Alexander the Great, 356–323 b. c.

[Mentioned in Message to The Mother Church for 1900, pp. 12, 13]

Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, was a man of conflicting qualities. Remarkably self-controlled, he was on occasion passionately impulsive. A visionary and lover of adventure, he was extremely practical. Although displaying courage and self-reliance, he was almost superstitious in his attention to symbolism.

Aristotle taught Alexander, imparting to him a love of literature and interesting him in science. When he burned Thebes as a punishment for her rebellion, Alexander spared only the temples and the home of Pindar, the poet. Alexander carried a copy of the Iliad with him on all his campaigns. He took special care of his army's health.

Alexander established himself as his father's successor by gaining the support of the army and quickly putting down rebellious elements. Within two years he and his army had crossed the Hellespont and won the first battle with the Persians at the Granicus. Ephesus and other cities hailed him as a liberator. But on the plains of Issus another decisive battle was fought and Darius forced to flee. Preceding this battle, Alexander had cut the Gordion knot, a portent that he was to rule Asia. After the fall of Tyre and Gaza he went to Jerusalem, where he enrolled the Jews in his army and gave them special privileges. Egypt was next to surrender, and here he founded the city of Alexandria, a great center of commerce and of Judaism. Assured by the oracle of Ammon in the Libyan desert that he was destined to be ruler of the world, Alexander again invaded Persia. At the battle of Arbela, Darius was overthrown, and Alexander became king of Asia.

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Signs of the Times
July 28, 1956

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