Alexander was the king of Macedonia (336-323BC), conqueror of the Persian Empire, and one of the world’s greatest military leaders. Alexander, born in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia, was the son of Philip II, king of Macedonia. Aristotle was Alexander’s tutor; he gave Alexander a thorough training in rhetoric and literature and stimulated his interest in science, medicine, and literature and philosophy. In the summer of 336 BC Philip was assassinated, and Alexander ascended to the Macedonian throne. He found himself surrounded by enemies at home and threatened by rebellion abroad. Alexander soon disposed of all conspirators and domestic enemies by ordering their execution. He marched on Thessaly, there artisans of independence had gained control, and restored Macedonian rule. By the end of the summer of 336 BC he had re-established his position in Greece and was elected commander of the Greek forces for a war against Persia by a congress of sates at Corinth. In 335 BC he led a brilliant campaign against the Thracian rebel’s b the River Danube. On his return to Macedonia he crushed in a single week the disaffected Illyrians and Dardanians near Lake Little Prespa, and then hastened Tebes, which was in revolt. He took the city by storm and razed its buildings, sparing only the temples of the gods and the house of the Greek lyric poet Pindar, and enslaving the captured inhabitants, estimated at 30,000. Alexander’s promptness in crushing the revolt of Thebes brought the other Greek states into instant and objects submission.
Alexander began his war against Persia in the spring of 334 BC by crossing the Hellespont (modern Dardanelles) with an army of 35,000 troops from Macedonia and the Greek city-states; his chief officers, all Macedonians, included Antigonus (later Antigonus I), Ptolemy (later Ptolemy I), and Seleucus (later Seleucus I). At the river Granicus, near the ancient city of troy (in modern Turkey), he attacked an army of 40,000 Persians and Greek hoplites (mercenaries). His forces defeated the enemy and, lost only 110 men; after this battle all Asia submitted to hi. On his way through Phrygia he is said to have cut with his sword the Gordian knot. Continuing to advance southwards, Alexander encountered the main Persian army under King Darius III, at Issue, in north-eastern Syria.
According to tradition Darius’s army was estimated at 5, 00,000 but this is now considered a fantastic exaggeration. The Battle of Issus, in 333 BC, ended in a great victory for Alexander. Cut off from his base, Darius field northwards, abandoning his mother, wife, and children to Alexander, who treated them with the respect due to royalty. Tire, a strongly fortified seaport, offered obstinate resistance, but Alexander took it by storm in 332 BC after a siege of seven months. Alexander captured Gaza next and then passed on into Egypt, where he was greeted as a deliverer. As a result of these successes e secured control of the entire east Mediterranean coastline. Later in 332 BC he founded, at the mouth of the River Nile, the city of Alexandria, which developed into the literary, scientific, and commercial centre of the Greek world. Cyrene, the capital of the ancient North African kingdom of Cyrenaica, submitted to Alexander in 331 BC, extending his dominion to the empire of Carthage.
In order to complete his conquest of the remnants of the Persian Empire, which had once included part of western India, Alexander crossed the Indus River in 326BC, and invaded the Punjab as far as the river Hyphasis (modern Beas); at this pointy the Macedonians rebelled and refused to go farther. He then constructed a fleet and sailed down the Hydaspes, where he defeated the Indian ruler Porus (326 BC), to the Indus, reaching its delta in September 325 BC. The fleet then proceeded to the Persian Gulf. With his army, Alexander marched overland across the desert to Susa which he reached in 324 BC. Shortages of food and water on the march had caused severe losses and hardship among his troops. Alexander spent about a year organizing his dominions and completing a survey of the Persian Gulf in preparation for further conquests. He arrived in Babylon in the spring of 323 BC, but in June contracted a fever and died. He left his empire, in his own words, “to the strongest”; this ambiguous testament resulted in dire conflicts for half a century.
Alexander was one of the greatest conquerors in history, noted for his brilliance as a tactician and leader of men and for the speed with which he could traverse great expanses of territory. He was usually brave and generous, but could be cruel and ruthless when politics demanded. It has been suggested that he was actually an alcoholic for example; he3 killed his friend Clitus in a drunken rage. He later regretted this act deeply. As a statesman and ruler he had grandiose plans; according to many historians he had scheme for uniting the East and the West in a world empire, a new and enlightened “world brotherhood of all men”. He arranged for 30.000 young Persians to be trained in Greek speech, Macedonian tactics, and enrolled them in his army.