Alexander the Great

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In History
  • -356 BCE


    Alexander the Great was born in Pella, the capital of the Kingdom of Macedon, to Philip II of the Argead dynasty and Olympias of Epirus. From a young age, he exhibited remarkable martial prowess, due in part, no doubt, to the tutelage of Aristotle, one of the greatest luminaries of the age.
  • -336 BCE


    In the summer of 336 BCE, Pausanias, the captain of Philip II's royal bodyguard, assassinated the King as he attended a wedding. Alexander was declared king by the acclamation of the nobility and army shortly thereafter.
  • -334 BCE

    Crossing the Hellespont

    The Greek city-states of Western Anatolia revolted against Achaemenid rule only to be defeated at Magnesia. In 334 BCE, Alexander crossed into Asia Minor to attack Persia with approximately 48,000 troops. After defeating the Persians at the Battle of Granicus, he proceeded southward along the Ionian coast, pausing at Miletus to lay siege to the city. He then doubled back inland to Gordium before heading south once again to Tarsus and Issus.
  • -332 BCE


    After the defeat of Gaza, Alexander marched his forces into Egypt, where he was hailed as the liberator of that ancient country from the depredations of the Persian conquerors. While there, he founded the famed city of Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile, which would go on to become the largest and most prosperous city of the Hellenistic Mediterranean. During a consultation at the Siwa Oasis, an Egyptian oracle proclaimed the young king of Macedon to be an avatar of Zeus-Ammon.
  • -331 BCE


    After consolidating control of Egypt, Alexander marched across Syria to Assyria, where he defeated Darius III once more at the Battle of Gaugamela. The total destruction of the bulk of the Achaemenid army heralded the end of the Persian Empire. While Darius escaped eastward toward Central Asia, Alexander led his forces south to capture the ancient city of Babylon. One of the most populous and wealthiest cities of the Achaemenid Empire, it was a considerable prize.
  • -330 BCE


    Having captured most of the Persian Empire, Alexander marched east to deliver the final blow. After crushing an army led by Darius' lieutenant Ariobarzanes at the Persian Gates, a mountain pass through the Zagros range, he seized control of the Persian royal treasury at Susa, in Elam, then sent his forces to sack Persepolis. After an orgy of looting and pillaging, Alexander rested for several months before continuing his campaign into Central Asia.
  • -329 BCE

    Central Asia

    Conquering the last remnants of the Persian Empire took Alexander deep into the interior of the Asian landmass. Over the course of a series of campaigns, he conquered modern Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, founding cities along the way. Darius III was assassinated by Bessus, one of his satraps, permanently ending the Achaemenid line. Alexander also wed Roxana, a Central Asian princess, to cement an alliance with the local nobility.
  • -326 BCE


    The final stage of Alexander's conquest of the world as known to the Greeks led him across the Hindu Kush into India. He allied with a local ruler, Omphis of Taxila, against Porus, the lord of a realm stretching for hundreds of miles along the Indus River and its tributaries. After a lengthy, brutal campaign, Alexander subdued the whole of what is now Pakistan. However, his troops mutinied, refusing to fight the enormous Nanda Empire of the Indo-Gangetic plain.
  • -323 BCE

    Return to Persia and Death

    Returning to Persia after his army's mutiny on the Hyphasis River, Alexander reigned in splendor at Babylon. Unfortunately for him, the remainder of his brief life was marred by the death of his close friend and possible lover Hephaestion. Thereafter, Alexander planned a campaign into the heart of Arabia, but his death in 323 BCE of an unknown illness doomed this ambition. In the aftermath, Alexander's generals divided the vast empire amongst themselves in a series of violent confrontations.
  • Period:
    -336 BCE
    -334 BCE


    As news of Philip II's untimely demise spread, many of the Greek states rose up in revolt. Alexander and his cavalry rode south to confront the rebels, defeating them in a series of quick campaigns. Shortly thereafter, he turned north to defeat the Thracians and Illyrians, among others, in order to safeguard Macedon's frontiers. As he did so, Thebes and Athens launched renewed attempts to break free. In response, Alexander ordered Thebes to be razed, which forced Athens to sue for peace.
  • Period:
    -333 BCE
    -332 BCE


    At Issus, Alexander defeated the Persian ruler Darius III, forcing him to flee the field in disgrace. Darius III sued for peace, offering Alexander all the lands west of the Euphrates. Rebuffing Darius' offer, Alexander proceeded southward, laying siege to Tyre and, subsequently, Gaza. At Tyre and Gaza, the victorious Hellenes massacred all men of military age and sold the women and children into slavery for having the audacity to resist their conquest.