How Real was the 'Policy of Fusion'
The Secondary Historiography
In 1926, the classical scholar William Tarn claimed that Alexander’s aim for his empire was homonoia – the unity of mankind. According to Tarn, Alexander rejected the ‘Greek’ view (of such as Aristotle) that the Persians were ‘barbarians’ little higher than animals, and instead tried to create a sense of oneness.
Tarn cited especially Alexander’s orientalism, his attempt to introduce proskynesis, the marriages at Susa, and his use of Persian satraps and soldiers. He particularly noted Alexander’s 'prayer of reconciliation’ at Opis:
After this Alexander gave a public banquet, over which he himself presided, with the Macedonians sitting around him; and next to them the Persians; after whom came the men of the other nations, preferred in honour for their personal rank or for some meritorious action. The king and his guests drew wine from the same bowl and poured out the same libations, both the Greek prophets and the Persian Magi starting the ceremony. He prayed for other blessings, and especially that harmony and community of rule might exist between the Macedonians and Persians. (Arrian 7.11)
Plutarch, in a speech about Alexander called Alexander's fortune and virtue, struck a similar note, but linked it to Alexander's spreading of 'Greekness' to the barbarian world (= 'Hellenisation'):
Alexander did not follow the advice of Aristotle and show care for the Greeks as friends and kinsmen, while treating the others as animals or plants; this would have filled his realm with many wars and exiles and festering unrest.
Thus in the 1950s most scholars
believed that Alexander had a policy of ‘Fusion’ which attempted to unify
his Greek and Persians subjects (you can see this
idea in Robert Rossen's film).
You will need to remind yourself of what Alexander did, by studying the webpage on Alexander Rules His Empire.
There is a detailed analysis at www.livius.org
This discussion by two famous historians is muddled, but relates the question pertinently to Arrian.
Divide a large sheet of paper into four sections, headed 'Fusion', 'Hellenisation', 'Macedonianism' and 'Divide-and-rule', and then:
Go through the EVENTS of Alexander's life,
selecting key illustrative moments, categorising them as 'Fusion',
'Hellenisation', 'Macedonian imperialism' and 'Divide-and-rule'.
Go through the SOURCES of Alexander's life,
selecting key illustrative passages, categorising them as 'Fusion',
'Hellensation', 'Macedonian imperialism' and 'Divide-and-rule'.
In your opinion, what was Alexander's policy for his empire?