Alexander the Great

The conquests of Alexander should enjoy pride of place in any study of globalization. He not only created arguably the first “international” empire, but his legacy also included the creation of new cultural standards across a broad, previously differentiated territory.

In some ways, much of what we recognize as the civilization of Ancient Greece was assured its historical centrality by the conquests of Alexander. Beginning in 334 BC he first crossed the Hellespont and began the reversal of what had previously been an East to West flow of ideas (and armies). His destruction of the Persian Empire removed the great competitor to what would eventually be called Western Culture. But Alexander did more than simply impose his beliefs on the conquered; he also borrowed elements from the various peoples he encountered and with these helped shape the culture of the eastern Mediterranean for nearly 1000 years. Alexander is the perfect example of culture following swords.