Amazing. Stuff. Stuph.

Thoughts on Ancient Greece and Alexander the Great

What is the difference between the liberty of the ancients and the liberty of the moderns? What would moderns find lacking in ancient liberty? Well, the ancient Greeks believed that the liberty of the people at large was above the liberty of the individual; the total opposite of modern thought. If 51% of the voting populace believes that you were a threat to Greece, either now or a possible one in the future, you could be banned for ten years, again, another breach of individual liberty. But it was totally normal according to Greek thought and culture: the society is above the individual. We see this style of thought in Socrates, who is said to have refused to flee because Athens was his “mother city” that had raised, fed, and cared for him, and if it wanted him dead, that was her choice. This is obviously a breach of modern political thought.

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What, in Plutarch’s opinion, makes a “great man”? Is Alexander great? Well, it seems that Plutarch believed that a man was great if he was honorable, and was strong yet gentle. The stories he tells of Alexander seem to show this; he tamed a wild horse that everybody was about to give up on. He also established order in Greece with a firm hand, but was gentle to the conquered in most cases. He was also kind to his soldiers, and lived in the same conditions that they did, and fought in the front line with them. You can read the stories here.

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