War Paint (Part 2): The Battle of Alexander at Issus

Part 2 in a 10 part series on war in art.

The Battle of Alexander at Issus is one of the most epic pieces of art you may ever lay eyes on. It was painted by Albrecht Altdorfer in 1529 after being commissioned by Duke William IV of Bavaria. It shows Alexander the Great’s resounding victory over Darius III of Persia at the Battle of Issus which took place in 333 BC. It was the decisive battle of the Macedonian king’s subjegation of the Persian Empire. The battle was a rout and King Darius fled, leaving behind his wife and children, who were taken into captivity. Darius himself would be captured a few short years later, never having been able to amount a response to his crushing defeat at Issus. Alexander would go on to form the largest empire in the Ancient World.

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Qin Shi Huang: A One-Man Dynasty

Qin Shi Huang, first Emperor of China. Artist and date unknown.

Qin Shi Huang, first Emperor of China. Artist and date unknown.

China’s history is littered with the names of famous dynasties. Imperial China began in 221 BC and lasted until 1911 AD with the fall of the Qing. Dynastic names like Ming and Han are well-known throughout the world, but the first imperial dynasty, the first to unite all of China, as well as one of the shortest-lived, was the one founded by the man known to history as Qin Shi Huang, the Qin Dynasty.

Born Zhao Zheng, he inherited the throne of the kingdom of Qin at the age of 13. Court life was full of twists and turns and intrigue. He was the son of the King Zhuangxiang and a concubine. It would be rumored that Zheng was illegitemite, and attempts to install a rightful error would come.

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