Alexander the Great’s Undoing: A Flat Earth

Alexander the Great, one of the greatest military commanders in history, conquered the majority of civilization after his ascendancy to the throne of Macedon in 336 BC. His men, however, would not continue into the relatively unknown region of present-day India.

Historians have often speculated why Alexander’s men refused to continue. Was the Ganges River was too formidable an obstacle? Did the men simply want to go home after over a decade in the field? No. The real reason is far simpler: His men believed the earth was flat.


Alexander’s men had no intention of ending up like this.

Legendary Greek scholar and scientist Aristotle was Alexander’s personal tutor as a young man, impressing him with an appreciation for new ideas and a mind for scientific inquiry. Through this teaching Alexander had been convinced that the earth was indeed round. The average Macedonian soldier, however, was usually steeped in the superstition prevalent in most ancient cultures and knew only of a flat earth.

The men had seen far too much success with Alexander to rebel openly, but their mood changed as they proceeded further east toward unknown lands. The tipping point for the men came with the discovery of a cache of crude placards on which were engraved the words, “The world is flat like an open-faced gyro.” With no other choice, Alexander conceded and quietly ordered his army south, instead of further east.

picture-21Boy prodigy, military genius, scientific martyr?

The idea of a round earth was frighteningly new, and therefore, doubtless offensive to the gods of the Persian court, which had allied with Alexander several years earlier. Details of the Persian conspiracy against Alexander remain thin, but the fact remains that Alexander died unexpectedly on June 11, 323 BC in the palace of Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon, almost certainly by poison.


3 Responses to “Alexander the Great’s Undoing: A Flat Earth”

  1. 1 Wally Lamark November 11, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    The earth is flat, and every smart person knows that! What most people don’t understand is that the flatness is more like a pancake. At a certain point in the Pacific Ocean, one sails over the curve of the earth and is now on the opposite side of the world! Why else would they call Australia “The Land Down Under” if it weren’t on the underside of the pancake/earth?

    (This pancake earth effect would also explain the different constellations a person sees when on the opposite side of the earth!)

  2. 2 The History Bluff November 11, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    We have to disagree with you on this, Wally. However, that does not mean that you are wrong. Far be it from us to ignorantly denounce your beliefs like those who disagreed with and ultimately assassinated Alexander the Great.

    Now we’re not disagreeing with you when we ask you the following question; we’re just curious. If the world is flat like a pancake and Australia is on the underside of it, how does one fly to Australia from Europe? And also, does the earth flip on its axis instead of rotating? And if it does flip on its axis, then Australia would truly be the Land Down Under?

    The History Bluff

  3. 3 Ann May 14, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    The Greatest Mystery of Earth Revealed! Ezekiels Wheels Unveiled

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