King Philip II and Queen Olympias welcomed Alexander III into the world in Pella, Macedonia, in 356 B.C.; According to legend, Zeus, the supreme ruler of the Greek gods, was believed to be his father. The military might of Philip II was well-known. He envisioned conquering the vast Persian Empire while making Macedonia (a region in northern Greece) a force to be reckoned with.
When he tamed the massive wild horse (known as Bucephalus) with a furious demeanor at the age of 12, Alexander displayed impressive bravery and courage. For the majority of his life, Alexander fought alongside the horse. King Philip asked the great philosopher Aristotle to instruct his son when Alexander was 13 years old. Alexander’s passion in literature, science, medicine, and philosophy was inspired and encouraged by Aristotle.
When King Philip left to go to war and left his son in charge of Macedonia (in northern Greece), Alexander was only 16 years old. During the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C Alexander saw an opportunity to demonstrate his military prowess and led a cavalry that obliterated the Sacred Band of Thebes, a supposedly unbeatable, elite army made up entirely of male lovers.
Alexander’s father Philip was killed by his bodyguard Pausanias in 336 B.C. At the age of 20, Alexander ascended to the throne of Macedonia and put an end to his enemies’ attempts to overthrow him. Additionally, he also squashed independence rebellions and uprisings in northern Greece. After cleaning house, Alexander departed to carry on his father’s legacy and expand Macedonia’s dominance of the world.
Alexander sent his troops to Persia and named the general Antipater as regent. At the Granicus River, they encountered Persian and Greek forces after crossing the Hellespont, a constricting strait that separates the Aegean Sea from the Sea of Marmara. Alexander and the Macedonians triumphed. Alexander then moved south and captured Sardes with ease. However, his army ran into opposition in the cities of Miletus, Mylasa and Halicarnassus. They were under siege yet not beaten, Halicarnassus held out long enough for King Darius III, the newest Persian king, to build a substantial army.
Alexander traveled north from Halicarnassus to Gordium, the location of the famous Gordian knot, a collection of intricate knots fastened to an antique wagon. According to legend, whomever broke the knot would rule over all of Asia. According to the legend, Alexander attempted the task but was unable to untie the knot by hand. He adopted a different strategy and used his sword to cut through the knot while rejoicing in victory.
Alexander the Great went on to conquer Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Afghanistan, and India. He became the King of Persia and also married a Persian woman. He advised his generals to marry Persian women and wanted to fuse the Hellenic and Persian cultures.
In October 331 B.C., Alexander confronted Darius and his enormous army at Gaugamela after taking Egypt. After ferocious combat and significant casualties on both sides, Darius escaped and was killed by his own soldiers. Alexander reportedly found Darius dead and with great grief and sadness gave him a royal burial.
Alexander proclaimed himself King of Persia after finally defeating Darius. However, Bessus, another Persian ruler who was rumored to have killed Darius, had also claimed the throne. Alexander was unable to accept the assertion. Following Alexander’s relentless pursuit, Bessus’s soldiers surrendered to Alexander’s close friend Ptolemy, who had Bessus killed and dismembered. After Bessus was defeated, Alexander had complete dominance over Persia.
Alexander was in charge of a sizable empire by 323 B.C., and he had also recovered from the tragic loss of his buddy Hephaestion, who was also rumored to have been one of Alexander’s male lovers. He began making preparations to conquer Arabia because of his ravenous desire for global dominance. But he wouldn’t live to witness it. Alexander the Great passed away in June 323 B.C. at the age of 32 after enduring numerous bloody battles.
Alexander’s death was attributed to malaria or other natural reasons by some historians, while others think he was poisoned. He never designated a successor, either.
The empire he had worked so hard to build was torn apart by his death and the ensuing deadly struggle for power.
Alexander the Great introduced Greek culture to many conquered regions, and he created several towns that are still significant cultural hubs today. 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., when his empire collapsed. Alexander the Great will always be viewed as one of the most influential and powerful Greek rulers the ancient world has ever seen.