Ancient Macedonia and the Conquests of Alexander the Great

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Ancient Macedonia and the Conquests of Alexander the Great

Category: Culture

Subcategory: Education

Level: University

Pages: 30

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Ancient Macedonia and the Conquests of Alexander the Great
Historians, in recording the history of ancient Macedonia tend to concentrate on the development of the ancient city-state; to this extent, the contribution of Macedonian leaders who spearheaded the development of Macedonia is omitted. Macedonia has had various leaders since its ancient times all of whom played various roles in defining the place of the current Republic in the map of the world. The history of Macedonia should thus be studied wholesomely including the contributions of these leaders.
This research study, therefore, undertakes to look into the history of ancient Macedonia and Alexander the Great who is among the great kings associated with several achievements. Most of his are attributed to during his 12 years reign. Some of his major achievements include his contribution in commanding the left wing in the Battle of Chaeronea in Boeotia central Greece, which helped his father sustain a victory. In addition, Alexander the Great reaffirmed his position as the King of the empire after the assassination of his father Phillip II of Macedon and as the king, he fought several battles which he won, including the battle against the Achaemenid Empire.
Keywords: Macedonia, alexander the great, empire
Chapter one: Introduction
Most city-states in Greece during the first half of the fourth century had their respective governments that ruled over these states. (Rossos, Pp 150). Given the freedom they had to act independently at this time, each of the city-states would look out for its own interests and as a result, disputes between them would arise on many occasions; sometimes the disputing parties would also form non-permanent alliances in the attempt to secure certain interests. Macedonia was the northern area of Greece. At about 360 B.C. a leader known as Phillip 11 of Macedonia came into power. It took this leader less than one hundred years to conquer all the rival neighbors of Macedonia. Some of these neighbors include the Illyrians and Paionians to the West and Northwest and the Thracians to the North of Macedonians. Soon after conquering these enemies Phillip II instituted various reforms in Macedonia both locally and even abroad. Among the reforms that he initiated were arming the military of Macedonia with sophisticated weaponry besides making use of technological advancements to improve his armies. Before his assassination in 336 B.C., Phillip II led his army in the battle of Chaeronea, in what is viewed as the last phase of his undisputed reign.
The reign of Alexander the great completely changed the face of Europe and Asia. Phillip II had ensured that being a crown prince, he received the best education from the Macedonian courts. For this reason, at a tender age of twenty, he had capabilities that enabled him to act as a charismatic and decisive leader of the Macedonians. Since his father had made tangible reforms to the army he took advantage of the existing military structures and led the army across the Hellespont in Asia. This expedition became the first of its time to ever step on the Asian soil. During this time, Alexander the great conquered many other regions in the Persian Empire west of Asia. His own army, however, would later overcome him as they insisted to go back to Greece. On their way to Greece, Alexander the Great died of fever and this saw the division of the regions he had conquered amongst his generals. This division is what resulted to the many kingdoms that arose at the time which is referred to as the Hellenistic period.
Background of the problem.
In the history of Greece, the archaic period, which lasted for about two hundred years was characterized with a recovery of the Greek population, after which they streamlined their political structures in city-states referred to as polis. These states were occupied mainly by native citizens and also foreigners including persons held in slavery. This structure was quite complex and therefore a proper legal structure was required to ensure that all residents co-existed peacefully; that all residents would be accorded equal treatment despite the fact that they belonged to diverse economic statuses and social standing. This actually laid a good foundation for the democratic principles which are seen to develop later in the city of Athens in the subsequent years.
Greek city-states were located in various areas throughout the Mediterranean basin. The city-states settlements and trading posts developed into commercial centers and this marked the beginning of civilization. With time, as the commercial network grew, the Greek people interacted with others from ancient Africa, Asia and Europe who were also involved in trading activities. Greeks dominated the commercial activities taking place on the settlements. In terms of commercial related activities, they expanded their boundaries abroad and also got involved in tight competition with other traders back home. This way the strongest of the cities such as Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes emerged as cultural centers.
Classical Greece followed after the period of development and expansion that was witnessed during the archaic era. This period was known as the period of maturity and during this time, the cities of Athens and Sparta had risen to glory due to their cultural achievements. These states which to a large extent had dominated the Hellenic states rose to power due to the alliances they formed, reforms and invasions on the Persians. The conflict that ensued between the states ended after the decline of both the states of Athens and Sparta and the rise of Macedonia which became the superpower of Greece. So far, there were no attempts to develop each of the states individually in the political aspect by expand the geographical location or developing a strong military for instance. In addition, there was no emergence of strong charismatic leaders who would spearhead the quick development of the region.
Statement of the problem
The entire history of Greece delves into a narration of how city-states developed and expanded, while others declined at the same time. These states are portrayed as to have certain interests that they pursued and most of them are similar; so that there is little mention of individual states and their subsequent development all the way from the archaic period. Historians also make little mention of the contribution of great leaders who spearheaded the development that occurred in the various cities. Some of the key practices that these early kings utilized in order to achieve development within their regions include conquering neighboring territories in order to expand the geographical area of their territory. The same was done by creating long-standing armies with mighty capability at war. These practices also are mentioned in passing by historians as they report the history of various city-states from the ancient times.
Purpose of this study
This study thus undertakes to explore the key contributions of Alexander the Great in Macedonia. He took over the reign after his father had created a long-standing army that enabled him to conquer many states among other of his key contributions. In addition, the history of Macedonia as an individual state will be explored separately from other city-states of the time in Ancient Greece.
Research questions
This paper shall adopt research questions which after being addressed will serve to address the purpose or objectives of this study. Some of the key research questions which will be employed to achieve the purpose of this study include;
Describe the development of the city of Macedonia from the ancient times?
Who were the key leaders who spearheaded the growth of the city of Macedonia?
What was the main contribution of Alexander the Great towards the development of Macedonia?
This study shall be carried out based on various hypothetical basis;
That Macedonia is an ancient city-state that developed among other states that existed at the time
There existed various leaders who had various contributions towards the development of Macedonia city; some of their contributions are organizing long-standing armies which gave them the capability of conquering other territories and expanding their own
That Alexander the Great was one of the leaders who spearheaded the growth and development of Macedonia as a city-state.
Importance of the study
This research study will focus to provide historians with an array of knowledge on the growth and development of the City (Flintsch &Kevin, pp. 14). It will also avail information regarding the comparison of Macedonia with other city-states that had emerged in the ancient times. Further, this study will focus on the contributions of Alexander the great in Macedonia, among other leaders who played a key role in its development and thus it will serve to enrich historians with similar knowledge.
The scope of the Study
This study purposes to have an in-depth look at the early history and legend of Macedonia, Macedonia’s involvement in the classical Greek World, the rise of Macedon, the empire itself, the Hellenistic era and Macedonian’s conflict with Rome among other aspects of the History of ancient Macedonia. In regard to Alexander the Great, this study will cover his early life, all the way to how he became the heir of Phillip 11 and thereafter, his reign as the king of Macedonia and THE Persian Conquest.
Definition of Terms
Ancient- the term refers to things that existed in the long distant past which are at the moment not likely to be in existence.
Conquer- this means to overpower and thereafter take control of something or a territory especially by means of military power. In history, it is mostly used in the context within which a more to
Reign-the term refers to a period within which a certain ruler holds office or the period within which a monarch rules a territory. It could also be used to refer to the act of a ruler being in a particular office during the specified period of time.
Cosmopolitan- this term refers to something or somebody that is familiar with the diverse ways or cultures of various countries and thus can easily fit in.
Sublime Porte- this name mainly used to describe the government of the Ottoman Empire.
Primary Sources- this is information obtained during a research study from individuals that experienced the occurrences or witnessed the historical happenings unfold.
Secondary sources- in history the term refers to pieces of information which are written by a person who did not necessarily witness the historical happening.
Summary and Organization of Remaining Chapters
This thesis in chapter two will look into the work of other scholars regarding this topic and other related literature. The literature review focuses on essentially the knowledge base that already exists concerning the history of ancient Macedonia and that of Alexander the great.
Chapter three concerns itself with the collection of data and all available information related to the history of ancient Macedonia and that of Alexander the great. The methods which were used to obtain this information shall also be looked into in depth. The assumptions are taken and the challenges faced in the attempt to collect information concerning this vast topic will also be addressed in chapter three. Chapter four will majorly discuss the results obtained from the methods of collection, which are majorly the topic for discussion in this thesis. Lastly, the last chapter will focus on the conclusions, research discussions, and recommendations in regard to the entire study.
2.1 The Ancient World
The name Macedonia refers to what is presently known as the Republic of Macedonia and also included some parts of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece (Phillip, pp 108). The boundaries dividing all these territories were drawn in the year 1913; however, the term is utilized to refer to the entire region as it existed before the division occurred. For quite a long time the territory had been a human habitat. Archeological evidence shows that human civilization took off in that region from the 7000- 3500 BCE. Some of the occupants of the region were the Seminomadic persons who spoke a language similar to the Indo-European language. These individuals migrated and made their settlements in the Balkan Peninsula. Later on, in the first millennium, the Macedonian region was inhabited by several groups of people from across the world. Some of these were Dacians, Thracians, Illyrians, Celts, and Greeks (Rossos, Pp 158). Most historians identify the development of the state of Macedonia with the kingdoms of Phillip 11 and his son Alexander the Great, none of the kingdoms that they built lasted for a long time. It is argued that Phillip 11 of Macedon built a vast empire for his kingdom after which his son took over and expanded the territory; however, none of their kingdoms did last for a long time.
When the Romans arrived in Macedonia, the manner in which the area was ruled was by way of a succession of various city-states and chiefdoms which always disagreed politically but eventually joined to form ephemeral empires. By the end of the third century, the Romans started their migration into the Balkan Peninsula for various reasons such as to acquire slaves and purchase valuables such as metals and agricultural products. The Illyrians were eventually subdued by the ninth century. These individuals were forced to move further and settle in Illyricum while various parts of Macedonia such as the North and the East were enjoined with Moesia Province (Phillip, pp 104).
The defenses of the Roman Empire were, however, in the beginning of the third century questioned by Goths, Huns, Bulgars, and Avars among other seminomadic persons. This region, although previously under the control of the people from the Eastern region, to a large extent became the settlement of the Constantinople who were the ones in control at the time. Several communities such as the Slavic tribes begun to settle in the area by the middle of the sixth century. In the end, the area became a settlement for a variety of persons which was governed by Byzantine state with a lot of difficulties. The system which was used to govern the area was through alliances which were organized by the local princes of the entire region.
2.2 The Medieval States
The medieval period witnessed the beginning of modern competing interests for control over the entire territory of Macedonia. It was also during this time at around the ninth century when Christianity began to be preached in the region. Saints Cyril and Methodius who were praised for coming up with the Greek alphabet which is adapted to phonetic peculiarities of the Slavonic languages were the ones responsible for the mission to introduce Christianity to Slavs. This alphabet that was developed by the missionaries became a landmark cultural feature associated with that period which served to unite several Slavic people.
The struggle for the control of Macedonia was further orchestrated by missionaries’ ecclesiastical connection with the Greek culture of Constantinople, however, these missionaries were mainly concerned with spreading their religion to the Slavs in their native language. These were occurrences of the nineteenth century. This explains why only three-quarters of the present population in Macedonia have a native identity. The rest of the population comprises of the descendants of the Slavic communities who inhabited the region for a long time, from the sixth century. These communities have a claim that Macedonia shall always remain to be Greek. This was mainly because of the continued association of the Slavs with the Byzantine state which was Greek-speaking as well as the Greek’s vow to uphold the sovereignty of the ancient Macedonia of Alexander the Great.
Because of these reasons, Greece has effused to recognize the sovereignty of the State of Macedonia since the country gained independence in the year 1991. Greece has thus made several attempts to prevent the international community from recognizing Macedonia as a state by its constitutional name. Greece also attempts to deny the Macedonians from the Republic of Macedonia and those from Greece their right to identify themselves as natives of Macedonia. The emergence of Macedonia as a nation is quite less clear considering the fact that there was an identity generalization of all Macedonians as Slavs. Slavs were Orthodox Christians whose national identity was Bulgaria. The national identity of Macedonia remains quite unclear because the Bulgarian identity developed before that of Macedonia.
During the reign of Simeon I, Bulgaria seemed to be the most dominant state in the Peninsula because its leaders controlled the territory stretching from the Black Sea to the Adriatic. Subsequently, the communities in the western communities revolted leading to the disintegration of the Bulgarian empire. Later on, however, it was reintegrated by a subsequent ruler who changed the capital of the empire from Preslav to Ohrid. The competing interests of the states in a bid to control the territory was still alive in Macedonia. For instance, the Byzantine state asserted its authority once more but the same was short lived since another Bulgarian empire came up in the subsequent years at around 1185. This empire included the northern and central Macedonia; it lasted towards the end of the fourteenth century.
The push for control over Macedonia heightened during the second half of the twelfth century. The Byzantine power was challenged by a more significant rival in the Balkans, upon the emergence of the Serbian Nemanjic dynasty. The ruler from this dynasty, Stefan Dusan, and his successors formulated a state that included regions of Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, and the present day Albania and Montenegro, which comprises a large part of Bosnia and Serbia. The Medieval Orthodox churches which were within the region also concur that Stefan Dusan was crowned as king in 1346 in Skopje. However, the ruling of this leader only lasted for half a century after his untimely death. After this, the territory disintegrated and the territory was now controlled by the Ottoman Empire which was gradually expanding its control. This explains why the Serbs trace their origin to ancient Macedonia.
2.3 The Ottoman Empire
The emergence of the Ottoman Empire can be traced back to the establishment of the small emirate which began in the second half of the thirteenth century. (Joseph& Ian, pp 581). The empire gained grip in Europe but in 1362 modern Turkey had fallen. With this background, the Turkish Islamic state expanded steadily. Military wise, the most crucial defeat of the Serbian states occurred at the battle of Maritsa River (Rossos, pp. 173). However, the 1389 defeat of the army which was comprised of Serbs, Albanians, and Hungarians with the leadership of Lazar in the battle of Kosovo serves as a demonstration that the Ottoman Empire was comprised of legends as in this battle it completely subjugated the Balkan Slavs who were the inhabitants of the region at the time.
Constantinople on its own did not fall under the rule of the Ottoman Turks at that time but by the end of the fourteenth century, the entire territory of Macedonia had been taken over to be part of the Ottoman Empire (Rossos, pp. 175). The reign of the Ottoman Turks is considered to be the most stable period in the history of Macedonia; this is because it probably wasn’t characterized by a struggle for power. This rule lasted until the Turks were thrown out of that region in the year 1913. The time spent by the Turks in Macedonia obviously had a major effect on Macedonia in terms of culture and many other aspects of life. In the empire administrators, soldier, merchants, and artisans all pursued their professional causes. In some instances, war famine and disease swept away most of the population leaving the area underpopulated. When such happened the Ottoman rulers got other people to settle in the region without any regard for their ethnicity or any kind of links that they could have with the persons occupying that territory. In addition, through a system that was referred to as the notorious “blood tax,” several Christian children were recruited to join the Turkish army after which they converted to Islam and were assigned to carry out any tasks which were required of them. These and other reasons compelled many Balkan towns to acquire a cosmopolitan atmosphere. This became the case in many states including Macedonia during the 19th century when as the Serbian, Greek, and Bulgarian states began to enjoy their independence. Most states that had been identified with the rule of the Turks migrated into other lands which were in possession of the Sublime Porte (Phillip, pp. 109).
The Turkish occupation and subsequent rule over Macedonia also left an economic legacy in the area they exerted their rule. In what was referred to as the expansionist phase of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish government consisted of the ‘Timar’ system of tax farming. The role of persons holding local offices was basically to raise revenue or to offer support to troops in the name of the Sultan. They did not own land. As the military prowess of the Turkish Ottoman Empire declined in the eighteenth century, the ciftlik system was embraced. This system involved the ownership of land. The process involved was majorly taking away land rights from peasants and subsequent creation of vast estates of land which were farmed for commercial purposes. The result of this system was that it produced a society that was bound by the culture of the Turks but was economically oppressed by Turkish Landlords.
2.4 The Independence Movement
A lot of confusion Macedonia started to sprout towards the end of the 19th century. The decline of the Turkish Empire was the beginning of the conflict that arose between states such as Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria all of which sought to take advantage of the then happenings and benefit territory wise from the ongoing division of Macedonia which would be the immediate result of the end of the Ottoman rule (Phillip, pp. 118). The three states involved were also aspiring to be among European superpowers and this to some extent, heightened the conflict between them.
This conflict was so intense that the weapons utilized in the war were more or less a way of dividing the person’s occupant in the region. By way of example, churches and schools would be started in various locations in Macedonia by each of the three states in an attempt to cause people to witness the influence of the state in the particular location or have them identify with that State. Other weapons utilized included influencing the course taken by railway lines, and diplomatic attempts to try and acquire the area of the Sublime Porte as well as financing guerrilla bands (Flintsch &Kevin, pp. 16). All of these were done in an attempt to acquire a large territory of Macedonia upon its division by each of the states involved in the conflict for partitioning.
Amidst the campaigns of pressure and terror that were taking place a movement that was referred to as the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was begun in the year 1983 at a place near Orchid (Rossos, Pp. 162). The motive behind the formation of this movement was to agitate for the independence of Macedonia. The movement revolted against the Turks at Krusevo and thereafter declared the independence of Macedonia. The Ilinden uprising was crushed and one of the leaders of the IMRO, the resistant movement, Gotse Delchev is regarded by both Macedonians and Bulgarians as a national hero. Delchev regarded himself as a Bulgarian and also regarded the Slaves in Macedonia as Bulgarians.
2.5 The Macedonian Question
The Macedonian question refers to the political dispute that arose between the three nations occupying Macedonia after the end of the ruling of the Ottoman Empire (Joseph& Ian, pp 581). The nineteenth century to the twenty-first century. Initially, the Macedonian question involved Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia although to a small extent (Phillip, pp. 110). The three states were involved in a conflict in which they battled over the control of Macedonia well as which state would be able to impose its national identity to Macedonia, a region whose population was diverse in terms of language, ethnicity as well as religion (Joseph& Ian, pp. 579). Each of the three states made a deliberate attempt to take possession of the Macedonian territory.
After the end of the Balkan wars, the Macedonian territory was divided amongst the three states, the southern part of Macedonia became a territory of Greece, while most of the northern portion was occupied by Serbia. Bulgaria managed to get a small portion of the territory to the Northeast. In the year 1946, the Republic of Macedonia became part of the Republic of Yugoslavia and thereafter the Macedonian question seemed to be fully settled.
The question arose once again when the Republic of Macedonia declared itself independent from the Republic of Yugoslavia in the year 1991 (Joseph& Ian, pp. 592). It was different owing to the parties involved in this question but it was equally contentious. Greek still lays a claim over Macedonia since it actually has a region within itself called Greece. The latter country associates itself with the contributions and achievements of Alexander the Great and therefore, highly disputes the use of the Greek name Macedonia in a country that is highly populated by Slavs. In this case, the Republic of Macedonia joined the United Nations under the designation “The former Yugoslav, Republic of Macedonia”. Greece has also come in the way of the Republic of Macedonia in its attempt to join the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Joseph& Ian, pp. 594). The UN, at the time, is still dealing with the issue of naming the state of Macedonia in view of the arguments of Greece regarding the same.
2.6 War and Partition
Despite the fact that Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Bulgaria had their own individual interests over Macedonia, these states signed a series of bilateral treaties whose intent was to eject the Ottoman Turks from Europe (Flintsch &Kevin, pp. 19). Following an uprising by the Albanian population in the year 1912, which the states in question intervened, they became advantaged and after defeating the armies of the Sultan in the Balkan ward, they partitioned the previously Turkish possessions amongst themselves. The first treaty that was concluded was the Treaty of London. This treaty left Bulgaria quite dissatisfied and thus the country tried to enforce a new treaty (Phillip, pp. 113). These attempts led to the conclusion of the Treaty of Bucharest in August 1913 which had minor differences with the earlier treaty but did not quite cater for all the grievances of Bulgaria. However, the agreement made on this treaty remains the position to date.
Conflict arose again during World War 1 which saw Bulgaria attain a larger share of Macedonia than previously. But the previous position was resumed to when the war eventually came to an end in the year 1913. Again, during the wars, immense campaigns were done in Macedonia in a bid to try and impose the identity of various states on the population in Macedonia. Some Greeks were forcibly ejected out of Turkey during the war and consequently allocated land in Macedonia after it was portioned against interested states (Rossos, Pp. 145). Serbia and Greece took advantage of the land which was left behind by Turkish landowners who were displaced during the war and took over such lands to enlarge their territories. Macedonian independence was sustained to a large extent until the World War II broke out.
2.7 The Republic
The outbreak of the Second World War saw the Kingdom of Yugoslavia divided once more between the Axis powers and the allies (Joseph& Ian, pp 580). Bulgaria had been in occupation of Yugoslav Macedonia; the western part became under the control of the Italians. Further confusion and demoralization arose due to the complexity of the ethnicity of the people within this territory in addition to the hefty history of the territory’s division which other people from other regions with their own interests at heart took advantage of. There was a need to cooperate internationally amongst various states in Europe, and this coupled with the desire for nations to have their identity recognized resulted in political resistance among various resistance groups.
In the year 1945, Macedonian territory was once again incorporated into Yugoslavia under the control of the communists. In an attempt, the undo the previous mistakes which had taken place when Macedonia was formerly part of Yugoslavia which at the time was under a centralized regime that was being reigned by the Serbian dynasty in terms of administration and military control, the then Yugoslavia was organized as a federation (Flintsch &Kevin, pp15). Macedonia became one of the republics forming part of this federation. Communist control became effective in Yugoslavia after the Axis powers were ejected out of the territory. In Greece however, there was a continued civil war between the communist societies and royalist forces continued until the year 1949. In this year Yugoslavia decided to withdraw its support for Greek military as a result of international pressure. There were very close ties between the Macedonian communist societies and the Macedonians in Greece both during and after the war that was then ongoing in Greece. The sense of being a sole republic thus was more cosmetic than real although quite a lot of effort was being employed into ensuring that Macedonia enjoyed a sense of national identity (Koneski&Bozo, pp 38).
The first among these efforts was that a language that belonged uniquely to the people of Macedonia was codified and distributed to many institutions of learning including the very first university in Macedonia. The language was also distributed to the media in Macedonia. The Macedonians also came up with a symbol of the nation which was a Macedonian Orthodox church. During the 1890s a lot of dissatisfaction was expressed by the members of the Orthodox Church in Macedonia due to the attitude of the Serbian church which was quite unsympathetic since it was the same church which the Macedonians were previous affiliated to.
The economic development of Macedonia which was still a constituent state of the Federation of Yugoslavia continued to lag behind but Macedonians remained loyal to the federation. This is because this federation seemed to accord them the best guarantee to their claims for their distinct territory by other countries and also against the sentiments from successionists who were the minority amongst them (Koneski&Bozo, pp. 40). With their loyalty, Macedonians had to put up with the suppression by Yugoslavian federals and disputes regarding its autonomy for a duration of about six years. The politicians from the state of Macedonia often sought to get a permanent solution to the predicament of the state’s constitutional crisis and the breaking away of Macedonia from communist countries besides from the Yugoslavian federation which eventually took place.
2.8 Independence
Most other republics which formed part of the Yugoslavian federation attempted to secede, but their attempt brought up campaigns of nationalist violence and ethnic cleansing in the 1990s (Phillip, pp. 110). On the contrary, the Republic of Macedonia was declared as a sovereign independent state in the year 1991.This took place through a vote by the citizens’ resident in Macedonia although that marked the beginning of several challenges both domestically and internationally by Macedonians (Flintsch &Kevin, pp. 21). Nevertheless, like other young republics, it continues to grow to date; it has wide involvement in the international platform and also takes part in international activities. Like many other republics, it is a state with a long history dating back from the times before its independence.
3.1 Introduction: A historical approach to Research
Learning and comprehending the foundation and the development that has taken place over time in a particular area of study is important as it offers proper insight into the culture of the field of study, the current trends and the possibilities of the future. The value of historical research can further be associated with understanding practical solutions to modern problems which can be sought from their past having been experienced then. In addition, historical research illustrates the key results of certain interactions within societies and finally, gives an opportunity for re-evaluation of the existent data in relation to the assumptions, theories, and generalizations which people have presented concerning the past history. Historical methods of research are reliable because they cover their origin, growth, and theories involved among other aspects of the historical field of study. Quantitative and qualitative methods can both be used in the collection of historical information. There are various steps which were followed in carrying out historical research regarding the subject in question: the history of ancient Macedonia and Alexander the Great.
To begin with, the topic of the research was recognized as the historical problem which a solution had to be sought. The gaps that existed within this area of study necessitated the need for historical knowledge that addresses these gaps. Thereafter, utilizing various methods of historical research, a lot of relevant information regarding the topic in question was collected. Several hypotheses were relied upon in the attempt to marry the information connected in order to form reasonable relationships between historical information that was obtained in the course of the research.
The information collected also underwent a rigorous process of being organized appropriately in order to serve as evidence. Further, the information underwent verification in order to ascertain that it was authentic and correct at the same time. Subsequently, the information that was verified as correct, authentic and relevant was utilized to draw conclusions; this information was viewed as correct historical information. During the research, various tools were employed to aid in coming up with relevant historical data. These tools complemented the various methods available for collection of historical information.
3.2 Historical Methods
Historical methods, internationally, are a concern of audiences who are interested in gaining historical information and other social scientists. These methods usually explore the historical relationships that exist between new sources of historical data, statistical methodologies among other ways of obtaining information. They also involve the interpretation of visual historical information and the repetitive social scientific theory. Historical information can take various forms, from primary sources to secondary sources and oral traditions. All of these are sources of historical information, which is subjected to different forms of interpretations upon being discovered by historians.
3.3 Primary Sources of Historical Information
Primary sources of historical information refer to original artifacts and documentation among other pieces of historical information which were created at the time of the historical happenings. Primary sources could also be pieces of data obtained from interviewing persons who physically witnessed the happenings that took place during the historical event.
In this study, various primary sources were utilized in order to come up with tangible information in regard to the subject of our research. In regard to Alexander the great, some of the primary sources of his history that were utilized were documents written at the time various happenings that took place in his life were occurring. These documents include “The Macedonian Army before the Battle of Gaugamela” and The Macedonian Soldiers Refuse to Go On by Quintus Curtius. Others include Alexander’s Aims by Arrian and Alexander the Great and the Burning of Persepolis by Joshua Mark. All these sources having been written by authors who witnessed the occurrences in the life of Alexander while he ruled were quite relevant to our study.
Obtaining information by way of oral tradition was quite difficult for the obvious explanation that most persons who could have witnessed the history of ancient Macedonia and the rule of Alexander the Great passed away a long time ago. It was thus impossible getting any of them to tell the exact historical happenings that took place during that time. The main methods that we employed to obtain historical information regarding the matter in question were studying ancient documentation that was written during the ancient times in Macedonia by authors who witnessed all the occurrences.
3.4 Secondary Sources of Historical Information
These are sources that also contain useful information in regard to the major historical event; these sources are also credible sources of historical information but derive most of their information from the primary sources. The work in secondary sources, therefore, involves an analysis and hypotheses drawn from the work that exists in primary sources. It can, therefore, be said to be reliable but lacks authenticity in comparison to primary sources of historical information. Assumptions and interpretations made by historians in coming up with the secondary sources of information are also not necessarily true.
Some of the books which were utilized in this research as secondary sources of information were “A Companion to Ancient Macedonia” by Ian Worthington, “Alexander the Great: A Very Short Introduction” by Hugh Bowden and “Alexander: The Great Leader and Hero of Macedonia and Ancient Greece” by Roy Jackson. These served as resourceful secondary sources of information regarding the subject in question. Most of the secondary sources we utilized in our research for the purposes of this study are the books which borrow information from primary sources. All these sources borrow a leaf from primary sources and include assumptions and interpretations from authors. Therefore, while utilizing these sources a lot of caution was taken in order to avoid collecting wrong data. These sources had to be used alongside primary sources.
3.5 Challenges Encountered In Collecting Information
The attempt of historians to collect information is faced by the challenge of sources which makes reconstruction of historical events a difficult task for historians. History is a discipline that relates to the study of things that took place in the past. However, historical research heavily relies on modern tools in order to acquire information. This is because oral tradition which is the only means of obtaining historical information directly from persons who witnessed the various historical happenings may not be sufficient as some circumstances require information that took place in the ancient persons and people who probably witnessed those happenings are in most occasions long dead (Flintsch &Kevin, pp17). Historical researchers, therefore, result to other means of obtaining the historical information which results in several challenges. Having relied majorly on the primary and secondary sources of history available, some of the challenges encountered in gathering information regarding the history of Macedonia and Alexander the Great are problems related to historical knowledge, biases in recording of information, lack of authenticity by various documentation regarding this piece of history as well as conflicting pieces of information from various sources.
To begin with, the problem of historical knowledge was the main challenge. This problem usually arises in the writing of historical information. This challenge focuses on the sources, selection memory or eyewitnesses’ account and written records. An encounter with fake documentation representing as sources of historical information could be really misleading since they could record information that is false. Encounters with such documents also cause confusion since the incorrect information contained therein could be conflicting with other sources that one had utilized and so on. Wrong sources of historical information can be attributed to the commercialization of written work, the bad memory of the eyewitnesses of the events being recorded which causes them to give wrong information among other reasons.
In addition, some of the books which are utilized as either secondary or primary sources of historical information are quite unreliable. This is because a piece of information which relates to their ethnicity or even nationalism might not be reported as it should be because of the issue of biases. Authors also tend to be prejudiced when documenting historical information; they document the available information in favor of their own nationalism or ethnic background and once again wrong information is obtained by researchers. This challenge was particularly evident in this study, Macedonia being a state that was occupied by persons of various diversities.
Some documentation, especially secondary sources of information are quite unauthentic. Since they borrow heavily from primary sources, they ought to adjust the manner in which they present information in order to avoid similarity. In the process of doing so, some of the documents lack authenticity and thus cannot be heavily relied on as historical sources. Another result of such documentation is that they could be conflicting in the pieces of information they provide and end up causing confusion to researchers. It is for this reason that a lot of caution was exercised in this study while looking for information from secondary sources of history.
4.1 Ancient Macedonia and the conquests of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great was the son of Phillip II of Macedon and his fourth wife Olympias. He was born in the city of Pella in Central Macedonia. History regards Alexander the Great as the greatest conqueror of the ancient world due to his twelve -year reign within which he displayed extraordinary military, strategic and military skills. Alexander the Great managed to consolidate his control over Balkans in Europe; he also invaded and conquered the Persian Central Empire and tribes within Central Asia and Afghanistan. He also invaded India. All these he died at the end of his father; Alexander crushed all the internal opposition that he faced in order to ensure that he had complete control over Greece and then began his campaign which resulted in the conquest of the Achaemenid Empire which was one of the most powerful empires in the history of time. Although he died at an early age of 33, at the time of his death he had plans of extending his territory to other regions.
Alexander of Macedon was nineteen years of age when his father Phillip 11 who was then the king of the Greek Speaking Kingdom of Macedon got killed by an assassin by the name Pausanias of Orestis (Trocha, pp.23). At the time, Phillip had built a standing military which had conquered most of Greece and Balkans. The contribution of Phillip II was not just the impact he had on his son Alexander the Great, but also the developments he made on the Macedonian army referred to as the Phalanx. Among the achievements of Alexander, The Great, is his victory in the Battle of Chaeronea and defeat of the sacred band.
The rise of Alexander’s father Phillip II of Macedonia was perceived by neighboring city-states especially Thebes and Athens as a threat to their identity. This is what led to the Battle of Chaeronea in Boeotia central Greece. In this battle, Alexander at the age of 18 played an instrumental role. He led the left wing and commanded it thus helping his father to sustain success in the battle. The victory obtained in this battle placed Macedonia at a commanding position in regard to the other states and this position was quite suitable for the future adventures of Phillip II.
Alexander the Great also successfully reaffirmed his rule as the king of Macedonia (Heckel & Lawrence, pp.8). After his father was assassinated, Alexander was proclaimed the king of Macedonia although he was quite young at the time. After the death of Phillip, many states such as Thebes, Thessaly, and Athens felt empowered to revolt against the entire empire as it was. Alexander responded quickly to these plans that had been underway; with his team of militiamen, he traveled south with an intention of curbing the ongoing revolt by forcing them to surrender to him.
Later on, Alexander the Great was involved in a series of wars in order to assert his control over entire Greece. Before moving to Asia to carry out his campaigns, he wanted to ensure that he had gained control over the northern region in his territory. Upon marching northwards, Alexander crushed various armies including those led by King of Illyria, Glaukias, and Taulantii. This series of wins was followed by the battle in which the city of Thebes which ad began to revolt was crushed. The result of these victories was that entire Greece accepted the rule of Alexander the Great as their ruler. All this was done within the first two years of his reign, within which he managed to assert his political control over the entire region to give room for him to concentrate on other parts he intended to conquer such as Asia.
Alexander the Great also conquered the Achaemenid Empire in the Battle of Granicus River (Richard, pp.121). This empire was a renowned empire which was founded by Cyrus the Great. It was one of the largest empires which extended all the way from the Balkans and Eastern Europe to Indus East. This empire for a long time had been managed efficiently by way of a centralized system of government under one king. The king utilized Satraps who were similar to governors of provinces to make their rule more efficient. The battle with this empire and that of Alexander the Great begun when the satraps of the Achaemenid empire awaited Alexander at one time while he was crossing to Asia; they with their forces awaited him at a town named Zelea. This battle between these two empires was fought at the River Granicus which borders the neighboring day Troy in Turkey. The trick used by Alexander at this battle was that fighting at the river bank minimized the advantage of the Achaemenid soldiers who had outnumbered his own. Doing so also rendered the chariots they had as weapons ineffective since they could not operate in the mud. In the subsequent days, he continued to use the technique of fighting near a river bank as a technique to conquer the Persians.
Alexander also utilized many other techniques in order to overcome the Achaemenid soldiers in this battle. In the end, several high ranking officials from the Achaemenid Empire were killed by Alexander the Great himself while others were killed by the companions who had come with him to this battle. The battle ended sooner than was actually expected.
Alexander the Great also takes raise for the defeat of the Achaemenid Empire the second time at the battle of Issus (Phillip, pp 107). After defeating the Persians in war, at the Battle of Granicus, Darius 111, who was then the king of the Achaemenid empire, went ahead to cut off the Greek line of supply. Then he went ahead and personally gathered an army which he paraded and started a war with Alexander the Great’s army in a village that was south of Isus. The two kingpins fought near River Pinarius and Darius (Savill,pp.33), unfortunately, had not analyzed the reasons for his previous defeat and thus could not maneuver calculated steps at this battle. Alexander was still at an unfavorable ground for battle and being aware of this he instructed his army to hold the defense position. Darius was thus caught unawares and as a result, he changed his mind and decided to alter his position and attack the infantry of Greek.
Alexander and his team decided to attack the left side of the Persian Empire while uphill. Noticing that there was a likelihood of being defeated by Greece on a ground that was unfavorable for war for them attracted an immediate retreat from the Persians. Alexander and his infantry then decided to pursue King Darius himself so he decided to flee before he was captured. This Battle at a village near Issus is usually perceived as a major breakthrough for Alexander in his campaign against Persia which had taken place for a long period of time.
In yet another of his achievements, Alexander the Great is remembered for the siege of Tyre and Gaza (Thomas, pp.15). From the experience that he had had with Darius, Alexander had realized that before he could confront his enemies he had to ensure that he had a reliable supply of the necessities of his kingdom. The key areas which he targeted strongly were Egypt, Phoenicia, and the other coastal territories of Palestine. Tyre which was the largest city-state of Phoenicia refused the peaceful proposal which was presented by Alexander. Their reason for doing so was the claim that they were neutral in the wars that had been taking place. Alexander was however not willing to let go of it and later on, he began his siege of Tyre, an activity that took almost eight months from when it began. Uncompromising as he was, Alexander the Great constructed bridges which led to the city which was surrounded by water then he put in place siege machines. Alexander then fought with the military; army and navy of Tyre until the fort fell.
After Tyre had fallen, Alexander marched south towards Jerusalem to witness the siege of Gaza which was a fortified hill. The commander of the military in his region refused to surrender to Alexander. Three unsuccessful attempts were carried out but thereafter Gaza was conquered by Alexander. The decline of Gaza then further pushed him in Egypt; in that region, he was viewed as a liberator of the people. In Egypt, he built the city of Alexandria which for many years to come remained the center of Hellenistic culture and commercial activities. The third Achaemenid Empire was also conquered by this great ruler. Upon crossing rivers Euphrates and Tigris, Alexander the Great had arrived at the heart of the Achaemenid Empire. Darius 111 by this time, had gathered all his military officers together including the very best calvary from the eastern satraps.
The armies of the two rulers would meet face to face in the Battle of Gaugamela (Cheshire, pp.78) in the present -day Kurdistan. Alexander divided the territory into two. The right-wing would be commanded by himself while the left wing would be commanded by his personal friend who was known as Parmenion (Cheshire, pp. 75). Darius took the center position in the battle with his best soldiers. The Greek soldiers attacked their enemies in the middle from all directions then a wedge was formed after which Alexander struck the middle of the Persian army. He gained a direct access to Darius, and thereafter, Darius had to flee once more. The Battle of Gaugamela was one of the landmark victories for Alexander. Darius was killed by one of his own soldiers Bessus (Cheshire, pp103). The aftermath of the war left Alexander way richer as he acquired a lot of wealth in the capital cities of Babylon such as Susa; he also announced himself as the Persian King of Kings. Other situations in which Alexander the Great displayed sheer victory was at the Battle of Hydaspes in Western India. Alexander the Great is regarded as one of the most Influential persons in the history of ancient Macedonia.
The study of the history of ancient Macedonia and Alexander the Great is an intriguing look at the process through which certain republics came into existence, Macedonia being one of them. It can be concluded that the current geographical positioning of states has not always been so since leaders in the past years usually proved their prowess by conquering neighboring states and acquiring their territories. Another inference that can be made from this study is that the persons inhabiting a certain geographical location must not be necessarily the natives of that area given the fact that diverse people (Koneski &Bozo, pp 39) migrated into neighboring locations and settled there as a result of the various historical events that took place. A case in point is Macedonia, the state is comprised of persons from various origins who migrated and settled in Macedonia.
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Cheshire, Keyne A. Alexander the Great. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Print.
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Heckel, Waldemar, and Lawrence A. Tritle. Alexander the Great: A New History. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Internet resource.
Koneski, Blaze, and Bozo Vidoeski. A Historical Phonology of the Macedonian Language. Heidelberg: C. Winter, Uniersitaatsverlag, 1983.Print.
Paul J, Burton. Rome and the Third Macedonian War. Cambridge University Press. Copyright. 2017.
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Richard, Carl J. Twelve Greeks and Romans Who Changed the World. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. Internet resource.
Rossos, Andrew. Macedonia and the Macedonians: A history. Stanford, Calif: HooverInstitution Press, 2008. Internet resource.
Thomas, Carol G. Alexander the Great in His World. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, 2007. Internet resource.
Trocha, Bogdan, Aleksander Rzyman, and Tomasz Ratajczak. In the Mirror of the Past: Of Fantasy and History. , 2013. Internet resource.

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