Head of Alexander the Great

Head of Alexander the Great

3rd Century BC


Overall: 26.5 x 14.5 x 13.8 cm (10 7/16 x 5 11/16 x 5 7/16 in.)

Gift of Mrs. Ralph King 1927.209


Alexander III (“the Great”) of Macedon (356–323 BC) was the most successful military commander in history. At the time of his death in Babylon at age 32, he had conquered the Greek mainland, Egypt, the Near East, including the Persian Empire, and had marched as far east as the Hyphasis River in India. The son of Philip II of Macedon and Olympias, he was tutored from the age of 13 by Aristotle, who gave him a personally annotated copy of Homer’s Iliad, which he brought with him on his campaigns, always striving to emulate the uncompromising heroism of Achilles. He never realized his dream of a world that combined the best aspects of West and East, but Alexander’s military career spread Greek culture and language throughout the Near East, ushered in the Hellenistic period, and set the stage for the rise of the Roman Empire, the establishment of Christianity as a world religion, and Byzantium.

See also
GR - Greek
Greek and Roman Art
Type of artwork: 

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