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Alexander Iii Of Macedon: Life And Achievements

1295 words - 6 pages

The story of human civilizations since the dawn of man is told not only by the great achievements which have shaped history, but also by the men and women whose legacies will be remembered for as long as there exist people to relate them. Arguably, one of the most important of those great personalities was Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great. This paper will examine the life and achievements of Alexander and describe several ways in which he shaped both the age in which he lived and how he altered the course of human history.
Alexander was born on or around 20 July, 356 B.C.E. in the Macedonian city of Pella. His parents were King Philip II and Philip’s third ...view middle of the document...

” Alexander’s second tutor was Aristotle, the renowned Greek philosopher. King Philip had arranged for Aristotle to establish a school at the Gardens of Midas, where he educated “several high-born Macedonian youths” including “Hephaestion . . . , who was to remain Alexander’s closest friend; Cassander, son of Antipater, and Ptolemy, son of Lagus – both future kings.” Aristotle is credited with shaping young Alexander into the great leader he was, specifically imparting on him the ethnocentric ideology which arguably led to Alexander’s successive conquest of the Near East and Asia. One telling articulation of this ideology was expressed by Aristotle when he counseled Alexander to be “a hegemon to the Greeks and a despot to the barbarians, to look after the former as after friends and relatives, and to deal with the latter as with beasts or plants.”
In 340 B.C.E., when Alexander was just 16 years old, his father launched an unsuccessful attack on Byzantinum. In the King’s absence, Alexander was made regent. It was during this time that a rebellion was initiated by the tribe of Maedi, on the borders of Thrace. Alexander sent a contingent north, quelled the uprising, captured the city, established a Macedonian military outpost there, and renamed it Alexandropolis. While the act of naming a city after its founder was not a new idea (Philip himself had done it at Philippi), it is a reminder of the ambitions and competitive nature of young Alexander which would shape the rest of his life.
Shortly after Philip’s failed attempt at taking Byzantium and successive parlay with the Greek city-states of Athens and Thebes, he had set his sights on Persia. It was near this time when he was assassinated by a former lover, Pausanias, in 336 B.C.E. Alexander subsequently became the King of Macedon. His competitive nature had haunted him with the feeling that he would never be able to surpass his father’s deeds, but two years after ascension to the throne and after conquering some and uniting other Greek city-states under one banner of quasi-alliance, he set his sights on the conquest of Persia. In early 334 B.C.E., Alexander entered Asia at the Hellespont (a strait that separates modern Europe and Asia) accompanied by a force of 30,000 foot soldiers and 5,000 cavalry. There he memorably lobbed his spear into the distant shore, announcing, “I accept Asia from the gods”, making clear his intentions toward Persia and later, the rest of Asia and the near East.
Alexander defeated King Darius III of Persia over the course of only three major battles. The first took place at the Granicus River which is located in present-day Turkey. Alexander’s decisive action and adaptability were instrumental in winning the expedition, despite being outnumbered. The second battle took place near Issus. The battle was...

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