Useful Notes: Alexander the Great

"There is nothing impossible to him who will try." - Alexander the Great

"Alexander the Great was the king of Macedon during the 4th century B.C. who saw the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Asia and decided they would make a really bitchin' backyard."
Cracked on Alexander.

Born in 356 B.C., Full name Alexander III of Macedon, he was the son of Philip II of Macedon and Olympias of Epirus. One of those extremely rare historical figures whose actual achievements have regularly outshined numerous fictional portrayals.

Alexander was taught by Aristotle until he was about 16. He came to power after the assassination of his father by the captain of his bodyguard. He promptly put down a series of rebellions around the Balkans and marched his army into Persia.

Alexander made his way through the Persian Empire, clashing with Persia's forces and mercenaries. Along the way, he seized Egypt away from Persia and was declared pharaoh. After Alexander's forces defeated the enormously numerically superior Persian armies and forced King Darius III to flee the battle, Darius was assassinated by a general who fled with him and Alexander seized control of the empire.

Later, Alexander's forces marched into Bactria and India, where Alexander was forced to stop his expansion under the threat of revolt from his army, who were beginning to wonder if he truly would march to the very end of the world, circumstances permitting.

Alexander married a Bactrian woman named Roxana, who later bore him a son after his death. Alexander died on 323 BC after a period of sickness in Babylon. It's unclear exactly what killed him. Some historians have suggested that he died of alcohol poisoning after a drinking contest with some of his soldiers, others suggest that he was poisoned, and still others believe that he may have caught some form of disease, specifically untreated typhoid fever. His empire collapsed shortly afterwards, with his generals dividing up Persia, Egypt, and Macedonia amongst themselves.

Alexander never lost a battle, one of the few military leaders of whom this can be said. He was also very interested in philosophy, culture, and the arts, and his conquests led to Greek culture getting spread to the east. In a 2009 poll conducted on Greek television, Alexander the Great was voted the greatest Greek of all time.


Depictions, Allusions, And Others:

Anime & Manga
  • The identity of Rider in Fate/Zero is Alexander (albeit using the Persian translation of his name, Iskander). He's a Boisterous Bruiser who looks like this, has a very odd view on various things, especially the wearing of pants, and is thinking about conquering the world again. He also is among the strongest Servants that are around, his Ionioi Hetairoi being of the highest Noble Phantasm-Rank. It drags the target into a Reality Marble where they will have to face the Heroic Spirits of Alexander's former guards and companions (even his horse became a Heroic Spirit!), who, having bonded with him in life, remain loyal to him even after death. There is also a sequence that elaborates on his reasons for conquering the world, how he desired to reach the end of the world and leave his footprints in the sand, and how he swept away anything that stood in his way and managed to convince many people to support and share his dream. Oh, and also, nearly everything the guy does is Crazy Awesome. May we say Historical Hero Upgrade?
    • The fact that the book managed to make a self-proclaimed tyrant, who believes that it's not worth ruling unless you do whatever you want, sympathetic in his dreams and actions means yes, yes you can...
  • Mazinger Z: During a passionate speech, Dr. Hell declared that he would achieve that Alexander was unable to do (conquering the world).
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters miniseries, Alexander is the antagonist, and is also reincarnated as Alex Brisbane.
  • Reign The Conqueror (a.k.a. Alexander Senki) was a very... loose... retelling of the story of Alexander's conquests, with character designs by Peter Chung of on Flux fame.
  • Alexander is an important character in Historie by Hitoshi Iwaaki. The protagonist is Eumenes of Cardia, who worked as his secretary from a young age.
  • Alexander's life is retold in Alexandros by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, better known as the original character designer for the Gundam franchise. (Thus, Alexander looks rather like Amuro Ray.)

Comics
  • The idol of Ozymandias from Watchmen. He named himself after Ramses II because of Alexander (Alexander admired the pharaohs too, so taking on a pharaoh's name would by extension make him more like Alexander).
  • Alexander's Brain in a Jar (unwillingly) serves as military advisor to Dracula in Requiem Vampire Knight.

Fanfiction
  • Numerous examples of early Real Person Fic — especially the medieval Alexander Romance stories. Alex explores the ocean depths in a diving bell and talks to mermaids. His sister turns herself into one when she hears he has died.

Film
  • In The Man Who Would Be King, the nation they are conquering has a treasure that belonged to Alexander.
  • Oliver Stone's Alexander.
  • The 1956 epic film Alexander the Great starring Richard Burton as Alex and Fredric March as Philip.

Literature
  • Mary Renault's Alexander trilogy: Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy and Funeral Games. She did an intense amount of research, which she wrote up in the nonfiction book The Nature of Alexander. Her writings were among the materials utilized by Oliver Stone in the creation of his Alexander film.
  • The historical novel Thas of Athens has Alexander as a recurring character and the eponymous heroine's occasional lover.
  • Appears in backstory in Dirge for Prester John where he helped save Pentexore from Gog and Magog.
  • In Eternity, the second book of The Way Series, Patricia ended up on parallel world where the one major difference was that Alexander survived his illness and lived to an old age.
  • His most bizarre "appearance" might be Gore Vidal's Julian, where Phony Psychic Maximus convinces Julian The Apostate that he's in tune with the supernatural. One day, he excitedly tells Julian that he spoken to the Cybele, The Great Mother, and that she wants him to conquer Persia. His victory is assured by the gods, and she'll even send Alexander's spirit down to guide him. Julian swallows it hook, line, and sinker, even writing in his diary that he can hear Alexander's voice whisper "advance, to the farthest edge of the world!"

Live-Action TV

Music
  • A song made by Iron Maiden.
  • The song "Iskander D'hul Karnon" by Nile, which deals with his presentation according to some Muslim beliefs.

Professional Wrestling
  • Born James Wehba, General Skandor Akbar took his name from the Arabic for "Alexander The Great."
  • Better known as Big Dick Dudley, the late Alex Rizzo originally called himself "Alexander The Great."

Tabletop Games
  • In Traveller Rim of Fire there was a Terran commander in the Intersteller Wars whose hero was Alexander the Great. As the Intersteller Wars era does sometimes look like the relations between the Greeks and the Persians, it kind of makes sense.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Lord Commander Solar Macharius is heavily inspired in Alexander the Great. His conquests (1000 wolds in seven years) came to an end at the edge of the galaxy. Macharius prepared to move onwards but his armies, never beaten by the enemy, wavered and crumbled at the prospect of exploring the psychic darkness at the galaxy's edge. Also like Alexander his conquests splintered among the seven generals he had, though the Imperium quickly brought them all back into the fold.

Video Games

Western Animation

Other
  • In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great by Michael Wood. Wood traveled to all the places Alexander went, guided by locals with their own stories of Alexander to tell. He often literally walked exactly where Alexander had walked and occasionally risked his own life.
  • The Battles of the World interactive CD is narrated in part by Alexander the Great, who introduces himself as, "in all honesty, the greatest general who ever lived".


Alternative Title(s):

Alexander The Great