Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) was an ancient Greek ruler and the king of the state of Macedon (Cummings, 2004, p.54). He was a student of Aristotle, and established a vast empire by the time he was 30 years of age. The empire stretched from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas, and was a sign of his greatness.
Alexander won every battle and expanded his empire by conquering smaller empires whose armies were not as powerful as his. He assumed the throne after the assassination of his father, Philip II of Macedon in 336 BC (Cummings, 2004, p.54).
A well-established kingdom and a strong army were some of the reasons why he became so great. In his capacity as an army commander, politician, king, explorer and scholar, Alexander used several strategies to expand his empire that encompassed people from different ethnic backgrounds. He had immense influence on western civilization mainly because he introduced the Greek language, science and culture to the new empires that he conquered in an effort to expand his empire (Cummings, 2004, p.58).
Alexander used his powerful army to conquer the world during his time. Whenever he conquered new empires, he introduced the Greek language, science knowledge and other aspects of Greek civilization (Noble, 2008, p.95). As an explorer, Alexander discovered that the world extended beyond the Indus River.
He made this discovery with the aid of his geographers who helped him to explore new lands. In addition, he introduced certain aspects of different cultures that he felt were useful in conquering more empires and continuing his reign.
One of the main influences of Alexander on western civilization was his policies on commerce. He established roads that facilitated commerce with the western world after conquering Persia (Noble, 2008, p.96).
These roads were in existence before but inaccessible to the western world because they were under the control of the Persians. This monopoly diminished the chances of the western world of trading and conducting commerce with India, China, Bactria and many other countries that were famous for their trade acumen at that time.
The opening of these roads established trade between the west and these countries. This led to the introduction of precious metals and stones, jewelry and jade to the west (Noble, 2008, p.97). For example, Silk Road is one of the many roads that Alexander the Great opened to the western world. These roads exposed the west to other parts of the world.
Alexander combined his capacities as king and scholar to establish and develop his empires. In order to control the populations of the empires that he conquered, he adopted some of their traditions. This led to the establishment of an ideological king, a concept that ensured that the kingdom remained strong.
However, it split into three empires after his demise due to bad leadership (Noble, 2008, p.99). Alexander had a significant influence because of his brilliant thinking. He envisioned a massive empire that constituted many states under his control. In today’s context, the empire that Alexander built can be compared to the United States of America. His extraordinary ideas enabled him to conquer other empires and encompass them under his rule.
The spread of the Greek language to other parts of the world was due to the introduction of the Macedonian culture to the Persian Empire. The introduction of the Greek language led to its adoption in governing and ruling the empire. This encompassed many people under a common language and introduced the cultures, thoughts, ideas and beliefs of other empires (Spielvogel, 2011, p.96).
For example, the translation of the Old Testament in Greek introduced Christianity to the western world. The Old Testament was originally in Hebrew and was limited to people who understood that language. The translation was initially intended for Hebrews who had lived in other places for long periods, and therefore, unable to read in the Hebrew language. However, this brought the Jewish theology to other parts of the world.
This theology introduced the concept of monotheism that formed the basis of Christianity for the western world (Spielvogel, 2011, p.92). Alexander the Great influenced the establishment of religion in the west through popularizing the Greek language. The Greek language made the introduction of the New Testament possible and was phenomenal in promoting Christianity (Spielvogel, 2011, p.93).
The most influential change on western civilization was the concept of monotheism (Spielvogel, 2011, p.96). This was the basis for the founding of Christianity. It all started with the dispersion of Jews into different regions due to war and violence. Gradually, these immigrants led to the adoption of Greek as a common language. As a result, many Jews spoke Greek and started translating their literature into the Greek language. The most notable was the translation of the bible. In addition, the Hellenist world had monumental influence on the spread of Christianity to the west. For example, Paul was a Jew from Tarsus who incorporated some Hellenistic elements in his teaching. This made the teachings pleasant to many people who responded by embracing Christianity (Spielvogel, 2011, p.97).
Alexander introduced Hellenism and the Greek culture that were pivotal in the founding of the renaissance and the Enlightenment movements (Staufenberg, 2011, p.52). After his death, people became more knowledgeable than they were before his death. They became aware of the fact that the world was much larger than it was thought to be during Alexander’s reign.
Therefore, they explored more lands and travelled to many places. This marked the commencement of the modern world. History teaches that the modern world began with the renaissance because the Hellenistic period was partially responsible for civilization. This is because most of the advancements during the era of Alexander became obsolete as the empire crumbled after his death (Staufenberg, 2011, p.53).
During the middle ages, people wallowed in ignorance and retrogressed from the progress that was initiated by Alexander’s rule. Progress began again when the Turks took over Byzantium and when Christians began to migrate to Rome (Staufenberg, 2011, p.58). They introduced the culture and the civilization that was promoted by Alexander the Great.
Another aspect of Alexander’s rule that had a significant impact on western civilization was his economic policies. Alexander’s reign was highly influential to the economy of the Mediterranean basin. This resulted in enormous social and economic changes that had a positive effect on the west (Staufenberg, 2011, p.62).
These social and economic changes influenced other areas such as medicine and philosophy. For example, Alexandria was the center of medical research. Researchers learned how to carry out surgical operations and diagnose various diseases (Staufenberg, 2011, p.65). These medical advancements reached the west and formed a basis for their medical fields that are among the most advanced in the world today.
Under Alexander’s reign, there was immense spread of the Hellenistic civilization that made Greek the language that was used to conduct business. Under a common language, trade prospered and Alexandria became the center of trade. It was famous for the manufacture and importation of products.
The products that were produced by the Egyptians included silk, wine, cosmetics, cloth, salt, glass, beer and paper (Staufenberg, 2011, p.72). In the western parts of Asia, common products included asphalt, carpets, petroleum, drugs and woolens. The effect of trade on the involved regions was immense. During the years that followed the death of Alexander, the region of Judea became inhabited by Greek merchants and government officials.
Gradually, these new inhabitants began to “Hellenize” the original inhabitants of the region. In addition, there was dispersion and migration as violence erupted in different parts of the empire. As they moved to new places, they carried their civilization and brought about various changes in the culture of the inhabitants.
As a scholar, Alexander had strong interests in science, mathematics, geometry, arts and literature. It is difficult to determine in which of these fields Alexander had the greatest influence on the western civilization. The artwork created by the great artists of the Hellenistic era is similar to that of the renaissance artists that is common today (Spielvogel, 2011, p.103).
This implies that the Hellenistic period influenced the work of artists that lived during the renaissance period. For example, today’s cities are designed using a grid plan that was developed by Hippodamus of Miletus (Spielvogel, 2011, p.106).
In addition, the geometry developed by Archimedes is used in the building and construction industry. Literature from the era is still available today, and the fields of history and chronology were established during the same era (Spielvogel, 2011, p.108). All these aspects of the Hellenistic period were vital in developing the western civilization. The development of these aspects was made possible by the rule of Alexander the Great, and the western world owes its civilization to him.
Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) was an ancient Greek ruler in the state of Macedon. He assumed the throne after the assassination of his father, Philip II of Macedon in 336 BC. A strong army and a well-established kingdom were some of the reasons why he became so influential.
In his many capacities as an army commander, politician, king, explorer and a scholar, Alexander used several strategies to expand his empire that included people from different ethnic backgrounds. The most influential change on western civilization was the concept of monotheism. This was the basis for the founding of Christianity.
He had a significant influence on western civilization mainly because he introduced the Greek language and science to the new empires that he conquered as he tried to expand his empire. He influenced western civilization through art, literature, science and geometry.
These aspects were critical in developing the western civilization. He had immense influence on western civilization mainly because he introduced the Greek language, science and culture to the new empires that he conquered in an effort to expand his empire. Alexander the Great had significant influence on western civilization, and the western world owes its civilization to him.
Cummings, L. (2004). Alexander the Great. New York: Grove Press.
Noble, T. 92008). Western Civilization: Beyond Boundaries. Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning.
Spielvogel, J. (2011). Western Civilization. Stamford, Connecticut: Cengage Learning.
Staufenberg, G. (2011). Building Blocks of Western Civilization. New York: Xlibris Corporation.