Alexander III “the Great”

Alexander III “the Great”

336 – 323 BC
PredecessorPhilip II
SuccessorAlexander IV
Philip III
Born20 or 21 July 356 BC, Pella, Macedon
Died10 or 11 June 323 BC (aged 32), Babylon, Mesopotamia
SpouseRoxana
Stateira
Parysatis
Children

Alexander IV
Heracles (alleged illegitimate son)

FatherPhilip II of Macedon
MotherOlympias of Epirus

His Story

Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon, Greek Alexandros III of Makedon, ideally meant as “Defender of Men”) was born in Pella at the end of July 356 BC. Being the king of Macedon, he divided the States of the City in Greece. Meanwhile, he also conquered Egypt, Persia, and other kingdoms residing with the borders of India. 

He was born Alexander III, and was known as the son of King Philip II from Macedon, as well as Epirote princess Olympias from Pella. Several legends quote that Olympias wasn’t impregnated by Philip but rather by Zeus. After all, he was afraid of her because she slept with snakes. However, for political reasons, Alexander used to call Philip as his father rather than Zeus.

He succeeded his father on the throne in 336 BC. However, the assassination of Philip was executed by a disgruntled young man who Philip loved. But is thought to have been planned and planted by the involvement of either Olympias or Alexander, or maybe both. Together with his military and diplomacy, Philip had established Macedonian hegemony in Greece. Meanwhile, Alexander on his famous conquest in 334 BC finally set-off. The most popular occasion was the defeat of Persia, including its subjugation, and the area controlled was which now includes: Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. The eastern Mediterranean coast was conquered by him within two years. He entered Persia and defeated Persian king Darius III near the town of Issus.

He conquered Egypt in 332-331 BC, and occupied Babylon after again defeating Darius in the battle of Gaugamela. He then proceeded towards Scythia and Media, and captured Herat, Samarkand, and then went on to India. Some unique elements of Persian dresses and customs were adopted by him at his court, which also includes custom of proskynesis. This is basically a kissing symbol of the hand, which is paid to superior socials among Persians, and this practice was disdained by the Greeks. This way, he lost the support of many of his Greek countrymen. His attempts to combine the culture of Persia with the Greek soldiers also included the marriage of his officers with Persian wishes. Similarly, the training of Persian boys regiment according to the standards of Macedonians.

Several princesses of former Persian territories were married to Alexander. This included: Statira, daughter of Darius III; Parysatis, daughter of Ochus; Roxana of Bactria. According to some, his best friend, Hephaestion, was his love of life. But it is only contested by some random scholars. A baby boy was given birth by Roxana, his son, Alexander IV “Aegus”.

Many soldiers in his army died when the army was pushed further east, through hostile landscapes or deserts. Since, he fought in India, so he returned back to the west through the Makran in order to consolidate his empire. However, India was invaded by him in 326 BC, where he fought in the Battle of Hydaspes against King Purushotthama.

One story states, Anaxarchus, a philosopher, checked Alexander’s vainglory after he aspired to divinity honors. This was done by pointing his wounded finger, and particularly saying “See mortal’s blood, not god’s”. The other version states that Alexander himself pointed out the difference as a response to the sycophantic soldier.

Alexander possessed a legendary horse, Bucephalus, who was ox-headed. It was supposed to be descended from the Mares of Diomedes.

Before he had returned on June 10, 323 BC, he suddenly died from a fever. This was in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. So in this way, Alexander the Great died and he was only 33 years old.

A huge empire of Persian-Greek culture was left by him for his successors, Diadochi or Diadochoi, who later pushed for taking supremacy over the portions of the empire. After the settled dust, all his officers had virtually disposed of their wives from Persia. However, two of his officers, his wife Roxana, his mother, his illegitimate son Heracles (327-309 BC), his son Alexander IV of Macedon (323-309 BC), his half-sister Euridice, his sister Cleopatra, and also his brother Philip Arrhidaeus; all of them died. Only Antipater among them, died due to natural reasons.

The empire belonging to him was divided in further four major parts: Lysimachus ruled in Asia Minor and Thrace, Cassander in Greece, Ptolemy I (or Ptolemy Soter) in Egypt and Levant, Seleucus I Nicator in Mesopotamia and Syria.

Cassander’s portion was soon obtained by Lysimachus, and therefore the empire was divided into three parts which were handled and managed by descendants of Ptolemy Soter in Egypt, Seleucus in the Mideast, and Antigonus Monopthalmos in Greece. Until 281 BC, two dynasties only survived the old empire of Alexander, wh ich included: Ptolemaic dynasty in the south and Seleucid dynasty in the north.

A number of eponymous towns that remained, includes Alexandropolises, Alexandrias, and Alexvilles where the landscape was dotted by the odd cosmopolitan mish-mash that he had conquered. The entire dream he had to merge Greeks and Persians got shattered after his death, when the Greeks and Macedonians overtook the Persians and provided them with less powerful positions. There were only Greek Diadochoi and none from Persia. 

A folk-hero, that’s how Alexander is remembered in Western Asia and Europe. However, he is also known as the demolisher of their first empire, as well as Persepolis’s leveler. An agenda is always based on written ancient sources, which either slanders the man or glorifies him. This makes it difficult to determine the actual profile of the character. Many refer to the megalomania and growing instability in the following years of Gaugamela. However, according to the suggestions, the reflections are offered for Greek stereotypes of medizing king. His friend, Cleitus, was murdered while he was drunk, and this deeply regrets Alexander. After all, it’s all pointed to as the execution of Philotas, and his father Parmenion, for failing to pass information of the plot against him. However, the last maybe not be paranoia, is rather prudence. The modern opinion is divided as to whether he was an ancient Hitler or a legendary empire-builder.

On the other hand, the death of Alexander the Great and the birth of his successors are treated by modern historians as events that may have divided the Hellenic civilization from Hellenistic civilization. The conquest and administration needs of Alexander’s Greek-speaking successors, ideally promoted the Greek culture while also promoting the Greek language. This was don e in Mesopotamia and across the eastern Mediterranean.

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