Alexander III of Macedon lived from 336 B.C.E to 323 B.C.E. He was born in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedon. Alexander was the only son of Philip II of Macedon and his wife, Olympias.
As a youth, Alexander studied under Aristotle and took a shine to Greek culture. He was described as "self confident, reckless, and endlessly curious" which only seemed to further his talents in military and political affairs.
At the age of 20, after his father's murder, Alexander took over the throne of Macedon. He swiftly gained the loyalty of the armies at his disposal and cemented his authority by killing any who opposed his right to rule.
Shortly after, he aimed to obtain Greece. He quickly destroyed the powerful city of Thebes and forced the Greeks to recognize him as Philip's legitimate successor.
With the confidence of overtaking Greece, Alexander's next move was to take invade Persia. With having no real major victories, Alexander was eager for conquest over the Persians. He marched with a mixed army of Macedonians and Greeks, claiming to be the champion of Greek culture with a goal for heroic conquest.
In 334 B.C.E, Alexander cut the Gordian Knot thus officially beginning his descent into Asia. With his ability to flawlessly execute battle strategies and anticipate his enemies moves, he was able to take over Persia in battle at Issus.
Even when put up against an experienced military leader like, Emperor Darius III and an army twice the size of his own, Alexander was still able to defeat the Persians and forcing its emperor to flee. Soon after, he moved south to Syria and Palestine into Egypt where he founded the city of Alexandria, and allowed the opportunity for Greek culture to expand.
After eight years of battle, his soldiers had decided to go no further despite Alexander's wishes. From that point, Alexander stayed in Persia, ruling over it and having a hard time with merging Greek and Persian cultures, and never returned to Greece. He did take up the luxuries that came with ruling an empire and enjoyed in the celebrations and festivities that frequented.
During one of the parties, Alexander reportedly drank a gallon of wine in half an hour. He developed a fever and died a few days from symptoms that were consistent with tropical malaria at the age of 33, in 323 B.C.E. His death, being so sudden, threw his empire into confusion. Ultimately, in the end, the empire he worked to build was divided between his generals, Cassander, Ptolemy, Antigonus, and Seleucus.
Alexander conquered a civilization that was considered unconquerable and did it with little effort. He is viewed as Great for his military and political achievements even today. Although his dream of unifying and creating a great empire full of cultural unity and understanding was never realized, Alexander the Great was and still is one of the most famous and revered military leaders of the ancient world.