Alexander the Great (21 July 356 BCE – 10 or 11 June 323 BCE) was Alexander III of Macedon, famed for both his military and his diplomatic skills. He conquered most of the known world at the time and spread Hellenic culture through Asia minor, Egypt, and Mesopotamia to India.
Young Alexander the Great
Although Alexander was officially the son of King Phillip II of Macedon, his mother Olympias told him that his was a virgin birth, and said Alexander was the son of Zeus himself. Alexander claimed both Hercules and achilles as direct ancestors.
His parents were invested in molding young Alexander into a refined and powerful king and hired the finest tutors and trainers, including Aristotle. His many teachers taught him reading, writing, music, art, critical thinking, philosophy, fighting and riding and his body and mind was honed to peak fitness.
He sacked the city of Baalbeck, renaming it Heliopolis. He destroyed the city of Cryopolis and conquored the Scythians. He started the fire that destroyed much of Persepolis, leaving it in ruins. Alexander was well known for drinking to excess. His insistence on his deification and his adoption of Persian customs made his troops increasingly uncomfortable. Alexander promoted Persians over Macedonians in the army.
Alexander's horse was named Bucephalus. His best friend and the head of his cavalry was Hephaestion. Bucephalus died in a battle with elephants against King Porus of Paurava and Hephaestion died of a fever. Alexander mourned the loss of his horse and his friend excessively.
Alexander himself died in Babylon of a fever at the age of 32. His commander Cassander ordered the execution of Alexander's wife Roxana and Alexander's son by her.
Alexander's friend Ptolemy stole his corpse as it was en route to Macedonia, hoping to fulfill the prophecy that the land where the corpse was laid to rest would be prosperous and unconquerable. He founded the Ptolemaic Dynasty in Egypt and it lasted for nine hundred years.
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