Why Was Alexander Considered Great?
One reason Alexander was considered great is he had a great tutor. His father, Philip, chose Aristotle to instruct his 13-year-old son. Aristotle was offered a handsome salary to move to the town of Mieza, deep in the Macedonian countryside, to teach the young prince geography, zoology, politics, and medicine. Later on, during his military campaigns, Alexander would bring scientists with him to collect and send plant and animal specimens back to his former mentor.
But Miriam reminds us in The Deadliest Lie that greatness does not last forever:
A magnificent funereal temple, the Soma, was built around Alexander’s mausoleum… [and] his body was interred under the temple in a cool recess at the end of a long, sepulchral anteroom called the Place of Lamentation, a flight of steps down from the temple’s colonnaded courtyard. Although it became the resting place as well for the later Ptolemies, the Soma was dedicated to the worship of the divine Alexander. But with the insolvency of his government, Ptolemy IX Soter II or Lathyros (meaning Green Pea) seized Alexander’s gold coffin, melted it down for coinage, and replaced it with one of crystal.
That was only the first insult to Alexander’s greatness. The second one had to do with Alexander’s nose. You can read all about his “noble nose” in The Deadliest Lie, and you can depend on the accuracy of the account. The Historical Novel Society has praised The Deadliest Lie for its accuracy. To learn more about alchemy, Alexander, and the malignant underbelly of Alexandria, just click here.