Sunday, June 24, 2012

Helmet and Spear - Alfred J. Church (1900)


"...The Greeks were apprised of this change of plan by a visitor from the Persian camp. After nightfall, Alexander, King of Macedonia, who claimed to be descended from the great hero Achilles, rode up to the Athenian outposts and demanded speech with the generals. They were fetched by the guard, and he told them that Mardonius had tried in vain to obtain from the sacrifices signs that promised success, but that, nevertheless, he was determined to attack. "Be prepared," he went on, "and if you prevail, do something for my freedom; I have risked my life for love of Greece, to save you from a surprise by the barbarians. I am Alexander of Macedon..."


"...About 346 B.C. Isocrates addressed a letter to Philip, who had recently been made president of the Amphictyonic Council, suggesting to him that he should reconcile the Greek States to each other and with their help wage war against Persia. The counsel was not offered, we may be sure, without a previous assurance that it would be welcome to the prince to whom it was given. Philip certainly cherished some such purpose. This was the ultimate object which he set before himself in his struggle for supremacy in Greece..."

"...The Persians had been beaten back from their first line of defence; but they still held the level ground, and till the whole of the Greek army had crossed the stream they had a great superiority in numbers, enabling them to deliver charges which the weight of men and horses might well have made irresistible. Again Alexander was in the thick of the conflict..."


"...The great battle of Arbela was over. It was the most hardly won as it was the most conclusive of all Alexander's victories. The Persians made no further stand. The great enemy of Greece had disappeared from the stage of history. But we shall find the powerful forces which Persia represented appear again in another shape..."


"...When we come to the conquests of Alexander, we are not able, it must be confessed, to see our way so plainly. We may perceive, however, in it the spread of Greek influence over Western Asia. That influence had already been at work. Greek colonies had been planted far to the east; the Oriental nations had been much affected by Greek thought and manners. Alexander's brief career—it lasted but eleven years—did much to promote this Hellenizing process.

The empire of the great conqueror fell to pieces at his death, but two Greek kingdoms, to speak only of his Eastern dominion, were built out of the ruins. It was in these kingdoms that some of the earliest victories of Christianity were won. Given to the world by a Semitic tribe, our faith used largely for its spread Greek means, of which a common Greek language is the most obvious..."

[Alfred J. Church, Helmet and Spear, 1900]

Source: Heritage-History


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