Identify and explain the significance of: Alexander the Great Muhammad Confucius

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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These three people are very famous and important figures in the history of the world.

Alexander the Great was the king of Macedon, a kingdom in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula.  He was born in 356 BCE, came to the throne in 336, and died in 323.  During his short life, he conquered one of the largest empires the world has ever seen.  Alexander’s empire stretched all the way from Greece to the borders of India.  It also included Egypt to the south.  Alexander is important for having conquered this empire and for having brought Hellenistic culture to this very large area of the world.

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher.  He lived from about 550 to 479 BCE.  He is significant largely because his philosophies became the basis of much of Chinese culture.  Because China was so dominant in East Asia, his thinking also became very important in places like Korea and Japan.  Thus, Confucius can be seen as one of the major reasons why East Asian cultures tend to be conservative and rather hierarchical.

Muhammad was the founder of Islam.  He was born around 570 and died in 632 CE.  Muhammad is said to have received messages from God through the archangel Gabriel.  He wrote down the things that he was told.  His transcription of the messages became the Koran.  Muhammad preached these messages and, in doing so, created the Islamic faith. 

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moustacio | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Alexander the Great was a Macedonian king, son to Phillip II, and one of the world’s greatest military conquerors. Using the anti-Persian cause, he rallied the Greek states together to take on Persia, the long-time enemy of Greece. The Macedonian army slaughtered the Persian army against all odds at every single battle and their advances were only brought to a halt when the troops refused to go no further than Hydaspes. Alexander returned to Babylon, where he died in 323 BC, leaving no viable heir behind to inherit the vast Greek empire that he had created through his military conquests. Although he failed to establish any concrete political structures for his empire, his victories helped to spread Hellenistic culture far beyond the boundaries of Greece.

Muhammad was the founder of the religion of Islam, who was convinced that he was receiving visions from Allah. Out of these visions, he eventually produced the Qur’an, which set down the guidelines that all followers of Allah, known as Muslims, were to live by. Through his travels to spread the teachings of Allah, he became an outspoken religious and political leader. For Muhammad, there was to be no separation between political and religious authority. His ideas quickly spread throughout the Arabian peninsula and led to the political and religious unification of Arab society.

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher who lived from 551 to 479 BCE. He was born in a low-ranking noble family in the Lu state, a subordinate state to the vastly powerful Zhou kingdom. He advocated for the creation of an ideal social order, which was based on five specific types of human relations: ruler-subject, father-son, elder brother-younger brother, husband-wife and friend-friend. Individuals had to obey the former to allow for the establishment of appropriate human relations. His ideas, known collectively as Confucianism, had a large impact on Chinese society and served to influence its political, as well as social structures and hierarchies for centuries.

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