Alexander The Great By Kelsey Williams

Alexander the Great was King of Macedonia from 336-323 B.C.E. He was a great conqueror and during his short time as King created a vast empire. He spent the majority of his time as King on military conquests and was an incredibly successful military commander, he remained undefeated until his untimely death in 323 B.C.E.
From a young age Alexander's mother instilled a strong sense of self confidence in him. It is said that his mother Olympias believed that they were descendants of the God Achilles (seen above). As a child he was tutored by Aristotle and become fond of Greek culture. As a teenager he showed great military aptitude by conquering a group of people called the Maedi and creating "Alexandroupolis" (Jarus).
Alexander rose to power through some scandal with the murder of his father Philip of Macedon (seen above). It was believed that in 336 B.C.E. Alexander's mother Olympias murdered his father out of jealousy for his new, younger bride. Upon his fathers death he moved quickly to subdue any kind of rebellions in Greece and the Balkans and prepared to take over the rest of his empire.
Philip had already been planning an invasion of Persia at the time of his death, so Alexander merely picked up where his father left off. At the time this decision seemed like a big gamble for himself and his army, as the Persians had a much larger army. However, he won his first battle in 334 B.C.E. in modern day Turkey and continued with confidence into Asia. Again, he believed that he was a descendent of the Gods and did not believe in his heart that it was possible for him to fail; this kind of confidence no doubt helped him on the battle field.
As mentioned before, Alexander was a superb military commander. He had the ability to anticipate his opponents moves and strategically plan even mid-battle. He won battle after battle moving from Anatolia into Egypt until finally Darius II, the Persian Emperor, finally admitted defeat and offered to surrender. However he rejected the offer, continuing to conquer even more of the Persian empire. It wasn't until 326 B.C.E. that he was forced to return due to the fact that his men refused to go on any longer.
This type of tension between Alexander and his men could have ultimately been what led to his downfall. He became paranoid that his men were plotting to take his life due to the harsh conditions he had subjected them to. He killed his second in command, Parmerio because the mans son failed to inform Alexander about a plot to murder him. He also killed his close friend Cleitus after the two got drunk and Cleitus expressed his disagreement with Alexander's ways. Although Alexander expressed great remorse for this murder, it clearly did not help ease tensions between himself and the men he was commanding.
After returning to Persia it would seem that Alexander fell into a sort of depression. He was disappointed that his men had let him down during his conquests and he may have been unhappy with just ruling. From a purely speculative standpoint it seems that he was only happy when he was experiencing the rush from the battlefield. He apparently began to drink a lot, supposedly consuming more than a gallon of wine in half an hour. Soon after this he developed a fever and died in 323 B.C.E. when he was only 33 years old. There has been a lot of speculation about whether or not he was poisoned or if maybe he just developed malaria.

Although he did make major accomplishments as far as conquering and creating an empire, Alexander really did not do very much for the people that he ruled. He made no huge gains as far political or economic infrastructure go and seemed to care little if he benefited any of his people. His rule was very militaristic and did little to actually help unify the groups that he conquered.

In spite of this, a new culture arose after his death giving way to great cultural developments in the region. Hellenistic culture developed as a result of the of the blending of Greek, Persian, Egyptian, and Indian culture. The trade industry grew as the cultures shared foods, pottery, spices, etc. Alexandria in Egypt became a center for intellectuals and knowledge spread throughout the region. Philosophy also saw new trends as philosophers attempted to find stability in the wake of the chaos caused by Alexander. Religion also spread through the regions giving rise to new beliefs and ideas of worship.
The Greeks especially benefited after the death of Alexander the Great, which would have surely made him happy to see. Empires in the region were all ruled by Greeks, who held every political and military post in their empires. They ruled in the same style as Alexander; they got rid of those who disagreed with them and did not care to improve the lives of their people. However, Alexander's legacy lived on with them and his love of Greek culture for at least a little bit longer.

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