Alexander the Great is considered one the greatest military generals and diplomats of all time.
He was born in Pella, Greece on July 20, 356 B.C.E. in the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia.
Alexander the Great was the son of King Phillip II and Queen Olympia, who played an important role in his childhood.
His father, King Phillip II was seldom at home and generally away on military campaigns during Alexander’s youth.
Upon King Phillip’s death, Alexander the Great inherited a well-equipped army and united empire.
During Alexander’s younger days in Athens, he was educated on the finer points of Greek civilization such as mathematics, writing and reading.
He was tutored to play music, gymnastics as well as hunting, horseback riding and fighting. King Phillip II knew his son needed a strong education.
He hired the well-known Greek philosopher Aristotle to continue to teach Alexander the finer points of learning.
While studying at school and with Aristotle, Alexander met several individuals like Cassander and Ptolemy, who would later be future generals like himself.
At the age of 16 years old, while his father was on campaign, Alexander the Great was left in charge of Macedonia.
During the year of 338 B.C.E. Alexander the Great wanted to prove his military skills. He led a Macedonia cavalry unit against the Sacred Band of Thebes scoring his first military victory at the Battle of Chaeronea.
In 336 B.C.E. King Phillip II was assassinated and at the tender age of 19 years old, Alexander the Great sat upon the Macedonia throne.
Alexander the Great quickly assembled his former cavalry unit and took control of the empire by killing his rivals as well as while stopping rebellions of independence in northern Greece.
Once securing the throne and Greece, Alexander the Great widen his Macedonia Empire by conquering the world.
Alexander the Great military accomplishments
His first Macedonia military campaign pitted his army from Macedonia against the city-state of Thebes.
After plundering Thebes in three days, he challenged other city-states to pledge their allegiance to him or face the same consequence.
Now with the greater portion of Greece in control, Alexander the Great set his eyes on a bigger empire.
Alexander the Great moved quickly over enemies in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey).
He defeated Persian King Darius III the first time in 334 B.C.E. near the Granicus River. After taking refuge in Gordium for the winter, Alexander the Great met Darius III again at the Battle of Issus.
Upon defeating Darius III and capturing the former king, Alexander the Great declared himself King of Persia in 333 B.C.E.
Next Alexander the Great moved his army easily through Egypt, where in 331 B.C.E. he founded the city of Alexandria.
The city was created to become a central hub for Greek trade and culture.
Also in 331 B.C.E., he would defeat the Persian army again at the Battle of Gaugamela. After the battle, he proclaimed himself the King of Babylon, King of Asia, and King of the Four Quarters of the World.
Alexander the Great moved swiftly forward through present-day Iran where he captured Prince Oxyartes and married the prince’s daughter Roxana. From here in 328 B.C.E., his army defeated King Porus in northern India, after which he showed his diplomatic skills by winning Porus’s loyalty.
He continued onward to the Ganges River where his army eventually refused to move forward. During their return to Macedonia, along the Indus River, Alexander the Great was wounded in battle.
By 325 B.C.E Alexander the Great had recovered from his injury. His army moved along the Persian Gulf. By the following year, his army had reached the town of Susa.
To strengthen his hold on the region, he commanded a significant number of Macedonians to marry Persian princesses.
When Alexander the Great had secured thousands of Persian soldiers he sent thousands of Macedonia soldiers home.
The actions taken by Alexander the Great made his soldiers angry.
They criticized Alexander the Great for mingling Persian customs with their Greek culture. His experiment of mixing cultures to strengthen Macedonian interests came to an end with the killing of thirteen Persian leaders.
On June 13, 323 B.C.E., Alexander the Great died of malaria in Babylon (present-day Iraq). After his death, his Macedonian Kingdom was divided between his generals and collapsed after years of infighting.
Facts about Alexander the Great
- During his youth, Alexander was mainly raised by his mother Olympia.
- King Phillip II hired the Greek philosopher Aristotle to tutor Alexander in his teens.
- Alexander’s first victory in battle came at the age of 16 years old.
- At 19 years old, Alexander became the King of Macedonia.
- Alexander conquered areas within Iran, Iraq, Syria, India, and Egypt.
- He married the princess daughter of an opposing kingdom.
- Alexander defeated King Darius III of Persia twice.
- The city of Alexandria was founded as a culture and commerce hub of Greece.
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