Александр Македонский и греческие полисы
Alexander the Great and Greek polices.
This work can be divided into two parts: 1) Understanding the meaning of
the word police and its crisis; 2) Relations between Alexander and Greek
Before 400-300 BC Greece was a great empire with a long history and
culture. The first invention of a Greeks was the deductive proof, which was
extraordinary step. Any other civilization has not reached idea of
reception of the conclusions extremely on the basis of the deductive
reasoning which is starting with obviously formulated axioms. The reason is
a greek society of the classical period. Mathematicians and philosophers
(quite often it there were same persons) belonged to the supreme layers of
a society where any practical activities were considered as unworthy
employment. Mathematics preferred abstract reasoning on numbers and spatial
attitudes to the solving of practical problems. The mathematics consisted
of a arithmetic - theoretical aspect and logistic - computing aspect. The
lowest layers were engaged in logistic. In a greek society there were such
a great names like Plato, Eratosthenes, Pythagoras, Euclid and Aristotle.
They were a ancestors of a algebra and geometry. They’ve made a good work,
they’ve deducted the rules and axioms that we still use in our life. For
example, Pythagoreans deducted a theorem, which is now called “a
Pythagoras’ theorem”. That is the one of the hundreds rules, theorems and
axioms that were deducted by greek minds.
Also Greece had a good states (polices). The most famous greek police were
Athens. That was a democratic state, the first commercial center. Some
people call Athens a slave society country. It’s not so: Athens had slaves,
but they were not a lot – around 18-20% of the population of the state.
Athens was a prospering country.
But a Greek empire fell down. What were the reasons we will try to
understand now. At first let’s think about the problem of the polices. In a
book called «Греки и Александр Македонский» (Москва, Наука, 1993 p.5-13)
it’s said that in a classical works of XIX and of the beginnings of the XX
century there is no problem about a polices. That is because it was
realized simply like a part of the system 4 society. This system existed
from about 2000-3000 BC and until the middle of the Middle age and internal
divisions of such a huge period seemed to be not very important.
For the other historians, modernizators, this topic also was not very
important. They preferred a method that made closer the ancient world to
the modern one – capitalistic.
In a Soviet Union in the 20’s and 30’s years of a XX century the crisis of
police was apprehended like a decline of a slave society.
The opinion has changed in the 30’s of XX century. It was changed by
Heserbroek. He said that the police is not only a political, it’s also a
economic structure of the society. The crisis of the police was realized
from the social and economic side, and ideological side was considered like
The basis of the crisis is the Peloponnesus war. At this time economy in
the Athens fell down. That is because in the war the men were needed to
fight, but there were no men in the agricultural land. A peasantry became
poor: peasants sold their land and became a mercenary. Handicraft also was
declined. In the time of war many of the neighbors of the country (police)
stopped trading. As a consequence in that country many of the artisans
didn’t know where to sell their products. As a result of this crisis the
social life of the police became different. The standard of the life
decreased. The crime increased. Finally it was difficult to drive the
But there are some scientists who denied the crisis concept. One of them is
Shtaerman. She thinks that changes in the IV century BC were not so
important in a society’s life.
Other topic is a cities of a Asia Minor and Alexander the Great. One of the
scientists, who worked on this topic, is Droesden. He wrote about the
generosity of the Alexander the Great, who returned to greeks the freedom.
But Droesden supposed that it was a benefit to Alexander to give some
freedom to the greek cities. He thought that it’s better to have loyal
cities in Asia Minor, that to have not stable polices in Greece, which can
make a rising, and they did; but Alexander pushed them back and greeks were
But other historian doesn’t think so. He thinks that for ancient states it
was better to assault the cities and lands. The cities, that were taken by
force, had been robbed. But cities, that complacently surrendered, were
spared. Exactly this method were used by Alexander the Great. Evidence of
the giving freedom to cities Beckerman named as some exceptions.
The conquest of Asia was not only by the Macedonian forces, but also Greek
– the members of a Corinthian union. But neither Greece, nor other states
in Corinthian union hadn’t got any conquered cities or other spoils.
However, greeks didn’t worried about such thing. Why? They wanted to take
vengeance on Persians. Persians burnt greek cities and temples – Alexander
the Great burnt Persepole, Persians came into Halide (Эллада) – Alexander
took his army to Ekbatan. (Moscow, “Science”, 1993 p.155-158)
Thus Alexander conquered Persians, also subordinated Greek cities, which
some of them he gave freedom. But he gave them not full freedom, he made
that cities like an autonomy. According to greek concept of freedom, free
police- it’s independent country, that decides internal and xternal
pilitics for itself. I.e. they had their own ruler, their own rules; but
they couldn’t make external politics. They couldn’t fight with each other,
but that was happened in Greece.
The politics of the Alexander to a Asian cities were discovered by Ranovich
(Ранович, «Эллинизм и его историческая роль». 1950 Институт Истории,Москва
p. 49-58). He says that Alexander the Great needed the interior support
because he didn’t have enough money and military force. So he secured
himself by a liking of the greek cities. Repairing the democratic structure
he also made a military ally. In this situation Alexander’s thinking was
similar to thinking of his father – Philip. Philip sent an army in Asia to
liberate Hellenic cities.
Ranovich spared a lot of attention on a meaning of the word “freedom”.
Ranovich says that exactly the Alexander’s policy might change the meaning
of that word, that was unproper to the monarchy. Meaning of the freedom was
not a meaning like in a classical police, it was new. The new meaning is a
independence from the Persian empire. (Ранович, «Эллинизм и его
историческая роль», Москва, 1950, Институт Истории, p.53).
But I think Ranovich overstated the role of the Macedonian ruler. He said
that Alexander’s conquests are so important and made a revolution in
relationships between defeated country and a defeater, that any other
civilizations didn’t know. (Ранович, «Эллинизм и его историческая роль»,
Москва, 1950, Институт Истории, p.51)
Another historian thinks that it’s no reason to dispute about differences
of a legal status of the police and of a actual one. That is because it’s
foolish to show the small differences in a statement de jure and de facto,
where the state is ruled by one person, so Badian thinks that it’s
necessary to start discover with the Alexander’s father- Philip. Philip
sent an army to defeat the Persians to give freedom to the greek polices.
Thus it’s true that Philip planned the Asian conquest, he organized a
Corinthian union. It means that Alexander the Great inherited some Asian
cities. Philip just didn’t organized them well.
As a Ranovich Shoffman shows us political thoughts, which had been used by
Alexander. He spoke about Alexander’s policy:” Widely advertising the
demagogical slogan of clearing Asian Greeks from oppression and
humiliations which half-centuries ago they have undergone because of
dictatorship of the Persian government, Alexander used it in political ends
for a gain of sympathies at the population of cities of Asia Minor”.
(Шофман А.С., «Восточная политика Александра Македонского», Москва, 1976,
Издательство Казанского университета, p.52). Alexander believed that he
must use antipersian type of war, that he must show himself like a tyrant
defeater. Alexander limited the Greek power in Asia Minor. But sometimes he
tried to pay attention on the greek traditions, however he didn’t manage to
do this, that is because it’s difficult to combine absolute monarchy and
All this stuff means that most of historians agrees that Alexander the
Great gave some freedom to policies, that he’d conquered, but this freedom
meant that policies could decide their internal policy, also Alexander
influenced all of the external policy.
A CONCLUSION. In work three basic interconnected problems have been put:
specificity of the given stage of crisis of the policy; specificity of
display of crisis in policies of various type; features of mutual relations
of social and economic and political aspects of crisis of the policy,
specificity of display of social and economic bases of crisis in political
Once again we shall define initial positions: we mean not crisis of the
policy in general, but crisis of the Greek classical policy. And the second
— in the work the area of political history was discovered. At such
approach, summing up, it is necessary to speak about crisis of the policy
in aspect of crisis of system of policies.
Specificity of a stage of crisis of the policy considered in the given
work, in my opinion, consists first of all that crisis, former earlier
internal crisis of separate policies (differently and in a different degree
touched them), becomes now crisis of a polices systems. For the first time
in the history practically all policies and actually Greece, and Asia Minor
appeared depending on one foreign force. In an Hellenistic epoch as a
consequence of a place of uniform power Alexander the Great there have come
some the competing states, at separate policies or their unions the
opportunity has appeared, maneuvering between these forces to carry out
even partly an independent policy. But this policy was always a policy,
with caution on the powerful neighbors. From the point of view of destinies
of the policy Hellenistic world was transitive. The Hellenistic states and
could not find organic forms of inclusion of the policy in the structure.
Integrally they included only the policies again based in the East, in the
won territories, old Greek cities on all an extent of a Hellenism remained
an element appreciably alien to the structure of a Hellenistic monarchy.
The variety of forms of communications between the policy and a monarchy is
observed. Position besides was complicated constant struggle of “great
powers” as a result of which separate policies pass from sphere of
influence of one state in sphere of influence of another. Logic end of this
process became inclusion of the policy in structure of Roman empire.
So, despite of all originality of destinies, development of policies of
both regions goes in one direction. Its essence will be that the policy
ceases to be the subject of history and turns to its object. Elide from
system of politically independent policies which course of history was
defined, first of all, by interaction of separate policies with each other
or with external forces, turns to a field of struggle various external in
relation to the world of policies of forces. The world of policies tried to
defend the existence. All three most significant states of Greece IV
century BC - Thebes, Sparta and Athens, at this or that support of other
states, have acted against Macedonia. In these performances it is possible
to note three features. All of them were at war under slogans of struggle
for freedom of Greeks, however not all Greece has supported them. The
policy distinctly enough understood, that the macedonian authority
threatens freedom of all Elide, and not just its own independence. At the
same time hardly this struggle was perceived as struggle of a monarchy
against the policy as such. Further, all these policies have suffered
defeat, that distinctly enough shows final hopelessness of the polices’
world. At last, all three policies have never acted in common. The little
strong and long association of Greeks was impossible, and enmity of
policies, within IV century BC Applying for hegemony, appeared more
strongly external threat. Specificity of crisis in policies of various type
in the best way comes to light at comparison of Athens and Sparta. I agree
with those researchers who see the final reason of crisis in economic
development which character comes in the contradiction with traditional
structure of the policy. In a number of researches some symptoms of crisis
in political sphere have been revealed. Studying of the Athenian material
allows to speak about washing out earlier very precise borders of civil
collective and, on the other hand, about known isolation of various groups
of the citizenship having the economic and political interests. In Athens
it were some political groups, which heads in the sights and social
behavior reflect interests of separate layers of citizens at this time of
operate. Interests of these groups come in the contradiction with each
other, between them there is a struggle accepting from time to time sharp
character. All this leads to decomposition of civil collective and easing
of communications in it. At the same time in speeches of political orators
obviously almost general aversion modern him democratic building in Athens.
Though adherence of democracy is constantly declared, in them the
aspiration to this or that restriction of this democracy distinctly enough
appears. The analysis of political strike given in work testifies to crisis
of democracy which is considered as one of aspects of crisis of the policy
in Athens. Crisis in Sparta is differently shown. In my opinion, as an
starting point of revealing of its attributes fight at Leuctrah can serve.
In what essence of this event? All build Sparta, all its life were based
that belonged to it Massena, which grounds have been divided on some
structure, providing existence of citizens. Now appeared bases of it
building are undermined, that the point in development of crisis can be
considered as some kind of condition. How crisis of the policy appears in
since this time? We know about social performances during earlier time, for
the subsequent Sparta gives time vivid examples of sharp social struggle.
But the considered period — time of relative internal calmness, anyway, is
not observed. On the other hand, Sparta at this particular time conducts
struggle for restoration of the hegemony in Peloponnesus, she aspires to
revive the authority above Messiness. The policy ventures direct military
collision with Macedonia, i.e. aspires to carry out a traditional policy
traditional methods in completely others, radically changed conditions.
Crisis found here expression in full discrepancy of a policy of the policy
to external conditions, that arrangement of forces which has developed in
Elide. Differently, we again approach to a problem of crisis of the policy
as crisis of system of policies. As to Asia Minor it is necessary to note,
that any of Asian policies has not accepted participation in a Limy
(ламийской) war. On this circumstance in the literature it has not been
inverted that attention which it, certainly, deserves. It is represented,
that this fact also should search for an explanation in deep processes of
crisis of the policy. In crisis of the policy, more precisely, crisis of
the Greek classical policy it is necessary to see process of loss and
deformation of its intrinsic characteristics, i.e. those features and
attributes which do by those. One of them is a political independence.
Speaking about it, I mean in this case not independence of the separate
policy, but system of independent policies. The Greek cities of Asia Minor
appeared in structure of the Persian power, i.e. have lost the
independence. It is possible to come out with the assumption, that and
creations of the Corinthian union, for policies of Asia Minor it is
necessary to date that stage of crisis of the policy which on Balkan
peninsula began from defeat of Greeks at Heroine time. If this assumption
is fair, I have the right to allocate Asian variant of crisis of the policy
— a variant connected to earlier submission of the policy external, alien
it by the social nature to force. The formulation of this assumption again
puts us before the person of a problem of crisis of the policy as crisis of
system of policies. The world of the Greek cities not once was exposed to
an attack on the part of forces alien to it, however during rise and
blossoming of the policy Greeks could resist to them. Comparison of an
epoch of the Greco-Persian wars and IV century BC is indicative. In Greco-
Persian wars Elide could defend freedom in struggle against the Persian
power which too was at top of the power. In IV century BC, when the
Ahimenide state tended to decline, it nevertheless managed to subordinate
to itself Greeks of Asia Minor. Whether we in this submission have no right
to see result of development of crisis of system of policies? For Greeks of
Balkan peninsula creation of the Corinthian union was the certificate
restraining their political sovereignty and by virtue of it by the
phenomenon negative, especially for large policies; for Greeks of Asia
Minor Alexander's gain became the phenomenon some other character. In a
number of attitudes change of the Persian control macedonian meant change
of mister, but in one attitude this change was essential: at Alexander
democracy everywhere is restored. Revival democratic building though and in
conditions of macedonian authority, are equitable to interests of weight of
citizenship and has served, probably, finally as the reason of that Asian
Greeks appeared away from Limian wars. The final stage of crisis of the
policy was time of destruction of system of independent policies, time of
transition from the world of the cities-states by an Hellenistic epoch. But
crisis of the policy did not mean the end of the policy, its destruction.
The policy continued to exist within many centuries, new policies were
based also, however in its character there were essential changes.
1. Ранович А.Б. «Эллинизм и его историческая роль» Москва 1950,
2. Маринович Л.П. «Греки и Александр Македонский» Москва 1993, «Наука».
3. Шофман А.С. «Восточная политика Александра Македонского» Москва 1976,
«Издательство Казанского университета».