Learning Exercise

Alexandros the Great

This assignment may be used as either an individual lesson or for a collaborative project. Using an online version of Thomas R. Martin's Overview of Greek History this assignment serves as an exploration into the life of Alexander the Great by examining primary source material and archeological evidence
Course: World Civilization

The Digital Library for Ancient Greek. Many Latin authors; Renaissance authors. Texts in original and English, with... see more


Part I-primary source research

1) Do a quick search for Thomas R. Martin--click onto his Overview of Classical History and scroll (way) down to The Rise of Alexander.

2) review the story of Alexander (all 13 sections) as contained within the summarized primary source material narrative presented in Perseus--that is, from The Rise of Alexander to the the Effects of Alexander.

3) decide on a key episode in the life of Alexander and compare at least three different sources as to their particular persectives on the subject. How do they differ in their depictions of Alexander? Do they appear to emphasize certain traits or deta ils in the story? How might their own particular nationality and civilization affect the way they tell this tale? What lessons do they likely hope readers will gain from their biographical renderings of Alexander?

Part II-art and archeology
Review several artistic depictions of Alexander and compare them. What characteristics of Alexander appear to shine through the art. Do they portray the man similarly or drastically different? Speculate on why differences in the renderings appear.


-general familiarity with research site navigation
-familiarity with Perseus navigation


Alexander the Great
biographies of Antiquity
Macedonian rule in Hellas
artistry and craftsmenship in Antiquity

Learning Objectives

Almost no primary material from Alexander's time exists that discusses him or his exploits and travels. We have however, an enormous cache of material from later Antiquity that does describe the life of Alexander and Alexandrian times. Students through this exercise will come to hold a better understanding of the commonalities among these Lives of Alexander, the morality lessons embedded in many of these these ancient biographies, scholarly perspectives on Alexander himself and of historical representations of this renown and infamous personality of the ancient world.