Historical Letter

Historical Letter

The letter is pretended to be written by Alexander the Great to his friend, Medius on May 28, 323 BC.

Dear Medius,
I am glad you invited me to participate in the party you organize tomorrow. You know what a great pleasure it is for me to feast with the old friend of mine, with you Medius. Naturally, I hope to meet many of my old friends, my generals and comrades in arms. In fact, you always knew how to organize great parties. As far as I remember, from our first encounter till the present moment you have always been cheerful, witty, and really skillful in entertaining your guests. At your parties met people I wanted to meet and not a single person spoiled my mood, though it was very easy to do. You know, now I understand that sometimes I behaved really terribly, probably I was unbearable and many parties resulted in quarrels and even fights.
Oh, how many parties I have participated in, during my life. I guess, it is because I adore them and cannot resist form an invitation of a good friend. In fact, I saw a so many parties that probably there were only battles that I participated more frequently in than in parties. I can even admit that my entire life consists of battles and parties. Unfortunately, often both battles and parties cause deaths of my closest friends. Do you remember poor Cleitus the Black, who had saved my life at Granicus? I will have never forgive myself , my uncontrollable rage that forced me to murder this hero. I cannot help from mourning him and I still suffer from remorse, which disturb me day and night and it is only during a good party I can forget about my woes and about all those people, my dearest friends whom I lost in battles as well as in parties.
I think there are no such things in this world that could be as destructive as parties and battles. The former take our minds, while the latter take our bodies. Nevertheless, we all want both parties and battles because without them our life was senseless. You know, Medius, I often recall the stories Aristotle, my teacher, told me in my youth. Those stories about Greek heroes, like Achilles. You know that I always wanted to be like them and their deeds always guided me in my life. I have to confess that even my last campaign in India was, to a significant extent, determined by my irresistible desire to follow the example of Greek heroes and surpass them, become a new hero of the modernity to show people the power of human mind and human body and prove them that there is nothing in this world that Alexander cannot make. However, even those heroes practically lived in the permanent state of war, which was occasionally interrupted by parties. On reading and rereading Iliad by Homer, I cannot help from comparing myself to Achilles. It seems to me a bit strange but recently I have started to think that probably I also have my own heel like that of Achilles, which can destroy me.
Probably, such thoughts are provoked by my last campaign in India. I know that all people here believe that it was the greatest success our armies have ever achieved, but I know that this campaign was one of the greatest failures I have ever had in my life. I lost too many friends, I failed to defeat the enemy as I did in Persia, this regions still disturbs me but what disturbs me the most is the revolt of my own army. Can you imagine my soldiers and general refused to follow me. I knew them as brave, courageous, fearless men, but in India I had seen only frightened chickens, who could not overcome their primitive fear or probably they could not resist to their desire to return to their homes, where their wives and children were waiting for them and where they could live quietly and enjoy their life.
However, I cannot understand such a desire. I offered them the entire world to invade, but they preferred their homes and families. It is strange and inexplicable for me. I cannot understand those people who readily sacrifice the possibility to gain the eternal fame for the sake of wealthy and quiet life somewhere in Greece or Macedonia. You know, it seems to me that these Greeks have forgot what the real heroism is and what real Greeks should behave. In fact, it is a paradox since they accused me that I forgot our Hellenistic traditions just because I got the title of the king and attempted to get closer to my new friends from Persia and other territories we so successfully invaded, but, at the same time, they, in person, totally rejected all those Hellenistic ideals we all were brought up with. They forgot ideals of our ancestors and brave acts of our heroes. I am sure you know what I mean since you always shared my views and you always supported me in my plans. This is actually why I want to tell you that your party will be probably the last party I will take part in while I am here in Babylon because I plan to departure soon from this city. In fact, I would like to participate in a thousand of military campaigns than spend a year in this city. In spite of its greatness and beauty I still cannot bear it. I do not really like the local climate, but above all, I cannot bear the passivity I doomed to while I stay in Babylon. I just do not know what to do here. It seems as if I am just wasting time and the longer I stay here the more I lose. The only distraction from such thoughts is parties, but even parties are not as pleasant to me as they used to be in the past. Probably, I will change my mind if I start a new campaign. Frankly speaking, I feel alive only when I am with my army heading for the new territories to invade. It is only new brave acts that inspire me and make my life purposeful.
I should confess you that I have already got a new plan and I am going to implement it in the nearest future. After my latest campaign in India, I do not think that my army can afford another war in the East and actually, I do not really want to return to that terrible place, which took so many lives of my most devoted warriors and where I, myself, almost lost my life, as you probably know. This time, I would like to move westward. I have already made the dream of all Greeks true, I invaded the East and now the entire world to the East from Greece is Hellenistic, while India is too savage to get Hellenized. In such a situation, I strongly believe that I should change the direction and look at the west, where the Hellenistic world also faces a lot of threats. I think we should not let the stronger states appear in the west. What I mean is Carthage and Rome. I know that many of my generals as ordinary Greeks do not take seriously the perspectives of these states and they are convinced that there is no stronger state than our own. Even though I agree with them at this point, still I would not underestimate the potential of Carthage and Rome. Moreover, it is extremely important to establish our control over those Western territories before they have grown too powerful and too dangerous. In fact, it is only a blind and stupid person that cannot see what a great perspective we will have when we establish our control in the West. I assure you that Carthage and Rome can become our gates to the Western world. I am convinced that we should not limit ourselves with the victory in the East. Instead, we should our historical mission to join East and West, the mission Aristotle told me so much about.
At the present moment, I feel that my army is strong enough, my generals are wise enough, and I am experienced enough to make this eternal dream of all Greeks come true. If I succeed in my Western campaign, I believe that even exploits of Achilles and Hercules will be overshadowed by the achievements of my army. This is my plan and you are the first person I told about my plan because I know that you will keep it in secret till the moment to reveal my plan comes.
So, you know the hard time will come soon for me and my army but, at the same time, it will be the pleasant time because there is nothing in this world that could be better than a successful battle and military campaign. This is why I hope to have a great time tomorrow and I am sure your party will be as good as always.
Sincerely yours,
Alexander
Babylon, May 28, 323.