I’ve been scrolling around on the Alexander the great tag on Tumblr and there are all these posts where people are writing about how they just want to KNOW him, to meet him, to really know what he was like. And it’s not just idle curiosity, there’s a feeling of connection, of longing, that I can relate to and really GET. Alex does something to you.
So sooner or later in these posts someone brings up reincarnation. Maybe we did know him. Maybe we met him. Maybe we fought beside him in another life.
So let’s, for the sake of argument, assume that reincarnation is literally real.
Think about the size of Alexander’s army. At gaugemela the army was about 47,000 in number. And that’s not the highest it ever was. Think about all the men who died, and were replaced, who came later in the campaign, who were dropped off to colonize a new city. Then add to that the number of camp followers: wives , children, slaves, cooks, merchants, carpenters, tailors, metal workers, that needed to follow and interact with this army to make it run.
Now imagine the size of Darius’s army. High estimates say there were 100,000 troops at gaugemela alone. Add to that the size of the opposing army of every battle this man fought. Then add THEIR camp followers, and remember that Persians travelled with even larger and more elaborate entourages.
Now think of the size of the Persian court. Darius’s family, advisors, generals, servants, and courtiers. And then add every small city, state and citadel Alex conquered and passed through. Their nobility, peasants, servants and slaves.
Now add the population of every Greek city state he passed through as well.
And finally, add the population of Pella, a small town on a hill side, nowhere in particular, finally finding its place on the world stage. It was not as big as it would be under Cassander’s reign, it was likely most of the citizens would have interacted with Alex personally at some point. These would have been the people he knew best, cared about, loved.
Alexander interacted with so many people during his short life. We know he was a very hands on king and general who knew the names of many of his men. It is likely he exchanged words at least once with a sizable percentage of this number but even if he did not, think of how many people knew of him, who were affected by him and all he did. Who fought him, who feared him, who finally saw him coming and ,in many cases, realized he wasn’t the monster they had been warned about
Think of how many people would have wanted to know him, to understand him, to meet him, and how many did. And realize that in this number there is room for you. In fact, it is statistically likely.
How big is an army? How big is an empire?
Alexander the great ruled through love. He thrived on it. He needed it, the love of his men, his people, his country. I think, if he too is out there somewhere, he’d be amused, flattered, and somewhat humbled by all the love he still gets. He’d probably want to know us all too. That’s just the kind of man he was.