It is quite hard to define where the life of Alexander the Great ends, and where the legend begins: is the legend not also a part of the biography? Is his biography not so amazing and full of awe-inspiring adventures, that it inevitably ends up adopting the form of a legend?

As the son of Phillip of Macedon, Alexander’s feats began at a young age, actually before he was born, since, according to legend, while Olympia, his mother, was pregnant, she dreamt that a lightning volt struck her womb, and Phillip had a dream where he stamped, with the seal of a lion, the same part on his wife’s body. Both oneiric premonitions where interpreted as signs of good fortune, and perhaps what is more important, the lightning volt was associated with Zeus, which is why Alexander was said to be son of the Gods and thus the descendent of a superhuman race.

The prince’s education has two outstanding details: Homer’s Iliad was his favorite book and Aristotle educated him. His knowledge and skills were tested when he embarked on a campaign against Darius the III, king of Persia. Almost at the beginning of this expedition, finding himself in Phrygia before the Gordian knot (which, according to the legend, could only be undone by the conqueror of the world), Alexander solved the challenge by cutting the ropes that tied Gordius’ lance to the yoke of his car. “It amounts to the same, cutting as untying” the prince said.

During this war, Alexander passed through some of the most emblematic cities and countries of the ancient world: Tyre, Thebes, Babylon and Mesopotamia, until he finally arrived in Persepolis, putting an end to the empire in its own ceremonial capital. Afterwards, and when he and his troops had been away from Macedonia for almost ten years, Alexander led the war against India, to the very shore of the Ganges, in the Punjab, where he encountered the courageousness of King Poros and other tribal leaders. After having survived a few murder attempts, Alexander finally caved before the many requests to return home and resumed the Indo trail.

Unfortunately, this proved to be impossible, at least for him, who died in 323 BC in Babylon. At the age of 33, Alexander could already boast about ruling over most of the known world. His legacy ––those tales describing his feats, have inspired many victorious warriors, among them Julius Caesar and Napoleon.

But beyond the military and political scope, beyond the legend and veracity, Alexander the Great’s life can be understood as a conquest that implies fighting for what one wants, channeling our will, our effort, our dreams and ideals towards fulfilling a purpose: the building of new paths. And if it is true that will can move mountains, Alexander the Great proved that it might also build or destroy entire worlds.

It is quite hard to define where the life of Alexander the Great ends, and where the legend begins: is the legend not also a part of the biography? Is his biography not so amazing and full of awe-inspiring adventures, that it inevitably ends up adopting the form of a legend?

As the son of Phillip of Macedon, Alexander’s feats began at a young age, actually before he was born, since, according to legend, while Olympia, his mother, was pregnant, she dreamt that a lightning volt struck her womb, and Phillip had a dream where he stamped, with the seal of a lion, the same part on his wife’s body. Both oneiric premonitions where interpreted as signs of good fortune, and perhaps what is more important, the lightning volt was associated with Zeus, which is why Alexander was said to be son of the Gods and thus the descendent of a superhuman race.

The prince’s education has two outstanding details: Homer’s Iliad was his favorite book and Aristotle educated him. His knowledge and skills were tested when he embarked on a campaign against Darius the III, king of Persia. Almost at the beginning of this expedition, finding himself in Phrygia before the Gordian knot (which, according to the legend, could only be undone by the conqueror of the world), Alexander solved the challenge by cutting the ropes that tied Gordius’ lance to the yoke of his car. “It amounts to the same, cutting as untying” the prince said.

During this war, Alexander passed through some of the most emblematic cities and countries of the ancient world: Tyre, Thebes, Babylon and Mesopotamia, until he finally arrived in Persepolis, putting an end to the empire in its own ceremonial capital. Afterwards, and when he and his troops had been away from Macedonia for almost ten years, Alexander led the war against India, to the very shore of the Ganges, in the Punjab, where he encountered the courageousness of King Poros and other tribal leaders. After having survived a few murder attempts, Alexander finally caved before the many requests to return home and resumed the Indo trail.

Unfortunately, this proved to be impossible, at least for him, who died in 323 BC in Babylon. At the age of 33, Alexander could already boast about ruling over most of the known world. His legacy ––those tales describing his feats, have inspired many victorious warriors, among them Julius Caesar and Napoleon.

But beyond the military and political scope, beyond the legend and veracity, Alexander the Great’s life can be understood as a conquest that implies fighting for what one wants, channeling our will, our effort, our dreams and ideals towards fulfilling a purpose: the building of new paths. And if it is true that will can move mountains, Alexander the Great proved that it might also build or destroy entire worlds.

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