- NAME: Alexander the Great
- OCCUPATION: King
- BIRTH DATE: 356 BCE
- DEATH DATE: 323 BCE
- EDUCATION: Temple of the Nymphs at Meiza (where Aristotle tutored him)
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Pella, Macedonia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Babylon, Persia (now Iran), Iran
- AKA: Alexander III
- AKA: Alexander II of Macedon
- AKA: Alexander the Great
- AKA: Mégas Aléxandros
- AKA: Great Alexander
- Nickname: King of Babylon, King of Asia, King of the Four Quarters of the World
Best Known For
Alexander the Great served as king of Macedonia from 336 to 323 B.C. During his leadership, he united Greece, reestablished the Corinthian League and conquered the Persian Empire.
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Conqueror and king of Macedonia, Alexander the Great was born on July 20, 356 B.C., in Pella, Macedonia. During his leadership, from 336 to 323 B.C., he united the Greek city-states and led the Corinthian League. He also became the king of Persia, Babylon and Asia, and created Macedonian colonies in Iran. While considering the conquests of Carthage and Rome, Alexander died of malaria in Babylon, Persia (now Iran), on June 13, 323 B.C.
"Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all."
"I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."
"I had rather excel others in the knowledge of what is excellent, than in the extent of my power and dominion."
"There is nothing impossible to him who will try."
"How great are the dangers I face to win a good name in Athens."
"I am dying from the treatment of too many physicians."
"Heaven cannot brook two suns, nor earth two masters."
Alexander the Great was born in the Pella region of Macedonia on July 20, 356 B.C., to parents King Philip II of Macedon and Queen Olympia, daughter of King Neoptolemus. The young prince and his sister were raised in Pella's royal court. Growing up, the dark-eyed and curly-headed Alexander hardly ever saw his father, who spent most of his time engaged in military campaigns and extra-marital affairs. Although Olympia served as a powerful role model for the boy, Alexander grew to resent his father's absence and philandering.
Alexander received his earliest education under the tutelage of Leonidas. Leonidas, who had been hired by King Phillip to teach Alexander math, horsemanship and archery, struggled to control his rebellious student. Alexander's next tutor was Lysimachus, who used role-playing to capture the restless boy's attention. Alexander particularly delighted in impersonating the warrior Achilles.
In 343 B.C., King Philip II hired the philosopher Aristotle to tutor Alexander at the Temple of the Nymphs at Meiza. Over the course of three years, Aristotle taught Alexander and a handful of his friends philosophy, poetry, drama, science and politics. Seeing that Homer's Iliad inspired Alexander to dream of becoming a heroic warrior, Aristotle created an abridged version of the tome for Alexander to carry with him on military campaigns.
Alexander completed his education at Meiza in 340 B.C. A year later, while still just a teen, he became a soldier and embarked on his first military expedition, against the Thracian tribes. In 338, Alexander took charge of the Companion Cavalry and aided his father in defeating the Athenian and Theban armies at Chaeronea. Once Philip II had succeeded in his campaign to unite all the Greek states (minus Sparta) into the Corinthian League, the alliance between father and son soon disintegrated. Philip married Cleopatra Eurydice, niece of General Attalus, and ousted Alexander's mother, Olympia. Alexander and Olympia were forced to flee Macedonia and stay with Olympia's family in Epirus until Alexander and King Philip II were able to reconcile their differences.
In 336, Alexander's sister wed the Molossian king, an uncle who was also called Alexander. During the festival that followed, King Philip II was murdered at the hands of Pausanias, a Macedonian noble.
In the wake of his father's death, Alexander, then 19, was determined to seize the throne by any means necessary. He quickly garnered the support of the Macedonian Army, including the general and troops he had had fought with at Chaeronea.
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