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penter's son of Nazareth, has done so and' values, materials, tools, and machines. much to make the world of civilization we It is a history warm with the life-blood of a live in what it is as Alexander of Mace- man. It is instinct with personality, and don. He leveled the terrace upon which speaks in terms of the human will and the European history built. Whatever lay soul. History and biography blend. Events within the range of his conquests con- unfold in an order that conforms to the tributed its part to form that Mediter- opening intelligence and forming will of ranean civilization which, under Rome's personality, and matter is the obedient tool administration, became the basis of Euro- of spirit. The story of the times must pean life. What lay beyond was as if on therefore be told, if truly told, in terms of another planet. Alexander checked his a personal experience. When and where the eastward march at the Sutlej, and India personal Alexander was absent from the and China were left in a world of their own, scene, history in those days either tarried with their own mechanisms for man and or moved in eddies; the current was where society, their own theories of God and the he was. This will be excuse enough for world. Alexander's world, to which we all making this narrative of a great historic belong, went on its own separate way until, period peculiarly the story of a man, and in these latter days, a new greed of con- not merely of a conqueror. quest, begotten of commercial ambition, Plutarch says that King Philip of Macepromises at last to level the barriers which donia, shortly after the capture of Potidæa, through the centuries have stood as monu- received three different pieces of good news. ments to the outmost stations of the Mace- He learned that “Parmenion, his general, donian phalanx, and have divided the world had overthrown the Illyrians in a great batof men in twain.
tle, that his race-horse had won the course The story of the great Macedonian's life, at the Olympic games, and that his wife had inseparable as it is from history in its wid- given birth to Alexander.” Another story est range, stands none the less in stubborn tells how on the very night of the birth an protest against that view of history which ominous calamity fell upon Asia: the temple makes it a thing of thermometers and the of the great Diana of the Ephesians went
Copyright, 1898, by THE CENTURY Co. All rights reserved. VOL. LVII.-1.
up in flames. So events tend to swarm to- out, and a new order, with new men and gether in history-at least, in the telling of new motives, was coming in. history. The year was undoubtedly 356 The child whose destiny it was to give B. C., and the best combination of all the in- this new world its shape was born outside dications we have makes the month Octo- the pale of the older world, and in his blood ber, though Plutarch, in deference to the joined the blood of two lines of ancient horse-race, says it was July.
Northern kings. Alexander's mother was Philip had been three years on the throne Olympias, the daughter of Neoptolemus, of Macedon. The year before he had occu- King of Epirus, who traced his lineage back pied Amphipolis, and so opened for his little through a distinguished line to Neoptolestate a breathing-place on the Ægean; at mus, the son of the hero Achilles. So it the same time he introduced it to the long was said, or, as Plutarch puts it, “confistruggle with Athens. Athens herself, two dently believed,” that Alexander was dehundred miles off to the south, was in the scended on his father's side from Hercules, midst of a war that was to cost her the through Caranus, and on his mother's from most of her island empire in the Ægean. Æacus, through Neoptolemus. Plutarch This or the following year marked, too, the does not even withhold from us a story of publication of Xenophon's pamphlet “On Philip's falling in love that constitutes a the Revenues," and of Isocrates's essay “On fair parallel to what we know of his prompthe Peace.” Demosthenes, twenty-eight titude and directness of action in other years old, was just entering on his career fields. “Philip is said to have fallen in love as statesman and public orator. Æschines with Olympias at Samothrace, where they was thirty-four. Aristotle, the future tutor happened to be initiated together into a reof Alexander, was twenty-eight. Plato, ligious circle, he being a mere stripling, and seventy-one years old, had nine years more she an orphan. And having obtained the to live; Xenophon had one, Isocrates eigh- consent of her brother Arymbas, he shortly teen. An old order for which Athens and married her.” Refreshing as it is to read of Sparta had made the history was just dying a marriage for love in these old Greek
times, it must be reported that the match more barbaric dread, was wont in the sacred was never a happy one.
dances to have about her great tame serThey were both persons of decided indi- pents, which, sometimes creeping out of the viduality, and in both the instinct of self- ivy and the mystic fans, and sometimes preservation was strongly developed. Both winding themselves about the staffs and the were preëminently ambitious, aggressive, chaplets which the women bore, presented a and energetic; but while Philip's ambition sight of horror to the men who beheld.” was guided by a cool, crafty sagacity, that While it was from his father that Alexof his queen manifested itself rather in ander inherited his sagacious insight into impetuous outbursts of almost barbaric men and things, and his brilliant capacity emotion. In her joined a marvelous com- for timely and determined action, it was to pound of the mother, the queen, the shrew, his mother that he undoubtedly owed that and the witch. The passionate ardor of her passionate warmth of nature which betrayed nature found its fullest expression in the itself not only in the furious outbursts of wild ecstasies and crude superstitions of temper occasionally characteristic of him, her native religious rites. “Another ac- but quite as much in a romantic fervor of count is,” says Plutarch, “that all the attachment and love for friends, a delicate women of this country, having always been tenderness of sympathy for the weak, and a addicted to the Orphic and the Diony- princely largeness and generosity of soul siac mystery-rites, imitated largely the toward all, that made him so deeply beloved practices of the Edonian and Thracian of men and so enthusiastically followed. women about Mount Hæmus, and that His deep religious sentiment, which, wherOlympias, in her abnormal zeal to surround ever he was, carried him beyond the limits these states of trance and inspiration with of mere respect for the proprieties of form