In 356 B.
C Alexander III (The Great) was born from Philip II and his wife Olympias (“Alexander the Great”) Before that, Philip II paved the way for Alexander to conquer most of the known world around him. “Philip II, already at twenty-six had withstood rival claimants to the throne inside his land and pressures against its borders from without.” (Snyder 17). This quote explains that Alexander’s father, Philip, had many struggles on his way to gain power. These struggles would mold the path for Philip’s hunger for world domination that got passed down to Alexander. As Alexander’s role model, he was sure to pass down his nationalistic idealism for Alexander to follow in his footsteps.
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As Alexander grew up he had acquired many significant teachers. The renowned philosopher, Aristotle, taught Alexander as an adolescent (“Alexander the Great”). Aristotle taught Alexander that all foreigners that threaten the Greeks are barbarians (Cartledge). Aristotle’s influence on Alexander would impact Alexander’s strive to eradicate all of his enemies during battle.
Alexander’s beneficial youth affected the type of leader he would soon become. As a young man, Alexander was placed in many situations to further his military career. At the ripe age of only sixteen, Alexander was established as regent of Macedon while Philip II was away on a military campaign (Cartledge). The young Alexander gazed upon the opportunity to capture a nearby Thracian city to establish a threshold of dominance for Macedon (“Alexander the Great”). This appointment enabled Alexander to gain experience as a leader of Macedonia. Shortly after he was appointed regent of Macedon Alexander joined his father Philip in battle.
As commander of the Companion Cavalry, Alexander was able to break through the feeble enemy line of the Sacred Band at 18 years old (Alexander). This victory would be an important victory for the young leader as he was able to lead the Macedonians to an advantageous victory while commanding the elite fighting force of the Macedonians at such a young age. As Alexander was twenty years old Philip was murdered at a wedding celebration most likely orchestrated by Alexander’s mother, Olympias.
This tragic murder opened the door for Alexander to become king of Macedon and begin his conquest of the world. Directly after Philip’s death, tribes began to terrorize citizens on the frontier of Macedon to challenge Alexander’s strength as a king (Mercer). As Alexander started his campaign of conquest he decided to quarrel with the Persians first.
The Persian Military posted up on the Granicus River due to the steep river banks that would make it difficult for Alexander’s troops to fight on (“Alexander the Great”). To demonstrate true leadership Alexander fought beside his men but it would ultimately be unsafe because he held the chance of dying in battle (“Alexander the Great”). Alexander suffered some injuries but it was for the better due to Alexander winning the battle. Alexander was an amazing strategist so he thought that taking control of the Persian ports to stymie there imports and recruiting (Cartledge).
“The next spring he assembled his army at Gordium, the ancient capital of Phrygia, which had reached its greatest fame under the famous King Midas in the eighth century B.C.E.” (Cartledge) Alexander was never satisfied with because he always strived to become greater and conquer more territory.
Even as Alexander won a glorious battle against the Persians he decided that he wants to siege Gordium directly after.After Alexander has taken control of the city he cut down the famous Gordian knot. Which was said as to who could ever untie it would become ruler of Asia (Cartledge). In 333 B.C. The Persian Army, led by Darius II, had circumvented Alexander forces on the coast of Issus (“Alexander the Great”). Alexander had won the battle of Issus even though they were greatly outnumbered.
Alexander captured Darius’ wife and mother but he ordered that they may not be harmed (Cartledge). Darius retreated from Alexander but the chase did not go on as Alexander had other deeds to be done (“Alexander the Great”). Alexander traveled along the coast of the Mediterranean to try and capture Sidon, Tyre, and Byblos. The Island of Tyre managed to hold off Alexander for seven months (“Alexander the Great”). Alexander had his men build a bridge on the Island to end the siege and take control of the city. These were all great victories won with military prowess, but his next conquest served no need for bloodshed. In Egypt Alexander awaited a warm welcoming and prosperous times as he made his way through their civilization.
“Alexander was welcomed there as Pharaoh, and after a visit to an oracle of Ammon at an oasis in the Libyan desert, he was recognized as a son of the god,” (Cartledge) This quote explains the type of treatment that Alexander received from foreign powers. The Egyptians did not want any violence because the legend of Alexander’s greatness spread through the land and everyone knew what to expect when in battle with Alexander the Great. Due to his new claim to Godliness, his own army resented him a little because they felt that Alexander had abandoned their tradition for the foreign people (Cartledge). The proud Greek soldiers felt as if Alexander was favoring the barbaric foreigners that he had conquered instead of his brotherhood in which he has shared many experiences in battle with. “In Egypt too Alexander left one of his most farsighted and enduring legacies–Alexandria, one of the greatest cities of its time. Today it is still a thriving cosmopolitan harbor city, with old world cafes, parks, and promenades encompassing its few remaining Greek and Roman ruins” (Alexander) Egypt was very prosperous for the Macedonians but Alexander had his sights set on the entire world adm headed east. Darius wanted to call for peace with land and marriage but all Alexander wanted was to take revenge on the Persians for their acts upon the Greeks in earlier times (Cartledge). In 331 B.
C., Darius had decided to battle at Gaugamela, which was wide and flat to the advantage of Darius’ large army (“Alexander the Great”). “The Macedonians won another great victory.
With the Persian king in flight, the great cities of the Persian Empire, with all their huge wealth, Babylon, Susa, Pasargadae, Persepolis, and Ecbatana, were now Alexander’s for the taking.” This quote amplifies Alexander’s military genius in his strategy to defeat the Persian forces at Gaugamela. Darius escaped from the battle and hid to escape execution from Alexander (Cartledge). In the great city of Persepolis, Alexander allowed his soldiers to act as savages unto the citizens of Persia. After they had seized the city Alexander burnt down the royal palace as a symbol of revenge for the Greeks (Cartledge).
Alexander had finally conquered all of Persia after a long and strenuous bout with over the years. Alexander avenged the Greeks for their losses and in sacking the city he burnt down many religious temples and shrines commemorated to Xerxes, who conquered Greece. Alexander was not yet finished as he wanted to seize the whole known world he knew that he still had some battle yet to fight. The elusive Darius was still at large as the Persians knew that if he was still alive they still had a dangerous threat at hand. News traveled quickly as people learned that the great Darius had been murdered by Bessus, a traitor amongst the Persians “To find Bessus, the Macedonians had to cross a treacherous mountain range called the Hindu Kush” (Stewart). This quote demonstrates Alexander’s determination to track down Bessus.
This type of effort and work ethic was exemplified a plethora of times in Alexander’s life in everything that he accomplished. Due to all of the conquering and time away from home, the soldiers grew homesick and wanted to return. Alexander thought that placing veterans in the new Macedonian cities would mend the problem but it only made matters worse (“Alexander the Great”). In Alexander’s last bout he battled the great Indian king by the name of Poros on the Hydaspes River.
Poros had many tactics to try and defeat Alexander but he remained victorious once more (Cartledge). However, after the battle, Alexander greeted King Poros with respect and friendship instead of brutal hostility. The two of them would rule what is now India for a long time until Alexander knew that he had to venture home.