The King of Macedonia, Alexander the Great, established the ancient world’s largest empire. The world names him ‘Great’ because of his genius, military intelligence, and diplomatic skills. He ruled from the Balkans to the region that is now modern-day Pakistan. He had such a charismatic personality that his men were extremely loyal to him and would die for him if needed. Moreover, Alexander was a ruthless and power-hungry ruler. He dreamt of a united kingdom but could not fulfill it due to his sudden death. Still, his impact was so intense on Greek and Asian culture that it laid the foundation of a new historical era—the Hellenistic Age.
Alexander, the son of King Philip II and Queen Olympia, was born in 356 BC in Pella, Macedonia. His father, Philip, hired Aristotle to teach his son for four years. During his teenage years, he became well-known for his achievements on the battlefield. He became a soldier at a very young age. At the age of 16, King Philip handed over his kingdom to Alexander and set out to attack Byzantine in 340 BC. Alexander became King after his father’s assassination in 336 BC and inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom. He dealt with his enemies within Greece and gained the support of Greek city-states. They supported him with full military power. He then set off to conquer the massive Persian Empire.
Empire of Alexander the Great
After gaining success in Greece, Alexander set off to conquer more empires and went across the Persian territories of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), Syria, and Egypt. His most tremendous success was at the battle of Gaugamela, in331 BC, in the region that is now northern Iraq. He defeated Persian King Darius III and became the King of the Persian Empire in 334 BC. . His empire spread from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River. After conquering Egypt, he claimed Alexandria as its capital and then moved to Babylonia, including Susa’s city.
Alexander continued to conquer many kingdoms and expanded his empire to occupy Punjab in the northwest of Pakistan. He also defeated King Porus, who ruled Pakistan’s land between Jhelum and modern Chenab. Afterward, Alexander was so impressed by his bravery that he returned Porus his kingship and became an ally with him.
In Babylon, Alexander became sick after an extended feast and drinking session. As a result, he died on June 13, 323 BC, at the age of 33. There were many opinions about his death. Some people said he died of poisoning. However, most of the people claimed that he died of malaria or typhoid fever. His body was immersed in honey to prevent decay. Eventually, the later King Ptolemy transferred his body to Egypt and placed it in a golden coffin in Alexandria. Everywhere in Greek cities and Egypt, he received great honors.
Surprising Facts about Alexander
- Alexander never lost a single battle in his full military rule.
- He named more than 70 cities after him and on after his horse, Bucephalus.
- Alexander started to dress like the Persians after defeating them.
- His body was preserved in a container of honey.
Alexander the Great. Encyclopedia Britannica
8 Surprising Facts. history.com