All about Alexander the great

Alexander was born july 20 and he diied at the age of 32 on june 10. Alexander III the Great, the King of Macedonia and conqueror of the Persian Empire is considered one of the greatest military geniuses of all times. He was inspiration for later conquerors such as Hannibal the Carthaginian, the Romans Pompey and Caesar, and Napoleon.  Alexander was born in 356 BC in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia. He was son of Philip II, King of Macedonia, and Olympias, the princess of neighboring Epirus. He spent his childhood watching his father transforming Macedonia into a great military power, winning victory after victory on the battlefields throughout the Balkans.  When he was 13, Philip hired the Greek philosopher Aristotle to be Alexander’s personal tutor.  During the next three years Aristotle gave Alexander a training in rhetoric and literature and stimulated his interest in science, medicine, and philosophy, all of which became of importance in Alexander’s later life.  In 340, when Philip assembled a large Macedonian army and invaded Thrace, he left his 16 years old son with the power to rule Macedonia in his absence as regent, which shows that even at such young age Alexander was recognized as quite capable.  But as the Macedonian army advanced deep into Thrace, the Thracian tribe of Maedi bordering north-eastern Macedonia rebelled and posed a danger to the country.  Alexander assembled an army, led it against the rebels, and with swift action defeated the Maedi, captured their stronghold, and renamed it after himself to Alexandropolis. 

Two years later in 338 BC, Philip gave his son a commanding post among the senior generals as the Macedonian army invaded Greece. At the Battle of Chaeronea the Greeks were defeated and Alexander displayed his bravery by destroying the elite Greek force, the Theban Secret Band. Some ancient historians recorded that the Macedonians won the battle thanks to his bravery.

The Family Split and the Assassination of Philip II

But not too long after the defeat of the Greeks at Chaeronea, the royal family split apart when Philip married Cleopatra, a Macedonian girl of high nobility. At the wedding banquet, Cleopatra's uncle, general Attalus, made a remark about Philip fathering a ‘legitimate’ heir, i.e., one that was of pure Macedonian blood. Alexander threw his cup at the man, blasting him for calling him 'bastard child’. Philip stood up, drew his sward, and charged at Alexander, only to trip and fall on his face in his drunken stupor at which Alexander shouted:


"Here is the man who was making ready to cross from Europe to Asia, and who cannot even cross from one table to another without losing his balance."


He then took his mother and fled the country to Epirus. Although allowed to return later, Alexander remained isolated and insecure at the Macedonian court.  In the spring of 336 BC, with Philip’s Persian invasion already set in motion, the king was assassinated by a young Macedonian noble Pausanias, during the wedding ceremony in Aegae, the old capital of Macedonia.  Why Pausanias killed the Macedonian king is a question that puzzled both ancient and modern historians. There is a claim that Pausanias was driven into committing the murder because he was denied justice by the king when he sought his support in punishing the Cleopatra's uncle Attalus for earlier mistreatment. But there are also reports that that both Olympias and Alexander were responsible for the assassination, by driving the young men into committing the act. That might explain why Pausanias was instantly put to death by Alexander's close friends as he attempted to flee the scene, instead of being captured alive and tried before the Macedonian assembly.  Philip, the great Macedonian conqueror was dead, the men who liberated his own country and brought if from the edge of the abyss into a world power. His dream of conquering the Persian Empire now lays on his successor, his son king Alexander III. 

Suppression of the Thracian, Illyrian, and Greek Rebellions


Once he ascended on the Macedonian throne, Alexander quickly disposed of all of his domestic enemies by ordering their execution.  But soon he had to act outside Macedonia.  Philip’s death caused series of rebellions among the conquered nations and the Illyrians, Thracians, and Greeks saw a chance for independence.  Alexander acted swiftly.  He forced his way into Greece despite the roads leading to the country being blocked by the Thessalians.  As soon as he restored Macedonian rule in northern Greece, he marched into southern Greece.  His speed surprised the Greeks and by the end of the summer 336 BC they had no other choice but to acknowledge his authority.

Believing the Greece would remain calm, Alexander returned to Macedonian, marched east into Thrace, and campaigned as far as the Danube river.  He defeated the Thracians and Tribalians in series of battles and drove the rebels beyond the river. Then he marched back across Macedonia and on his return crushed in a single week the threatening Illyrians, before they could receive additional reinforcements.

But now in Greece, upon rumors of his death, a major revolt broke out that engulfed the whole nation.  Enraged, Alexander marched south covering 240 miles in two weeks appearing before the walls of Thebes with large Macedonian army.  He let the Greeks know that it was not too late for them to change their minds, but the Thebans confident in their position called for all the Greeks who wished to set Greece free to join them against the Macedonians.  They were not aware that the Athenians and the Peloponnesians, stunned by the speed of the Macedonian king, quickly reconsidered their options and were now awaiting the outcome of the battle before they make their next move.

Alexander's general Perdiccas attacked the gates, broke into the city, and Alexander moved with the rest of the army behind him to prevent the Thebans from cutting him off.  The Macedonians stormed the city, killing everyone in sight, women and children included.  6,000 Thebans citizens died and 30,000 more were sold as slaves. The city where Alexander's father was kept as hostage for three years, was plundered, sacked, burned, and razed to the ground, just like Philip acted with Methone, Olynthus, and the rest of the Greek cities in Chalcidice.  Only the temples and the house of the poet Pindar were spared from distraction. This was example to the rest of Greece and Athens and the other Greek city-states quickly rethought their quest for freedom.  Greece remained under Macedonian rule.

The Battle of Granicus

With the conquered territories firmly in Macedonian control, Alexander completed the final preparations for the invasion of Asia.  The 22 year-old king appointed Philip's experienced general Antipater as regent in his absence to preside over the affairs of Macedonia and Greece, left him a significant force of 13,500 Macedonian soldiers to watch Greece, Thrace, Illyria, and protect Macedonia, and set out for the Hellespont (modern Dardanelles) in the spring of 334 BC. 

As his ship approached the Asia Minor's coast, he threw his spear from abroad and stuck it in the ground. He stepped onto the shore, pulled the weapon from the soil, and declared that the whole of Asia would be won by the Macedonian spear.   

In the army there were 25,000 Macedonians, 7,600 Greeks, and 7,000 Thracians and Illyrians, but the chief officers were all Macedonians, and Macedonians also commanded the foreign troops.  Alexander's second in command was Philip's general Parmenio, the other important commanders being Perdiccas, Craterus, Coenus, Meleager, Antigonus, and Parmenio's son Philotas. The army soon encountered the forces of King Darius III. There were 40,000 Persians and Greeks (20,000 each) waiting for them at the crossing of the river Granicus, near the ancient city of Troy.  These Greeks had joined the Persians in the years following the defeat of the Greek army by Philip II at Chaeronea.  It is important to note the number of Greeks on the both sides. The Greeks in the Macedonian train were mobilized by the Macedonians, and historians Peter Green and Ulrich Wilcken speak of them as hostages that would ensure the good behavior of their countrymen left behind in Greece under the watch of Antipater's Macedonian garrisons.  Not surprisingly, the Greeks in Alexander's army played insignificant role in the upcoming battles, only to be discharged when convenient. But far greater number of Greeks joined the Persians brushing away the memory of the Persian invasion of Greece some 150 years ago. The ancient Greek historian Arrian cited the "old racial rivalry between the Greeks and Macedonians" that led to this hatred on both sides. 

The Macedonians defeated the Persians and put them to flight and although the Greeks held their ground and fiercely fought, the battle ended in Macedonian victory.  Almost the entire Greek force was annihilated. 18,000 Greeks perished on the banks of Granicus and the 2,000 survivors were sent to forced labor in Macedonia. The Macedonians lost only 120 men according to tradition