Patty Henderson talks Alexander The Great at Myall U3A

Patty Henderson.

PATTY Henderson’s recent presentation at the Myall U3A was illuminating and timely.

The subject of Patty’s historical research was Philip 11 of Macedonia and his son Alexander The Great.

It was a timely lesson on how powerful well-armed nations can expand their dominions and just as quickly lose control of captured territories due to the failure to consolidate partnerships and to govern wisely.

Patty said that before discussing Alexander the Great it was important to look at his father who ruled Macedonia from 359 BC until his death in 336 BC.

Patty emphasised how Philip 11 used skilled military tactics and diplomacy to restore internal peace to his country and by 339BC he had gained dominion over all of Greece, thus laying the foundations for its expansion under his son, Alexander the Great who received an education from no less than Aristotle.

Patty spoke about how Aristotle instilled in Alexander a love of philosophy, literature, science, and naturalism.

In 336 BC when Philip was assassinated, Alexander was acclaimed by the army and succeeded to the throne.

Patty spoke of Alexander’s great leadership skills.

“He was very brave and he had great compassion for his soldiers.

“After a battle he would walk amongst the injured soldiers and speak to them individually, showing genuine sympathy for their wounds.”

Patty demonstrated how Alexander’s army consisted of rows of disciplined soldiers with pikes, spears and swords that were organised into a ‘phalanx’ and were capable of overpowering far larger enemy groups.

The front rows were armed with sarissas which had a longer reach than their opponents’ shorter spears.

They could crash through enemy lines and arrange different formations very quickly and always surprise the enemy.

Patty pointed out that Alexander was a great military strategist.

He integrated important leaders of captured territories into his army so they would not rebel and moved on to gain more territory.

But he failed to consolidate his territory and did not name an heir although he knew he was injured and unwell.

After his death his military commanders carved up the empire.

However, Alexander’s conquest allowed the widespread dissemination of Greek culture which changed the world, even after his death.

Myall U3A Presentations are held in The Uniting Church Hall every Friday at 10 a.m. during the school term.

Please feel free to join.

You may even have a topic that you would like to present.

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