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Judiciously called merely “Warrior on Horseback,” it is strikingly similar to the standard image of Alexander—with that quiff again.
And from time to time, some new evidence surfaces to stir the popular imagination.
True, Alexander was a great general, but Rome at that period had many great generals and they were made of sterner stuff than the Persian king, with his “women and eunuchs in tow,” who was by any reckoning “an easy prey.”Besides, from early on, Alexander showed signs of fatal weaknesses: witness the vanity, the obeisance he demanded from his followers, the vicious cruelty (he had a record of murdering erstwhile friends around his dinner table), and the infamous drinking.Borza shows in a judicious appendix to the new Landmark Arrian, an illustrated edition of The Campaigns of Alexander (Anabasis, written around 140 AD) by Lucius Flavius Arrianus, Roman senator and historian of Greek extraction, born in what is now Turkey.But that did not prevent several hundred academics, mostly classicists, from writing a letter to President Obama in 2009, in which they declared that Alexander was “thoroughly and indisputably Greek” and asked him to intervene to “clean up” the FYROM’s historical errors. Only a few months ago, this controversy flared up once more when a huge kitschy thirty-ton statue, almost fifty feet tall, on top of a thirty-foot pedestal, was erected in the central square in Skopje.Or was he a bona fide Greek (and so had nothing to do with the FYROM at all)?The fruitlessness of this dispute is obvious: ancient national identity is a slippery concept; and the ethnic identity of the Macedonians is shrouded in myth, as Eugene N.