Alexander the Great…

Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great single-handedly changed the nature of the ancient world in little more than a decade.

Alexander was born in the northern Greek Kingdom of Macedonia in July 356BC.  His parents were Philip II of Macedon and his wife Olympias.  Alexander was educated by the renowned philosopher; Aristotle.  His father was assassinated in 336BC and Alexander inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom.  He quickly dealt with his enemies at home and reasserted Macedonian power within Greece.  He then set out to conquer the Persian Empire.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without suffering a single defeat.  His greatest victory was at the “Battle of Gaugamela” in what is now northern Iraq in 331 BC.  The young King of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt became the great king of Persia aged just twenty-five.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as King, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles founding over seventy cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered around two million square miles.  The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far to the east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce.  This was united by a common Greek language and culture, while the King himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Alexander was acknowledged as a military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and those of his soldiers. 

Alexander the Great died of fever in Babylon in June 323BC.

TIMELINE:

356BC       Born in Pella, the capital of Macedonia and the son of King Phillip II.

336BC       Phillip II assassinated.  Alexander becomes King of Macedonia.

334BC       Quelled rebellions at home.  Alexander crossed the Hellespont into Asia, to make war on Darius III of Persia.

333BC       The Battle of Issus.  Darius crushed, and forced to flee, abandoning his family.

332BC       Having conquered Asia Minor (Turkey) and Syria, Alexander enters Egypt and founds the city of Alexandria.

331BC       Alexander is recognised as a God in Egypt, which peacefully submits to his rule.  Turning northwards he engages Darius again at the “Battle of Gaugamela”.  Darius is defeated and killed by his own Generals.  Babylon, Susa, and Persepolis, capital of the Persian Empire surrender to Alexander.

326BC       Alexander crosses the Indus river, and invades Punjab.

325BC       Alexander begins to return westward.

323BC       Alexander reaches Babylon, where he dies aged just 33 of fever.

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