Alexander the Great by Faye Huntington
He was the son of King Philip of Macedonia,
and was born at Pella three hundred and fifty-six
years before Jesus came to this earth. His
father was a strong brave soldier, and his mother
was a strong fierce woman, and their son is said
to have been like them both. When he was
thirteen years old he had one of the greatest men
in the world for his teacher. This man's name
Another "A," you see; but I shall have to
leave you to discover his greatness for yourselves.
When Alexander was sixteen, his father left
him to manage the country while he himself
went to war.
When he was eighteen he won a great victory
in the army. Very soon afterwards his father
was killed, and Alexander with his great army
fought his way into power, and made people
recognize him as ruler of the Greeks.
From that time on, for years, his story might
be told in one word, War. Battle after battle
was fought and won; cities were destroyed; in
Thebes, just one house was left standing, which
belonged to a poet named Pindar. I know you
are curious to hear why his house was spared,
and I know that the industrious ones will try to
look it up, and the lazy ones will yawn and say,
"Oh, never mind; what do I care?"
Alexander's next wish was to conquer Persia.
I am sure you would be interested to read the account
of his triumphant march. The people
were so afraid of him that they would run when
they heard that his army was coming; sometimes
without an attempt to defend their cities; and
all that Alexander would have to do when he
reached the town would be to march in and
This series of battles was closed at a place
Have you ever heard of the "Gordian knot?"
The story is, that at this place, Gordium,
there was a car or chariot, which had been dedicated
to the gods; and a certain god had said
that whoever should succeed in untying the knot
which fastened the pole of the car to the yoke,
should rule over Asia. No one had been found
who could untie it. But what did Alexander
do when he found he could not untie it, but cut
it in two with his sword! And the people accepted
him as the man who was to rule!
War, war, war! The great Persian soldier,
Darius, had such a high opinion of his own large
army that he let Alexander get with his soldiers
to a point where they could fight, and could not
well be taken, and another great victory was the
end of the story. When Darius saw his mistake,
and tried to coax Alexander into being friends,
by offering his daughter for the conqueror's wife,
and a great deal of land in the bargain, Alexander
replied that he would marry the daughter if
he wanted her, whether her father was willing
or not; and that all the land belonged to him.
Now comes a dreadful story of wrong. Alexander
heard that a plot to take his life had been
discovered by one of his men named Philotas,
but that he had not told of it for two days.
When asked why he did not, he said that the story
came from a worthless source and was not to be
believed. But Alexander did not trust him and
decided that he should be killed. As if this was
not enough, he had him tortured to make him
tell the names of others who were suspected.
It is said that Alexander stood by, and watched
the writhings, and listened to the screams of this
man who had fought by his side in many battles!
Yet he seemed sometimes able to trust people.
Once, when he was sick, word came to him that
his physician had been bribed to poison him.
When his next dose of medicine was ready,
Alexander laid the letter which told this story,
before his friend, the physician, then drank the
medicine, to show how fully he trusted him.
Before he was thirty-three years old this wonderful,
sad life was ended! I do not know anything
sadder than a great, bad man. I cannot
help wondering how it would have been if Alexander
had lived about three hundred years later,
and met Jesus Christ. Yet he might have
known Jesus as Abraham did, and David, and
Samuel, and all that long list of great men.
The story of his last sickness is very dreadful.
It seemed to have been brought on by his awful
grief over the death of a friend. But he had
such a strange way of grieving! All night he
would spend in drinking liquor, and all day he
lay and slept off its effects. But one morning
he found himself unable to rise, and he never
rose again. When he was asked who should
succeed him as ruler of the kingdom, he said,
"the strongest." But he gave his signet ring to
one of his generals named Perdiccas.
So closed this great little life. The greatest
soldier who ever lived, as men talk about soldiers,
but an utter failure in the sight of him who said:
"He that ruleth his own spirit, is greater than
he that taketh a city."