BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE
Alexander the great was born to Philip II who was the king of Macedon and his wife Olympias. She was the fourth among his eight wives. Although the exact date of his birth is not known, as it is mentioned to be the 6th day of an ancient Greek month, historians have calculated and figured out that it must be approximately some date close to the 20th of July in the year 356 BC.
There are many strange stories that surround his birth, as Olympias is said to have had a dream on the night before her wedding about a fire spreading across her womb and burning everything away. King Philip is also said to have had strange dreams which were to the effect of sealing his wifes womb with a lions image.
Interpretations of these dreams state that these could be signs that he was actually the son of Zeus and that Olympias was pregnant without knowing it.
It was decided from birth that he would be the heir to his father’s throne. Hence, he was brought up in a manner befitting Macedonian noble folk. At the age of 13 it was decided that it was time to start hunting for a good tutor for him.
He was under the tutelage of Aristotle that Alexander the Great was trained in various subjects such as philosophy and political science. This education carried on till the age of 16 and it has been said that Alexander often stated that he could never have conquered the lands that he did without the knowledge he gained under Aristotle.
He also carried books given by him on many of his campaigns in the future. He was militarily trained and between the years after formal education ended and was left as heir apparent while his father went on expeditions to conquer different territories.
However, Alexander had fled along with his mother when he feared that Philip may acknowledge a legitimate heir by Cleopatra Eurydice as his successor as Alexander was half Macedonian before returning to Macedon after 6 months.
Alexander early in his life had to deal with the Thracian revolt of Maedi when Philip left him as regent while he was on a campaign. He fought along with his father to conquer Thermopylae and led against Theban and Athenian armies. After many more subsequent wars they started what was known as the “Hellenic alliance” which basically included most of the Greek city states.
ACCESSION TO THE THRONE AND CONSOLIDATION
He immediately in order to consolidate his power started eliminating his potential rivals like his cousin, Amyntas IV, two Lyncestis princesses who were alleged to be behind Philip’s murder. He had to subdue revolt by Thebes, Athens and Thracian tribes. He even forced the Thessalian army to surrender even without a fight when they found Alexander astonishingly near their rear.
He successfully subdued the Greek cities and united them under his rule. He led them into the forthcoming invasion of Persia.
EXPANSION INTO PERSIA
He successfully subdued the Greek cities and united them under his rule. He led them into the forthcoming invasion of Persia which would last almost 10 years.
He defeated the Persians in the battle of Granicus and then in the battle of Issus in which the Persians were led by their king, Darius himself. His tactical mastery and some spontaneous decisions which may even seem reckless at certain times made the difference.
The battle at the Persian gate was the first step towards the expansion of his empire. He managed to formulate a plan to get in from a path at the back which he found out from prisoners of war. It was as part of the original plan that his father made. This happened in 333 BC.
In 334 BC, although he was wrought with illness, he still managed to attempt to and succeed at conquering Syria. Finally, he went for the areas of Egypt which were being ruled by the Persians. They were very well received as the Persian rulers did not treat them well.
In 331 BC he returned to the Persian front and fought the battle of Guagemala . His throwing of the spear at Darius which led him to flee the battlefield, a huge turning point has been made into an iconic moment of history being captured in paintings showing the magnificence of Alexander.
After winning the battle of Guagemala his way to the mastery of Central Asia as the empire was now divided and in disarray. He took his time to subdue rebellious Persian satraps and win the favor of the Persian nobles.
INVASION OF INDIA IN 327 BC
After completing the control of the Persian empire his lust for expansion was still not over. He launched an invasion in the summer of 327 BC where he reached the northwest of the Indian subcontinent defeating Porus, the brave king whom he reinstated as his satrap.
He further planned to launch invasions against Magadha and Bengal but his army revolted at the Beas river refusing to match further east. So Alexander had to abandon his plans of further expansion and returned to Persia.
His ultimate plan was to join Asia and Europe as one and to be the supreme ruler of the entire territory. He became rather obnoxious at this point and made people worship him as god.
ALEXANDER’S EMPIRE AT HIS PEAK
DEATH OF ALEXANDER
All his grand plans however came to a sad end when he fell seriously ill at Babylon. He is said to have contracted malaria on one of his many expeditions, although there are certain mysteries about his death and many theories about where and how he died. He finally passed away in 323 BC. His body was taken to Alexandria and buried in a beautiful tomb that was made of gold.
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER ALEXANDER’S DEATH
SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ALEXANDER THE GREAT
- Alexander was actually Macedonian and not Greek as most people think.
- He forced a enemy to surrender without even fighting as he sneaked behind their back
- He never lost a battle in 15 years of his time in the battlefield
- He had named more than 50 cities after himself after their capture
- He even named a city in India after his dead horse, Bucephalus
- In ab id to win over Persian nobles he married 3 Persian wives including Darius’ daughter and adopted certain Persian court rules, even wearing a dress resembling Persian royal clothes