The Life of Alexander The Great Alexander III, of Mesopotomia: 356 - 323 B.C.E.

(web, Google images)

Alexander’s Rise to Power

In 336 B.C.E. Alexander’s father, King Phillip II of Macedon was assassinated. The alleged culprit behind his murder was King Phillip’s leading wife Olympia. King Phillip’s death orchestrated by Olympia was said to stem from jealousy and to include her youngest daughters demise shortly after King Phillips assassination. With the king’s untimely passing, this left his 20-year-old son Alexander III in the seat of the throne. There was also some speculation that Alexander himself had been a culprit in the King’s murder. However there was never any verification of his involvement. (Judge, 138-139) (Recordings)

(King Philip II, and Olympia) (Web, Google Images)

Alexander’s Early Life

Alexander III, of Macedonia was born in Pella, a province or region of ancient Macedonia, Greece in 356 B.C.E. King Phillip II commissioned a Greek philosopher Aristotle to tutor Alexander. Macedonia had been viewed as a barbaric and with an antiquated political establishment until the influence of King Phillip II. As a direct result of Alexander’s tutoring he was entrenched in Greek culture, and derived inspiration from the works of Homer an author, who is thought to have produced Homeric poems called the Odyssey, and the Iliad. By Alexander’s teenage years he had a reputation of being self-assured, infinite curiosity, and impulsive. In order to prove his worthiness as a young king, and able leader of his army, Alexander III was known to have assassinated any person who cross-examined his right to the throne. (Judge 138-139)

(Painting) (Web, Google images)

The Battles of Alexander The Great

Alexander is known to have never lost a battle in his reign. Alexander initially swooped in on the city of Thebes in an effort to exert his rule upon the Grecians and impress his validity as the rightful king. Alexander’s next annexation was upon Persia with an army combined of Greeks, and Macedonians. His late father, Phillip II, had developed this Persian battle plan against the King Darius I, of Achaemenid, and his son Xerxes, many years before but was never able to carry it out. Foraging forward into Asia, he extended his reach to the capital of Phrygia, Gordium. The chariot of the founder of Gordium was displayed to Alexander and had an intricate hidden knot securing the chariot to a pole. The legendary custom was that only the victor of the territory was to untie the knot. It is said that Alexander slashed the knot exposing its ends, and therefore in his mind securing his rightful place, given by the god’s of ruling over Asia. Alexander’s primary conquest was in 334 B.C.E. where he faced off with Persian’s at the River Granicus, located in the region of Troad, in the Achaemenid Empire, now called Turkey. Some of the major battles to follow were the in 333 B.C.E. the battle at Issus, in the southwest part of Anatolia against Darius III, then pushing through Egypt establishing the city of Alexandria, and heading through Mesopotamia and traversing through Kyber Pass in Afghanistan into India where his last major battle called the “battle of the Hydaspes”, located by the Hydaspes River in 326 B.C.E. His army rebelled against further warfare due to the eight years that his army had been away from their homeland. Alexander headed back to his homeland never to fight again due to his unexpected death at the age of 33. (Judge, 140-141) (Recordings) (Video)

(Battles: Granicuis, Issus, Gaugamela, Hydaspes) (Web, Google images)

Alexander III Military Success

Alexander’s primary claim to fame, and name “Alexander The Great” was due to the fact that he was considered a great warrior, and leader having never lost a battle in his 15 year reign on the battlefield with what was considered at times to be substandard to those he fought. Trained beneath Philip II, in the art of war from a young age only fostered his success along with inheriting an army that was trained well, and loyal. The army was also armed with innovative spears that were made up to 20 feet long, with greater flexibility, called sarissa, and the men were divided into distinct military formations that helped prepared them against their enemies. However, Alexander became idealized after his death, more so than when he was alive. Napoleon Bonaparte, and Julius Caesar, was a few of the historical figures that idolized Alexander III. In his conquests Alexander names 70 cities after himself, and one after his horse. While Alexander was famous for his undefeated record he was known to have less success in rebuilding the empires he destroyed however he gave way to a military design that was studied, and utilized later in history. (Judge, 138-141) (Recordings)

(maps of territory, images of war) (Web, Google images)

Importance of Alexander III Empire

Alexander’s Empire was important because of the impact that it had on the diffusion of Greek culture throughout Asia, attempting to intermingle two cultures even by marrying wives from Persia, and coaxing his political entourage to marry native women as well. Alexander annihilated the Persian Empire. While Alexander embraced Persia’s governmental regulatory operations, the culture was not something that he embodied. Alexander’s ultimate goal was for Grecian culture would infiltrate Asia. While Alexander was great at winning the war, he was not so good at rebuilding the infrastructure that he destroyed. However with the blending of cultures, trade was brought to areas having a huge impact economically. (Judge, 139-145) (Recordings)

(Statue of Alexander III) (Web, Google Images)

Death of Alexander III

Alexander had returned home due to his army’s reluctance to push past the Indus Valley. He buried his unhappiness in promoting himself with commemorations, grand festivities, overindulging in wine. In 323 B.C.E. he overindulged for the last time, and ended up contracting a fever, becoming feeble, succumbing to his symptoms a few days after his initial symptoms. It is thought that his symptoms were consistent with those of tropical malaria. After Alexander’s unforeseen, and untimely death chaos ensued throughout his empire. Alexander’s empire was no longer united. His trusted generals snatched up portions of this empire further dividing it into three dynasties, Seleucus Nikator took over from the boundary of India to the west portion of Anatolia, Ptolemy took over Egypt, and Antigonus had control of Macedonia and Greece. (Judge, 138-139) (Video)

(Depiction of his Illness/Death) (Web, Google Images)

Cultural Impact on Asia

After Alexander’s death trade routes were strengthened by the construction of harbors, and roads. Sea routes could further expand trade. Coveted goods in Greece such as in silk cloth from China, and spices imported from India, and pottery became a huge commodity. The laws of Greece were adopted in business practices. Goods from Greece were exported as in olive oil, wine, and seafood. The cultural impact extended further to the exchange of ideas in medicine, math, physics, and even astronomy. Alexandria, a city in Egypt a library, and educational institution built for inquiry and learning became famous. The Greek language became the predominant language of those who were considered to be scholarly. All of these changes gave birth to the Hellenistic Society. (Judge, 139-141) (Recordings)

(Artifacts) (Web, Google images)

The Birth of Hellenistic Society

The Hellenistic Culture (323 - 146 B.C.E) came about post death of Alexander. It was a fusion of cultures derived from the combination of Greek, Egyptian, Indian, and Persian. Trade flourished throughout the territories as described earlier promoting thriving economics. Sea exploration occurred giving way to inventions, and forward thinking. Great minds as in Archimedies, 285 – 204 B.C.E. who’s attributes were mathematics, mechanical engineering, and physics made discoveries, hydrostatics or the pressure of fluids, or Aristotle, 310 – 230 B.C.E. on the concept that the earth rotates on an axis around the sun, all new ideas that the world had never conceptualized prior to the birth of the Hellenistic society. Religion meshed opening up new concepts. One popular religion named Mystery Religions, looked at the issues of human frailty, redemption, and the concept of life ever after. Two gods were birthed, god Dionysus, and goddess Demeter and were correlated with those unborn, and those who had passed away. (Judge, 141-144) (Recordings)

(Hellenistic Kingdoms) (Web, Google Images)

Politics of The Hellenistic Culture

The Persian Empire had been wiped out, a mastery of military culture - Greco-Macedonian influenced southern Asia, the language that was spread was Greek, the way of governing politics was not adopted in the same way. Instead dynasties were formed and a king, and was said to be chosen by their gods. The growth of the cities was Greek designed and Greeks were encouraged to immigrate into these new dynasties. The expansion of the Hellenistic political culture started to fall apart over time, unable to sustain what it once did, and a rival new jurisdiction arose out of Rome. (Judge 140-144) (Recordings)

(Politics)(Web, Google images)

Fascinating Facts About Alexander The Great

Alexander’s death in 323 B.C.E. was considered a mystery despite the later arrival of the concept that he possibly died from malaria. This is partially due to the fact that his father, and sister were assassinated. His generals were under suspicion, in particular Antipater, and his son because they had the assassination of Alexander’s wife, and son carried out after his death. Alexander’s remains were said to be handled by embalmers from Egypt, and thought to be conserved in a cask of honey to ward off any natural decay. Several years later his remains were being relocated to Macedonia but were halted by general Ptolemy who was seen as the inheritor of Alexander’s empire. Alexander was known to be extremely witty and he figured out that help aid in the effort to mix two cultures and attempt to win the Persian’s over he started to dress in their native royal garments which was a tunic that was striped, a Persian crown, and their girdle. Alexander wanted to be considered “god-like” and he was said in 331 B.C.E. during a trip to Swish, to have claimed that he was “the son of Zeus”. Last but not least Alexander was known to seek the knowledge of more philosophers than Aristotle, he was said to have stopped his army advances so that he could have conversations with gymnosophists from Jain, or Hindu religion, philosophers who refrained from clothing, and vain thought processes. (website,history.com)

(Depiction of Alexander's embalming) (Web, Google images)
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Penny Lefert
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