dimanche 22 avril 2012
The extraordinary beliefs of Alexander the Great (356 - 323 BC) : a tremendous influence over the world still !
by Jean-Jacques COURTEY, Doctor in Economic Geography, Ph. D
Alexander the Great wasn't influenced only by Aristotle (384 - 322 BC), his dangerous preceptor who finally gave the poison which killed him (white hellebore) to Cassander, son of General Antipater : this one was sent back by his father, Regent of Macedonia, to Alexander as his messenger and brought the poison from Macedonia to Babylon - present Irak -, the "World Empire capital". It was then administered in pure wine by his younger brother Iolas, cupbearer of Alexander. And everybody knows his sad end an agony which lasted on more than eight days. There is even a story telling Alexander wasn't yet dead on june 10th 323 Before Christ (he fell in coma), and that's why a part of historians have chosen the date of june 13th for his real death.
Above all, Alexander was admiring Homer, the blind and supra-sensitive poet (ca. IXth or VIIIth century BC). When he conquered the known world and even more, an exemplary of Iliad and Odyssey was always remaining in his royal tent. He had a personal attraction for the hero Achilles, who actually was considered as one of his direct ancestors by blood.
And it was impossible for him not to think about him during his victorious incredible battles. But it doesn't mean he ignored and disregarded the crafty Ulysses in his still not fully understood strategy of the sickle and hammer.
As an initiate of Greek Mysteries, he was also totally integrating the principles of Pythagoras (ca. 580 - ca. 497 or 494 BC). And he knew intimately the ultimate secret words : "Konx Ompax". Pythagoras, initially an athlet before a "mathematician", made a huge difference between the common Mortal, the four degrees of initiates (applicant, neophyt, "acousmatician" or auditor, and mathematician), and above them the Hero like Achilles, and the Demigod. And for the followers of his philosophy (more a kind of brotherhood, and religion still discretly practised in reality), it was considered totally possible to reach the state of Demigod and becoming Immortal.
Himself called "son of Zeus" (Jupiter), the supreme God of Greeks - and later Romans too -, Alexander was totally fitting those beliefs. He never knew if he was really or wholly a son of Philip II of Macedonia (382 - 336 BC), because this one was partly rejecting him this way when he was angry. So he was part of those beliefs, or even they were part of himself. We may think this is over nowadays. But that's not true at all in fact. Him who created Occident, has still a tremendous influence on our soul and mind, and on the way we create history (historicity), in the Extreme-East included even as "protector of Xian" and the silk manufacturers.
When we admire for instance a famous champion, a charismatic leader, or a movie star, or again a terrific singer, we intend naturally to deify this person. He or she is becoming almost automatically an idol for people, would they be a few or a million, or even more than a billion. And the meaning is not only figurative, but quite proper actually. That's why a lot of people need to know more about their idol though medias or internet - even simple anecdotes which make them nearer -, to initiate a self-identification, by a kind of navigation to the esteem. Hysterical scenes surrounding those famous characters and uncontrollable fans behaviour are the best modern testimonies that Alexander's beliefs are still alive !
Alexander wanted to come back from death by resurrection to the world as it has become, to see how he was accepted and understood then.
He said it himself when he was navigating the Indus river with his pilot, Onesicritus :
"I'd like Onesicritus coming back to life for a short period after my death to see how human beings are reading present events. If they praise or accept them now, don't be surprised because anybody thinks that a fine method to attract my benevolence." [in Lucian]
This means clearly he already knew that his influence over the world was and would be exceptionnaly lasting. He was reading in a way the future, even people ignore he had also this unusual talent.
And it's obvious he was sincerely seeing himself in between a man and a God, like in Pythagoras religion. Above that, Pythagoras himself was teaching that his followers must first respect the Gods, and Zeus, "father" of Alexander the Great, was the top one in the whole family !
The Mysteries of Eleusis held in the honour of Demeter (Ceres), sister of Zeus (Jupiter), were - and are still - a transposition of Vegetal Immortality to Human Life.
It is well known that Alexander himself, the high initiate, admired a lot vegetal reign he was questioning a lot about. He was giving to plants a kind a soul, a proper intelligence and even a delicate sensitivity, in a certain opposition with the teachings of Aristotle.
Demeter (which can be translated by "Mother-Earth") was symbolizing fertility and abundance of Earth. She is still known in France without realizing it as "La semeuse" ("the sower"), and an early Christian square is recalling her hymn under an obscure allusion to "sowings" - till now : "Sator arepo tenet opera rotas !"