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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

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

00:00 35:09
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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. 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.
December 08, 2022
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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