Alexander the Great is remembered as a conquering man who built one of the largest empires. Some describe him as a man with a vision of world harmony. Others see him as a blood thirsty man with a mental illness. One thing that cannot be argued is that he and his empire are fascinating studies. From his rise to power to his mysterious death is interesting, but even after he died the story is fascinating. Due to his death, his empire was divided and a long power-struggle began starting with his generals. Each account has its own story of war and betrayal. These days must have been hard for those in power; they never knew who they could trust. Only the ones who were skilled in the strategy of war and ruthless enough to maintain their power would be the ones to make a name. The first to do this was Alexander the Great. He was born 356 BC in Pella. His father was Philip II and his mother was Olympias. She was a very spiritual woman who taught Alexander that he was a descendant of Achilles and Hercules.
Philip II was assassinated in 336 BC and Alexander took the throne at the age of 20. Alexander went on to spread his empire. In 334 BC he crossed the Hellespont with 42,000 soldiers and took the Persian Empire and soon after a part that was then India but today Pakistan. He 326 BC Alexander became ill. He apparently came down with a fever that progressed worse and worse until killing him. There is suspicion of poison but it is not confirmed. He died at the age of 32.
Alexander did not have an heir to rule his vast empire. His generals disputed over who this should be. Alexander had an unborn child by Roxana and a half brother by the name of Arrihaeus. Perdiccas, the cavalry commander wanted to wait until Alexander’s son (Alexander IV) was born. Meleager and the infantry supported Arrihaeus. They compromised and settled on Arrihaeus and Alexander IV would become joint kings. Perdiccas would become Regent of all the empire and Meleager would be his lieutenant. However, Perdiccas had Meleager arrested and murdered and took full control.
The Generals of Alexander who supported Perdiccas were given parts of the Empire in the partition of Babylon. This sparked later wars between them which are known as the wars of the Diadochi (which means “successors”). Ten years earlier in 333 BC Alexander conquered Egypt and was regarded by the people as a liberator or a deliverer. At this time he also established Alexandria which became the capital of Egypt for many years. Alexander left Clemonenes of Naucratis as nomarch of the Arabian district of Egypt. Clemones was a dishonest man who did anything for money. He cheated his own soldiers out of a month’s pay. He made money by taking advantage of the people and even used their superstitions to earn money at their expense. He held his position until Ptolemy arrived in Egypt.
Ptolemy was the son of Arsinoe of Macedon and his father is unknown. Some ancients described him as an illegitimate son of Philip II of...