Alexander the Great (356–323 BC)

Alexander the Great

356 BC On July, 21st, in Pella, Macedonia’s capital, one of the greatest leaders and military strategist in the history, Alexander Macedon or Alexander the Great was born. He was son of Philippe II and of Olympics, an ambitious and a desiring glory woman. He was grown up within Spartan style until 13 years old and then he was taught by famous teacher and philosopher Aristotle. So, he knew to handle the sword and also the words.

336 BC After his father’s death, who was murdered, Alexander took over the Macedonian throne. During only 13 years he would create a huge empire and wound found the blend of two civilisations, that of the Greek and of the Oriental one.

Before going to Orient, Alexander had ensured that he would have had problems at home, so he organized expeditions against Getae and Scythians in the North of Danube, against Illyrians from the North-West and then against Thebes, that had upraised. He was relentless with this city that he totally destroyed, except poet Pindar’s house and he sold as slaves the citizens that were alive.

334 BC In spring, Alexander started his great adventure which he presented to Greeks as an answer to Persian invasions in the past. After he crossed Hellespont, nowadays Dardanelles strait, he fought the first time against Persian Darius III, at Grancios, a river which drained into the South of Black Sea. Even if Persians were much more, Alexander defeated them.

Cities of Minor Asia (Turkey these days) were conquered one by one: Milet, Halicarnassus, Sardis and Ephesus.

333 BC Persians tried again to stop him, but they were defeated at Issos and 100,000 Persians were killed.

332 BC After many battles, Alexander came to Egypt, Pharaohs’ old country. It is said that here, Alexander asked for help to an oracle in order to tell him if he was son of god (he and his mother believed this). Nobody knows what the oracle told him, but it seems he was glad because of the answer. As long as he was in Pharaohs’ country Alexander established a city which would bear his name and would go on his reputation.

The campaign was resumed and a new confronting brought face to face the strongest people in the world. After Macedonian army crossed Tigris and Euphrates, it was waited by Darius’ army on Gaugamela field, not far of Arbela. Darius was defeated and the winner, Alexander, came over Babylon and headed himself King of Asia. Cities by cities surrendered over to the young conqueror.

The bright city Parsa or Persepolis was burned and robbed by Greeks, as a revenge for what had happened to Athens during Persians wars.

Macedonian king did not stop here, because whole Asia was opened in front of him. During three years he conquered the territories in the South of Caspian Sea and in the North of Indus (Pakistan nowadays), near India.

327 BC He decided to cross the mountains. He reached the actual Kabul (Afghanistan these days), then he went on, even if Indians’ strength was increasing. King Porus and his famous elephant army were defeated by Greek archers and the Indian leader was obliged to surrender.

Alexander wanted to go on, farther and farther, but his soldiers were tired, fed by uninterrupted rains in India and they wanted to return home after they had walked 18.000 km during eight years and half. After he had lifted a bronze column where everybody could read: “Alexander stopped here” the conqueror came back to Babylon, in Mesopotamia (Iraq nowadays).

Here, he organized his empire trying to invade two worlds: the Greek and the Oriental. It was a very hard mission even for a great king. He dressed Oriental clothes, introduced in his Persian noble guard and supported the weddings between Greeks and Persians and he chose Roxana, the daughter of a Persian noble and then Statira, the elder daughter of Darius III. Polygamy, the possibility to have many wives, was not to Greeks’ liking that had only one wife, so they were monogamous. Alexander the Great must have accepted conquered lands’ customs. Now, he was King of Kings and Master of Asia, wearing Persian clothes and insisting to receive divine honours. His Macedonian troops that he left home with did not agree these ideas and did not want to see Persians within the Govern and the army. They threatened to go back to Macedonia. In order to convince them to stay with him, Alexander made them a surprise and organized a ceremony to celebrate “the marriage between the East and West” when 9000 of his soldiers married to Asian women.

323 BC On June, Alexander was organizing a new campaign, towards Arabia. After many feasts and wine cups, he felt bad and on June, 13th, he died. He had not been 33 years old. Some historians say that he suffered because of fever, but others allow us to understand that he might have been killed by a poison brought in donkey’s hoof. General Antipatros was accused, a man who Alexander had allowed to rule Macedonia. This did not have a good relationship with king’s mother, Olympics, he did not agree the new Oriental customs and suffered a lot when some old friends died, killed because of Alexander’s order. It would not have been the first try to kill him, another two happened in 337 and 330 BC.

It can not be certainly said that Alexander was murdered. But his family, his mother, his wife Roxana and his son were cruelly killed by that who took over the power in Macedonia, Cassandros. However, nobody could kill his inheritance, a new world, with a new culture that would become the culture of the world round Mediterranean and not only. [1]






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