Middle Schoolers Engage in Debate on Alexander the Great
Marquis Austin

Last Wednesday, November 18, students in Alison Giovanni's seventh grade history class engaged in a thrilling debate on whether Alexander the Great is a hero or villain. In preparation, students studied primary and secondary sources on Greek culture, government, religion and war, exploring Alexander's path to power and the historical context surrounding it. They also wrote essays comparing and contrasting the two diverging perspectives of the historical figure. 

When it came time for the debate, the students were thoroughly prepared to defend their viewpoints. Middle Schoolers on the "villain" side set out to portray Alexander as a selfish alcoholic with destructive tendencies. Meanwhile, the other group of students attempted to paint him as a brave and genius leader who often displayed compassion to those he conquered. Even after the debate finished, students were still going back and forth in the Zoom chat, trying to decide if he was a hero or a villain conclusively. 

In the end, they realized Alexander, an influential yet flawed leader, shouldn't be placed in either of those categories. "Alexander was neither truly a villain nor a hero but more likely somewhere in between," said Ms. Giovanni. Middle School Director Paul Baly, who also attended the debate, voiced the same opinion: "He was a leader with failings, faced with many moral dilemmas, and yet he moved Macedonia forward."

  • Middle School

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