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[ Macedonia by Nicolas  Martis]

Addressed to the international academic community

He put this latter principle into action by marrying Roxana and Darius' daughter. Stateira, as also by countenancing the marriage of hundreds of his officers with Persians (Plutarch).

Furthermore, he entrusted various sectors of his administration to foreign officers of countries he had conquered. By overthrowing the Persian Empire, transmitting Greek civilization to the East, and establishing Greek as the lingua franca of all peoples, he changed the history of the whole world.

"If it were not my purpose to combine foreign things with things Greek, to traverse and civilize every continent, to search out the uttermost parts [ Image ] of land and sea, to push the bounds of Macedonia to the farthest Ocean, and to disseminate and shower the blessings of Greek justice and peace over every nation, I should not content to sit quietly in the luxury of idle power, but I should emulate the frugality of Diogenes" Plutarch's Moralia, On the Fortune of Alexander I ,332A (Loeb, F.C Babbitt)

"Yet through Alexander Bactria and the Caucasus learned to revere the gods of Greeks... Alexander established more than seventy cities among savage tribes, and sowed all Asia with Grecian magistracies. Egypt would not have its Alexandria, nor Mesopotamia its Seleucia, nor Sogdiana its Prophthasia, nor India its Bucephalia, no the Caucasus a Greek city for by the founding of cities in these places savagery was extinguished and the worse element, gaining familiarity with the better, changed under its influence" Plutarch's Moralia, On the Fortune of Alexander I, 328D, 329A (Loeb, F.C. Babbitt).

"By these criteria let Alexander also be judged! For from his words, from his deeds, and from the instruction' which he imparted, it will be seen that he was indeed a philosopher" Plutarh's Moralia, On the Fortune Of Alexander I, 4, 328B (Loeb, F.C. Babbitt).

In the cities Alexander liberated, he abolished the oligarchies that ruled them and restored democracy (see Arrian I 18,2). Today, Arabs and other peoples of Asia he conquered, proudly claim descent from Alexander the Great (see Document No 15: A list of 22 of Pakistan's national heroes, the 11th of whom is Alexander.)

The achievement of Alexander and his Macedonian successors in the Helleno-Bactrian kingdom had a profound influence on Buddhism. Before Alexander's time, there were no representations of Buddha; so it is quite amazing to see a statue of Buddha with a bust of Alexander beside it. (see Document No 16)

Alexander is mentioned by the Prophets Isaiah (19:20,23), Daniel (8:21-22), and Maccabees (A, 1) and also in the Talmud. The Romans deified him, and Mohammed includes him in the Koran, as Zul-Carnein, amongst the prophets. (see Document No 17)

  1. The Ptolemies: Ptolemy II (285-245 BC) translated the Old Testament into Greek, producing the Septuagint, which is the official version used by both the Eastern and the Western Church. Ptolemy I founded the Museum (Academy) of Alexandria and also its Library, which, thanks to the Greek Ptolemies, contained 700,000 volumes at the time of its destruction.

    It was on the Ptolemies' orders that the legacy of the ancient Greek philosophers was preserved in Alexandria, the possession of all humankind today.

    It was in Alexandria that science - physics, mathematics, engineering, astronomy (the [ Image ] first observatory was built in 289 BC by Prolemy 111) developed and it was in the same city that Aristarchus of Samos first expounded the theory of the heliocentric universe, anticipating Copernicus by many hundreds of years.

    The first surgical operation on a human being was performed in Alexandria, by Herophilus and Erissistratos, and the science of anatomy was developed there.

    Not only was the old Testament translated into Greek, but the New Testament was actually written in Greek. St. Paul saw a vision, in which a "man of Macedonia" spoke to him - of course in Greek - (Acts 16:9) and it was in Macedonia that the Apostle began his missionary work in Europe. Paul and Silas met Greek men and women in Thessalonika and Beroea who were converted into Christianity (Acts 17:4,12), and thanks to the Greek Macedonians Christianity was transmitted all over the world in the Greek language.

  2. Cyril and Methodius, the two Greek brothers from Thessaloniki, now known as the "Apostles to the Slavs", are the protagonists of the Slavs' Christianisation in the 9th century, an event which came to be the most important historical and cultural incident for Europe and the world by and large.

    "Rightly, therefore, Saints Cyril and Methodius were at an early stage, recognized by the family of Slav peoples, as the fathers of both Christianity and their culture" (see Document No 18 from Epistola Enciclica of Pope Giovanni Paolo II.)

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