Alexander the Great – The Famous Man in History
One name always comes to mind when the word king is brought up, and that name is Alexander The Great. Being the most dominant king history has ever seen he and his army couldn’t be stopped by opposing ancient armies. Alexander was brought up learning what it takes to be a leader by his father, king of Macedonia Philip II even though he wasn’t around so often.
Eager to learn from a young age Alexander found himself learning from one of ancient Greek’s legendary philosophers Aristotle. Alexander was basically set up for success right from the start and took full advantage of the powerful military forces that his father had left him. With the knowledge, power, and success he had over his lifetime there is no questioning his greatness.
Alexanders early life is very important to his success later in life. Born in the Greek kingdom of Macedonia on July 20, 356 B.C. to King Philip II and his mother Queen Olympia. They lived in Pella’s royal court. Pella was a royal city in Macedonia where Alexander was born and raised. As a child Alexander barely saw his father. Growing up, the dark-eyed and curly-headed Alexander hardly ever saw his father, who spent most of his time engaged in military campaigns and extra-marital affairs (Biography.com). King Philip II was highly involved with his military and spent lots of his time focusing on it. Which left his mother Queen Olympia to impact Alexander’s home life on an everyday basis. Olympias drove Alexander into his role as king basically since birth. She would constantly remind him of his royal backgrounds from both Philip II and her father King Neoptolemus, she also fed Alexander information of his ties with Achilles.
Education was very important to Alexander in his early life as it is for anybody. Alexander had several tutors in his child. His first tutor was a family relative Leonidas of Epirus, hired to teach mathematics, archery, and horsemanship to Alexander but had a difficult time controlling him. Next in line was tutor Lysimachus. Lysimachus approached Alexander’s education differently. He used role playing to keep young Alexander focused. Alexander was educated by the great philosopher Aristotle of Stagira (livius.org). Out of all of Alexander’s educators Aristotle is the most successful, and most influential to him. Aristotle studied at Plato’s academy in Athens for twenty years, until he was called upon by King Philip II. Teaching Alexander for seven years until he was to take his role as king. The two even communicated during his travels by writing letters. Aristotle influenced Alexander’s love for reading, which is why Alexander always had a book on his Military campaigns.
After finishing his education Alexander became a soldier in his father’s army. His first battle experience was with the Thracian tribes. Following this military expedition Alexander took control of the Companion Cavalry in 338 B.C. Leading this Cavalry was huge promotion from being just a soldier in the army. Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without suffering a single defeat (BBC.com). Alexander led his cavalry to victory over the Theban and Athenian armies at Chaeronea. This military alliance between Alexander and his father didn’t last too long after this war. This happened right after all Greek states were united by King Philip II. Except for the Greek state of Sparta. After this successful reign of uniting all of these Greek states Alexander and his father’s relationship soon fell to pieces. King Philip II then married Cleopatra, driving Alexander’s mother Olympia and Alexander out of Macedonia. Alexander continued to live with his mother’s side of the family until him and his father King Philip II were able to put their differences aside and reunite.
Alexander didn’t have the easiest path to becoming the great king and ruler that he known for today. Alexander’s sister had gotten married to her uncle Alexander the Molossian King. Celebrating this moment in his daughter’s life King Philip II was murdered by one of his Macedonian nobles. Even though they always did not have the best the relationship Alexander looked up to his father and at nine teen years old was highly determined to be the next king of Macedonia. Determined and ready to take control Alexander had to make some big moves, he was quickly able to gain strong support from his father’s highly trained and loyal army. This wasn’t very hard for him to gain the support of these Macedonian soldier due to him previously fighting side by side with them at the battle of Chaeronea. King Philip II’s army already consider Alexander their new king. They were willing to do anything in their power to make sure he was the one taking his father’s spot their new leader. The army backing Alexander’s come up as king murdered anybody who even a threat to becoming the new king of Macedonia helping him in a major way. His soon to be army wasn’t his only back up helping him to his throne. Alexander’s mother Olympia was always there for him, practically raised him by herself due to the majority of his father’s time spent training his army and ruling over Macedonia. Olympia wanted nothing more than to watch her son succeed in life and take control over an entire kingdom. Olympia basically sealed the deal of Alexander taking over by murdering King Philip II and Cleopatra’s daughter ensuring the her or her husband would not be able to take control. The death of Cleopatra’s daughter eventually led to her committing suicide as well.
After all of his effort to control the kingdom Alexander remained the feudal king of Macedonia. Even though he accomplished the rule of Macedonia Alexander had absolutely zero control of the Corinthian league. After KIng Philip’s death some of the Greek states began to divide from each other, especially the southern ones who were actually celebrating the death of King Philip II. Athen’s was having their own plans of taking over the Corinthian league which will eventually make it even harder for Alexander to take full control of the league.
One of Alexander’s first moves was sending his new highly trained army south and persuaded the region of Thessaly into thinking he is the new crowned leader of the Corinthian league. After that persuasion, Alexander attended a meeting of Corinthian league members at Thermopylae. Alexander quickly gained the fellow members support of his leadership. Following this support Alexander reissued treaties with Greek states that had all been members of the Corinthian league. The only problem the Corinthian league had faced was Athens still not agreeing and refusing to agree with the league. Alexander had also received absolute control over the leagues military forces to take over the persian empire. Alexander proved his knowledge right away by taking control of the the Thracian Triballians which gave him full control of Macedonia’s northern border, having control of all borders is very crucial in battles.
During the end of Alexander’s conquering of the north border he had received information that Thebes forced out all of the Macedonian troops that had been staying there. With Macedonian troops being forced out and Athens not agreeing with the Corinthian league Alexander was forced to take a stand. Alexander took his highly trained, very big army which consisted of 3,000 cavalry and 30,000 infantry soldiers south to the tip of the Greek peninsula. During all these moves that Alexander had been making his general Parmenion had also been making moves into the Asian Minor.
Alexander and his forces arrived in Thebes so quickly that the city-state didn’t have a chance to pull together allies for its defense. (Biography.com) Only three days after him and his army arrived in thebes he began a massacre. Alexander didn’t just lead a massacre for no reason. Alexander did this to send a message to any Greek states that were even considering to revolt that they should think twice, Alexander and his army showed no mercy what so ever. Alexander’s intimidation plan couldn’t have worked any better. With fear for their own states all Greek states including Athens who originally wanted full control of the Corinthian league pledged their allegiance or at least agreed to remain neutral with Alexander’s very powerful Macedonian empire.
Alexander then pursued his Asiatic expedition in 334, and also arrived in Troy that spring. Alexander then defeated the persian army who was led by King Darius III. After defeating King Darius III for the first time Alexander led his army along the southern coast of the Asian MInor, once making it there Alexander and his army rested and regathered for the winter. The summer following Alexander’s winter of rest he had come face to face with King Darius III and his army once again. After the defeat of Darius III at Gaugamela in 331 BCE, Alexander realized it was necessary to replace his force’s depleted numbers, welcoming new recruits into his army (ancient.eu). This battle at Issus shows Alexander’s military knowledge and his ability to handle adversity, he set up his out numbered armies in strategic formation causing the persians to retreat from the battle. Alexander expanded his power and rule by capturing King Darius III, making himself the new king of Persia.
Defeating King Darius III led to Alexander want to conquer more and more. Next up to face his wrath was Egypt. Surrounding Gaza with his army causing Egypt to fall without even putting up a fight. He then created and named a city Alexandria which was used to recognise Greek culture. Having such militarial success Alexander defeated the Persian once again in the battle of Guagamela.With the collapse of the Persian army, Alexander became “King of Babylon, King of Asia, King of the Four Quarters of the World. (Biography.com) He then proceeded to take control of Iran making Macedonian cities spreading his culture.Taking control of the fortress of Ariamazes. He also married the princess daughter Rhoxana after Prince Oxyartes.
Alexander defeated King Porus’ military forces in northern India.This was no walk in the park for Alexander like a couple of his previous battles like Egypt. Alexander being so impressed by King Porus kept him as king of his land.After trying to move his army east towards the Ganges his army refused to travel. Alexander was attacked and hurt by Malli warriors on his journey back on the Indus. After recovering from his injuries Alexander he wasted no time having his army travel along the Persian coast. Many of Alexander’s soldiers had died in this journey a majority of them due to illnesses. Alexander finally had arrived at the city of Susa. Wanting to keep his power Alexander had to recruit a lot more men into his army. Trying to bring his rule together Alexander forced Macedonians to marry Persian princesses. Alexander was able to recruit thousand and thousands of Persian soldiers into his militarial force.He quickly lost his relationship with Macedonian soldiers after dropping them from his army. Eager to gain back his Macedonian loyalty he killed thirteen persian leaders making yet another statement. Alexander the Great died surprisingly not from battle but by the disease of malaria in Babylon, on June 13, 323 B.C.
Alexander’s death at age 32 was a true tragedy. . Rhoxana who he had married had his son a couple months after Alexander had lost his life. He had conquered more land. And had more power of so many states almost too much to imagine. Till this day no single leader has out preformed Alexander The Great. All good things do come to an end though, Alexander’s hard earned empire was quickly destroyed. States from Alexander’s empire were battling with each other for power of what he had created. One thing Alexander’s empire left behind was his strong Greek culture. He was widely despised by many of the subject Greeks, whose attitude might best be summed up by the comment attributed to one Athenian orator who, when informed of Alexander’s death, replied, What? Alexander dead? Impossible! The world would reek of his corpse! In the end, his achievement appears to have been a grand adventure tied to his own personal ambitions (history.com). States within his empire lived with Alexander’s culture and continued to do so. Alexander The Great was by far the most successful leader of all time. He will always be in our world’s history, and will never be forgotten.
- “Alexander and Aristotle.” Alexander and Aristotle – Livius. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
- “Alexander the Great.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 28 Apr. 2017. Web. 28 Apr. 2017
- “BBC – History – Alexander the Great.” BBC News. BBC, 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
- History.com Staff. “Alexander the Great.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
- Wasson, Donald L. “The Army of Alexander the Great.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
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