We owe to Plutarch the famous stories about Alexander that have done so much to enshrine the myth of the near -divine warrior – humanist on his great quest to bring civilization eastward to the barbarians. The teenaged prince tames the wild Thessalian horse Bucephalus (“Ox -head”), in between his shady walks and tutorials with Aristotle. On reaching Cilicia in southern Asia Minor, the young Alexander impatiently hacks apart the legendary Gordian knot – all the while sleeping with Homer’s ” Iliad “tucked under the pillow.
Alexander was the greatest man, soldier, battle commander and Greek Macedonian King that spread Hellenism beyond the Mediterranean, as he was no idle theorist but through his courage , talent and education saw his utopian dreams of imperial conquest realized in 331 B.C with the end the Achaemenid Dynasty in Persia .
Alexander the Great, son of King Philip, the universal citizen who had evolved beyond the world of Greek Macedonian barracks, was always accompanied by the eight (8) bodyguards that graduated like he did , from the Royal Academy of Mieza (located on the outskirts of modern Greek city Naoussa ) and were companions and friends since early childhood .
When Alexander was a teenager, King Philip began to search for a tutor choosing Aristotle the most famous philosopher of his age, providing the old Temple of Nymphs as a classroom, which later was named Royal Academy of Mieza . Mieza was something like a boarding school for Alexander and the children of Macedonian nobles.
Alexander and his future eight (8) bodyguards all of them students of the same group of 50 Greek teenagers, studied in the Royal Academy of Mieza under the supervision and tutelage of Aristotle himself, physical stamina instructors, philosοphers and combat veterans of the Macedonian Army. Many of these students would become Alexander’s friends and are widely known as the “Companions”.
The Royal Academy of Mieza
Aristotle taught them Medicine, Logic, Art, Morals and Philosophy.Leonidas, the chief – instructor of the Academy , who was relative of Olympias (Alexander’s mother ) and responsible for the physical and military training , used extreme methods to enhance combat endurance and make young children physically and mentally tough . Quite often he asked the students to execute very long road marches without any food, participate in Decathlon (10 different sport events), train in boxing and wrestling , swim in the frozen waters of Loudias river and much more. It is also said that King Philip, who was a tutor in the Academy as well not only approved his cruel methods but also was always present in student disciplinary auditions .
Aristotle besides a tutor was also the Director of the Royal Academy of Mieza and he had organized the classes in 3 different rotating sessions within each month. The syllabus of the 6 – year Academy was pretty wide and multi-dimensional as we can see right below:
Morals & Virtues – Tutor: Aristotle
Logic & Harmony – Tutor: Aristotle
Philology – Tutor: Aristotle
History – Tutors: Memnon , Leonidas
Archaeology – Tutor: Memnon
Anthopology – Tutor: Aristotle
Philosophy – Tutor: Aristotle
Rhetoric Art – Tutor: Theophrastus
Anatomy – Tutor: Aristotle
Cosmology (ancient Geography) – Tutor: Aristotle
Theology (ancient Religion class) – Tutor : Aristotle
Astronomy – Tutor: Aristotle
Astrology – Tutor: Aristandrus
Psychology – Tutor: Aristotle
Sociology – Tutor: King Philip
Law & Diplomacy – Tutor: King Philip
The Art of Negotiation – Tutor: King Philip
Espionage – Tutor: King Philip
Economics – Tutor: Ligdames
Communications (ancient Signals) – Tutor: King Philip
Geology – Tutor: Aristotle
Topography (ancient land navigation) – Tutor: Chief Mechanic Diades
Gold & precious metals mining – Tutors: Crates, Gorgus
Linguistics – Tutors: Theophrastus, Euphoreon
Medicine & First Aid – Tutor: Aristotle
Physics / Chemistry / Biology – Tutor: Aristotle
Mathematics / Algebra / Geometry – Tutor: Menecles
Mechanics / Hydrodynamics – Tutor: Chief Mechanic Diades
Nutrition – Tutor: Leonidas
Literature – Tutors: Theophrastus , Euphoreon
Aesthetics – Tutor: Lysippus
Music – Tutor: Leusippus
Hypocritics (ancient drama acting ) – Tutor : Actor Thessalus
Human Resources Management – Tutor: King Philip
Leadership & Principles of Military Command – Tutor: General Parmenion
Strategy – Tutor: King Philip
Art of War – Tutor: Clitus
Physical training & combat drills – Tutor: Leonidas
Bodyguard tactics – Tutors: Atreus, Cinus , Clitus
Escort & military formations – Tutor: Clitus
Martial Arts ( wrestling /boxing/pangration) – Tutor : Clitus
Weapons & defensive systems – Tutor: Chief Mechanic Diades
These magnificent 50 young men, after graduation were recruited to join the army and would be the future army officers and commanding generals .The eight (8) best students of the whole class , were selected by Alexander himself to be his personal security detail , that will protect him during the 10 – year campaign in Central Asia and India . It is worth mentioning that the standard escort formation they used when they protected Alexander was the “Dagana” formation (reversed wide wedge formation) consisted of 8 men.
But let’s present the eight (8) bodyguards of Alexander the Great, by name and city of origin:
1.Lysimachus: He was from Thessaly and he became later Ruler of Thrace and Macedonia.
2.Peucestes: He was from Mieza and he protected Alexander with the genuine shield of Achilles that he owned .He became later Ruler of Persia (nowadays Iran).
3.Perdiccas: He was from Macedonia and the one that Alexander gave his ring before his death. He was the second in command and controlled the whole Greek Macedonian Empire.
4.Hephaestion: He was from ancient Pella and was Alexander’s closest friend and Macedonian Army Cavalry commander. He was also highly respected from the other bodyguards and recognized as the leader of Alexander’s personal protection detail.
5.Python: He was from Eordea region and was famous for his calm character and crisis management skills.
6. Ptolemy: He was from Eordea region as well and after Alexander’s death became the King of Egypt making the notorious Alexandrian Library with more than 700,000 books and the Lighthouse of Alexandria that was 1 of the 7 miracles of the ancient world.
7.Leonnatus: He was from ancient Lygos (nowadays Florina) and was also very close to Alexander like Hephaestion . He had magnificent intelligence gathering and espionage skills and later he became Ruler of Frygia and Black Sea surrounding territories.
8. Aristonus: He was from Pella and was Queen’s Olympias protector as well . After Alexander’s death he returned to Macedonia and served as army general.
Besides their protective role, they were also assigned as Higher Macedonian Command consultants both during peacetime and war, with power to decide on critical matters without even asking Alexander.Very often, Alexander’s bodyguards were responsible for the operational planning and had full command of the Greek Allied Army , not to mention the fact , that they controlled the diplomatic and political arena as well .
What is more, Plutarch showcased that the eight (8) bodyguards had nothing less than Alexander, in terms of training and leadership skills than the fact that they were not sons of King Philip. According to the systematic approach and extensive research of historians like Arrian , Diodorus and Plutarch , Dr Leonidas Billis who is a sociologist and author of the book “ THE BODYGUARDS OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT ” concluded that , the eight (8) “Companions” were capable of achieving exactly the same likewise Alexander , if they had his royal lineage. This is a first class proof of the quality and the top-notch training they received at Royal Academy of Mieza.
Looking forward towards the dawn of a new era in the global security industry, we must recognize that this eight (8) men , set the foundations of modern personal protection and they deserve respect from all those that work hard within the circuit , to achieve personal excellence and bring the close protection community as a whole to a much higher level.
© 2016 J.D & Associates