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Alexander the Great

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Alexander Sutherland                                                         ags2794

describe and analyse what you consider Alexander’s two greatest challenges

In today’s society we face many challenges in our early years, but none quite compare to the ones Alexander the Great had to deal with. His two greatest challenges were his relationship with his tyrant father, Phillip II, and his rise to power after Phillip’s death.

Phillip II and his son Alexander had a very dramatic father and son relationship. Phillip started off as a good father, giving his son the best education possible in the form of Aristotle when Alexander was thirteen years old. However, Phillip would later fall in love with Cleopatra Eurydice. This made Alexander’s position as heir to the throne. Adding insult to injury, Attalus, the uncle of Chleopatra prayed to the Gods for a legitimate heir. This irritated Alexander to such an extent he would throw his cup at Attalus. This enraged Phillip so much that he would have killed Alexander, but Phillip had had a lot to drink and this caused him to fall over. Alexander would mock Phillip for this attempt, criticizing his leadership skills. Alexander and his mother would go into self-exile, going to Macedon.

Whilst in exile, Alexander would hear that his half-brother was offered to marry the governor of Persia’s daughter which gave Alexander and his friends the idea that Phillip intended on making Alexander’s half-brother the heir to his throne. This lead to Alexander contacting the governor of Persia and offering himself to his daughter. When Phillip heard of this he was infuriated. He wanted a better wife for Alexander. As punishment, he banished Alexander’s closest friends. This rough relationship made Alexander’s growing up tough, but Alexander and Phillip’s relationship did not go to a level where Alexander did not mourn Phillip’s death.

When Phillip II was killed by Pausanias, it left some question as to who would take the throne. Alexander, however, was going to leave anything to chance. He eliminated potential rivals; he had his cousin executed and two princes of Macedonia. He also had to kill Attalus because Olympia had killed Cleopatra and her baby. This made Attalus too dangerous a threat to keep alive. This, in my opinion, is Alexander’s second greatest struggle of his early years. Alexander was a warrior, he had killed on the battle field but ordering innocent men to be killed is a different matter. Alexander, at a young age had to become ruthless. One of the biggest differences between a weak leader and a successful one is ruthlessness. A leader has to do whatever it takes. This must have been tough for Alexander to learn and is a massive turning point in his career. If he fails to acquire ruthlessness he may not have gone down in history as Alexander The Great.



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