A Tale of Two Empires: Hernán Cortés and Alexander the Great

Brian Bosworth

in Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780198152873
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191715136 | DOI:
A Tale of Two Empires: Hernán Cortés and Alexander the Great

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There are similarities between the conquests of Alexander the Great and those of the Spaniards in Central America. In both cases, the spectacular campaigns of a handful of years changed the political map of the world. Alexander invaded Asia Minor in the spring of 334 BC, and a mere four years later he had overrun the greater part of the Near East, occupied the central capitals of the Persian Empire, and annexed the accumulated treasure of the imperial people he defeated. As a direct result of the campaigns, the world from Macedon in the north to Egypt in the south and to Afghanistan in the east came under the control of a Graeco-Roman elite. Similarly between 1519 and 1522 a group of Spaniards under Hernan Cortés extended the rule of the Spanish crown from the east coast of Mexico over almost all Central America. This chapter looks at the empires built by Alexander of Macedon and Cortés of Castile.

Keywords: Alexander the Great; Hernan Cortés; Spain; Central America; imperialism; conquests; empires; Macedon; Mexico

Chapter.  11252 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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