King Alexander III of Macedon (356-323 B.C.) was the most important military personality of the ancient world. In his 13-year reign he expanded his dominance throughout India and Egypt uniting Greece with the East. His military genius combined battlefield excellence with cultural influence and diplomatic charisma. He was a conqueror largely accepted and often admired as a god by his subjects.
Here are some important facts everyone should know about Alexander the Great:
- Alexander was the student of Aristotle, one of the greatest philosophers of all time. Talking about his teacher, Alexander has said: “I owe my life to my father but my well-being to my teacher”. He also admired the cynic philosopher Diogenis who lived in a clay jar. Myth has it that, when Alexander asked him what could he offer him, Diogenis replied: “Just stand aside, you are blocking the sun”. Alexander was drawn to the values of a simple life that disclaimed human vanity.
- Alexander’s military tactics included speed and surprise techniques. He achieved his first victory at the age of 18. He was known for the Macedonian phalanx, an unbeatable fighting unit whose soldiers held a 5,5m long pike called sarissa.
- Alexander named 70 cities after himself. The most famous Alexandria was the one founded in Nile in 331 B.C. and is today Egypt’s second-largest city. He had also named one city after his favorite horse Bucephala.
- Alexander married Roxanne, the daughter of a Bactrian nobleman in the age of 28. A few months after his death his son Alexander the IV was born.
- In 323 B.C. Alexander the Great fell ill. Two weeks later he died at the age of 32. Many speculations have been made about his death which remains a mystery until today. Some include a conspiracy between his generals Antipater and Cassander who later ordered the death of his wife and son. Alexander’s body was preserved in honey and sent back to Macedonia. Eventually, Ptolemy I, his general brought the body to Egypt as a symbol of his succesory to the empire.