Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia and Persia, and one of history’s greatest military strategists established the largest empire the ancient world had ever known. Alexander was both attractive and brutal, intelligent and power-hungry, diplomatic and fierce, instilling such loyalty in his people that they would follow him anywhere and, if necessary, die for him. Even though Alexander the Great died before the creation of a new state, his influence on Greek and Asian civilization was so profound that it gave rise to a new historical era, the Hellenistic Period.

What Country Was Alexander the Great From?

At 356 B.C., King Philip II and Queen Olympias welcomed Alexander III into the world in Pella, Macedonia; however, mythology holds that his father was Zeus, the supreme ruler of the Greek gods.

Philip II’s military prowess was well known. He envisioned conquering the enormous Persian Empire while establishing Macedonia (territory on the northern tip of the Greek peninsula) into a formidable army.


Alexander showed amazing bravery when, at age 12, he tamed Bucephalus, a big stallion with a fiery demeanour. Alexander battled beside the horse for the majority of his life.

When Alexander was 13, Philip invited the famous scholar Aristotle to tutor him. Aristotle inspired and supported Alexander’s interest in literature, science, medicine, and philosophy.

Alexander was just 16 years old when Philip went to war and left his son in control of Macedonia. During the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C., Alexander saw an opportunity to show off his military ability and led a cavalry against the Sacred Band of Thebes, a supposedly unstoppable elite force comprised entirely of male lovers.

Alexander displayed tenacity and courage, and his cavalry routed the Sacred Band of Thebes.

Alexander ascends the throne.

In 336 B.C., Alexander’s father, Philip, was assassinated by his bodyguard Pausanias. Alexander rose to the throne of Macedonia at age 20 and ended his enemies’ attempts to depose him.

Additionally, he put down independence-related uprisings in northern Greece. After tidying the house, Alexander left to preserve his father’s heritage and expand Macedonia’s global supremacy.

Alexander dispatched troops to Persia and appointed Antipater as regent. After crossing the Hellespont, a narrow strait that separates the Aegean Sea from the Sea of Marmara, they confronted Persian and Greek soldiers near the Granicus River. Alexander and the Macedonians were victorious.

Alexander then proceeded south and easily took Sardes. His men, however, ran into opposition at the cities of Miletus, Mylasa, and Halicarnassus. Halicarnassus, besieged but not conquered, resisted long enough for the most recent king, King Darius III of Persia, to raise a large force.


From Halicarnassus, Alexander journeyed north to Gordium, the site of the renowned Gordian knot, a collection of intricate knots fixed to an antique cart. According to mythology, whoever severed the knot would rule over all of Asia.

According to mythology, Alexander attempted the endeavour but could not untie the knot by hand. He tried a different technique, cutting through the knot with his sword while revelling in victory.

The Battle of Issus

In 333 B.C., Alexander and his army clashed with a large Persian force led by King Darius III near the southern Turkish town of Issus. Despite a huge personnel disadvantage, Alexander’s army made up for it with tenacity, experience, and a large amount of gold seized from Persia.

As it became clear that Alexander would win the Battle of Issus, Darius withdrew with the remnant of his army, leaving his wife and children behind. His mother, Sisygambis, was so enraged that she adopted Alexander as a son and abandoned Sisygambis.

Alexander was an intelligent, cunning, and brilliant military leader; he had never lost a fight in his whole life. His catchphrase, “There is nothing impossible for someone who will try,” would aid him in building an empire.

Tyre’s Battle

Alexander then captured the Phoenician cities of Marathus and Aradus. Despite Darius’ request for peace, he conquered the towns of Byblos and Sidon.

In reaction to the Tyrians’ refusal to let him in, he besieged the heavily fortified island of Tyre in January 332 B.C. Tyre, however, was surrounded by water, and Alexander had no navy to speak of.

Alexander gave his men the command to build a causeway to get to Tyre. Everything went as planned until they got within range of the Tyrians’ fire. After their warriors continuously rejected his ingenious attempts to penetrate, Alexander realized he needed a large navy to get beyond the Tyrian defences.

After constructing a large navy, he eventually breached the city’s defences in July 332 B.C. Thousands of Tyrians were slaughtered for daring to oppose him, and many more were sold as slaves.

Alexander Arrives in Egypt

Alexander left for Egypt after rejecting another peace proposal from Darius. However, he was ignored in Gaza and had to endure another protracted siege. After a few weeks, he conquered the town and proceeded to Egypt, where he created Alexandria, which carries his name to this day.

Alexander travelled to the desert to seek advice from the purportedly wise god Ammon. There are numerous legends concerning what transpired at the oracle, but Alexander remained mum about it. Nonetheless, the event reinforced the notion that Alexander was a god.

Alexander appoints King of Persia

After conquering Egypt, Alexander faced Darius and his massive army at Gaugamela in October 331 B.C. Darius escaped and was killed by his soldiers after fierce action and huge deaths on both sides. Alexander discovered Darius dead and offered him a royal funeral.

After ultimately defeating Darius, Alexander proclaimed himself King of Persia. Bessus, another Persian ruler who was said to have assassinated Darius, had also sought the throne. Alexander could not accept the allegation.

Following Alexander’s relentless pursuit, Bessus’ men surrendered to Alexander’s close friend Ptolemy, who executed and mutilated Bessus. Alexander had complete dominion over Persia after defeating Bessus.


Alexander imitated some Persian practices to gain the Persians’ trust. He adopted the Persian court’s proskynesis ceremony, which involved bowing to people according to their rank and kissing their hands. He also began to dress like a Persian.

The Macedonians were not won over by Alexander’s transformations and quest to be worshipped as a god. Some plotted his assassination, while others refused to practice proskynesis.

After learning that Parmenio’s son Philotas had been found guilty of plotting an assassination against Alexander, Alexander executed one of his most esteemed generals, Parmenio, in 330 B.C. (and also killed him).

Alexander murders Cleitus

Cleitus, another general and close friend of Alexander, was assassinated in 328 B.C. Cleitus, bored of Alexander’s new Persian temperament, continued to disparage him and minimize his successes while intoxicated.

Alexander tormented himself by killing Cleitus with a spear, pushing himself too far. Some historians believe Alexander killed his general while intoxicated, a condition that plagued him for the whole of his life.

Sogdia, a region of the Persian Empire that remained loyal to Bessus, proved difficult for Alexander to capture. The Sogdians retreated to the top of a rock, refusing to accede to Alexander’s demands.

Alexander, never one to take “no,” ordered some of his warriors to mount the rock and surprise the Sogdians. Roxane, a young woman, was said to be among those on the rock.

According to mythology, Roxane immediately won Alexander’s heart. Despite her Sogdian origin, he married her, and she joined him on his travels.

Alexander sets foot in India

In 327 B.C., Alexander conquered Punjab, India. Some tribes agreed to submit graciously, while others did not. In 326 BC, Alexander and King Porus of Paurava met at the Hydaspes River.

Porus’ army lacked Alexander’s experience, but they did have a secret weapon: elephants. Porus was defeated after a terrible battle in a heavy thunderstorm.

Alexander suffered one unfortunate event at Hydaspes: the death of his beloved horse, Bucephalus. Alexander named the city of Bucephala for himself. However, whether he died due to fighting injuries or old age is unknown.

When his war-weary men refused to pursue his ambition to conquer all of India, Alexander was persuaded to return to Persia by his leaders. The Malli gravely wounded Alexander as he led his troops along the Indus River.

He split his army after his recovery, sending half to Gedrosia, a desert region west of the Indus River, and the other half back to Persia.

Mass Wedding

In early 324 B.C., Alexander came to the Persian city of Susa. He directed that some officers marry Persian princesses in a grand wedding to unite the Persians and Macedonians and form a new race dedicated solely to him. He also gained himself two more wives.

The Macedonian soldiers were enraged by Alexander’s attempt to change their culture, and many rebelled. On the other hand, Alexander’s army fled after he took a hard line and replaced Macedonian leaders and men with Persians.

To further alleviate the situation, Alexander restored their titles and hosted a sumptuous banquet in their honour.

Alexander the Great Death

By 323 B.C., Alexander ruled over a vast kingdom. He had also recovered from the tragic death of his friend Hephaestion, who was said to be one of Alexander’s homosexual male lovers.

Because of his insatiable goal for global dominion, he began preparing to conquer Arabia. But he wouldn’t live to see it. Alexander died in June 323 B.C. 32, after a series of deadly battles.

Some historians believe Alexander died due to malaria or other natural causes, while others believe he was poisoned. He also never appointed a successor.

His death shattered the empire he had worked so hard to construct, and a brutal fight for dominance ensued.

What Made Alexander the Great So Great?

Alexander brought Greek culture to numerous conquered territories and established several towns that are still important cultural centres today. Between his death and the collapse of his empire in 31 B.C., the term “Hellazein,” which means “to speak Greek or identify with the Greeks,” came to refer to the time period between his death and 31 B.C. Alexander the Great was one of the ancient world’s most known and efficient monarchs.

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