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Alexander the Great

Who was Alexander the Great? Short biograhpy. Alexander the Great history, pictures and videos. Alexander the Great facts, birthday and Life Story…

Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) – Macedonian ruler (336-323 BC)

The career of Alexander the Great was one of the most amazing in all history. In ten years he expanded his small kingdom into an empire covering all the lands between Greece and India.

Alexander was the son of Philip II of Macedon, a small state in northern Greece. Philip was an aggressive ruler who warred with his neighbours and eventually conquered all Greece. Although much of his time was taken up with fighting, he did not neglect his family, and young Alexander was especially favoured by being taught by the great Aristotle (p. 21).

When he was twenty, in 336, Alexander became king. By that time he had accompanied his father several times in battle and had commanded detachments of the army with great skill and bravery. It was particularly noticeable how Alexander would rough it with his men, sharing their toils and discomforts, and this won their love and reverence.

Hardly had he assumed the throne when he decided to fulfil his father’s ambition to conquer Asia Minor. He assembled a huge army which he equipped with the best weapons and supplies available, and led it into Asia. In a series of breath-taking campaigns he overcame Syria, the Phoenician cities and even Egypt. When he was in Egypt he founded a new city which was called Alexandria, in 332. There he established a university, and among the earliest teachers there was the geometrician Euclid (p. 22).

The following year Alexander marched through Mesopotamia and down into the heart of the Persian Empire, which at the time was the biggest in the world known to the Greeks. But it was not the tough, well-organized Persia that Cyrus (p. 12) and Darius I (p. 13) had created. At Arbela, Alexander utterly routed the Persians under king Darius III. Then he expelled Darius from the throne and had himself declared king. He moved on to take many Persian cities, Babylon, Susa, Persepolis and Ectabana. To make his conquests a little more acceptable, he married a Persian princess, Roxana. Then he expelled many of Darius’ officials and gave their jobs to Macedonians and other Greeks, for he was anxious not only to conquer but also to spread Greek civilization and culture in the East.

After a short respite, Alexander marshalled a fresh army and set out for India. It was his ultimate ambition to reach China, of which he had heard and wanted to know more. By the summer of 326 his advance troops had reached the banks of the river Indus and had overrun what is known now as the Punjab. Then he was brought news that rebellion had broken out back in Persia, and he left to put it down. He reached Babylon in 323, but was taken ill with a dangerous fever, possibly malaria. There was no cure and he died, aged only 33, master of the largest empire the world had yet known.

Unfortunately, Alexander had no heir, and the empire was left to his leading generals, who divided it up between them and promptly fell out with one another.

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great