Alexander’s reputation as a king and conqueror has evolved considerably over the centuries. His war-won wealth has elicited numerous moral judgments, and in this chapter these are traced from ancient to modern times. A turning point can be identified in the nineteenth century when Alexander’s looting was praised by the influential historian J. G. Droysen, who claimed that the Persian kings were “vampires” sucking the lifeblood of their empire. Alexander, on the other hand, liberated that wealth and put it into productive circulation as coinage. This chapter tests the monetization thesis and finds that it has been overstated. Alexander was no business tycoon or entrepreneurial genius; his chief aim was to weaponize his wealth, not to grow the ancient economy.
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