The Conquests of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great was the conqueror of the Persian Empire and was also King of Macedonia, and is considered a brilliant military tactician and troop leader. He was born in Pella, once the ancient capital of Macedonia, in 356 B.C., and was the son of Phillip II. Phillip II was at the time king of Macedonia. Alexander was given an extraordinary education by his tutor and Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who taught him rhetoric and literature, and opened his interest to science, medicine, and philosophy. Alexander tool his father's place as King in 336 B.C. when Phillip was assassinated, then stabilized his rule at home before making any strategic plans of attack.
First he attacked Thessaly to restore Macedonian rule there, and then in 335 B.C. he defeated the Thracians, up through the Danube river. Coming back, he defeated and crushed the Illyrians, but rushed back afterwards to Thebes, which was in revolt. Thebes was ravaged by Alexander, sparing only temples and the house of Pindar, a well known Greek poet of the 5th Century B.C. Many more Greek states then turned to Alexander's control.
Alexander declared war on Persia in 334 B.C., defeating a Persian army near the city of Troy. This resulted in the submission of all states in Asia Minor to him. Alexander then traveled Southward, where he would defeat King Darius III, leader of the main Persian army. This battle occurred in 333 B.C. at Issus of northeastern Syria. Next came Tyre in 332 B.C. Then came his travels towards the Eastern Mediterranean. First he captured Gaza, then traveled into Egypt. This gave him control over the entire eastern Mediterranean coastline, where he would establish the City of Alexandria, located at the mouth of the Nile river. The city of Alexandria would later become the scientific, literary, and commercial center of the Greek world.
After all his work in the eastern Mediterranean, he moved his forces to Babylon. Again, he defended Darius, now in 331 B.C., forcing Babylon to surrender. The following conquest after Babylon came in Persepolis, capital of Persia, where Alexander took over the city. By 327 B.C. Alexander had gained control of lands along and beyond the southern shores of the Caspian sea, into much of Central Asia.
His final conquest was in 326 B.C. when he invaded the Punjab. At this point, the Macedonians refused to go any farther, so Alexander spent about a year organizing all his lands, and finishing a survey of the Persian Gulf in order to prepare for his next invasions. He arrived in Babylon in 323 B.C., and died there of a fever.
Though he died at a young age of 33, Alexander the Great was indeed great, one of the greatest military leaders and tacticians time has shown us. Through the many cities he founded Greek culture found a way of spreading and the Greek language was widely known.
A Tetradrachm of Alexander the Great
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"Alexander the Great History Project"
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