Sunday 19 June 2016

Alexander the Great

In less than a decade of warfare, Alexander of  Macedonia ,known as "the Great", created one of the largest empire the world has ever seen, stretching from Greece to Northern India. His career of conquest was built upon that of his father Philip II, king of Macedonia.

Philip II of Macedonia Reign: 359 - 336 BC

Philip turned Macedonia into a regional power in the Greek world and created an army of heavy cavalry and pike wielding infantry that became the instrument for Alexander's empire-building. When Philip was making an expedition against Byzantium in 340 BC, Alexander acted as the regent of Macedonia and keeper of the seals.

At the age of 18 he led a cavalry charge at battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC that crushed the Sacred Band - the famed elite Greek Infantry from Thebes. There were rumors that Alexander's mother, Olympias, tried to have Philip assassinated before a son by another wife could grow old enough to succeed him.

Alexander the Great Reign: 336 - 323 BC

After he became king Alexander led his army across Hellespont, the body of water that separates Europe from Asia Minor, in 334 BC to liberate the Greek cities under Persian rule. One year later he defeated Persian king Darius III at Issus in modern Syria.

Alexander the Great
This Roman mosaic shows Alexander riding his horse Bucephalus into battle against the Persians at Issus in 333 BC. Leading his army from the front, Alexander was never defeated in battle, despite fighting the armies three times the size of his own.

In 332 BC Alexander takes the cites of Tyre(Lebanon) and Gaza(Israel) and is crowned pharaoh of Egypt. Next year he encounters Persian army in Gaugamela and defeats them. Darius III is murdered by his own Bactrian entourage and Alexander declares himself king of Persia.

In 327 BC he marries Roxana(Roxanne) , a Sogdian princess and next year he invades Punjab in Northern India and defeats King Porus at the battle of the Hydaspes. Reaching River Hyphasis his soldiers mutiny and force Alexander to turn back, following the Jhelum, a tributary of Indus river, to the sea.

Alexander claimed descent in his father's line from the Greek hero-god Herakles(Hercules) and from his mother from the legendary hero of the Trojan war, Achilles. This coin shows Alexander as the semi-divine Herakles and on the other side he represented as the horned god Ammon, the supreme Egyptian deity.

Alexander as God
Alexander founded Alexandria as a Macedonian capital of Egypt. Its light house was one of the seven wonders of ancient world.

Alexandria's Lighthouse

On June 11 323 BC Alexender died of a fever on Babylon, leaving no clear successor. His mummified body was taken to Egypt, where it remained on display for more than 500 years.   


  1. I love the story of Alexander, if for no other reason, imagine that he died in his 30th, perhaps, 31st year. Amazing, unbelievably amazing, to accomplish all that he did in a little over 4 decades of life? I truly believe that "great" is exactly what he was. great post

  2. Alexander was not great.... he was cruel & very much of a heartless person... moreover... he had not won India.. unfortunately.. he was defeated in the battle of Hydaspes by King PORUS... just because some historians don't want to accept the depeat.. it will not change the actual history. kindly search for it yourself & apologies for the offense (if any)

    1. I am sorry but the sources indicate that Alexander comprehensively defeated Porus. However, Porus and his men fought well and Alexander respected Porus and made him his satrap of the Punjab area. The Macedonian phalangists (pikemen) disliked fighting Porus' elephants- they had never faced war elephants before.


Follow me on Blogarama