Much of what we know of Alexander the Great today comes from four ancient sources written by different men at different periods in time. The first, and what is considered to be the most trustworthy source, is the Anabases Alexandria (The Campaigns of Alexander) written by the Greek historian, ARIN of Nonacademic. The second is the Historian Alexandria Magna (History of Alexander the Great) written by the Roman historian, Quintus Curtiss Rufus. The third source is Bibliophile Historian (Library of World History) recorded by a Sicilian historian by the name of Odorous.
And lastly, the final source are the works of one man, the one who is cited the most often when it comes to Alexandria history: Mistress Plutarch; or Plutarch. What follows is a short, summarized account of Alexander life up until he conquered Persia and became the Great King. In 359 B. C. Philip II of Macedonia was made regent in place of his nephew, Mantas, after his brother, Periodical Ill died. Philip, however was not content to merely act as king until Mantas reached manhood. Instead, he seized the throne and made himself king, then he began making his preparations for the expansion his new kingdom.
Previously, Philip had been a hostage at Thebes for about 3 years and had spent much of that time studying Greek battle tactics and formations. Using the knowledge he had gained there he changed, and ultimately improved, what would become his greatest weapon: the Macedonian Phalanx. Philip started off by increasing the space between the soldiers so that there was a gap between the men and their shields as opposed to the overlapping shields within the Greek Phalanx. He changed the formation to 16 men across and 16 men deep and armed them with 18-Ft. Eng pikes, as opposed to the traditional 7-Ft. Long spear. These improvements, along with rigorous training and drilling, made the Macedonian Phalanx nearly invincible. With this newly forged army Philip II set out to unify Macedonia, and from there, all of Greece. In 358 B. C. , Philip had Just finished eliminating outside threats to Macedonia, first the Phoenicians, then the Layering. In a show of gratitude for easing pressure from the Layering, King Envelopment of Peppers gave his daughter, Princess Polygene Myrtle, to be Phillips wife, whom he renamed Olympian.
Olympian was a strong willed woman and fervent worshiper of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and raiment. Olympian believed she was descended from the great Greek hero of the Trojan Wars, Achilles. Phillips marriage to Olympian, however, was not to last. There are many accounts that give reasons as to why, a few have agreed that the reason was Olympian and her erotic associations with snakes. One account tells of her bringing a snake into their bed chamber. Another tells of Philip peering into her bed chamber one evening and seeing her lying naked with a snake atop her.
On both accounts this upset Philip greatly because in those times the king of the gods, Zeus, was often portrayed as a snake. For this reason Philip now doubted the legitimacy of any child Olympian would bear. Nevertheless, a son was to be born to them in 356 B. C. And he was given the name Alexander. Alexander was a common name among royal households in his time, but it is also another name tort the legendary Paris to Troy trot Homer’s Iliad. Alexander grew up believing he was a descendant of Achilles from his mother’s side and Heraclites from his father’s side. One can see, that even from birth, he was destined for greatness.
At the age of 7, Alexander life of luxury was to come to a near halt when he began his tutelage under a relative of his, Leonia. Through Leonia he gained a love for the arts, a quality he never lost. Legitimacy was responsible for Alexander military training. From readings about specific battles, to horsemanship, to learning battle strategy and tactics and the use of a variety of weapons, Alexander received rigorous training which was proven five years later on the plains of Thessaly. A horse dealer had offered King Philip a magnificent stallion named Bequeathal.
To that day, no one had been able to successfully ride him without being bucked. The king and his grooms were about to give up on the horse when Alexander made he comment that they were “losing a wonderful horse simply because they were too inexperienced and too spineless to handle him. ” Depending on which account you look to, Philip either found this to be very amusing or was slightly put off by this remark; but in both instances he responds by asking his son “do you presume to criticize your elders as if you knew more or could fare better then they? Alexander responds that he was sure he could handle this horse better and if he was wrong he would pay for the price of the horse. While watching the previous attempts at riding Bequeathal, Alexander had deiced that the horse always spooked when he saw his own shadow, with this knowledge the young boy grabbed a hold of the reigns and turned the horse towards the sun and stroked his side to calm him. After running for a bit next to Bequeathal, Alexander quickly and firmly mounted the horse and after he was sure the stallion had calmed a bit more he began to ride across the plain.
After a short distance he turned and galloped back to much applause and cheering. Philip kissed his son and told him “O my son, find yourself a kingdom equal to and worthy of your ambitions, for Macedonia has not enough space for you. From that day, Bequeathal was one of Alexander closest companions. The next year was traditionally a big year for most upper-class children. For at the age of 13 most young boys were sent to be educated at the Athens Academy. Because Philip had so many enemies outside of Macedonia, he was afraid to send his son abroad, so he did the next logical thing.
He brought the Academy to Alexander. Some reports suggest that the Principal of the Athens Academy offered to leave his position in order to teach Phillips son, instead another man received that Job. Aristotle was in his forties by the time he began teaching the teenage Alexander. Under his new tutor’s teaching, Alexander learned many things that he would carry with him for the rest of his life. Among these were zoology, botany, and dealing with medicines and herbs. The latter was especially useful during Alexander conquests as he highly valued doctors and even prescribed some treatments himself.
It was during his time under Aristotle that Alexander met someone who became the Patrols to Alexander Achilles. That young man’s name was Hyphenation. As with Patrols and Achilles, there is still much debate on whether or not Alexander and Hyphenation were Just very intimate friends or actually very intimate lovers. Most accounts that even mention him, however, argue that they were lovers. Nonetheless, the tact remains that these two became close companions, and tort the next nineteen years they would be nigh inseparable.
When Alexander was 16, Philip was leading a campaign against Byzantium and Preprints, and he left Alexander as regent of Macedonia. Many saw this as an opportunity; a 16 year old boy left in charge of all of Macedonia, such a thing presented a chance for some tribes along its border to revolt and try to win their freedom. In response, Alexander organized his own army to meet the Thracian tribe, he Maid, along Macedonian eastern borders. Alexander overwhelmed the opposing army, and after the battle ordered all of his men to drive everyone out.
He gave the land to all the Macedonian who had remained loyal to their king and renamed the settlement Alexandrine, the first of many cities he would name after himself. Upon his return, Philip was so filled with pride at his son’s achievements that he made him a full general upon his return. In the summer of 339 B. C. , Philip and Alexander turned south to take on the Anti- Macedonian League made up of 25,000 men from Athens and Thebes, with 300 of hose men making of the Sacred Band of Thebes, and 10,000 mercenaries.
The opposing armies met at Charlene and both sides had about 2,000 cavalry units with the Macedonian commanding an infantry regiment somewhere between 22,000-30,000 men. It was this battle the proved the superiority of the Macedonian Phalanx in that when the two lines met, Philip had his men make a mock retreat while in formation to draw the opposing army forwards. The maneuver worked. The Athenian line was drawn forward while the right wing remained. This opened up a gap between the Athenian and the Thebes lines and Alexander made his move.
He drove the Macedonian cavalry right into the gap Just as Philip ordered his infantrymen to push forward again. With the Macedonian Phalanx pushing from the front and the opposing cavalry from behind the left wing folded and was routed. The right wing, including the Sacred Band of Thebes, was surrounded by Alexander and his cavalry and was killed almost too man. This battle proved that Philip was now the political and military leader of all the Greek City-states. As an honor to his son, Alexander was chosen to lead the Guard of Honor that brought back the ashes of all he dead to their home city of Athens.
Unfortunately, their new father-son relationship was not to last. Two years later in 337 B. C. Philip fell in love with another woman named Cleopatra, from an elite Macedonian family. He divorced Olympian and married the young teenager, but what made this such a big problem for Alexander was that if Cleopatra should bear Philip a son, that child would take Alexander place as legitimate heir because the child would be of pure Macedonian blood. Whereas Alexander mother was from Peppers, which was not a part of Macedonia; therefore Alexander was not a pure Macedonian.
At Phillips wedding feast, Cleopatra uncle, Talus, stood up and called upon all who were there to “pray to the gods, that from Philip and Cleopatra there might be born a legitimate successor to the kingdom. ” This did not sit well with Alexander, who Jumped up in a rage, shouting “are you calling me a bastard? ” and flung his goblet of wine into Talus’ face. Philip, in anger, drew his sword and began advancing on his son. Too drunk with wine to stand on his feet, he tripped and fell over onto the ground.
Alexander Jeered at his tanner in disdain saying “here is the an who wants to cross from Europe into Asia, but he cannot even cross from one table to another. ” After that night, Alexander and his mother moved into exile. But Philip was no fool. He realized that his kingdom needed a recognized heir and that he needed a valuable military commander. He convinced Alexander to come back, though there was still much tension between them. One year later, Philip gave his daughter Cleopatra, whose mother was Olympian, to Alexander of Peppers in marriage.
This was to ease tensions between his family and Olympian’ family after his marriage to his current wife, Cleopatra. During the wedding party Philip was murdered by one of his own bodyguards, a man named Pausing, one of his former lovers. There is much speculation as to the events surrounding this assassination, some see it as Just revenge from a spurned lover, but others also argue that this was Alexander only guarantee to secure the throne for himself and that he had a hand in it. In all accounts, however, Pausing is caught and killed by some of Alexander friends while attempting to flee.
With the path to the throne now clear, Alexander moved quickly to eliminate all rivals to his power and cured his position as the new king. During the confusion that followed Phillips death, many cities revolted against Alexander rule. Alexander response to this was quick and vicious. He took his army and marched on Thebes, the first city-state to revolt. When Alexander arrived, he offered amnesty to the Thebe’s if they handed over the ringleaders that had started the rebellion. The Thebe’s responded by refusing his terms and calling him a tyrant for good measure.
Alexander answer was the destruction of the great city and the selling off of all the survivors into slavery. His tactic worked. Thebes became n example to the rest of the Greek world. With the Greek city-states behind him once again, it was time to begin his invasion of Persia. In 334 B. C. Alexander and his army crossed the Hellespont with about 30,000 infantrymen and 2,000 units of cavalry. It is said that Alexander was the first to set foot on the opposite shore and that, sticking his spear into the ground, he claimed the land as part of his own kingdom.
Then began his conquest of Persia, which took place over 10 years and consisted of three major battles and a few other noteworthy achievements. The first was the Battle of the Gracious. Dairies Ill, the King of Persia sent a force of 40,000 men to occupy the east side of the river Gracious, opposite the Macedonian army. There is much debate as to what happened next, some say that Alexander boldly charged his cavalry across the river and into the Persian lines and found victory that way.
Other sources say that one of his generals, Permeation, argued that such an action was foolish and that they should wait until the next day to cross safely and attack then. These are the two actions that divide most sources as to what happened, some go even further in that they believe Alexander did try an all out attack, but was repelled and, only then, did he follow Permission’s advice. In all accounts, however, all agree that this battle was hard fought and hard won.
Throughout the course of the battle, Alexander cavalry, and his seasoned infantrymen were able to push back the Persians enough for the Macedonian to cross the river in strength. Sometime during Alexander initial charge, en and Dunn himself in a tight spot. Persian noblemen saw the oncoming cavalry charge and they themselves went to meet this threat. During the ensuing chaos Alexander loses his spear and is handed another, he was then struck on the helmet by one of the Persian nobles, and Just before the final blow is struck, one of Alexander own cleaves the nobleman’s arm off.
With the Persians being continually pushed back and the Macedonian continuing to come across the river, eventually the Persian forces routed and many were cut down during their retreat. The day was won, Alexander had a established a beachhead, and Dairies now knew that this young invader was one to be reckoned with. Sometime later, Alexander found himself in the ancient capital of Paragraph, Gordian. There he found an oxcart tied too pole with a very elaborate knot, the ends of which were hidden. Legend had it, that the one to successfully untie the knot would be the next king of Asia.
Alexander looked at the knot, and like all others before him, he could not see the ends where he might start. Then, with his usual confidence, said that it did not matter how one loosened the knot, Just that it was done. With that he unsheathed his sword and began to hack away at the Gordian Knot. After successfully cutting the rope he removed the knot from the oxcart. Some saw this as a way of cheating, but many accepted what they had seen and, in turn, accepted young Alexander as their new king.
After leaving Gordian Alexander moved towards Tarsus. While en route to Tarsus he learned that Dairies was personally leading a massive force towards Issues to try and stop Alexander advance. Never one to shy away from battle Alexander moved through Tarsus and made his own way towards Issues. Expecting Dairies to attack from the south, the Macedonian left their camp at Issues and headed south to meet Dairies’ forces. But the Persian King had made a strategic and unexpected move.
He moved his army north, through a mountain pass and cut off Alexander supply lines. Alexander turned his men around and counter marched until he came to the Piñatas river and found Dairies waiting on the opposite bank with an army numbering somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000; outnumbering Alexander and his forces 4:1 . With the Mediterranean sea on one side and a range of hills on the other side, Dairies was not able to make full use of his superior numbers. Within the pass, there was less of a chance of the smaller Macedonian army being surrounded.
As the two men drew up their lines, Dairies had his cavalry take up the right flank, close to the shoreline of the sea where the ground was muddy but more level than further inland. Alexander and his Companion Cavalry took up the right flank, opposite the Persian left and he set up one of his generals, Permeation, to oppose the Persian right. At an unspoken signal, the battle begins. The Persian cavalry charged headlong into Permeation and his men. The Macedonian flank held, but cannot make any advance. In the middle ground, Alexander invincible phalanx found itself at a severe disadvantage.
Uneven ground and rough terrain made it hard for the hiplines to maintain their formations and as a result, they were torn into by Dairies’ Greek mercenaries. The hand to hand fighting was fierce, and the two armies were so enmeshed that the wounded were unable to retire, when one man was cut down, another took his place, it was by far the bloodiest battle yet. Any chance of victory, lay solely upon Alexander and his Companion Cavalry. As usual Alexander termed up his cavalry and charged right into the Persian ranks.
The infantry broke and ran and it was here that Alexander showed how much control he held over his men. He halted the cavalry charge, no easy feat in of itself, regrouped and then charged right into the exposed main body of the Persian army. Dairies saw the Companion Cavalry making their way towards his position as well as his nobles and generals being cut to pieces as Alexander pushed towards his enemy. Dairies, fearing for his life, turned and fled, leaving behind his men and, as was later learned, his family.
Seeing their king gone, the remaining Persians turned to flee and were cut down as they ran. Alexander sent word to the family that Dairies left behind: his wife, mother and daughters, that they have no need to fear Alexander or his men, that they would be provided with everything they were accustomed to as well as an increase in their personal revenues. Alexander had set himself up as the next Persian king by saying, that as the new Persian King, it was his responsibility to care for the Persian women. In doing this, Alexander sent a strong message throughout all of Persia.
Continuing his march down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and taking control of all the cities and sea ports he came to, often with open armed welcome, things changed when he came to Tire. Upon arriving at Tire Alexander made the request that he might make a sacrifice at the temple of Heraclites. A two fold request, Alexander believed that he was a descendant of Heraclites. Like the Trains homeless, however, he also knew that only the King of Tire was allowed to make any sacrifice at the temple. Tire refused Alexander request and in return Alexander put the city to siege.
Now the city of Tire was a two party city, one part of the city was on the mainland and the other half was on a small island about half a mile off of the mainland. The island of Tire had a heavy wall surrounding it and was nearly impregnable unless one had a large fleet to assault it. Unfortunately, Alexander did not have such a fleet, as he had decided to deal with the Persian fleet by taking over their harbors and destroying their ports. Alexander determined that if there was no bridge to get to the island of Tire by, then he would make one.
With that he began another one of his most famous feats: he began construction of a causeway that would give his land army access to the island city. Recruiting men and materials from the cities and land surrounding the port city, the building of the causeway was slow work and only made worse by attacks from the Train navy. As soon as the causeway was within striking distance of the walls, Alexander men came under more enemy fire from both the ships and the walls which made construction nearly impossible. To solve this problem, Alexander constructed two 150 Ft. All mobile siege towers with catapults on a movable platform on the top of the towers as well as ballista below to fend off any ships. The Trains responded to this threat by loading old horse transports with dead wood, pitch, sulfur and other combustible materials and set them afire and on into the siege towers like battering rams. By this time Alexander received help from some naval ships sent to him from Cyprus and other cities who had fallen under his control or wished to send him aid. Now that he had his own navy, he need not worry bout the Train Ana any more.
The Macedonian resumed construction on the causeway and the overall siege of Tire. Finally, after seven months of siege, a breach was made in the walls to Tire and the Macedonian poured into the city which tell soon after. Alexander spared all those he found in the temple of Heraclites, but the rest of the survivors were not so lucky. 8,000 Trains were slaughtered, the remaining 30,000 were sold into slavery. After capturing Tire Alexander continued his march south and captured Gaza after another siege and then moved on into Egypt where he was welcomed as a operator from Persian rule.
Alexander pleased the Egyptian priests by making sacrifices to the Egyptian bull-god, Apish, and they crowned him Pharaoh. During his stay in Egypt, Alexander took a small group of his most trusted advisors and friends and left to visit Isaiah, a shrine of Amman-Zeus where there lived an oracle whom the young conquered wished to visit. What exactly was told him, is not known, but what we do know is that from that time on, Alexander made no secret that he believed himself divine. After leaving Isaiah, he sailed down the Nile river to where it fed into he Mediterranean Sea and there he founded the famous city of Alexandria.
After his brief hiatus in Egypt, Alexander returned back to business, Dairies awaited. The final battle between the two kings took place near the town of Guacamole. Dairies had summoned a larger force than any of his previous. The Persian army, numbering over 400,000 had some new units in it’s ranks that the Macedonian had never seen before. This marks the first time the Persian Immortals are mentioned as well as scythed chariots and about 15 war elephants. Alexander had only 40,000 men accompanied by about 7,000 cavalry. It was only through superior tactics and the seasoned experience of his men that he would win.
Because of the layout of the land, a flat, dusty plain; and Dairies’ superior numbers many of Alexander officers advised that he attack during the night. The Macedonian king responded that he would not steal his victory like a thief, but that he would leave nothing for Dairies to blame his defeat upon other than his inferiority against Alexander. The next morning, both sides drew up their lines, with the Persians extending beyond the Macedonian line by at least a mile. Alexander split his army into two halves, the eight half under Permeation was to execute a holding maneuver, while Alexander would deliver the decisive blow.
His plan was to draw out the Persian cavalry to try and attack his flanks, with the plan that his flanks would hold long enough to open up an opening within the Persian lines so that he could punch through and drive a dividing wedge into the Persian army. As the battle began, the Macedonian were torn into by Dairies’ scythed chariots, but they had devised a way to deal with this: upon the approach of one of the chariots, the front lines of the phalanx were to step to the side and open up the diddle of their formation. The horses would either run right into the line of pikes from the rear ranks or they would refuse.
Either way, the mousetrap then snapped shut and the problem was solved. As his infantrymen fought to keep the Persians in check, Alexander formed up parallel to Dairies’ front lines and watched while his men held the Persian lines in check. He then began his advance. Seeing this Dairies ordered his cavalry to block Alexander, who slowly began to angle his men towards the Persian host so as to draw Dairies’ left flank away from the main body of the army. For, unbeknownst to Dairies, Alexander had a force of platelets hidden behind his horsemen.
When the timing was right and a sufficient gap had opened up in the Persian lines, Alexander termed his wedge and drove it into the opening en and created, while his platelets let loose a barrage of missiles upon Dairies’ cavalry to keep them in place. Seeing his now vulnerable position Busses, Dairies’ head of the left flank, turned and fled the field. Dairies watched in horror as his left flank crumbled and as Alexander came charging towards his position, cutting down all who got in his way. At such a sight, Dairies turned and fled himself.
Alexander would have pursued him had he not received an urgent request for aid from Permeation. Turning aside from his pursuit, Alexander raced back to save his general and his men. With their king’s aid, the Macedonian crushed what remained of the Persian army and pursued those that fled. Persia was now, at long last, under Alexander control. Within the following weeks Alexander marched into Babylon and from there, into Prolepsis itself. Later he received news of Dairies’ assassination by one of his bodyguards, making him the uncontested Great King of Persia at last.
He set himself up at the palace of Xeroxes in Prolepsis and spent a short amount of time there before burning down the city in a drunken stupor. Expressing regret for his actions Alexander found he was not content with his new empire. Being king of all Persia and Greece was not enough for Alexander. He then set out for India, and what he thought was the end of the world. This action, combined with his adoption of Persian customs and culture, is what would eventually lead to his death in 323 B. C. But his actions would continue to influence the world for centuries to come.