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  • Excerpt From: The Emperors and the Jews. Mosaica Press (2019)

Alexander – Part 1

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

Alexander was born in the Macedonian capital Pella on July 20th or 21st 356 BCE

By this time Pella had become a celebrated royal capital visited by emissaries and dignitaries from around the world. Alexander's father was King and his mother, the exotic Queen Olympias, claimed ancestry from the gods.

This godly ancestry, this divine “yichus”, would play a major role in Alexander’s life and shape the view of his destiny.

Alexander’s birth was later to be recorded as a phenomenon with elements that were

“other worldly”.

The Jewish historian Tzemach David writes: Alexander the Macedonian was born in the year 423 and at his birth an awesome star was seen in the sky, the earth shook and the foundations of the world quacked. There was lighting, thunder and great coldness in Macedonia that people had never experienced before.

The mythological son of the gods birth narrative was widespread to the point that even

the Jewish historian Josephus brings down a detailed version offering an alternative birth

story for Alexander questioning Philip as the natural father.


The young Alexander was raised with his father’s passion for battle and world

domination. In his mind all roads led from Pella, Macedonia straight to Babylon and

Susa, Persia. It might be said that conquest of Persia flowed in Alexander’s blood; it was

the milk he drank from infancy.

As a child Alexander exhibited unusual talents, quickness of mind and body, an

expansive curiosity and an innate sense of courage.

The taming of the wild horse Bucephalus remains a classic Alexander story from his


According to the historian Plutarch, Alexander’s father King Philip II was offered a

massive horse named Bucephalus but was ready to pass on it when he saw how untamed

the horse appeared.

The 13 year old Alexander took up the challenge, spoke soothingly to the horse and

turned it towards the sun so that it could no longer see its own shadow, which had been

the cause of its distress. Alexander rode triumphantly on the horse and Bucephalus

became the horse he fought on for nearly all his future battles.

Plutarch says that the incident so impressed Philip that he exclaimed, "O my son, look

thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.”

Plutarch records Bucephalas' end which speaks volume about Alexander the person:

After the battle with Porus [India], too, Bucephalas died, — not at once, but some time

afterwards, — as most writers say, from wounds for which he was under treatment, but

according to Onesicritus, from old age, having become quite worn out; for he was thirty

years old when he died. His death grieved Alexander mightily, who felt that he had lost

nothing less than a comrade and a friend; he also built a city in his memory on the banks

of the Hydaspes and called it Bucephalia.

Even as a young child Alexander would probe visiting Persian diplomats to get a detailed

picture of their country. Those snapshots of Persia remained with him and were utilized

years later when he embarked on his conquests.

For Alexander everything was truly going his way. He was uniquely trained in political

leadership, statesmanship and aristocracy.


King Philip undoubtedly sensing the extraordinary potential of his heir son sent

Alexander away for a concentrated three year period of studies.

The campus setting was not just your normal Ivy League type of university but rather it

was Harvard, Cambridge, MIT, Oxford, West Point and much more all wrapped in one.

Alexander was dispatched from his familiar royal capital home Pella at the tender age of

thirteen to study under and learn from the master, Aristotle; the foremost thinker and

philosopher of the ancient world and perhaps of all time.

Aristotle taught Alexander and his companion friends for three intense years. While historians don’t have records of the exact curriculum taught, Aristotle certainly created a broad, challenging and eclectic syllabus that would be the absolute envy of any top rated AAA university.

According to Freeman: Aristotle was an inspired teacher…Aristotle studied and wrote about

everything… He practically invented logic; Aristotle was the first great experimental

scientist, with physics, astronomy, biology, embryology, meteorology and much more in

his realm of expertise…He pioneered the study of ethics…

Seder HaDorot writes that Aristotle the philosopher and leading wise man was

Alexander’s teacher and a student of Socrates and Plato. He was born in Macedonia. He

lived twenty years after the death of Alexander his student. He wrote that he spoke with

Shimon HaTzaddik regarding Godly wisdom and was very startled from Shimon’s high

level of wisdom.

Aristotle trained Alexander to be Alexander The Great.

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