A year later Philip divorced Olympias, and, after a quarrel at a feast held to celebrate his father’s new marriage, Alexander and his mother fled to Epirus, and Alexander later went to Illyria. British historian Peter Green provided a description of Alexander's appearance, based on his review of statues and some ancient documents: Physically, Alexander was not prepossessing. The Companion cavalry was reorganized in two sections, each containing four squadrons (now known as hipparchies); one group was commanded by Alexander’s oldest friend, Hephaestion, the other by Cleitus, an older man. Shortly afterward, however, Callisthenes was held to be privy to a conspiracy among the royal pages and was executed (or died in prison; accounts vary); resentment of this action alienated sympathy from Alexander within the Peripatetic school of philosophers, with which Callisthenes had close connections. Detail of Alexander and Bucephalus, (1859-61) by Edgar Degas, in National Gallery of Art, Washington. [224] The Roman era writer Athenaeus says, based on the scholar Dicaearchus, who was Alexander's contemporary, that the king "was quite excessively keen on boys", and that Alexander kissed the eunuch Bagoas in public. [254] For example, Greek astronomical instruments dating to the 3rd century BC were found in the Greco-Bactrian city of Ai Khanoum in modern-day Afghanistan,[255] while the Greek concept of a spherical earth surrounded by the spheres of planets eventually supplanted the long-standing Indian cosmological belief of a disc consisting of four continents grouped around a central mountain (Mount Meru) like the petals of a flower. Alexander was proclaimed king on the spot by the nobles and army at the age of 20. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, Conquest of the Mediterranean coast and Egypt, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alexander-the-Great, History World - History of Alexander The Great, The Mariner's Museum and Park - Ages of Exploration - Biography of Alexander the Great, JewishEncyclopedia.com - Biography of Alexander The Great, Social Studies for Kids - Biography of Alexander the Great, Livius - Biography of Alexander the Great, PBS LearningMedia - The Rise of Alexander the Great, Ancient History Encyclopedia - Biography of Alexander the Great, Alexander the Great - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Alexander the Great - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). [40] Accordingly, Alexander returned to Macedon after six months due to the efforts of a family friend, Demaratus, who mediated between the two parties. [126], As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India. [190] Although Alexander was stubborn and did not respond well to orders from his father, he was open to reasoned debate. This also showed Alexander's eagerness to fight, in contrast to his father's preference for diplomacy. Around AD 200, Emperor Septimius Severus closed Alexander's tomb to the public. In summer 324 Alexander attempted to solve another problem, that of the wandering mercenaries, of whom there were thousands in Asia and Greece, many of them political exiles from their own cities. Much work fell on the lightarmed Cretan and Macedonian archers, Thracians, and the Agrianian javelin men. [18], When Alexander was 13, Philip began to search for a tutor, and considered such academics as Isocrates and Speusippus, the latter offering to resign from his stewardship of the Academy to take up the post. Greek thought drew no very decided line of demarcation between god and man, for legend offered more than one example of men who, by their achievements, acquired divine status. Alexander III of Macedon (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Γʹ ὁ Μακεδών, Aléxandros III ho Makedȏn; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great (Greek: ὁ Μέγας, ho Mégas), was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. He now seems to have become convinced of the reality of his own divinity and to have required its acceptance by others. His vast empire stretched east into India. Ptolemy IX Lathyros, one of Ptolemy's final successors, replaced Alexander's sarcophagus with a glass one so he could convert the original to coinage. Alexander and his exploits were admired by many Romans, especially generals, who wanted to associate themselves with his achievements. [220][221], Alexander also had a close relationship with his friend, general, and bodyguard Hephaestion, the son of a Macedonian noble. [163] Perhaps more likely, the successors may have seen possession of the body as a symbol of legitimacy, since burying the prior king was a royal prerogative. The stronghold was heavily fortified and built on a hill, requiring a siege. [80] He was pronounced son of the deity Amun at the Oracle of Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert. [183] The Macedonian phalanx, armed with the sarissa, a spear 6 metres (20 ft) long, had been developed and perfected by Philip II through rigorous training, and Alexander used its speed and manoeuvrability to great effect against larger but more disparate[clarification needed] Persian forces. In the winter of 324 Alexander carried out a savage punitive expedition against the Cossaeans in the hills of Luristan. [77], When Alexander destroyed Tyre, most of the towns on the route to Egypt quickly capitulated. [157], Alexander's body was laid in a gold anthropoid sarcophagus that was filled with honey, which was in turn placed in a gold casket. [b] At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Beas River. His expedition and his own personal interest in scientific investigation brought many advances in the knowledge of geography and natural history. Alexander has figured in both high and popular culture beginning in his own era to the present day. [16] Some of the cities he founded became major cultural centers, many surviving into the 21st century. There is no basis for the tradition that he turned aside to visit Jerusalem. Miletus, held by Achaemenid forces, required a delicate siege operation, with Persian naval forces nearby. The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a Hellenistic kingdom based in Egypt, and ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty, starting with Ptolemy I Soter’s accession to the throne following the death of Alexander the Great. When Alexander asked Diogenes what he could do for him, the philosopher disdainfully asked Alexander to stand a little to the side, as he was blocking the sunlight. Sort by: Top Voted. [271], Alexander features prominently in modern Greek folklore, more so than any other ancient figure. causing the mermaid to vanish and the sea to calm. After the assassination of Perdiccas in 321 BC, Macedonian unity collapsed, and 40 years of war between "The Successors" (Diadochi) ensued before the Hellenistic world settled into four stable power blocs: Ptolemaic Egypt, Seleucid Mesopotamia and Central Asia, Attalid Anatolia, and Antigonid Macedon. He had his cousin, the former Amyntas IV, executed. The cosmopolitan art and mythology of Gandhara (a region spanning the upper confluence of the Indus, Swat and Kabul rivers in modern Pakistan) of the ~3rd century BC to the ~5th century AD are most evident of the direct contact between Hellenistic civilization and South Asia, as are the Edicts of Ashoka, which directly mention the Greeks within Ashoka's dominion as converting to Buddhism and the reception of Buddhist emissaries by Ashoka's contemporaries in the Hellenistic world. [7], Alexander was born in Pella, the capital of the Kingdom of Macedon,[8] on the sixth day of the ancient Greek month of Hekatombaion, which probably corresponds to 20 July 356 BC, although the exact date is uncertain. Macedonian losses were negligible compared to those of the Persians. [42], In the following year, the Persian satrap (governor) of Caria, Pixodarus, offered his eldest daughter to Alexander's half-brother, Philip Arrhidaeus. [264][265], Arrian wrote that Aristobulus said that the Icarus island (modern Failaka Island) in the Persian Gulf had this name because Alexander ordered the island to be named like this, after the Icarus island in the Aegean Sea. [184] Alexander also recognized the potential for disunity among his diverse army, which employed various languages and weapons. Even by Macedonian standards he was very short, though stocky and tough. In the first authoritative biography of Alexander the Great written for a general audience in a generation, classicist and historian Philip Freeman tells the remarkable life of the great conqueror. When Miletus, encouraged by the proximity of the Persian fleet, resisted, Alexander took it by assault, but, refusing a naval battle, he disbanded his own costly navy and announced that he would “defeat the Persian fleet on land,” by occupying the coastal cities. In Caria, Halicarnassus resisted and was stormed, but Ada, the widow and sister of the satrap Idrieus, adopted Alexander as her son and, after expelling her brother Pixodarus, Alexander restored her to her satrapy. For other uses, see. Parmenio was also left behind in Media to control communications; the presence of this older man had perhaps become irksome. Alexander the Great was the King of Macedonia, the ancient kingdom of Northern Greece, and the conqueror of the Persian Empire. All three of these people had motive to have Philip murdered. [143] In the second account, Diodorus recounts that Alexander was struck with pain after downing a large bowl of unmixed wine in honour of Heracles, followed by 11 days of weakness; he did not develop a fever and died after some agony. The conquests of Alexander the Great form one of the most dramatic episodes in world history.They changed the course of history by brining a sudden end to the Persian Empire, and spreading Greek civilization far and wide across the Middle East and into India.Here it fused with other, more ancient civilizations to give rise to a new fusion, Hellenistic civilization. Both Athens and Philip sent embassies to win Thebes' favour, but Athens won the contest. His son and successor, Caracalla, a great admirer, visited the tomb during his own reign. Philip of Macedon unifies Greece. [48] He also had two Macedonian princes from the region of Lyncestis killed, but spared a third, Alexander Lyncestes. [62][64], In 336 BC Philip II had already sent Parmenion, with Amyntas, Andromenes and Attalus, and an army of 10,000 men into Anatolia to make preparations for an invasion to free the Greeks living on the western coast and islands from Achaemenid rule. Pausanias writes that Alexander wanted to dig the Mimas mountain (today at the Karaburun area), but he didn't succeed. [121] Alexander founded two cities on opposite sides of the Hydaspes river, naming one Bucephala, in honour of his horse, who died around this time. Undefeated in battle, he un leashed his army on countries great and small to forge an empire that stretched over three continents, from Greece to India and as far south as Egypt. In the aftermath of Massaga and Ora, numerous Assakenians fled to the fortress of Aornos. [38] During the wedding banquet, a drunken Attalus publicly prayed to the gods that the union would produce a legitimate heir. [213], Alexander married three times: Roxana, daughter of the Sogdian nobleman Oxyartes of Bactria,[214][215][216] out of love;[217] and the Persian princesses Stateira II and Parysatis II, the former a daughter of Darius III and latter a daughter of Artaxerxes III, for political reasons. Macedon was an Ancient Greek polity. This edition can be found on the Hathi Trust website, and the following table contains links to the individual chapters in the translation, together with the translator's introduction. His father was often away, conquering neighboring territories and putting down revolts. The correct answer is "He is alive and well and rules the world!" [134], After three days, unable to persuade his men to back down, Alexander gave Persians command posts in the army and conferred Macedonian military titles upon Persian units. The famous encounter between Alexander and Diogenes the Cynic occurred during Alexander's stay in Corinth. [277] Later Persian writers associate him with philosophy, portraying him at a symposium with figures such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, in search of immortality. Rise of Rome. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Alexander the Great's conquests freed the West from the menace of Persian rule and spread Greek civilization and culture into Asia and Egypt. [60], According to ancient writers Demosthenes called Alexander "Margites" (Greek: Μαργίτης)[61][62][63] and a boy. [254][256][257] The Yavanajataka (lit. [199] He had great self-restraint in "pleasures of the body", in contrast with his lack of self-control with alcohol. Was Alexander The Great the most important man that ever lived in the history of mankind? [190] However, Ogden calculates that Alexander, who impregnated his partners thrice in eight years, had a higher matrimonial record than his father at the same age. [178], Dissension and rivalry soon afflicted the Macedonians, however. The army was accompanied by surveyors, engineers, architects, scientists, court officials, and historians; from the outset Alexander seems to have envisaged an unlimited operation. [118] Alexander was impressed by Porus' bravery, and made him an ally. Alexander was emboldened to divide his forces, and Ambhi assisted Hephaestion and Perdiccas in constructing a bridge over the Indus where it bends at Hund,[115] supplied their troops with provisions, and received Alexander himself, and his whole army, in his capital city of Taxila, with every demonstration of friendship and the most liberal hospitality. Returning to Macedonia by way of Delphi (where the Pythian priestess acclaimed him “invincible”), he advanced into Thrace in spring 335 and, after forcing the Shipka Pass and crushing the Triballi, crossed the Danube to disperse the Getae; turning west, he then defeated and shattered a coalition of Illyrians who had invaded Macedonia. Crossing the Oxus, he sent his general Ptolemy in pursuit of Bessus, who had meanwhile been overthrown by the Sogdian Spitamenes. [237], Over the course of his conquests, Alexander founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most of them east of the Tigris. [138][139] Hephaestion's death devastated Alexander, and he ordered the preparation of an expensive funeral pyre in Babylon, as well as a decree for public mourning. [278], The Syriac version of the Alexander Romance portrays him as an ideal Christian world conqueror who prayed to "the one true God". [138][223] This event may have contributed to Alexander's failing health and detached mental state during his final months. This led Hegesias of Magnesia to say that it had burnt down because Artemis was away, attending the birth of Alexander. He was inspiration for later conquerors such as Hannibal the Carthaginian, the Romans Pompey and Caesar, and Napoleon. After the defeat, Spitamenes was killed by his own men, who then sued for peace. [186], When faced with opponents who used unfamiliar fighting techniques, such as in Central Asia and India, Alexander adapted his forces to his opponents' style. The Persian plan to tempt Alexander across the river and kill him in the melee almost succeeded; but the Persian line broke, and Alexander’s victory was complete. Demades likened the Macedonian army, after the death of Alexander, to the blinded Cyclops, due to the many random and disorderly movements that it made. He eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops, dying in Babylon in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. Leaving Parmenio in Syria, Alexander advanced south without opposition until he reached Gaza on its high mound; there bitter resistance halted him for two months, and he sustained a serious shoulder wound during a sortie. When Philip heard of this, he stopped the negotiations and scolded Alexander for wishing to marry the daughter of a Carian, explaining that he wanted a better bride for him. [1][2] He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history's most successful military commanders.[3]. [137] During his visit to Pasargadae Alexander ordered his architect Aristobulus to decorate the interior of the sepulchral chamber of Cyrus' tomb. From age 13 to 16 he was taught by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who inspired his interest in philosophy, medicine, and scientific investigation. attempt". Their works are lost, but later works based on these original sources have survived. He was born in 356 bce at Pella in Macedonia, the son of Philip II and Olympias (daughter of King Neoptolemus of Epirus). No heir had been appointed to the throne, and his generals adopted Philip II’s half-witted illegitimate son, Philip Arrhidaeus, and Alexander’s posthumous son by Roxana, Alexander IV, as kings, sharing out the satrapies among themselves, after much bargaining. [41] However, it appears Philip never intended to disown his politically and militarily trained son. [190] His intelligent and rational side was amply demonstrated by his ability and success as a general. He then continued south towards the Peloponnese. Rathbone Professor Emeritus of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology, University of Liverpool. According to the ancient sources, the two sides fought bitterly for some time. Quintus Curtius Rufus wrote a "History of Alexander the Great of Macedon", which has been translated by J.C.Rolfe in his Loeb edition, with the Latin text on facing pages. [105] The Greeks regarded the gesture as the province of deities and believed that Alexander meant to deify himself by requiring it. [59] Alexander then set out on his Asian campaign, leaving Antipater as regent. Shortly afterward, at Bactra, he attempted to impose the Persian court ceremonial, involving prostration (proskynesis), on the Greeks and Macedonians too, but to them this custom, habitual for Persians entering the king’s presence, implied an act of worship and was intolerable before a human. [106], In 334 BC, Alexander the Great donated funds for the completion of the new temple of Athena Polias in Priene, in modern-day western Turkey. [65][66] At first, all went well. The death of the son necessitated the death of the father, and thus Parmenion, who had been charged with guarding the treasury at Ecbatana, was assassinated at Alexander's command, to prevent attempts at vengeance. Gaugamela would be the final and decisive encounter between the two. [138][190][222] Hephaestion's death devastated Alexander. [13], On the day Alexander was born, Philip was preparing a siege on the city of Potidea on the peninsula of Chalcidice. [109], When Alexander set out for Asia, he left his general Antipater, an experienced military and political leader and part of Philip II's "Old Guard", in charge of Macedon. He founded two cities there, Alexandria Nicaea (to celebrate his victory) and Bucephala (named after his horse Bucephalus, which died there); and Porus became his ally. This allowed for Hellenistic culture to become widespread. [98] Alexander buried Darius' remains next to his Achaemenid predecessors in a regal funeral. The empire could hardly survive Alexander’s death as a unit. Omphis (Indian name Ambhi), the ruler of Taxila, whose kingdom extended from the Indus to the Hydaspes (Jhelum), complied, but the chieftains of some hill clans, including the Aspasioi and Assakenoi sections of the Kambojas (known in Indian texts also as Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas), refused to submit. At first, the cities must have been inhospitable, little more than defensive garrisons. Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, 5.31. This ruthless action excited widespread horror but strengthened Alexander’s position relative to his critics and those whom he regarded as his father’s men. In September Alexander too set out along the coast through Gedrosia (modern Baluchistan), but he was soon compelled by mountainous country to turn inland, thus failing in his project to establish food depots for the fleet. [194], Some of Alexander's strongest personality traits formed in response to his parents. Instead of taking the direct route down the river to Babylon, he made across northern Mesopotamia toward the Tigris, and Darius, learning of this move from an advance force sent under Mazaeus to the Euphrates crossing, marched up the Tigris to oppose him. [148] Olympias always insisted to him that he was the son of Zeus,[209] a theory apparently confirmed to him by the oracle of Amun at Siwa. Alexander immediately headed south. If Plutarch’s figure of 120,000 men has any reality, however, it must include all kinds of auxiliary services, together with muleteers, camel drivers, medical corps, peddlers, entertainers, women, and children; the fighting strength perhaps stood at about 35,000. Both in Egypt and elsewhere in the Greek cities he received divine honours. However, Alexander met with resistance at Gaza. While in Babylon, Alexander became ill after a prolonged banquet and drinking bout, and on June 13, 323, he died at age 33. In 336, however, on Philip’s assassination, Alexander, acclaimed by the army, succeeded without opposition. [11], Several legends surround Alexander's birth and childhood. "[239] This inscription is one of the few independent archaeological discoveries confirming an episode from Alexander's life. How far the rigour that from now onward Alexander displayed against his governors represents exemplary punishment for gross maladministration during his absence and how far the elimination of men he had come to distrust (as in the case of Philotas and Parmenio) is debatable; but the ancient sources generally favourable to him comment adversely on his severity. The achievements of Alexander the Great can not be ignored because he not only altered the course of history but also the course of everyday life. How much Alexander knew of India beyond the Hyphasis (probably the modern Beas) is uncertain; there is no conclusive proof that he had heard of the Ganges. Crushing the mountain tribe of the Ouxians, he now pressed on over the Zagros range into Persia proper and, successfully turning the Pass of the Persian Gates, held by the satrap Ariobarzanes, he entered Persepolis and Pasargadae. Writing shortly after Alexander's death, another participant, Onesicritus, invented a tryst between Alexander and Thalestris, queen of the mythical Amazons. [49], Attalus was at that time corresponding with Demosthenes, regarding the possibility of defecting to Athens. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mould of Achilles, and he features prominently in the history and mythic traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. [203] He had great charisma and force of personality, characteristics which made him a great leader. In autumn 324 Hephaestion died in Ecbatana, and Alexander indulged in extravagant mourning for his closest friend; he was given a royal funeral in Babylon with a pyre costing 10,000 talents. [116] A fierce contest ensued with the Aspasioi in which Alexander was wounded in the shoulder by a dart, but eventually the Aspasioi lost. [258] The Corinthian order is also heavily represented in the art of Gandhara, especially through Indo-Corinthian capitals. Along the way his army conquered the Malhi (in modern-day Multan) and other Indian tribes and Alexander sustained an injury during the siege. [278] He then travelled the known world in search of the Water of Life and Immortality, eventually becoming a prophet. During the ensuing Battle of Chaeronea, Philip commanded the right wing and Alexander the left, accompanied by a group of Philip's trusted generals. [247], The core of the Hellenistic culture promulgated by the conquests was essentially Athenian. Philip had started to build up an empire by uniting some of the separate city-states to the north of Greece. [212] Thus, rather than megalomania, his behaviour may simply have been a practical attempt at strengthening his rule and keeping his empire together. [106] The cities' locations reflected trade routes as well as defensive positions. Taking almost 2 years to accomplish it, Alexander's army marched from Kabul to the Beas (Hyphasis, on the rivers of … Two years later he commanded the left wing at the Battle of Chaeronea, in which Philip defeated the allied Greek states, and displayed personal courage in breaking the Sacred Band of Thebes, an elite military corps composed of 150 pairs of lovers. Alexander pursued the defeated Persian forces for 35 miles to Arbela, but Darius escaped with his Bactrian cavalry and Greek mercenaries into Media. [75][76] The men of military age were massacred and the women and children sold into slavery. He founded more than twenty cities bearing his name. 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