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Since January 1, 2014
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My Notes on Massive Open Online Course:
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks, fused the eastern and western peoples of his empire, and became a god, before his 33rd birthday. This course explores the life, leadership, and legacies of history’s warrior, and one of its most controversial leaders, an ambiguous genius whose story helps us to understand not only the history of warfare, but also different ideas about human sexuality, the history of relations between east and west, and the religious beliefs both of ancient polytheists and modern monotheists.
Notes on 9 Lectures I Watched in This Course:
Alexander the Great, the Terrible, or the Insignificant
Why Study Alexander the Great?
The Importance of the Battle of Thermopylae
The Peloponnesian War and Internal Greek Struggles
Early Macedon
The Nature of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon's Military Reforms
Alexander's Cavalry Units
Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC)
3 People I Have Learned About in this Course:
Alexander the Great (356-323 BC)
Greek king of the ancient kingdom of Macedon who by the age of thirty created one of the largest empires of the ancient world
  • full name: Alexander III of Macedon
  • 334 BC: invaded the Achaemenid [ah-KEE-mah-nid] Empire (550-330BC)
  • he was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history's most successful commanders
Epaminondas (418-362 BC)
Theban general and statesman of the 4th century BC who transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics
  • broke Spartan military power with his victory at Leuctra and liberated the Messenian helots, a group of Peloponnesian Greeks who had been enslaved under Spartan rule for some 230 years
  • reshaped the political map of Greece, fragmented old alliances, created new ones, and supervised the construction of entire cities
  • also militarily influential, inventing and implementing several major battlefield tactics
  • had been praised in his time as an idealist and liberator, but now largely remembered for a decade of campaigning that sapped the strength of the great land powers of Greece and paved the way for the Macedonian conquest
  • has fallen into relative obscurity in modern times, as a mere twenty-seven years after his death, a recalcitrant Thebes was obliterated by Alexander the Great
King Archelaus I of Macedon (469-399 BC)
  • king of Macedon from 413 to 399 BC, he was a capable and beneficent ruler, known for the sweeping changes he made in state administration, the military, commerce, and the arts
  • moved the Macedonian capital from Aigae to Pella and founded Macedonian Olympian Games in Dion, among other reasons because the Greek Olympic Games were forbidden to barbarians, or outsiders, including the Macedonians
  • completely reverse Macedon's relationship with Athens, as they experienced a crushing defeat at Syracuse in late 413 during which most of their ships were destroyed, Archelaus generously supplied the Athenians with the timber they needed to rebuild
  • issued high quality coinage
  • was a man of culture and extended cultural and artistic contacts with southern Greece
  • hosted great poets, tragedians, including Agathon [Ἀγάθων] (no works survived) and Euripides (who wrote his tragedies Archelaus and The Bacchae while in Macedon), as well as musicians and painters, including Zeuxis (no works survived), the most celebrated painter of the time
4 Vocabulary Words I Learned in this Course:
aspis, n. a type of round shield worn by ancient Greek soldiers, usually made of wood with a metal rim  "For centuries, to settle interstate disputes largely over land, Greek city states had armed and equipped themselves with helmets, breast plates, greaves, and carried a spear as their offensive weapon, and also a shield, usually made of wood but with a metal rim called an aspis or hoplon."
eristic, n. a type of argumentation style which has the aim to win an argument or engage in a conflict for the sole purpose of defeating the other side, as opposed to the seeking of conflict resolution or discovering a true or probable answer to any specific question or topic  "Bryson of Heraclea introduced eristic dialectic after Euclides."
hoplite, n. a citizen-soldier of Ancient Greek city-states who was primarily armed with spears and shields, their main tactic being the phalanx formation, and were primarily free citizens, e.g. propertied farmers and artisans who were able to afford the bronze armor suit and weapons  "The hoplite phalanx of the Archaic and Classical periods in Greece (ca. 750–350 BC) was a formation in which the hoplites would line up in ranks in close order. The hoplites would lock their shields together, and the first few ranks of soldiers would project their spears out over the first rank of shields. The phalanx therefore presented a shield wall and a mass of spear points to the enemy, making frontal assaults against it very difficult."
mount, n. a means of conveyance, such as a horse, on which to ride  "Not having saddles or stirrups, ancient Macedonian horsemen had to control their mounts by the use of harsh bridles, or bit, or the pressure they exerted with their legs."
1 Flashcards I Recorded in this Course:
three gods Greeks found helpful in warfare
Athena, Artemis, Zeus