era in history known as the Hellenistic Age. Greek culture had a powerful influence on the areas Alexander conquered." Many of the cities that Alexander founded were named Alexandria, including the Egyptian city that is now home to more than 4.5 million people. The many Alexandrias were located on trade routes, which increased the flow of commodities between the East and the West. "Goods and customs, soldiers and traders all mingled together," said Abernethy. "There was a common currency and a common language (Greek) uniting the many peoples of the empire. All religions were tolerated. It was to be a golden age that lasted from the death of Alexander in 323 B.C. until 31 B.C., the date of the conquest of the last Hellenistic kingdom by Rome, the Lagid kingdom of Egypt." "


>Anyone who gives himself the suffix "the great". Yeah he didn't do that. >deifies himself as the son of Zeus Here one needs a bit of context. When Alexander took Egypt he tried to present himself as a local ruler. Pharaohs were usually considered to be gods. >and names more than 70 separate cities Nothing abnormal about this. Ever heard of Rome or Constantinople?


I like Caesar because he upset and challenged Rome’s political order, particularly its oligarchical structure, that exploited the poor of Rome and benefited the already obscenely wealthy. He must’ve been doing something right when he pissed off people like Cicero who routinely boasted about all of the wealth that he generated from his incredibly shitty and unsafe slums. He might have used populism to further his political ambitions but he clearly gave somewhat of a damn about the common people, leaving vast amounts of money to ordinary citizens in his will. Like, a truly ridiculous amount. He was notoriously brutal in Gaul though and calling him a narcissist is an understatement. Yet the optimates were hardly any better.


It's very difficult to parse out Caesar's motivations 2000+ years later. But I wouldn't necessarily attribute the contents of his will to pure altruism. For one thing he's dead so it's not like the money does him any good anymore. Better to leave it to the people to permanently guarantee their love and devotion to his memory. And for another thing it can also be seen as a classic Caesarian political maneuver from the grave. That same will also designated Octavius as his heir and appointed him responsible for distributing Caesars money to the people. This move places two intractable ideas into the minds of the people: First that Octavius is Caesars heir and second that Octavius is the peoples friend. It's basically all in service of giving his nephew (and by extension his legacy) the best political debut possible.


I know that Caesar wasn't nice to the Celts and is definitely responsible for the death of many of them. But I'd there any support for the claim that he genocided millions of them?


It's a common misconception, here's an old askhistorians post that comes down on the side of "not genocide" [https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1t4eke/can_the_gallic_war_of_caesar_be_considered_as/](https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1t4eke/can_the_gallic_war_of_caesar_be_considered_as/)


I’m not a historian or anything, I won’t pretend to be but how exactly was it *not* genocide? He actively sought to forcibly alter and even destroy aspects of the Celtic cultures in order to transform them into Romans. That is textbook genocide.


i think it’s because the Persian empire was way cooler tbh and he destroyed it


Unlike other conquerors, who established successful empires that benefited the population; Alexander merely destroyed the most successful empire of his time, his own empire disintegrating seconds after his death, leaving only reactionary and stagnant Hellenistic empires in its wake.


Do they? I wouldn't say I've noticed reddit is particularly anti-alexander. Can't really get away from the fact that he was a monster but I don't think he's demonized to the extent that, say, Nero or Caligula is. I don't think people tend to consider him to be more cruel or monsterish than any similar ruler of his time, but maybe it's just because he was much more successful in his conquering than most? Maybe there's a jealousy aspect? Alexander is often held up to be the greatest great, so to speak. No one really likes to see someone born with a silver spoon in their mouth succeed, even if their own efforts and talents were the more important factor (which I'm not arguing they were or they weren't, just saying it might be why some people have a strong dislike of the historical figure).


How was he a monster?


Do you honestly think you can conquer more than anyone has ever conquered by being nice to people and asking them to join you? There's plenty of videos on YouTube about Alexander's exploits, and plenty of books. The Seige of Tyre might be a good place to start for specific examples. Or his destruction of Thebes, in fact Historia Civilis has a good video on that one.


In those times they had to be ruthless if they wanted something. Sometimes to stay alive.


I literally have 4 books about him on my bookshelf... If your argument is "doing war means he was a monster" then hard pass.


That's not what I said... I'm so tired of people like you. Don't be so delicate. These men lived thousands of years ago. The only possible reason you could care about how they're judged is because you're projecting your own feelings. These people didn't think in the same way we do, some of the ideas we take for granted literally didn't exist back then. Alexander killed tens, hundreds of thousands, razed cities to the ground, and sold tens of thousands into slavery. By any definition you want to use the man was a monster, pretty much any leader of a large army would be a monster to us today. Why not take some time to think about why it upsets you that someone would call him a monster? I think it's important that we understand the context of historical figures, that we understand why they did what they did and the social environment in which they did it. Beyond that we can agree or disagree with certain actions but frankly this seems like a waste of energy to me, given that we're almost always never going to have a complete picture and it was so long ago that we're only ever going to be arguing our own opinion on ethics, which we can probably just do more directly. If you took my calling him a monster as an attack on Alexander or on you then what can I say? It was really more a statement of fact, given that the question was about why people demonize him in the modern day, with modern sensibilities. I was trying to highlight that he wasn't really any more or less monstrous than most other rulers of that time.


It is hard to know how much more successful he might have been if he had not died at 33.


He would have probably discovered America two thousand years before Columbus.


Alexander was incredible but i think his early death actually just helped his legend. He literally died before any of his success could be undone


Many ancients considered him lucky because he died before his huge empire could go to shit.


Probably would have just run in circles playing whackamole with rebellions. He was a pretty lousy administrator, later on.


Mofos really out here talking shit about Alexander the great thousands of years later? Dafuq? I ain't going to judge a man and what he did during a time before the Roman empire even existed. Can't imagine the world they live in and what you need to do be as successful as he was, let alone to survive a day without starvation. What he set out to do, and the trickling events after that helped formed and shape the world, was at best exciting to read, and at worse, a harrowing look into the reality of the world then. Fucking use that as a stamp to shit on the guy on your phone at whatever age you are in todays time is hilarious.


Alexander the Great playing the long game and living rent free in millions of heads


How many thoughts do people collect on, typically? Does mental housing have realty? Wouldn’t it be technically be imaginty? Does brain squatting Alexander still ride a horse home? Or in modern brains does he take the train of thought? If you know other Alexanders, and one of them is a great friend, while another one of them is a great cook, could I bill Alexander the Great for thoughts about Alexander the great cook? His name is on the lease.


Alexander is arguably the oldest (non-religion related) historical figure that most people have some idea who he was. That’s got to count for something.


People love to judge people from the past based on current ideals.


Well yeah, because that's how you measure progress. It's okay for bad people to be bad.


>because that's how you measure progress If that's your intent, sure. But measuring progress is not the sole intent of revisiting history.


They're just salty that he will still be remembered for generations to come and they'll be forgotten within a year of their death


man imagine if he wasn't, alex would've been Alexander the OK


Alexander the Average


he could found the so and so city Mediocepolis


Alexander the Acceptable


Alexander the 7/10


With rice: 9/10 Thanks for your suggestion.


The title makes it seems as though Aristotle was the one who "developed a love of science, particularly of medicine and botany" from Alexander's teachings.


Yeah, I definitely had to read that a couple of times.


Reminds me of how the shittymorph implies that undertaker plummets 16 feet


The definition of a enlightened despot.


He was a big jerk though, a smart jerk yes, but also a genocidal warlord!


he was not genocidal in the strict sense of that word in fact he accommodated Persian, Bactrian and Indian nobilities alongside his Macedonian Greek confidantes of course he sacked and massacred some cities that resisted him but it was more of a standard for that time


In fact, Alexander was so accomodating towards the cultures he conquered that his Greek army was close to revolting against him. Only his legendary speech at Opis brought his disgruntled men back in order.


For anyone wondering how the speech might have sounded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlKJDwViNKs


He had incredible English for the time.


What's really amazing about him rousing his army with that speech is they didn't even understand English


The speech is too long to be quoted, but it's here: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Anabasis_of_Alexander/Book_VII/Chapter_IX


I have a sneaking suspicion that it might have sounded a bit more Greek than that, but good video nonetheless.


Thanks! Maps were super helpful too!


How else do you get cities to bend over backwards without the latest example of what happens if you don't?


> but it was more of a standard for that time People today should learn to judge the past based on their standards and not ours.


it is one of those things. We often hop on our high horses when probably future generations are gonna call us genocidal maniacs for inventing droning or some other shit


Well yeah, I'd hope that by then society will have progressed.


Why tho? Their standards sucked ass.


An oft repeated sentiment that doesn't stand up to scrutiny. What are 2021 standards? There are multiple genocides, dictatorships varying conceptions of civil liberties and lawful behaviour among governments. Individuals debate not only if their governments aim for the right standard and if/why they fail to uphold them but also what they should be. There is no moral consensus. There never was, the critique that empires "make a desert and call it peace" dates to classical antiquity, when there were mass slave rebellions and city states that declared that individual towns of a few hundred thousand people should be sovereign and independent. It is absurd to think that people under siege just accepted that being slaughtered in a sacking would be justified as 'that's how things are done in this day and age' even if they knew full well it might occur. The call for us to judge people by the standard of their times is a call for us to be moral relativists with deeper history without controversially excusing the monsters of our own popular imagination. The Mongols are badass and their mass murder must be seen in context, anyone who suggests that the Nazis weren't so bad because 'there was a lot of genocide about in the 1940s' will be condemned. It is an empty headed call for less moral debate. In truth, we must either accept that history is nightmare from which we are struggling to awake and cease admiring great men of the past, while acknowledging that our societies fall far short of the humanist ideals we now hold, or we must discuss history without condoning or condemning the actors of the past including history that is still raw and painful for living people. This is separate from the fascinating understanding of how morality has varied across time and space and between individuals. Who felt guilt? Who debated their actions or argued for reform of their ways? Why? But as far judging goes, we must either use our own yardsticks, suspend judgement or be seduced by woolly platitudes to suspend critical thinking.


>The call for us to judge people by the standard of their times is a call for us to be moral relativists with deeper history without controversially excusing the monsters of our own popular imagination. I don't think moral relativism to some extent is a bad thing at all. Moral relativism bars you from making judgements purely based on what is accepted as moral in your personal environment. It however doesn't prevent you from having moral preferences and rationalizing those preferences to others. Moral relativism will help you better understand why people from other groups do what they do, but it doesn't force you to accept it.


True enough, but that's a fairly personal definition of moral relativism, isn't it? An approach to moral questions that seeks to be free of bias might be informed by moral relativism but isn't strictly an application of it. I never meant to dismiss attempting to be broad minded.


Moral relativism isn't really owned by anyone, and the take that I used isn't one formulated by me personally, but one that has already previously been used as a defense of moral relativism.


Glad to see someone else advancing this viewpoint


The dude was also a huge weeb for Persia.


Genocidal? Seems you don't know the meaning of the word


I like Dan Carlin on his podcast because he continously drives the point (which which I agree), that us judging antique historical figures on a moral basis makes about as much sense as judging them on a technological basis. The world was literally a very different place, and human life was genuinely worth way less back then. Of course we need to laude the memory of people who moved the world foward in terms of human rights, but to judge a conqueror for having killed a few hundred thousand people as "being a monster" is a disservice to our understanding of their character.


There were also less people back then, and the value of human labour did not have to compete with the machine labour. I'd argue that humans were worth more back then than they are now, we're just a bit better at keeping humans alive now. Death was very much more commonplace back then. Humans as social creatures capable of hatred and empathy haven't really changed much these past few tens of thousands of years. Concepts of exploitation, murder, and genocide, were likely quite well understood back then, and some of these are even understood in our primate relatives. I'd say that the inevitability of death, paired with atrocious events being only publicised through word of mouth or minor print after they happened and not during, is more likely to generate a fatalistic view of human life back then.


And while we've all met angry drunks, Alexander was a homicidal drunk, not just a few times killing a senior officer in a drunken rage that he'd then regret after sobering up.


IIRC wasn't he only his mentor for no more than about 2 years during Alexander's youth? or teen years maybe?


Yeah I thought he only tutored him from age 12-14 or something


3 years during his teens, according to the link.


FWIW as a philosophy major I’d kill to get just a few days with Aristotle let alone years


They stayed in contact for the duration of his life. Alexander would send spoils to Aristotle in some circumstances.


when i was reading the "alexander" books that the film was based on, there's this scene were they discover what i assume is naturally occurring petrol/naphtha crude oil and discover it burns.... but alexanders scientist guy assumes that it only burns from the outside, so coats his son with it and lights him thinking he wont be burned. alexander than has the scientist executed. any historical basis for this or just fiction?


Is a botanist not a type of scientist?


TIL: By teaching Alexander the Great, Aristotle developed a love of science, particularly of medicine and botany. Every day's a school day.


"I'll school you like Aristotle, smack you harder than you hit that bottle!"


"You're nothing but an overrated lush I'll crush ya; I'm the first tsar of all of Russia!"


You’re nothing but an overrated lush I’ll crush ya


I'm the first Tzar of All of Russia!


The grammar. Damn.


There's a fantastic book called [The Golden Mean](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6396579-the-golden-mean) which is a fictional work about the life of Aristotle during this time. Definitely worth a read.


People should read more.


As Alexander the Great conquered vast swaths of territory he would send thousands of plant samples back to Aristotle to document and categorize.


I always thought Aristotle was a student of Socrates but he wasn't born till 384 after Socrates died, so I guess it was Plato who was a young student of Socrates. Wow, people died so early in those days.


--Hans Gruber


Benefits of classical education




I've been fascinated about Alexander and philosophy most of my life and I hardly know much about this. Read a few books but I just don't feel like anything about their relationship.


And his fee for teaching Alexander was for Phillip to recover as many of the people he sold into slavery from Aristotle's village and repopulate it, given that he had razed it to the ground.


Why is this is a TIL? I thought this is taught in middle/high schools everywhere and at this point should be common knowledge. What the hell are they teaching in schools nowadays, that people have to cite a national geographic article?


Imagine being a student of fucking Aristotle. I'd never leave school.


According to my philosophical history professor (RIP) the teacher-student relationship between Alexander and Aristotle was most likely forged to add to his myth. I would take this with a grain of salt.


The science they had was very different from our current mainstream science, just so all you die hard redditors are aware.


It wasn’t science yet, right? It was “Natural Philosophy”


He could also be the one that showed Alexander how to diddle a pooter