Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Alexander the Great and Mount Athos

Mount Athos is one of the holiest places for the Orthodox Church and faithful. However, the land has existed before Christianity. Many have given it a certain significance in the ancient world, which is not accepted by many. Nevertheless, we do find that many refer to it. One instance is Plutarch, when giving Alexander the Great’s story. What kind of relationship could there have been between the King of Macedonia and Mount Athos? A project, which was not realised. An exaggerated one that was, however, fitting for a king. Plutarch explains:

‘It was Stasicrates who had remarked to Alexander at an earlier interview that of all mountains it was Mount Athos in Thrace which could most easily be carved into the form and shape of a man, and that if it pleased Alexander to command him, he would shape the mountain into the most superb and durable statue of him in the world: its left hand would enfold a city of 10,000 inhabitants, while out of its right would flow the abundant waters of a river which would pour, like a libation, into the sea. Alexander had declined this proposal, but now he spent his time with his engineers and architects planning projects which were even more outlandish and extravagant.’ (chapter 72). 

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