Questionable Alexander the Great Narrative

KorbenDallas

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This is something I wanted to get to for the longest. Alexander the Great is one of the most prominent historical figures attributed to the Age of Antiquity. The achievements attributed to Alexander are truly amazing. I would like to apologize beforehand, in case he really did all those things, for I have my reasons to doubt most of them. As a matter of fact I will go as far as saying that the narrative has to be extensively scrutinized, because one too many facts simply do not make sense. Others do not check out during the available "narrative compliant" research.
  • In reality, to put a serious dent into Alexander's life story, we would only need to look at the horseshoe issue, and analyze the deployment of Alexander's Macedonian Phalanx. We will get to those a bit later.
A few known bio facts come first:
  • Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, and by the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history's most successful military commanders.
Due to the received education, we all have an idea of what Alexander looked like, when he lived and what closing he used. Today, in 2019, close to 2,500 years after Alexander died, we think that we can rely on all the movies, books and historical works. Why wouldn't we think that we know the most important details of Alexander's life? After all, there are numerous surviving ancient Greek and Latin sources on Alexander the Great. We have five main surviving accounts allegedly written by Arrian, Plutarch, Diodorus Siculus, Quintus Curtius Rufus, and Justin. There are a few additional ones of lesser importance.

With the above said, we have an interesting dilemma on our hands. People who lived in the 15th century had a much different perception, and in their opinion, Alexander looked like this.

Alexander the Great
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Source
For the purposes of this discussion, please avoid discussing Julius Caesar and Hector. It was impossible to cut them out without damaging Alexander's name. To get all the related links, and sources, please visit the below thread:
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Around 1430s AD, artists depicted Alexander as a medieval character, and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But how is it possible, for we have Arrian, Plutarch, Diodorus Siculus, Quintus Curtius Rufus, Justin and co. Here is "Catch 22" as far as these sources go. Nobody knew about these sources until 1418. Some of the forum members know of what I'm talking about here. For the newer members, or for wondering Googlers I will say this:
  • This world had exactly ZERO knowledge of any antiquity prior to 1418 AD. This is when Mr. Poggio Bracciolini provided us with the knowledge. Nobody knew about such things as Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome or anything Ancient for that matter.
  • There are no surviving original sources of anything. As in, we do not have a single one.
  • We only have copies of the copies of the alleged original sources. Copies conveniently survived, and the original sources conveniently did not.
  • After 1418, the copies, in great numbers, started getting located in great numbers in various attics, basements, church libraries and other previously "ignored" places.
  • Only after 1418, did we start to discover various ancients busts and statues, with most of those located in the 19th century.
Our historians can date things to whatever time they want, yet, nothing was known prior to 1418. I am not going to do anyone's homework, but will provide a place to start:
NOTE: In the right column, where you see 12-13, 15, and 15, we have the time the document was dated to by historians, and not the time when the document was allegedly created. Remember, that nothing was located prior to 1418.

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VERIFY ME: You are welcome to check, and double-check me on this. In the process you might run into information in support of the following related topics. See for yourself when the so-called sources were discovered. If this 1,500 - 2,000 year break will not get your senses up, I cannot help you. It would mean that the dark "narrative" force runs strong within you.
KD: In my opinion, in the early 15th century, people had a much better understanding of the time they lived in. And if they chose to depict Alexander of Macedon as a medieval character, they had a reason for it. What is more important, they had the knowledge.
  • With no "ancient" text copies to consider, the image of Alexander was based on the experiences of the ones who lived at the time. Suggesting, that the oral tradition survived for 1,700 years, with no available literature to support the distant past, is a wishful thinking. The only reason those early 15th century people could know about Alexander (as well as Julius Caesar, Hector, King Arthur, and co.) was him being a relatively contemporary character. In other words, I think that Alexander lived some time between 11th and 15th centuries, which is somewhat different from the official 4th century BC.
Eventually, after all the "historical" metamorphosis, Alexander the Great started to look like the below statue. This particular piece was "dated" with 2nd century BC, and is being kept at the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • It was found at Magnesia ad Sipylum, Turkey between 1891 nd 1893. The first excavations in Magnesia were conducted between 1891 and 1893 by a German archaeological team led by Carl Humann. The work lasted 21 months and partially unearthed the theater, the Artemis temple, the agora, the Zeus temple and the prytaneion. Excavations were resumed at the site, after an interval of almost 100 years, in 1984, by Bingöl. Go figure.
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Persian Campaign
Battle of Gaugamela
To demonstrate the ridiculousness of several key aspects of the official history, I will use only one event: the Battle of Gaugameta. For the purposes of clear understanding of the narrative, I strongly encourage you to watch the below video. It is an easy to watch, and a somewhat entertaining piece of pseudo history.


The Battle of Gaugamela, was the decisive battle of Alexander the Great's invasion of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. In 331 BC Alexander's army of the Hellenic League met the Persian army of Darius III near Gaugamela, close to the modern city of Dohuk in Iraqi Kurdistan. Though heavily outnumbered, Alexander emerged victorious due to his army's superior tactics and his deft employment of light infantry. It was a decisive victory for the Hellenic League and led to the fall of the Achaemenid Empire.

Alexander forces: 47,000

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Darius III forces: 250,000–1,000,000 (ancient sources), conveniently changed to 90,000–120,000 (modern estimates)

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Casualties: Alexander on the left, Darius III on the right

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Source
KD: I do not know what they smoked when they created this disposition. Funny how conveniently our historians dismissed their "ancient" sources, and made Darius's forces 10 times smaller.

The casualty count is comical. Alexander lost between 300 and 1,100, and Darius lost 40,000 to 300,000. What Jesuit monk came up with this non-sense?
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The Sarissa Spear
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The sarissa (+ source) was a long spear or pike about 4–6 metres (13/18–20/22 ft) in length. It was introduced by Philip II of Macedon and was used in his Macedonian phalanxes as a replacement for the earlier dory, which was considerably shorter. These longer spears improved the strength of the phalanx by extending the rows of overlapping weapons projecting towards the enemy, and the word remained in use throughout the Byzantine years to sometimes describe the long spears of their own infantry.
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Total Approximate Sarissa Spear Weight: 14.5 lbs.

:) Sorry, could not help it :)
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Vaulting Pole max length: 17 ft 5 in

Jeff Hartwig, who set two North American pole vaulting records in 1998, was a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1996 and 2008.
DEAR HISTORIAN: Before you come up with such a wonderful weapon, please go to your nearest sports club. Duct tape two 2.5 lbs dumbbells to each end of the vaulting pole, hold one end of it, and walk 100 meters thrusting this device forward once every 10 meters. Come back, and let me know how that worked out for you. I am not even asking you to wear/carry the following:
  • A bronze Pelta shield: 60 cm / 24 inches wide, and "not too hollow".
  • A bronze Thracian helmet.
  • A bronze body armor "the linothorax".
Macedonian Phalanx
The phalanx consisted of a line-up of several battalion blocks called syntagmata, each of its 16 files (lochoi) numbering 16 men, for a total of 256 in each unit. Each syntagma was commanded by a syntagmatarch, who - together with his subordinate officers - would form the first row of each block. For visual representation of how the phalanx was supposed to work please refer to this video.

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PRACTICAL EXERCISE: I wanted to offer our fellow historians to recreate this Macedonian Phalanx attack formation. Make 256 enemy straw men similar to the one below.

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Position your enemy straw men behind Darius III's back, similar to the image below.

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Make up a your Macedonian Phalanx 16x16 formation, for the total of 256 Sarissa bearing historians. Attack the stationary straw men enemies.

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QUESTION: Once the first straw men enemies get impaled by your Sarissa spears, your front 16 will have their spears loosely embedded in the straw. Notice, that it could have been "firmly embedded in 175 lbs of human flesh". Now, keeping in mind that your Sarissa spears are sharp on both ends, tell me the following...

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  • What do you do now?
    • Option A: jerk your Sarissa spears back, and decommission 16 soldiers behind your front line by impaling the rear ends of your spears into their groin areas.
    • Option B: drop your Sarissa spears, and do what "Macedonian" tacticians forgot to tell us.
KD: Yup, that's a tough choice, isn't it? What do we do now?

Horseshoes
The purpose of horseshoes is to help prevent excessive wear and tear and hoof breakage. Most people are familiar with curved metal horseshoes that are fitted onto a horse's hoof with nails. The nails are driven through the hard part of the hoof, and this process does not hurt the horse.

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I'm not sure how many thousands of miles the below red arrows amount to, but Macedonians definitely needed horseshoes for their horses.

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Unfortunately horseshoes were not invented until 500 AD, more than 700 years after this tale. But charioteers, cavalrymen, and traders were well aware that their horses needed hoof protection on paved roads and rough rocky ground. The hoof of a horse is made of keratin, the same stuff that composes hair and toenails. It wears down quickly on rough ground, and a horse without protection will quickly go lame.

The necessity of protecting the horse hoof was recognised by the ancient Greeks and Romans. An early form of hoof protection was seen in ancient Asia, where horses' hooves were wrapped in rawhide, leather or other materials for both therapeutic purposes and protection from wear. Elsewhere, various methods were employed to trim the hoof into a hollow form and give it as much hardness as possible. Gradually, protection items started to appear, first with the soleae Sparteae, a sort of leather hoof boot, later improved into the soleae ferreae that featured metal studded soles similar to contemporary military boots

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The ancient Romans made more improvements, creating the official hipposandal or Soleae Ferreae made of forged iron, but still attached to the hoof with straps wrapped around the horse’s hoof and pastern. But evidence for this improvement does not appear until the 1st century AD, 350 years after the events in this thread.

UNFORTUNATELY: In 2006, Channel Four's history programme Time Team featured an episode where hipposandals were recreated and tested; however, they were reported to have been uncomfortable and unsuitable for long journeys.

I was unable to locate any durability information, but let us say that a set of leather hipposandals lasts two weeks, which is probably too generous. Alexander had 7,000 horses. Considering 13 years of campaigning, Alexander's horses would need 8,736,000 hipposandals alone. You tell me if it sounds realistic.
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KD: Anyways, its getting late, and I have more to add, but at a later date.

In my opinion, things do not add up big time. I am not saying that Alexander did not exist. I think he did, but not within the narrative provided by the official historians. I think he lived during the Medieval Period, and did not run around with bare legs with an army of sandals wearing poll vaulters. And if this Sarissa thrusting phalanx did not exist, than the entire story line is bogus.
 
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Obertryn

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I'll have to disagree with walking enormous distances being some kind of impossible feat. Sandals are actually more comfortable for the kind of terrain that Alexander and company were traversing plus they were a good deal fitter than most modern people and I can walk great distances just fine. At some point, you basically just zone out and move on auto-pilot while daydreaming and don't even notice that you've gone 85 miles. I just doubt that they moved in linear columns of 2 to 8 people per row and I am more suspicious of some of Alexander's ridiculously lucky military victories than I am of him marching from Greece to India with his armies.
 

Mifletz

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The human foot is a delicate limb containing 28 bones, 33 joints and 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles.

Nothing brings a striding person to a screeching halt faster than the pain of just the tiniest pebble under the ooooh so sensitive fascia of the sole of a bare foot!

Unless one is a Zulu warrior, one can only imagine the bruised, bleeding state of one's soles if one walked just 5 miles without shoes, even on a smooth city pavement!

Adam walked barefoot on the soft grass of the Garden of Eden Gan Eden, and the Priests in the Temples in Jerusalem performed their service walking without shoes on its smooth holy floor.

Contrary to current scientific thinking, the first men were more intelligent and skilled than ourselves, not less, and as human beings are unable to walk on most of the world terrains without some form of foot protection, they urgently had to become footshod immediately after the Expulsion from Eden.

The Torah records mankind's first innovators and inventors like Jabal, Jubal and Tubal Cain (Genesis 4), and the famed Enoch son of Jared "who was a shoemaker who praised G-d with every stitch he made" (Yalkut Reuveni).

Just as this shoemaker Enoch, who was "taken by God" (ibid 5) and was transfigured to become the angel Metatron (Hagiga 15), so too was Elijah the Prophet transfigured to become his brother-angel Sandalphon (ibid 13), so called in the Kabbalah because he became the "Sandal of the Shekhinah"!
 

Red Bird

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I think all that walking could be done on sandals and more northern cultures wore what amounts to moccasins, which have to be replaced quite often. Shoes are just foot protection and foot damage is a major injury because you can’t walk. Military/ hikers etc. have a lot of advice on foot care. I belonged to a woman’s hiking group for awhile and several wore heavy duty sandals that work but still leave your ankle and feet more open to damage. It bugged me because if they got damaged it leads to survival situations. Even 5 miles can seem like forever carrying somebody. Bet the crutch was an early invention.
Poor people/natives forever went barefoot. I have writings from my great aunt, from the depression In Arkansas, where the men got the only shoes because they had to work the fields. I went barefoot a lot during my youth. Being on concrete etc a lot seems to cause some of the worst problems.

Born to Run is a great book. While as I said I think going shoeless is dangerous, for instance the modern highly padded shoe and especially sport shoes, were not based on any evidence that they are beneficial, but that are actually causing a lot of injuries. I’ve noticed since this book came out modern sport shoes have changed back to a much simpler design. Part of being a good athlete, or soldier, is the right build which includes strong, well formed feet and ankles.
 
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Jef Demolder

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To me Alexander the Great is the typical legend. He is real and at the same time everything that is said about him is fiction.
Here is how I think about Alexander the Great for the moment.

Christianity originated in the renaissance. The story about the origin of Christianity was placed back to the time which became for that reason the first century. The makers of history wanted to place the birth of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The Roman reality was also placed back and distorted as to obtain the start of the Roman Empire with Julius Caesar in the decades before the first century. Now the makers of history also used the concept of subsequent empires dominating the world. The start of the Roman Empire means the end of the Greek domination. History was organised in such a way that the Romans in the first century BC made and end to the dynasties of the Lagids in Greece, the Seleucids in Syria and the Ptolemaeans in Egypt, three dynasties born from the conquests of Alexander. It seems to me that the makers of history knew something about this dynasties, which lasted in the case of the Ptolemaeans for 200 years. So in the construction of history Alexander landed in the fourth century BC.

In real history the Greco-Roman civilization came to and end with the great catastrophe in the 13th century. After the recovery period, humans rediscovered Antiquity. Rome and many other places were full of ruins and inscriptions. But most of so called ancient Greek and Latin literature is a "reconstruction" or "restoration" from modern times, and there we have Poggio Bracciolini and many others. The biography of Alexander was created in modern times. Counting back from the great catastrophe, the real Alexander possibly lived in about 1150. We do not know nothing about him, because he belonged to the divine population. But yes, his horses had horseshoes.
 

Obertryn

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The Sarissa spear is ridiculous. Such a long spear would be utterly impractical for any kind of close combat, it's too heavy, too unwieldy and too easy to break. I even recall there being stories in the Middle Ages of the English having the brilliant idea of using super-long spears against their enemies and then getting wrecked by the French, who had shorter spears that they used to break the English spears and then close the distance for the kill.

Even more ludicrously, historians claim that the phalanx formation was apparently such a brilliant military tactic that everyone later adopted it for its undefeated track record. Despite the fact that a single cavalry charge is enough to break any such formation. Sure, the front line of your horsemen might get skewered but now the enemy is being crushed beneath the weight of the dead horses and their riders, thus breaking their formation and leaving them wide open for your troops to charge in and start slitting throats and cracking skulls.

Unless we assume that everyone in ancient times was simultaneously retarded enough to fall for such moronic tactics and yet brilliant enough to build vast, functional civilizations, this does not hold up.
 

Red Bird

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As I mentioned in another post his whole life reeks of a propaganda campaign that seems to be put out by his mother. Alexander’s father was Macedonian, and the Greeks looked down on all non-Greeks (supposedly, as in all cases). His father is actually the one who ‘conquered’ the Greeks and his story seems half way plausible.
Then the irony of a non-Grecian spreading Hellenistic culture all over the world (even if supposedly taught by Aristotle, no less. That rhetoric came in handy) And if you look at the conquering battles, so far it seems to me, not many of the areas were ever truly occupied very long and business went on as usual and when he left reverted back. I thought maybe he was used by the more savvy politicians of the day to effect coups. Many seemed ripe for the picking in that time period. Notice even the Darius account it says, ‘led to the fall of’.
Also Alexander did not live very long at all. Maybe he and his soldier pals just swept through areas, won a battle, and declared him emperor of the country. Sorry no links to back myself up on my comments, today.
The true date is fishy and I’d go for that early ‘medieval’ period too.
 

Ashduventnoi

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Alexander the Great is a reflection of Skanderbeg, an Albanian General who fought against the Ottomans in the 15th century.
Skader means Alexander and Beg means great.
 

Recognition

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R: Bravo on this thread, KD, as so many others!! Hilarious and thought provoking, as always!! Now, off to dig for info:)

This is interesting!! Stuck out to me regarding other threads discussing clones/romulus/remus/moses/ramses/ river tiber/nile river. Notice elizabethan clothes on male helpers, who could very well originally have been women, lowering him into the water, aka moses/rom & rem

6 things you (probably) didn’t know about Alexander the Great

He may have gone underwater in a glass diving bell
Almost immediately after his death in 323 BC, legends began to spread about Alexander the Great’s exploits and life which, over the centuries, became increasingly fantastic as well as allegorical. Collectively, this tradition is called the Alexander Romance and the stories feature such episodes as Alexander ascending through the air to paradise; journeying to the bottom of the sea in a glass bubble; and voyaging through the “Land of Darkness” in search of the “Fountain of Youth”.

GettyImagesA 14th-century illustration showing Alexander the Great in a diving bell lowered from a small boat. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)-51244859

A 14th-century illustration showing Alexander the Great in a diving bell lowered from a small boat. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Writing attributed to the Greek philosopher Aristotle references a diving bell, describing a cauldron forced straight down into water, thus keeping the air within it. In fact, it’s possible that Alexander the Great saw, or was perhaps even in, a glass diving bell. There are stories about him visiting the bottom of the ocean in a glass ball during his famous siege of Tyre (Lebanon), where it is said Alexander used divers to remove underwater obstacles from the harbour, and that the divers used crude glass diving bells. These may very well be just legends, but it is conceivable that Alexander, who was curious to learn about everything, had a go in a glass diving bell himself.

Second interesting claim from same webpage:


When his friend Hephaestion died, Alexander held a hugely expensive funeral
Hephaestion was a member of Alexander’s personal bodyguard and a general in his army. He was also Alexander’s best friend, right-hand man, and some say his lover as well. When he died suddenly in Ecbatana from unknown causes, Alexander wrote to the Oracle at Siwa in Egypt and asked if Hephaestion should be honoured as a god or a hero. The Oracle replied that he should be honoured as a hero, and so Alexander went all out for a mausoleum/funeral pyre designed to impress.

The Library of History, compiled by Diodorus Siculus, includes several accounts of the funeral pyre, of which there wereseven levels – each level more lavishly decorated than the last.

Perched upon the bottom layer of 240 golden prows of ships and held up by palm tree trunks, Siculus says, there were: “Torches fifteen cubits high with golden wreaths about their handles. At their flaming ends perched eagles with outspread wings looking downward, while about their bases were serpents looking up at the eagles, […] a multitude of wild animals being pursued by hunters, […] a centauromachy rendered in gold, while the fifth [level] showed lions and bulls alternating, also in gold. The next higher level was covered with Macedonian and Persian arms, testifying to the prowess of the one people and to the defeats of the other. On top of all stood Sirens, hollowed out and able to conceal within them persons who sang a lament in mourning for the dead. The total height of the pyre was more than one hundred and thirty cubits.”

"
A cubit is an ancient measurement of length based on the distance from the elbow to the tip of the longest finger, so it varies. But the pyre, as described here, could have been more than 50 metres high. Alexander the Great plundered the treasuries of all his cities to pay for the monument – it has been estimated to have cost the modern equivalent of two billion dollars.

Alexander the Great had made his seat of government in Babylon, the capital of Babylonia (the alluvial plain between the Euphrates and Tigris), and he wanted to hold the funeral ceremony within the walls of the city. However, the monument was so huge that Alexander had to break down one of the city’s walls to get it inside. He then set the monument on fire, cremating the general’s body along with the magnificent pyre."

R: this reminds me of this thread, 1840: Napoleon's Funeral Carriage and i believe KD has suggested that napoleon and a the g could have been one and the same. Also notice that a's friend/lover shares a name similarity with the god of the fire/forge hephaestus.

Hephaestus was the god of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges and the art of sculpture. He was the son of Zeus and Hera

Found this, as well: A cycle of Alexander romances – The Romance of the Middle Ages

R: Hard to see pics but from what i can, the garb is, again, elizabethan or something similar.
 
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