Plutarch's Alexander.Much of what today's historians know about Alexander the Great comes through Plutarch (PLOOtark), a Greek writer who lived about 46-120 A.D. This early biographer biographer Clinical medicine A popular term for a Pt who describes his/her own medical history greatly influenced the development of historical writing. Plutarch's biographies were well researched, but modern historians think that he overly romanticized his Greek and Roman heroes.
Here is an adaptation of Plutarch's description of two episodes of Alexander's life. Read the excerpts, then answer the following questions.
On the day that Alexander was born, the temple of the goddess Artemis at Ephesus burned down. Fortune-tellers of the East interpreted this as a sign that, on that day, the force that would destroy Asia had entered the world.
Alexander had light skin, blond hair, and melting blue eyes Blue eyes are eyes that have blue irises (see eye color), and may also refer to:
Action and glory, rather than pleasure and wealth, were what Alexander wanted from life. When he heard of the conquests of his father, King Philip King Philip See Philip, King. of Macedonia, Alexander was sad that there would be less left for him to conquer.
[In the city of Gordium, Alexander was laid low by a mysterious illness.] Alexander's attendants were afraid to try any remedies because, if their remedy failed and Alexander died, the Macedonians might blame the physician. But there was one, Philip the Acarnanian, who dared to try. He risked his own life to save Alexander's.
Alexander received a letter from [his general] Parmenio, warning of treachery Treachery
See also Treason.
plots downfall of Titus. [Br. Lit.: Titus Andronicus]
traitorous Earl of Shaftesbury. [Br. Lit. by this physician. The letter said that the doctor had been bribed by Darius [King of Persia] to give Alexander poison instead of medicine. Alexander read the letter, then put it under his pillow pillow Medtalk A functional 'unit' used to assess the severity of orthopnea in Pts with CHF, which refers to the number of pillows a Pt needs to sleep comfortably. See Congestive heart failure. , showing it to no one. When Philip entered with the potion po·tion
A liquid medicinal dose or drink.
a large dose of liquid medicine. , Alexander took out the letter and handed it to him. While Philip read the letter, Alexander drank the potion with a smile. In a short time, Alexander was well.
Words to Know
Ephesus (EFF-ih-sus): an ancient city in Asia Minor Asia Minor, great peninsula, c.250,000 sq mi (647,500 sq km), extreme W Asia, generally coterminous with Asian Turkey, also called Anatolia. It is washed by the Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean Sea in the south, and the Aegean Sea in the west. * physician: medical doctor * remedies: cures * treachery: betrayal Betrayal
See also Treachery.
apostle who betrays Jesus. [N.T.: Matthew 26:15]
though engaged, steals his friend Valentine’s beloved, reveals his plot and effects his banishment. [Br.
QUESTIONS Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.
1. Who or what did fortune-tellers consider a force that would destroy Asia?
2. What incident was the basis for that prediction?
3. Who was Plutarch?
4. Who was Philip the Acarnanian?
5. Who was Darius?
6. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Plutarch, what did Alexander want from life?
7. What message did General Parmenio send Alexander?
8. What statement in the story gives the impression that Alexander did not believe the message?
9. Why were Alexander's attendants afraid to give him any medicine when he fell iii?
10. Which phrase(s) could be used to support historians' claim that Plutarch overly romanticized his heroes?
2. the burning down of the temple of the goddess Artemis the same day Alexander was born
3. a historian/writer of ancient Greece The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. 750 BC (the archaic period) to 146 BC (the Roman conquest). It is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western Civilization.
4. a physician who gave Alexander a potion to cure him of an illness
5. the King of Persia
6. action and glory
7. that Philip the Acarnanian would try to poison him
8. "Alexander drank the potion with a smile."
9. They were afraid that if Alexander got worse or died, his people would blame the doctor for his death.
10. "Alexander had ... melting blue eyes. A sweet natural fragrance came from his body." Another acceptable answer: "Alexander drank the potion with a smile."