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The Legacy of Alexander the Great


Part 2: Alexander the Bringer of Culture

In his travels from Macedonia to India, Alexander founded many cities, several named Alexandria. Most cities were placed on trade routes, so as to increase the flow of goods between East and West. The greatest of these cities, in Egypt, housed a great library for centuries. All of these cities were Greek-styled cities in non-Greek territory, cities in territories that had no real cities. Persian goods traveled to Athens, just as Greek goods traveled to Babylon. Goods and customs mingled, as did soldiers and traders. A common currency and common language (Greek) united the many peoples of the empire. All religions were tolerated. People who had been enemies for centuries were brought together under a giant umbrella of what historians call Hellenization&emdash;the spreading of Greek ideals, thought, and culture to the Middle East and Asia. Alexander also brought the East back to Greece. A student of Aristotle, Alexander had with him botanists, scientists, and philosophers, all of whom studied and cataloged the plants, science, and philosophy of the people they conquered. These observations found their way back to Aristotle, and Greek knowledge of the East increased.

This, then, was the legacy of Alexander the Great: to bring the West and the East together in a brotherhood of mankind, peoples of many descents making up one people, speaking a common language, trading a multitude of goods with a common currency as a means of exchange, sharing knowledge of math, science, and medicine--enjoying the world view of a young man from Macedon who didn't live to see his dream come true.

First page > Alexander the Warrior > Page 1, 2

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday


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