Alexander the Great and the Situation … the Great? Crash Course World History #8

Alexander the Great and the Situation … the Great? Crash Course World History #8

Hi there my name’s John Green; this is Crash
Course World History, and today we’re gonna talk about Alexander the Great, but to do
that we’re going to begin by talking about ideals of masculinity and heroism and Kim
Kardashian and the Situation. Mr Green, Mr Green, Mr. Green! Which Situation? Oh, Me from the Past, I forgot you wanted
to go to Columbia. Me from the Present regrets to inform you that you do not get in. But since you live in the past, you have no
way of knowing who I’m talking about, and it occurs to me that this video may be watched
in some glorious future when Kim Kardashian and the Situation have mercifully disappeared
from public life, and the supermarket tabloids, instead of talking about celebrities, talk
about Foucault and the Higgs-Boson particle, so Kim Kardashian is a professional famous
person who rose to notoriety by skoodilypooping with someone named Ray Jay, and Mike “The
Situation” I forgot his last name is a professional stupid person with big muscles. They’re
both known by millions, lives in luxury, and people literally pay to own their odors. Why do these people crave fame? Why do any
of us? Well, I’d argue it’s not about money. If it were, our tabloids would be devoted
to the lives and times of bankers. I think we all want to leave a legacy. We want to
be remembered. We want to be Great. [theme music] For a long time, history was all about the
Study of Great Men, and it was common to call people as “the Great,” but these days
historians are less likely to do that, because they recognize that one man’s Great is generally
another man’s Terrible. And also “the Great” has some misogynistic
implications, like, it’s almost always men who are called “the Great”. You never hear
about Cleopatra the Great or Elizabeth the Great. There was, of course, Catherine the
Great of Russia, but for her masculine Greatness she was saddled with the completely untrue
rumor that she died trying to skoodilypoop with a horse. Saddled? Get it? Anybody? Saddled
with the rumor? Anyway, they could’ve soiled Catherine the
Great’s name just by telling the truth: which is that like so many other Great men
and women, she died on the toilet. Get it? soiled? Toilet? Yes? Yes! So, quick biography of Alexander of Macedon,
born in 356 BCE, died in 323 BCE at the ripe old age of 32. Alexander was the son of King
Philip the 2nd, and when just 13 years old he tamed a horse no one else could ride named
Bucephalus, which impressed his father so much he said: “Oh thy son, look thee at
a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.” By that time, he was already an accomplished
general, but over the next decade he expanded his empire with unprecedented speed and he
is famous for having never lost a battle. Today we’re going to look at Alexander of Macedon’s story
by examining three possible definitions of greatness. First, maybe Alexander was great because of
his accomplishments. This is an extension of the idea that history is the record of
the deeds of great men. Now, of course, that’s ridiculous. For one thing, half of people
are women; for another, and this is important, there are lots of historic events that no one can take
responsibility for, like for instance the Black Plague. But still, Alexander was accomplished. I mean,
he conquered a lot of territory. Like, a lot. His father, Philip, had conquered all of Greece,
but Alexander did what the Spartans and Athenians had failed to do: He destroyed the Persian
Empire. He conquered all the land the Persians had held including Egypt, and then marched
toward India, stopping at the Indus River only because his army was like, “Hey, Alexander,
you know what would be awesome? Not marching.” Also, Alexander was a really good general,
although historians disagree over whether his tactics were truly brilliant or if his
army just happened to have better technology, specifically these extra long spears called
sarissas. Much of his reputation as a general, and his reputation in general, anybody? Puns?
Maybe I should stop? OK. Is because of Napoleon. Napoleon, like many other generals through
the Millennia, was obsessed with Alexander the Great, but more on that in a moment. That said, Alexander wasn’t very good at
what we might now call empire-building. Alexander’s empire was definitely visually impressive,
but it wasn’t actually much of an empire. Like, Alexander specialized in the tearing
down of things, but he wasn’t so great at the building up of institutions to replace
the things he’d torn down. And that’s why, pretty soon after his death, his Empire
broke into three empires, called the Hellenistic Kingdoms. Each was ruled by one of Alexander’s
generals, and they became important dynasties. The Antigones in Greece and Macedonia, the
Ptolemies in Egypt, the Seleucids in Persia, all of which lasted longer than Alexander’s
empire itself. A Second Greatness: Maybe Alexander was Great
because he had an enormous impact on the world after his death. Like King Tut, Alexander
the Great was amazingly good at being a dead person. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. So, After Alexander of Macedon died, everyone
from the Romans to Napoleon to Oliver Stone loved him, and he was an important military
model for many generals throughout history. But his main post-death legacy may be that
he introduced the Persian idea of Absolute Monarchy to the Greco-Roman world, which would
become a pretty big deal. Alexander also built a number of cities on
his route that became big deals after his death, and it’s easy to spot them because
he named most of them after himself and one after his horse. The Alexandria in Egypt became
a major center of learning in the classical world, and was home to the most amazing library
ever, which Julius Caesar probably “accidentally” burned down while trying to conquer a bunch
of land to emulate his hero, Alexander the Great. Plus, the dead Alexander had a huge impact
on culture. He gave the region its common language, Greek, which facilitated conversations
and commerce. Greek was so widespread that archaeologists have found coins in what is
now Afghanistan with pictures of their kings and the word “king” written beneath the
pictures — in Greek. This is also why, incidentally, the New Testament was eventually written in
Greek. Although Alexander was mostly just conquering
territory for the glory and heroism and greatness of it all, in his wake emerged a more closely
connected world that could trade and communicate with more people more efficiently than ever
before. Alexander didn’t make those things happen, but they probably wouldn’t have
happened without him. But here’s a question: If you’re watching
Jersey Shore and get so involved in The Situations romantic conquest that you leave the bath
water running, thereby flooding your apartment, and you have to call a plumber, and the plumber
comes over and you fall in love with him and get married and live happily ever after, does
that make The Situation responsible for your marriage? Thanks, Thought Bubble. Okay, a third definition of greatness: Maybe
Alexander is great because of his legend: Since no accounts of his life were written
while he lived, embellishment was easy, and maybe that’s where true greatness lies.
I mean the guy died at 32, before he ever had a chance to get old and lose battles.
He was tutored by Aristotle, for God’s sakes. Then there’s Alexander’s single-minded
Ahab-esque pursuit of the Persian King Darius, who he chased across modern-day Iraq and Iran
for no real reason except he desperately wanted to kill him, and when Bessus, one of Darius’s
generals, assassinated him before Alexander had the chance, Alexander chased Bessus around
until he could at least kill him. These almost-comical pursuits of glory and
heroism are accompanied in classical histories by stories of Alexander walking through the
desert, and then suddenly raining, and these ravens coming to lead him to the army he’s
supposed to fight, and stories of his hot Persian wife Roxana, who supposedly while
still a teenager engineered the assassinations of many of Alexander’s fellow wives. And even at his death, people tried to make
Alexander live up to this heroic ideal. Like, Plutarch tells us that he died of a fever,
but that’s no way for a masculine, empire-building, awesome person to die! So rumors persist that
he died either of alcohol poisoning or else of assassination-y poisoning. I mean, no great
man can die of a fever. Speaking of Great Men, it’s time to strip down for the Open
Letter. So elegant. But first let’s see what’s
in the Secret Compartment today. Oh. It’s Kim Kardashian’s perfume. Thanks Stan. I’ll
wear this. I’ll check it out, I’ll give it a try. C’ah. Wow. That is… mmm… it’s
like all the worst parts of baby powder and all the worst parts of cat pee. An Open Letter
to the Ladies. Hello, Ladies, You’ve really been unfairly neglected in
Crash Course World History and also in World History textbooks everywhere. Like, there
will be a whole chapter exploring the exploits of great men and then at the end there will
be one sentence that’s like “also women were doing stuff at the time and it was important,
but we don’t really know what it was, so back to Alexander the Great…” History has been very good at marginalizing
and demeaning women and we’re going to fight against that as we move forward in the story
of human civilization. Ladies, I have to go now because my eyes are stinging from the
biological weapon known as Kim Kardashian’s Gold. Seriously, don’t wear it. Best wishes, John Green So in Alexander the Great we have a story
about a man who united the world while riding a magical horse only he could tame across
deserts where it magically rained for him so that he could chase down his mortal enemy
and then leave in his wake a more enlightened world and a gorgeous, murderous wife. But of course it’s not just Assassin’s
Creed and Call of Duty that celebrate the idea that ennobled violence can lead to a
better world. And that takes us to my opinion of how Alexander really came to be Great.
Millennia after his death in 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt, not because he particularly
needed to invade Egypt but because he wanted to do what Alexander had done. And long before Napoleon, the Romans really
worshipped Alexander, particularly the Roman General Pompey, AKA Pompeius Magnus, AKA Pompey
the Great. Pompey was so obsessed with Alexander that he literally tried to emulate Alexander’s
boyishly disheveled hair style. In short, Alexander was Great because others
decided he was Great. Because they chose to admire and emulate him. Yes, Alexander was
a great general. Yes, he conquered a lot of land. The Situation is also really good at
picking up girls… of a certain type. And Kim Kardashian is good at- Stan, what is Kim
Kardashian good at? We made Alexander Great, just as today we
make people great when we admire them and try to emulate them. History has traditionally
been in the business of finding and celebrating great men, and only occasionally great women,
but this obsession with Greatness is troubling to me. It wrongly implies, first, history
is made primarily by men and secondly, that history is made primarily by celebrated people,
which of course makes us all want to be celebrities. Thankfully, we’ve left behind the idea that
the best way to become an icon is to butcher people and conquer a lot of land, but the
ideals that we’ve embraced instead aren’t necessarily worth celebrating either. All
of which is to say we decide what to worship and what to care about and what to pay attention
to. We decide whether to care about The Situation. Alexander couldn’t make history in a vacuum,
and neither can anyone else. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan
Muller; the show is written by my high school history teacher Raoul Meyer and myself. Our
script supervisor is Danica Johnson, and our graphics team is Thought Bubble. Last week’s phrase of the week was “Thinly
Sliced Trees”. If you want to take a guess at this week’s phrase or suggest new ones you
can do so in comments. If you have questions about today’s video you can also ask those in comments
and our team of historians will attempt to answer them. Thanks for watching Crash Course and as they
say in my hometown, Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.

100 thoughts on “Alexander the Great and the Situation … the Great? Crash Course World History #8

  1. You can’t really have a conversation about Alexander the Great without talking about Cyrus the Great of Achaemenid empire who was one of Alexander’s icons and heroes. Without Cyrus to inspire Alexander we would have no Alexander.

    All ancient and modern military commanders admit that Alexander’s tactics and skill were legendary for their time. It’s not an opinion dude, it’s a fact. When your exploits conquer the minds of all and you leave an insane legacy that people ponder over for 2500 years, that my friend is not opinion or exaggeration.

  2. It is incredible how right wing indoctrination and movies like 300 have poisoned the minds of the youth. The idiots are disliking this video because they are idolizing Alexander "the not so great" as a hero, which is utterly moronic. This is like idolizing Hitler as a great hero in the future because he won some wars, disregarding the atrocities.

    Then there is also the modern "greeks" who adore Alexander who was not even "greek" but he was Macedonian. They are crying and lying to this day trying to make him greek. This is the equivalent of Norway taking credit for something a Swedish king achieved in history just because they have similar languages but saying that he was not Swedish, he was Norwegian! Pathetic.

    Greeks are pathetic, a poor country today with ilitierate people who only have history to be proud of and yet they are to stupid to actually learn real history.

  3. The point of history is to learn it so it does not repeat itself. Yet we are tested on exams about people like this, and i question what the point of learning about alexander is, whats the lesson, whats the moral? Why is it forced by schools for us to learn about him

  4. This is suppose to be about Alexander The Great. + Your all over the place, try staying focused on the topic. + No wonder there are so many School Shootings.

  5.'s presently 05/20/2019 and nothing have change except…global warming is worst and the biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%, natural ecosystems have lost about half their area and a million species are at risk of extinction – all largely as a result of human actions so yes ….

  6. y’all i’m in college and i’m still watching these videos. it’s crazy to remember this is how i crammed for my ap’s too

  7. It's cute how everyone wants to be an Alexander contrarian. Go figure actual military leaders view him as "Great" and mousy bookworms are trying to knock him down a few pegs.

  8. Alexander the Great. His name struck fear into hearts of men.

    Alexander the Great. Became a God amongst mortal men.

  9. i hate it when people say alexander was great. or churchill was a hero. both of them were genocidal maniacs who only got the sun cuz the alternatives at the time were much worse. churchill killed millions in the bengal famine which he caused most ppl will just ignore cuz it fits their narrative of him being a hero leader forgetting that he is only a good person in comparison to hitler and stalin. when compared to fdr he doesnt measure much. infact the best of america's leaders like lincoln and washington is much better then churchill. and alexander is no more great then genghis khan of mongols.

  10. I have a history exam tomorrow and I don't know anything about Alexander after watching this video except that he had a hot foreigner wife.

  11. Elexander is the real reason why we still can't figure out how the pyramids of Egypt we built cuz he burned everything including libraries!!!

  12. Love how you equated the ‘greats’ of history to regular people trying to be celebrities in their time and ‘situation’ (geddit)?. The analogy is pretty, I believe. The thrust for the other approval always leads to disappointment.

  13. Out of respect for "the others" , we should call him Alexander The Conqueror!!! WE ARE AMERICAN, NOT GREEK

  14. Its very sad that this guy has so many subscribers. Please if you are a young person read the sources. Do not let this Moron nhilistic post modern leftist cuk brain wash you. Alexander was fighting in battles at age 15. He created great Peace and civil infrastructure. He was not chasing the Persians for " no reason". Persia had constantly threatened Greece. It was not even a funny joke. This man is a Moron and his glib recaps of history will make you a Moron too. Beware.

  15. He was "Great" because when he led his soldiers to battle he fought alongside them. He did not make silly youtube videos, nor did he nuke two japanese cities because he was afraid of the Russians.

    That's why he was great.

  16. Women, we love you, and we will tell you ad infinitum how much we love you and how important you are to the history of human civilization and we will disparage anyone who tries to ostensibly sully your ceaseless virtues!

  17. Pillage west to east and Alexander gets called great. Pillage east to west and Genghis Khan gets called a barbarian

  18. Another historian that has to mention every single episode how "unwoke" history was every single episode over and over…and then actually mention Michel Foucault, zzzz. Foucault was a hack and post-modernism is turning the western world into a bunch of drones that get PTSD walking to the mailbox. I am curious as to how the textbooks could marginalize women's achievements in history when history marginalized women? So, which is it? Women rarely achieved greatness due to the times or the textbooks never mention when they did?

  19. Imagine that in the future, Kim Kardashian's daughter would go to YouTube and watch this Crash Course episode to genuinely learn about history but instead sees John Green dissing her mom.

  20. Making every other sentence about Kim Kardashian does not un-marginalize women in history. If anything, it almost seems like you have written in a subtext, suggesting there has been good reason for marginalizing them. This video was in bad taste.

  21. Given the side the Green brothers have fallen on in the "Maza vs. Crowder and Youtube Censorship Debate" I am not surprised this is the spin they put on Alexander the Great. Weak.

  22. Alexander received the title “the Great” because he alone was responsible for massively disrupting East by bringing down the Persian Empire—the greatest, richest and most powerful empire at the time, and by running his troops as far as the boarders of the Deccan in India. Nothing that followed, including the largely integrated East that Rome later conquered, would have been possible without him.

    From the boarders of Etruria to the Indus Valley, he alone laid the predicates for the Hellenistic world. And the impact of this achievement on the ages that followed simply cannot be understated. Nor the impact that had on our modern age and the ages to follow.

    One man was responsible for that: a rare moment when one person alone can be identified as largely causal. It’s like Alfred. No Alfred, no England. Thus, Alfred the Great.

  23. ALEXANDER = A-LE-SI-ANDER in albanian means BORN LIKE A DREAM.
    Alexander great was ILLYRIAN 🇦🇱

  24. Please leave the stupid jokes and cheesy lines out of it. Talk about what the video is about. First minute is a waste of time then speed read through Alex the Great? Stupid video, thumbs down!!

  25. You are wrong about Alexander's empire building ability. The failure was his successors' not his own. Try to read JFC Fuller's book '' the generalship of Alexander the great''

  26. He named his horse Bacephalous? That was the name of Major Hewletts horse in Turn:Washington’s Spies that Simcoe poisoned.

  27. One day Aristotle gave a public lecture with some topics of knowledge when the news reached Alexander, he became furious! And scolded Aristotle for giving away the knowledge he is suppose to rule people with.

  28. It was said when Alexander and his army were traveling to India they stoped for a drink. His army didn’t have any water while he had a helmet full of water. He then responded by pouring out the helmet and then said “If my men are thirsty then I shall be thirst as well.”

  29. I think it would've been better to focus on the historical facts and then at the end of the video do the morality part. Or even better… let the folks watching do the morality part! Love you John

  30. Why do you call Macedonia something different than Greece? Greece wasn't one country back then, and Macedonia was too part of the Greek world and mainland. It wasn't a separate region, it was just one of the Greek states.

  31. Wtf…Wy is Alexander is the great?.. If "Ghangez Khan" waz from Europ so they would call Him the great.. I am magnolian and we love Our Grand father of nation "Temojin" Ghangez Khan

  32. My son. Ask for thyself another kingdom. For that which I leave is too small for thee.

    Alexander the Great his name struck fear into hearts of men.

    Alexander the Great became a God amongst mortal men!

  33. About Alexander's corpse:

    I am sorry, but my brains are overthinking this too much…..

    Do you know about corpse of saint Mark which was stolen by Venetians in medieval times?

    I think, if it is original, can be corpse of Alexander the Great?

    Please tell me if I am wrong or right and tell me why?

  34. Can you stop coping about misogyny and stuff and just tell the story about the greatest man who ever lived

  35. The Persian empire had done a great job of uniting much of the known world and facilitating trade, common language as well as peace for 200 years. If anything Alexander disrupted all of that and left behind squabbling states at each other's throat. So why exactly are you crediting Alexander the Macedonian with something he never did and in fact he did the opposite?

  36. You're throwing away his philosophical history, he wouldn't have built a library if he wasn't interested in gathering knowledge.
    And it's not that easy to be famous in a world where there's no tv or radio.

    You're trying to convey a message you've chosen yourself and using Alexander for it while not knowing anything for certain.
    You shouldn't be allowed to post informational content on youtube unless you're trying to adhere to some kind of fact.

  37. Alexander didn't make those things happen but they probably wouldn't of happened without him
    tis a silly quote

  38. I come from 2019 with good news and bad news.
    Good news:
    Kim Kardashian is no longer relevant.
    Bad news:
    Her sister's are.

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