Under Aristotle's tutelage, Alexander developed a passion for the works of Homer, and in particular the Iliad; Aristotle gave him an annotated copy, which Alexander later carried on his campaigns. The anguish that Alexander felt after Hephaestion's death may also have contributed to his declining health. [259] Julius Caesar dedicated a Lysippean equestrian bronze statue but replaced Alexander's head with his own, while Octavian visited Alexander's tomb in Alexandria and temporarily changed his seal from a sphinx to Alexander's profile. In 14 days Alexander marched 240 miles from Pelion (near modern Korçë, Albania) in Illyria to Thebes. [274] Firdausi's Shahnameh ("The Book of Kings") includes Alexander in a line of legitimate Persian shahs, a mythical figure who explored the far reaches of the world in search of the Fountain of Youth. He had his cousin, the former Amyntas IV, executed. [121] Alexander founded two cities on opposite sides of the Hydaspes river, naming one Bucephala, in honour of his horse, who died around this time. Alexander’s short reign marks a decisive moment in the history of Europe and Asia. But he was anxious to press on farther, and he had advanced to the Hyphasis when his army mutinied, refusing to go farther in the tropical rain; they were weary in body and spirit, and Coenus, one of Alexander’s four chief marshals, acted as their spokesman. Thus, in Bactria and Sogdiana, Alexander successfully used his javelin throwers and archers to prevent outflanking movements, while massing his cavalry at the center. His eyes (one blue, one brown) revealed a dewy, feminine quality. Alexander the Great was the King of Macedonia, the ancient kingdom of Northern Greece, and the conqueror of the Persian Empire. This discontent was now fanned by the arrival of 30,000 native youths who had received a Macedonian military training and by the introduction of Asian peoples from Bactria, Sogdiana, Arachosia, and other parts of the empire into the Companion cavalry; whether Asians had previously served with the Companions is uncertain, but if so they must have formed separate squadrons. [260], On the other hand, some Roman writers, particularly Republican figures, used Alexander as a cautionary tale of how autocratic tendencies can be kept in check by republican values. From age 13 to 16 he was taught by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who inspired his interest in philosophy, medicine, and scientific investigation. [171][172][173] In addition, Leosthenes, also, likened the anarchy between the generals, after Alexander's death, to the blinded Cyclops "who after he had lost his eye went feeling and groping about with his hands before him, not knowing where to lay them". [128], Alexander sent much of his army to Carmania (modern southern Iran) with general Craterus, and commissioned a fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus, while he led the rest back to Persia through the more difficult southern route along the Gedrosian Desert and Makran. In the spring of 335 BC, he advanced to suppress several revolts. Crossing the Hindu Kush northward over the Khawak Pass (11,650 feet [3,550 metres]), Alexander brought his army, despite food shortages, to Drapsaca (sometimes identified with modern Banu [Andarab], probably farther north at Qunduz); outflanked, Bessus fled beyond the Oxus (modern Amu Darya), and Alexander, marching west to Bactra-Zariaspa (modern Balkh [Wazirabad] in Afghanistan), appointed loyal satraps in Bactria and Aria. [51], Alexander stopped at Thermopylae, where he was recognized as the leader of the Amphictyonic League before heading south to Corinth. The conquests of Alexander the Great form one of the most dramatic episodes in world history.They changed the course of history by brining a sudden end to the Persian Empire, and spreading Greek civilization far and wide across the Middle East and into India.Here it fused with other, more ancient civilizations to give rise to a new fusion, Hellenistic civilization. Alexander the Great. Gaugamela would be the final and decisive encounter between the two. Bucephalas carried Alexander as far as India. The advance was successful and broke Darius' center, causing the latter to flee once again. Both in Egypt and elsewhere in the Greek cities he received divine honours. In his short life span he had conquered many empires and thus he was considered as one of the greatest military geniuses to have ever lived. That same day, Philip received news that his general Parmenion had defeated the combined Illyrian and Paeonian armies and that his horses had won at the Olympic Games. [60] Alexander had no obvious or legitimate heir, his son Alexander IV by Roxane being born after Alexander's death. Darius’s Greek mercenaries were largely massacred, but 2,000 survivors were sent back to Macedonia in chains. [114] Ambhi hastened to relieve Alexander of his apprehension and met him with valuable presents, placing himself and all his forces at his disposal. [249] Koine spread throughout the Hellenistic world, becoming the lingua franca of Hellenistic lands and eventually the ancestor of modern Greek. [138][223] This event may have contributed to Alexander's failing health and detached mental state during his final months. While the siege of Tyre was in progress, Darius sent a new offer: he would pay a huge ransom of 10,000 talents for his family and cede all his lands west of the Euphrates. [63] Greeks used the word Margites to describe fool and useless people, on account of the Margites. Justin stated that Alexander was the victim of a poisoning conspiracy, Plutarch dismissed it as a fabrication,[146] while both Diodorus and Arrian noted that they mentioned it only for the sake of completeness. [148] His extraordinary achievements, coupled with his own ineffable sense of destiny and the flattery of his companions, may have combined to produce this effect. His body, diverted to Egypt by Ptolemy, the later king, was eventually placed in a golden coffin in Alexandria. [243][244], Hellenization was coined by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen to denote the spread of Greek language, culture, and population into the former Persian empire after Alexander's conquest. Miletus, held by Achaemenid forces, required a delicate siege operation, with Persian naval forces nearby. ", "Alexander the Great poisoned by the River Styx", "Alexander the Great and West Nile Virus Encephalitis", "The Location of the Tomb: Facts and Speculation", "The Aftermath: The Burial of Alexander the Great", "Greeks captivated by Alexander-era tomb at Amphipolis", "Archaeologist claims opulent grave in Greece honored Alexander the Great's best friend", "Hephaestion's Monogram Found at Amphipolis Tomb", Plutarch, Regum et imperatorum apophthegmata, Alexander, Plutarch, De Alexandri magni fortuna aut virtute, 2.4, "Images of Authority II: The Greek Example", Alexander: Selected Texts from Arrian, Curtius and Plutarch, The Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature, "World map according to Eratosthenes (194 B.C. [103] However, when, at some point later, Alexander was on the Jaxartes dealing with an incursion by a horse nomad army, Spitamenes raised Sogdiana in revolt. Updates? [79], Alexander advanced on Egypt in later 332 BC, where he was regarded as a liberator. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. [101], Alexander viewed Bessus as a usurper and set out to defeat him. Instead, they supported Alexander's half-brother Philip Arrhidaeus. [59] Alexander then set out on his Asian campaign, leaving Antipater as regent. Alexander III of Macedon (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Γʹ ὁ Μακεδών, Aléxandros III ho Makedȏn; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great (Greek: ὁ Μέγας, ho Mégas), was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. Many of these students would become his friends and future generals, and are often known as the 'Companions'. When Philip heard of this, he stopped the negotiations and scolded Alexander for wishing to marry the daughter of a Carian, explaining that he wanted a better bride for him. [19], Mieza was like a boarding school for Alexander and the children of Macedonian nobles, such as Ptolemy, Hephaistion, and Cassander. He was undefeated in battle and became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves. Alexander the Great, King of Macedon from 336 - 323 B.C., may claim the title of the greatest military leader the world has ever known. [174], Alexander's death was so sudden that when reports of his death reached Greece, they were not immediately believed. Macedonian laughter caused the experiment to founder, and Alexander abandoned it. His father was often away, conquering neighboring territories and putting down revolts. [83], Leaving Egypt in 331 BCE, Alexander marched eastward into Achaemenid Assyria in Upper Mesopotamia (now northern Iraq) and defeated Darius again at the Battle of Gaugamela. None of Alexander's contemporaries, however, are known to have explicitly described Alexander's relationship with Hephaestion as sexual, though the pair was often compared to Achilles and Patroclus, whom classical Greek culture painted as a couple. There is no reason to assume that his demand had any political background (divine status gave its possessor no particular rights in a Greek city); it was rather a symptom of growing megalomania and emotional instability. [271], Alexander features prominently in modern Greek folklore, more so than any other ancient figure. He appointed Porus as satrap, and added to Porus' territory land that he did not previously own, towards the south-east, up to the Hyphasis (Beas). Later in his childhood, Alexander was tutored by the strict Leonidas, a relative of his mother, and by Lysimachus of Acarnania. From Alexandria he marched along the coast to Paraetonium and from there inland to visit the celebrated oracle of the god Amon (at Sīwah); the difficult journey was later embroidered with flattering legends. In reply to a letter from Darius offering peace, Alexander replied arrogantly, recapitulating the historic wrongs of Greece and demanding unconditional surrender to himself as lord of Asia. Fearing the prospect of facing other large armies and exhausted by years of campaigning, Alexander's army mutinied at the Hyphasis River (Beas), refusing to march farther east. Suddenly, in Babylon, while busy with plans to improve the irrigation of the Euphrates and to settle the coast of the Persian Gulf, Alexander was taken ill after a prolonged banquet and drinking bout; 10 days later, on June 13, 323, he died in his 33rd year; he had reigned for 12 years and eight months. Anaximenes, also accompanied him on his campaigns. His beard was scanty, and he stood out against his hirsute Macedonian barons by going clean-shaven. Bessus was now in Bactria raising a national revolt in the eastern satrapies with the usurped title of Great King. [282], In Greek Anthology there are poems referring to Alexander.[283][284]. It was also said that on this day, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, burnt down. [75][76] The men of military age were massacred and the women and children sold into slavery. Shortly afterward, however, Callisthenes was held to be privy to a conspiracy among the royal pages and was executed (or died in prison; accounts vary); resentment of this action alienated sympathy from Alexander within the Peripatetic school of philosophers, with which Callisthenes had close connections. His troops were extremely loyal, believing in him throughout all hardships. The so-called "Alexander Sarcophagus", discovered near Sidon and now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, is so named not because it was thought to have contained Alexander's remains, but because its bas-reliefs depict Alexander and his companions fighting the Persians and hunting. [102], In 329 BC, Spitamenes, who held an undefined position in the satrapy of Sogdiana, betrayed Bessus to Ptolemy, one of Alexander's trusted companions, and Bessus was executed. It was written the Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus [1] in the 1st-century AD, but the earliest surviving manuscript comes from the 9th century. He is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. Alexander and his exploits were admired by many Romans, especially generals, who wanted to associate themselves with his achievements. “I would accept,” Parmenio is reported to have said, “were I Alexander”; “I too,” was the famous retort, “were I Parmenio.” The storming of Tyre in July 332 was Alexander’s greatest military achievement; it was attended with great carnage and the sale of the women and children into slavery. Alexander followed close behind and captured the strategic hill-fort after four bloody days. He found the Thessalian army occupying the pass between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, and ordered his men to ride over Mount Ossa. Shortly afterward, father and son were reconciled and Alexander returned, but his position as heir was jeopardized. When the Thebans refused to surrender, he made an entry and razed their city to the ground, sparing only temples and Pindar’s house; 6,000 were killed and all survivors sold into slavery. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Next lesson. This cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen, and he eventually abandoned it. Ancient Antioch, Glanville Downey, Princeton University Press, 2015. [233] Green suggested that, in the context of the period, Alexander formed quite strong friendships with women, including Ada of Caria, who adopted him, and even Darius' mother Sisygambis, who supposedly died from grief upon hearing of Alexander's death. [259] Polybius began his Histories by reminding Romans of Alexander's achievements, and thereafter Roman leaders saw him as a role model. It took Alexander until the autumn of 328 to crush the most determined opponent he encountered in his campaigns. [49] Alexander spared Arrhidaeus, who was by all accounts mentally disabled, possibly as a result of poisoning by Olympias. Alexander and Diogenes (Credit: Getty Images) Alexander’s father, Philip II of Macedon, hired Aristotle, one of history’s greatest philosophers,, to educate the 13-year-old prince. As in Tyre, men of military age were put to the sword and the women and children were sold into slavery. Following the conquest of Anatolia, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. The march was attended with much fighting and heavy, pitiless slaughter; at the storming of one town of the Malli near the Hydraotes (Ravi) River, Alexander received a severe wound which left him weakened. Meanwhile, a rumour of his death had precipitated a revolt of Theban democrats; other Greek states favoured Thebes, and the Athenians, urged on by Demosthenes, voted help. 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