Alexander The Great
Alexander the Great and His Achievements Alexander the Great was the king of Macedon. Alexander of Macedon, or ancient Macedonia, deserves to be called the Great. Alexander the Great was considered one of the greatest military geniuses of all time. He was an excellent king, general, and conqueror. During his thirteen-year rule, he conquered almost all of the then-known world and gave a new direction to history. He established an empire after he died. His new empire helped many people live their lives.
He improved the way of life in his empire in many ways. Conquering other lands spread the Greek traditions and language. Alexander the Great was born in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedon (Martin 192). He was the son of Philip II and Olympias. Philip II was the king of Macedonia and Olympias was the princess of Epirus (Stewart 18). Alexander had many interests in military strategies (Stewart 20). Once when Alexander was about seven years old, a group of Persian diplomats came to Macedon to see Philip.
Philip was with his army fighting neighboring tribes so the diplomats stayed and talked with Alexander. They didn’t expect Alexander to ask questions about the size of the Persian army and the length of the journey to Susa (an important city in Persia). This shows one of Alexander’s early interests (Stewart 21). Philip decided to buy Alexander a racehorse when Alexander was ten or eleven years old. The horse was named Bucephalus.
Bucephalas’ behavior did not please Philip. Philip ordered the horse’s owner to take the horse away but Alexander declared that he could tame the horse (Stewart 21). Everyone applauded when they saw Alexander ride the horse. The rest of the company broke into applause, writes Plutarch, while his father, we are told, wept for joy, and when Alexander had dismounted he kissed him and said, ‘My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedon is too small for you (Stewart 22).
Alexander needed more than horsemanship and self-confidence to be a good king. He needed discipline. Philip worried that Olympias spoiled the boy too much. For Alexander to learn those things, Philip hires a stern and tough tutor to teach Alexander. His name is Leonidas. He monitored Alexander’s meals and exercises. Leonidas didn’t trust Olympias. He suspected she tried to smuggle extra food in Alexander’s marching gear.
The man [Leonidas] himself used to come and look through my bedding boxes and clothes chests, Alexander wrote, to see my mother did not hide any luxuries (Stewart 22). Philip knew that Alexander needed more training. Philip sent for a teacher who was probably the wisest man in all of Greece. His name was Aristotle. Aristotle was born in the small township of Stagira in northern Greece (Barnes 3). Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist. He is considered the most famous ancient thinker (Barnes 3).
When Aristotle was seventeen years old he moved to Athens, where he became a member of Plato’s school. He stayed at Plato’s academy for twenty years. Aristotle left the Academy when Plato died. Aristotle founded his own informal philosophical school in Athens. Aristotle lectured on nearly every branch of learning: biology, medicine, anatomy, psychology, meteorology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, music, metaphysics, rhetoric, political science, ethics, and literary criticism. Aristotle defined and classified various branches of knowledge.
He sorted them into physics, psychology, rhetoric, poetry, and logic. He laid the foundation of most of the sciences of today. He collected the first great library and established a museum (Martin 182). In 342 B.C. Philip invited Aristotle to teach his thirteen-year-old son Alexander. Aristotle’s main love was philosophy. Alexander and Aristotle’s discussion about philosophy laid the foundation for Alexander’s ideas of what it meant to be a soldier and a king. Alexander learned from Aristotle the principles of zoology and botany. Alexander enjoyed literature most out of all the lessons Aristotle taught. Aristotle introduced the boy to the best poets and writers (Stewart 22-23).
Alexander loved the work of Homer. The Illiad was Alexander’s favorite. The tales of adventure, love, bravery and loyalty excited Alexander. Aristotle gave Alexander a copy of the poem. Alexander carried the book everywhere and put it under his pillow while he slept (Hammond 18). Alexander sometimes declared that he loved Aristotle as much as his father. The one had given me life, said Alexander, but the Philosopher [Aristotle] had shown me how to live well (Stewart 22). After three years of teaching Philip needed Alexander. Philip knew that if his son were to follow him as a general and ruler, he would have to train for battle. When Alexander was seventeen years old he experienced his first battle.
Philip and Alexander fought together against some people in Athens and Thebes. Thousands of Athenians and Thebans were slaughtered. Philip’s confidence in his son paid off, for Alexander not only survived the battle but also impressed soldiers who were more experienced. Plutarch writes that because of these achievements . . . [he] became extravagantly fond of his son, so much so that he took pleasure in hearing the Macedonians speak of Alexander as their king and Philip as their general (Stewart 29). When Philip died, Alexander declared himself King of Macedon.
Alexander became king when he was twenty years old. Alexander wanted to fulfill his father’s wishes which were to conquer Persia (Martin 192). Alexander had controlled all of Greece and was prepared to conquer Persia. The Persian king Darius III and Alexander met at Issus. When Darius saw Alexander’s huge army, Darius and his army ran. With the victory at Issus Alexander controlled Asia Minor (Stewart 63-64). In 332 B.C. Alexander marched into Egypt. The Egyptians did not like Persian rule, so they welcomed Alexander and his army. They treated Alexander as their pharaoh (Stewart 75).
He found Alexandria, a city, at the mouth of the Nile. Alexandria became the literary, scientific, and commercial center of the Greek world (Hammond 278). After leaving Egypt, Alexander went to face Darius and his army. Their army clashed at Gaugamela. Again, Darius fled. With the victory in Gaugamela, Persian rule was over. Alexander was proclaimed the king of Persia (Martin 193). Alexander’s army then advanced to India. Alexander led his army toward Porus’ kingdom. When he met Porus’ army, Alexander was surprised at the size of his army (Stewart 99).
When Alexander attacked the Indians, he told the cavalries to stay behind the infantries. Porus elephants were attacking the infantries while archers attack the elephants. When the elephants were forced back Alexander’s army attacked (Stewart 101). In 323 B.C. Alexander was ill and died. At the age of 33, the king of Macedon, Greece, Persia, Africa, and India was dead (Stewart 113). Alexander founded many cities; most of them were named Alexandria. These cities were located in many places, so the Greek culture and language were widely known (Hammond 383). After Alexander’s death, the period was called the Hellenistic Age (Martin 198).
The Hellenistic is a mixed idea of the cosmopolitan form of social and cultural life combining Hellenic (that is, Greek) traditions with the original tradition that emerged in the eastern Mediterranean region as a result of Alexander’s conquests. With the lands that Alexander conquered the Greek culture was widely spread. Three of Alexander’s most powerful commanders took over his empire. Antigonus took over Macedonia and Greece, Seleucus took over Persia, and Ptolemy took over Egypt. The richest, most powerful, and longest lasting of these kingdoms was Ptolemy’s (Stewart 113).
Ptolemy established the world’s first scholarly research institute. Its massive library had the goal of collecting all the books (that is, manuscripts) in the world (Martin 210). Alexandria produced many achievements. Alexandria had museums and libraries. They built many royal palaces. An enormous stone lighthouse called the Pharos was a tomb that contained Alexander’s coffin. The Hellenistic sculpture was very famous. People purchased many statues.
The largest Hellenistic statue is the Colossus of Rhodes (Martin 211). Although Alexander created a new empire, he wasn’t around to see it flourish. Alexander won many respects of many people and other kings. He was a great ruler and general. He had conquered most of the land explored in a short number of years. The Hellenistic Age was an important age after Alexander’s reign. Alexander’s empire improved the ways of life in Greece in many ways. Alexander created one of the best empires ever built. BibliographySelf Made