Social media can be a tricky place for today’s public and political figures. Many of them are either getting themselves in trouble or receiving high praises for their social media prowess. One’s Twitter is an extension of that person, giving voice to their most random and off-the-cuff thoughts (as long as those thoughts fit within a 140-character limit). Twitter offers presidents, senators, actors, and musicians the chance to post their (sometimes unfiltered) thoughts, as well as interact with the rest of us.
Unfortunately, history is littered with colorful characters who lived well before the Golden Age of the Internet, robbing of us the chance to enjoy their posts to the world’s quippiest social media engine. Fortunately, we’ve imagined what might have happened if Emperor and World Conqueror Alexander the Great had access to Twitter.
Passing up rhetoricians like Isocrates and Speusippus, Alexander III of Macedon’s father, Phillip II, hired Aristotle to tutor Alexander when he turned 13. As payment, Phillip rebuilt Aristotle’s home town, Stageira; he also rebuilt its population by freeing slaves and sending them there, as well as pardoning those already exiled to the city.
Alex and his classmates studied under Aristotle at a boarding school called Mieza. Alex actually grew to love subjects such as philosophy, religion, logic, and art. He specifically developed a passion for literature and the works of Homer. Aristotle later gave Alex an annotated copy of the Iliad, which he allegedly carried into battle with him later in life.
At age 16, while his father was away at war, there was a revolt in Macedonia. Alex quickly responded with military action – subduing the threat and colonizing his own city, Alexandropolis. Real clever with names, this guy.
While attending the wedding of his daughter, Phillip II was assassinated by his own chief bodyguard who was then killed by his pursuants after tripping on a vine while attempting to flee. Loyalty and coordination were definitely two of this guy’s strong suits.
Following his father’s assassination, Alex was crowned king at the age of 20.
Life As Emperor
King Alex began his reign by having individuals that he perceived as threats to the throne executed. Some family drama ensued, a relative killed his brother and sister-in-law, and Alex had them put to death as well.
Not known for his diplomatic tendencies, Alex The (Soon-To-Be) Great dealt with a few more potential revolts in the south of his kingdom by intimidating them with his cavalry. Heeding the age-old adage, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” the revolting armies added their numbers to Alex’s cavalry and they continued south. After putting down a few more revolts in similar fashion, Alexander returned home, but headed back out shortly thereafter with his army to secure the borders of his kingdom.
Expansion of the Empire (Where “The Great” Part Comes In)
Alexander III of Macedon then led military campaigns, expanding his empire dramatically. He first captured much of Asia Minor, then quickly turned his attention to Syria and the city of Tyre, which he captured after a long siege. Alex and his army then marched fairly quickly towards Egypt.
Not wanting a fate like Tyre’s, many of the cities between him and Egypt surrendered quickly, with the exception of Gaza, which held Alex and his army off three times. His fourth attack proved too much for the military might at Gaza and they inevitably suffered the same tragedies as the people of Tyre: men executed, and women and children sold into slavery.
After conquering (or liberating, if you ask them) Egypt, Alex led military campaigns in Assyria and Babylon; both quickly surrendered. Alex and his army then conquered Persia and much of the rest of the East, including what is now India.
Growing tired of conquering and the spoils and bounty of war, Alex’s army started griping and complaining about missing their families and their homes. Alex tried to persuade them to march more, but his men weren’t having it and threatened revolt. Once he realized they were serious, Alex reluctantly returned home.
A couple of weeks after entertaining some foreign dignitaries, (frankly, we’re surprised there were any left) in his retirement home, Nebuchadnezzar II’s palace (home to the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon), Alexander the Great died at the age of 32 of what was often believed to be poisoning. Historians later started saying that he must have died from an illness because no known poison could have killed him with such delay. Only recently did a scientist prove that Alexander’s enemies could have had access to a plant called white hellebore, which would produce similar symptoms to the ones recounted in legends of Alex’s life and death.
To say the least, Alex’s short life was filled with many adventures, which would have undoubtedly been documented on social media, had it been available to him. Assuredly, his Twitter would have reached a level of wild and weird akin to Kanye or Jaden. His #travelgram posts would have likely left even the most wanderlust-filled soul a little weary.