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Alexander The Great: Strenghts And Weaknesses As A Person, Statesman And Leader

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For centuries, Alexander the Great has held an eminent place in history. Arguably one of the greatest men the world has ever known, the Macedonian King accomplished many great feats in his short, but glorious life. During his reign, Alexander played several roles in the process of conquering the Persian empire, and in the assessment of his character, aspects of Alexander's capabilities of both strengths and weaknesses must be explored in him as a person, a statesman and a leader.

Alexander was a complex, inscrutable man of passion and iron-will . The King possessed a keen intellect, with an ability to make quick decisions. He had supreme courage and excellent leadership skills , which contributed significantly to his greatness as a conqueror. As a man, he had a passionate and impetuous nature, and caring not for the pleasures of luxury, Alexander instead pursued a ceaseless desire for glory and power that undeniably insatiably drove him forwards on his campaign. Alexander's incredible physical endurance and his unhesitating willingness to share in the toils of war earned him the respect and admiration of his soldiers.

Alexander was said to have been a exemplary example of Aristotles' model of the Ð''great-souled man'. He was exceedingly generous, and held a deep compassion and affection for his friends. As a consequence his subjects were immensely loyal and faithfully followed him without question to the limits of the known world and beyond. He furthermore displayed this compassion for women and children, as he demonstrated in his courteous treatment of Darius' harem. The King possessed great charm and magnetism which worked favorably to his image as a leader and a ruler.

Nevertheless, there were major weaknesses within Alexander that emerged in the later stages of his campaign when the hardships and strain of the years of warfare intensified. Alexander's complete absorption with his good name lead to an inability to accept criticism. If anyone spoke of him in an ill-manner, Alexander would become spiteful and harsh, and was often swayed to ill-judgment. The King also had an erratic and dangerous temper, which was almost maniacal. Alexander often succumbed to the terrible and fervent outbursts of rage and to combine this with the influence of wine which he drank heavily, could lead to the most terrible of tragedies. The extreme instance of this is the death of Cleitus the Black, who was murdered by Alexander in a drunken fit of rage. Nonetheless, Plutarch and Arrian, claimed that Alexander's heavy drinking was merely and impression that developed from the King's long conversations with friends, and the lingering over his drink.

It is particularly difficult to assess Alexander as a statesman, for his views as a statesman were in a state of flux when he died. His political creations were still in a developmental stage and had as yet take definite shape, but Alexander did display political wisdom by separating financial, civil and military power. One of his great achievements was his financial measure in reforming the coinage and bringing into line with each other the decimal currency of Persia with the duodecimal system of Macedonia. This was not only a great contribution to economic prosperity throughout the empire, but also impeded Athens as competition and involved her as a trading partner instead. Alexander also entertained a grandiose plan for uniting the East and the West in a world empire of racial equality. Unfortunately, this did not succeed as he planned. Nevertheless, the King's conquest and findings of new cities resulted in the opening up of western Asia to the extending influence of Greek civilization on a far wider scale than had ever been possible before.

However, Alexander's statesmanship was not always ideal and consisted of some major flaws. The satrapy system of government had proven in the past to be highly ineffective, yet Alexander employed this same method of administration. This resulted in severe disorganization, irregularities and corruption in the empire, but the King did not seek to change the form of government, and instead merely allocated new satraps. He has been heavily criticized for this, but one must keep in mind that Alexander at that stage was still fixated with exploration and conquest, and perhaps if he had lived longer, would have modified or employed a more effective form of management.

Alexander was among the very greatest of leaders. Throughout his reign, the King exhibited great military genius, tactical and strategic brilliance, and admirable leadership abilities. Alexander's military mastermind was displayed in every aspect of warfare through his tactical and strategic talents. He was adept in maximizing the efficiency of his troops, and possessed the ability to modify and adjust his tactics, varying the executions of his plans and the deployment of his troops accordingly to the particularity of the battleground and of the enemy. This resulted in the immense success of several victories,



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