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Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''
basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic quali ...
'') of the
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
kingdom of
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...
and a member of the Argead dynasty. He was born in
Pella Pella ( el, Πέλλα) is an ancient city located in Central Macedonia Central Macedonia ( el, Κεντρική Μακεδονία, Kentrikí Makedhonía, ) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece, consisting of the central p ...
in 356 BC and succeeded his father
Philip IIPhilip II may refer to: * Philip II of Macedon (382–336 BC) * Philip II (emperor) (238–249), Roman emperor * Philip II, Prince of Taranto (1329–1374) * Philip II, Duke of Burgundy (1342–1404) * Philip II, Duke of Savoy (1438-1497) * Philip ...
to the throne at the age of 20. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented
military campaign A military campaign is large-scale long-duration significant military strategy Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organization Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a ...
through
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact character ...

Western Asia
and Northeastern Africa, and by the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires in history, stretching from
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Greece
to northwestern
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history's most successful military commanders. During his youth, Alexander was tutored by
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
until age 16. After Philip's assassination in 336 BC, he succeeded his father to the throne and inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father's pan-Hellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
. In 334 BC, he invaded the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
(Persian Empire) and began a series of campaigns that lasted 10 years. Following the conquest of
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, including those of
Issus
Issus
and
Gaugamela
Gaugamela
. He subsequently overthrew Persian King
Darius III Darius III ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, translit=Dārayavaʰuš; grc, Δαρεῖος, translit=Dareîos; New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian lan ...

Darius III
and conquered the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
in its entirety. At that point, his empire stretched from the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the from the . The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the , extending from the (where it connects to the ) to the northwest and the . The countries with coasts on the Adriatic are , , , , and ...

Adriatic Sea
to the
Beas River The Beas River (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European lang ...

Beas River
. Alexander endeavoured to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea" and invaded India in 326 BC, winning an important victory over the
Pauravas The Pauravas were an ancient Indian dynasty in the northwest Indian subcontinent (present-day India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by po ...

Pauravas
at the
Battle of the Hydaspes A battle is an occurrence of combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or devic ...
. He eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops, dying in
Babylon Babylon was the capital city of the ancient Babylonian empire, which itself is a term referring to either of two separate empires in the Mesopotamian area in antiquity. These two empires achieved regional dominance between the 19th and 15th centu ...

Babylon
in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of
Arabia The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in the establishment of several states ruled by the
Diadochi 250px, Bust of Seleucus ''Nicator'' ("Victor"; 358 – 281 BCE), the last of the original Diadochi. The Diadochi (; plural of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...

Diadochi
, Alexander's surviving generals and heirs. Alexander's legacy includes the
cultural diffusion In cultural anthropology Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, and society, societies, in both the present and pas ...
and
syncretism Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs and various schools of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy, Lis ...
which his conquests engendered, such as
Greco-Buddhism Greco-Buddhism, or Graeco-Buddhism, is the cultural syncretism Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, while blending practices of various schools of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a ...
. He founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most notably
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asia ...

Alexandria
in Egypt. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of
Greek culture The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Minoan and later in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (5th and 4th centuries BC) in Gree ...
in the east resulted in a new
Hellenistic civilization The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic ...
, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
in the mid-15th century AD and the presence of Greek speakers in central and far eastern Anatolia until the
Greek genocide The Greek genocide (, ''Genoktonia ton Ellinon''), including the Pontic genocide, was the systematic killing of the Christian Ottoman Greek population of Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also kn ...
and the population exchange in the 1920s. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mould of
Achilles In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. ...

Achilles
, and he features prominently in the history and mythic traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. He was undefeated in battle and has become the measure against which many military leaders compare themselves.
Military academies A military academy or service academy (United States service academies, in the United States) is an educational institution which prepares candidates for service in the officer corps. It normally provides education in a military environment, t ...

Military academies
throughout the world still teach his tactics. He is often ranked among the most influential people in human history.


Early life


Lineage and childhood

Alexander was born in
Pella Pella ( el, Πέλλα) is an ancient city located in Central Macedonia Central Macedonia ( el, Κεντρική Μακεδονία, Kentrikí Makedhonía, ) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece, consisting of the central p ...
, the capital of the
Kingdom of Macedon Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Li ...
, on the sixth day of the ancient Greek month of
Hekatombaion The Attic calendar or Athenian calendar is the calendar that was in use in ancient Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, th ...
, which probably corresponds to 20 July 356 BC, although the exact date is uncertain. He was the son of the king of Macedon,
Philip IIPhilip II may refer to: * Philip II of Macedon (382–336 BC) * Philip II (emperor) (238–249), Roman emperor * Philip II, Prince of Taranto (1329–1374) * Philip II, Duke of Burgundy (1342–1404) * Philip II, Duke of Savoy (1438-1497) * Philip ...
, and his fourth wife,
Olympias Olympias ( grc, Ὀλυμπιάς, , c. 375–316 BC) was the eldest daughter of king Neoptolemus I of Epirus, the sister of Alexander I of Epirus, the fourth wife of Philip of Macedon, Philip II, the king of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedon ...

Olympias
, the daughter of Neoptolemus I, king of
Epirus sq, Epiri rup, Epiru , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a culture, cultural, ethnic group, ethn ...
. Although Philip had seven or eight wives,
Olympias Olympias ( grc, Ὀλυμπιάς, , c. 375–316 BC) was the eldest daughter of king Neoptolemus I of Epirus, the sister of Alexander I of Epirus, the fourth wife of Philip of Macedon, Philip II, the king of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedon ...

Olympias
was his principal wife for some time, likely because she gave birth to Alexander. Several legends surround Alexander's birth and childhood. According to the ancient Greek biographer
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
, on the eve of the consummation of her marriage to Philip, Olympias dreamed that her womb was struck by a thunderbolt that caused a flame to spread "far and wide" before dying away. Sometime after the wedding, Philip is said to have seen himself, in a dream, securing his wife's womb with a
seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaqu ...
engraved with a lion's image. Plutarch offered a variety of interpretations of these dreams: that Olympias was pregnant before her marriage, indicated by the sealing of her womb; or that Alexander's father was
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
. Ancient commentators were divided about whether the ambitious Olympias promulgated the story of Alexander's divine parentage, variously claiming that she had told Alexander, or that she dismissed the suggestion as impious. On the day Alexander was born, Philip was preparing a
siege A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from la, sedere, lit=to sit. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characteri ...

siege
on the city of on the peninsula of
Chalcidice Chalkidiki (; el, Χαλκιδική, Halkidhikí, ) also spelled ''Chalkidike'', ''Chalcidice'', ''Khalkidhiki'', or ''Halkidiki'', is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water ...

Chalcidice
. That same day, Philip received news that his general
Parmenion Parmenion (also Parmenio; grc-gre, Παρμενίων; c. 400 – 330 BC), father of Philotas (father of Parmenion), Philotas, was a Ancient Macedonians, Macedonian general in the service of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. A n ...
had defeated the combined
Illyria In classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gre ...

Illyria
n and
Paeonian In antiquity, Paeonia or Paionia ( grc, Παιονία, Paionía) was the land and kingdom of the Paeonians or Paionians ( grc, Παίονες, Paíones). The exact original boundaries of Paeonia, like the early history of its inhabitants, ar ...
armies and that his horses had won at the
Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
. It was also said that on this day, the
Temple of Artemis alt=columns in field at the site of the temple today., The site of the temple in 2017 The Temple of Artemis or Artemision ( gr, Ἀρτεμίσιον; tr, Artemis Tapınağı), also known as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple Greek t ...

Temple of Artemis
in
Ephesus Ephesus (; gr, Ἔφεσος, Éphesos; tr, Efes; may ultimately derive from hit, 𒀀𒉺𒊭, Apaša) was a city in ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Gree ...

Ephesus
, one of the
Seven Wonders of the World File:Wonders of the world map.jpg, 270px, Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled from antiquity to the present day, to catalogue the world's most spectacular natural wonders and human-built structures. The Seven Wonder ...

Seven Wonders of the World
, burnt down. This led
Hegesias of MagnesiaHegesias of Magnesia ( grc-gre, Ἡγησίας ὁ Μάγνης, ''Hēgēsias ho Magnēs''), Greeks, Greek rhetorician, and historian, flourished about 300 BC. Strabo (xiv. 648), speaks of him as the founder of the florid Asiatic style of compositio ...
to say that it had burnt down because
Artemis Artemis (; grc-gre, Ἄρτεμις Artemis, ) is the Greek goddess Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or ori ...

Artemis
was away, attending the birth of Alexander. Such legends may have emerged when Alexander was king, and possibly at his instigation, to show that he was superhuman and destined for greatness from conception. In his early years, Alexander was raised by a nurse, Lanike, sister of Alexander's future general
Cleitus the Black Cleitus the Black ( grc-gre, Κλεῖτος ὁ μέλας; c. 375 BC – 328 BC), was an officer of the Macedonian army led by Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June ...
. Later in his childhood, Alexander was tutored by the strict
Leonidas Leonidas I (; Doric , '; Ionic and Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it ...
, a relative of his mother, and by Lysimachus of Acarnania. Alexander was raised in the manner of noble Macedonian youths, learning to read, play the
lyre The lyre () is a string instrument that dates back to 1400 BC in ancient Greece. It is known for its use in Ancient Greece, Greek classical antiquity and later periods. The instrument was created and used earlier around 2600BCE in the middle ...

lyre
, ride, fight, and hunt. When Alexander was ten years old, a trader from
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...

Thessaly
brought Philip a horse, which he offered to sell for thirteen talents. The horse refused to be mounted, and Philip ordered it away. Alexander, however, detecting the horse's fear of its own shadow, asked to tame the horse, which he eventually managed. Plutarch stated that Philip, overjoyed at this display of courage and ambition, kissed his son tearfully, declaring: "My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedon is too small for you", and bought the horse for him. Alexander named it Bucephalas, meaning "ox-head". Bucephalas carried Alexander as far as
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
. When the animal died (because of old age, according to Plutarch, at age thirty), Alexander named a city after him, Bucephala.


Education

When Alexander was 13, Philip began to search for a
tutor Tutoring is private academic support, usually provided by an expert teacher; someone with deep knowledge or defined expertise in a particular subject or set of subjects. A tutor, formally also called an academic tutor, is a person who provides ...

tutor
, and considered such academics as
Isocrates Isocrates (; grc, Ἰσοκράτης ; 436–338 BC) was an ancient Greek rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Tri ...
and
Speusippus Speusippus (; el, Σπεύσιππος; c. 408 – 339/8 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), ge ...
, the latter offering to resign from his stewardship of the
Academy An academy (Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociol ...
to take up the post. In the end, Philip chose
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
and provided the Temple of the Nymphs at Mieza as a classroom. In return for teaching Alexander, Philip agreed to rebuild Aristotle's hometown of
Stageira Stagira (), Stagirus (), or Stageira ( el, wikt:Στάγειρα, Στάγειρα or ) was an polis, ancient Greek city located near the eastern coast of the peninsula of Chalkidiki, Chalkidice, which is now part of the province of Central Macedo ...
, which Philip had razed, and to repopulate it by buying and freeing the ex-citizens who were slaves, or pardoning those who were in exile. Mieza was like a boarding school for Alexander and the children of Macedonian nobles, such as
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes ...
,
Hephaistion Hephaestion ( grc, Ἡφαιστίων ''Hephaistíon''; c. 356 BC  –  October 324 BC), son of Amyntor, was an Ancient Macedonians, ancient Macedonian nobleman and a general in the army of Alexander the Great. He was "by far the d ...
, and
Cassander Cassander ( Greek: Κάσσανδρος Ἀντιπάτρου, ''Kassandros Antipatrou''; "son of Antipatros": c. 355 BC – 297 BC) was king of the ancient kingdom of Macedon Macedonia (; grc, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon ( ...

Cassander
. Many of these students would become his friends and future generals, and are often known as the "Companions". Aristotle taught Alexander and his companions about medicine, philosophy, morals, religion, logic, and art. Under Aristotle's tutelage, Alexander developed a passion for the works of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
, and in particular the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Moder ...

Iliad
''; Aristotle gave him an annotated copy, which Alexander later carried on his campaigns. Alexander was able to quote
Euripides Euripides (; grc, Εὐριπίδης ''Eurīpídēs'', ; ) was a tragedian Tragedy (from the grc-gre, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a form of drama based on human suffering and, mainly, the terrible or sorrowfu ...

Euripides
from memory. During his youth, Alexander was also acquainted with Persian exiles at the Macedonian court, who received the protection of Philip II for several years as they opposed
Artaxerxes III Ochus ( Greek: Ὦχος, ''Ôchos''; Babylonian: ''Ú-ma-kuš''), better known by his dynastic name of Artaxerxes III ( peo, 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂 ''Artaxšaçā'') was King of Kings King of Kings ( Akkadian: ''šar šarrāni''; Old Pe ...

Artaxerxes III
. Among them were
Artabazos II Artabazos II (in Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 m ...
and his daughter
Barsine Barsine ( el, Βαρσίνη; c. 363–309 BC) was the daughter of a Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Ir ...
, future mistress of Alexander, who resided at the Macedonian court from 352 to 342 BC, as well as Amminapes, future
satrap Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
of Alexander, or a Persian nobleman named Sisines. This gave the Macedonian court a good knowledge of Persian issues, and may even have influenced some of the innovations in the management of the Macedonian state.
Suda The ''Suda'' or ''Souda'' (; grc-x-medieval, Σοῦδα, Soûda; la, Suidae Lexicon) is a large 10th-century Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman ...

Suda
writes that, also,
Anaximenes of LampsacusAnaximenes of Lampsacus (; grc, Ἀναξιμένης ὁ Λαμψακηνός; 320 BC) was a Greek rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Cape ...
was one of his teachers. Anaximenes, also accompanied him on his campaigns.


Philip's heir


Regency and ascent of Macedon

At the age of 16, Alexander's education under Aristotle ended. Philip waged war against
Byzantion Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc-gre, Βυζάντιον) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark A ...

Byzantion
, leaving Alexander in charge as
regent A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...
and
heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of individuals entitled to hold a high office when it becomes vacated such as head of state A head of state ...
. During Philip's absence, the
Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern and Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. "The Thracians were an Indo-European people who occupied ...
Maedi The Maedi (also ''Maidans'', ''Maedans'', or ''Medi''; grc, Μαῖδοι or Μαιδοί) were a Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of ...
revolted against Macedonia. Alexander responded quickly, driving them from their territory. He colonized it with Greeks, and founded a city named Alexandropolis. Upon Philip's return, he dispatched Alexander with a small force to subdue revolts in southern
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
. Campaigning against the Greek city of
Perinthus Perinthus or Perinthos ( grc, ἡ Πέρινθος) was a great and flourishing town of ancient Thrace The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern ...
, Alexander is reported to have saved his father's life. Meanwhile, the city of Amphissa began to work lands that were sacred to
Apollo Apollo, grc, Ἀπόλλωνος, ''Apóllōnos'', label=genitive , ; , grc-dor, Ἀπέλλων, ''Apéllōn'', ; grc, Ἀπείλων, ''Apeílōn'', label=Arcadocypriot Greek, ; grc-aeo, Ἄπλουν, ''Áploun'', la, Apollō, ...

Apollo
near
Delphi Delphi (; ), in legend previously called Pytho (Πυθώ), in ancient times was a sacred precinct that served as the seat of Pythia, the major oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The oracle ...

Delphi
, a sacrilege that gave Philip the opportunity to further intervene in Greek affairs. Still occupied in Thrace, he ordered Alexander to muster an army for a campaign in southern Greece. Concerned that other Greek states might intervene, Alexander made it look as though he was preparing to attack Illyria instead. During this turmoil, the Illyrians invaded Macedonia, only to be repelled by Alexander. Philip and his army joined his son in 338 BC, and they marched south through
Thermopylae Thermopylae (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods ...

Thermopylae
, taking it after stubborn resistance from its Theban garrison. They went on to occupy the city of
Elatea Elateia ( el, Ελάτεια; grc, Ἐλάτεια) was an ancient Greece, ancient Greek city of Phthiotis, and the most important place in that region after Delphi. It is also a modern-day town that is a former Communities and Municipalities of G ...
, only a few days' march from both
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
and Thebes. The Athenians, led by
Demosthenes Demosthenes (; el, Δημοσθένης, translit=Dēmosthénēs; ; 384 – 12 October 322 BC) was a statesman and orator of . His constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight in ...

Demosthenes
, voted to seek alliance with Thebes against Macedonia. Both Athens and Philip sent embassies to win Thebes's favour, but Athens won the contest. Philip marched on Amphissa (ostensibly acting on the request of the
Amphictyonic League In Archaic Greece Archaic Greece was the period in Greek history lasting from the eighth century BC to the second Persian invasion of Greece The second Achaemenid Empire, Persian invasion of Ancient Greece, Greece (480–479 BC) occurred du ...
), capturing the mercenaries sent there by Demosthenes and accepting the city's surrender. Philip then returned to Elatea, sending a final offer of peace to Athens and Thebes, who both rejected it. As Philip marched south, his opponents blocked him near
Chaeronea Chaeronea ( or ; el, Χαιρώνεια ''Khaironeia'', ) is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece, located about 80 kilometers east of Delphi. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Livadeia, of whic ...
,
Boeotia Boeotia, sometimes alternatively Latinised Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920 ...

Boeotia
. During the ensuing Battle of Chaeronea, Philip commanded the right wing and Alexander the left, accompanied by a group of Philip's trusted generals. According to the ancient sources, the two sides fought bitterly for some time. Philip deliberately commanded his troops to retreat, counting on the untested Athenian
hoplites Hoplites () ( grc, ὁπλίτης : hoplítēs) were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa' ...

hoplites
to follow, thus breaking their line. Alexander was the first to break the Theban lines, followed by Philip's generals. Having damaged the enemy's cohesion, Philip ordered his troops to press forward and quickly routed them. With the Athenians lost, the Thebans were surrounded. Left to fight alone, they were defeated. After the victory at Chaeronea, Philip and Alexander marched unopposed into the Peloponnese, welcomed by all cities; however, when they reached
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
, they were refused, but did not resort to war. At
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). ...

Corinth
, Philip established a "Hellenic Alliance" (modelled on the old anti-Persian alliance of the
Greco-Persian Wars The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empi ...
), which included most Greek city-states except Sparta. Philip was then named ''
Hegemon Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (ne ...
'' (often translated as "Supreme Commander") of this league (known by modern scholars as the
League of Corinth The League of Corinth, also referred to as the Hellenic League (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country lo ...
), and announced his plans to attack the
Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Grea ...

Persian Empire
.


Exile and return

When Philip returned to Pella, he fell in love with and married
Cleopatra Eurydice Eurydice (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
in 338 BC, the niece of his general Attalus. The marriage made Alexander's position as heir less secure, since any son of Cleopatra Eurydice would be a fully Macedonian heir, while Alexander was only half-Macedonian. During the , a drunken Attalus publicly prayed to the gods that the union would produce a legitimate heir. In 337 BC, Alexander fled Macedon with his mother, dropping her off with her brother, King
Alexander I of Epirus Alexander I of Epirus ( grc, Ἀλέξανδρος Α'; c. 371 BC – 331 BC), also known as Alexander Molossus (), was a king of Epirus Epirus () is a geographical and historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia' ...
in
Dodona Dodona (; : Δωδώνα, ''Dōdṓnā'', and : Δωδώνη, ''Dōdṓnē'') in in northwestern was the oldest oracle, possibly dating to the according to . The earliest accounts in describe Dodona as an oracle of . Situated in a remote r ...
, capital of the
Molossians The Molossians () were a group of ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet ...
. He continued to Illyria, where he sought refuge with one or more Illyrian kings, perhaps with Glaukias, and was treated as a guest, despite having defeated them in battle a few years before. However, it appears Philip never intended to disown his politically and militarily trained son. Accordingly, Alexander returned to Macedon after six months due to the efforts of a family friend,
Demaratus Demaratus, or Demaratos ( el, Δημάρατος), was a king of Sparta from around 515 BC until 491 BC, 15th of the Kings of Sparta#Eurypontid, Eurypontid line. He was the first son born to his father King Ariston of Sparta, Ariston. As king, Dem ...
, who mediated between the two parties. In the following year, the Persian
satrap Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
(governor) of
Caria Caria (; from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

Caria
,
Pixodarus Pixodarus or Pixodaros (in Lycian script, Lycian 𐊓𐊆𐊜𐊁𐊅𐊀𐊕𐊀 ''Pixedara''; in Greek language, Greek Πιξώδαρoς; ruled 340–334 BC), was a satrap of Caria, nominally the Achaemenid Empire Satrap, who enjoyed the status ...
, offered his eldest daughter to Alexander's half-brother, Philip Arrhidaeus. Olympias and several of Alexander's friends suggested this showed Philip intended to make Arrhidaeus his heir. Alexander reacted by sending an actor, Thessalus of Corinth, to tell Pixodarus that he should not offer his daughter's hand to an illegitimate son, but instead to Alexander. 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. Philip exiled four of Alexander's friends,
Harpalus Harpalus (Ancient Greek, Greek: Ἅρπαλος) son of Machatas of Elimeia, Machatas was an aristocrat of Macedon and boyhood friend of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. Being lame in a leg, and therefore exempt from military service, H ...
,
Nearchus Nearchus or Nearchos ( el, Νέαρχος; – 300 BC) was one of the officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. He is known for his celebrated expeditionary voyage starting from the Indus river, Indus River, through the Persian Gulf ...
,
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes ...
and
ErigyiusErigyius (in Greek language, Greek Ἐριγυιoς; died 328 BC), a Mytilene, Mytilenaean, son of Larichus, was an Officer (armed forces), officer in Alexander the Great's army. He had been driven into banishment by Philip II of Macedon, Philip II, ...
, and had the Corinthians bring Thessalus to him in chains.


King of Macedon


Accession

In summer 336 BC, while at Aegae attending the wedding of his daughter
Cleopatra Cleopatra VII Philopator ( grc-gre, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ}; 69 BC10 August 30 BC) was queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, Egypt from 51 to 30 BC, and its last active ruler.She was also a diplomat, Ancient ...
to Olympias's brother,
Alexander I of Epirus Alexander I of Epirus ( grc, Ἀλέξανδρος Α'; c. 371 BC – 331 BC), also known as Alexander Molossus (), was a king of Epirus Epirus () is a geographical and historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia' ...
, Philip was assassinated by the captain of his
bodyguards A bodyguard (or close protection officer/operative) is a type of security guard A security guard (also known as a security inspector, security officer, or protective agent) is a person employed by a government or private party to protect the em ...
,
PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
. As Pausanias tried to escape, he tripped over a vine and was killed by his pursuers, including two of Alexander's companions,
Perdiccas Perdiccas ( el, Περδίκκας, ''Perdikkas''; c. 355 BC – 321/320 BC) became a general in Alexander the Great's army and participated in Alexander's campaign against Achaemenid Persia. Following Alexander's death, he rose to become supre ...
and
LeonnatusLeonnatus ( el, Λεοννάτος; 356 BC – 322 BC) was a Macedon Macedonia (; grc, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece Classical Greece was a period o ...
. Alexander was proclaimed king on the spot by the nobles and
army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch Military branch ...
at the age of 20.


Consolidation of power

Alexander began his reign by eliminating potential rivals to the throne. He had his cousin, the former
Amyntas IV Amyntas IV (Ancient Greek, Greek: Ἀμύντας Δ΄) was a titular king of the Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 359 BC and member of the Argead dynasty. Biography Amyntas was a son of King Perdiccas III of Macedon. He was born in about 365 BC.Jos ...
, executed. He also had two Macedonian princes from the region of
Lyncestis 250px, Map of the Kingdom of Macedon with Lynkestis (Lynkos) located in the western districts of the kingdom. Lynkestis (also spelled Lyncestis or Lyngistis, el, Λυγκηστίς meaning "land of the lynx A lynx (; plural lynx or lynxes) i ...
killed, but spared a third, Alexander Lyncestes. Olympias had Cleopatra Eurydice and Europa, her daughter by Philip, burned alive. When Alexander learned about this, he was furious. Alexander also ordered the murder of Attalus, who was in command of the advance guard of the army in Asia Minor and Cleopatra's uncle. Attalus was at that time corresponding with Demosthenes, regarding the possibility of defecting to Athens. Attalus also had severely insulted Alexander, and following Cleopatra's murder, Alexander may have considered him too dangerous to leave alive. Alexander spared Arrhidaeus, who was by all accounts mentally disabled, possibly as a result of poisoning by Olympias. News of Philip's death roused many states into revolt, including Thebes, Athens, Thessaly, and the Thracian tribes north of Macedon. When news of the revolts reached Alexander, he responded quickly. Though advised to use diplomacy, Alexander mustered 3,000 Macedonian cavalry and rode south towards Thessaly. He found the Thessalian army occupying the pass between
Mount Olympus Mount Olympus (; el, Όλυμπος, Ólympos, also , ) is the highest mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in ...

Mount Olympus
and Mount Ossa, and ordered his men to ride over Mount Ossa. When the Thessalians awoke the next day, they found Alexander in their rear and promptly surrendered, adding their cavalry to Alexander's force. He then continued south towards the
Peloponnese The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while b ...
. Alexander stopped at Thermopylae, where he was recognized as the leader of the Amphictyonic League before heading south to
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). ...

Corinth
. Athens sued for peace and Alexander pardoned the rebels. The famous encounter between Alexander and Diogenes the Cynic occurred during Alexander's stay in Corinth. When Alexander asked Diogenes what he could do for him, the philosopher disdainfully asked Alexander to stand a little to the side, as he was blocking the sunlight. This reply apparently delighted Alexander, who is reported to have said "But verily, if I were not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes." At Corinth, Alexander took the title of ''Hegemon'' ("leader") and, like Philip, was appointed commander for the coming war against Persia. He also received news of a Thracian uprising.


Balkan campaign

Before crossing to Asia, Alexander wanted to safeguard his northern borders. In the spring of 335 BC, he advanced to suppress several revolts. Starting from
Amphipolis Amphipolis ( ell, Αμφίπολη, translit=Amfipoli; grc, Ἀμφίπολις, translit=Amphipolis) is a municipality in the Serres regional unit of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a co ...
, he travelled east into the country of the "Independent Thracians"; and at Mount Haemus, the Macedonian army attacked and defeated the Thracian forces manning the heights. The Macedonians marched into the country of the
Triballi 300px, Triballian area. The Triballi ( gr, Τριβαλλοί, Triballoí) were an ancient tribe whose dominion was around the plains of modern southern Serbia,George Grote: History of Greece: I. Legendary Greece. II. Grecian history to the reign ...
, and defeated their army near the Lyginus river (a tributary of the Danube). Alexander then marched for three days to the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
, encountering the
Getae The Getae ( ) or Gets ( ; grc, Γέται, singular ) were several Thracian tribes that once inhabited the regions to either side of the Lower Danube The Danube ( ; ) is Europe's List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest ri ...
tribe on the opposite shore. Crossing the river at night, he surprised them and forced their army to retreat after the first cavalry
skirmish Skirmishers are light infantry or light cavalry soldiers deployed as a vanguard, flank guard or rearguard to Screening (tactical), screen a tactical position or a larger body of friendly troops from enemy advances. They are usually deployed ...
. News then reached Alexander that Cleitus, King of Illyria, and
King Glaukias Glaucias ( grc, Γλαυκίας; ruled 335 – c. 302 BC) was a ruler of the Taulantian kingdom which dominated southern Illyrian affairs in the second half of the 4th century BC. Glaucias is first mentioned as bringing a considerable force to ...
of the
Taulantii Taulantii or Taulantians ("swallow-men"; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into ...
were in open revolt against his authority. Marching west into Illyria, Alexander defeated each in turn, forcing the two rulers to flee with their troops. With these victories, he secured his northern frontier. While Alexander campaigned north, the Thebans and Athenians rebelled once again. Alexander immediately headed south. While the other cities again hesitated, Thebes decided to fight. The Theban resistance was ineffective, and Alexander razed the city and divided its territory between the other Boeotian cities. The end of Thebes cowed Athens, leaving all of Greece temporarily at peace. Alexander then set out on his Asian campaign, leaving
Antipater Antipater (; grc, Ἀντίπατρος, translit=Antipatros, lit=like the father; c. 400 BC319 BC) was a Macedonian general and statesman under kings Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, ...
as regent. According to ancient writers
Demosthenes Demosthenes (; el, Δημοσθένης, translit=Dēmosthénēs; ; 384 – 12 October 322 BC) was a statesman and orator of . His constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight in ...

Demosthenes
called Alexander "Margites" ( grc-gre, Μαργίτης) and a boy. Greeks used the word Margites to describe fool and useless people, on account of the Margites.


Conquest of the Persian Empire


Asia Minor

] After his victory at the
Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC) The Battle of Chaeronea was fought in 338 BC, near the city of Chaeronea Chaeronea ( or ; el, Χαιρώνεια ''Khaironeia'', ) is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece, located about 80 kilometers east of Delphi. Since th ...
,
Philip IIPhilip II may refer to: * Philip II of Macedon (382–336 BC) * Philip II (emperor) (238–249), Roman emperor * Philip II, Prince of Taranto (1329–1374) * Philip II, Duke of Burgundy (1342–1404) * Philip II, Duke of Savoy (1438-1497) * Philip ...
began the work of establishing himself as ''hēgemṓn'' ( el, ἡγεμών) of a league which according to
Diodorus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...

Diodorus
was to wage a campaign against the Persians for the sundry grievances Greece suffered in
480 __NOTOC__ Year 480 ( CDLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday A leap year starting on Tuesday is any year with 366 days (i.e. it includes 29 February) that begins on Tuesday, 1 January, and ends on Wednesday, 31 December. Its dominical lett ...
and free the Greek cities of the western coast and islands from Achaemenid rule. In 336 he sent
Parmenion Parmenion (also Parmenio; grc-gre, Παρμενίων; c. 400 – 330 BC), father of Philotas (father of Parmenion), Philotas, was a Ancient Macedonians, Macedonian general in the service of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. A n ...
, with Amyntas, Andromenes and Attalus, and an army of 10,000 men into
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
to make preparations for an invasion. At first, all went well. The Greek cities on the western coast of Anatolia revolted until the news arrived that Philip had been murdered and had been succeeded by his young son Alexander. The Macedonians were demoralized by Philip's death and were subsequently defeated near Magnesia by the Achaemenids under the command of the mercenary
Memnon of Rhodes Memnon of Rhodes (Greek: Μέμνων ὁ Ῥόδιος; c. 380 – 333 BC) was a prominent Rhodes, Rhodian Greeks, Greek commander in the service of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Achaemenid Empire. Related to the Persian aristocracy by the ma ...
. Taking over the invasion project of Philip II, Alexander's army crossed the
Hellespont The Dardanelles (; tr, Çanakkale Boğazı, lit=Strait of Çanakkale, el, Δαρδανέλλια, translit=Dardanéllia), also known as Strait of Gallipoli from the Gallipoli peninsula or from Classical Antiquity as the Hellespont (; gr ...
in 334 BC with approximately 48,100 soldiers, 6,100 cavalry and a fleet of 120 ships with crews numbering 38,000, drawn from Macedon and various Greek city-states, mercenaries, and feudally raised soldiers from
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
,
Paionia In antiquity, Paeonia or Paionia ( grc, Παιονία, Paionía) was the land and kingdom of the Paeonians or Paionians ( grc, Παίονες, Paíones). The exact original boundaries of Paeonia, like the early history of its inhabitants, are ...
, and
Illyria In classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gre ...

Illyria
. He showed his intent to conquer the entirety of the Persian Empire by throwing a spear into Asian soil and saying he accepted Asia as a gift from the gods. This also showed Alexander's eagerness to fight, in contrast to his father's preference for diplomacy. After an initial victory against Persian forces at the
Battle of the Granicus The Battle of the Granicus River in May 334 BC was the first of three major battles fought between Alexander the Great and the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire. Fought in northwestern Asia Minor, near the site of Troy, it was here that Alexander ...

Battle of the Granicus
, Alexander accepted the surrender of the Persian provincial capital and treasury of
Sardis Sardis () or Sardes (; Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet ** Lydian (Unicode block) * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydian dominan ...

Sardis
; he then proceeded along the
Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient ...
n coast, granting autonomy and democracy to the cities.
Miletus Miletus (; gr, Μῑ́λητος, Mīlētos; Hittite language, Hittite transcription ''Millawanda'' or ''Milawata'' (Exonym and endonym, exonyms); la, Miletus; tr, Milet) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city on the western coast of Ana ...
, held by Achaemenid forces, required a delicate siege operation, with Persian naval forces nearby. Further south, at
Halicarnassus Halicarnassus (; grc, Ἁλικαρνᾱσσός ''Halikarnāssós'' or ''Alikarnāssós''; tr, Halikarnas; : 𐊠𐊣𐊫𐊰 𐊴𐊠𐊥𐊵𐊫𐊰 ''alos k̂arnos'') was an city in , in . It was located in southwest , on an advantageous ...
, in
Caria Caria (; from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

Caria
, Alexander successfully waged his first large-scale
siege A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from la, sedere, lit=to sit. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characteri ...

siege
, eventually forcing his opponents, the mercenary captain
Memnon of Rhodes Memnon of Rhodes (Greek: Μέμνων ὁ Ῥόδιος; c. 380 – 333 BC) was a prominent Rhodes, Rhodian Greeks, Greek commander in the service of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Achaemenid Empire. Related to the Persian aristocracy by the ma ...
and the Persian
satrap Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
of Caria,
Orontobates Orontobates (Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other Old Iranian languages ...
, to withdraw by sea. Alexander left the government of Caria to a member of the Hecatomnid dynasty,
Ada Ada may refer to: Places Africa * Ada Foah Ada Foah is a town on the southeast coast of Ghana, where the Volta River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The town is located along the Volta River, off of the Accra-Aflao motorway. Known for Palm tree, pal ...
, who adopted Alexander. From Halicarnassus, Alexander proceeded into mountainous
Lycia Lycia ( Lycian: 𐊗𐊕𐊐𐊎𐊆𐊖 ''Trm̃mis''; el, Λυκία, ; tr, Likya) was a geopolitical region in Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula ...
and the
Pamphylia Pamphylia ( grc, Παμφυλία, ''Pamphylía'', modern pronunciation ''Pamfylía'' ) was a region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean to Mount Taurus (all in modern-day Antal ...
n plain, asserting control over all coastal cities to deny the Persians naval bases. From Pamphylia onwards the coast held no major ports and Alexander moved inland. At
Termessos Termessos (Greek language, Greek Τερμησσός ''Termissós'') was a Pisidian city built at an altitude of more than 1000 metres at the south-west side of the mountain Solymos (modern-day Güllük Dağı) in the Taurus Mountains (modern-d ...

Termessos
, Alexander humbled but did not storm the
Pisidia Pisidia (; el, Πισιδία, ''Pisidía''; tr, Pisidya) was a region of ancient Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paenins ...
n city. At the ancient Phrygian capital of
Gordium Gordion (Phrygian language, Phrygian: ; el, Γόρδιον, translit=Górdion; tr, Gordion or ; la, Gordium) was the capital city of ancient Phrygia. It was located at the site of modern Yassıhüyük, Polatlı, Yassıhüyük, about southwe ...
, Alexander "undid" the hitherto unsolvable Gordian Knot, a feat said to await the future "king of
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
". According to the story, Alexander proclaimed that it did not matter how the knot was undone and hacked it apart with his sword.


The Levant and Syria

In spring 333 BC, Alexander crossed the
Taurus Taurus is Latin for 'bull' and may refer to: * Taurus (constellation), one of the constellations of the zodiac * Taurus (mythology), one of two Greek mythological characters named Taurus * Taurus (astrology), the astrological sign * ''Bos taurus'' ...
into
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
. After a long pause due to an illness, he marched on towards Syria. Though outmanoeuvered by Darius's significantly larger army, he marched back to Cilicia, where he defeated Darius at Issus. Darius fled the battle, causing his army to collapse, and left behind his wife, his two daughters, his mother
Sisygambis Sisygambis (died 323 BC) was the mother of Darius III of Persia Darius III ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, translit=Dārayava(h)uš; New Persian: ; c. 380 – 330 BC) was the last Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, ...
, and a fabulous treasure. He offered a
peace treaty A peace treaty is an agreement Agreement may refer to: Agreements between people and organizations * Gentlemen's agreement, not enforceable by law * Trade agreement, between countries * Consensus, a decision-making process * Contract, enforceab ...
that included the lands he had already lost, and a ransom of 10,000 talents for his family. Alexander replied that since he was now king of Asia, it was he alone who decided territorial divisions. Alexander proceeded to take possession of
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...
, and most of the coast of the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
. In the following year, 332 BC, he was forced to attack
Tyre Tyre may refer to: * Tire, the outer part of a wheel Places * Tyre, Lebanon, a city ** See of Tyre, a Christian diocese seated in Tyre, Lebanon ** Tyre Hippodrome, a UNESCO World Heritage site * Tyre District, Lebanon * Tyre, New York, a town in t ...
, which he captured after a long and difficult
siege A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from la, sedere, lit=to sit. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characteri ...
. The men of military age were massacred and the women and children sold into
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that give ...
.


Egypt

When Alexander destroyed Tyre, most of the towns on the route to
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
quickly capitulated. However, Alexander met with resistance at
Gaza Gaza may refer to: Places Palestine * Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea ** Gaza City, a city in the Gaza Strip ** Gaza Governorate, a governorate in the Gaza Strip United States * Gaza, Iowa, an ...
. The stronghold was heavily fortified and built on a hill, requiring a siege. When "his engineers pointed out to him that because of the height of the mound it would be impossible... this encouraged Alexander all the more to make the attempt". After three unsuccessful assaults, the stronghold fell, but not before Alexander had received a serious shoulder wound. As in Tyre, men of military age were put to the sword and the women and children were sold into slavery. Alexander advanced on Egypt in later 332 BC, where he was regarded as a liberator. He was pronounced son of the deity
Amun Amun (; also ''Amon'', ''Ammon'', ''Amen''; egy, jmn, ''reconstructed'' ; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is ...

Amun
at the
Oracle An oracle is a person or agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which go ...

Oracle
of
Siwa Oasis The Siwa Oasis ( ar, واحة سيوة, ''Wāḥat Sīwah,'' ; ) is an urban oasis In geography, an oasis (, plural oases, ) is a fertile land in a desert or semi-desert environment.
in the
Libyan Libyans (ليبيون) and their population density, Ethnic group, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the Libyan population. No complete population or vital statistics ...
desert. Henceforth, Alexander often referred to Zeus-Ammon as his true father, and after his death, currency depicted him adorned with the
Horns of Ammon The horns of Ammon were curling ram horns, used as a symbol of the Egyptian deity Ammon (also spelled Amun or Amon). Because of the visual similarity, they were also associated with the fossils shells of ancient snails and cephalopods, the latter ...
as a symbol of his divinity. During his stay in Egypt, he founded , which would become the prosperous capital of the
Ptolemaic Kingdom The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greece, Ancient Greek state based in Egypt during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period. It was founded in 305 BC by Ptolemy ...
after his death.


Assyria and Babylonia

Leaving Egypt in 331 BCE, Alexander marched eastward into
Achaemenid Assyria Athura ( peo, wikt:𐎠𐎰𐎢𐎼𐎠, 𐎠𐎰𐎢𐎼𐎠 ''Aθurā''), also called Assyria, was a geographical area within the Achaemenid Empire in Upper Mesopotamia from 539 to 330 BCE as a military protectorate state. Although sometimes ...
in
Upper Mesopotamia Upper Mesopotamia is the name used for the uplands and great outwash plain In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation. Plains occur as lowlands along valleys or on the doorsteps of mountai ...
(now northern
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
) and defeated Darius again at the
Battle of Gaugamela The Battle of Gaugamela (; el, Γαυγάμηλα), also called the Battle of Arbela ( el, Ἄρβηλα), was the decisive battle of Alexander the Great's invasion of the Persian people, Persian Achaemenid Empire. In 331 BC Alexander's army of ...

Battle of Gaugamela
. Darius once more fled the field, and Alexander chased him as far as . Gaugamela would be the final and decisive encounter between the two. Darius fled over the mountains to
Ecbatana Ecbatana (; peo, 𐏃𐎥𐎶𐎫𐎠𐎴 ''Hagmatāna'' or ''Haŋmatāna'', literally "the place of gathering"; Elamite language, Elamite: 𒀝𒈠𒁕𒈾 ''Ag-ma-da-na''; Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭧𐭬𐭲𐭠𐭭; Parthian language, Parthian: ...

Ecbatana
(modern
Hamadan Hamadan () or Hamedan ( fa, همدان, ''Hamedān'') (Old Persian: Haŋgmetana, Ecbatana) is the capital city of Hamadan Province of Iran. At the 2019 census, its population was 783,300 in 230,775 families.The majority of people living in Hamadan ...

Hamadan
) while Alexander captured
Babylon Babylon was the capital city of the ancient Babylonian empire, which itself is a term referring to either of two separate empires in the Mesopotamian area in antiquity. These two empires achieved regional dominance between the 19th and 15th centu ...

Babylon
.


Persia

From Babylon, Alexander went to
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
, one of the
Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire An empire is a sovereign state consisting of several territories and peoples subj ...

Achaemenid
capitals, and captured its treasury. He sent the bulk of his army to the Persian ceremonial capital of
Persepolis Persepolis (; peo, 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, ; ) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in foun ...

Persepolis
via the Persian
Royal Road The Royal Road was an ancient highway A highway is any public or private road A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two Location (geography), places that has been Pavement (material), paved or otherwise improved to a ...
. Alexander himself took selected troops on the direct route to the city. He then stormed the pass of the
Persian Gates Persian Gate or the Susian Gatehttp://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ariobarzanes-greek-form-of-old-iranian-proper-name-arya-brzana was the ancient name of the pass now known as Tang-e Meyran, connecting Yasuj with Sedeh to the east, crossing the bo ...
(in the modern
Zagros Mountains The Zagros Mountains ( fa, کوه‌های زاگرس, ''Kuh hā-ye Zāgros;'' Luri language, Luri: کویل زاگروس‎, ''Koyal Zagros;'' Turkish language, Turkish: ''Zagros Dağları;'' ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyakani ...
) which had been blocked by a Persian army under Ariobarzanes and then hurried to Persepolis before its garrison could loot the treasury. On entering Persepolis, Alexander allowed his troops to loot the city for several days. Alexander stayed in Persepolis for five months. During his stay a fire broke out in the eastern palace of
Xerxes I Xerxes I ( peo, wiktionary:𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠, 𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠 ; grc-gre, Ξέρξης; – August 465 BC), commonly known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, ruling from 486 to 465 ...

Xerxes I
and spread to the rest of the city. Possible causes include a drunken accident or deliberate revenge for the burning of the
Acropolis of Athens The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel A citadel is the core fortified area of a town or city. It may be a castle in East Sussex East Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrati ...

Acropolis of Athens
during the Second Persian War by Xerxes;
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
and
Diodorus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...

Diodorus
allege that Alexander's companion, the
Thaïs Thaïs ( el, Θαΐς) was a famous Greek hetaera who accompanied Alexander the Great on his campaigns. She is most famous for instigating the burning of Persepolis. At the time, Thaïs was the lover of Ptolemy I Soter, one of Alexander's generals ...
, instigated and started the fire. Even as he watched the city burn, Alexander immediately began to regret his decision.
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
claims that he ordered his men to put out the fires, but that the flames had already spread to most of the city. Curtius claims that Alexander did not regret his decision until the next morning. Plutarch recounts an anecdote in which Alexander pauses and talks to a fallen statue of Xerxes as if it were a live person:


Fall of the Empire and the East

Alexander then chased Darius, first into Media, and then Parthia. The Persian king no longer controlled his own destiny, and was taken prisoner by
Bessus Bessus, also known by his throne name Artaxerxes V (died summer 329 BC), was a prominent Persian satrap Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as ...
, his
Bactria Bactria (BactrianBactrian may refer to *Bactria Bactria ( Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the ...
n satrap and kinsman. As Alexander approached, Bessus had his men fatally stab the Great King and then declared himself Darius's successor as Artaxerxes V, before retreating into Central Asia to launch a guerrilla campaign against Alexander. Alexander buried Darius's remains next to his Achaemenid predecessors in a regal funeral. He claimed that, while dying, Darius had named him as his successor to the Achaemenid throne. The Achaemenid Empire is normally considered to have fallen with Darius. Alexander viewed Bessus as a usurper and set out to defeat him. This campaign, initially against Bessus, turned into a grand tour of central Asia. Alexander founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including modern
Kandahar Kandahar (; Kandahār, , Qandahār) is a List of cities in Afghanistan, city in Afghanistan, located in the south of the country on the Arghandab River, at an elevation of . It is Afghanistan's second largest city after Kabul, with a population ...

Kandahar
in Afghanistan, and
Alexandria Eschate Alexandria Eschate or Alexandria Eskhata ( el, Ἀλεξάνδρεια Ἐσχάτη), literally "Alexandria the Furthest", was a city founded by Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 ...
("The Furthest") in modern
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest ...

Tajikistan
. The campaign took Alexander through
Media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication) In mass communication, media are the communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, It ...
,
Parthia Parthia ( peo, 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 ''Parθava''; xpr, 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 ''Parθaw''; pal, 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥 ''Pahlaw'') is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and offici ...

Parthia
,
Aria In music, an aria (; it, air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphere (0.04402961% at ...
(West Afghanistan),
Drangiana Drangiana or Zarangiana ( el, Δραγγιανή, ''Drangianē''; also attested in Old Western Iranian as 𐏀𐎼𐎣, ''Zraka'' or ''Zranka'', was a historical region and administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Em ...
,
Arachosia Arachosia is the Hellenized name of an ancient satrapy in the eastern part of the Achaemenid, Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Hellenistic state in W ...
(South and Central Afghanistan),
Bactria Bactria (BactrianBactrian may refer to *Bactria Bactria ( Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the ...
(North and Central Afghanistan), and
Scythia Scythia (, ; from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
. In 329 BC,
Spitamenes Spitamenes (in old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other Old Iranian languag ...
, who held an undefined position in the satrapy of Sogdiana, betrayed Bessus to
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes ...
, one of Alexander's trusted companions, and Bessus was executed. However, when, at some point later, Alexander was on the
Jaxartes uz, Sirdaryo, Сирдарё tg, Сирдарё , name_native_lang = , name_other = Jaxartes, Seyhun , name_etymology = unknown , image = Syr Darya.jpg , image_size = 290px , image_caption = Syr Darya ...

Jaxartes
dealing with an incursion by a horse nomad army, Spitamenes raised Sogdiana in revolt. Alexander personally defeated the Scythians at the Battle of Jaxartes and immediately launched a campaign against Spitamenes, defeating him in the Battle of Gabai. After the defeat, Spitamenes was killed by his own men, who then sued for peace.


Problems and plots

During this time, Alexander adopted some elements of Persian dress and customs at his court, notably the custom of ''
proskynesis Proskynesis or proscynesis , or proskinesis (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast ...
'', either a symbolic kissing of the hand, or prostration on the ground, that Persians showed to their social superiors. The Greeks regarded the gesture as the province of
deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by suc ...
and believed that Alexander meant to deify himself by requiring it. This cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen, and he eventually abandoned it. A plot against his life was revealed, and one of his officers,
Philotas Philotas ( el, Φιλώτας; 365 BC – October 330 BC) was the eldest son of Parmenion, one of Alexander the Great's most experienced and talented generals. He rose to command the Companion Cavalry The Companions ( el, , ''hetairoi'') wer ...
, was executed for failing to alert Alexander. The death of the son necessitated the death of the father, and thus
Parmenion Parmenion (also Parmenio; grc-gre, Παρμενίων; c. 400 – 330 BC), father of Philotas (father of Parmenion), Philotas, was a Ancient Macedonians, Macedonian general in the service of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. A n ...
, who had been charged with guarding the treasury at
Ecbatana Ecbatana (; peo, 𐏃𐎥𐎶𐎫𐎠𐎴 ''Hagmatāna'' or ''Haŋmatāna'', literally "the place of gathering"; Elamite language, Elamite: 𒀝𒈠𒁕𒈾 ''Ag-ma-da-na''; Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭧𐭬𐭲𐭠𐭭; Parthian language, Parthian: ...

Ecbatana
, was assassinated at Alexander's command, to prevent attempts at vengeance. Most infamously, Alexander personally killed the man who had saved his life at Granicus,
Cleitus the Black Cleitus the Black ( grc-gre, Κλεῖτος ὁ μέλας; c. 375 BC – 328 BC), was an officer of the Macedonian army led by Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June ...
, during a violent drunken altercation at Maracanda (modern day
Samarkand fa, سمرقند , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = City , image_skyline = , image_alt = , image_caption = Clockwise from the top: The Reg ...

Samarkand
in
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, italic=yes, ), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi, italic=yes), is a doubly landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, ter ...

Uzbekistan
), in which Cleitus accused Alexander of several judgmental mistakes and most especially, of having forgotten the Macedonian ways in favour of a corrupt oriental lifestyle. Later, in the Central Asian campaign, a second plot against his life was revealed, this one instigated by his own royal
pages Page most commonly refers to: * Page (paper) A page is one side of a leaf A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. T ...
. His official historian,
Callisthenes Callisthenes of Olynthus (; grc-gre, Καλλισθένης; c. 360 – 327 BC) was a well-connected Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, ...
of
Olynthus Olynthus ( grc, Ὄλυνθος ''Olynthos'', named for the ὄλυνθος ''olunthos'', "the fruit of the wild fig tree") was an ancient city of Chalcidice, built mostly on two flat-topped hills 30–40m in height, in a fertile plain at the hea ...
, was implicated in the plot, and in the ''
Anabasis of Alexander ''The Anabasis of Alexander'' ( grc-gre, Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἀνάβασις, ''Alexándrou Anábasis''; la, Anabasis Alexandri) was composed by Arrian Arrian of Nicomedia (; Greek: ''Arrianos''; la, Lucius Flavius Arrianus; ) w ...
'',
Arrian Arrian of Nicomedia (; Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Arrianos''; la, Lucius Flavius Arrianus; ) was a Greek people, Greek historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the Roman Greece, Roman period. ''The Anabasis of Alex ...

Arrian
states that Callisthenes and the pages were then tortured on the rack as punishment, and likely died soon after. It remains unclear if Callisthenes was actually involved in the plot, for prior to his accusation he had fallen out of favour by leading the opposition to the attempt to introduce proskynesis.


Macedon in Alexander's absence

When Alexander set out for Asia, he left his general
Antipater Antipater (; grc, Ἀντίπατρος, translit=Antipatros, lit=like the father; c. 400 BC319 BC) was a Macedonian general and statesman under kings Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, ...
, an experienced military and political leader and part of Philip II's "Old Guard", in charge of Macedon. Alexander's sacking of Thebes ensured that Greece remained quiet during his absence. The one exception was a call to arms by Spartan king
Agis IIIAgis III (Ancient Greek, Greek: ) was the eldest son of Archidamus III, and the 21st Eurypontid king of Sparta. Life Agis III succeeded his father on 2 August 338 BC, on the very day of the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), battle of Chaeronea. His reig ...
in 331 BC, whom Antipater defeated and killed in the
battle of Megalopolis The Battle of Megalopolis was fought in 331 BC between Spartan led forces and Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedonia. Alexander the Great, Alexander's regent Antipater led the Macedonians to victory over King Agis III. Background In the autumn of ...
. Antipater referred the Spartans' punishment to the League of Corinth, which then deferred to Alexander, who chose to pardon them. There was also considerable friction between Antipater and Olympias, and each complained to Alexander about the other. In general, Greece enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity during Alexander's campaign in Asia. Alexander sent back vast sums from his conquest, which stimulated the economy and increased trade across his empire. However, Alexander's constant demands for troops and the migration of Macedonians throughout his empire depleted Macedon's strength, greatly weakening it in the years after Alexander, and ultimately led to its subjugation by Rome after the
Third Macedonian War The Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC) was a war fought between the Roman Republic and King Perseus of Macedon. In 179 BC, King Philip V of Macedon died and was succeeded by his ambitious son Perseus of Macedon, Perseus. He was anti-Roman and s ...
(171–168 BC).


Indian campaign


Forays into the Indian subcontinent

'' After the death of
Spitamenes Spitamenes (in old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire). Like other Old Iranian languag ...
and his marriage to Roxana (Raoxshna in
Old Iranian The Iranian languages or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages The Indo-Iranian languages (also Indo-Iranic languages or Aryan languages) constitute the largest and southeasternmost extant branch of the Indo-European l ...
) to cement relations with his new satrapies, Alexander turned to the Indian subcontinent. He invited the chieftains of the former satrapy of
Gandhara Gandhāra was an ancient region in the Kabul Kabul (; ps, , translit=Kābəl, ; prs, , translit=Kābol, ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between ...

Gandhara
(a region presently straddling eastern
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
and northern
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
), to come to him and submit to his authority. Omphis (Indian name
Ambhi Taxiles (in Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximat ...
), the ruler of
Taxila Taxila (from Pāli Pali () is a Middle Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan inva ...
, whose kingdom extended from the
Indus#REDIRECT Indus River
{{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from miscapitalisation {{R unprintworthy ...

Indus
to the
Hydaspes (Jhelum)
Hydaspes (Jhelum)
, complied, but the chieftains of some hill clans, including the Aspasioi and Assakenoi sections of the
Kambojas The Kambojas were a tribe of Iron Age India, frequently mentioned in Sanskrit literature, Sanskrit and Pali literature. The tribe coalesced to become one of the ''shodhasha'' (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (great kingdoms) of ancient India mentione ...
(known in Indian texts also as Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas), refused to submit.
Ambhi Taxiles (in Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximat ...
hastened to relieve Alexander of his apprehension and met him with valuable presents, placing himself and all his forces at his disposal. Alexander not only returned Ambhi his title and the gifts but he also presented him with a wardrobe of "Persian robes, gold and silver ornaments, 30 horses and 1,000 talents in gold". Alexander was emboldened to divide his forces, and Ambhi assisted
Hephaestion Hephaestion ( grc, Ἡφαιστίων ''Hephaistíon''; c. 356 BC  –  October 324 BC), son of Amyntor, was an ancient Macedonian nobleman and a general in the army of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, ...
and
Perdiccas Perdiccas ( el, Περδίκκας, ''Perdikkas''; c. 355 BC – 321/320 BC) became a general in Alexander the Great's army and participated in Alexander's campaign against Achaemenid Persia. Following Alexander's death, he rose to become supre ...
in constructing a bridge over the Indus where it bends at Hund, supplied their troops with provisions, and received Alexander himself, and his whole army, in his capital city of Taxila, with every demonstration of friendship and the most liberal hospitality. On the subsequent advance of the
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...

Macedon
ian king, Taxiles accompanied him with a force of 5,000 men and took part in the
battle of the Hydaspes River A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usually consists of multiple battles. In general, a battle is a military engagement that is well defined in duration, area, and force c ...
. After that victory he was sent by Alexander in pursuit of
Porus Porus () or Poros (from Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search ...
(Indian name Puru), to whom he was charged to offer favourable terms, but narrowly escaped losing his life at the hands of his old enemy. Subsequently, however, the two rivals were reconciled by the personal mediation of Alexander; and Taxiles, after having contributed zealously to the equipment of the fleet on the Hydaspes, was entrusted by the king with the government of the whole territory between that river and the Indus. A considerable accession of power was granted him after the death of
Philip Philip, also Phillip, is a male given name, derived from the Greek language, Greek (''Philippos'', lit. "horse-loving" or "fond of horses"), from a compound of (''philos'', "dear", "loved", "loving") and (''hippos'', "horse"). Prominent Philip ...
, son of Machatas; and he was allowed to retain his authority at the death of Alexander himself (323 BC), as well as in the subsequent partition of the provinces at Triparadisus, 321 BC. In the winter of 327/326 BC, Alexander personally led a campaign against the Aspasioi of
KunarKunar may refer to: *Kunar, Budaun, is a village in India *Künar, Kale *Kunar Hembram, is an Indian politician *Kunar snowtrout, is a species of ray-finned fish *Kunar Valley, Afghanistan and the Pakistan *Kunar Province, Afghanistan *Kunar River, ...
valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typically contain a river or stream running from one end to the other. Most valleys are formed by erosion of the land surface by rivers or streams over ...

valley
s, the Guraeans of the Guraeus valley, and the Assakenoi of the
Swat In the United States, a SWAT (''special weapons and tactics'') team is generic term for a law enforcement unit that uses specialized or military equipment and tactics. Although they were first created in the 1960s to handle riot control ...
and
Buner Buner District ( ps, بونیر ولسوالۍ, ur, ) is a Districts of Pakistan, district in Malakand Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. Before becoming a district in 1991, it was a tehsil within Swat District. The predominant ...
valleys. A fierce contest ensued with the Aspasioi in which Alexander was wounded in the shoulder by a dart, but eventually the Aspasioi lost. Alexander then faced the Assakenoi, who fought against him from the strongholds of Massaga, Ora and
Aornos File:Prof. Dr. Taskeen Ahmad Khan - 06.jpg, The Rock of Aornos, Shangla District, Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK), Pakistan Aornos ( grc, Ἄορνος) was the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in a ...
. The fort of Massaga was reduced only after days of bloody fighting, in which Alexander was wounded seriously in the ankle. According to Curtius, "Not only did Alexander slaughter the entire population of Massaga, but also did he reduce its buildings to rubble." A similar slaughter followed at Ora. In the aftermath of Massaga and Ora, numerous Assakenians fled to the fortress of
Aornos File:Prof. Dr. Taskeen Ahmad Khan - 06.jpg, The Rock of Aornos, Shangla District, Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK), Pakistan Aornos ( grc, Ἄορνος) was the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in a ...
. Alexander followed close behind and captured the strategic hill-fort after four bloody days. After Aornos, Alexander crossed the Indus and fought and won an epic battle against
King Porus Porus () or Poros (from Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search ...
, who ruled a region lying between the Hydaspes and the Acesines (
Chenab The Chenab River ( pa, چَنّھاں, translit=cannhāṉ; ur, , translit=canāb; ) is a major river that flows in India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), ...

Chenab
), in what is now the
Punjab Punjab (; ; ; ; also as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a geopolitical, cultural, and in , specifically in the northern part of the , comprising areas of eastern and . The boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts. ...

Punjab
, in the
Battle of the Hydaspes A battle is an occurrence of combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or devic ...
in 326 BC. Alexander was impressed by Porus's bravery, and made him an ally. He appointed Porus as satrap, and added to Porus's territory land that he did not previously own, towards the south-east, up to the Hyphasis (
Beas Beas is a riverfront town in the Amritsar district of the Indian States and union territories of India, state of Punjab, India, Punjab. Beas lies on the banks of the Beas River. Beas town is mostly located in revenue boundary of Budha Theh wit ...

Beas
).p. xl, Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Warfare, J, Woronoff & I. SpenceArrian Anabasis of Alexander, V.29.2 Choosing a local helped him control these lands so distant from Greece. Alexander founded two cities on opposite sides of the
Hydaspes
Hydaspes
river, naming one Bucephala, in honour of his horse, who died around this time. The other was
Nicaea Nicaea or Nicea (; el, Νίκαια, ''Níkaia'') was an ancient Greek city in northwestern Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and t ...
(Victory), thought to be located at the site of modern-day
Mong, Punjab Mong or Mung (مونگ ) is a village and Union Councils of Pakistan, Union Council of Mandi Bahauddin District in the Punjab, Pakistan, Punjab province of Pakistan. It is located at at an altitude of 217 metres (715 feet). It is a historic and den ...
. Philostratus the Elder in the
Life of Apollonius of Tyana ''Life of Apollonius of Tyana'' ( grc-gre, Τὰ ἐς τὸν Τυανέα Ἀπολλώνιον) is a text in eight books written in Ancient Greece by Philostratus (c. 170 – c. 245 AD). It tells the story of Apollonius of Tyana (c. 15 – c. ...
writes that in the army of Porus there was an elephant who fought brave against Alexander's army and Alexander dedicated it to the
Helios Helios; Homeric Greek Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' and in the Homeric Hymns. It is a literary dialect of Ancient Greek consisting mainly of Ionic Greek, Ionic and Aeol ...

Helios
(Sun) and named it Ajax, because he thought that a so great animal deserved a great name. The elephant had gold rings around its tusks and an inscription was on them written in Greek: "Alexander the son of Zeus dedicates Ajax to the Helios" (ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ Ο ΔΙΟΣ ΤΟΝ ΑΙΑΝΤΑ ΤΩΙ ΗΛΙΩΙ).


Revolt of the army

East of Porus's kingdom, near the
Ganges River The Ganges ( ) (in India: Ganga ( ); in Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, বাংলাদেশ, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is de ...

Ganges River
, was the
Nanda Empire The Nanda dynasty ruled in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent during the 4th century BCE, and possibly during the 5th century BCE. The Nandas overthrew the Shaishunaga dynasty The Shaishunaga dynasty (IAST: Śaiśunāga, literally ...
of
Magadha Magadha was an ancient Indian kingdom in southern Bihar Bihar (; ) is a states and union territories of India, state in eastern India. It is the list of states and union territories of India by population, third-largest state by populatio ...

Magadha
, and further east, the Gangaridai Empire of
Bengal Bengal (; bn, বাংলা/বঙ্গ, translit=Bānglā/Bôngô, ) is a geopolitical, cultural and historical region located in South Asia, specifically in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal, p ...

Bengal
region of the Indian subcontinent. Fearing the prospect of facing other large armies and exhausted by years of campaigning, Alexander's army mutinied at the
Hyphasis River (Beas)
Hyphasis River (Beas)
, refusing to march farther east. This river thus marks the easternmost extent of Alexander's conquests. Alexander tried to persuade his soldiers to march farther, but his general Coenus pleaded with him to change his opinion and return; the men, he said, "longed to again see their parents, their wives and children, their homeland". Alexander eventually agreed and turned south, marching along the
Indus#REDIRECT Indus River
{{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from miscapitalisation {{R unprintworthy ...

Indus. Along the way his army conquered the
Malhi Malhi is a family name historically used in India and Pakistan as a gotra In Hindu culture Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1. ...

Malhi
(in modern-day
Multan Multan (; ) is a city and capital of Multan Division located in Punjab, Pakistan, Punjab, Pakistan. Situated on the bank of the Chenab River, Multan is Pakistan's List of largest cities in Pakistan, 7th largest city and is the major cultural and ...

Multan
) and other Indian tribes and Alexander sustained an injury during the siege. Alexander sent much of his army to Carmania (modern southern
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
) with general
Craterus Craterus or Krateros ( el, Κρατερός; c. 370 BC – 321 BC) was a Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People M ...
, and commissioned a fleet to explore the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of , ) is a in . The body of water is an extension of the () through the and lies between to the northeast and the to the southwest.United Nations Group of Exper ...
shore under his admiral
Nearchus Nearchus or Nearchos ( el, Νέαρχος; – 300 BC) was one of the officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. He is known for his celebrated expeditionary voyage starting from the Indus river, Indus River, through the Persian Gulf ...
, while he led the rest back to Persia through the more difficult southern route along the Gedrosian Desert and
Makran Makran (Balochi language, Balochi/ fa, مكران), mentioned in some sources as Mecran and Mokrān, is the coastal region of Baluchistan. It is a semi-desert coastal strip in Balochistan, in Pakistan and Iran, along the coast of the Gulf of Oman ...
. Alexander reached Susa in 324 BC, but not before losing many men to the harsh desert.


Last years in Persia

Discovering that many of his
satrap Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
s and military governors had misbehaved in his absence, Alexander executed several of them as examples on his way to
Susa Susa (; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the ...

Susa
. As a gesture of thanks, he paid off the debts of his soldiers, and announced that he would send over-aged and disabled veterans back to Macedon, led by Craterus. His troops misunderstood his intention and mutinied at the town of
Opis Opis (AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's ...

Opis
. They refused to be sent away and criticized his adoption of Persian customs and dress and the introduction of Persian officers and soldiers into Macedonian units. After three days, unable to persuade his men to back down, Alexander gave Persians command posts in the army and conferred Macedonian military titles upon Persian units. The Macedonians quickly begged forgiveness, which Alexander accepted, and held a great banquet with several thousand of his men. In an attempt to craft a lasting harmony between his Macedonian and Persian subjects, Alexander held a mass marriage of his senior officers to Persian and other noblewomen at Susa, but few of those marriages seem to have lasted much beyond a year. Meanwhile, upon his return to Persia, Alexander learned that guards of the in
Pasargadae Pasargadae (from grc, Πασαργάδαι, from Old Persian ''Pāθra-gadā'', "protective club" or "strong club"; Modern Persian: ''Pāsārgād'') was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, tr ...
had desecrated it, and swiftly executed them. Alexander admired
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
, from an early age reading Xenophon's ''
Cyropaedia The ''Cyropaedia'', sometimes spelled ''Cyropedia'', is a partly fictional biography of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also calle ...
'', which described Cyrus's heroism in battle and governance as a king and legislator. During his visit to Pasargadae Alexander ordered his architect Aristobulus to decorate the interior of the sepulchral chamber of Cyrus's tomb. Afterwards, Alexander travelled to Ecbatana to retrieve the bulk of the Persian treasure. There, his closest friend and possible lover,
Hephaestion Hephaestion ( grc, Ἡφαιστίων ''Hephaistíon''; c. 356 BC  –  October 324 BC), son of Amyntor, was an ancient Macedonian nobleman and a general in the army of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, ...
, died of illness or poisoning. Hephaestion's death devastated Alexander, and he ordered the preparation of an expensive
funeral pyre cremation ceremony in 2005 A pyre ( grc, πυρά; ''pyrá'', from , ''pyr'', "fire"), also known as a funeral pyre, is a structure, usually made of wood, for burning a body as part of a funeral rite or execution. As a form of cremation Cremati ...
in Babylon, as well as a decree for public mourning. Back in Babylon, Alexander planned a series of new campaigns, beginning with an invasion of Arabia, but he would not have a chance to realize them, as he died shortly after Hephaestion.


Death and succession

On either 10 or 11 June 323 BC, Alexander died in the palace of
Nebuchadnezzar II Nebuchadnezzar II (Babylonian cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until ...
, in
Babylon Babylon was the capital city of the ancient Babylonian empire, which itself is a term referring to either of two separate empires in the Mesopotamian area in antiquity. These two empires achieved regional dominance between the 19th and 15th centu ...

Babylon
, at age 32. There are two different versions of Alexander's death and details of the death differ slightly in each.
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
's account is that roughly 14 days before his death, Alexander entertained admiral
Nearchus Nearchus or Nearchos ( el, Νέαρχος; – 300 BC) was one of the officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. He is known for his celebrated expeditionary voyage starting from the Indus river, Indus River, through the Persian Gulf ...
, and spent the night and next day drinking with Medius of Larissa. He developed a fever, which worsened until he was unable to speak. The common soldiers, anxious about his health, were granted the right to file past him as he silently waved at them. In the second account,
Diodorus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...
recounts that Alexander was struck with pain after downing a large bowl of unmixed wine in honour of
Heracles Heracles ( ; grc-gre, Ἡρακλῆς, , glory/fame of Hera Hera (; grc-gre, Ἥρα, Hḗrā; grc, Ἥρη, Hḗrē, label=none in Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in anci ...

Heracles
, followed by 11 days of weakness; he did not develop a fever and died after some agony.
Arrian Arrian of Nicomedia (; Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Arrianos''; la, Lucius Flavius Arrianus; ) was a Greek people, Greek historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the Roman Greece, Roman period. ''The Anabasis of Alex ...

Arrian
also mentioned this as an alternative, but Plutarch specifically denied this claim. Given the propensity of the Macedonian aristocracy to assassination, foul play featured in multiple accounts of his death. Diodorus, Plutarch, Arrian and
Justin Justin may refer to: People * Justin (name), including a list of persons with the given name Justin * Justin (historian), a Latin historian who lived under the Roman Empire * Justin I (c. 450–527), or ''Flavius Iustinius Augustus'', Eastern Roma ...
all mentioned the theory that Alexander was poisoned. Justin stated that Alexander was the victim of a poisoning conspiracy, Plutarch dismissed it as a fabrication, while both Diodorus and Arrian noted that they mentioned it only for the sake of completeness. The accounts were nevertheless fairly consistent in designating
Antipater Antipater (; grc, Ἀντίπατρος, translit=Antipatros, lit=like the father; c. 400 BC319 BC) was a Macedonian general and statesman under kings Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, ...
, recently removed as Macedonian viceroy, and at odds with Olympias, as the head of the alleged plot. Perhaps taking his summons to Babylon as a death sentence, and having seen the fate of Parmenion and Philotas, Antipater purportedly arranged for Alexander to be poisoned by his son Iollas, who was Alexander's wine-pourer. There was even a suggestion that Aristotle may have participated. The strongest argument against the poison theory is the fact that twelve days passed between the start of his illness and his death; such long-acting poisons were probably not available. However, in a 2003 BBC documentary investigating the death of Alexander, Leo Schep from the New Zealand National Poisons Centre proposed that the plant white hellebore (''''), which was known in antiquity, may have been used to poison Alexander. In a 2014 manuscript in the journal ''
Clinical Toxicology ''Clinical Toxicology'' (until 2005, ''Journal of Toxicology: Clinical Toxicology'') is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions a ...
'', Schep suggested Alexander's wine was spiked with ''Veratrum album'', and that this would produce poisoning symptoms that match the course of events described in the ''
Alexander Romance The ''Alexander Romance'' is an account of the life and exploits of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a kin ...
''. ''Veratrum album'' poisoning can have a prolonged course and it was suggested that if Alexander was poisoned, ''Veratrum album'' offers the most plausible cause. Another poisoning explanation put forward in 2010 proposed that the circumstances of his death were compatible with poisoning by water of the river Styx (modern-day in Arcadia, Greece) that contained
calicheamicin The calicheamicins are a class of enediyne chemotherapy#Cytotoxic antibiotics, antitumor antibiotics derived from the bacterium ''Micromonospora echinospora'', with calicheamicin γ1 being the most notable. It was isolated originally in the mid-198 ...

calicheamicin
, a dangerous compound produced by bacteria. Several
natural causes In many legal jurisdictions Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Lat ...
(diseases) have been suggested, including
malaria Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign fo ...

malaria
and
typhoid fever Typhoid fever, also known as typhoid, is a disease caused by ''Salmonella ''Salmonella'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living an ...
. A 1998 article in the ''
New England Journal of Medicine ''The New England Journal of Medicine'' (''NEJM'') is a weekly medical journal published by the Massachusetts Medical Society. It is among the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals as well as the oldest continuously published one. Histo ...
'' attributed his death to typhoid fever complicated by
bowel perforation Gastrointestinal perforation, also known as ruptured bowel, is a hole in the Gastrointestinal wall, wall of part of the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal tract includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. Sympto ...
and ascending
paralysis Paralysis (also known as plegia) is a loss of motor An engine or motor is a machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform an action. Machines can be driven by animals and pe ...
. Another recent analysis suggested pyogenic (infectious)
spondylitis Spondylitis is an inflammation of the vertebra In the vertebrate spinal column, each vertebra is an irregular bone with a complex structure composed of bone and some hyaline cartilage, the proportions of which vary according to the segment ...
or
meningitis Meningitis is an acute Acute may refer to: Science and technology * Acute angle ** Acute triangle ** Acute, a leaf shape in the glossary of leaf morphology#acute, glossary of leaf morphology * Acute (medicine), a disease that it is of short dur ...
. Other illnesses fit the symptoms, including
acute pancreatitis Acute pancreatitis (AP) is a sudden inflammation Inflammation (from la, wikt:en:inflammatio#Latin, inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or Irritation, irr ...
and
West Nile virus West Nile virus (WNV) is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes West Nile fever. It is a member of the family ''Flaviviridae'', from the genus ''Flavivirus'', which also contains the Zika virus, dengue virus, and yellow fever virus. The virus i ...
. Natural-cause theories also tend to emphasize that Alexander's health may have been in general decline after years of heavy drinking and severe wounds. The anguish that Alexander felt after
Hephaestion Hephaestion ( grc, Ἡφαιστίων ''Hephaistíon''; c. 356 BC  –  October 324 BC), son of Amyntor, was an ancient Macedonian nobleman and a general in the army of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, ...
's death may also have contributed to his declining health.


After death

Alexander's body was laid in a gold anthropoid
sarcophagus A sarcophagus (plural sarcophagi or sarcophaguses) is a box-like funeral receptacle for a cadaver, corpse, most commonly carved in stone, and usually displayed above ground, though it may also be buried. The word ''sarcophagus'' comes from th ...

sarcophagus
that was filled with honey, which was in turn placed in a gold casket. According to Aelian, a seer called Aristander foretold that the land where Alexander was laid to rest "would be happy and unvanquishable forever". Perhaps more likely, the successors may have seen possession of the body as a symbol of legitimacy, since burying the prior king was a
royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions wr ...
. While Alexander's funeral cortege was on its way to Macedon, Ptolemy seized it and took it temporarily to Memphis. His successor,
Ptolemy II Philadelphus ; egy, Userkanaenre wikt:mry-jmn, Meryamun#Clayton06, Clayton (2006) p. 208 , predecessor = Ptolemy I Soter , successor = Ptolemy III Euergetes , horus = ''ḥwnw-ḳni'Khunuqeni''The brave youth , nebty = ''wr-pḥtj ...

Ptolemy II Philadelphus
, transferred the sarcophagus to Alexandria, where it remained until at least
late Antiquity Late antiquity is a periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Inst ...
.
Ptolemy IX Lathyros Ptolemy IX Soter II Ptolemy IX also took the same title 'Soter' as Ptolemy I Soter, Ptolemy I. In older references and in more recent references by the German historian Huss, Ptolemy IX Soter II may be numbered VIII. ( el, Πτολεμαῖος Σ ...
, one of Ptolemy's final successors, replaced Alexander's sarcophagus with a glass one so he could convert the original to coinage. The recent discovery of an enormous tomb in northern Greece, at
Amphipolis Amphipolis ( ell, Αμφίπολη, translit=Amfipoli; grc, Ἀμφίπολις, translit=Amphipolis) is a municipality in the Serres regional unit of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a co ...
, dating from the time of Alexander the Great has given rise to speculation that its original intent was to be the burial place of Alexander. This would fit with the intended destination of Alexander's funeral cortege. However, the memorial was found to be dedicated to the dearest friend of Alexander the Great,
Hephaestion Hephaestion ( grc, Ἡφαιστίων ''Hephaistíon''; c. 356 BC  –  October 324 BC), son of Amyntor, was an ancient Macedonian nobleman and a general in the army of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, ...
.
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...
,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
and
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
all visited the tomb in Alexandria, where Augustus, allegedly, accidentally knocked the nose off.
Caligula Caligula (; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by th ...

Caligula
was said to have taken Alexander's breastplate from the tomb for his own use. Around AD 200, Emperor
Septimius Severus Lucius Septimius Severus (; 11 April 145 – 4 February 211) was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna (present day Al-Khums, Libya) in the Roman province of Africa (Roman province), Africa. As a young man he advanced thro ...
closed Alexander's tomb to the public. His son and successor,
Caracalla Caracalla ( ; 4 April 188 – 8 April 217), formally known as Antoninus (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus), was Roman emperor from 198 to 217. He was a member of the Severan dynasty, the elder son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna. Co-ruler ...

Caracalla
, a great admirer, visited the tomb during his own reign. After this, details on the fate of the tomb are hazy. The so-called "
Alexander Sarcophagus Image:Alexander Sarcophagus Battle of Issus.jpg, Alexander routs Persians on one of the long sides of the Alexander Sarcophagus The Alexander Sarcophagus is a late 4th century BC Hellenistic stone sarcophagus adorned with bas-relief carvings of A ...

Alexander Sarcophagus
", discovered near
Sidon Sidon ( ), known locally as Sayda or Saida ( ar, صيدا), is the third-largest city in Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western ...

Sidon
and now in the
Istanbul Archaeology Museum The Istanbul Archaeology Museums ( tr, ) are a group of three archaeological museums located in the Eminönü quarter of Istanbul ) , postal_code_type = Postal code , postal_code = 34000 to 34990 , area_ ...
, 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. It was originally thought to have been the sarcophagus of
Abdalonymus Abdalonimus ( el, ; literally "servant of the most high gods") was a gardener, but of royal descent, who was made King of Sidon by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. Life After Alexander the Great had subdued Sidon, he gave permission to Hephaestion ...
(died 311 BC), the king of Sidon appointed by Alexander immediately following the
battle of Issus The Battle of Issus (also Issos) occurred in southern Anatolia, on November 5, 333 BC between the League of Corinth, Hellenic League led by Alexander the Great and the Achaemenid Empire, led by Darius III of Persia, Darius III, in the second gre ...

battle of Issus
in 331. However, more recently, it has been suggested that it may date from earlier than Abdalonymus's death.
DemadesDemades ( el, Δημάδης, BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect ...
likened the Macedonian army, after the death of Alexander, to the blinded
Cyclops In Greek mythology and later Roman mythology, the Cyclopes ( ; el, Κύκλωπες, ''Kýklōpes'', "Circle-eyes" or "Round-eyes"; singular Cyclops ; , ''Kýklōps'') are giant one-eyed creatures. Three groups of Cyclopes can be distinguished ...

Cyclops
, due to the many random and disorderly movements that it made. 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".


Division of the empire

Alexander's death was so sudden that when reports of his death reached Greece, they were not immediately believed. Alexander had no obvious or legitimate heir, his son Alexander IV by Roxane being born after Alexander's death. According to Diodorus, Alexander's companions asked him on his deathbed to whom he bequeathed his kingdom; his laconic reply was "tôi kratistôi"—"to the strongest". Another theory is that his successors wilfully or erroneously misheard "tôi Kraterôi"—"to Craterus", the general leading his Macedonian troops home and newly entrusted with the regency of Macedonia. Arrian and Plutarch claimed that Alexander was speechless by this point, implying that this was an apocryphal story. Diodorus, Curtius and Justin offered the more plausible story that Alexander passed his
signet ring A seal is a device for making an impression in wax , a typical wax ester. Image:Beeswax foundation.jpg, Commercial honeycomb foundation, made by pressing beeswax between patterned metal rollers. Waxes are a diverse class of organic compounds ...
to
Perdiccas Perdiccas ( el, Περδίκκας, ''Perdikkas''; c. 355 BC – 321/320 BC) became a general in Alexander the Great's army and participated in Alexander's campaign against Achaemenid Persia. Following Alexander's death, he rose to become supre ...
, a bodyguard and leader of the companion cavalry, in front of witnesses, thereby nominating him. Perdiccas initially did not claim power, instead suggesting that Roxane's baby would be king, if male; with himself,
Craterus Craterus or Krateros ( el, Κρατερός; c. 370 BC – 321 BC) was a Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People M ...
, Leonnatus, and Antipater as guardians. However, the infantry, under the command of
Meleager In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature ...
, rejected this arrangement since they had been excluded from the discussion. Instead, they supported Alexander's half-brother Philip Arrhidaeus. Eventually, the two sides reconciled, and after the birth of Alexander IV, he and Philip III were appointed joint kings, albeit in name only. Dissension and rivalry soon afflicted the Macedonians, however. The satrapies handed out by Perdiccas at the
Partition of Babylon The Partition of Babylon was the first of the conferences and ensuing agreements that divided the territories of Alexander the Great. It was held at Babylon in June 323 BC. Alexander’s death at the age of 32 had left an empire that stretched from ...
became power bases each general used to bid for power. After the assassination of Perdiccas in 321 BC, Macedonian unity collapsed, and 40 years of war between "The Successors" (''Diadochi'') ensued before the Hellenistic world settled into four stable power blocs:
Ptolemaic Egypt The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , o ...
, Seleucid Mesopotamia and Central Asia, Attalid Anatolia, and
Antigonid Macedon The Antigonid dynasty (; grc-gre, Ἀντιγονίδαι) was a dynasty of Hellenistic period, Hellenistic kings descended from Alexander the Great's general Antigonus I Monophthalmus ("the One-eyed") that ruled mainly in Macedonia (ancient kingd ...
. In the process, both Alexander IV and Philip III were murdered.


Last plans

Diodorus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...
stated that Alexander had given detailed written instructions to
Craterus Craterus or Krateros ( el, Κρατερός; c. 370 BC – 321 BC) was a Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People M ...
some time before his death, which are known as Alexander's "last plans".
Craterus Craterus or Krateros ( el, Κρατερός; c. 370 BC – 321 BC) was a Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People M ...
started to carry out Alexander's commands, but the successors chose not to further implement them, on the grounds they were impractical and extravagant. Furthermore,
Perdiccas Perdiccas ( el, Περδίκκας, ''Perdikkas''; c. 355 BC – 321/320 BC) became a general in Alexander the Great's army and participated in Alexander's campaign against Achaemenid Persia. Following Alexander's death, he rose to become supre ...
had read the notebooks containing Alexander's last plans to the Macedonian troops in Babylon, who voted not to carry them out. According to Diodorus, Alexander's last plans called for military expansion into the southern and western Mediterranean, monumental constructions, and the intermixing of Eastern and Western populations. It included: * Construction of 1,000 ships larger than triremes, along with harbours and a road running along the African coast all the way to the
Pillars of Hercules The Pillars of Hercules ( la, Columnae Herculis, grc, Ἡράκλειαι Στῆλαι, , ar, أعمدة هرقل, Aʿmidat Hiraql, es, Columnas de Hércules) was the phrase that was applied in to the that flank the entrance to the . The ...

Pillars of Hercules
, to be used for an invasion of Carthage and the western Mediterranean; * Erection of great temples in
Delos The island of Delos (; el, Δήλος ; Attic Greek, Attic: , Doric Greek, Doric: ), near Mykonos, near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in Greece. The excava ...

Delos
,
Delphi Delphi (; ), in legend previously called Pytho (Πυθώ), in ancient times was a sacred precinct that served as the seat of Pythia, the major oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The oracle ...

Delphi
,
Dodona Dodona (; : Δωδώνα, ''Dōdṓnā'', and : Δωδώνη, ''Dōdṓnē'') in in northwestern was the oldest oracle, possibly dating to the according to . The earliest accounts in describe Dodona as an oracle of . Situated in a remote r ...
,
Dium Dion or Dio ( el, Δίον; grc, Δῖον; la, Dium) is a village and municipal unit in the municipality of Dion-Olympos in the Pieria regional unit, Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country ...
,
Amphipolis Amphipolis ( ell, Αμφίπολη, translit=Amfipoli; grc, Ἀμφίπολις, translit=Amphipolis) is a municipality in the Serres regional unit of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a co ...
, all costing 1,500 talents, and a monumental temple to
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied ...

Athena
at
Troy Troy (Greek language, Greek: Τροία) or Ilium (Greek language, Greek: Ίλιον) was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, south-west of Çanakkale. It is known as the setting for the Greek mythology, Greek myth of the ...

Troy
* Amalgamation of small settlements into larger cities ("
synoecism Synoecism or synecism ( ; grc, συνοικισμóς, ''sunoikismos'', ), also spelled synoikism ( ), was originally the amalgamation of villages in Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging ...
s") and the "transplant of populations from Asia to Europe and in the opposite direction from Europe to Asia, in order to bring the largest continent to common unity and to friendship by means of intermarriage and family ties" * Construction of a monumental tomb for his father Philip, "to match the greatest of the
pyramids of Egypt The Egyptian pyramids are ancient Pyramid (geometry), pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt. As of November 2008, sources cite either 118 or 138 as the number of identified Egyptian pyramids. Most were built as tombs for the coun ...
" * Conquest of Arabia * Circumnavigation of Africa The enormous scale of these plans has led many scholars to doubt their historicity.
Ernst Badian Ernst Badian (August 8, 1925 – February 1, 2011) was an Austrian-born classical scholar who served as a professor at Harvard University from 1971 to 1998. Early life and education Born in Vienna in 1925, in 1938 he fled Nazi Europe with his fa ...
argued that they were exaggerated by Perdiccas in order to ensure that the Macedonian troops voted not to carry them out. Other scholars have proposed that they were invented by later authors within the tradition of the
Alexander Romance The ''Alexander Romance'' is an account of the life and exploits of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a kin ...
.


Character


Generalship

Alexander earned the epithet "the Great" due to his unparalleled success as a military commander. He never lost a battle, despite typically being outnumbered. This was due to use of terrain,
phalanx The phalanx ( grc, φάλαγξ; plural phalanxes or phalanges, , ) was a rectangular In Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is a quadrilateral A quadrilateral is a polygon in Euclidean geometry, Euclidean plane geometry with four Edge ...

phalanx
and cavalry tactics, bold strategy, and the fierce loyalty of his troops., The
Macedonian phalanx The Macedonian phalanx ( gr, Μακεδονική φάλαγξ) is an infantry Infantry is an army specialization whose military personnel, personnel engage in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and armored warf ...

Macedonian phalanx
, armed with the
sarissa The sarisa or sarissa ( el, σάρισα) was a long spear or pike about in length. It was introduced by Philip II of Macedon Philip II of Macedon ( grc-gre, Φίλιππος ; 382 – 21 October 336 BC) was the king (basileus ''Ba ...
, a spear long, had been developed and perfected by Philip II through rigorous training, and Alexander used its speed and manoeuvrability to great effect against larger but more disparate Persian forces. Alexander also recognized the potential for disunity among his diverse army, which employed various languages and weapons. He overcame this by being personally involved in battle, in the manner of a Macedonian king. In his first battle in Asia, at Granicus, Alexander used only a small part of his forces, perhaps 13,000 infantry with 5,000 cavalry, against a much larger Persian force of 40,000. Alexander placed the phalanx at the center and cavalry and archers on the wings, so that his line matched the length of the Persian cavalry line, about . By contrast, the Persian infantry was stationed behind its cavalry. This ensured that Alexander would not be outflanked, while his phalanx, armed with long pikes, had a considerable advantage over the Persians'
scimitars A scimitar ( or ) is a single-edged sword with a convex Convex means curving outwards like a sphere, and is the opposite of concave. Convex or convexity may refer to: Science and technology * Convex lens A lens is a transmissive optical ...
and
javelins A javelin is a light spear A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with Fire hardening, fire hardened spears, or it ma ...
. Macedonian losses were negligible compared to those of the Persians. At Issus in 333 BC, his first confrontation with Darius, he used the same deployment, and again the central phalanx pushed through. Alexander personally led the charge in the center, routing the opposing army. At the decisive encounter with Darius at Gaugamela, Darius equipped his chariots with scythes on the wheels to break up the phalanx and equipped his cavalry with pikes. Alexander arranged a double phalanx, with the center advancing at an angle, parting when the chariots bore down and then reforming. The advance was successful and broke Darius's center, causing the latter to flee once again. When faced with opponents who used unfamiliar fighting techniques, such as in Central Asia and India, Alexander adapted his forces to his opponents' style. Thus, in
Bactria Bactria (BactrianBactrian may refer to *Bactria Bactria ( Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the ...
and
Sogdiana Sogdia () ( sog, soɣd) or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian civilization between between the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, and in present-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Sogdiana was also a province of the Ac ...
, Alexander successfully used his javelin throwers and archers to prevent outflanking movements, while massing his cavalry at the center. In India, confronted by Porus's elephant corps, the Macedonians opened their ranks to envelop the elephants and used their sarissas to strike upwards and dislodge the elephants' handlers.


Physical appearance

Greek biographer
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
() describes Alexander's appearance as: The semi-legendary ''
Alexander Romance The ''Alexander Romance'' is an account of the life and exploits of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a kin ...
'' also suggests that Alexander exhibited
heterochromia iridum Heterochromia is a variation in color Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to th ...

heterochromia iridum
: that one eye was dark and the other light. British historian Peter Green provided a description of Alexander's appearance, based on his review of statues and some ancient documents: Historian and
Egyptologist Egyptology (from ''Egypt'' and Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populat ...
Joann Fletcher Joann Fletcher (born 30 August 1966) is an Egyptologist Egyptology (from ''Egypt'' and Greek , '' -logia''; ar, علم المصريات) is the study of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient Nor ...
has said that Alexander had blond hair. Ancient authors recorded that Alexander was so pleased with portraits of himself created by
Lysippos Lysippos (; grc-gre, Λύσιππος) was a Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC. Together with Scopas and Praxiteles, he is considered one of the three greatest sculptors of the Classical Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of th ...
that he forbade other sculptors from crafting his image. Lysippos had often used the
contrapposto ''Contrapposto'' () is an Italian language, Italian term that means "counterpoise". It is used in the visual arts to describe a human figure standing with most of its weight on one foot, so that its shoulders and arms twist off-axis from the hips a ...
sculptural scheme to portray Alexander and other characters such as Apoxyomenos,
Hermes Hermes (; grc-gre, Ἑρμῆς) is an Olympian deity in ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, mythology. Hermes is considered the herald of the gods. He is also considered the protector of human heralds, travellers, thieves, mercha ...

Hermes
and
Eros In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...

Eros
. Lysippos's sculpture, famous for its naturalism, as opposed to a stiffer, more static pose, is thought to be the most faithful depiction.


Personality

Some of Alexander's strongest personality traits formed in response to his parents. His mother had huge ambitions, and encouraged him to believe it was his destiny to conquer the Persian Empire. Olympias's influence instilled a sense of destiny in him, and Plutarch tells how his ambition "kept his spirit serious and lofty in advance of his years". However, his father Philip was Alexander's most immediate and influential role model, as the young Alexander watched him campaign practically every year, winning victory after victory while ignoring severe wounds. Alexander's relationship with his father forged the competitive side of his personality; he had a need to outdo his father, illustrated by his reckless behaviour in battle. While Alexander worried that his father would leave him "no great or brilliant achievement to be displayed to the world", he also downplayed his father's achievements to his companions. According to Plutarch, among Alexander's traits were a violent temper and rash, impulsive nature, which undoubtedly contributed to some of his decisions. Although Alexander was stubborn and did not respond well to orders from his father, he was open to reasoned debate. He had a calmer side—perceptive, logical, and calculating. He had a great desire for knowledge, a love for philosophy, and was an avid reader. This was no doubt in part due to Aristotle's tutelage; Alexander was intelligent and quick to learn. His intelligent and rational side was amply demonstrated by his ability and success as a general. He had great self-restraint in "pleasures of the body", in contrast with his lack of
self-control Self-control, an aspect of inhibitory control Inhibitory control, also known as response inhibition, is a cognitive process Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, exper ...

self-control
with alcohol. Alexander was erudite and patronized both arts and sciences. However, he had little interest in sports or the
Olympic games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
(unlike his father), seeking only the
Homeric Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...
ideals of honour (''timê'') and glory (''kudos''). He had great
charisma Charisma () is compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. Scholars in sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or ...

charisma
and force of personality, characteristics which made him a great leader. His unique abilities were further demonstrated by the inability of any of his generals to unite Macedonia and retain the Empire after his death—only Alexander had the ability to do so. During his final years, and especially after the death of Hephaestion, Alexander began to exhibit signs of
megalomania Megalomania is an obsession with power and wealth, and a passion for grand schemes. Megalomania or megalomaniac may also refer to: Psychology * Narcissistic personality disorder Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental dis ...
and
paranoia Paranoia is an instinct or thought process that is believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety Anxiety is an emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously a ...

paranoia
. 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
delusions of grandeur Grandiose delusions (GD), also known as delusions of grandeur or expansive delusions, are a subtype of delusion that occur in patients suffering from a wide range of psychiatric diseases, including two-thirds of patients in manic state of bip ...
are readily visible in his
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's (testator A testator () is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or at ...
and in his desire to conquer the world, in as much as he is by various sources described as having ''boundless ambition'', an epithet, the meaning of which has descended into an historical cliché. He appears to have believed himself a deity, or at least sought to deify himself. Olympias always insisted to him that he was the son of Zeus, a theory apparently confirmed to him by the oracle of Amun at . He began to identify himself as the son of Zeus-Ammon. Alexander adopted elements of Persian dress and customs at court, notably ''
proskynesis Proskynesis or proscynesis , or proskinesis (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast ...
'', a practice of which Macedonians disapproved, and were loath to perform. This behaviour cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen. However, Alexander also was a pragmatic ruler who understood the difficulties of ruling culturally disparate peoples, many of whom lived in kingdoms where the king was divine. Thus, rather than megalomania, his behaviour may simply have been a practical attempt at strengthening his rule and keeping his empire together.


Personal relationships

Alexander married three times:
Roxana Roxana (c. 340 BCE, – 310 BCE, grc, Ῥωξάνη; Old Iranian The Iranian languages or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages The Indo-Iranian languages (also Indo-Iranic languages or Aryan languages) constitut ...

Roxana
, daughter of the
Sogdia Sogdia () ( sog, soɣd) or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian civilization between between the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, and in present-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Sogdiana was also a province of the Ac ...
n nobleman
Oxyartes:''For the stick insect genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer ...
of
Bactria Bactria (BactrianBactrian may refer to *Bactria Bactria ( Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the ...
, out of love; and the Persian princesses
Stateira IIs of Stateira II to Alexander Alexander is a male given name. The most prominent bearer of the name is Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly ...
and
Parysatis II Parysatis, the youngest daughter of Artaxerxes III of Persia, married Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a ...
, the former a daughter of
Darius III Darius III ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, translit=Dārayavaʰuš; grc, Δαρεῖος, translit=Dareîos; New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian lan ...

Darius III
and latter a daughter of
Artaxerxes III Ochus ( Greek: Ὦχος, ''Ôchos''; Babylonian: ''Ú-ma-kuš''), better known by his dynastic name of Artaxerxes III ( peo, 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂 ''Artaxšaçā'') was King of Kings King of Kings ( Akkadian: ''šar šarrāni''; Old Pe ...

Artaxerxes III
, for political reasons. He apparently had two sons,
Alexander IV of Macedon Alexander is a male given name. The most prominent bearer of the name is Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was ...
by Roxana and, possibly,
Heracles of MacedonHeracles of Macedon ( grc, Ἡρακλῆς; c. 327 – 309 BC) was a reputed illegitimate son of Alexander the Great of Macedon by Barsine, daughter of Satrap Artabazus of Phrygia. Heracles was named after the Heracles, Greek mythological hero of th ...
from his mistress
Barsine Barsine ( el, Βαρσίνη; c. 363–309 BC) was the daughter of a Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Ir ...
. He lost another child when Roxana miscarried at Babylon. Alexander also had a close relationship with his friend, general, and bodyguard
Hephaestion Hephaestion ( grc, Ἡφαιστίων ''Hephaistíon''; c. 356 BC  –  October 324 BC), son of Amyntor, was an ancient Macedonian nobleman and a general in the army of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, ...
, the son of a Macedonian noble. Hephaestion's death devastated Alexander. This event may have contributed to Alexander's failing health and detached
mental state A mental state, or a mental property, is a state of mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental phenomena A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its modern philosophical ...

mental state
during his final months. Alexander's sexuality has been the subject of speculation and controversy in modern times. The Roman era writer
Athenaeus Athenaeus of Naucratis Naucratis or Naukratis ( grc-gre, Ναύκρατις, "Naval Command"; Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a n ...
says, based on the scholar
Dicaearchus Dicaearchus of Messana (; grc-gre, Δικαίαρχος ''Dikaiarkhos''; ), also written Dicearchus or Dicearch (), was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially t ...
, who was Alexander's contemporary, that the king "was quite excessively keen on boys", and that Alexander kissed the eunuch Bagoas in public. This episode is also told by Plutarch, probably based on the same source. 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 250px, Achilles bandages the arm of Patroclus The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is a key element of the stories associated with the Trojan War. Its exact nature has been a subject of dispute in both the Classical Greece, Classical pe ...
, whom classical Greek culture painted as a couple. Aelian writes of Alexander's visit to
Troy Troy (Greek language, Greek: Τροία) or Ilium (Greek language, Greek: Ίλιον) was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, south-west of Çanakkale. It is known as the setting for the Greek mythology, Greek myth of the ...

Troy
where "Alexander garlanded the tomb of Achilles, and Hephaestion that of
Patroclus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belie ...
, the latter hinting that he was a beloved of Alexander, in just the same way as Patroclus was of Achilles." Some modern historians (e.g.,
Robin Lane Fox Robin James Lane Fox (born 5 October 1946) is an English classicist, ancient historian, and gardening writer known for his works on Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – ...
) believe not only that Alexander's youthful relationship with Hephaestion was sexual, but that their sexual contacts may have continued into adulthood, which went against the social norms of at least some Greek cities, such as Athens, though some modern researchers have tentatively proposed that Macedonia (or at least the Macedonian court) may have been more tolerant of homosexuality between adults. Green argues that there is little evidence in ancient sources that Alexander had much carnal interest in women; he did not produce an heir until the very end of his life. However, Ogden calculates that Alexander, who impregnated his partners thrice in eight years, had a higher matrimonial record than his father at the same age. Two of these pregnancies — Stateira's and Barsine's — are of dubious legitimacy. According to Diodorus Siculus, Alexander accumulated a harem in the style of Persian kings, but he used it rather sparingly, "not wishing to offend the Macedonians", showing great self-control in "pleasures of the body". Nevertheless, Plutarch described how Alexander was infatuated by Roxana while complimenting him on not forcing himself on her. Green suggested that, in the context of the period, Alexander formed quite strong friendships with women, including
Ada of Caria Ada of Caria ( grc, Ἄδα) (floruit, fl. 377 – 326 BC)377 BC is the date of her father's death: was a member of the House of Hecatomnus (the Hecatomnids) and ruler of Caria during the mid-4th century BC, first as Achaemenid Empire, Persian S ...
, who adopted him, and even Darius's mother
Sisygambis Sisygambis (died 323 BC) was the mother of Darius III of Persia Darius III ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, translit=Dārayava(h)uš; New Persian: ; c. 380 – 330 BC) was the last Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, ...
, who supposedly died from grief upon hearing of Alexander's death.


Battle record


Legacy

Alexander's legacy extended beyond his military conquests. His campaigns greatly increased contacts and trade between East and West, and vast areas to the east were significantly exposed to Greek civilization and influence. Some of the cities he founded became major cultural centers, many surviving into the 21st century. His chroniclers recorded valuable information about the areas through which he marched, while the Greeks themselves got a sense of belonging to a world beyond the Mediterranean.


Hellenistic kingdoms

Alexander's most immediate legacy was the introduction of Macedonian rule to huge new swathes of Asia. At the time of his death, Alexander's empire covered some ,Peter Turchin, Thomas D. Hall and Jonathan M. Adams,
East-West Orientation of Historical Empires
", ''Journal of World-Systems Research'' Vol. 12 (no. 2), pp. 219–29 (2006).
and was the largest state of its time. Many of these areas remained in Macedonian hands or under Greek influence for the next 200–300 years. The
successor states Succession of states is a theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with such processes a ...
that emerged were, at least initially, dominant forces, and these 300 years are often referred to as the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...
. The eastern borders of Alexander's empire began to collapse even during his lifetime. However, the power vacuum he left in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent directly gave rise to one of the most powerful Indian dynasties in history, the
Maurya Empire The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human h ...
. Taking advantage of this power vacuum,
Chandragupta Maurya Chandragupta Maurya (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in So ...

Chandragupta Maurya
(referred to in Greek sources as "Sandrokottos"), of relatively humble origin, took control of the
Punjab Punjab (; ; ; ; also as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a geopolitical, cultural, and in , specifically in the northern part of the , comprising areas of eastern and . The boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts. ...

Punjab
, and with that power base proceeded to conquer the
Nanda Empire The Nanda dynasty ruled in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent during the 4th century BCE, and possibly during the 5th century BCE. The Nandas overthrew the Shaishunaga dynasty The Shaishunaga dynasty (IAST: Śaiśunāga, literally ...

Nanda Empire
.


Founding of cities

Over the course of his conquests, Alexander founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most of them east of the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of the Armenian Highlands through the Syrian Desert, Syrian and Arabian Deserts, and empti ...

Tigris
. The first, and greatest, was
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asia ...

Alexandria
in Egypt, which would become one of the leading Mediterranean cities. The cities' locations reflected trade routes as well as defensive positions. At first, the cities must have been inhospitable, little more than defensive garrisons. Following Alexander's death, many Greeks who had settled there tried to return to Greece. However, a century or so after Alexander's death, many of the Alexandrias were thriving, with elaborate public buildings and substantial populations that included both Greek and local peoples.


Funding of temples

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great donated funds for the completion of the new temple of
Athena Polias Athena or Athene, often given the epithet Pallas, is an ancient Greek religion, ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, handicraft, and warfare who was later syncretism, syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva. Athena was regarded ...
in
Priene Priene ( grc, Πριήνη, Priēnē; tr, Prien) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city of Ionia (and member of the Ionian League) located at the base of an escarpment of Mycale, about north of what was then the course of the Maeander River ...

Priene
, in modern-day western Turkey. "On reaching Priene, he made a further dedication to Athena. There the townspeople were laying out their new city and building a temple to its patron goddess. Alexander offered funds to complete the temple, and the inscription on this wall block, cut into a block of marble, records his gift. The inscription was found in the 19th century by the architect-archaeologist Richard Pullan leading an expedition on behalf of the Society of Dilettanti. It reads: 'King Alexander dedicated the Temple to Athena Polias'." "Marble wall block from the temple of Athena at Priene, inscribed on two sides. The inscription on the front records the gift of funds from Alexander the Great to complete the temple." An inscription from the temple, now housed in the
British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of Lond ...

British Museum
, declares: "King Alexander dedicated his templeto Athena Polias." This inscription is one of the few independent archaeological discoveries confirming an episode from Alexander's life. The temple was designed by Pytheos, one of the architects of the
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus ( grc, Μαυσωλεῖον τῆς Ἁλικαρνασσοῦ; tr, Halikarnas Mozolesi) was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC in Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, a n ...
.
Libanius Libanius ( grc-gre, Λιβάνιος, ; c. 314 – 392 or 393) was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
wrote that Alexander founded the temple of Zeus Bottiaios ( grc, Βοττιαίου Δῖός), in the place where later the city of
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
was built.


Hellenization

''Hellenization'' was coined by the German historian
Johann Gustav Droysen Johann Gustav Bernhard Droysen (; ; 6 July 180819 June 1884) was a German historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...

Johann Gustav Droysen
to denote the spread of Greek language, culture, and population into the former Persian empire after Alexander's conquest. That this export took place is undoubted, and can be seen in the great Hellenistic cities of, for instance,
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asia ...

Alexandria
,
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
and
Seleucia Seleucia (; grc-gre, Σελεύκεια), also known as or , was a major Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a his ...
(south of modern
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, ...

Baghdad
). Alexander sought to insert Greek elements into
Persian culture The Culture of Iran (Persian language, Persian: فرهنگ ایران) or Culture of PersiaYarshater, EhsaPersia or Iran, Persian or Farsi, ''Iranian Studies'', vol. XXII no. 1 (1989) is one of the most influential cultures in the world. Iran (Nam ...
and attempted to hybridize Greek and Persian culture. This culminated in his aspiration to homogenize the populations of Asia and Europe. However, his successors explicitly rejected such policies. Nevertheless, Hellenization occurred throughout the region, accompanied by a distinct and opposite 'Orientalization' of the successor states. The core of the Hellenistic culture promulgated by the conquests was essentially
Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens The Acropo ...

Athenian
. The close association of men from across Greece in Alexander's army directly led to the emergence of the largely
Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space under the roof usually accessed by a lad ...
-based "
koine Koine Greek (;. Modern , ), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the common supra-regional form of Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gre ...
", or "common" Greek dialect. Koine spread throughout the Hellenistic world, becoming the
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
of Hellenistic lands and eventually the ancestor of
modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' ...
. Furthermore,
town planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification for the construction o ...
, education, local government, and art current in the Hellenistic period were all based on Classical Greek ideals, evolving into distinct new forms commonly grouped as Hellenistic. Also, the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
was written in the
Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, Greek spoken and written d ...
language. Aspects of Hellenistic culture were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century.


Hellenization in South and Central Asia

Some of the most pronounced effects of Hellenization can be seen in Afghanistan and India, in the region of the relatively late-rising
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom The Bactrian Kingdom, known to historians as the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, was a Hellenistic-era Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic ...
(250–125 BC) (in modern
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
, and
Tajikistan ) , image_map = Tajikistan (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , capital = Dushanbe Dushanbe ( tg, Душанбе, ; ; russian: Душанбе) is the Capital city, capital and largest ...

Tajikistan
) and the
Indo-Greek Kingdom The Indo-Greek Kingdom, or Graeco-Indian Kingdom, also known historically as the Yavana Kingdom (Yavanarajya), was a Hellenistic period, Hellenistic-era Ancient Greece, Greek kingdom covering various parts of Afghanistan and the northwest regio ...
(180 BC – 10 AD) in modern Afghanistan and India. On the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade routes connecting the Eastern world, East and Western culture, West, from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century CE. It was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions ...

Silk Road
trade routes, Hellenistic culture hybridized with Iranian and
Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, an ...

Buddhist
cultures. The cosmopolitan art and mythology of
Gandhara Gandhāra was an ancient region in the Kabul Kabul (; ps, , translit=Kābəl, ; prs, , translit=Kābol, ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between ...

Gandhara
(a region spanning the upper confluence of the Indus, Swat and Kabul rivers in modern Pakistan) of the ~3rd century BC to the ~5th century AD are most evident of the direct contact between Hellenistic civilization and South Asia, as are the
Edicts of Ashoka The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of more than thirty inscriptions on the , as well as boulders and cave walls, attributed to Emperor of the who reigned from 268 BCE to 232 BCE. Ashoka used the expression ''Dhaṃma '' ( in the : , "Ins ...
, which directly mention the Greeks within Ashoka's dominion as converting to Buddhism and the reception of Buddhist emissaries by Ashoka's contemporaries in the Hellenistic world. The resulting
syncretism Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs and various schools of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy, Lis ...
known as
Greco-Buddhism Greco-Buddhism, or Graeco-Buddhism, is the cultural syncretism Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, while blending practices of various schools of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a ...
influenced the development of Buddhism and created a culture of
Greco-Buddhist art The Greco-Buddhist art or Gandhara art of the north Indian subcontinent is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism, a cultural syncretism between Ancient Greek art and Buddhism. The series of interactions leading to Gandhara art occurred o ...
. These Greco-Buddhist kingdoms sent some of the first Buddhist missionaries to
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
,
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
and Hellenistic Asia and Europe (
Greco-Buddhist monasticism The role of Greek Buddhist monks in the development of the Buddhism, Buddhist faith under the patronage of Emperor Ashoka around 260 BCE and subsequently during the reign of the Indo-Greek Kingdom, Indo-Greek king Menander I, Menander (r. 165/1 ...
). Some of the first and most influential figurative portrayals of the
Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an ascetic Asceticism (; from the el, ἄσκησις ''áskesis'', "exercise, training") is a lifestyle ...

Buddha
appeared at this time, perhaps modelled on Greek statues of
Apollo Apollo, grc, Ἀπόλλωνος, ''Apóllōnos'', label=genitive , ; , grc-dor, Ἀπέλλων, ''Apéllōn'', ; grc, Ἀπείλων, ''Apeílōn'', label=Arcadocypriot Greek, ; grc-aeo, Ἄπλουν, ''Áploun'', la, Apollō, ...

Apollo
in the Greco-Buddhist style. Several Buddhist traditions may have been influenced by the
ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that ...
: the concept of Boddhisatvas is reminiscent of Greek divine heroes, and some
Mahayana Mahāyāna (; "Great Vehicle") is a term for a broad group of Buddhism, Buddhist traditions, Buddhist texts#Mahāyāna texts, texts, Buddhist philosophy, philosophies, and practices. Mahāyāna Buddhism developed in India (c. 1st century BCE on ...
ceremonial practices (burning
incense Incense is aromatic biotic material Biotic material or biological derived material is any material that originates from living organisms. Most such materials contain carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a chemical element Image ...

incense
, gifts of flowers, and food placed on altars) are similar to those practised by the ancient Greeks; however, similar practices were also observed amongst the native Indic culture. One Greek king,
Menander I Menander I Soter ( grc, Μένανδρος Σωτήρ, ''Ménandros Sōtḗr'', ''Menandrauou Sotiros'', ‘Menander the Saviour’) (Pali Pali () is a Middle Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate ...
, probably became Buddhist, and was immortalized in
Buddhist literature that he teach the Dharma after the Buddha's awakening. from Korea; circa 1340, Accordion-format book; gold and silver on indigo-dyed mulberry paper. Image:MET 24 DP238441r2 61E.jpg, Folio from a manuscript of the ''Prajnaparamita, Aṣṭasāha ...
as 'Milinda'. The process of Hellenization also spurred trade between the east and west. For example, Greek astronomical instruments dating to the 3rd century BC were found in the
Greco-Bactrian The Bactrian Kingdom, known to historians as the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, was a Hellenistic period, Hellenistic-era Hellenistic Greece, Greek state, and along with the Indo-Greek Kingdom, the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world in Central As ...
city of
Ai Khanoum Ai-Khanoum (Aï Khānum, also Ay Khanum, lit. “Lady Moon” in Uzbek), possibly the historical Alexandria on the Oxus ( el, Ἀλεξάνδρεια ἡ ἐπὶ τοῦ Ώξου), possibly later named Eucratidia, Εὐκρατίδεια) was o ...
in modern-day
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
, while the Greek concept of a
spherical earth Spherical Earth or Earth's curvature refers to the approximation of figure of the Earth Figure of the Earth is a Jargon, term of art in geodesy that refers to the size and shape used to model Earth. The size and shape it refers to depend o ...
surrounded by the spheres of planets eventually supplanted the long-standing Indian cosmological belief of a disc consisting of four continents grouped around a central mountain (Mount Meru) like the petals of a flower.Hayashi (2008), ''Aryabhata I'' The
Yavanajataka The Yavanajātaka (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South As ...
(lit. Greek astronomical treatise) and
Paulisa Siddhanta The Pauliṣa Siddhānta (literally, "The scientific-treatise of Pauliṣa Muni") refers to multiple Indian astronomical treatises, at least one of which is based on a Western source. "'' Siddhānta''" literally means "doctrine" or "tradition". It ...
texts depict the influence of Greek astronomical ideas on Indian astronomy. Following the conquests of Alexander the Great in the east,
Hellenistic influence on Indian art Hellenistic influence on Indian art reflects the artistic influence of the Greeks on Indian art following the conquests of Alexander the Great, from the end of the 4th century BCE to the first centuries of the common era. The Greeks in effect mainta ...
was far-ranging. In the area of
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''archi ...

architecture
, a few examples of the
Ionic order The Ionic order is one of the three canonic of , the other two being the and the . There are two lesser orders: the (a plainer Doric), and the rich variant of Corinthian called the . Of the three classical canonic orders, the Ionic order has t ...

Ionic order
can be found as far as
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
with the Jandial temple near
Taxila Taxila (from Pāli Pali () is a Middle Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan inva ...
. Several examples of
capitals Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter, an upper-case letter in any type of writing * Capital city, the area of a country, province, region, or state, regarded as enjoying primary status, usually but not always the seat of the governm ...

capitals
displaying Ionic influences can be seen as far as
Patna Patna ( ), historically known as ''Pataliputra Pataliputra (: ), adjacent to modern-day , was a city in , originally built by Magadha ruler in 490 BCE as a small fort () near the river.. Udayin laid the foundation of the city of Pataliput ...

Patna
, especially with the
Pataliputra capital The Pataliputra capital is a monumental rectangular capital with volutes and Classical Greek designs, that was discovered in the palace ruins of the ancient Mauryan Empire capital city of Pataliputra Pataliputra (Sanskrit: पाटलि ...
, dated to the 3rd century BC. The
Corinthian order The Corinthian order ( Greek Κορινθιακός ρυθμός, Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Ro ...
is also heavily represented in the
art of Gandhara The Greco-Buddhist art of the north of the Indian subcontinent is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism Greco-Buddhism, or Graeco-Buddhism, is the cultural syncretism between Hellenistic culture and Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the ...
, especially through Indo-Corinthian capitals.


Influence on Rome

Alexander and his exploits were admired by many Romans, especially generals, who wanted to associate themselves with his achievements.
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the ...

Polybius
began his ''
Histories Histories or, in Latin, Historiae may refer to: * the plural of history * Histories (Herodotus), ''Histories'' (Herodotus), by Herodotus * ''The Histories'', by Timaeus (historian), Timaeus * The Histories (Polybius), ''The Histories'' (Polybius), ...
'' by reminding Romans of Alexander's achievements, and thereafter Roman leaders saw him as a role model.
Pompey the Great Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...

Pompey the Great
adopted the epithet "Magnus" and even Alexander's anastole-type haircut, and searched the conquered lands of the east for Alexander's 260-year-old cloak, which he then wore as a sign of greatness.
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
dedicated a
equestrian The word equestrian is a reference to Equestrianism, horseback riding, derived from Latin ' and ', "horse". Horseback riding (or Riding in British English) Notable examples of this are: *List of equestrian sports, Equestrian sports *Equestrianism, ...
bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appear ...

bronze
statue but replaced Alexander's head with his own, while
Octavian Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate (the first phase of the Roman Empire) has consolidated ...
visited Alexander's tomb in Alexandria and temporarily changed his seal from a
sphinx A sphinx ( , grc, σφίγξ , Boeotian Boeotia, sometimes alternatively Latinisation of names, Latinised as Boiotia, or Beotia (; el, Βοιωτία, , ; modern transliteration ''Voiotía'', also ''Viotía'', formerly ''Cadmeis''), is one of ...

sphinx
to Alexander's profile. The emperor
Trajan Trajan ( ; la, Caesar Nerva Trajanus; 18 September 539/11 August 117) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Trajan
also admired Alexander, as did
Nero Nero ( ; full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) was the fifth emperor of Rome. He was Adoption in Ancient Rome, adopted by the Roman emperor Claudius at the age of 13 and s ...

Nero
and
Caracalla Caracalla ( ; 4 April 188 – 8 April 217), formally known as Antoninus (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus), was Roman emperor from 198 to 217. He was a member of the Severan dynasty, the elder son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna. Co-ruler ...

Caracalla
. The Macriani, a Roman family that in the person of
Macrinus Macrinus (; Caesar Marcus Opellius Severus Macrinus Augustus; – June 218) was Roman Emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors us ...
briefly ascended to the imperial throne, kept images of Alexander on their persons, either on jewellery, or embroidered into their clothes. On the other hand, some Roman writers, particularly Republican figures, used Alexander as a cautionary tale of how
autocratic Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power over a State (polity), state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (exc ...
tendencies can be kept in check by
republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
values. Alexander was used by these writers as an example of ruler values such as (friendship) and (clemency), but also (anger) and (over-desire for glory).
Emperor Julian Julian ( la, Flavius Claudius Julianus; grc-gre, Ἰουλιανός ; 331 – 26 June 363) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety ...
in his satire called "The Caesars", describes a contest between the previous Roman emperors, with Alexander the Great called in as an extra contestant, in the presence of the assembled gods. The
Itinerarium Alexandri The ''Itinerarium Alexandri'' ("The Journey of Alexander") is a 4th-century Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area ar ...
is a 4th-century Latin
Itinerarium An ''itinerarium'' (plural: ''itineraria'') was an Ancient Roman In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman E ...
which describes Alexander the Great's campaigns.
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
went to serve his quaestorship in Hispania after his wife's funeral, in the spring or early summer of 69 BC. While there, he encountered a statue of Alexander the Great, and realised with dissatisfaction that he was now at an age when Alexander had the world at his feet, while he had achieved comparatively little.
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...
posed as the "new Alexander" since he was his boyhood hero. After Caracalla concluded his campaign against the Alamanni, it became evident that he was inordinately preoccupied with Alexander the Great. He began openly mimicking Alexander in his personal style. In planning his invasion of the Parthian Empire, Caracalla decided to arrange 16,000 of his men in Macedonian-style
phalanx The phalanx ( grc, φάλαγξ; plural phalanxes or phalanges, , ) was a rectangular In Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is a quadrilateral A quadrilateral is a polygon in Euclidean geometry, Euclidean plane geometry with four Edge ...

phalanx
es, despite the Roman army having made the phalanx an obsolete tactical formation. The historian Christopher Matthew mentions that the term ''Phalangarii'' has two possible meanings, both with military connotations. The first refers merely to the Roman battle line and does not specifically mean that the men were armed with pikes, and the second bears similarity to the 'Marian Mules' of the late
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
who carried their equipment suspended from a long pole, which were in use until at least the 2nd century AD. As a consequence, the ''Phalangarii'' of
Legio II Parthica Legio II Parthica ("Parthian-conquering Second Legion") was a legion Legion may refer to: Military * Roman legion The Roman legion ( la, legiō, ) was the largest military unit of the Roman army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or ...
may not have been pikemen, but rather standard battle line troops or possibly ''
Triarii ''Triarii'' (singular: ''Triarius'') were one of the elements of the early Roman military manipular legions of the early Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, ru ...
''. Caracalla's mania for Alexander went so far that Caracalla visited Alexandria while preparing for his Persian invasion and persecuted philosophers of the
Aristotelian Aristotelian may refer to: * Aristotle (384–322 BCE), Greek philosopher * Aristotelianism, the philosophical tradition begun by Aristotle * Aristotelian ethics * Aristotelian logic, term logic * Aristotelian physics, the natural sciences * Aristot ...
school based on a legend that
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
had poisoned Alexander. This was a sign of Caracalla's increasingly erratic behaviour. But this mania for Alexander, strange as it was, was overshadowed by subsequent events in Alexandria. In 39, Caligula performed a spectacular stunt by ordering a temporary floating bridge to be built using ships as pontoons, stretching for over two miles from the resort of
Baiae Baiae ( it, Baia; nap, Baia) was an ancient Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle ...
to the neighbouring port of
Puteoli Pozzuoli (; ; ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides many of the basic civil fu ...
.Suetonius, ''The Lives of Twelve Caesars'', Life of Caligul
19
It was said that the bridge was to rival the Persian king Xerxes' pontoon bridge crossing of the Hellespont. Caligula, who could not swim, then proceeded to ride his favourite horse Incitatus across, wearing the breastplate of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
. This act was in defiance of a prediction by Tiberius's soothsayer
Thrasyllus of Mendes Thrasyllus of Mendes (; grc-gre, Θράσυλλος Μενδήσιος ''Thrásyllos Mendísios''), also known as Thrasyllus of Alexandria and by his Roman citizenship Citizenship Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under th ...
that Caligula had "no more chance of becoming emperor than of riding a horse across the Bay of Baiae". The diffusion of Greek culture and language cemented by Alexander's conquests in West Asia and North Africa served as a "precondition" for the later Roman expansion into these territories and entire basis for the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
, according to Errington.


Unsuccessful plan to cut a canal through the isthmus

PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
writes that Alexander wanted to dig through the Mimas mountain (today at the
Karaburun Karaburun ( el, Αχιρλί, Achirlí) is a district and the center town of the same district in Turkey's İzmir Province. The district area roughly corresponds to the peninsula of the same name (Karaburun Peninsula, Turkey, Karaburun Peninsula) ...
area), but he didn't succeed. He also mentions that this was the only unsuccessful project of Alexander. In addition,
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
writes about this unsuccessful plan adding that the distance was , and the purpose was to cut a canal through the isthmus, so as to connect the Caystrian and Hermaean bays.


Naming of the Icarus island in the Persian Gulf

Arrian Arrian of Nicomedia (; Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Arrianos''; la, Lucius Flavius Arrianus; ) was a Greek people, Greek historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the Roman Greece, Roman period. ''The Anabasis of Alex ...

Arrian
wrote that Aristobulus said that the Icarus island (modern
Failaka Island Failaka Island ( ar, فيلكا '' / ''; Kuwaiti Arabic: فيلچا ) is a Kuwaiti Island in the Persian Gulf. The island is 20 km off the coast of Kuwait City in the Persian Gulf. The name "Failaka" is thought to be derived from the ancient ...

Failaka Island
) in the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of , ) is a in . The body of water is an extension of the () through the and lies between to the northeast and the to the southwest.United Nations Group of Exper ...
had this name because Alexander ordered the island to be named like this, after the Icarus island in the
Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and Asia's Anatolia peninsula. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In ...

Aegean Sea
.


Legend

Legendary accounts surround the life of Alexander the Great, many deriving from his own lifetime, probably encouraged by Alexander himself. His court historian Callisthenes portrayed the sea in
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
as drawing back from him in proskynesis. Writing shortly after Alexander's death, another participant,
Onesicritus Alexander the Great receives a visit from Thalestris, queen of the Amazons, one of the legends recounted by Onesicritus. Onesicritus ( el, Ὀνησίκριτος; c. 360 BC – c. 290 BC), a Greeks, Greek historical writer and Cynicism (philosop ...
, invented a
tryst Tryst may refer to: Art and entertainment * Tryst (novel), ''Tryst'' (novel), a 1939 novel by Elswyth Thane * Tryst (play), ''Tryst'' (play), a 2006 play by Karoline Leach * Tryst (album), ''Tryst'' (album), a 2019 studio album by Kate Ceberano and ...

tryst
between Alexander and , queen of the mythical
Amazons In Greek mythology, the Amazons (Ancient Greek: Ἀμαζόνες ''Amazónes'', singular Ἀμαζών ''Amazōn'') are portrayed in a number of ancient Greek, ancient epic poems and legends, such as the Labours of Hercules, the ''Argonautica ...

Amazons
. When Onesicritus read this passage to his patron, Alexander's general and later King
Lysimachus Lysimachus (; Greek language, Greek: Λυσίμαχος, ''Lysimachos''; c. 360 BC – 281 BC) was a Thessaly, Thessalian officer and Diadochi, successor of Alexander the Great, who in 306 BC, became King of Thrace, Anatolia, Asia Minor and Mace ...

Lysimachus
reportedly quipped, "I wonder where I was at the time." In the first centuries after Alexander's death, probably in Alexandria, a quantity of the legendary material coalesced into a text known as the ''
Alexander Romance The ''Alexander Romance'' is an account of the life and exploits of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a kin ...
'', later falsely ascribed to Callisthenes and therefore known as ''Pseudo-Callisthenes''. This text underwent numerous expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity and the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, containing many dubious stories, and was translated into numerous languages.


In ancient and modern culture

Alexander the Great's accomplishments and legacy have been depicted in many cultures. Alexander has figured in both high and popular culture beginning in his own era to the present day. The ''Alexander Romance'', in particular, has had a significant impact on portrayals of Alexander in later cultures, from Persian to medieval European to modern Greek. Alexander features prominently in modern Greek folklore, more so than any other ancient figure. The colloquial form of his name in modern Greek ("O Megalexandros") is a household name, and he is the only ancient hero to appear in the shadow play. One well-known fable among Greek seamen involves a solitary
mermaid In folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that ...

mermaid
who would grasp a ship's prow during a storm and ask the captain "Is King Alexander alive?" The correct answer is "He is alive and well and rules the world!" causing the mermaid to vanish and the sea to calm. Any other answer would cause the mermaid to turn into a raging
Gorgon A Gorgon ( /ˈɡɔːrɡən/; plural: Gorgons, Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divi ...

Gorgon
who would drag the ship to the bottom of the sea, all hands aboard. In pre-Islamic
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after the Sasan ...
(
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is an Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster Zoroaster (, ; el, Ζωροάστρης, ''Zōr ...
) literature, Alexander is referred to by the epithet ''gujastak'', meaning "accursed", and is accused of destroying temples and burning the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism. In
Sunni Islam Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, ...
ic Persia, under the influence of the ''
Alexander Romance The ''Alexander Romance'' is an account of the life and exploits of Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a kin ...
'' (in fa, اسکندرنامه ''
Iskandarnamah The story of Dhul-Qarnayn (in Arabic language, Arabic ذو القرنين, literally "The Two-Horned One"; also transliterated as Zul-Qarnain or Zulqarnain), mentioned in the Quran, has been hypothesized to be a reference to Alexander III of Mace ...
''), a more positive portrayal of Alexander emerges. Firdausi's ''
Shahnameh The ''Shahnameh'' or ''Shahnama'' ( fa, شاهنامه, Šāhnāme ; ) is a long epic poem written by the Persian literature, Persian poet Ferdowsi for Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni between c. 977 and 1010 CE and is the national epic of Greater Iran ...
'' ("The Book of Kings") includes Alexander in a line of legitimate Persian
shah Shah (; fa, شاه, Šâh or Šāh, , ) was a title given to the emperors and kings of Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is ...

shah
s, a mythical figure who explored the far reaches of the world in search of the
Fountain of Youth The Fountain of Youth is a mythical spring that restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. Tales of such a fountain have been recounted around the world for thousands of years, appearing in the writings of Herodotus He ...

Fountain of Youth
. In the ''Shahnameh'', Alexander's first journey is to
Mecca Mecca, officially Makkah al-Mukarramah ( ) and commonly shortened to Makkah ( ),Quran 48:22 ' () is a city and administrative center of the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia, and the Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city in Islam. It is inland ...

Mecca
to pray at the
Kaaba The Kaaba (, ), also spelled Ka'bah or Kabah, sometimes referred to as al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah ( ar, ٱلْكَعْبَة ٱلْمُشَرَّفَة, lit=Honored Ka'bah, links=no, translit=al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah), is a building at the cent ...

Kaaba
. Alexander was depicted as performing a
Hajj The Hajj (; ar, حَجّ ' "wikt:pilgrimage, ''pilgrimage''"; sometimes also spelled Hadj, Hadji or Haj in English) is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city for Muslims. Hajj is a Far ...
(pilgrimage to Mecca) many times in subsequent Islamic art and literature. Later Persian writers associate him with philosophy, portraying him at a symposium with figures such as
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
,
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
and Aristotle, in search of immortality. The figure of Dhul-Qarnayn (literally "the Two-Horned One") mentioned in the
Quran The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious t ...

Quran
is believed by scholars to be based on later legends of Alexander. In this tradition, he was a heroic figure who built a wall to defend against the nations of
Gog and Magog Gog and Magog (; he, גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג, ''Gōg ū-Māgōg'') appear in the Hebrew Bible as individuals, tribes, or lands. In Ezekiel 38, Gog is an individual and Magog is his land; in Genesis 10, Magog is a man and eponymous ancestor ...

Gog and Magog
. He then travelled the known world in search of the Water of Life and Immortality, eventually becoming a prophet. The
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...

Syriac
version of the ''Alexander Romance'' portrays him as an ideal Christian world conqueror who prayed to "the one true God". In Egypt, Alexander was portrayed as the son of
Nectanebo II Nectanebo II (Manetho Manetho (; grc-koi, Μανέθων ''Manéthōn'', ''gen''.: Μανέθωνος) is believed to have been an Ancient Egyptian religion, Egyptian priest from Sebennytos ( cop, Ϫⲉⲙⲛⲟⲩϯ, translit=Čemnouti) who li ...

Nectanebo II
, the last
pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the conte ...

pharaoh
before the Persian conquest. His defeat of Darius was depicted as Egypt's salvation, "proving" Egypt was still ruled by an Egyptian. According to
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
, Alexander was shown the
Book of Daniel The Book of Daniel is a 2nd-century BCE biblical apocalypse with an ostensible 6th century BCE setting, combining a prophecy of history with an eschatology (a portrayal of end times) both cosmic in scope and political in focus. It gives "an acc ...
when he entered Jerusalem, which described a mighty Greek king who would conquer the Persian Empire. This is cited as a reason for sparing Jerusalem. In
Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, North India. Hindi has been described as a Standard la ...

Hindi
and
Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonpr ...

Urdu
, the name "Sikandar", derived from the Persian name for Alexander, denotes a rising young talent, and the Delhi Sultanate ruler Aladdin Khajli stylized himself as "Sikandar-i-Sani" (the Second Alexander the Great). In
medieval India Medieval India refers to a long period of the history of the Indian subcontinent between the "ancient period" and "modern period". It is usually regarded as running between the breakup of the Gupta Empire The Gupta Empire was an Outline ...
, Turkic and Afghan sovereigns from the Iranian-cultured region of Central Asia brought positive cultural connotations of Alexander to the Indian subcontinent, resulting in the efflorescence of ''Sikandernameh'' ( Alexander Romances) written by Indo-Persian poets such as
Amir Khusrow Abu'l Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrau (1253–1325 AD) (Urdu:ابوالحسن یامین الدّین خُسرو), better known as Amīr Khusrau Dehlavī (Urdu: امیر خُسرو دہلوی), was an Indian Sufi singer, musician, poet and scholar ...
and the prominence of Alexander the Great as a popular subject in Mughal-era Persian miniatures. In
medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, Alexander the Great was revered as a member of the
Nine Worthies The Nine Worthies are nine historical, scriptural, and legendary personages who personify the ideals of chivalry Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal and varying code of conduct developed between 1170 and 1220. It was associated wi ...
, a group of heroes whose lives were believed to encapsulate all the ideal qualities of
chivalry Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal and varying code of conduct A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the norms Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised ...
. During the first Italian campaign of the French Revolutionary Wars, in a question from Bourrienne, asking whether he gave his preference to Alexander or Caesar, Napoleon said that he places Alexander The Great in the first rank, the main reason being his campaign on Asia. In
Greek Anthology The ''Greek Anthology'' ( la, Anthologia Graeca) is a collection of poem Poetry (derived from the Greek '' poiesis'', "making") is a form of literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also use ...
there are poems referring to Alexander. Throughout time, art objects related to Alexander were being created. In addition to speech works, sculptures and paintings, in modern times Alexander is still the subject of musical and cinematic works. The song 'Alexander the Great' by the British heavy metal band
Iron Maiden Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal Heavy metal may refer to: *Heavy metals, a loose category of relatively dense metals and metalloids **Toxic heavy metal, any heavy metal chemical element of environmental concern *Heavy metal music, a ...

Iron Maiden
is indicative. Some films that have been shot with the theme of Alexander are: * "''Sikandar''" (1941),
Sikandar (1941 film) ''Sikandar'' or ''Sikander'' is a 1941 Events Below, the events of World War II have the "WWII" prefix. January * January–August – In the first phase of mass killings under the Action T4 program, 10,072 men, women and children ...
, an Indian production directed by
Sohrab Modi Sohrab Merwanji Modi (2 November 1897 – 28 January 1984) was an India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanag ...

Sohrab Modi
about the conquest of India by Alexander. * "'' Alexander the Great (1956)''", produced by MGM and starring
Richard Burton Richard Burton, (; born Richard Walter Jenkins Jr.; 10 November 19255 August 1984) was a Welsh People, Welsh actor. Noted for his baritone voice, Burton established himself as a formidable Shakespearean actor in the 1950s, and he gave a Richa ...

Richard Burton
. * "''Sikandar-e-Azam''" (1965), an Indian production directed by Kedar Kapoor * "''
Alexander Alexander is a male given name. The most prominent bearer of the name is Alexander the Great, the king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedonia who created one of the largest empires in ancient history. Etymology T ...
''" (2004), directed by
Oliver Stone William Oliver Stone (born September 15, 1946) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. Stone won an Academy Awards, Academy Award for Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay as writer of ''Midnight E ...

Oliver Stone
, starring
Colin Farrell Colin James Farrell (; born 31 May 1976) is an Irish actor. He first appeared in the BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London Lon ...

Colin Farrell
. There are also many references to other movies and TV series. Newer novels about Alexander are: The trilogy "Alexander the Great" by consisting of "The son of the dream", "The sand of Amon", and "The ends of the world". The trilogy of
Mary Renault Mary Renault (; 4 September 1905 – 13 December 1983), born Eileen Mary Challans, was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in ancient Greece. In addition to fictional portrayals of Theseus, Socrates, Plato, and Alexander th ...
consisting of "
Fire from Heaven ''Fire from Heaven'' is a 1969 historical novel by Mary Renault about the childhood and youth of Alexander the Great. It reportedly was a major inspiration for the Oliver Stone film ''Alexander (2004 film), Alexander''. The book was nominated for t ...
", "
The Persian Boy ''The Persian Boy'' is a 1972 historical novel written by Mary Renault and narrated by Bagoas, a young Persian people, Persian from an Aristocracy, aristocratic family who is captured by his father's enemies, castration, castrated, and sold as ...
" and "Funeral Games,
Funeral Games (novel) ''Funeral Games'' is a 1981 historical novel by Mary Renault, dealing with the death of Alexander the Great and its aftermath, the gradual disintegration of his empire. It is the final book of her Alexander trilogy. Synopsis The chapters of the b ...
". * '' The Virtues of War'', about Alexander the Great (2004), and "* '' The Afghan Campaign'', about Alexander the Great's conquests in Afghanistan (2006), " by
Steven Pressfield Steven Pressfield (born September 1943) is an American author of historical fiction Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Although the term is commonly used as a synonym for the ...
. Irish playwright
Aubrey Thomas de Vere Aubrey Thomas de Vere (10 January 181420 January 1902) was an Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland ...
wrote ''
Alexander the Great, a Dramatic Poem ''Alexander the Great, a Dramatic Poem'' is a work by Irish poet and playwright Aubrey Thomas de Vere. It was published in 1874 by Henry S. King and Co. It tells about Macedonian king Alexander the Great and his war against the Persians. The drama ...
''.


Historiography

Apart from a few inscriptions and fragments, texts written by people who actually knew Alexander or who gathered information from men who served with Alexander were all lost. Contemporaries who wrote accounts of his life included Alexander's campaign historian Callisthenes; Alexander's generals Ptolemy and
Nearchus Nearchus or Nearchos ( el, Νέαρχος; – 300 BC) was one of the officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. He is known for his celebrated expeditionary voyage starting from the Indus river, Indus River, through the Persian Gulf ...
; Aristobulus, a junior officer on the campaigns; and Onesicritus, Alexander's chief helmsman. Their works are lost, but later works based on these have survived. The earliest of these is
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...
(1st century BC), followed by Quintus Curtius Rufus (mid-to-late 1st century AD), Arrian (1st to 2nd century AD), the biographer Plutarch (1st to 2nd century AD), and finally
Justin Justin may refer to: People * Justin (name), including a list of persons with the given name Justin * Justin (historian), a Latin historian who lived under the Roman Empire * Justin I (c. 450–527), or ''Flavius Iustinius Augustus'', Eastern Roma ...
, whose work dated as late as the 4th century. Of these, Arrian is generally considered the most reliable, given that he used Ptolemy and Aristobulus as his sources, closely followed by Diodorus.


See also

*
Ancient Macedonian army The army of the Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Kingdom of Macedon was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. It was created and made formidable by King Philip II of Macedon; previously the army of Macedon had been of little account ...
*
Bucephalus Bucephalus or Bucephalas (; grc, Βουκεφάλας, from ''bous'', "ox" and ''kephalē'', "head" meaning "ox-head") ( – June 326 BC) was the horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a ...
*
Chronology of European exploration of Asia This is a chronology of the early European exploration of Asia. First wave of exploration (mainly by land) Antiquity * 515 BC: Scylax explores the Indus and the sea route across the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of t ...
* Diogenes and Alexander * Hypotheses about the identity of Dhu al-Qarnayn *
Ptolemaic cult of Alexander the Great The Ptolemaic cult of Alexander the Great was an imperial cult An imperial cult is a form of state religion A state religion (also called an established religion or official religion) is a religion Religion is a social Social organisms ...
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List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources These are biblical figures unambiguously identified in contemporary sources according to scholarly consensus. Biblical figures that are identified in artifacts of questionable authenticity, for example the Jehoash Inscription and the bullae of B ...
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List of people known as The Great This is a list of people known as the Great, or the equivalent, in their own language. Other languages have their own suffixes, such as Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English ...


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Primary sources

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Secondary sources

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Further reading

* * * * Boardman, John (2018). ''Alexander the Great: From His Death to the Present Day'' – illustrated history of his representations in art and literature * * * * * * * * * * * * * , also (1974) New York: E. P. Dutton and (1986) London:
Penguin Books Penguin Books was originally a British publishing house Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the distr ...
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External links

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In Our Time: Alexander the Great
BBC discussion with Paul Cartledge, Diana Spencer and Rachel Mairs hosted by Melvyn Bragg, first broadcast 1 October 2015. {{good article 323 BC deaths 356 BC births 4th-century BC Babylonian kings 4th-century BC Macedonian monarchs 4th-century BC Macedonians 4th-century BC Pharaohs 4th-century BC rulers Ancient Greek generals Ancient Macedonian generals Ancient Pellaeans Argead kings of Macedonia City founders Deified people Hellenistic-era people Monarchs of Persia People in the deuterocanonical books Pharaohs of the Argead dynasty Shahnameh characters