Alexander The Great

Alexander the Great was born in Pella on July 20/21, 356 BC. His mother was a Greek, but his father, a Macedonian, Philip II was a king of Macedon, a region bounded by Greece to the south. Nowadays, the Macedon territory is divided between Greece and Macedonia, a former Yugoslavian republic. At that time, Greeks and Macedonians were two different ethnical groups with different traditions and lifestyles, but they influenced each other and, as Arian states, it was ethnic rivalry. Greeks and Macedonians had different weapons and military tactics, but many rich Macedonians studied in Greece. Hence, Alexanders teacher was Aristotle, a famous intellectual. He educated Alexander until 16 years. In 336, Alexander became a Macedonian king after Philip II was killed. Alexander managed to unite both Greece and Macedon and conquer the Achaemenid Empire, Asia Minor, the Persian Empire, and seized some Indian principalities. Hence, Alexander the Great became the ruler of the largest empire in the world that spread from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River. Alexander the Great died in Babylon, which he wanted to make a capital of his Empire on June 10/11, 323 BC. His military art is studied in various military institutions at the present.

 

Because of Aristotle, Alexander became not only one of the most military leaders in the world, but a prominent philosopher and political leader who guaranteed a peaceful life in his Empire. Of course, he had a great authority among his subordinates, who had to respect his power, but once Alexander died, several severe civil wars broke out in the Empire that caused its collapse. In the result, some independent states were formed under the rules of his former generals and their heirs. To strengthen his power, Alexander made a cult from his name. Thus, he established about twenty cities named them Alexandria. At the same time, being a well-educated ruler, Alexander spread a Greek culture in Greek colonies. Of course, it was a great influence of Aristotle, who fostered Alexander as a Greek leader cherished Hellenistic virtues. Therefore, Alexander built new Hellenistic world with the help of the so-called cultural diffusion, when the Hellenistic virtues were transplanting into native cultures of the conquered peoples.

From the point of view a military historian, Alexander the Great was one of the most famous military leaders in the world, who conquered the most powerful empires. Of course, it was his consent political choice to conquer barbarian empires to ensure independence of the Greek and Macedonian union. Alexander could become a leader because of his strong character, which shown when he was a ten-years-old boy. Alexander managed to tame a strong and furious horse, Bucephalus. Plutarch states that Philip was very glad of his son, kissing him and saying, My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedon is too small for you. When Philip was at wars, he left 16-years-old Alexander as his regent to rule Macedonia. Once in his absence, the Thracian Maedi attacked Macedonia, but Alexander drove them out. As Fox states, Alexander colonized their territory with Greeks founding the first city called after him Alexandropolis. Once, Alexander saved a life to his father Philip during the siege of the Greek town of Perinthus. After a while, Philip ordered Alexander to attack Greece. Alexander understood that several Greek states could unite to fight against Macedonians, thus he pretended to make an attack against Illyrians and made a success raid against Greeks, but the Illyrians invaded Macedonia to be defeated by Alexander.

After the successful Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, when Alexander shown his military talent in defeating Thebes and Athenians, Philip with Alexander went through the whole Peloponnese and formed a Hellenic Alliance, which included all Greek states except for Sparta to fight against Persia. Moreover, Philip became a Commander-in-Chief of the Alliance, Hegemon, as the Greeks called him. Thus, Philip was the first military teacher of Alexander. Nevertheless, Philip and Alexander relations were destroyed by Philips intention to marry Cleopatra Eurydice to have a real Macedonian heir n the Macedonian throne. Alexander understood the whole danger of his and his mother position in Macedon. Therefore, he broke his relations with his father and escaped to Illyria with his mother. At the same time, Philip did not want to disown Alexander. In six months, Alexander came back to Macedonia with the help of a family friend, Demaratus. Alexander hated Philip and made his best to hurt him. So, Alexander made a scandal from Philips intention to marry his step-brother Philip Arrhidaeus with a daughter of the Persian governor, pretending to claim her hand. After that, his relations with Philip became worst. Philip drove out all Alexanders friends from the court. Finally, Philip was killed in 336 BC by one of the bodyguards, Pausanias. Thus, the 20-years-old youth, Alexander became a king of Macedonia, beginning to kill all his rivals for the Macedonian throne. At the same time, he oppressed all rebels against him in Macedonia and adjusted states with the help of the cavalry gaining the time and encircling hostile troops.

Alexander had to go through the whole Greece to become a Hegemon like his father was. When Alexander encountered Diogenes, the famous Greek philosopher asked the king not to shed the sunlight replying on his suggestion for helping. Then, Alexander said, But verily, if I were not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes.

Before the war against Persia, Alexander made the Balkan campaign in 335 BC to suppress all his enemies there. After that, he suppressed all Greek rebels leaving Antipater as his governor there. In 334 BC, Alexander crossed the sea and descending on the Asian shore with the huge army numbered about 50 thousand soldiers, but Arrian claims Alexander had about 35 thousand soldiers. He defeated troops in Asia Minor, but honored dead soldiers gaining respect of the people. After that, Alexander conquered Levant and Syria, seized Tyre, killed all men and sold women into slavery. In 332 BC, Alexander went to Egypt, where the people welcomed him as a liberator. There, he found a city of Alexandria. After that, Alexander conquered Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia. In winter 327 BC Alexander began battle for India. He managed to conquer some Indian territories, which nowadays formed Pakistan. He was wounded n the battle near the Indus River. After the battle against Porus in Punjab, Alexander was surprised by courage of native citizens and made Porus an ally giving him some territories and assigned Porus as the local satrap. After that, Macedonians wanted to return home and Alexander forced to return to Macedon. Alexander died in the age of 32 in Babylon on June 10, 323 BC under mysterious circumstances after drinking wine. All authors, who wrote about Alexanders life, came to the conclusion that he was poisoned. 

Alexander the Great was the first ancient Emperor who formed the huge state under new laws protecting all citizens irrespective to their ethnicity. As a matter of fact, Alexander conquered the peoples to foster them in the best cultural traditions of Hellenism, saving their national traditions, customs, religions, and languages. The basis of this approach was formed by famous Greek philosophers, whose works were cherished by Alexander. He managed to understand the new philosophy for coexisting different peoples within one empire under legislation guarantying them free trade, cultural and economic development, and protecting their lives from foreign invasions. Unfortunately, his compatriots did not understand his idea and could not save the first globalized state. Of course, it was a rather primitive democracy in the slave holding empire, but cultural and economic development could have approached it to a more democratic formation.

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