Alexander the Great Lived 356-323 BCE, ruled 336-323 BCE

Coin depicting Alexander wearing lion scalp
  • also known as: Alexander III of Macedon
  • Alexander the Great ruled 336-323 BCE
  • Alexander was the son of Phillip II who was assassinated in 336 BCE
  • Alexander was tutored by the philosopher Aristotle until age 16, who signifigantly influenced his viewpoint and sense of purpose
Alexander tutored by Aristotle

In 336 BCE Alexander took the throne at age 20 immediately after his father Philip II had been assassinated.

Statue of Phillip II
quote attributed to Alexander
  • In 334 BCE Alexander takes Turkey, Syria, and Palestine.
  • Alexander led an army using the Phalanx 'wedge' formation, the creation of which is attributed to Phillip II, in conjunction with cavalry horseman to the rear. This offense defeated all opposing armies and left Alexander's army undefeated.
mosaic of Alexander fighting the Persian emperor Darius

By 334 BCE, two years after Phillip II's assassination, Alexander controlled all of Greece and by 326 had taken Mesopotamia and Persia.

artwork of Alexander and his army by drvce

Alexander and the Greeks intermingled with the conquered territories. He married a Persian woman and had close relationships with other Persians. Alexander admitted many Persian soldiers and officers into his army who trained in the Greek tactics, language and culture. This was initially seen as radical by Alexander's kinsmen, but Alexander regained their trust. In general Alexander inspired great trust and admiration among his subjects. There was an exchange of culture and ideas between the Greeks and their conquered territories that served to create a more united empire.

Map showing the campaigns of Alexander
alternate view of Alexander's empire 323 BCE

After conquering Persia, Alexander made it as far as the Indus River Valley. Alexander also wanted to take India but his army was exhausted and in 325-324 Alexander returned west to Babylon.

Alexander enters Babylon

Alexander has been thought of as a just conqueror who allowed conquered peoples to keep their customs while also spreading the Greek ways and knowledge. Rather than destroying cities, he had buildings built in the places he conquered in order to spread Greek culture. Those who he conquered respected and even admired him.

Alexander died of illness in 323 BCE at age 33 but his legacy had already managed to change the history of western civilization in little more than a decade since his rule began in 336.

image of Alexander's Death after a painting by Karl von Piloty
  • Sources
  • Cultures of the West: A History Clifford R. Backman
  • Film- the Spirit of Alexander the Great
  • Lecture- Alexander the Great
Created By
Vanette Csaszar
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