Occupation: Military Commander and King of Ancient Greece
Born: July 20, 356 BC Pella, Macedon
Died: June 10, 323 BC Babylon
Best known for: Conquering much of Asia and Europe
Alexander the Great was the king of Macedonia or Ancient Greece. He is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history.
When did Alexander the Great live?
Alexander the Great was born on July 20, 356 BC. He died at the young age of 32 in 323 BC having accomplished much in his short life. He reigned as king from 336-323 BC.
Alexander the Great by Gunnar Bach Pedersen
Childhood of Alexander the Great
Alexander's father was King Philip the II. Philip II had built up a strong and united empire in Ancient Greece, which Alexander inherited.
Like most children of nobles at the time, Alexander was tutored as a child. He learned mathematics, reading, writing, and how to play the lyre. He also would have been instructed on how to fight, ride a horse, and hunt. When Alexander turned thirteen, his father Philip II wanted the best teacher possible for him. He hired the great philosopher Aristotle. In return for tutoring his son, Philip agreed to restore Aristotle's home town of Stageira, including setting many of its citizens free from slavery.
At school Alexander met many of his future generals and friends such as Ptolemy and Cassander. He also enjoyed reading the works of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
After securing the throne and getting all of Greece under his control, Alexander turned east to conquer more of the civilized world. He moved swiftly using his military genius to win battle after battle conquering many peoples and rapidly expanding the Greek empire.
Here is the order of his conquests:
First he moved through Asia Minor and what is today Turkey.
He took over Syria defeating the Persian Army at Issus and then laying siege to Tyre.
Next, he conquered Egypt and established Alexandria as the capital.
After Egypt came Babylonia and Persia, including the city of Susa.
Then he moved through Persia and began to prepare for a campaign in India.
At this point Alexander had accumulated one of the largest empires in history. However, his soldiers were ready to revolt. They wanted to return home to see their wives and children. Alexander agreed and his army turned back.
Map of Alexander's Empire by George Willis Botsford Ph.D. click for larger view
Death of Alexander
Alexander only made it back to Babylon where he became suddenly sick and died. No one is sure what he died from, but many suspect poison. Upon his death the great empire he had built was divided up amongst his generals, called the Diadochi. The Diadochi ended up fighting each other for many years as the empire fell apart.
Fun Facts about Alexander the Great
He was supposedly related to the Greek heroes Hercules from his father's side and Achilles from his mother's side.
When Alexander was 16, his father left the country to do battle, leaving Alexander as regent, or temporary ruler of Macedonia.
He tamed a wild horse named Bucephalus when he was a kid. It was his main horse until it died of old age. Alexander named a city in India after his horse.
He never lost a single battle.
Legend has it that the Temple of Artemis burnt down the day of Alexander's birth because Artemis was busy attending the birth.
His best friend and second in command was the general Hephaestion.