[December 12, 2015] Alexander the Great, Alexander III of Macedon, will always be included in a short list of the greatest leaders of all time. Best known for the spread of his empire from Gibraltar to the Punjab, he also founded more than 70 cities, broadened trade and Greek culture,1 and spread a cultural diffusion throughout his conquests.2
A hero of Greece, Alexander the Great died in 323 BC at the young age of 32 (cause of death unknown). Ancient history will explain, in part, the lack of reliable information and that what we have is restricted largely to his military exploits. Yet, because of his hero status and interest in his success in expanding the Greek empire, we get the chance to look at some of his characteristics.
“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” – Alexander the Great
Taught by Aristotle until age 16 and his military education provided his impetus and helped to form him as a man. Some of his leader traits were:
- Flexible and adaptable military command leader
- Competitive and boundlessly ambitious
- Violent temper and rash, impulsive nature
- Love for philosophy, science, and the arts
- Intelligent, well-educated, and rational
There is much to learn from Alexander the Great. His legacy extends well beyond his military conquests. The fact that he increased contacts and trade between East and West has influenced major civilizations throughout the centuries, survives to today. The modern world gained much from the Hellenization of the region. Alexander was truly a great senior leader.
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- The story of Alexander the Great is larger than life. His story is told in oracles, myths, and legends and include such events as taming of the wild horse Bucephalus and severing the Gordian Knot. While it is not difficult to write about such legendary heroes and great leaders like Alexander the Great, much of the information we have today is questionable. But, those characteristics of greatness will apply nonetheless for its historic accuracy.