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Eyewitness History

with Joshua Cohen

History Unplugged: Alexander's Postwar Plans

00:00 16:43
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If Alexander The Great Hadn’t Died, He Might Have Conquered Europe, Circumnavigated Africa, and Built His Own Silk Road


“And Alexander wept, seeing as he had no more worlds to conquer.” That’s a quote from Hans Gruber in Die Hard, which is a very convoluted paraphrase from Plutarch’s essay collection “Moralia.” Despite the questionable sourcing, there’s plenty of truth in that unattributed quote from Mr. Gruber.

Alexander the Great’s death at 323 BC in Babylon marked the end of the most consequential military campaign in antiquity. He left behind an empire that stretched from Greece to India, planted the seeds of the Silk Road, and made Greek an international language across Eurasia, all in 13 short years. He became and remained the biggest celebrity in the ancient world, probably only replaced by Jesus a few centuries into the Christian era.

But what if he had not died as a young man? What if he had lived years or decades more? How much more influence could he have had? We have clues about Alexander’s plans for the future – and they come from Greek chroniclers Diodorus and Arrian, writing centuries after his death. They include conquering the Mediterranean coast all the way to the Pillars of Hercules (Rock of Gibraltar), building a tomb for his father Philp that would be as large as the Great Pyramid of Giza, and transplanting populations from Greece to Persia and vice versa to unite his domains through intermarriage.

To explore this hypothetical scenario is Anthony Everitt, author of “Alexander the Great: His Life and Mysterious Death.” We look at the life of the most influential person in the ancient world, and explore the ramifications of his life having even more influence.

Links for Show Notes:
Continue listening to History Unplugged:
Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3Ysc7Zg
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3j0QRJy
Parthenon: https://www.parthenonpodcast.com/history-unplugged-podcast

Discover more episodes of History Unplugged:
Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded in the Yugoslavian Mountains: https://apple.co/3Weu5wr / https://spoti.fi/3Hunolz
The Way that Lincoln Financed the Civil War Led to Transcontinental Railroads, Public Colleges, the Homestead Act, and Income Tax: https://apple.co/3iVtpxs / https://spoti.fi/3iYxtx6
After Custer’s Last Stand, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse Fought an Impossible Battle To Preserve the Sioux Nation: https://apple.co/3uKbc8F / https://spoti.fi/3BvFLTk
Almost President: Stephen Douglas, Thomas Dewey, and Other Failed Candidates That Would’ve Altered History Most by Winning: https://apple.co/3hgdVDZ / https://spoti.fi/3FlO2uj
No Supply Chain Was More Complicated Than the Allies’ During WW2. How Did They Maintain It?: https://apple.co/3VWxHmT / https://spoti.fi/3iYuJ2w
December 19, 2022
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Meet Your Host
Josh Cohen is a journalist and commentator living out of the Midwest.

He has written for a number of reputable publications.

His fascination with history is in the story of our existence and how it is told. Keeping the tradition of storytelling alive in Eyewitness History is what drives him.
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