Alexander The Great
One of the most popular and secular figure in history is Alexander the Great, who was great military leader and king. As you know he was the son of King Philip II, born in Macedonia (356 BC). His father Philip was a great and energetic ruler of his time. Alexander was taught by Aristotle. He learned philosophy, ethics and politics from him. In very early age he stared showing interest in military and showed his brilliance performance in commanding the Macedonians battles in his teens. He helped won the battle of Chaeronea at 18.
THE TIME PERIOD
He ascended the throne of his father in 336 BC, after the assassination of his father, and took over Thessaly and Thrace. He greatly expanded the kingdom of Greek and Macedonian. He defeated Persian army in 334 BC at the Granicus River. He was destined to rule Asia after he cut the knot in Phrygia 333 BC.
He also defeated Persian King Darius III at the battle of Issus 333 BC. Later he expanded his power to Syria and Phoenicia completely rooting off Persians from their port. One of his greatest military achievement was the conquest of Tyre in 332 after which he overcame Egypt.
There he founded Alexandria. Then he took control of East Mediterranean coast and again defeated Darius at Gaugamela. Then he conquered Babylon. In Persia he formed an empire ruled by both Persians and Macedonians. He also took control of Oxus and Jaxartes rivers and founded more of Alexandria cities.
He married Persian princess Roxana. He died at the age of 33 after heavy drinking and buried in Alexandria, Egypt. His conquest extended from Thrace to Egypt and from Greece to Indus Valley and expanded Greek and Macedonian Empire. Under his rule, he conquered almost the entire world of his era and expanded the empire of Macedonia and Greek.
CLIMATE OF THE AREA
The weather was cloudy and occasionally sunny.
RELIGIONS OF THE PEOPLE
Alexander thought that he had a divine origin. He believed this because of his mother’s conception that he was born from serpent not Philip. This affected much of the Alexander’s life and at some stage of his life he visited Temple of Ammon in Siwah to consult god and to trace his birth. Just like Hercules birth was traced to Zeus, he considered his origin from serpent, Ammon.
He wanted to draw a clear connection between him and Hercules, therefore, the coins he minted bear face of Hercules with great resemblance to Alexander. In this way, he stretched the message of his divine origin through out his conquered world.
Alexander was also introduced as proskynesis (the one before him others bow) to proof his divinity. The one who is very superior king and all others are inferior to him and should bow in front of him.
After the death of Alexander, his successors started to fight for the domination. His empire was then divided in various small empires, namely Egyptian Empire, Seleucos and Macedonian Empire. Most powerful and strongest among these were Egyptian empire.
IMPORTANT PEOPLE OF THE TIME
Homer was Alexander’s favorite. He used to sleep with a copy of Iliad under his pillow. He learned a lot from Aristotle. When he was 16, he acted as regent of Macedonia. He then thrashed Thracians and founded a new city Alexandropolis. He also went to the Battle to help Philip and saved his life and army.1
He was first taught by Leonidas, who was very strictly disciplined and instilled in him simpleton and abstinent nature. Then he was taught by Lysimahcus. Lysimachus taught Alexander to play lyre, fine arts, music, poetry and drama. At the age of 13 he was taught by Aristotle.
Alexander ascended the throne after the murder of his father and took hold of the troubled kingdom. Alexander Marched towards Athens and Thebes and towards northern side to take hold of the cities who were threatening to break away from Macedonians after Philip’s death. He subdued Athens and Thebes and repelled northern barbarians.
Most of the Alexander’s success was due to political and military strength of Philip. Philip’s large contribution to the Macedonian army and acquisition of alliances with Balkans, strengthened his own kingdom and expansion of their empire in Alexander’s era. Philip ascended to the Macedonian throne in 359 BC. At that time, Macedonia was suffering from a defeat and their political and military power was destroying at the hands of Illyrians.2