Legendary Alexander

George Woodcock describes how, during the centuries after his death, Alexander became many things to many peoples and in countries often distant from those that saw his exploits.

Whether Alexander took seriously the claims to deity that were made on his behalf is still a matter of debate among classical historians. But that he considered himself a hero in the ancient sense of a being different in texture from ordinary men there seems no doubt. He accepted his descent from Heracles as fact; he dressed sometimes in the Heraclean lion-skin; and, when he crossed the Hindu Kush into India, he was conscious of travelling in the legendary footsteps of both Heracles and Dionysus, and sought to exceed the achievements of those personified natural forces by reaching the mythical River of Ocean that surrounded the earth. He imagined he had done so when, after many battles and trials, he fought his way down to the mouth of the Indus and in 325 B.C. stood on the banks washed by the Arabian Sea.

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