Alexander the Great, the King of Macedonia, was born in July 356 BC in Pella, Macedonia. He was one of the best military leaders in the history. He won much of what was then the civilized world, driven by his great ambition of the world conquest and the creation of a universal kingdom. He was the son of Philip of Macedon, who was a brilliant organizer and general. His mother was Olympias, princess of Epirus. She was brilliant and hot-tempered. Alexander inherited the best qualities of his father and mother.
As a child he used to get discouraged after listening news that his father have conquered and taken another territory. This was because he was upset and worried that there would be nothing more left for him to do (John, 1996). By the time he was twelve, he was quite mature. This can be partially credited to the fact that he used to hang around his father's army for in his childhood; he was also running through the groups of army ever since he could walk.
Even as a boy Alexander was strong and fearless. He tamed the brave and beautiful Bucephalus, a horse that no one else dared to ride or even touch. Later, this brave horse carried him to India, where it died. Alexander was very upset; he then built the city of Bucephala in memory of his beloved horse.
When Alexander was about 13 years old, he became the student of Aristotle. He was always keen and ready to explore new things. He used to take part in sports and other daily exercise to build a strong body. Aristotle encouraged Alexander to take interest in other countries and races of people, and in plants and animals. He learned the ways of the Greeks which he incorporated into his life. His education was not all from books and teachers. He used to talk with ambassadors from many foreign countries, and with other well-known persons at his father's court. When he was only 18 years old, he commanded part of his father’s cavalry at the battle of Chaeronea. Alexander also acted the role of ambassador to Athens.
Alexander was 20 years old when he became the king of Macedonia (John, 1996). The Greek and many other states had grown restless under rule of Macedonian. While Alexander was away for the planning and preparation of war on some barbarian tribes in the north, some people spread a rumor that he was dead. The people in the city of Thebes revolted and called upon the people in the city Athens to join them. But then brave Alexander appeared before Thebes with his army. His army stormed the entire city. Every building in Thebes was destroyed and captured, except the house of the poet Pindar and temples. About 30,000 people were sold into slavery.
Alexander could never really be the only force in his area as long as the Persian leader Darius was still alive. After beating Persia in 332 BC, Darius had managed to survive and he fled to the mountains. He died there when he was killed by his own noblemen, Bessus. After death of Darius, Alexander was crowned King of Persia in November of 332 BC, and became known as the King of Asia.
Alexander was a very kind man who demonstrated his extreme loyalty toward his friends, but at the same time he was also smart and cautious. He also had an outstanding sense of humor. Though it was almost child-like and simple, it usually helped him win favor with his troops. His great values and character were two of the things that made him the great prominent individual in history.
Alexander was also very interested in drama, poetry, music and wine. He also liked many exercises such as hunting, ball games, horse riding and running. He was said to be an Olympic quality runner. He generally liked to play sports, but he disliked sports competitions.
Alexander had great respect for women; he used to treat them fairly. His teacher, Aristotle's early teachings may have had something to do with his attitude and respect for women. When taking young woman captive after attacking a state, he always used to protect them from his army, and treat them as if they were his daughters and sisters. Often, when talking with older queens, he used to refer them as mother, showing his great respect for them. One of Alexander's best acts was when he took mother and other family members of his enemy Darius after conquering Persia (Compton's Encyclopedia, Internet): Alexander treated them royally and with great respect and as guests of his kingdom.
In his lifetime, Alexander conquered many regions in a very short period of time. His biggest military accomplishment was beating Persia. Living through all battles was another great achievement since Alexander always rode in the front row of his army. In the fight against the Mallians, when an arrow damaged Alexander's lung, his soldiers thought that their great leader was killed. They were so angry that they ran through the entire city killing all opponents in a bloody massacre. Alexander the Great made it through with a broken rib and a damaged lung. This was not the last and only time Alexander was struck by an arrow; while attacking Samarkand, an arrow broke his leg bone making it nearly impossible for Alexander to ride back. The Calvary got the honor of carrying him back home safely.
Alexander the Great also lived through many other serious, as well as minor, illnesses and wounds along his conquests ranging from hypothermia while crossing the Cydnus and birds dropping stones on his head.
Along his many journeys, Alexander founded many colonies and cities. The most popular is the one that bares his name, Alexandria, which is located on the mouth of the Nile River in Egypt. It was established as the center of learning and commerce (Kristi, Mark, 2002).
The most lasting importance, of Alexander, to the world includes: the extension of Greek culture; opening of a vast territory, which had been useless and ineffective as a desert until the conquered nomad people had been educated to follow civilized ways of life; economic and financial reforms; and lastly, the realization of Alexander's dream of universal toleration for all religions of the mankind.
After the surrender of the wild tribes and robbers of the Persia, who had for decades been a persistent danger for simple people, Alexander the Great made new towns and improved communications. The foundation cities were built at the crossing of important roads, in positions particularly chosen to help the transit of merchandise. The towns were made on the Greek pattern, with a market square, offices, school, temple, shops, theater, and often a fountain. The young people were given education in military ways and in Hellenic culture.
According to some records seventy cities were founded, but only sixteen of them are certain. Six remain to this day: in Egypt was Alexandria; in Arachosia was Ghazni (also in modern day Afghanistan); in Aria was Herat (in modern day Afghanistan); on the Oxus River was Termez (on the modern day Amudarja River in Uzbekistan); in Margiane was Merv; and on the Jaxartes was Chodjend. The new cities were built near already existing villages to allow association with the native people and to assist Greek and Macedonian settlers to maintain their own custom of life. The new colonists, chiefly Greek mercenaries, introduced Macedonian and Greek methods of agriculture and farming to the local people. Many men married Oriental women; thus began the combination of the different nations. The free communication relieved some of the economic and cultural difficulties which had threatened many people.
With the arrival of Alexander came new methods and rules of government in military, civil and financial administration. Just as he was quick to modify and change his tactics in battle to handle new situations and problems, so also did he adapt new political and economic ways to suit the different cities of his empire. He was never hesitated to throw aside those who were unsuccessful and failures; failure inspired him to consider a more convenient and practical solutions. The chief positions in government were at first given to Macedonians, later he handled these positions to Persian. Taxation and finance remained in hands of Macedonian. In Asia superintendents of finance collected the taxes and remitted them to the Treasury. In the big towns, such as Persepolis, Susa, Memphis and Babylon a chief commandant was appointed, directly working under the King. In India the chief princes proved to be loyal allies to Alexander. Alexander the Great also introduced universal system of currency.
Immediate benefits to trade were noticed soon after introducing universal currency.
Significant and far-reaching changes were noticed when Alexander the Great adopted Greek as a universal language for his empire. Mistakes and confusing had constantly occurred when business and financial and transactions were conducted through the help of interpreters; a universal currency and language simplified business deals and also exchange of ideas. Education in the Greek language also extended and enhanced the
Significant and far-reaching changes were noticed when Alexander the Great adopted Greek as a universal language for his empire. Mistakes and confusing had constantly occurred when business and financial and transactions were conducted through the help of interpreters; a universal currency and language simplified business deals and also exchange of ideas. Education in the Greek language also extended and enhanced the knowledge of Hellenic culture, so the nations which had followed different lines of thought, customs and traditions became members of a universal civilization and citizens of the same world.
Alexander's dream and vision of the brotherhood of all humans was not meant to happen during the short spell of his life, and without the supervision of his strong personality none of his descendants could undertake this task. When we look back upon his short lifetime we can easily trace a plan of a master designer. The impacts and the example of Alexander the Great lived on, even in the era of wars between his successors. His generals, who later became kings, tried to copy his example, not only in the war, but also by encouraging the expansion of Hellenic culture.
Alexander the Great died on tenth June, 323 BC, a little more than a month from his thirty-third birthday. The actual reason of his death is still unknown, but it seems little doubtful that a thirty-two year old person of his health would die of natural reasons. According to some records Alexander the Great drank a poisoned cup of wine, and he started choking and gasping, and he died soon after. Most likely, he died from the flu, or was struck by malaria during his stay at Babylon. At that time, though during his downfall, soldiers still loved their brave leader. The day before he died, his soldiers marched past his death bed in honor of their great leader.
Compton's Encyclopedia: Alexander the Great
(November 4, 2002)
John, 1996: Alexander the Great
(November 4, 2002)
Kristi Richardson & Mark Fisher, 2002: Alexander the Great
(November 4, 2002)