The historical figure of Alexander the Great (.336-323 BC) is one surrounded by many questions concerning notions of his personal divinity, and his association with religion. There has been debate, throughout history, whether Alexander truly believed in his own divinity, or if he was just using this concept as a political propaganda tool. The point being made in this paper is the latter. Alexander used his skills as a military and political tactician to excerpt a smooth transition period from the previous rulers to himself; he knew it would be easier to gain the trust of the people if he chose to adapt his traditions.

Alexander was the son of king Philip of Macedon and his Molossian wife, queen Olympias. He was always aware of a lineage that apparently went back to Achilles on his mother’s side and Heracles on his father’s, certainly a heady genetic mix. This predisposition combined with the influence of the east might have tempted Alexander to think he really was divine. Although it is more likely he pretended he was for purely political purposes, it was a useful tool to maintain control.

King Philip who himself had a formidable reputation as a great ruler, but was seen as being an uneducated and uncultured bastard due to his barbarian blood; was determined that his son would not only become a strong and powerful general; but that he would also be educated. He employed Leonidas, a kinsman of queen Olympias, to oversee a rigorous physical training regime and when Alexander was 14, he employed a relatively unknown philosopher by the name of Aristotle. Under Aristotle’s keen guidance, Alexander began his instruction in philosophy; poetry; Homer (it is said that he always carried a copy of the Iliad); Euripides, politics and medicine. Alexander excelled at all things, and he proved very early in his life that he was going to have a “great” career.