Alexander III (The Great) 351-323 B.C.

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Alexander the Great was the son of Philip II of Macedonia who conquered the Grecian States at Choeronea (Boeotia) in 338 B.C. While attempting to liberate Greek colonies from Persian rule in 336, he was assassinated at the age of 47 and his son Alexander took over. Alexander had been a pupil of Aristotle at 13 years of age but the tutorship lasted only 3 years. He became king of Macedonia at 20 years of age but the tutorship lasted only 3 years. He became king of Macedonia at 20 years of age. Aristotle was a friend and counselor of Alexander presumably until about 327 B.C. Alexander undertook vast military campaigns throughout Asia Minor and as far east as India. Throughout this period he sent plants and various objects to the Lyceum. For this purpose on his conquests, he included naturalists. Alexander died in 323 B.C. as a result of a fever in Babylon.


Information Concerning Drugs

The principal information concerning drugs has been accumulated over the centuries by herb collectors and root diggers called rhizatomoi. Mere attention had been given to methods to be used for collection of the most useful herbs. The properties of these plants were undoubtedly known to the root diggers prior to the beginning of scientific medicine.

Various rites were connected with plant collections and superstitions relative to the ways and means of collection were rampant. The rhizotomists gathered and tested roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits while various schools of philosophy were devising theories as to their use. Physicians, on the other hand, had to reinvestigate the reported properties of the various plant organs and determine their proper use and dosage.

Theophrastus presented some information relative to root-diggers and the superstitions connected with their work to which students will be referred.


Developments in the Alexandrian School - Egypt

From a botanical and horticultural view our knowledge of Grecian botany and horticulture ceases with the Death of Theophrastus.

Apparently the school was disbanded after his son had taken over and his manuscripts were scattered to unknown places.

Following the death of Alexander the Great, the center of education and learning in the Eastern Mediterranean shifted to Alexandria in Egypt. Upon the death of Alexander one of his Macedonian generals, who had shown superior military prowess conquered Egypt and Libya, and established himself as ptolemy I (c. 367-283 B.C.). With his support Alexandria became the outstanding intellectual center of the Western world and remained so until the reign of Augustus Caesar in Rome. Euclid, Herophilus, Archimedes, and Appollonius established an "analytic" rather than a "synthetic" approach to the natural world. They became interested in new ways to investigate the scientific problems of their time.

No botanists appear to have distinguished themselves in Alexandria although it was the center of learning and intellectual activity. Undoubtedly the Library contained botanical material but the interest centered in mathematics and abstract science.

At Alexandria what was called a "Museum" was established. In addition the Alexandrian Library became famous as a center for the preservation of manuscripts and "rolls." Unfortunately after some time it was partially destroyed and the remaining "rolls" and manuscripts dispersed throughout the known world.

Several outstanding individuals who studied in Alexandria are of interest to us because of their biological significance.