Mapwalk Journeys: Alexander the Great

World history student and Social Studies major Mikey Withrow shares his reflection on Alexander the Great’s conquests integrating landmarks from the map well with his historical knowledge of Alexander’s campaign.

Map Walk Reflection

This was the first map walk I have ever done. I really did not know what to expect when it came to the scope of the maps. I was really impressed how everything was laid out and how detailed the maps were. The route or path I decided to follow was the one Alexander the Great took as he conquered the ancient world.

Since we have been talking about the ancient world and even Alexander to an extent in the classroom, I thought it to be appropriate to follow his invasion route. The ancient world around this time was very interesting. Several belief systems were in place or were just starting to come into place. Many of them, like Buddhism, would show how other cultures influenced them. Alexander essentially imposed one culture on the entire area he conquered. This culture would come to be known as Hellenism.

    I first started off in northern Greece, or the Southern Balkans -Macedonia. From there I went into Southern Greece as Alexander did when he had to quell rebellions by the Thebans and Athenians. After bringing these revolts to a stop, Greece was fully at peace. Now Alexander could focus on taking over the Persian Empire. He began to head to Asia Minor (now Turkey). I proceeded to cross into Asia around the Dardanelles.

    Having won a major victory at the Battle of Granicus, Alexander had most of Asia Minor under control. I started to move south following the coast closely until I got to the Ionian coast. This coast is made up of the present day Mediterranean coasts of the countries of Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Alexander fought several battles and continued to crush the Persians. Before heading east to the capitol of Babylon, I took a detour to Egypt where Alexander was proclaimed a liberator by many Egyptians.

    Alexander made his way to Babylon and took the city and the Persian Empire. Darius III was still on the run. As Darius went east into what is modern day Iran and Afghanistan, and Alexander chased him, I began to follow that route as well. After Darius died and Alexander had made it as far as Afghanistan, Alexander set out to India before turning around and heading back to Babylon. At this point I became really awed by the real spatial scope of what Alexander had been able to do. This large area of land, which today with all the modern technology and conveniences is not even close to being united, was united by a Greek ruler with an army and no real special technology.

    I am glad I did this map walk. I plan on doing more down the road. Hopefully by that time I have a smart phone so I can access the features of the QR codes. This event really helped put things in perspective. This is especially true for the distances between locations. Alexander was an amazing man who accomplished amazing tasks. In conclusion, this map walk helped me realize just how significant his accomplishments were.

Thanks to Mikey for sharing this reflection!