In fairness, I shouldn have been more specific. I would not remove Alexander from the list specificly, I was just tossing one out to make the point that one could disagree with one on the list, and add another.
Originally Posted by SONNY WERBLIN
If you need a specific one, I'd cite the Indian Emperor Ashoka. I would remove him and put Hitler in his place, based on my rather limited knowledge of his time and empire.
You're an avid reader of history Sonny, and far FAR smarter than I. I know you're aware that the exploits of many of teh pre-AD Empires and leaders are as much legend as they are documented and verified facts. Historians of those times (even through the Roman Empire) often were very non-specific or even strait out fictitious in their histories.
Not sure where you get the theory of " wild overstatement" of army size and territorial gains.
A great example, the Romans defeat of the Caledonains and their leader Calgacus at Mons Graupius is one such tale, told by the historian Tacitus. Tacitus places in Calgacus's mouth a rather noble and Braveheartian speech. The speech is almost surely pure fiction, the mountain (Mons Grapius) cannot be located today, the description of the battle rather thin, and the description of army sizes is commonly beleieved to be quite overstated.
This was in AD 84, in the relatively well-documented Roman Empire. Now, you're not going to tell me Emperors and battles and armies of the 500+ BC were better documented, or more accurate and even-handed in their descriptions, and not equally caught up in their flair for drama and deification of the Emperors they describe, are you?
Objective history that is truly objective is a somewhat recent trend IMO. Historians or ancient times were as much storytellers and propagandists for their leaders as they were historians. Doesn't mean they were wrong, just that one has to factor in that aspect.
Aye, agreed. Like I said, should have cited Ashoka not Alexander in my original post. Wasn't trying to be specific, just expalin why I felt the list was cheapened by ignoring moden war and modern conquorors.
Alexander the Great was with no dispute among historians considered among the greatest military minds ever.
War in modern times engages every aspect of the Nation States that participate. Total war, with entire populations and economies involved, and mass destruction on scales unfathomable in previous eras. War in ancient times was not so universally encompassing.
And I'm not sure I understand how war was "far less encompassing" in an age where armies had to travel without planes, trains, trucks, radio communication, or even roads
Certainly civillian populations could suffer and did suffer (generally selective or universal slavery, some mass killing too of course). But generally, the army sizes were vastly too small to police the empires they took over (later follow-up leaders may have, but the conquorors themselves did not), and civillian populations were less impacted (less being a relative term of course).
Agree to disagree to a very small degree. While he certainly faced a few decently equipped and equitablearmies/opponents in his victories, most of what he conquored was effectively undefended civillian territory, millitarily, with a few very key battles and alot of undefended space. Walking past a village, saying "I own you now" then trotting past without leaving anyone to watch over that village is hardly what I'd call conquoring or even holding.
Alexander the Great conquered, and held, an empire... with horses, elephants, and the like. A much greater feat than an age where any 18 year old boy can be made into a deadly soldier by handing him a rifle or putting him in a Tank.
Again, agree to disagree to a small degree. Holding is seperate from conquoring. It took the combined might of the Soviet Union, Great Britan and the United States (and what was left of Poland and France) to defeat Germany, and even then it was only Hitler egotistical blunders that led to defeat. Alexander suffered no equivalent massed-superiors opposition on that level, he took on his opponents one by one on one front geenrally. Unlike Hitler, who took over a completely defeated and unarmed nation, Alexander took over from his father Phillip, no wimp himself, and inherited Phillip's armies, experienced and capable.
Hitler, Hirohito, and Napoleon all had very short-lived successes. They basically each started a war and eventually lost that war. Unlike the 3 you point to ATG didn't lose a war. Great Conqueror labels can NOT be given to those that are themselves conquered. It took death to end ATG's reign.
The Poles, Belorussians, Latvians, Ukrainians etc, etc, etc, would beg to differ. All depends on what you consider conquoring and if it has to be purely millitary, or also partly political (or in this case geopolitical, with the allies feeble aquiesence). I'm a little biased on this one, I think generally the U.S. has a very poor understanding of the true evil perpetrated under Stalin frankly.
As to Stalin, I never considered him a conqueror of anything. He subjugated his own people.