“He Was Russian- Right?”

My Friend Julia, 18, iMessage interview:

Do you know who Alexander the Great was?

Yeah.

What do you know about him?

Conqueror dude. Took over land around the Mediterranean.

Where did you learn about him?

History Class in School.

 

My Mother, Denise, 49, iMessage interview:

Do you know who Alexander the Great was?

Yes.

What do you know about him?

I think he was Russian & brought freedom to his people?

Where did you learn about him?

I hear things. Lol […] Self taught.

 

My Father, James, 57, iMessage interview:

Do you know who Alexander the Great was?

Yes.

What do you know about him?

He was king of the Macedonians after his father Philip II was murdered. He conquered the world or as much of it that was known to the west.

Where did you learn about him?

History Class. Later there was the movie.

 

I knew I would get very different answers from all three people I interviewed. My friend, Julia, knew as much as I did before I took this class. I think my mother may have confused Alexander the Great with Peter the Great. Lastly, and unsurprisingly to me, my dad knew pretty much every detail there is. My friend and mother both were unsure of their answers and seemed to want me to guide them in the right direction. I think there is a lot to be said about that in regards to public schooling in this country. My father gave me his answer with confidence and knew what he was talking about.

I think most people have a general knowledge about the area he conquered and that he was a king/godlike figure. Everyone has probably learned about Alexander the Great at some point in their schooling, but some from very different points of view. My father learned about him in a more factual way, saying that he was the son of Philip II. In Professor Yarrow’s class; however, we have learned about the mythology behind his birth and his God status. Nectanebos told Alexander’s mother, Olympias, when the right time to give birth was so that he would be born a conqueror, otherwise he would have been born deformed or a slave.

“He saw a bolt of lightning in the sky at noon, caused by the power of the sun; and he said to Olympias, ‘Give forth the cry of childbirth.’ And he himself delivered her child and said, ‘If you give birth now, o Queen, the one you bear is a world conqueror.’ And Olympias cried out louder than a bull and gave birth to a boy child.” (Pseudo-Callistenes, section 26)

Nobody that I interviewed knew anything about Alexander’s legendary horse, and I had never learned anything about it in my previous years of school. This class has taught me so many new things about the ancient world and has really made it come alive to me. I previously never really thought of ancient Greece and Egypt, and they seemed almost not real. Now I can imagine them more clearly. Knowing that they also made up stories and had many of the same parts of society that we do today is very interesting.

-Sheila Kelly, Team Saturn