Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Robin Lane Fox on whether Alexander thought he was a god

Above Robin Lane Fox gives an interesting talk to the Hellenic Society on the religious cults that developed in Hellenistic times associated with Alexander the Great and argues that these were not advanced by Alexander nor were they a product of Alexander’s pretensions to divinity – there is a widespread assumption that Alexander was driven mad by a belief in his own divinity and that he insisted he should be worshipped as a god. Rather, Lane Fox says, the cults associated with Alexander emerged as ‘tactical’ honours, in specific cities, for specific political and cultural reasons. In other words, Alexander did not think of himself as a god and did nothing to encourage such beliefs.

While watching Lane Fox’s lecture on youtube, I also came across this video clip in which Lane Fox says that the two things that made him want to devote a considerable part of his intellectual life to the career and character of the Macedonian king were: 1. Alexander’s fearlessness; and 2. Alexander’s ‘rivalry’ (as Lane Fox puts it) with Homer and the values of the Homeric world.