Alexander the Great: the first globalizer

The Macedonian conqueror is known for his successes on the battlefield, but he continually tends to forget that he articulated the first globalization of history, the first attempt at a globalized universal empire in the person of Alexander the Great; Attempt of ecumenism and cosmopolitanism such as had never been seen before.
Alexander is one of the most suggestive personalities of the universal History. His famous victories of Granico, Isso and Gaugamela on the Persian armies consecrated him as one of the greatest military geniuses in history. The fact of having Aristotle as preceptor turned it into a paradigm of learned kings, to the point that it would be one of the most followed examples, even in theory, during the Middle Ages. However, above all these circumstances, Alexander was the creator of the first globalization project in History.


It was a carefully conceived plan that extended from the mountains of Macedonia, in the West, to the banks of the Indus, in the East. Apparently, nothing should have driven Alexander in that direction. Son of Philip de Macedonia, the monarch of a dark Balkan kingdom, Alexander could have been touched by the aldeanism of not few of his generals. However, the young king knew how to rise above the Macedonian and absorb the culture of Hellas, which his father had conquered after the victory of Chaeronea.
Alexander wanted to create a new form of state that, on the one hand, absorbed the most diverse cultures – something that had already been achieved, in part, by the Persian kings – but that, on the other hand, had a common vision. The globalizing process of Alexander rested on a few pillars, but very precise. In the first place, the empire must have a language of communication, which would be Greek. Alexander did not pursue the use of vernacular languages, but, from the first moment, he turned Homer’s language into the obligatory vehicle of communication. Second, he endeavored to articulate a communication system that was fast, safe and effective. Neither the empire nor the globalization were possible without communication as fast as possible. Third, globalization demanded respect and diffusion of the different local customs and, in a very special way, freedom of conscience.

While Alexander accepted, for example, Persian fashion and insisted on intercultural marriages, he strove to show signs of affection for all religions. He was willing, for example, to be recognized as the son of the god Amun in Egypt, guaranteed the religious freedom of the Jews and conversed with the Indian yogis. Alexander died very young, but his project of globalization had very lasting effects.

Virtually until Islam, that is, for almost a millennium, Greek was the language of communication in the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Still in the first century, Christianity could be extended with remarkable ease since the New Testament was written in the Greek koine of Alexander. Rome itself followed, in no small measure, the Macedonian’s footprints to raise its globalized empire. It would be necessary to arrive at the end of century XX to attend a similar experiment.

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