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

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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?

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

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

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

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

  10. Ah, the situation. Already so dated I had to really dust off some memories. And Kim Kardashian is great at marketing

  11. It’s so hard to take video seriously. It’s annoying seeing the video poke fun at celebrities (regardless of who they are) in a desperate attempt to be relatable or funny. It doesn’t make for a good look role modeling behavior like that.

  12. Not one mention of Hephaestion, Alexander's lover and general, who's death sent Alexander into a spiral of grief before he himself died shortly after? Yet Roxana gets a shout out? And if it's about wanting to include the stories of the women in Alexander's life, his other Olympia doesn't get mentioned here either, even though she's arguably even more important then anyone else in this story?

  13. Syria Iraq n iran should’ve been burned n exterminated til no one stands…9/11 wouldn’t have happened neither isis

  14. Ηταν σαν να μην εκανες για τον Αλεξανδρο. Ηταν πραγματικαμεγαλος για οσους γνωριζουν την ιστορια. Μακαρι να χαμε εναν Αλεξανδρο και τωρα να σωσει εμας κι αλλους λαους απο τους βαρβαρους δυναστες του νεοοθωμανισμου που καταπιεζουν ποντιους ελληνες χριστιανους στην Τουρκια κι εχουν το θρασος να ζηταν τις χριστιανικες εικονες της παναγιας του Μελα ως αντικειμενο που δηθεν τους ανηκει. Να το κανουν τι να του σβησουν το προσωπο? η να το βαψουν ολο να το ασβεστωσουν? Ετσι καταπιεζαν κι Περσες σατραπες κατεστρεψαν ελληνικους ναους μεχρι που ηρθε ο Αλεξανδρος κι εσωσε Ελληνες δυσης κι ανατολης κι ολους τους αλλους λαους της ανατολης. Τωρα δυστυχως οι νεοι ηγετες αυτους ενισχυουν τους αμετανοητους γεννοκτονους της Τουρκιας που απειλουν συνεχως. κι σκοπιανοι οι κλεφτες τωρα αν ειχαμε εναν μεγα Αλεξανδρο θα ζητουσαν συγνωμη.

  15. Maybe touch on how Alexander was influenced by his veneration of Achilles from the Iliad? The heroic choice between a long life where you are ultimately forgotten and a short but glorious life where your name lives on. Alexander the Great made his story by living out an even earlier story.

  16. Why are you pandering to feminists? Not gonna get you laid buddy. Impressing the wrong kinda chicks that way buddy. Weak. They were doing something important, birthing Great men.

  17. It wasn’t Afghan Kings putting Greek king on their coin . This video is really uneducated. The afghan “Kings” was also a hellenstic kingdom you forgot to add which was graeco Bactrian and their Kings were Macedonian successors .

  18. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out this was the same John Greene who wrote The Fault In Our Stars and Looking For Alaska. I feel so daft lol

  19. This is fake matter of fact they are trying to put muslim heroes in the bible and claim them it's not Alexander the great it dhul qarnayn

  20. Did you seriously suggest his battle record had something to do with long Spears? It's quite foolish to think such a thing

  21. Great series but you mentioned Alexander's gorgeous wife and not his gorgeous male lover, not that referring to him is important, but leaving him out is.

  22. I regret to inform you that Kim Kardashian has yet to disappear into irrelevance the way of Paris Hilton and others… She's in direct contact with our unfortunate President of the United States. This is 2019–the third year in what will be known in history as The Era of Facepalming.

  23. Normally, I like CrashCourse and even show some videos to my middle school students – BUT this video is not suitable for the classroom. BEWARE!

  24. The problem with the word "great" is that it is ALWAYS subjective.

    "But the ideals that we have embraced instead, aren't necessarily worth celebrating either."….aka women. They are terrible people.

  25. Man, I'm glad I watched this video on "Women being Marginalized in History". Not sure why you named it after Alexander the Great though…

  26. Earned a sub. After Alexander's death, there were "FOUR" Empires that emerged; Macedonia, Egypt, Anatolia, Seleucid Mesopotamia.

  27. I had barely heard of Kim Kardashian and had no idea that "the situation" was a person (or that there was a person named the situation?) Congratulations crash Course, you made me dumber today

  28. A thousand years from now people will still remember Alexander the Great but no one is going to remember "the situation". Alexander literally made the chariot obsolete at the battle of gaugamela. His battlefield tactics and campaign strategies are still being taught today in war colleges. Mr. Green you are not a historian but a quack

  29. Not many women conquered the entire known world. Not many women have a dozen cities named after them. Not many women have a city named after their horse. Not many women are looked up to by literally every emperor for the past two thousand years.
    That's why he was The Great.
    If you want a spotlight put on the important women in history, how about you tell us about them. Aight? There are plenty, but they'll only ever get passing mention at best by people like you who then turn around and complain that there isn't enough focus on women in history… and then turn around and complain that some woman is famous for no reason at all.

  30. Ok, didn't really care about your perspectives, just wanted a history lesson. Also, it was 4 generals who split up his land

  31. How many times have you mentioned women? Seriously, man, give it a rest. That's the only reason I disliked; other than that the video is good. Women, women, women… it pisses me off is all.

  32. Εγώ είμαι γιος του Φίλιππου εγγόνη του αιώνα
    βράχος μέσα στη θάλασσα Πέτρα του Παρθενώνα
    κληρονομιά τη λεβεντιά για τον μεγάλο αγώνα
    αφήνω δόρυ και σπαθί του τέταρτου αιώνα

    Μακεδονία των θεών με δάφνες στολισμένη
    στις Πέλλας τα προπύλαια σε έχουνε θαμμένη
    και έγινες γόρδιος δεσμός στα σύνορα του κάθε ενός
    Μακεδονια ένδοξη και χιλιοτιμημένη

    Του Βουκεφάλα τα λουριά και της Βεργίνας το Άστρο
    βάλετε τα δίπλα στον Νοτιά στο μαγεμένο κάστρο
    να λούζεται απ'την λάμψη του και να φεγγοβολάει
    και την Μακεδονία μας κάνεις να μην ξεχνάει

    👌👌👌👌👌👌👌

  33. Alexander the Great himself :

    "Ευγνωμονώ τοις Θεοίς ότι εγεννήθην Έλλην"
    "Bless the Gods for being born Greek. …."

    (Arrianos, Alexander's Anabasis, A 11)
    Long live Hellas.

  34. Women aren't remembered the way you want them to be remembered because they haven't accomplished anything great change my mind

  35. A bit of a minor issue with this video, but when you mention "the Antigonids in Greece and Macedonia", this is a misleading statement. "Greece and Macedonia" implies two distinct entities, when in fact "Greece" was a culture, not a country, and "Macedonia" was a state much like Attica (the state of Athens) or Lacedaemon (the state of Sparta). You would never say "Attica and Greece", "Sparta and Greece", or "Thessaly and Greece", because Thessaly was a state part of the Greek culture. It's like saying "Yorkshire and England". What the video means to say is "the Antigonids in the southern Greek city-states and in Macedonia" (which at that time incorporated other Greek states such as Thessaly and Epirus, some Greek islands, as well as Thracian lands).

  36. so true aleaxander is greatly exaggerated and it is really french imperialism that hoisted him as an ideal . this i have noted through my reading of his adventures in central asia, afghanistan and swat gandhara .

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