By EDMOND DANTES '02
How much effect did Alexander the Great have on Asia Minor, or the Middle East? Alexander’s influence on the land and people was great indeed. His empire stretched from Macedonia through Greece and the Mighty Persian Empire, through Egypt and all the way to India. Some people argue that Alexander still exists today, that he is in Iran, in Egypt, in Greece, and even in the wild tribes of India’s western mountains. In fact, Alexander is still present in the folktales of Iran. In Egypt, he left behind the story of a man made a god. In fact, Alexander’s name continues in many cities throughout that part of the world once called Asia Minor. His legend is still told in Muslim schools as the Great Iranian King. And mothers still scold their children at bedtime with the threat that Alexander will get them. Although he dwelled there for only thirteen years of his life, Alexander had a profound and graphic influence on all of Asia Minor and India; indeed, there have been few people who have changed the world as extensively as Alexander the Great.
This one man's influence has lasted for over two thousand years. But what did he leave behind? First of all, he left a legend far greater than anyone has created before or since. In Egypt, where he was worshipped as a god himself, he established a great city bearing his name. He is also present in the folklore of Iran, sometimes portrayed in radically opposing traditions. For example, in a tenth-century epic the Shahnama, still recited in coffee houses today, Alexander is presented as the rightful Shah to whom Darius bequeathed the kingdom on his deathbed. However, in religious folk plays, Alexander is depicted "stalking the stage in a pith helmet and dark glasses along with the other villains of history, the wicked Caliph Yazid and the great Satan himself--Uncle Sam"1(Wood 98).
Even more important than creating his own legend, Alexander the Great expanded the influence of...