Alexander The Great
The empire was the creation of Alexander the Great of Macedon, gifted leader who inspired tremendous loyalty from his troops. In less than four years, a brilliant young general created the largest empire the world had ever seen. In stretched from Greece in the west to India in the east. Alexander’s sudden death at the age of 33 led to the empire’s collapse, but it lived on in a series of towns that spread Greek culture eastwards. The cities, all called Alexandrian after their founder, opened up a trade between Asia and Europe that survived for centuries.
Alexander was horn in 356 BC, the son of King Philip II of Macedon (r.359 – 336). As a young man he went on military campaigns with his father. Alexander won fame for taming a wild black horse called Bucephalus which stayed with him throughout his whole life.
Alexander was taught by the Athenian philosopher Aristotle (384 – 322 BC). Aristotle’s interests ranged from politics and morality to biology and literature. He shared his enthusiasm for new ideas with his young pupil.
When Alexander became King of Macedon in 336BC, Greece was dominated by Persia. In a series of brilliant military campaigns, Alexander defeated Persia and created his vast empire.
The heartland of Alexander’s empire was his home state of Macedon, northern Greece. Before Alexander became King, Greece was divided into rival city states and was threatened by the powerful Persian Empire.
In 332 BC, Alexander conquered Egypt and was accepted as the new pharaoh. He founded city of Alexandria, in northern Egypt, which became the most important city of the Greek speaking world. When Alexander died in 323 BC he was buried in a vast tomb in the centre of the city.
The rich empire of Persia occupied much of modern Iraq, Turkey and Iran. After Alexander had conquered the area, he tried to unite Macedonia and Persia by encouraging his generals to marry Persians. Alexander himself married Roxana, a princess from eastern Persia.
Battle of Issus:
In 335 BC, the Macedonian army overwhelmed the more powerful Persian army led by Dairus III (r.336 – 330 BC) at the battle of Issus, Syria. The Persians were defeated again in 331 BC at Gaugamela neat the river Tigris. After this battle, the Persian capital, Persepolis, was destroyed. And the empire collapsed.
By 326 BC Alexander had marched through Persia and had conquered Afghanistan and the Punjab. Although his troops were very loyal to him, they refused to go further than the river Indus.
Death of Alexander:
In 323 BC Alexander caught a fever in the city of Babylon. Although he was only 33, he died. This sudden death meant that Alexander did not have time to consolidate his rule or even name his successor. Within a few years of his death, the huge Macedonian empire had collapsed.
Alexander the Great Facts:
356 BC: Born in Macedon
336BC: Succeeds his father to the Macedonian throne, quells rebellions in Greece
334BC: Leads his army into Persia and defeats a Persian army at the Granicus River
333BC: Defeats Darius III at Issus
331 BC: Defeats Darius III again at Gaugamela, completing his conquest of the Parisian Empire
326BC: Reaches the Indus, but is forced to turn back by his troops
323BC: Alexander The Great dies of fever in Babylon
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