The Influential Women that Surrounded and Aided Alexander the Great

The Influential Women that Surrounded and Aided Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great was lucky to have very supportive women at his side throughout his life. Historical records show that he was well-protected by them and that they were his secret source of power as well.

The most important woman in Alexander’s life was his mother Olympias, but Barsine and Roxana also seem to have had key influences on him. Some of the Macedonian king’s shorter romances also affected his life positively. It is worth wondering if he would have been such a successful person if he had not had the strong women who took care of him at his side.

Olympias – Mother, Protector, and Best Friend

Olympias was Alexander’s mother, protector, and best friend. She was a woman who fought like a lion to protect her son and even sacrificed her husband, king Philip II of Macedonia, to support Alexander.

Her birth name was Myrtle, and she was a daughter of Neoptolemus, the king of Epirus. Legend says that she had relatives who fought in the Trojan War.

A statue of Alexander and Olympias, Schönbrunn, Vienna. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

Olympias wasn't lucky in her marriage. When she couldn't have more children, Phillip became interested in other women. He didn't accept monogamy, and Olympias suffered. She promised herself that she would do her best to not allow any of Phillip’s other sons to become king – just her own. She became Alexander’s most demanding teacher and supporter. She hired an army of people who earned lots of money for protecting the boy who would become the king of Macedonia.

After Alexander’s death, Olympias did her best to be the same source of support and strength for his wife and son. She hoped that her grandson would be able to continue the reign of Alexander, but unfortunately things did not go as she planned. Olympias was murdered by Cassander around 310 BC. She was stoned to death.

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Barsine – the Noble Wife of Persian Legend

Barsine was once a wife of Memnon. She was also a daughter of the influential Artabazus. After Memnon’s death of in 333 BC, she felt she was free to look for another relationship. When she saw Alexander the Great, she knew that he was the best her option. As Plutarch wrote:

"At any rate Alexander, so it seems, thought it more worthy of a king to subdue his own passions than to conquer his enemies, and so he never came near these women, nor did he associate with any other before his marriage, with the exception only of Barsine. This woman, the widow of Memnon, the Greek mercenary commander, was captured at Damascus. She had received a Greek education, was of a gentle disposition, and could claim royal descent, since her father was Artabazus who had married one of the Persian kings’ daughters. These qualities made Alexander the more willing he was encouraged by Parmenio, so Aristobulus tells us to form an attachment to a woman of such beauty and noble lineage." (Plutarch, Alexander, 21).

A mural in Pompeii, depicting the marriage of Alexander to Barsine (Stateira) in 324 BC.

Barsine may have given birth to Alexander’s son in 327 BC. According to Plutarch, Alexander fell in love with Barsine for her beauty, and they had a son named Heracles. It is important to note that his only confirmed son was born after his death, so Barsine’s child would mean one was born while he was alive as well. It is unknown if the story about the baby is real or not, but it brings some questions. If the boy did exist, what happened to him? Why do no resources mention him as Alexander’s successor?

Barsine was a woman who understood Alexander’s power and she may have been with him as she wanted to create the greatest kingdom of all the time. But this wasn't to happen. She was only to be one of Alexander’s lovers, although one of the most important ones - she wasn't a mistress or a concubine.

Roxana – the Beloved

Some historians believe that Roxana was Alexander’s greatest weakness. He lost his heart to her when he was 28, and with this relationship he also lost interest in other women. She was described by the writers who saw her as one of the most beautiful women in all of Asia. Her Afghan name was Roshanak, meaning ''little star''. The ancient historians say that she was Persian.

Alexander the Great and Roxana, in a 1756 painting by Italian Baroque artist Pietro Rotari.

Roxana and Alexander also married for political reasons. After conquering many lands in Asia, Alexander wanted to strengthen the bonds with the new parts of his Empire. The marriage took place in spring or in August of 327 BC. According to ancient sources, Roxana became Alexander’s greatest passion. He was so charmed by her beauty and wisdom that he spent more time with her than his soldiers wanted him to.

When Alexander died in 323 BC, Roxana’s position was still strong, but she already knew the cruel ways of royal courts. She decided to kill two of Alexander’s other women, hoping to protect herself and her unborn son. She gave birth to a boy named Alexander (Alexander IV), six months after the death of Alexander the Great.

Alexander IV with his mother, by Alessandro Varotari.

In 320 BC, Roxana was taken into custody by the regent of Macedonia (and a former friend of Alexander) named Antipater. She was murdered by his son, Cassander, in 320 BC.

Other Romances of the Macedonian King

Apart from the described women, Alexander's short life was rich in other affairs too. Nonetheless, according to Plutarch, the king tried to be as careful as possible. He knew that many people would like to murder him and he was much more interested in conquering enemies than finding serious love affairs. But there were a few women who caught his attention. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of Persian women in particular, and they were his weakness. Some historians believe that one Persian with beautiful eyes could even have been the cause of the Macedonian King’s death.

Among Alexander’s women, it is also important to mention Callixena, who was the first lover of the young Alexander. She was known for her beauty and Olympias often sent her to Alexander to have sex. Theirs was not much of a “relationship,” but the future king spent lots of time with this woman.

The romance of Alexander and the Queen of the Amazons, Thalestris, sounds like a story taken from a Hollywood movie. They met in Hyracania, on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. It was autumn 330 BC, and she traveled 200 or even 600 miles to meet the king, who was already the most famous warrior of the world. The sources aren't clear about the specific place of meeting. It is also unknown where Thalestiris’ settlement was. Some resources suggest that it was somewhere near the Black Sea.

Wherever it took place, when Thalestris stood in front of Alexander, her dress did not entirely cover her body. She was dressed like an Amazon, so the left side of her chest was uncovered. She appeared to be a passionate woman in Alexander’s eyes, and he was amazed by her strength and power. They spent thirteen days together as a couple. However, after this short romance, they probably never met again.

An 18th-century Rococo painting of The Amazon Queen Thalestris in the Camp of Alexander the Great, by Johann Georg Platzer.

The Powerful Women Behind the King

History knows a few more names of women who may have been Alexander’s lovers or wives. One of them is Queen Cleophis, who was also known as Candance. She was a queen of Massaga, an ancient capital in current northern Pakistan.

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In Alexander’s life there was also a woman known as Princess Statira (a daughter of the former Great King Darius III) also known in sources as Barsine or Arsinoe. Alexander met her in February 324 BC. On the same day he married Parysatis, a daughter of the Persian King Artaxerxes III. Statira and Parysatis were both murdered by Roxane, suggesting that they were quite important in Alexander's life. It is obvious that he used their knowledge in his strategies and plans.

The family of Darius in front of Alexander, by Justus Sustermans and preserved in the Biblioteca Museu Víctor Balaguer.

Alexander the Great was something of a “ladies’ man”. Unfortunately for the women who were drawn in most of them became the victims of murder. Alexander died when he was 33, but when he was alive he did little to protect the women who served him with their minds, souls, and in many cases bodies too.

Featured image: The Women of Darius's Family before Alexander the Great. (c. 1517) by Il Sodoma. Source:


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Period of conquests

Fall of the Persian Empire

Alexander's army had crossed the Hellespont with about 42,000 soldiers&mdashprimarily Macedonians and Greeks, more southern city-states of Greece, but also including some Thracians, Paionians and Illyrians. After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle of Granicus, Alexander accepted the surrender of the Persian provincial capital and treasury of Sardis and proceeded down the Ionian coast. At Halicarnassus, Alexander successfully waged the first of many sieges, eventually forcing his opponents, the mercenary captain Memnon of Rhodes and the Persian satrap of Caria, Orontobates, to withdraw by sea. Alexander left Caria in the hands of Ada, who was ruler of Caria before being deposed by her brother Pixodarus. From Halicarnassus, Alexander proceeded into mountainous Lycia and the Pamphylian plain, asserting control over all coastal cities and denying them to his enemy. From Pamphylia onward, the coast held no major ports and so Alexander moved inland. At Termessus, Alexander humbled but did not storm the Pisidian city. At the ancient Phrygian capital of Gordium, Alexander "undid" the tangled Gordian Knot, a feat said to await the future "king of Asia." According to the most vivid story, Alexander proclaimed that it did not matter how the knot was undone, and he hacked it apart with his sword. Another version claims that he did not use the sword, but actually figured out how to undo the knot.

Alexander's army crossed the Cilician Gates, met and defeated the main Persian army under the command of Darius III at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC. Darius fled this battle in such a panic for his life that he left behind his wife, his two daughters, his mother Sisygambis, and much of his personal treasure. Proceeding down the Mediterranean coast, he took Tyre and Gaza after famous sieges (see Siege of Tyre). Alexander passed through Judea near Jerusalem but probably did not visit the city.

In 332 BC&ndash331 BC, Alexander was welcomed as a liberator in Egypt and was pronounced the son of Zeus by Egyptian priests of the god Ammon at the Oracle of the god at the Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert. Henceforth, Alexander referred to the god Zeus-Ammon as his true father, and subsequent currency featuring his head with ram horns was proof of this widespread belief. He founded Alexandria in Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic dynasty after his death. Leaving Egypt, Alexander marched eastward into Assyria (now northern Iraq) and defeated Darius and a third Persian army at the Battle of Gaugamela. Darius was forced to flee the field after his charioteer was killed, and Alexander chased him as far as Arbela. While Darius fled over the mountains to Ecbatana (modern Hamadan), Alexander marched to Babylon.

From Babylon, Alexander went to Susa, one of the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its treasury. Sending the bulk of his army to Persepolis, the Persian capital, by the Royal Road, Alexander stormed and captured the Persian Gates (in the modern Zagros Mountains), then sprinted for Persepolis before its treasury could be looted. After several months Alexander allowed the troops to loot Persepolis. A fire broke out in the eastern palace of Xerxes and spread to the rest of the city. It was not known if it was a drunken accident or a deliberate act of revenge for the burning of the Athenian Acropolis during the Second Persian War. The Book of Arda Wiraz, a Zoroastrian work composed in the 3rd or 4th century AD, also speaks of archives containing "all the Avesta and Zand, written upon prepared cow-skins, and with gold ink" that were destroyed but it must be said that this statement is often treated by scholars with a certain measure of skepticism, because it is generally thought that for many centuries the Avesta was transmitted mainly orally by the Magians.

He then set off in pursuit of Darius, who was kidnapped, and then murdered by followers of Bessus, his Bactrian satrap and kinsman. Bessus then declared himself Darius' successor as Artaxerxes V and retreated into Central Asia to launch a guerrilla campaign against Alexander. With the death of Darius, Alexander declared the war of vengeance over, and released his Greek and other allies from service in the League campaign (although he allowed those that wished to re-enlist as mercenaries in his imperial army).

His three-year campaign against first Bessus and then the satrap of Sogdiana, Spitamenes, took him through Media, Parthia, Aria, Drangiana, Arachosia, Bactria, and Scythia. In the process, he captured and refounded Herat and Maracanda. Moreover, he founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and Alexandria Eschate ("The Furthest") in modern Tajikistan. In the end, both were betrayed by their men, Bessus in 329 BC and Spitamenes the year after.

Hostility toward Alexander

During this time, Alexander adopted some elements of Persian dress and customs at his court, notably the custom of proskynesis, a symbolic kissing of the hand that Persians paid to their social superiors, but a practice of which the Greeks disapproved. The Greeks regarded the gesture as the preserve of deities and believed that Alexander meant to deify himself by requiring it. This cost him much in the sympathies of many of his countrymen. Here, too, a plot against his life was revealed, and one of his officers, Philotas, was executed for treason for failing to bring the plot to his attention. Parmenion, Philotas' father, who had been charged with guarding the treasury at Ecbatana, was assassinated by command of Alexander, who feared that Parmenion might attempt to avenge his son. Several other trials for treason followed, and many Macedonians were executed. Later on, in a drunken quarrel at Maracanda, he also killed the man who had saved his life at Granicus, Clitus the Black. Later in the Central Asian campaign, a second plot against his life, this one by his own pages, was revealed, and his official historian, Callisthenes of Olynthus (who had fallen out of favour with the king by leading the opposition to his attempt to introduce proskynesis), was implicated on what many historians regard as trumped-up charges. However, the evidence is strong that Callisthenes, the teacher of the pages, must have been the one who persuaded them to assassinate the king.

Invasion of India

After the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana (Roshanak in Bactrian) to cement his relations with his new Central Asian satrapies, in 326 BC Alexander was finally free to turn his attention to India. Alexander invited all the chieftains of the former satrapy of Gandhara, in the north of present-day Pakistan, to come to him and submit to his authority. Ambhi, ruler of Taxila, whose kingdom extended from the Indus to the Hydaspes ( Jhelum), complied. But the chieftains of some hilly clans including the Aspasios and Assakenois sections of the Kambojas (classical names), known in Indian texts as Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas (names referring to their equestrian nature), refused to submit.

Alexander personally took command of the shield-bearing guards, foot-companions, archers, Agrianians and horse-javelin-men and led them against the Kamboja clans&mdashthe Aspasios of Kunar/ Alishang valleys, the Guraeans of the Guraeus ( Panjkora) valley, and the Assakenois of the Swat and Buner valleys. Writes one modern historian: "They were brave people and it was hard work for Alexander to take their strongholds, of which Massaga and Aornus need special mention." A fierce contest ensued with the Aspasios in which Alexander himself was wounded in the shoulder by a dart but eventually the Aspasios lost the fight 40,000 of them were enslaved. The Assakenois faced Alexander with an army of 30,000 cavalry, 38,000 infantry and 30 elephants. They had fought bravely and offered stubborn resistance to the invader in many of their strongholds like cities of Ora, Bazira and Massaga. The fort of Massaga could only be reduced after several days of bloody fighting in which Alexander himself was wounded seriously in the ankle. When the Chieftain of Massaga fell in the battle, the supreme command of the army went to his old mother Cleophis (q.v.) who also stood determined to defend her motherland to the last extremity. The example of Cleophis assuming the supreme command of the military also brought the entire women of the locality into the fighting. Alexander could only reduce Massaga by resorting to political strategem and actions of betrayal. According to Curtius: "Not only did Alexander slaughter the entire population of Massaga, but also did he reduce its buildings to rubbles." A similar manslaughter then followed at Ora, another stronghold of the Assakenois.

In the aftermath of general slaughter and arson committed by Alexander at Massaga and Ora, numerous Assakenian people fled to a high fortress called Aornos. Alexander followed them close behind their heels and captured the strategic hill-fort but only after the fourth day of a bloody fight. The story of Massaga was repeated at Aornos and a similar carnage on the tribal-people followed here too.

Writing on Alexander's campaign against the Assakenois, Victor Hanson comments: "After promising the surrounded Assacenis their lives upon capitulation, he executed all their soldiers who had surrendered. Their strongholds at Ora and Aornus were also similarly stormed. Garrisons were probably all slaughtered.&rdquo

Sisikottos, who had helped Alexander in this campaign, was made the governor of Aornos.

After reducing Aornos, Alexander crossed the Indus and fought and won an epic battle against Porus, a ruler of a region in the Punjab in the Battle of Hydaspes in 326 BC.

After the victory, Alexander was greatly impressed by Porus for his bravery in battle, and therefore made an alliance with him and appointed him as satrap of his own kingdom, even adding some land he did not own before. Alexander then named one of the two new cities that he founded, Bucephala, in honour of the horse who had brought him to India, who had died during the Battle of Hydaspes. Alexander continued on to conquer all the headwaters of the Indus River.

East of Porus' kingdom, near the Ganges River, was the powerful empire of Magadha ruled by the Nanda dynasty. Fearing the prospects of facing another powerful Indian army and exhausted by years of campaigning, his army mutinied at the Hyphasis River (the modern Beas River), refusing to march further east. This river thus marks the eastern-most extent of Alexander's conquests: "As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India. For having had all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants. For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand fighting elephants." Plutarch, Vita Alexandri, 62

Alexander, after the meeting with his officer Coenus, was convinced that it was better to return. Alexander was forced to turn south. He sent much of his army to Carmania (modern southern Iran) with his general Craterus, and commissioned a fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus, while he led the rest of his forces back to Persia by the southern route through the Gedrosian Desert (now part of southern Iran and Makran in southern Pakistan).

Alexander left forces in India however. In the territory of the Indus, he nominated his officer Peithon as a satrap, a position he would hold for the next ten years until 316 BC, and in the Punjab he left Eudemus in charge of the army, at the side of the satrap Porus and Taxiles. Eudemus became ruler of the Punjab after their death. Both rulers returned to the West in 316 BC with their armies, and Chandragupta Maurya established the Maurya Empire in India.

After India

Discovering that many of his satraps and military governors had misbehaved in his absence, Alexander executed a number of them as examples on his way to Susa. As a gesture of thanks, he paid off the debts of his soldiers, and announced that he would send those over-aged and disabled veterans back to Macedonia under Craterus, but his troops misunderstood his intention and mutinied at the town of Opis, refusing to be sent away and bitterly criticizing his adoption of Persian customs and dress and the introduction of Persian officers and soldiers into Macedonian units. Alexander executed the ringleaders of the mutiny, but forgave the rank and file. In an attempt to craft a lasting harmony between his Macedonian and Persian subjects, he held a mass marriage of his senior officers to Persian and other noblewomen at Susa, but few of those marriages seem to have lasted much beyond a year.

His attempts to merge Persian culture with his Greek soldiers also included training a regiment of Persian boys in the ways of Macedonians. Most historians believe that Alexander adopted the Persian royal title of shahanshah ("great king" or "king of kings").

It is claimed that Alexander wanted to overrun or integrate the Arabian peninsula, but this theory is widely disputed. It was assumed that Alexander would turn westwards and attack Carthage and Italy, had he conquered Arabia.

After traveling to Ecbatana to retrieve the bulk of the Persian treasure, his closest friend and possibly lover Hephaestion died of an illness, or possibly of poisoning.


Wanita-Wanita Yang Pernah Mencuri Hati Alexander The Great

Alexander Agung dikira cukup bertuah kerana beliau mempunyai ramai wanita yang menyokong beliau di sisinya. Rekod-rekod sejarah menunjukkan bahawa beliau dilindungi oleh mereka. Bahkan, sebahagian daripada mereka turut menjadi sumber kekuatannya.

Wanita yang paling penting dalam hidup Alexander tidak lain dan tidak bukan adalah ibunya, Olympias. Namun, Barsine dan Roxana juga memberikan pengaruh yang penting ke atas diri Alexander.

Beberapa kisah romantis singkat beliau dengan beberapa orang wanita turut mempengaruhi kehidupannya secara positif. Justeru, tidak keterlaluan juga seandainya ada sejarahwan yang mempersoalkan, “adakah beliau akan berupaya menjadi seorang yang begitu berjaya andai wanita-wanita ini tidak menyokongnya?”

OLYMPIAS – IBU, PELINDUNG DAN TEMAN RAPAT ALEXANDER

Olympias adalah ibu, pelindung dan teman rapat Alexander. Beliau adalah wanita yang berjuang bagaikan seekor singa demi melindungi anaknya. Beliau bahkan mengorbankan suaminya, Raja Philip II demi memberikan sokongan penuh kepada Alexander.

Nama sebenar beliau adalah Myrtie dan beliau adalah puteri kepada Neoptolemus si Raja Epirus. Legenda menyebutkan bahawa beliau mempunyai ahli keluarga yang menyertai P3rang Trojan.

Patung Alexander dan Olympias, Schonbrunn, Vienna

Olympias tidak meraih nasib yang baik dalam perkahwinannya. Ketika mengetahui bahawa beliau tidak dapat melahirkan lebih ramai anak, Philip mula menaruh minat pada wanita-wanita lain. Philip enggan mengamalkan monogami dan hal ini melukakan hati Olympias.

Lantaran itu, Olympias pun bertekad untuk berusaha seupaya mungkin bagi menghalang mana-mana putera Philip yang lain menjadi raja. Beliau hanya mahu puteranya seorang sahaja yang mewarisi takhta Macedonia.

Olympias turut menjadi guru dan pendokong Alexander yang paling berpengaruh. Beliau malah mengupah sepasukan tentera demi melindungi putera yang bakal menjadi raja Macedonia itu.

Selepas kemangkatan Alexander, Olympias berusaha seupaya mungkin untuk memberikan sokongan pada kepada isteri dan putera Alexander. Beliau berharap agar cucunya itu dapat meneruskan legasi pemerintahan Alexander.

Namun malangnya, keadaan tidak berjalan seperti yang beliau harapkan. Olympias dibvnuh oleh Cassander sekitar tahun 310SM akibat direjam sehingga m4ti.

BARSINE – ISTERI KEHORMAT DARI PARSI

Barsine yang merupakan puteri kepada Artabazus pernah mengahwini Memnom. Selepas Memnon mangkat pada tahun 333SM, Barsine berasa bebas untuk mencari pasangan hidup yang baru. Tatkala melihat gerangan Alexander Agung, beliau menyedari bahawa lelaki itu adalah pilihan yang terbaik untuknya. Plutarch menulis:

“Dalam keadaan apa sekalipun, Alexander memperkirakan bahawa lebih penting bagi seseorang raja itu menundukkan nafsunya sendiri berbanding men4kluk musuh-musuhnya, maka beliau tidak pernah mendekati mana-mana wanita ini, dan tidak pernah pula beliau bergaul dengan mereka sebelum berkahwin, kecuali dengan Barsine. Wanita ini, janda kepada Memnon si komander tentera upahan Yunani, diambil di Damascus.

Barsine menerima pendidikan Yunani, berperibadi luhur, dan berketurunan diraja memandangkan bapanya, Artabazus mengahwini salah seorang puteri raja Parsi. Kualiti-kualiti ini membuatkan Alexander lebih bersemangat berbanding ketika disemangatkan oleh Parmenio, maka Aristobulus menyuruh kita untuk menjalinkan hubungan dengan wanita yang sejelita dan semulia pula keturunannya ini.” (Plutarch, Alexander, 21)

Patung Alexander dan Olympias, Schonbrunn, Vienna

Pun begitu, satu-satunya putera Alexander yang disahkan oleh sejarahwan direkodkan lahir sesudah kemangkatan beliau. Dalam erti kata lain, kelahiran anak Barsine ini membawa maksud Alexander memiliki anak yang lahir semasa beliau masih hidup.
Barsine melahirkan putera Alexander pada tahun 327SM. Menurut Plutarch, Alexander jatuh cinta dengan Barsine kerana kejelitaannya dan mereka dikurniakan seorang putera bernama Heracles.

Namun, sejarahwan tidak dapat memastikan sama ada kisah tentang anak Barsine ini benar ataupun tidak. Apapun, hal ini menimbulkan beberapa persoalan. Seandainya anak ini wujud, maka apa yang berlaku padanya? Mengapa tiada sumber yang menyebut perihal beliau sebagai pewaris Alexander?

Barsine merupakan seorang wanita yang faham benar tentang kekuasaan yang dimiliki oleh Alexander. Beliau berkemungkinan hidup bersama Alexander kerana mahu membina sebuah kerajaan teragung sepanjang zaman. Namun, beliau hanyalah salah seorang kekasih Alexander, walaupun sememangnya beliau adalah antara wanita terpenting bagi Alexander.

ROXANA – KEKASIH HATI ALEXANDER

Sebilangan sejarahwan mempercayai bahawa Roxana adalah titik lemah Alexander yang paling besar. Alexander jatuh hati pada Roxana pada usia 28 tahun.

Dengan berputiknya hubungan tersebut, Alexander juga hilang minat dengan wanita-wanita lain. Roxana diperincikan oleh para penulis yang pernah melihatnya sebagai salah seorang wanita paling cantik di Asia.

Nama beliau dalam Bahasa Afghan adalah Roshanak, yang membawa maksud ‘bintang kecil’. Sejarahwan purba menyebutkan bahawa Roxana adalah wanita berketurunan Parsi.

Alexander Agung dan Roxana dalam sebuah lukisan tahun 1756 oleh Pietro Rotari

Roxana dan Alexander juga berkahwin atas sebab politik. Selepas men4kluk wilayah demi wilayah di Asia, Alexander berhasrat untuk memperteguhkan hubungan dengan masyarakat di wilayah t4klukan itu.

Perkahwinan antara beliau dan Roxana dilangsungkan pada musim bunga atau pada bulan Ogos 327SM. Menurut sumber-sumber purba, Roxana menjadi keutamaan Alexander. Beliau begitu tertawan hati dengan kejelitaan dan kebijaksanaan Roxana hinggakan Alexander lebih banyak meluangkan masa dengan beliau berbanding dengan tentera-tenteranya.

Tatkala Alexander mangkat pada tahun 323SM, kedudukan Roxana masih kekal kuat. Namun, beliau sudah pun masak dengan permainan politik istana yang kejam.

Justeru, beliau memutuskan untuk membvnuh dua orang wanita Alexander yang lain dengan tujuan melindungi diri dan anak yang dikandungkannya. Beliau melahirkan seorang putera bernama Alexander (Alexaner IV) enam bulan selepas kemangkatan Alexander Agung.

Pada tahun 320SM, Roxana ditangkap oleh pemangku diraja Macedonia (dan bekas rakan Alexander) yang bernama Antipater. Beliau dibvnuh oleh putera Antipater, iaitu Cassander pada tahun sama.

Pembvnuhan Olympias oleh Cassander

KISAH-KISAH ROMANTIS LAIN

Selain wanita-wanita yang telah disebutkan di atas, kehidupan Alexander yang singkat juga kaya dengan hubungan-hubungan percintaan dengan wanita-wanita lain.

Apapun menurut Plutarch, Alexander tetap cuba mengamalkan sikap berhati-hati lantaran beliau mengetahui bahawa ramai individu yang cuba untuk membvnuhnya. Malahan, beliau lebih berminat untuk menumpukan perhatian pada pen4klukan musuh berbanding mencari hubungan cinta yang serius.

Namun, terdapat beberapa orang wanita yang berjaya menarik perhatiannya. Beliau mengagumi kejelitaan wanita-wanita Parsi secara khusus, hinggakan mereka disifatkan sebagai kelemahan Alexander. Sebilangan sejarahwan meyakini bahawa seorang wanita Parsi bermata jelita mungkin menjadi sebab kemangkatan raja Macedonia itu.

Dalam kalangan wanita-wanita Alexander, tidak sah jika kita tidak memerihalkan tentang Callixena yang menjadi cinta pertama Alexander di zaman mudanya. Beliau dikenali lantaran kejelitaan yang dimiliki.

Olympias sering memanggil Callixena agar kedua pasangan itu dapat melakukan hubungan intim. Pun begitu, hubungan mereka berdua tidaklah cenderung bersifat serius. Apapun, Alexander tetap meluangkan masa yang cukup banyak dengan Callixena.

Kisah romantis antara Alexander dan Ratu Amazon, Thalestris pula kedengaran seperti kisah dongeng. Diceritakan bahawa mereka bertemu di Hyracania yang terletak di pantai selatan Laut Caspian pada musim luruh tahun 330SM.

Thalestris sanggup mengembara sejauh 200 atau bahkan 600 batu untuk bertemu dengan Alexander yang sudah pun menjadi pahlawan termasyhur dunia pada waktu itu.

Sumber-sumber yang ada tidak menerangkan secara jelas tentang tempat pertemuan tersebut. Sejarahwan juga tidak mengetahui di manakah Thalestris menetap. Namun, ada yang berpendapat bahawa kawasan tersebut terletak di suatu tempat yang berhampiran dengan Laut Hitam.

Walau di mana pun jua peristiwa ini berlaku, Thalestris menemui Alexander dalam keadaan berpakaian yang tidak menutupi tubuhnya sepenuhnya. Beliau berpakaian seperti seorang Amazon, justeru bahagian kiri dadanya terdedah. Pada mata Alexander, Thalestris merupakan seorang wanita yang bersemangat dan gagah. Mereka berdua meluangkan masa bersama selama 13 hari. Setelah itu, mereka tidak pernah lagi bertemu.

Lukisan kurun ke-18 oeh Georg Platzer tentang Ratu Amazon Thalestris di Kem Alexander Agung

WANITA-WANITA DI BELAKANG ALEXANDER

Sejarah turut mengenali beberapa nama wanita lain yang mungkin pernah menjadi kekasih atau isteri Alexander. Salah seorang daripada mereka adalah Ratu Cleophis, yang juga dikenali sebagai Candance. Beliau merupakan ratu Massaga, sebuah ibu kota purba di Pakistan utara.

Terdapat juga seorang wanita yang dikenali sebagai Puteri Statira (puteri kepada Raja Darius III Agung). Dalam beberapa sumber, beliau dikenali dengan nama Barsine atau Arsinoe. Alexander menemuinya pada bulan Februari 324SM.

Pada hari yang sama, Alexander turut mengahwini Parysatis, puteri kepada Raja Parsi Artaxerxes III. Statira dan Parysatis masing-masing dibvnuh oleh Roxana. Hal ini memberikan petunjuk kepada kita bahawa mereka berdua memiliki tempat yang cukup penting dalam hidup Alexander.

Keluarga Darius di hadapan Alexander, oleh Justus Sustermans

Alexader Agung disifatkan sebagai seorang lelaki yang dikelilingi oleh sejumlah wanita. Namun malangnya, kebanyakan wanita ini menjadi mangsa pembvnuhan. Alexander mangkat pada usia yang muda, iaitu sekitar 33 tahun.

Namun semasa hayatnya, beliau sama sekali tidak berusaha untuk melindungi wanita-wanita yang menumpahkan khidmat kepadanya, baik menerusi akal fikiran, jiwa dan dalam kebanyakan situasi, dengan tubuh mereka.


The Influential Women that Surrounded and Aided Alexander the Great - History

These are men and women who took up a cause, fought for it, and became examples of determination and decisiveness in their pursuit of improving themselves, their country, and the world. One thing you will notice about the list is that the majority of those on this list became great through the act of war, either against them or as the conquerors. This is not to say that great leaders are war-like, but that during war, great leaders become noticed, as in, they rise to the occasion.

Winston Churchill

Having fought in the Second Boer War, he gained fame as a correspondent for the war as well. This helped forge the leadership qualities that he would become known for decades later. In the First World War, he would fight with on the Western Front before becoming President of the Board of Trade and Home Secretary during the war years. He was also First Lord of the Admiralty, Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State of War, and the Secretary of the State of Air during the First World War.

By the time he died, he was considered the "Greatest Briton" of the first part of the 20 th century. Churchill was given a state funeral by the Queen which was one of the largest assemblies of statesmen in the world.

Julius Caesar

Born in 100 BC, Caesar is known as one of the greatest military commanders and political leaders in history, and is often considered to be one of the most influential men in world history. If not for him, the Roman Empire may never have existed.

As a military leader, he conquered huge swaths of Europe for the Romans, allowing them to extend their dominance all the way to the British Isles.

In 49 BC, after a standoff with the Senate, Caesar started a Roman civil war that would lead him to be the master of the Roman world. Upon taking control of the government, he launched massive changes to the Roman system, most notably making himself dictator for life, and he centralized the bureaucracy of the Republic to make it much more efficient. However, because of these changes he was assassinated on March 15, 44 BC. This launched another civil war that because of led to the establishment of the Roman Empire. Two years after his death, he was made a Roman deity by the Senate.

Abraham Lincoln

Born in 1809, Lincoln would become the 16 th , and arguably the greatest, President of the United States. It was during his term that he kept the United States together by defeating the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. It was Lincoln who selected the top generals for the war, including Ulysses S. Grant. He also forced his party and the Republican Party to co-operate by bringing them both into his cabinet. In 1861, he diffused a war with Britain. With all this, he got reelected in 1864.

On top of essentially saving the United States of America, he also abolished slavery through the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Lincoln never compromised on the issue of slavery, and through his amazing speeches, including his Gettysburg Address, he rallied people to his causes.

In 1865, he became the first President of the United States to be assassinated.

Born in 1869, Gandhi is considered to be the father of India because of his non-violent resistance that helped to end the British occupation of India. He pioneered the concept of non-violent resistance, inspired civil right movements, and freedom across the planet. In India, he is known as The Great Soul because of his wisdom and efforts. His birthday, October 2, is a national holiday in India and the International Day of Non-Violence for the United Nations.

Gandhi organized poor farmers and workers to protest the taxation and the discrimination against his people. After taking over the leadership of the Indian National Congress, he helped alleviate poverty, helped the liberation of women, and pursued a brotherhood amongst the different religions and ethnic groups in India. He also ended caste discrimination in the country and helped it become economically self-sufficient.

In 1930, he walked 400 kilometers in the Dandi Salt March to protest the British salt tax. For this, and other protests, he was imprisoned many different times.

Living simply with just a cloth to cover himself, he practiced making his own clothes, practiced vegetarianism, and underwent long fasts both for purification and during protests. Tragically, he was assassinated in 1948. In 1999, Time Magazine picked him as the second greatest person of the 20 th century, right behind Albert Einstein.

Alexander The Great

Born in 356 BC, Alexander would become one of the greatest military commanders in history having never being defeated. By the time of his death in 323, he had conquered most of the known world.

During his time, he was able to conquer the Persian Empire, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria, Mesopotamia, extending his empire all the way to Punjab, India.

Alexander died at the age of only 33, not on the battlefield, but due to either malaria, poisoning, or typhoid fever. He had already made plans to conquer the Arabian Peninsula, along with Rome and Carthage, and extending as far east as he could possibly go.

To accomplish his exploits, he fused foreigners into his army and encouraged marriage between soldiers and foreigners to create harmony and brotherhood between his army and those he conquered.

For centuries after his death, the cultural influence of the Greeks extended all over the Old World, creating the Hellenistic Age that featured an amazing combination of Greek, Middle Eastern, and Indian culture.

Alexander would live throughout history as a legendary warrior and one of the greatest leaders in the history of humanity.

Born in 341 BC, Epicurus was a Greek philosopher and the founder of Hellenistic philosophy, which spanned over 600 years of history. He wrote over 300 works, only a few of which survive to this day. Many of his works urged people to attain the happy and tranquil life they deserved, absent from pain and fear, with a self-sufficient life, and surrounded by those whom one loved. He stated that death should not be feared, the gods did not reward or punish humans, and the universe was infinite and eternal. Amazingly, he stated that the events of the world was based on the motions and interactions of atoms in empty space. This concept was literally thousands of years ahead of its time.

So influential in his teachings was Epicurus, that even John Locke used Epicurus' beliefs of life, liberty, and property during the French Revolution. The beliefs of Epicurus were also used in the Declaration of Independence in the words all men are created equal and inalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Karl Marx, the founder of socialism even wrote his doctoral thesis on Epicurus.

Epicurus would die at the age of 71, as one of the most respected thinkers and philosophical leaders in the history of humanity.

Horatio Nelson

Born in 1758, Horatio Nelson is also remembered as possibly the greatest leader in human history. As a British admiral during the Napoleonic Wars, Nelson was known for his ability to inspire and bring out the best in his men. So much so that he was remembered greatly for The Nelson Touch . During this war, the image of the one-armed and one-eyed admiral spread through the British Empire and he became a legendary figure unlike anything the British, or the world, had ever seen.

Nelson was able to inspire officers of the highest rank and seamen of the lowest rank with his victories. He had the amazing ability to plan his campaigns and shift his forces while in the midst of battle. For this, and his ability to inspire men like no other, he is remembered as one of the greatest field commanders in history, and the greatest warrior of the sea.

During his final battle on October 21, 1805, Nelson fought in the Battle of Trafalgar, a decisive victory for the British in the Napoleonic Wars. However, during the battle he was shot by a sniper from a French ship only 50 feet away. The bullet entered his left shoulder, went through his lung and came to rest in his spine. He stayed conscious for four hours before dying only minutes after the battle ended with a victory for the British.

Nelson's final words are believed to be Thank God, I have done my duty. He repeated the words until he could no longer speak. He was given a state funeral, one of only five non-royals to receive the honor, and was laid to rest at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Queen Elizabeth I

Born in 1533, Queen Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII, is often cited as the greatest monarch in the history of England. Using trusted advisors, she is credited with helping create the Church of England in its present form. Due to her refusal to marry, a cult of portraits, pageants, and literature grew around her as a celebration of her life.

With Elizabeth as the monarch, the Spanish armada of 1588 was defeated, helping her become a part of the greatest victory in British History. Under her rule, Britain entered a golden age, often called the Elizabethan era, where the arts flourished under William Shakespeare, and the seafaring ability of the British became legendary under Francis Drake.

She is now remembered as a charismatic leader and a dogged survivor who kept her country together and safe through 45 years of stability. This helped the British forge an identity.

Born a few decades after 1 AD, Boudicca (Boadicea) was queen of the Iceni people. Under her leadership, the Iceni people rose up against the Roman Empire which had occupied their lands.

After her husband died, despite leaving his kingdom to their daughters, the Romans took over her lands, flogged her, and demanded that she pay the loans owed to the Roman Empire by her husband.

In 60 AD, she launched a revolt and destroyed Camulodunum (now Colchester), a Roman settlement and the site of a temple honoring Emperor Claudius. She destroyed the legion that occupied the settlement.

Upon news of the spreading revolt, the Roman Empire scrambled to determine how to defend those territories. Boadicea (Boudicca) led rebels to take over what is now London. The Romans did not have the manpower to defend it, so they abandoned it. Upon reaching the settlement, Boadicea burned it to the ground.

After she had been defeated at the Battle of Watling Street, Emperor Nero considered leaving the British Isles because of the heavy resistance, inspired by Boadicea, against the rule of the Roman Empire.

Nearly 1,800 years later, Queen Victoria would portray Boadicea as her namesake. Even today, Boadicea is an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom.

These are just a few of the men and women who have inspired those around them, and millions of others around the world, with their exploits and ability to lead people in a common cause.

These people serve as shining examples of what a leader is, and what they often have to do. Several defined themselves in times of war, while others defined themselves as peacemakers and philosophers.

This is a very important point because it shows that a leader does not have to be a fighter. Epicurus was not a warrior, but he was a leader that helped spawn centuries of thought because of his ability to convince individuals of his way of thinking.

On that note, there is also something that tends to unite these leaders featured here: many of them died young -- Alexander (33 years old), Boadicea (mid-40s), Horatio Nelson (47 years old) and Julius Caesar (51 years old). Another interesting fact is that Alexander, Boadicea, Horatio Nelson, Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, and Gandhi all met violent ends at the hands of someone else, or of their own vices, as in the case of Alexander.

This does not mean that all leaders are destined to die young or by violent means. It simply means that for these leaders in world history, they simply died living as they had lived, as leaders, or died for their beliefs, as in the case for Caesar, Lincoln, and Gandhi.

The ability to lead with conviction and die for your cause, country, or belief. For many, the sign of a true leader is the individual who will give their life for their people or for their cause.

These men and women are shining examples of the best, and the worst, of humanity. They are also examples of what makes our species great. Our determination, ability to conquer the odds, and our drive to go as far as we can for our own legacy, beliefs, and causes.

An individual would not be making a bad decision by following the examples of these fine individuals.


The Bilerico Project | Daily experiments in LGBTQ

At the beginning of this summer, as an aspiring journalist covering LGBT issues, I thought I understand the ins and outs of the LGBT community. Then I hung out with Bilerico Project founder Bil Browning for an hour, spent my first week interning for the blog, and realized how little I knew.

Since that first week, I've been challenged every day by the readers and contributors at The Bilerico Project and the rest of the LGBT media world, and I've learned so much in the process. I've learned about the current state of the movement, the various ideologies and philosophies surrounding activism and momentum-building, and the importance of our history. That's why I was so excited to take on the project of compiling a list of the most essential LGBT figures in history. These are figures I've been reading about all summer and seeing when, where, and how they influenced the broader LGBT movement.

Since California passed the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive & Respectful Education Act in July, which requires California schools to teach students about LGBT people and the contributions they've made to society throughout history, we've been wondering how the law will be implemented. Who, of the hundreds of important LGBT people in history, will be included? We decided to poll the readers and contributors of The Bilerico Project to get a better feel for which figures are important to today's LGBT community.

All this week, we've heard from some of the top LGBT voices in activism and media about the moments and figures that they consider most essential. The lists have been extremely varied, and that's reflective of the diversity within our community. (Check out those lists, from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.)

We also compiled all of the votes from the readers, Facebook fans, and other Bilerico contributors to create a Top 20 list of the most-named LGBT figures. Check out the slideshow below of the Top 11, see the rest of the Top 20 listed, and look at the other names that received recognition from multiple people.

The Top 20 LGBT Figures in History

1. Harvey Milk (1930-1978), one of the first openly gay people elected to public office, when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

2. Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.), King of Macedon in Greece, creator of one of Ancient History's largest empires, and considered one of the most powerful commanders ever

3. Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), Civil rights leader, proponent of direct action, and activist for gay rights, pacifism, and socialism
Voter Voice: "Too often he's reduced to the "organizer of the 1963 "I Have a Dream" March on Washington which, while indeed miraculous in barely six months (in pre Internet times), pales next to his decades of important influence and example in the more militant black movement (too many are unaware/forget that the NAACP was opposed to direct action when Rustin and, later, King started out)." - Lt. Dan Choi

4. Michelangelo (1475-1564), Renaissance-era artist, architect, poet, sculptor & engineer
Voter Voice: "Anyone who can sculpt the statue David is truly a lover of the male body" - Bil Browning

5. Alan Turing (1912-1954), Computer scientists who served in World War II, broke the Germans' Engima Code, and was harassed by the British government for being gay until he committed suicide in 1954.
Voter Voice: "In a remarkable historic rarity, the British government has formally apologized for this. The Turing story is a fascinating one, including a demonstration that LGBT people can excel not only in the arts and humanities, but also the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)." - A.J. Lopp

6. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), The original "Renaissance Man," painter, poet, sculptor, engineer, architect, inventor, musician, writer, scientist & botanist

7. Walt Whitman (1819-1892), American poet, essayist, and journalist

8. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th President of the United States

9. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish poet, writer & playwright
Voter Voice: "Literature is an important aspect of education, and a good understanding of literature requires acknowledging the wide variety of sexualities present among authors and how it informs/informed their work. Wilde is a good example of this." - Erika Kerr

10. Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), American writer & poet, famous for writing honest and candid portrayals of lesbian relationships
Voter Voice: "Innovative and very influential force in the arts at a key time who also lived unapologetically as a lesbian long, long before it was OK. Strong is beautiful." - Scott Wooledge

11. Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002), transgender activist, Stonewall leader, founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance, and contributing member to the foundation of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries

12. The Stonewall Rioters (June 1969), The crowd comprised of drag queens, trans people and queer youth joined together in one of the first - or at least most remembered - episodes of the LGBT community fighting back against oppression, this time from the police. Sparked the formation of key activism organizations and galvanized the movement.

13. Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon (1921-2008 and 1924 - ), founders of the Daughters of Bilitis, founders of The Ladder, a lesbian and feminist magazine, and first lesbian couple to join the National Organization for Women.
Voter Voice: "What did they not do?" - Michael Maloney

14. James Baldwin (1924-1987), essayist, playwright, poet, civil rights activist, & author of Giovanni's Room

15. Harry Hay (1912-2002), labor advocate, teacher, and founder of the Mattachine Society, one of the earliest and most influential gay advocacy organizations

570 BC), Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos, which many believe to be the origin of the term "lesbian."

17. The Members of ACT UP (1987), or the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, was a direct action advocacy group focused on improving the lives of people with AIDS and demanding that the government and health organizations begin paying attention.
Voter Voice: The organization provided the pressure needed to inspire real action in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In the same spirit, we should recognize every grassroots activist who spends their time, money, and energy to support our rights without any expectation of public recognition." - Rev. Emily Heath

18. Christine Jorgensen: (1926-1989), one of the first publicly known people to have sex reassignment surgery

19. Leonard Matlovich: (1943-1988), a technical sergeant and Vietnam War veteran who received the Purple Heart and was the first gay man to come out in the military when he did so while serving in the U.S. Air Force.
Voter Voice: When he appeared on the cover of Time, with the headline "I Am a Homosexual," he "brought the issue of open service for the first time to the mainstream media." - Jarrod Chlapowski

20. Audre Lorde: (1934-1992), writer, activist & poet who wrote about race, gender, and sexuality

Honorable Mentions: Names or moments suggested by multiple readers, commenters, or contributors Susan B. Anthony, Virginia M. Apuzzo, Rita Mae Brown, Wendy Carlos, George Washington Carver, Professor Lynn Conaway, Quentin Crisp, Reed Erickson, Barney Frank, Christopher Isherwood, King James I of England, Frida Kahlo, Frank Kameny, The Lawrence v. Texas case, Eleanor Roosevelt, William Shakespeare, Matthew Shepard, Socrates, Lou Sullivan, Tennessee Williams, Virginia Woolf


40 of the Most Influential People of All Time

The people who influenced history the most, the &ldquomovers and shakers&rdquo from ancient times until today, have one thing in common: they challenged the status quo. By and large, they were rebels who were willing to take on established norms and traditions. Keep reading to learn about some of the people who helped make the world the way it is today, for better or worse.

A drawing of Confucius by Wu Daozi, 685-758, Tang Dynasty. Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain.

40. Confucius

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher and teacher who lived in about the fifth century BCE. His teachings formed the basis for much of Chinese thought, particularly regarding family relationships (the role of wives to husbands and children to parents), morality in government, and the promotion of justice. The system of thought that he established became known as Confucianism and is still widely practiced in modern China. In the West, his theory has become translated into a form known as Neo-Confucianism.


Top 10 Lesser-Known Savages In History

There are always two sides to history. Unfortunately, history has generally been written by the victor. As a result, only one viewpoint is told and exaggerations are made, but occasionally the other angle gets out there. It is then up to the student to determine what is authentic and what is mere fabrication. History shows that the following people were 10 of the most barbaric men who ever lived. Whether the general consensus on them is true or not, that&rsquos for you to decide. Nonetheless, the facts that are known reveal 10 men who are corrupt in nature and will do anything or kill anyone to get what they want and often for sheer enjoyment. They personify the word &ldquobloodthirsty.&rdquo At times, sharing traits with the most savage of beasts, these men prove that humans aren&rsquot so different from animals.

Aguirre stands out as one of the most ruthless of the Spanish conquistadors. He arrived in Peru in 1544 and in 1560 joined an expedition of several hundred men led by Pedro de Ursua in search of El Dorado. Aguirre eventually turned against Ursua&rsquos leadership and would have Ursua executed. The man who took over, Fernando de Guzman, would also soon be put to death. Aguirre declared &ldquoI am the Wrath of God&rdquo and took over the mission. Those who remained on the mission who were against him were executed. As he sailed down the Amazon, Aguirre slaughtered those who he met along the way. In 1561 he showed himself in open rebellion against the Spanish crown by seizing Isla Margarita, off the coast of present day Venezuela, from Spanish settlers. He was surrounded and captured at Barquisimeto. With his execution approaching, Aguirre reportedly murdered his own daughter to ensure that no one but him could love her.

One of the foremost professional soldiers of his day, Alba was the commander in chief of Charles V army. Despite diminishing trust in Alba, Charles&rsquo heir, Phillip II sent Alba as an emissary to France to hold negotiations with Catherine de Medici. With an anti-Protestant policy, it is believed that Alba helped lay the groundwork for the massacre of French Protestants on St. Bartholomew&rsquos Day, 1572. In 1567, Alba was dispatched as governor of the Spanish Netherlands following the outbreak of popular unrest. Determined to restore order swiftly and in a fierce fashion, Alba, with 12,000 soldiers, set up a Council of Troubles soon to be dubbed the Council of Blood. This council declared thousands of people guilty of rebelling and either exiled, imprisoned or executed them. Every class of society was hit, noble birth was often not enough to protect some. After entering Brussels, 22 of the town&rsquos leading citizens were beheaded. Dozens more massacres were to follow. Alba&rsquos brutal reaction to the rebellion only fueled more insurrections against the Spanish crown.

Robert of Geneva was brilliant intellectually and was born to a family very close to the church. In 1368, aged just 26, Robert became an archbishop. Pope Gregory IX recognized his talents and promoted him to cardinal in 1371. Serving under the Pope in Italy from 1376 to 1378, Robert was in charge of suppressing the Papal States from revolting against the authority of Rome. Robert hired Sylvester Budes, leader of a band of Breton mercenaries and Sir John Hawkwood, an infamous English soldier of fortune. In 1377, Hawkwood and the Bretons, financed by the papacy, captured the city of Cesena. Hawkwood was willing to pardon the revolting townspeople in return for surrender, but Robert overruled him, ordering they be put to the sword. The mercenaries wreaked havoc on the streets. Those who hid in the Church of St. Stephen were killed and the church itself was vandalized. The convent was broken into and the nuns were raped. Over 4,000 people were slaughtered. In 1378, Bartolomeo Prignano was elected as Pope Urban VI. Unhappy with the choice, the cardinals reconsidered and eventually nullified Urban&rsquos election and opted to elect Robert as Pope Clement VII. Supported by King Charles V of France, Clement established Avignon as his residence. France, Scotland and various German states recognized Clement as the Pope while Urban governed from Rome, supported by Spain and the Italian states. And so the Great Schism began. Because it is not possible for the cardinals to nullify a papal election, Clement VII was eventually recognized by all as an antipope.

Basil II was a powerful and effective Byzantine ruler. Best described as a &ldquohero-monster&rdquo, he was successful on all fronts and was perennially engaged in warfare. Basil ruled for 50 years and brought the Byzantine Empire to new heights, expanding it&rsquos borders to it&rsquos greatest extent. He Swiftly destroyed all who challenged his rule. This included rebelling landowners, his uncle and Arab invaders. Eventually he would cross paths with his enemy Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria whose own empire was swallowing up Byzantine territory. Struggling with his campaign in the beginning, Basil began to have steady success against the Bulgars. Basil would finally win a massive victory at the Battle of Kleidon on July 29, 1014 as his forces took the capital. As punishment, Basil lined up the captive Bulgar soldiers and had them blinded. He left one eye untouched for every hundred men so that the troops could find their way home. Reportedly 15,000 Bulgars, terrorized, wounded and blinded pathetically shuffled away. Tsar Samuel fainted after seeing his soldiers return and died of a stroke. Thus Basil II earned his epithet &lsquoBulgar Slayer&rsquo through this monstrous act.

Pasha was the key architect of the Armenian genocide, one of the largest genocides in modern history. Over 1 million people were massacred in the span of 2 years. A member of the Young Turks, Talat rose up and became one of the three Pashas who ruled the Ottoman government in 1913 until the end of the disastrous First World War. Many Muslim Turks came to see the rise in nationalism of the Christian Armenians as a threat to the existence of the Ottoman state. Programs had already been installed against Armenians in previous years with possibly hundreds of thousands dying. 30,000 died in the Adana massacre of 1909. Once entering World War One, the Ottoman&rsquos endeavor ended in total failure. Russian and Armenian forces set up an Armenian mini-state in 1915 and thus Talat Pasha sought to punish them. Security forces rounded up 250 Armenian intellectuals and leaders in Istanbul in 1915, and eventually executed them. After passing a Deportation Law, Pasha ordered deportations and executions to be carried out against the whole Armenian population. During the deportations, conditions were deplorable and men were routinely separated from the rest and executed. Many prisoners were tortured and were victims of gruesome medical experiments. More died of hunger and thirst. In some instances victims would be crucified in imitation of Jesus as the perpetrators would say: &ldquoNow let your Christ come help you!&rdquo Others would have red-hot irons and pincers applied to their flesh. Out of a population of 2.5 million Armenians, between 1 and 1.5 million perished in this period. After the Ottoman collapse, Talat Pasha fled to Berlin and was subsequently murdered there in 1921. His assassin was an Armenian genocide survivor.

Issuing one of the first historically documented orders for genocide, von Trotha who was the commander in chief of German South-West Africa had to put down a major rebellion, led by the Herero tribe. With an army of 10,000, von Trotha surrounded the Herero in a single location on three sides. The only escape for the Herero was to enter the Kalahari Desert. The Herero numbered about 50,000 with 6,000 warriors. They could not compete with the German forces who had modern rifles, machine guns and artillery. As the surviving Hereros escaped into the desert as planned, von Trotha ordered all the watering holes to be poisoned. Fences were erected along the desert boundary with guard posts to watch for any who tried to escape. Anyone caught would be shot on sight. Eventually von Trotha would issue an Extermination Order. Those who were not shot on sight would be put into labor camps and pushed into slavery. Thousands of Herero died from overwork, disease or starvation. Many of the women were sexually abused. Only 15,000 out of the initial 80,000 Herero population remained alive. Due to the supposed inferiority, some Herero were the subject of medical experiments. Later, there was a Nama uprising and some 10,000 died. Another 9,000 were put into concentration camps. On von Trotha&rsquos watch, the Herero and Nama tribes had all been eradicated.

A man of Jewish descent, Torquemada was the first inquisitor general in Spain. Torquemada convinced the government, led by Ferdinand and Isabella, that the presence of Jews, Muslims and recent false converts to Christianity in Spain represented a dangerous corruption of the true Catholic faith. Because of Torquemada, repressive laws were passed to force the expulsion of Spain&rsquos non-Christian minorities. He received support from Pope Sixtus IV. Torquemada, now matching the authority of Ferdinand and Isabella themselves, oversaw the proclamation of the 28 articles listing the sins that the Inquisition aimed to purge. Identifying and exposing &ldquoMarranos&rdquo (Jews who had pretended to be Christian but continued to practice Judaism) was a main focus. Inquisitors were granted power to do whatever necessary to reveal the truth. This inevitably led to violent persecution. In February 1484 alone, 30 people in the city of Ciudad Real were found guilty of crimes and burnt alive. Between 1485 and 1501, 250 people were burnt in Toledo. In 1492, in Torquemada&rsquos home town of Valladolid, 32 people were burnt. Declaring that Jews were a mortal threat, in 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella decreed that all Jews who had not converted to Christianity were to be expelled from Spain. About 40,000 left the country, many of them given sanctuary by the tolerant Islamic Ottomans in Istanbul and several other cities. Torquemada remained as inquisitor general believing that his work was not done. He became wealthy as well due to all that he had confiscated. He would eventually die in office after two decades of burning approximately two thousand people.

Godfrey, the duke of Lower Lorraine, led the first crusade and was a brutal religious fundamentalist. In 1095 pope Urban II called for crusaders to assist Byzantine emperor Alexius I against Turkish forces attacking Christian Byzantium and to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims. In 1096, Godfrey gathered an army of about 40,000 and declared that he was determined to avenge the blood of Jesus on the Jewish people. Godfrey&rsquos reputation grew as the years went on. In 1098, Godfrey reportedly killed 150 Turks with only 12 knights. Later that year, he cut a Turk in half with a single, downward swipe of his sword. Finally in 1099, Godfrey took aim at Jerusalem. On Friday July 15th, Godfrey was one of the first crusaders to breach the city&rsquos defenses via siege tower. After opening the gates, the crusaders charged into the city. With Muslim citizens fleeing to the al-Aqsa Mosque, Iftikhar ad-Dawla, the Fatimid governor of Jerusalem, made his last stand. On condition of surrender, Iftikhar and some of his solders were allowed to escape. For the next two days, the crusaders pillaged Muslim holy sites and slaughtered everyone left in the city regardless of whether they were combatants or civilians, Muslim or Jew. Victims were either burned to death or had their stomachs cut open with the belief that Muslims swallowed their gold. The Jews fled to a synagogue which the crusaders would burn down. Reportedly piles of heads, hands and feet were scattered throughout the city. Godfrey walked barefoot through the blood, his feet colored to his ankles in the blood of men, women and children. His fellow crusaders chose him to become the first Christian ruler of Jerusalem. He would die of plague a year later, his mission complete.

Beane was the head of an incestuous clan who lived off robbery, murder and cannibalism. Some historians suggest that he never existed and say that his story was propaganda created by the English demonizing the Scottish. The story goes that Alexander Beane left home, never showing an interest in work, with an equally unpleasant local woman. Once they arrived at Bennane Head, they set up home in a coastal cave hidden away from the view of passers-by. Over the next 25 years, Beane and the woman raised a family of about 8 sons and 6 daughters who bred together to produce 18 grandsons and 14 granddaughters. The family was raised without any notions of humanity. They preyed on travelers who traversed near their stretch of coast and would rob and kill their victims. The clan would then drag the victims body back to their cave where they dismembered the body and devour it. Leftovers were pickled and unwanted parts were disposed into the sea. Often times the remains would wash up onto the chore. Gradually suspicion arose among the locals. One night, the Beane clan attacked a married couple on horseback. The man managed to fight off the clan with a sword and pistol, but unfortunately his wife was knocked off the horse. She was immediately disemboweled and the Beane clan drank her blood. The man escaped and alarmed the locals of what had happened. King James VI of Scotland (James I of England) was notified not long afterwards. Hundreds of men and bloodhounds were sent after the clan. The bloodhounds tracked the scent of human flesh back to the cave. Upon entering, the men were hit with a putrid smell as they gazed upon the grisly image of dried flesh hanging from the walls and pickled body parts in barrels. The Beanes made no attempt to escape. They were executed without a trial. It was said that the clan had over a thousand victims.

Rais was a Breton who fought against the English, often serving alongside Joan of Arc. A year after Joan was burned at the stake, Rais retired from military service and returned to his family&rsquos castle at Machecoul. From there, Rais began a campaign of sadistic sex murders, killing between 60 and 200 children. He preferred boys between the ages of 6 and 18. His victims were generally blue-eyed and blond-haired and were usually kidnapped from the village of Machecoul and the surrounding areas or lured to his castle. His first victim was a 12-year-old messenger who was hanged by his neck on a metal hook and raped before being put out of his misery. More and more children started to disappear and suspicion arose. Unfortunately, the locals were too terrified to go up against one of the most powerful men in France. Rais had a specially built chamber where he would restrain his victims while he proceeded with his grotesque sexual acts. He would kill them with a variety of methods which included dismemberment, decapitation and disembowelment. He enjoyed watching them die sometimes even laughing. After some difficulty, a case was finally brought up against him. Rais stated at his trial that he admired the heads and body parts of his more beautiful victims. Gilles was arrested in September of 1440 and indicted on 34 counts of murder. He would eventually confess to the murders under the threat of torture. Rais was found guilty of murder, sodomy and heresy. Gilles was hanged and then burned on October 16, 1440, along with two of his servants. Rais was granted the right of confession after expressing remorse. He refused to admit he was a devil worshipper and professed the strength of his faith. Gilles de Rais would become one of the first known serial killers in history. The guilt and conscience that he would show when not taken over by the urge to murder only confirmed how depraved and mentally disturbed this man was.