Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.E.), who reigned as king of Macedonia for only thirteen years, set a flame of conquest that introduced the dynamism of Hellenism to the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian worlds. Re-creating their ossified cultures, he established a standard of leadership and military conquest that the most successful of Roman emperors, medieval knights, and steppe barbarians would never truly match. Julius Caesar wept that he could not surpass Alexander, while Napoleon could only dream of such invincibility. Alexander had the great fortune to be born the able son of Philip II, one of the most talented men of war and politics produced by the Hellenic world, who created for Alexander the foundation of the Macedonian state and army that would be the tools of his future greatness. Alexander’s invincibility was the product of his profound genius - the perfection of body, boundless energy, imagination, daring, intellect, and vision in one man. He was a master tactician, strategist, logistician, diplomat, and statesman, with an ability to win the affection and quick obedience of others. Even his enemies fell victim to his valor and charm. His personal attributes and accomplishments were so far removed from those of ordinary men that he achieved almost superhuman status within his lifetime. Above all, he was the preeminent man of war. Even today, as the noise of battle rattles Kandahar, a city in Afghanistan that Alexander named for himself, war clings to his name.
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