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Alexander the Great

This article is about the ancient king of Macedon. For pects of which were still evident in the traditions of the
other uses, see Alexander the Great (disambiguation).
Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century and the presence of Greek speakers in central and far eastern Anatolia
Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 10/11 June until the 1920s. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, and he features promi323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great
(Greek: , Alxandros ho Mgas nently in the history and myth of Greek and non-Greek
cultures. He became the measure against which military
[a.lk.san.dros ho m.gas]),iii[] was a King (Basileus) of
academies
[1][2][3]
the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon
and a leaders compared themselves, and military
[8]ii[]
throughout
the
world
still
teach
his
tactics.
He is ofmember of the Argead dynasty. Born in Pella in 356 BC,
ten
ranked
among
the
worlds
most
inuential
people
of
Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II, to the throne
[9][10]
all
time,
along
with
his
teacher
Aristotle.
at the age of twenty. He spent most of his ruling years
on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and
northeast Africa, until by the age of thirty he had created
one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretch- 1
ing from Greece to Egypt and into northwest India.[4] He
was undefeated in battle and is considered one of historys
1.1
most successful military commanders.[5]

Early life
Lineage and childhood

During his youth, Alexander was tutored by the philosopher Aristotle until the age of 16. When he succeeded
his father to the throne in 336 BC, after Philip was assassinated, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an
experienced army. He had been awarded the generalship
of Greece and used this authority to launch his fathers
Panhellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of
Persia.[6][7] In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire, ruled Asia Minor, and began a series of campaigns
that lasted ten years. Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew
the Persian King Darius III and conquered the entirety
of the First Persian Empire.i[] At that point, his empire
stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.
Seeking to reach the ends of the world and the Great
Outer Sea, he invaded India in 326 BC, but was eventually forced to turn back at the demand of his troops.
Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, the city he planned
to establish as his capital, without executing a series of
planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of
civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in several states
ruled by the Diadochi, Alexanders surviving generals and
heirs.
Alexanders legacy includes the cultural diusion his
conquests engendered, such as Greco-Buddhism. He
founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most
notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexanders settlement of
Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture
in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, as-

Bust of a young Alexander the Great from the Hellenistic era,


British Museum

Alexander was born on the sixth day of the ancient Greek


month of Hekatombaion, which probably corresponds to
20 July 356 BC, although the exact date is not known,[11]
in Pella, the capital of the Kingdom of Macedon.[12] He
1

PHILIPS HEIR

of the World, burnt down. This led Hegesias of Magnesia


to say that it had burnt down because Artemis was away,
attending the birth of Alexander.[14][19] Such legends may
have emerged when Alexander was king, and possibly at
his own instigation, to show that he was superhuman and
destined for greatness from conception.[17]
In his early years, Alexander was raised by a nurse,
Lanike, sister of Alexanders future general Cleitus the
Black. Later in his childhood, Alexander was tutored
by the strict Leonidas, a relative of his mother, and by
Philips general Lysimachus.[20] Alexander was raised in
the manner of noble Macedonian youths, learning to read,
play the lyre, ride, ght, and hunt.[21]

Aristotle tutoring Alexander, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

When Alexander was ten years old, a trader from


Thessaly brought Philip a horse, which he oered to sell
for thirteen talents. The horse refused to be mounted
and Philip ordered it away. Alexander however, detecting the horses fear of its own shadow, asked to tame
the horse, which he eventually managed.[17] Plutarch
stated that Philip, overjoyed at this display of courage
and ambition, kissed his son tearfully, declaring: My
boy, you must nd a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedon is too small for you, and bought the
horse for him.[22] Alexander named it Bucephalas, meaning ox-head. Bucephalas carried Alexander as far as
India. When the animal died (due to old age, according
to Plutarch, at age thirty), Alexander named a city after
him, Bucephala.[15][23][24]

was the son of the king of Macedon, Philip II, and his
fourth wife, Olympias, the daughter of Neoptolemus I, 1.2 Adolescence and education
king of Epirus.[13][14][15] Although Philip had seven or
eight wives, Olympias was his principal wife for some When Alexander was 13, Philip began to search for a
tutor, and considered such academics as Isocrates and
time, likely a result of giving birth to Alexander.[16]
Speusippus, the latter oering to resign to take up the
Several legends surround Alexanders birth and
post. In the end, Philip chose Aristotle and provided
[17]
childhood. According to the ancient Greek biographer
the Temple of the Nymphs at Mieza as a classroom.
Plutarch, Olympias, on the eve of the consummation
In return for teaching Alexander, Philip agreed to reof her marriage to Philip, dreamed that her womb was
build Aristotles hometown of Stageira, which Philip had
struck by a thunder bolt, causing a ame that spread
razed, and to repopulate it by buying and freeing the exfar and wide before dying away. Some time after the
citizens who were slaves, or pardoning those who were in
wedding, Philip is said to have seen himself, in a dream,
exile.[25][26][27]
securing his wifes womb with a seal engraved with a
lions image.[18] Plutarch oered a variety of interpreta- Mieza was like a boarding school for Alexander and
tions of these dreams: that Olympias was pregnant before the children of Macedonian nobles, such as Ptolemy,
her marriage, indicated by the sealing of her womb; or Hephaistion, and Cassander. Many of these students
that Alexanders father was Zeus. Ancient commentators would become his friends and future generals, and are ofwere divided about whether the ambitious Olympias ten known as the 'Companions. Aristotle taught Alexanpromulgated the story of Alexanders divine parentage, der and his companions about medicine, philosophy,
variously claiming that she had told Alexander, or that morals, religion, logic, and art. Under Aristotles tutelage, Alexander developed a passion for the works of
she dismissed the suggestion as impious.[18]
Homer, and in particular the Iliad; Aristotle gave him
On the day that Alexander was born, Philip was preparan annotated copy, which Alexander later carried on his
ing a siege on the city of Potidea on the peninsula of
campaigns.[28][29][30]
Chalcidice. That same day, Philip received news that
his general Parmenion had defeated the combined Illyrian
and Paeonian armies, and that his horses had won at the
Olympic Games. It was also said that on this day, the 2 Philips heir
Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders

2.1

2.1

Regency and ascent of Macedon

Regency and ascent of Macedon

Demosthenes, voted to seek alliance with Thebes against


Macedonia. Both Athens and Philip sent embassies to
Main articles: Philip II of Macedon and Rise of Macedon win Thebes favor, but Athens won the contest.[35][36][37]
At age 16, Alexanders education under Aristotle ended. Philip marched on Amphissa (ostensibly acting on the request of the Amphictyonic League), capturing the mercenaries sent there by Demosthenes and accepting the citys
surrender. Philip then returned to Elatea, sending a nal
oer of peace to Athens and Thebes, who both rejected
it.[38][39][40]

Philip II of Macedon, Alexanders father.

Philip waged war against Byzantion, leaving Alexander


in charge as regent and heir apparent.[17] During Philips
absence, the Thracian Maedi revolted against Macedonia. Alexander responded quickly, driving them from
their territory. He colonized it with Greeks, and founded
a city named Alexandropolis.[31][32][33]
Upon Philips return, he dispatched Alexander with a
small force to subdue revolts in southern Thrace. Campaigning against the Greek city of Perinthus, Alexander
is reported to have saved his fathers life. Meanwhile, the
city of Amphissa began to work lands that were sacred to
Apollo near Delphi, a sacrilege that gave Philip the opportunity to further intervene in Greek aairs. Still occupied in Thrace, he ordered Alexander to muster an army
for a campaign in Greece. Concerned that other Greek
states might intervene, Alexander made it look as though
he was preparing to attack Illyria instead. During this turmoil, the Illyrians invaded Macedonia, only to be repelled
by Alexander.[34]
Philip and his army joined his son in 338 BC, and they
marched south through Thermopylae, taking it after stubborn resistance from its Theban garrison. They went
on to occupy the city of Elatea, only a few days march
from both Athens and Thebes. The Athenians, led by

Statue of Alexander in Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

As Philip marched south, his opponents blocked him


near Chaeronea, Boeotia. During the ensuing Battle
of Chaeronea, Philip commanded the right wing and
Alexander the left, accompanied by a group of Philips
trusted generals. According to the ancient sources, the
two sides fought bitterly for some time. Philip deliberately commanded his troops to retreat, counting on the
untested Athenian hoplites to follow, thus breaking their
line. Alexander was the rst to break the Theban lines,
followed by Philips generals. Having damaged the enemys cohesion, Philip ordered his troops to press forward and quickly routed them. With the Athenians lost,
the Thebans were surrounded. Left to ght alone, they
were defeated.[41]

3 KING OF MACEDON

After the victory at Chaeronea, Philip and Alexander


marched unopposed into the Peloponnese, welcomed by
all cities; however, when they reached Sparta, they were
refused, but did not resort to war.[42] At Corinth, Philip
established a Hellenic Alliance (modeled on the old
anti-Persian alliance of the Greco-Persian Wars), which
included most Greek city-states except Sparta. Philip
was then named Hegemon (often translated as Supreme
Commander) of this league (known by modern scholars
as the League of Corinth), and announced his plans to
attack the Persian Empire.[43][44]

2.2

Exile and return

In the following year, the Persian satrap (governor) of


Caria, Pixodarus, oered his eldest daughter to Alexanders half-brother, Philip Arrhidaeus.[48] Olympias and
several of Alexanders friends suggested this showed
Philip intended to make Arrhidaeus his heir.[48] Alexander reacted by sending an actor, Thessalus of Corinth,
to tell Pixodarus that he should not oer his daughters
hand to an illegitimate son, but instead to Alexander.
When Philip heard of this, he stopped the negotiations
and scolded Alexander for wishing to marry the daughter of a Carian, explaining that he wanted a better bride
for him.[48] Philip exiled four of Alexanders friends,
Harpalus, Nearchus, Ptolemy and Erigyius, and had the
Corinthians bring Thessalus to him in chains.[46][51][52]

When Philip returned to Pella, he fell in love with and


married Cleopatra Eurydice, the niece of his general 3
Attalus.[45] The marriage made Alexanders position as
heir less secure, since any son of Cleopatra Eurydice
3.1
would be a fully Macedonian heir, while Alexander was
only half-Macedonian.[46] During the wedding banquet, a
drunken Attalus publicly prayed to the gods that the union
would produce a legitimate heir.[45]

IS

T
ON

OP

PR

E
G
E
A
N
S
E
A

Alexander ed Macedon with his mother, dropping her


o with her brother, King Alexander I of Epirus in
Dodona, capital of the Molossians.[48] He continued to
Illyria,[48] where he sought refuge with the Illyrian King
and was treated as a guest, despite having defeated them
in battle a few years before. However, it appears Philip
never intended to disown his politically and militarily trained son.[48] Accordingly, Alexander returned to
Macedon after six months due to the eorts of a family friend, Demaratus, who mediated between the two
parties.[49][50]

Accession

At the wedding of Cleopatra, whom Philip


fell in love with and married, she being much
too young for him, her uncle Attalus in his
drink desired the Macedonians would implore
the gods to give them a lawful successor to
the kingdom by his niece. This so irritated
Alexander, that throwing one of the cups at his
head, You villain, said he, what, am I then
a bastard?" Then Philip, taking Attaluss part,
rose up and would have run his son through;
but by good fortune for them both, either his
over-hasty rage, or the wine he had drunk,
made his foot slip, so that he fell down on
the oor. At which Alexander reproachfully
insulted over him: See there, said he, the
man who makes preparations to pass out of
Europe into Asia, overturned in passing from
one seat to another.
Plutarch, describing the feud at Philips
wedding.[47]

King of Macedon

DE
CLA

CY

EC

AN
ES

The Kingdom of Macedon in 336 BC.

In 336 BC, while at Aegae attending the wedding of his


daughter Cleopatra to Olympiass brother, Alexander I
of Epirus, Philip was assassinated by the captain of his
bodyguards, Pausanias.vi[] As Pausanias tried to escape,
he tripped over a vine and was killed by his pursuers, including two of Alexanders companions, Perdiccas and
Leonnatus. Alexander was proclaimed king by the nobles and army at the age of 20.[53][54][55]

3.2 Consolidation of power


Alexander began his reign by eliminating potential rivals
to the throne. He had his cousin, the former Amyntas
IV, executed.[56] He also had two Macedonian princes
from the region of Lyncestis killed, but spared a third,
Alexander Lyncestes. Olympias had Cleopatra Eurydice
and Europa, her daughter by Philip, burned alive. When
Alexander learned about this, he was furious. Alexander
also ordered the murder of Attalus,[56] who was in com-

5
mand of the advance guard of the army in Asia Minor lyria, and King Glaukias of the Taulanti were in open
and Cleopatras uncle.[57]
revolt against his authority. Marching west into Illyria,
Attalus was at that time corresponding with Demos- Alexander defeated each in turn, forcing the two rulers
With these victories, he secured
thenes, regarding the possibility of defecting to Athens. to ee with their troops.
[70][71]
his
northern
frontier.
Attalus also had severely insulted Alexander, and following Cleopatras murder, Alexander may have considered
him too dangerous to leave alive.[57] Alexander spared
Arrhidaeus, who was by all accounts mentally disabled,
possibly as a result of poisoning by Olympias.[53][55][58]

While Alexander campaigned north, the Thebans and


Athenians rebelled once again. Alexander immediately
headed south.[72] While the other cities again hesitated,
Thebes decided to ght. The Theban resistance was ineective, and Alexander razed the city and divided its
territory between the other Boeotian cities. The end of
Thebes cowed Athens, leaving all of Greece temporarily
at peace.[72] Alexander then set out on his Asian campaign, leaving Antipater as regent.[73]

News of Philips death roused many states into revolt, including Thebes, Athens, Thessaly, and the Thracian tribes
north of Macedon. When news of the revolts reached
Alexander, he responded quickly. Though advised to use
diplomacy, Alexander mustered 3,000 Macedonian cavalry and rode south towards Thessaly. He found the Thessalian army occupying the pass between Mount Olympus
and Mount Ossa, and ordered his men to ride over Mount 4 Conquest of the Persian Empire
Ossa. When the Thessalians awoke the next day, they
found Alexander in their rear and promptly surrendered, Main articles: Wars of Alexander the Great and
adding their cavalry to Alexanders force. He then con- Chronology of the expedition of Alexander the Great
tinued south towards the Peloponnese.[59][60][61][62]
into Asia
Alexander stopped at Thermopylae, where he was recognized as the leader of the Amphictyonic League before heading south to Corinth. Athens sued for peace and
Alexander pardoned the rebels. The famous encounter
between Alexander and Diogenes the Cynic occurred
during Alexanders stay in Corinth. When Alexander
asked Diogenes what he could do for him, the philosopher disdainfully asked Alexander to stand a little to the
side, as he was blocking the sunlight.[63] This reply apparently delighted Alexander, who is reported to have
said But verily, if I were not Alexander, I would like
to be Diogenes.[64] At Corinth, Alexander took the title of Hegemon (leader) and, like Philip, was appointed
commander for the coming war against Persia. He also
received news of a Thracian uprising.[60][65]

Youths of the Pellaians and of the Macedonians and of the Greek Amphictiony and
of the Lakedaimonians and of the Corinthians and of all the Greek peoples, join your
fellow-soldiers and entrust yourselves to me,
so that we can move against the barbarians and
liberate ourselves from the Persian bondage,
for as Greeks we should not be slaves to
barbarians.
Alexander the Great, Pseudo-Kallisthenes,
Historia Alexandri Magni[74]

4.1 Asia Minor


3.3

Balkan campaign

Main article: Alexanders Balkan campaign


Before crossing to Asia, Alexander wanted to safeguard
his northern borders. In the spring of 335 BC, he
advanced to suppress several revolts. Starting from
Amphipolis, he traveled east into the country of the Independent Thracians"; and at Mount Haemus, the Macedonian army attacked and defeated the Thracian forces
manning the heights.[66] The Macedonians marched into
the country of the Triballi, and defeated their army near
the Lyginus river[67] (a tributary of the Danube). Alexander then marched for three days to the Danube, encountering the Getae tribe on the opposite shore. Crossing the
river at night, he surprised them and forced their army to
retreat after the rst cavalry skirmish.[68][69]
News then reached Alexander that Cleitus, King of Il-

Further information: Battle of the Granicus, Siege of


Halicarnassus and Siege of Miletus
Alexanders army crossed the Hellespont in 334 BC with

Map of Alexanders empire and his route.

approximately 48,100 soldiers, 6,100 cavalry and a eet


of 120 ships with crews numbering 38,000,[72] drawn
from Macedon and various Greek city-states, mercenaries, and feudally raised soldiers from Thrace, Paionia,

CONQUEST OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE

and Illyria.[75] (However, Arrian, who used Ptolemy as a


source, said that Alexander crossed with more than 5,000
horse and 30,000 foot; Diodorus quoted the same totals,
but listed 5,100 horse and 32,000 foot. Diodorus also referred to an advance force already present in Asia, which
Polyaenus, in his Stratagems of War (5.44.4), said numbered 10,000 men.) He showed his intent to conquer the
entirety of the Persian Empire by throwing a spear into
Asian soil and saying he accepted Asia as a gift from the
gods.[72] This also showed Alexanders eagerness to ght,
in contrast to his fathers preference for diplomacy.[72]
After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle
of the Granicus, Alexander accepted the surrender of
the Persian provincial capital and treasury of Sardis; he
then proceeded along the Ionian coast. Though Alexander believed in his divine right to expend the lives of
men in battle, he did experience sorrow, as those who
died were rewarded generously: To the relatives of his
fallen, Alexander granted immunity from taxation and
public service. Whether it was his own warriors or
the Persian forces opposing him, Alexander chose to
respect those who died. He even went so far to set
up statues to honor and respect these people. Though
this did not directly inuence the culture of the Persians
they did not feel the need to begin a rebellion as their
men and rulers were treated with proper respect.[76] At
Halicarnassus, in Caria, Alexander successfully waged
the rst of many sieges, eventually forcing his opponents,
the mercenary captain Memnon of Rhodes and the Persian satrap of Caria, Orontobates, to withdraw by sea.[77]
Alexander left the government of Caria to Ada, who
adopted Alexander.[78]

Detail of Alexander Mosaic, showing Battle of Issus, from the


House of the Faun, Pompeii.

peace treaty that included the lands he had already lost,


and a ransom of 10,000 talents for his family. Alexander
replied that since he was now king of Asia, it was he alone
who decided territorial divisions.

Alexander the Great, although a generous man in victory,


eventually recognized the power that he was capable of
when he would defeat an enemy in war. Following the
siege of Tyre in 332, the enemy he defeated, Darius, attempted to present terms of unconditional surrender but
Alexander became ruthless. He realized that he had control and could receive much more. Darius was thus forced
to come back. This time the oer was impressive. Darius oered all territory as far as the Euphrates a colossal ransom of 30,000 talents for his familyinvited to
marry his eldest daughter. This new change in diplomatic relations induced panic among the leaders of the
surrounding nations, as they feared a similar defeat. This
led some barbarian cultures simply choosing to abdicate
From Halicarnassus, Alexander proceeded into mounpower to Alexander in order to avoid certain death.[84]
tainous Lycia and the Pamphylian plain, asserting control
over all coastal cities to deny the Persians naval bases. Alexander proceeded to take possession of Syria, and
From Pamphylia onwards the coast held no major ports most of the coast of the Levant.[78] In the following year,
and Alexander moved inland. At Termessos, Alexan- 332 BC, he was forced to attack Tyre, which he captured
der humbled but did not storm the Pisidian city.[79] At after a long and dicult siege.[85][86] Alexander massathe ancient Phrygian capital of Gordium, Alexander un- cred the men of military age and sold the women and
did the hitherto unsolvable Gordian Knot, a feat said to children into slavery.[87]
await the future king of Asia".[80] According to the story,
Alexander proclaimed that it did not matter how the knot
4.3 Egypt
was undone and hacked it apart with his sword.[81]

4.2

The Levant and Syria

Further information: Battle of Issus and Siege of Tyre


(332 BC)
Alexander journeyed south but was met by Darius signicantly larger army which he easily defeated, causing
Darius to panic. Although he was chased by some troops,
Alexander treated them (his family) with the respect
out of consideration, which demonstrated his continued
generosity and kindness towards those he conquered.[82]
Darius ed the battle, causing his army to collapse,
and left behind his wife, his two daughters, his mother
Sisygambis, and a fabulous treasure.[83] He oered a

Further information: Siege of Gaza


When Alexander destroyed Tyre, most of the towns on
the route to Egypt quickly capitulated, with the exception
of Gaza. The stronghold at Gaza was heavily fortied and
built on a hill, requiring a siege. Alexander came upon the
city only to be met with a surprising resistance and fortication. When his engineers pointed out to him that
because of the height of the mound it would be impossible this encouraged Alexander all the more to make
the attempt. The divine right that Alexander believed he
had gave him condence of a miracle occurring.[88] After three unsuccessful assaults, the stronghold fell, but not
before Alexander had received a serious shoulder wound.
As in Tyre, men of military age were put to the sword and

4.6

Fall of the Empire and the East

Name of Alexander the Great in Egyptian hieroglyphs (written


from right to left), c. 330 BC, Egypt. Louvre Museum.

Site of the Persian Gate; the road was built in the 1990s.

route to the city. He had to storm the pass of the Persian


Gates (in the modern Zagros Mountains) which had been
Jerusalem opened its gates in surrender, and accord- blocked by a Persian army under Ariobarzanes and then
ing to Josephus, Alexander was shown the Book of hurried to Persepolis before its garrison could loot the
[97]
Daniels prophecy, presumably chapter 8, which de- treasury.
scribed a mighty Greek king who would conquer the Per- On entering Persepolis, Alexander allowed his troops to
sian Empire. He spared Jerusalem and pushed south into loot the city for several days.[98] Alexander stayed in
Egypt.[90]
Persepolis for ve months.[99] During his stay a re broke
Alexander advanced on Egypt in later 332 BC, where he out in the eastern palace of Xerxes and spread to the rest
was regarded as a liberator.[91] He was pronounced the of the city. Possible causes include a drunken accident
new master of the Universe and son of the deity of or deliberate revenge for the burning of the Acropolis of
[100]
Amun at the Oracle of Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert.[92] Athens during the Second Persian War.
the women and children were sold into slavery.[89]

Henceforth, Alexander often referred to Zeus-Ammon


as his true father, and subsequent currency depicted him
adorned with rams horn as a symbol of his divinity.[93] 4.6
During his stay in Egypt, he founded Alexandria-byEgypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the
Ptolemaic Kingdom after his death.[94]

4.4

Fall of the Empire and the East

Assyria and Babylonia

Further information: Battle of Gaugamela


Leaving Egypt in 331 BC, Alexander marched eastward
into Mesopotamia (now northern Iraq) and again defeated Darius, at the Battle of Gaugamela.[95] Darius once
more ed the eld, and Alexander chased him as far as
Arbela. Gaugamela would be the nal and decisive encounter between the two. Darius ed over the mountains
to Ecbatana (modern Hamedan), while Alexander captured Babylon.[96]

4.5

Persia

Further information: Battle of the Persian Gate


From Babylon, Alexander went to Susa, one of
the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its legendary
treasury.[96] He sent the bulk of his army to the Persian ceremonial capital of Persepolis via the Royal Road.
Alexander himself took selected troops on the direct

Silver coin of Alexander wearing the lion scalp of Herakles,


British Museum.

Alexander then chased Darius, rst into Media, and


then Parthia.[101] The Persian king no longer controlled
his own destiny, and was taken prisoner by Bessus,
his Bactrian satrap and kinsman.[102] As Alexander approached, Bessus had his men fatally stab the Great King
and then declared himself Darius successor as Artaxerxes V, before retreating into Central Asia to launch
a guerrilla campaign against Alexander.[103] Alexander
buried Darius remains next to his Achaemenid predecessors in a regal funeral.[104] He claimed that, while
dying, Darius had named him as his successor to the
Achaemenid throne.[105] The Achaemenid Empire is normally considered to have fallen with Darius.[106]

Alexander viewed Bessus as a usurper and set out to defeat him. This campaign, initially against Bessus, turned
into a grand tour of central Asia. Alexander founded
a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including
modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and Alexandria Eschate (The Furthest) in modern Tajikistan. The campaign took Alexander through Media, Parthia, Aria (West
Afghanistan), Drangiana, Arachosia (South and Central
Afghanistan), Bactria (North and Central Afghanistan),
and Scythia.[107]
Spitamenes, who held an undened position in the satrapy
of Sogdiana, in 329 BC betrayed Bessus to Ptolemy,
one of Alexanders trusted companions, and Bessus
was executed.[108] However, when, at some point later,
Alexander was on the Jaxartes dealing with an incursion
by a horse nomad army, Spitamenes raised Sogdiana in
revolt. Alexander personally defeated the Scythians at the
Battle of Jaxartes and immediately launched a campaign
against Spitamenes, defeating him in the Battle of Gabai.
After the defeat, Spitamenes was killed by his own men,
who then sued for peace.[109]

4.7

Problems and plots

CONQUEST OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE

Persian dress and customs at his court, notably the custom of proskynesis, either a symbolic kissing of the hand,
or prostration on the ground, that Persians showed to their
social superiors.[110] The Greeks regarded the gesture as
the province of deities and believed that Alexander meant
to deify himself by requiring it. This cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen, and he eventually abandoned it.[111]
A plot against his life was revealed, and one of his ocers, Philotas, was executed for failing to alert Alexander. The death of the son necessitated the death of the
father, and thus Parmenion, who had been charged with
guarding the treasury at Ecbatana, was assassinated at
Alexanders command, to prevent attempts at vengeance.
Most infamously, Alexander personally killed the man
who had saved his life at Granicus, Cleitus the Black, during a violent drunken altercation at Maracanda (modern
day Samarkand in Uzbekistan), in which Cleitus accused
Alexander of several judgemental mistakes and most especially, of having forgotten the Macedonian ways in
favour of a corrupt oriental lifestyle.[112]
Later, in the Central Asian campaign, a second plot
against his life was revealed, this one instigated by his
own royal pages. His ocial historian, Callisthenes of
Olynthus, was implicated in the plot; however, historians
have yet to reach a consensus regarding this involvement.
Callisthenes had fallen out of favor by leading the opposition to the attempt to introduce proskynesis.[113]

4.8 Macedon in Alexanders absence


When Alexander set out for Asia, he left his general Antipater, an experienced military and political
leader and part of Philip IIs Old Guard, in charge of
Macedon.[73] Alexanders sacking of Thebes ensured that
Greece remained quiet during his absence.[73] The one
exception was a call to arms by Spartan king Agis III
in 331 BC, whom Antipater defeated and killed in battle at Megalopolis the following year.[73] Antipater referred the Spartans punishment to the League of Corinth,
which then deferred to Alexander, who chose to pardon
them.[114] There was also considerable friction between
Antipater and Olympias, and each complained to Alexander about the other.[115]
In general, Greece enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity during Alexanders campaign in Asia.[116] Alexander
sent back vast sums from his conquest, which stimulated
the economy and increased trade across his empire.[117]
However, Alexanders constant demands for troops and
The killing of Cleitus, Andr Castaigne 18981899
the migration of Macedonians throughout his empire depleted Macedons manpower, greatly weakening it in the
During this time, Alexander took the Persian title King years after Alexander, and ultimately led to its subjugaof Kings (Shahanshah) and adopted some elements of tion by Rome.[21]

5.2

Revolt of the army

Indian campaign

Main article: Indian campaign of Alexander the Great

5.1

Invasion of the Indian subcontinent

9
(Fox 1973), supplied their troops with provisions, and received Alexander himself, and his whole army, in his capital city of Taxila, with every demonstration of friendship
and the most liberal hospitality.
On the subsequent advance of the Macedonian king, Taxiles accompanied him with a force of 5000 men and took
part in the battle of the Hydaspes River. After that victory
he was sent by Alexander in pursuit of Porus, to whom he
was charged to oer favourable terms, but narrowly escaped losing his life at the hands of his old enemy. Subsequently, however, the two rivals were reconciled by the
personal mediation of Alexander; and Taxiles, after having contributed zealously to the equipment of the eet on
the Hydaspes, was entrusted by the king with the government of the whole territory between that river and the Indus. A considerable accession of power was granted him
after the death of Philip, son of Machatas; and he was
allowed to retain his authority at the death of Alexander
himself (323 BC), as well as in the subsequent partition
of the provinces at Triparadisus, 321 BC.
In the winter of 327/326 BC, Alexander personally led
a campaign against these clans; the Aspasioi of Kunar
valleys, the Guraeans of the Guraeus valley, and the
Assakenoi of the Swat and Buner valleys.[119] A erce
contest ensued with the Aspasioi in which Alexander
was wounded in the shoulder by a dart, but eventually the Aspasioi lost. Alexander then faced the Assakenoi, who fought in the strongholds of Massaga, Ora
and Aornos.[118]

The fort of Massaga was reduced only after days of


bloody ghting, in which Alexander was wounded seriously in the ankle. According to Curtius, Not only did
Alexander slaughter the entire population of Massaga, but
also did he reduce its buildings to rubble.[120] A similar
The phalanx attacking the centre in the Battle of the Hydaspes slaughter followed at Ora. In the aftermath of Massaga
and Ora, numerous Assakenians ed to the fortress of
by Andr Castaigne (18981899)
Aornos. Alexander followed close behind and captured
[118]
After the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Rox- the strategic hill-fort after four bloody days.
ana (Roshanak in Bactrian) to cement relations with his After Aornos, Alexander crossed the Indus and fought
new satrapies, Alexander turned to the Indian subconti- and won an epic battle against King Porus, who ruled a
nent. He invited the chieftains of the former satrapy of region in the Punjab, in the Battle of the Hydaspes in
Gandhara, in the north of what is now Pakistan, to come 326 BC.[121] Alexander was impressed by Poruss bravto him and submit to his authority. Omphis(Indian name ery, and made him an ally. He appointed Porus as satrap,
Ambhi Kumar), the ruler of Taxila, whose kingdom ex- and added to Porus territory land that he did not pretended from the Indus to the Hydaspes (Jhelum), com- viously own. Choosing a local helped him control these
plied, but the chieftains of some hill clans, including the lands so distant from Greece.[122] Alexander founded two
Aspasioi and Assakenoi sections of the Kambojas (known cities on opposite sides of the Hydaspes river, naming one
in Indian texts also as Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas), re- Bucephala, in honor of his horse, who died around this
fused to submit.[118] Ambhi hastened to relieve Alexander time.[123] The other was Nicaea (Victory), thought to be
of his apprehension and met him with valuable presents, located at the site of modern day Mong, Punjab.[124]
placing himself and all his forces at his disposal. Alexander not only returned Ambhi his title and the gifts but
he also presented him with a wardrobe of Persian robes, 5.2 Revolt of the army
gold and silver ornaments, 30 horses and 1000 talents in
gold. Alexander was emboldened to divide his forces, East of Porus kingdom, near the Ganges River, were
and Ambhi assisted Hephaestion and Perdiccas in con- the Nanda Empire of Magadha and further east the
structing a bridge over the Indus where it bends at Hund Gangaridai Empire (of modern day Bangladesh). Fearing

10

6 LAST YEARS IN PERSIA


Alexander sent much of his army to Carmania (modern
southern Iran) with general Craterus, and commissioned
a eet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral
Nearchus, while he led the rest back to Persia through the
more dicult southern route along the Gedrosian Desert
and Makran.[128] Alexander reached Susa in 324 BC, but
not before losing many men to the harsh desert.[129]

6 Last years in Persia

Alexanders invasion of the Indian subcontinent

the prospect of facing other large armies and exhausted


by years of campaigning, Alexanders army mutinied at Alexander, left, and Hephaestion, right
the Hyphasis River (Beas), refusing to march farther east.
This river thus marks the easternmost extent of Alexan- Discovering that many of his satraps and military goverders conquests.[125]
nors had misbehaved in his absence, Alexander executed
several of them as examples on his way to Susa.[130][131]
As a gesture of thanks, he paid o the debts of his solAs for the Macedonians, however, their
diers, and announced that he would send over-aged and
struggle with Porus blunted their courage and
disabled veterans back to Macedon, led by Craterus. His
stayed their further advance into India. For
troops misunderstood his intention and mutinied at the
having had all they could do to repulse an entown of Opis. They refused to be sent away and criticized
emy who mustered only twenty thousand inhis adoption of Persian customs and dress and the introfantry and two thousand horse, they violently
duction of Persian ocers and soldiers into Macedonian
opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossunits.[132]
ing the river Ganges also, the width of which,
as they learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its
depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on
the further side were covered with multitudes
of men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants.
For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with
eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six
thousand war elephants.[126]
Alexander tried to persuade his soldiers to march farther,
but his general Coenus pleaded with him to change his
opinion and return; the men, he said, longed to again see
their parents, their wives and children, their homeland.
Alexander eventually agreed and turned south, marching
along the Indus. Along the way his army conquered the
Malhi (in modern day Multan) and other Indian tribes and
sustained an injury during the siege.[127]

After three days, unable to persuade his men to back


down, Alexander gave Persians command posts in the
army and conferred Macedonian military titles upon Persian units. The Macedonians quickly begged forgiveness,
which Alexander accepted, and held a great banquet for
several thousand of his men at which he and they ate
together.[133] In an attempt to craft a lasting harmony between his Macedonian and Persian subjects, Alexander
held a mass marriage of his senior ocers to Persian and
other noblewomen at Susa, but few of those marriages
seem to have lasted much beyond a year.[131] Meanwhile,
upon his return, Alexander learned that guards of the
tomb of Cyrus the Great had desecrated it, and swiftly
executed them.[134]
After Alexander traveled to Ecbatana to retrieve the bulk
of the Persian treasure, his closest friend and possible
lover, Hephaestion, died of illness or poisoning.[135][136]
Hephaestions death devastated Alexander, and he or-

7.1

After death

11

assassination,[142] foul play featured in multiple accounts


of his death. Diodorus, Plutarch, Arrian and Justin
all mentioned the theory that Alexander was poisoned.
Justin stated that Alexander was the victim of a poisoning conspiracy, Plutarch dismissed it as a fabrication,[143]
while both Diodorus and Arrian noted that they mentioned it only for the sake of completeness.[141][144] The
accounts were nevertheless fairly consistent in designating Antipater, recently removed as Macedonian viceroy,
7 Death and succession
and at odds with Olympias, as the head of the alleged
plot. Perhaps taking his summons to Babylon as a death
Main article: Death of Alexander the Great
sentence,[145] and having seen the fate of Parmenion and
On either 10 or 11 June 323 BC, Alexander died in the
Philotas,[146] Antipater purportedly arranged for Alexander to be poisoned by his son Iollas, who was Alexanders wine-pourer.[144][146] There was even a suggestion
that Aristotle may have participated.[144]
dered the preparation of an expensive funeral pyre in
Babylon, as well as a decree for public mourning.[135]
Back in Babylon, Alexander planned a series of new campaigns, beginning with an invasion of Arabia, but he
would not have a chance to realize them, as he died shortly
thereafter.[137]

A Babylonian astronomical diary (c. 323322 BC) recording the


death of Alexander (British Museum, London)

19th century depiction of Alexanders funeral procession based


on the description of Diodorus

It is claimed that the strongest argument against the poison theory is the fact that twelve days passed between the
start of his illness and his death; such long-acting poisons were probably not available.[147] However, in 2003
Dr Leo Schep From The New Zealand National Poisons
Centre proposed in a BBC documentary investigating his
death that the plant white hellebore (Veratrum album)
may have been used to poison Alexander.[148][149][150] In
2014 Dr Leo Schep published this theory in the peerreviewed medical journal Clinical Toxicology; in this
journal article it was suggested Alexanders wine was
spiked with Veratrum album, a plant known to the Ancient Greeks, which produces poisoning symptoms that
match the course of events as described in the Alexander
Romance.[151] Veratrum album poisoning can have a prolonged course and it was suggested that if Alexander
was poisoned, Veratrum album oers the most plausible cause.[151][152] Another poisoning explanation was put
forward in 2010, it was proposed that the circumstances
of his death were compatible with poisoning by water of
the river Styx (Mavroneri) that contained calicheamicin,
a dangerous compound produced by bacteria.[153]
Several natural causes (diseases) have been suggested, including malaria and typhoid fever. A 1998 article in the
New England Journal of Medicine attributed his death to
typhoid fever complicated by bowel perforation and ascending paralysis.[154] Another recent analysis suggested
pyogenic spondylitis or meningitis.[155] Other illnesses t
the symptoms, including acute pancreatitis and West Nile
virus.[156][157] Natural-cause theories also tend to emphasise that Alexanders health may have been in general decline after years of heavy drinking and severe wounds.
The anguish that Alexander felt after Hephaestion's death
may also have contributed to his declining health.[154]

palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon, at age 32.[138]


There are two dierent versions of Alexanders death and
details of the death dier slightly in each. Plutarch's account is that roughly 14 days before his death, Alexander
entertained admiral Nearchus, and spent the night and
next day drinking with Medius of Larissa.[139] He developed a fever, which worsened until he was unable to
speak. The common soldiers, anxious about his health,
were granted the right to le past him as he silently waved
at them.[140] In the second account, Diodorus recounts
that Alexander was struck with pain after downing a large
7.1 After death
bowl of unmixed wine in honour of Heracles, followed by
11 days of weakness; he did not develop a fever and died See also: Tomb of Alexander the Great
after some agony.[141] Arrian also mentioned this as an alAlexanders body was laid in a gold anthropoid
ternative, but Plutarch specically denied this claim.[139] sarcophagus that was lled with honey, which was in
Given the propensity of the Macedonian aristocracy to turn placed in a gold casket.[158][159] According to Aelian,

12

7 DEATH AND SUCCESSION

7.2 Division of the empire


Main article: Diadochi
Alexanders death was so sudden that when reports

Detail of Alexander on the Alexander Sarcophagus.

Kingdoms of the Diadochi in 281 BC: the Ptolemaic Kingdom


(dark blue), the Seleucid Empire (yellow), Kingdom of Pergamon
(orange), and Macedonia (green). Also shown are the Roman
Republic (light blue), the Carthaginian Republic (purple), and
the Kingdom of Epirus (red).

a seer called Aristander foretold that the land where


Alexander was laid to rest would be happy and unvanquishable forever.[160] Perhaps more likely, the successors may have seen possession of the body as a symbol
of legitimacy, since burying the prior king was a royal of his death reached Greece, they were not immediprerogative.[161]
ately believed.[73] Alexander had no obvious or legitimate
IV by Roxane being born after
While Alexanders funeral cortege was on its way to heir, his son Alexander
[166]
Alexanders
death.
According
to Diodorus, AlexanMacedon, Ptolemy seized it and took it temporarily to
ders
companions
asked
him
on
his
deathbed to whom
[158][160]
Memphis.
His successor, Ptolemy II Philadelhe
bequeathed
his
kingdom;
his
laconic
reply was ti
phus, transferred the sarcophagus to Alexandria, where it
[141]
kratisti"to
the
strongest.
remained until at least late Antiquity. Ptolemy IX Lathyros, one of Ptolemys nal successors, replaced Alexanders sarcophagus with a glass one so he could convert
the original to coinage.[162] The recent discovery of an
enormous tomb in northern Greece, at Amphipolis, dating to the time of Alexander the Great [163] has given rise
to speculation that its original intent was to be the burial
place of Alexander. This would t with the intended destination of Alexanders funeral cortege.

Arrian and Plutarch claimed that Alexander was speechless by this point, implying that this was an apocryphal
story.[167] Diodorus, Curtius and Justin oered the more
plausible story that Alexander passed his signet ring
to Perdiccas, a bodyguard and leader of the companion cavalry, in front of witnesses, thereby nominating
him.[141][166]

Pompey, Julius Caesar and Augustus all visited the tomb


in Alexandria, where Augustus, allegedly, accidentally
knocked the nose o. Caligula was said to have taken
Alexanders breastplate from the tomb for his own use.
Around AD 200, Emperor Septimius Severus closed
Alexanders tomb to the public. His son and successor,
Caracalla, a great admirer, visited the tomb during his
own reign. After this, details on the fate of the tomb are
hazy.[162]

Perdiccas initially did not claim power, instead suggesting that Roxanes baby would be king, if male; with himself, Craterus, Leonnatus, and Antipater as guardians.
However, the infantry, under the command of Meleager,
rejected this arrangement since they had been excluded
from the discussion. Instead, they supported Alexanders half-brother Philip Arrhidaeus. Eventually, the two
sides reconciled, and after the birth of Alexander IV, he
and Philip III were appointed joint kings, albeit in name
only.[168]

The so-called "Alexander Sarcophagus", discovered near


Sidon and now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, is
so named not because it was thought to have contained
Alexanders remains, but because its bas-reliefs depict
Alexander and his companions ghting the Persians and
hunting. It was originally thought to have been the sarcophagus of Abdalonymus (died 311 BC), the king of
Sidon appointed by Alexander immediately following the
battle of Issus in 331.[164][165] However, more recently,
it has been suggested that it may date from earlier than
Abdalonymus death.

Dissension and rivalry soon aicted the Macedonians,


however. The satrapies handed out by Perdiccas at the
Partition of Babylon became power bases each general
used to bid for power. After the assassination of Perdiccas in 321 BC, Macedonian unity collapsed, and 40
years of war between The Successors (Diadochi) ensued before the Hellenistic world settled into four stable
power blocks: Ptolemaic Egypt, Selucid Mesopotamia
and Central Asia, Attalid Anatolia, and Antigonid Macedon. In the process, both Alexander IV and Philip III
were murdered.[169]

8.1

7.3

Generalship

13

Testament

Diodorus stated that Alexander had given detailed written


instructions to Craterus some time before his death.[170]
Craterus started to carry out Alexanders commands, but
the successors chose not to further implement them, on
the grounds they were impractical and extravagant.[170]
Nevertheless, Perdiccas read Alexanders will to his
troops.[73]
The testament called for military expansion into the
southern and western Mediterranean, monumental constructions, and the intermixing of Eastern and Western
populations. It included:
Construction of a monumental tomb for his father
Philip, to match the greatest of the pyramids of
Egypt"[73]

The Battle of Issus, 333 BC

was due to use of terrain, phalanx and cavalry tactics, bold


[172][173]
The
Erection of great temples in Delos, Delphi, Dodona, strategy, and the erce loyalty of his troops.
Dium, Amphipolis, and a monumental temple to Macedonian phalanx, armed with the sarissa, a spear 6
metres (20 ft) long, had been developed and perfected
Athena at Troy[73]
by Philip II through rigorous training,[173] and Alexander
Conquest of Arabia and the entire Mediterranean used its speed and maneuverability to great eect against
Basin[73]
larger but more disparate Persian forces.[173] Alexander also recognized the potential for disunity among his
Circumnavigation of Africa[73]
diverse army, which employed various languages and
weapons. He overcame this by being personally involved
Development of cities and the transplant of popuin battle,[99] in the manner of a Macedonian king.[172][173]
lations from Asia to Europe and in the opposite direction from Europe to Asia, in order to bring the In his rst battle in Asia, at Granicus, Alexander used
largest continent to common unity and to friendship only a small part of his forces, perhaps 13,000 infantry
with 5,000 cavalry, against a much larger Persian force of
by means of intermarriage and family ties.[171]
40,000. Alexander placed the phalanx at the center and
cavalry and archers on the wings, so that his line matched
the length of the Persian cavalry line, about 3 km (1.86
8 Character
mi). By contrast, the Persian infantry was stationed behind its cavalry. This ensured that Alexander would not
8.1 Generalship
be outanked, while his phalanx, armed with long pikes,
had a considerable advantage over the Persians scimitars
and javelins. Macedonian losses were negligible compared to those of the Persians.[174]
At Issus in 333 BC, his rst confrontation with Darius,
he used the same deployment, and again the central phalanx pushed through.[174] Alexander personally led the
charge in the center, routing the opposing army.[172] At
the decisive encounter with Darius at Gaugamela, Darius equipped his chariots with scythes on the wheels to
break up the phalanx and equipped his cavalry with pikes.
Alexander arranged a double phalanx, with the center
advancing at an angle, parting when the chariots bore
down and then reforming. The advance was successful
and broke Darius center, causing the latter to ee once
again.[174]
When faced with opponents who used unfamiliar ghting
techniques, such as in Central Asia and India, AlexanAlexander earned the epithet the Great due to his un- der adapted his forces to his opponents style. Thus, in
paralleled success as a military commander.[72] He never Bactria and Sogdiana, Alexander successfully used his
lost a battle, despite typically being outnumbered.[72] This javelin throwers and archers to prevent outanking moveThe Battle of the Granicus, 334 BC

14

CHARACTER

ments, while massing his cavalry at the center.[172] In Inhis garments were lled with it, this we have
dia, confronted by Porus elephant corps, the Macedoread in the Memoirs of Aristoxenus.[175]
nians opened their ranks to envelop the elephants and
used their sarissas to strike upwards and dislodge the ele- Greek historian Arrian (Lucius Flavius Arrianus
phants handlers.[133]
'Xenophon' c. 86160) described Alexander as:

8.2

Physical appearance

[T]he strong, handsome commander with


one eye dark as the night and one blue as the
sky.[176][177]
The semi-legendary Alexander Romance also suggests
that Alexander suered from heterochromia iridum: that
one eye was dark and the other light.[178]
British historian Peter Green provided a description of
Alexanders appearance, based on his review of statues
and some ancient documents:
Physically, Alexander was not prepossessing. Even by Macedonian standards he was
very short, though stocky and tough. His beard
was scanty, and he stood out against his hirsute
Macedonian barons by going clean-shaven. His
neck was in some way twisted, so that he appeared to be gazing upward at an angle. His
eyes (one blue, one brown) revealed a dewy,
feminine quality. He had a high complexion
and a harsh voice.[179]

Ancient authors recorded that Alexander was so pleased


with portraits of himself created by Lysippos that he
forbade other sculptors from crafting his image.[180]
Lysippos had often used the Contrapposto sculptural
characters such
Roman copy of a herma by Lysippos, Louvre Museum. Plutarch scheme to portray Alexander and other
[181]
as
Apoxyomenos,
Hermes
and
Eros.
Lysippos
sculpreports that sculptures by Lysippos were the most faithful.
ture, famous for its naturalism, as opposed to a stier,
pose, is thought to be the most faithful
Greek biographer Plutarch (c. 45120 AD) describes more static
[182]
depiction.
Alexanders appearance as:
The outward appearance of Alexander is
best represented by the statues of him which
Lysippus made, and it was by this artist alone
that Alexander himself thought it t that he
should be modelled. For those peculiarities
which many of his successors and friends afterwards tried to imitate, namely, the poise of
the neck, which was bent slightly to the left,
and the melting glance of his eyes, this artist
has accurately observed. Apelles, however,
in painting him as wielder of the thunder-bolt,
did not reproduce his complexion, but made it
too dark and swarthy. Whereas he was of a fair
colour, as they say, and his fairness passed into
ruddiness on his breast particularly, and in his
face. 4 Moreover, that a very pleasant odour
exhaled from his skin and that there was a fragrance about his mouth and all his esh, so that

8.3 Personality

Alexander (left) ghting an Asiatic lion with his friend Craterus


(detail). 3rd century BC mosaic, Pella Museum.

Some of Alexanders strongest personality traits formed


in response to his parents.[179] His mother had huge ambitions, and encouraged him to believe it was his destiny

8.4

Personal relationships

to conquer the Persian Empire.[179] Olympias inuence


instilled a sense of destiny in him,[183] and Plutarch tells
us that his ambition kept his spirit serious and lofty in
advance of his years.[184] However, his father Philip was
Alexanders most immediate and inuential role model,
as the young Alexander watched him campaign practically every year, winning victory after victory while ignoring severe wounds.[56] Alexanders relationship with
his father forged the competitive side of his personality;
he had a need to out-do his father, illustrated by his reckless behavior in battle.[179] While Alexander worried that
his father would leave him no great or brilliant achievement to be displayed to the world,[185] he also downplayed his fathers achievements to his companions.[179]

15
donians disapproved, and were loath to perform.[110]
This behavior cost him the sympathies of many of his
countrymen.[197] However, Alexander also was a pragmatic ruler who understood the diculties of ruling culturally disparate peoples, many of whom lived in kingdoms where the king was divine.[111][198] Thus, rather
than megalomania, his behavior may simply have been
a practical attempt at strengthening his rule and keeping
his empire together.[99][198]

8.4 Personal relationships

Main article: Personal relationships of Alexander the


Great
According to Plutarch, among Alexanders traits were
Alexander married twice: Roxana, daughter of the
a violent temper and rash, impulsive nature,[186] which
[179]
undoubtedly contributed to some of his decisions.
Although Alexander was stubborn and did not respond
well to orders from his father, he was open to reasoned
debate.[187] He had a calmer sideperceptive, logical,
and calculating. He had a great desire for knowledge,
a love for philosophy, and was an avid reader.[188] This
was no doubt in part due to Aristotles tutelage; Alexander was intelligent and quick to learn.[179] His intelligent
and rational side was amply demonstrated by his ability
and success as a general.[186] He had great self-restraint
in pleasures of the body, in contrast with his lack of self
control with alcohol.[189]
Alexander was erudite and patronized both arts and
sciences.[184][188] However, he had little interest in sports
or the Olympic games (unlike his father), seeking only the
Homeric ideals of honor (tim) and glory (kudos).[56][183]
He had great charisma and force of personality, characteristics which made him a great leader.[166][186] His
unique abilities were further demonstrated by the inability
of any of his generals to unite Macedonia and retain the
Empire after his death only Alexander had the ability
to do so.[166]
During his nal years, and especially after the death
of Hephaestion, Alexander began to exhibit signs
of megalomania and paranoia.[145] His extraordinary
achievements, coupled with his own ineable sense of
destiny and the attery of his companions, may have combined to produce this eect.[190] His delusions of grandeur
are readily visible in his testament and in his desire to conquer the world,[145] in as much, he is by various sources
described as having boundless ambition, [191][192] an epithet, the meaning of which, has descended into an historical clich.[193][194]
He appears to have believed himself a deity, or at least
sought to deify himself.[145] Olympias always insisted to
him that he was the son of Zeus,[195] a theory apparently
conrmed to him by the oracle of Amun at Siwa.[196] He
began to identify himself as the son of Zeus-Ammon.[196]
Alexander adopted elements of Persian dress and customs
at court, notably proskynesis, a practice of which Mace-

A mural in Pompeii, depicting the marriage of Alexander to Barsine (Stateira) in 324 BC. The couple are apparently dressed as
Ares and Aphrodite.

Bactrian nobleman Oxyartes, out of love;[199] and Stateira


II, a Persian princess and daughter of Darius III of
Persia, for political reasons.[200] He apparently had two
sons, Alexander IV of Macedon of Roxana and, possibly, Heracles of Macedon from his mistress Barsine. He lost another child when Roxana miscarried at
Babylon.[201][202]
Alexander also had a close relationship with his friend,
general, and bodyguard Hephaestion, the son of a Macedonian noble.[135][179][203] Hephaestions death devastated
Alexander.[135][204] This event may have contributed to
Alexanders failing health and detached mental state during his nal months.[145][154]
Alexanders sexuality has been the subject of specu-

16

lation and controversy.[205] No ancient sources stated


that Alexander had homosexual relationships, or that
Alexanders relationship with Hephaestion was sexual.
Aelian, however, writes of Alexanders visit to Troy
where Alexander garlanded the tomb of Achilles and
Hephaestion that of Patroclus, the latter riddling that
he was a beloved of Alexander, in just the same way
as Patroclus was of Achilles.[206] Noting that the word
eromenos (ancient Greek for beloved) does not necessarily bear sexual meaning, Alexander may have been bisexual, which in his time was not controversial.[207]
Green argues that there is little evidence in ancient
sources that Alexander had much carnal interest in
women; he did not produce an heir until the very end of
his life.[179] However, he was relatively young when he
died, and Ogden suggests that Alexanders matrimonial
record is more impressive than his fathers at the same
age.[208] Apart from wives, Alexander had many more female companions. Alexander accumulated a harem in the
style of Persian kings, but he used it rather sparingly;[209]
showing great self-control in pleasures of the body.[189]
Nevertheless, Plutarch described how Alexander was infatuated by Roxana while complimenting him on not
forcing himself on her.[210] Green suggested that, in the
context of the period, Alexander formed quite strong
friendships with women, including Ada of Caria, who
adopted him, and even Dariuss mother Sisygambis, who
supposedly died from grief upon hearing of Alexanders
death.[179]

LEGACY

Mediterranean.[21]

9.1 Hellenistic kingdoms


Main article: Hellenistic period
Alexanders most immediate legacy was the introduction
of Macedonian rule to huge new swathes of Asia. At
the time of his death, Alexanders empire covered some
5,200,000 km2 (2,000,000 sq mi),[212] and was the largest
state of its time. Many of these areas remained in Macedonian hands or under Greek inuence for the next 200
300 years. The successor states that emerged were, at
least initially, dominant forces, and these 300 years are
often referred to as the Hellenistic period.[213]
N
NW

NE

SW

SE

I.
Pharos

Legacy
Plan of Alexandria c. 30 BC

The eastern borders of Alexanders empire began to collapse even during his lifetime.[166] However, the power
vacuum he left in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent directly gave rise to one of the most powerful
Indian dynasties in history. Taking advantage of this,
Chandragupta Maurya (referred to in Greek sources as
Sandrokottos), of relatively humble origin, took control of the Punjab, and with that power base proceeded to
conquer the Nanda Empire.[214]

The Hellenistic world view after Alexander: ancient world map


of Eratosthenes (276194 BC), incorporating information from
the campaigns of Alexander and his successors.[211]

Alexanders legacy extended beyond his military conquests. His campaigns greatly increased contacts and
trade between East and West, and vast areas to the
east were signicantly exposed to Greek civilization and
inuence.[21] Some of the cities he founded became major cultural centers, many surviving into the 21st century.
His chroniclers recorded valuable information about the
areas through which he marched, while the Greeks themselves got a sense of belonging to a world beyond the

9.2 Founding of cities


Over the course of his conquests, Alexander founded
some twenty cities that bore his name, most of them
east of the Tigris.[111][215] The rst, and greatest, was
Alexandria in Egypt, which would become one of the
leading Mediterranean cities.[111] The cities locations reected trade routes as well as defensive positions. At rst,
the cities must have been inhospitable, little more than
defensive garrisons.[111] Following Alexanders death,
many Greeks who had settled there tried to return to
Greece.[111][215] However, a century or so after Alexanders death, many of the Alexandrias were thriving, with

9.3

Hellenization

17

elaborate public buildings and substantial populations that


included both Greek and local peoples.[111]

9.3

Hellenization

Main article: Hellenistic civilization


Hellenization was coined by the German historian Johann

Alexanders empire was the largest state of its time, covering approximately 5.2 million square km.

Gustav Droysen to denote the spread of Greek language,


culture, and population into the former Persian empire
after Alexanders conquest.[213] That this export took
place is undoubted, and can be seen in the great Hellenistic cities of, for instance, Alexandria, Antioch[216]
and Seleucia (south of modern Baghdad).[217] Alexander
sought to insert Greek elements into Persian culture and
attempted to hybridize Greek and Persian culture. This
culminated in his aspiration to homogenize the populations of Asia and Europe. However, his successors explicitly rejected such policies. Nevertheless, Hellenization occurred throughout the region, accompanied by a
distinct and opposite 'Orientalization' of the Successor
states.[216][218]
The core of Hellenistic culture was essentially
Athenian.[216][219] The close association of men
from across Greece in Alexanders army directly led to
the emergence of the largely Attic-based "koine", or
common Greek dialect.[220] Koine spread throughout
the Hellenistic world, becoming the lingua franca of
Hellenistic lands and eventually the ancestor of modern
Greek.[220] Furthermore, town planning, education, local
government, and art current in the Hellenistic period
were all based on Classical Greek ideals, evolving into
distinct new forms commonly grouped as Hellenistic.[216]
Aspects of Hellenistic culture were still evident in the
traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th
century.[221][222]
Some of the most unusual eects of Hellenization can
be seen in Afghanistan and India, in the region of the
relatively late-arising Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (250 BC125 BC) in modern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan
and the Greco-Indian Kingdom (180 BC - 10 CE) in
modern Afghanistan and India.[223] There on the newly
formed Silk Road Greek culture apparently hybridized

The Buddha, in Greco-Buddhist style, 1st2nd century AD,


Gandhara, ancient India. Tokyo National Museum.

with Indian, and especially Buddhist culture. The resulting syncretism known as Greco-Buddhism heavily inuenced the development of Buddhism and created a culture
of Greco-Buddhist art. These Greco-Buddhist kingdoms
sent some of the rst Buddhist missionaries to China, Sri
Lanka, and the Mediterranean (Greco-Buddhist monasticism). The rst gural portrayals of the Buddha, previously avoided by Buddhists, appeared at this time;
they were modeled on Greek statues of Apollo.[223] Several Buddhist traditions may have been inuenced by
the ancient Greek religion: the concept of Boddhisatvas
is reminiscent of Greek divine heroes,[224] and some
Mahayana ceremonial practices (burning incense, gifts
of owers, and food placed on altars) are similar to
those practiced by the ancient Greeks. One Greek king,
Menander I, probably became Buddhist, and was immortalized in Buddhist literature as 'Milinda'.[223] The process of Hellenization extended to the sciences, where
ideas from Greek astronomy ltered eastward and had
profoundly inuenced Indian astronomy by the early centuries AD.[225] For example, Greek astronomical instruments dating to the 3rd century BC were found in
the Greco-Bactrian city of Ai Khanoum in modern-day
Afghanistan[226] while the Greek concept of a spherical

18

LEGACY

earth surrounded by the spheres of planets was adopted in


India and eventually supplanted the long-standing Indian
cosmological belief of a at and circular earth.[225][227]
The Yavanajataka and Paulisa Siddhanta texts in particular show Greek inuence.

9.4

Inuence on Rome

The Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius (reigned c. 200180 BC),


wearing an elephant scalp, took over Alexanders legacy in the
east by again invading India, and establishing the Indo-Greek
kingdom (180 BC10 AD).

9.5 Legend
Main article: Alexander the Great in legend

This medallion was produced in Imperial Rome, demonstrating the inuence of Alexanders memory. Walters Art Museum,
Baltimore.

Alexander and his exploits were admired by many Romans, especially generals, who wanted to associate themselves with his achievements.[228] Polybius began his
Histories by reminding Romans of Alexanders achievements, and thereafter Roman leaders saw him as a role
model. Pompey the Great adopted the epithet Magnus
and even Alexanders anastole-type haircut, and searched
the conquered lands of the east for Alexanders 260-yearold cloak, which he then wore as a sign of greatness.[228]
Julius Caesar dedicated a Lysippean equestrian bronze
statue but replaced Alexanders head with his own, while
Octavian visited Alexanders tomb in Alexandria and
temporarily changed his seal from a sphinx to Alexanders
prole.[228] The emperor Trajan also admired Alexander, as did Nero and Caracalla.[228] The Macriani, a Roman family that in the person of Macrinus briey ascended to the imperial throne, kept images of Alexander
on their persons, either on jewelry, or embroidered into
their clothes.[229]
On the other hand, some Roman writers, particularly
Republican gures, used Alexander as a cautionary tale
of how autocratic tendencies can be kept in check by
republican values.[230] Alexander was used by these writers as an example of ruler values such as amicita (friendship) and clementia (clemency), but also iracundia (anger)
and cupiditas gloriae (over-desire for glory).[230]

Legendary accounts surround the life of Alexander the


Great, many deriving from his own lifetime, probably
encouraged by Alexander himself.[231] His court historian Callisthenes portrayed the sea in Cilicia as drawing back from him in proskynesis. Writing shortly after
Alexanders death, another participant, Onesicritus, invented a tryst between Alexander and Thalestris, queen
of the mythical Amazons. When Onesicritus read this
passage to his patron, Alexanders general and later King
Lysimachus reportedly quipped, I wonder where I was
at the time.[232]
In the rst centuries after Alexanders death, probably
in Alexandria, a quantity of the legendary material coalesced into a text known as the Alexander Romance,
later falsely ascribed to Callisthenes and therefore known
as Pseudo-Callisthenes. This text underwent numerous
expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity and the
Middle Ages,[233] containing many dubious stories,[231]
and was translated into numerous languages.[234]

9.6 In ancient and modern culture


Main articles: Cultural depictions of Alexander the Great
and Alexander the Great in the Quran
Alexander the Greats accomplishments and legacy have
been depicted in many cultures. Alexander has gured in
both high and popular culture beginning in his own era to
the present day. The Alexander Romance, in particular,
has had a signicant impact on portrayals of Alexander
in later cultures, from Persian to medieval European to

9.6

In ancient and modern culture

Alexander the Great depicted in a 14th-century Byzantine


manuscript

modern Greek.[234]
Alexander features prominently in modern Greek folklore, more so than any other ancient gure.[235] The colloquial form of his name in modern Greek (O Megalexandros) is a household name, and he is the only ancient
hero to appear in the Karagiozis shadow play.[235] One
well-known fable among Greek seamen involves a solitary mermaid who would grasp a ships prow during a
storm and ask the captain Is King Alexander alive?".
The correct answer is He is alive and well and rules the
world!", causing the mermaid to vanish and the sea to
calm. Any other answer would cause the mermaid to turn
into a raging Gorgon who would drag the ship to the bottom of the sea, all hands aboard.[235]

19
also is a group of men governed by the orders of a leader, bound by a social compact,
and its booty is divided according to a law
agreed upon. If by repeatedly adding desperate men this plague grows to the point where
it holds territory and establishes a xed seat,
seizes cities and subdues people, then it more
conspicuously assumes the name of kingdom,
and this name is now openly granted to it, not
for any subtraction of cupidity, but by addition
of impunity. For it was an elegant and true reply that was made to Alexander the Great by
a certain pirate whom he had captured. When
the king asked him what he was thinking of,
that he should molest the sea, he said with deant independence: 'The same as you when you
molest the world! Since I do this with a little
ship I am called a pirate. You do it with a great
eet and are called emperor'.[236]

In pre-Islamic Middle Persian (Zoroastrian) literature,


Alexander is referred to by the epithet gujastak, meaning accursed, and is accused of destroying temples and
burning the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism.[237] In Islamic
Iran, under the inuence of the Alexander Romance (in
Persian: Iskandarnamah), a more positive portrayal of Alexander emerges.[238] Firdausis Shahnameh
(The Book of Kings) includes Alexander in a line of
legitimate Iranian shahs, a mythical gure who explored
the far reaches of the world in search of the Fountain
of Youth.[239] Later Persian writers associate him with
philosophy, portraying him at a symposium with gures such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, in search of
immortality.[238]
The Syriac version of the Alexander Romance portrays
him as an ideal Christian world conqueror who prayed
to the one true God.[238] In Egypt, Alexander was portrayed as the son of Nectanebo II, the last pharaoh before the Persian conquest.[240] His defeat of Darius was
depicted as Egypts salvation, proving Egypt was still
ruled by an Egyptian.[240]

The gure of Dhul-Qarnayn (literally the Two-Horned


One) mentioned in the Quran is believed by some scholars to represent Alexander, due to parallels with the
[238]
In this tradition, he was a heroic
Post-Islamic Persian miniature depicting Khidr and Alexander Alexander Romance.
gure who built a wall to defend against the nations of
watching the Water of Life revive a salted sh
Gog and Magog.[240] He then traveled the known world
St. Augustine, in his book City of God, restated Ciceros in search for the Water of Life and Immortality, eventu[240]
parable showing that Alexander the Great was little more ally becoming a prophet.
than a leader of a robber band:
In Hindi and Urdu, the name Sikandar, derived from
And so if justice is left out, what are kingdoms except great robber bands? For what are
robber bands except little kingdoms? The band

Persian, denotes a rising young talent.[241] In medieval


Europe he was made a member of the Nine Worthies,
a group of heroes who encapsulated all the ideal qualities
of chivalry.

20

10

14

Historiography

Main article: Alexander the Great in historiography


Apart from a few inscriptions and fragments, texts written by people who actually knew Alexander or who gathered information from men who served with Alexander were all lost.[21] Contemporaries who wrote accounts
of his life included Alexanders campaign historian Callisthenes; Alexanders generals Ptolemy and Nearchus;
Aristobulus, a junior ocer on the campaigns; and
Onesicritus, Alexanders chief helmsman. Their works
are lost, but later works based on these original sources
have survived. The earliest of these is Diodorus Siculus (1st century BC), followed by Quintus Curtius Rufus
(mid-to-late 1st century AD), Arrian (1st to 2nd century
AD), the biographer Plutarch (1st to 2nd century AD),
and nally Justin, whose work dated as late as the 4th
century.[21] Of these, Arrian is generally considered the
most reliable, given that he used Ptolemy and Aristobulus
as his sources, closely followed by Diodorus.[21]

11

Ancestry

12

See also

Alexander the Great in the Qur'an


Bucephalus
Chronology of European exploration of Asia
Diogenes and Alexander
List of people known as The Great

13

Notes

^ i: By the time of his death, he had conquered the entire


Achaemenid Persian Empire, adding it to Macedons
European territories; according to some modern writers,
this was most of the world then known to the ancient
Greeks (the 'Ecumene').[242][243] An approximate view of
the world known to Alexander can be seen in Hecataeus
of Miletus's map; see Hecataeus world map.
^ ii: For instance, Hannibal supposedly ranked Alexander as the greatest general;[244] Julius Caesar wept on
seeing a statue of Alexander, since he had achieved so
little by the same age;[245] Pompey consciously posed as
the 'new Alexander';[246] the young Napoleon Bonaparte
also encouraged comparisons with Alexander.[247]
^ iii: The name derives from the Greek
verb (alex) ward o, avert, defend[248][249] and
- (andr-), the stem of (anr) man,[250][249]
and means protector of men.[251]

REFERENCES

^ iv: In the early 5th century the royal house of


Macedon, the Temenidae, was recognised as Greek by
the Presidents of the Olympic Games. Their verdict was
and is decisive. It is certain that the Kings considered
themselves to be of Greek descent from Heracles son of
Zeus.[252]
^ v: AEACIDS Descendants of Aeacus, son of Zeus
and the nymph Aegina, eponymous (see the term) to
the island of that name. His son was Peleus, father of
Achilles, whose descendants (real or supposed) called
themselves Aeacids: thus Pyrrhus and Alexander the
Great.[253]
^ vi: There have been, since the time, many suspicions
that Pausanias was actually hired to murder Philip.
Suspicion has fallen upon Alexander, Olympias and even
the newly crowned Persian Emperor, Darius III. All three
of these people had motive to have Philip murdered.[254]

14 References
[1] Alexander the Great: Youths of the Pellaians and of
the Macedonians and of the Hellenic Amphictiony and of
the Lakedaimonians and of the Corinthians and of all
the Hellenic peoples, join your fellow-soldiers and entrust
yourselves to me, so that we can move against the barbarians and liberate ourselves from the Persian bondage, for
as Greeks we should not be slaves to barbarians. PseudoKallisthenes, Historia Alexandri Magni, 1.15.1-4
Alexander the Great: Now you fear punishment and
beg for your lives, so I will let you free, if not for any other
reason so that you can see the dierence between a Greek
king and a barbarian tyrant, so do not expect to suer any
harm from me. A king does not kill messengers. Historia
Alexandri Magni of Pseudo-Kallisthenes, 1.37.9-13
Alexander the Great addressing his troops prior to the
Battle of Issus: There are Greek troops, to be sure, in
Persian service but how dierent is their cause from
ours! They will be ghting for pay and not much of at
that; we, on the contrary, shall ght for Greece, and our
hearts will be in it. Anabasis Alexandri by Roman historian Arrian, Book II, 7
Alexanders letter to Persian king Darius in response to
a truce plea: Your ancestors came to Macedonia and the
rest of Hellas (Greece) and did us great harm, though we
had done them no prior injury. I have been appointed
leader of the Greeks, and wanting to punish the Persians
I have come to Asia, which I took from you. Anabasis
Alexandri by Arrian; translated as Anabasis of Alexander
by P. A. Brunt, for the Loeb Edition Book II 14, 4
Alexander the Great: If it were not my purpose to combine barbarian things with things Hellenic (Greek), to traverse and civilize every continent, to search out the uttermost parts of land and sea, to push the bounds of Macedonia to the farthest Ocean, and to disseminate and shower
the blessings of the Hellenic justice and peace over every
nation, I should not be content to sit quietly in the luxury of
idle power, but I should emulate the frugality of Diogenes.
But as things are, forgive me Diogenes, that I imitate Herakles, and emulate Perseus, and follow in the footsteps of

21

Dionysos, the divine author and progenitor of my family,


and desire that victorious Hellenes should dance again in
India and revive the memory of the Bacchic revels among
the savage mountain tribes beyond the Kaukasos. On the
Fortune of Alexander by Plutarch, 332 a-b
Alexander addressing the dead Hellenes (the Athenian
and Thebean Greeks) of the Battle of Chaeronea: Holy
shadows of the dead, I'm not to blame for your cruel and
bitter fate, but the accursed rivalry which brought sister
nations and brother people, to ght one another. I do not
feel happy for this victory of mine. On the contrary, I
would be glad, brothers, if I had all of you standing here
next to me, since we are united by the same language,
the same blood and the same visions. Historiae Alexandri
Magni by Quintus Curtius Rufus
Alexander I of Macedon, ancestor of Alexander the
Great, member of the Argead dynasty: Tell your king
(Xerxes), who sent you, how his Greek viceroy of Macedonia has received you hospitably. Herodotus, Histories,
5.20.4, Loeb
Alexander I of Macedon, ancestor of Alexander the
Great, member of the Argead dynasty, when he was admitted to the Olympic games: Men of Athens... In truth
I would not tell it to you if I did not care so much for
all Hellas; I myself am by ancient descent a Greek, and
I would not willingly see Hellas change her freedom for
slavery. I tell you, then, that Mardonius and his army cannot get omens to his liking from the sacrices. Otherwise
you would have fought long before this. Now, however,
it is his purpose to pay no heed to the sacrices, and to
attack at the rst glimmer of dawn, for he fears, as I surmise, that your numbers will become still greater. Therefore, I urge you to prepare, and if (as may be) Mardonius
should delay and not attack, wait patiently where you are;
for he has but a few days provisions left. If, however, this
war ends as you wish, then must you take thought how to
save me too from slavery, who have done so desperate a
deed as this for the sake of Hellas in my desire to declare
to you Mardonius intent so that the barbarians may not
attack you suddenly before you yet expect them. I who
speak am Alexander the Macedonian. Herodotus, Histories, 9.45 (ed. A. D. Godley)
Ian Worthington, English historian and archaeologist:
Not much need to be said about the Greekness of ancient
Macedonia: it is undeniable. Ian Worthington, Philip II
of Macedonia, Yale University Press, 2008
Ulrich Wilcken: When we take into account the political conditions, religion and morals of the Macedonians,
our conviction is strengthened that they were a Greek
race and akin to the Dorians. Having stayed behind in
the extreme north, they were unable to participate in the
progressive civilization of the tribes which went further
south. Ulrich Wilcken, Alexander the Great, p. 22
Strabo: And Macedonia, of course, is a part of
Greece. Strabo. VII, Frg. 9 (Loeb, H.L. Jones)
Herodotus: Now that these descendants of Perdiccas
(Perdiccas I of Macedon, King of Macedonia from about
700 BCE to about 678 BCE) are Greeks, as they themselves say, I myself chance to know and will prove it in
the later part of my history. Herodotus, Book 5, Ch. 22,
1 (Loeb)
Josephus: And when the book of Daniel was showed
to Alexander the Great, where Daniel declared that one of

the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he


supposed that himself was the person intended; and as he
was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present.
Josephus 11.8.5
Arrian: There a man appeared to them wearing a
Greek cloak and dressed otherwise in the Greek fashion,
and speaking Greek also. Those Macedonians who rst
sighted him said that they burst into teers, so strange did
it seem after all these miseries to see a Greek, and to hear
Greek spoken. Arrian: Anabasis Alexandri: Book VIII
(Indica)
Titus Livius: The Aitolians, the Akarnanians, the
Macedonians, men of the same speech, are united or disunited by trivial causes that arise from time to time; with
aliens, with barbarians, all Greeks wage and will wage
eternal war; for they are enemies by the will of nature,
which is eternal, and not from reasons that change from
day to day. Titus Livius, Liber XXXI, 29, 15
David H. Levinson: It should be noted that there is
no connection between the Macedonians of the time of
Alexander the Great who were related to other Hellenic
tribes and the Macedonians of today, who are of Slavic
Origin and related to the Bulgarians. Encyclopedia of
World Cultures (1991), by David H. Levinson, page 239.
Nicholas Hammond: Philip was born a Greek of the
most aristocratic, indeed of divine, descent... Philip was
both a Greek and a Macedonian, even as Demosthenes
was a Greek and an Athenian... The Macedonians over
whom Philip was to rule were an outlying family member of the Greek-speaking peoples. Nicholas Hummond,
Philip of Macedon, Duckworth Publishing, 1998
Nicholas Hammond: All in all, the language of the
Macedones was a distinct and particular form of Greek,
resistant to outside inunces and conservative in pronunciation. It remained so until the fourth century when it was
almost totally submerged by the ood tide of standardized
Greek. Nicholas Hummond, A History of Macedonia Vol
ii, 550-336 BC
Nicholas Hammond: As members of the Greek race
and speakers of the Greek language, the Macedonians
shared in the ability to initiate ideas and create political
forms. Nicholas Hummond, The Miracle that was Macedonia, 1992, p. 206
M. Opperman, The Oxford Classical Dictionary 3rd ed.
(1996) - Macedonia, Cults, page 905: Nowadays historians generally agree that the Macedonian ethnos form part
of the Greek ethnos; hence they also shared in the common religious and cultural features of the Hellenic world
Robin Lane Fox: 1) Alexander was still the Greek
avenger of Persian sacrilege who told his troops, it was
said 'that Persepolis was the most hateful city in the world'.
On the road there, he met with the families of Greeks
who had deported to Persia by previous kings, and true to
his slogan, he honoured them conspicuously, giving them
money, ve changes of clothing, farm animals, corn, a free
passage home, and exemption from taxes and bureaucratic
harassments. p. 256,
2) To his ancestors (to a Persians ancestors) Macedonians were only known as 'yona takabara', the 'Greeks who
wear shields on their heads, an allusion to their broadbrimmed hats. p. 104,
3) Alexander was not the rst Greek to be honoured as a
god for political favour. p. 131,

22

14

4) In spirit, Alexander made a gesture to the Lydians


sensitivities, though his Greek crusade owed them nothing as they were not Greeks. p. 128. Robin Lane Fox,
Alexander the Great, Penguin Books, UK, 1997
Katheryn A. Bard: The Macedonians were originally
one of several Greek tribes living on the northern frontier
of the Hellenic world. Katheryn A. Bard, Encyclopaedia
of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, Taylor & Francis,
1999, p. 460.
Benjamin Ide Wheeler: That the Macedonians were
Greek by race there can be no longer any doubt. They
were the northernmost fragments of the race left stranded
behind the barriers. Benjamin Ide Wheeler, Alexander
the Great: The Merging of East and West in Universal History, Elibron Classics, 2011

[16] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 171.


[17] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 188
[18] Plutarch 1919, III, 2
[19] Bose 2003, p. 21
[20] Renault 2001, pp. 3334
[21] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 186
[22] Plutarch 1919, VI, 5
[23] Fox 1980, p. 64
[24] Renault 2001, p. 39.

[2] Zacharia 2008, Simon Hornblower, Greek Identity in the


Archaic and Classical Periods, pp. 5558; Joint Association of Classical Teachers 1984, pp. 5051; Errington
1990; Fine 1983, pp. 607608; Hall 2000, p. 64;
Hammond 2001, p. 11; Jones 2001, p. 21; Osborne
2004, p. 127; Hammond 1989, pp. 1213; Hammond
1993, p. 97; Starr 1991, pp. 260, 367; Toynbee 1981, p.
67; Worthington 2008, pp. 8, 219; Chamoux 2002, p. 8;
Cawkwell 1978, p. 22; Perlman 1973, p. 78; Hamilton
1974, Chapter 2: The Macedonian Homeland, p. 23;
Bryant 1996, p. 306; O'Brien 1994, p. 25.

[25] Fox 1980, p. 65

[3] Simon Hornblower, Greek Identity in the Archaic and


Classical Periods in Katerina Zacharia, Hellenisms, Ashgate Publishing, 2008, pp. 5558.

[32] Renault 2001, p. 47.

[4] Alexander the Great (356323 BC)". UK: BBC.

[34] Renault 2001, pp. 4749

[5] Yenne 2010, p. 159.

[35] Renault 2001, pp. 5051

[6] Heckel, Waldemar; Tritle, Lawrence A., eds. (2009).


The Corinthian League. Alexander the Great: A New
History. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 99. ISBN 1405130822.

[36] Bose 2003, pp. 4445.

[7] Burger, Michael (2008). The Shaping of Western Civilization: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment. University of
Toronto Press. p. 76. ISBN 1551114321.
[8] Yenne 2010, p. viii.
[9] Guardian on Time Magazines 100 personalities of all
time.
[10] Ranker.com - The most inuential people of all time.

REFERENCES

[26] Renault 2001, p. 44


[27] McCarty 2004, p. 15
[28] Fox 1980, pp. 6566
[29] Renault 2001, pp. 4547
[30] McCarty 2004, p. 16
[31] Fox 1980, p. 68

[33] Bose 2003, p. 43.

[37] McCarty 2004, p. 23.


[38] Renault 2001, p. 51
[39] Bose 2003, p. 47.
[40] McCarty 2004, p. 24.
[41] Diodorus Siculus 1989, XVI, 86
[42] History of Ancient Sparta. Sikyon. Archived from the
original on 10 December 2009. Retrieved 14 November
2009.

[11] The birth of Alexander the Great. Livius. Retrieved


16 December 2011. Alexander was born the sixth of
Hekatombaion.

[43] Renault 2001, p. 54

[12] Green, Peter (1970), Alexander of Macedon, 356323


B.C.: a historical biography, Hellenistic culture and society (illustrated, revised reprint ed.), University of California Press, p. xxxiii, ISBN 978-0-520-07165-0, 356
Alexander born in Pella. The exact date is not known, but
probably either 20 or 26 July.

[45] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 179

[13] McCarty 2004, p. 10

[49] Bose 2003, p. 75

[14] Renault 2001, p. 28

[50] Renault 2001, p. 56

[15] Durant 1966, p. 538

[51] Renault 2001, p. 59

[44] McCarty 2004, p. 26.

[46] McCarty 2004, p. 27


[47] Plutarch 1919, IX, 1
[48] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 180

23

[52] Fox 1980, p. 71

[90] Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, XI, 337 [viii, 5]

[53] McCarty 2004, pp. 3031

[91] Ring et al. 1994, pp. 49, 320

[54] Renault 2001, pp. 6162

[92] Grimal 1992, p. 382

[55] Fox 1980, p. 72

[93] Dahmen 2007, pp. 1011

[56] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 190

[94] Arrian 1976, III, 1

[57] Green 2007, pp. 56

[95] Arrian 1976, III 715

[58] Renault 2001, pp. 7071

[96] Arrian 1976, III, 16

[59] McCarty 2004, p. 31

[97] Arrian 1976, III, 18

[60] Renault 2001, p. 72

[98] Foreman 2004, p. 152

[61] Fox 1980, p. 104

[99] Morkot 1996, p. 121

[62] Bose 2003, p. 95

[100] Hammond 1983, pp. 7273

[63] Stoneman 2004, p. 21

[101] Arrian 1976, III, 1920.

[64] Dillon 2004, p. 187188

[102] Arrian 1976, III, 21.

[65] Bose 2003, p. 96

[103] Arrian 1976, III, 21, 25.

[66] Arrian 1976, I, 1

[104] Arrian 1976, III, 22.

[67] Arrian 1976, I, 2

[105] Gergel 2004, p. 81

[68] Arrian 1976, I, 34


[69] Renault 2001, pp. 7374

[106] The end of Persia. Livius. Retrieved 16 November


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[70] Arrian 1976, I, 56

[107] Arrian 1976, III, 2325, 2730; IV, 17.

[71] Renault 2001, p. 77

[108] Arrian 1976, III, 30.

[72] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 192

[109] Arrian 1976, IV, 56, 1617.

[73] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 199

[110] Arrian 1976, VII, 11

[74] Pseudo-Kallisthenes, Historia Alexandri Magni, 1.15.1-4 [111] Morkot 1996, p. 111
[75] Arrian 1976, I, 11

[112] Gergel 2004, p. 99

[76] Arrian 1976, I, 1319

[113] Heckel & Tritle 2009, pp. 4748

[77] Arrian 1976, I, 2023

[114] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 201

[78] Arrian 1976, I, 23

[115] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 202

[79] Arrian 1976, I, 2728

[116] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 203

[80] Arrian 1976, I, 3

[117] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 205

[81] Green 2007, p. 351

[118] Tripathi 1999, pp. 11821

[82] Arrian 1976, I, 610

[119] Narain 1965, pp. 155165

[83] Arrian 1976, I, 1112

[120] McCrindle 1997, p. 229

[84] Arrian 1976, I, 34 II, 14

[121] Tripathi 1999, pp. 12425

[85] Arrian 1976, II, 1624

[122] Tripathi 1999, pp. 12627

[86] Gunther 2007, p. 84

[123] Gergel 2004, p. 120

[87] Sabin, van Wees & Whitby 2007, p. 396

[124] Worthington 2003, p. 175

[88] Arrian 1976, II, 26

[125] Tripathi 1999, pp. 12930

[89] Arrian 1976, II, 2627

[126] Plutarch 1919, LXII, 1

24

[127] Tripathi 1999, pp. 13738


[128] Tripathi 1999, p. 141
[129] Morkot 1996, p. 9
[130] Arrian 1976, VI, 27
[131] Arrian 1976, VII, 4
[132] Worthington 2003, pp. 307308
[133] Roisman & Worthington 2010, p. 194
[134] Arrian 1976, II, 29
[135] Arrian 1976, VII, 14
[136] Berkley 2006, p. 101
[137] Arrian 1976, VII, 19

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16 FURTHER READING

Tripathi, Rama Shankar (1999). History of Ancient


India. ISBN 978-81-208-0018-2.
Heckel, Waldemar; Tritle, Lawrence A, eds.
(2009). Alexander the Great: A New History. WileyBlackwell. pp. 4748. ISBN 978-1-4051-3082-0.
Wood, Michael (2001). In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: A Journey from Greece to Asia.
University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-52023192-4.

Hammond, NGL (1989). The Macedonian State:


Origins, Institutions, and History. Oxford University
Press. ISBN 0-19-814883-6.
Hammond, NGL (1994). Alexander the Great:
King, Commander, and Statesman (3 ed.). London:
Bristol Classical Press.
Hammond, NGL (1997). The Genius of Alexander
the Great. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina
Press.

Worthington, Ian (2003). Alexander the Great: A


Reader. Routledge. p. 332. ISBN 0-415-29187-9.

Mercer, Charles (1962). The Way of Alexander the


Great (1 ed.). Boston: American Heritage Inc.

Yenne, Bill (2010). Alexander the Great: Lessons


From Historys Undefeated General. Palmgrave
McMillan. ISBN 978-0-230-61915-9.

McCrindle, JW (1893). The Invasion of India by


Alexander the Great as Described by Arrian, Q Curtius, Diodorus, Plutarch, and Justin. Westminster:
Archibald Constable & Co.

16

Further reading

Badian, Ernst (1958). Alexander the Great and the


Unity of Mankind. Historia 7: 425444.
Beazley, JD; Ashmole, B (1932). Greek Sculpture
and Painting. Cambridge University Press.
Bowra, Maurice (1994). The Greek Experience.
Phoenix. ISBN 1-85799-122-2.
Burn, AR (1951). Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Empire (2 ed.). London: English Universities
Press.
Curtius. Curtius Rufus, History of Alexander the
Great (in Latin). U Chicago. Retrieved 16 November 2009.

Murphy, James Jerome; Katula, Richard A; Hill,


Forbes I; Ochs, Donovan J (2003). A Synoptic History of Classical Rhetoric. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 17. ISBN 1-880393-35-2.
Nandan, Y; Bhavan, BV (2003). British Death
March Under Asiatic Impulse: Epic of Anglo-Indian
Tragedy in Afghanistan. Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya
Bhavan. ISBN 81-7276-301-8.
O'Brien, John Maxwell (1992). Alexander the
Great: The Invisible Enemy. London: Routledge.
Pomeroy, S; Burstein, S; Dolan, W; Roberts, J
(1998). Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19509742-4.

Alexander the Great.

Prevas, John (2004). Envy of the Gods: Alexander


the Greats Ill-Fated Journey Across Asia (3 ed.). Da
Capo.

Doherty, Paul (2004). The Death of Alexander the


Great. Carroll & Graf.

Roisman, Joseph, ed. (1995). Alexander the Great


Ancient and Modern Perspectives. Problems in European Civilization. Lexington, MA: DC Heath.

Cartledge, Paul (2004).


Overlook.

Engels, Donald W (1978). Alexander the Great and


the Logistics of the Macedonian Army. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
Fawcett, Bill, ed. (2006). How To Lose A Battle:
Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders. Harper.
ISBN 0-06-076024-9.

Savill, Agnes (1959). Alexander the Great and His


Time (3 ed.). London: Barrie & Rockli.
Singh, Kirpal (2005). Kambojas Through the Ages.
p. 134.

Fuller, JFC (1958). The Generalship of Alexander


the Great. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode.

Stewart, Andrew (1993). Faces of Power: Alexanders Image and Hellenistic Politics. Hellenistic Culture and Society 11. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Green, Peter (1992). Alexander of Macedon: 356


323 BC. A Historical Biography. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07166-2.

Stoneman, Richard (2008). Alexander the Great: A


Life in Legend. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300-11203-0.

Greene, Robert (2000). The 48 Laws of Power.


Penguin. p. 351. ISBN 0-14-028019-7.

Tarn, WW (1948). Alexander the Great. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

29
Wheeler, Benjamin Ide (1900). Alexander the
Great; the merging of East and West in universal history. New York: GP Putnams sons.
Wilcken, Ulrich (1997) [1932]. Alexander the
Great. New York: WW Norton & Co. ISBN 0393-00381-7.
Worthington, Ian (2004). Alexander the Great: Man
And God. Pearson. ISBN 978-1-4058-0162-1.

17

External links

Delamarche, Flix (1833), The Empire and Expeditions of Alexander the Great.
Romm, James; Cartledge, Paul, Two Great Historians On Alexander the Great, Forbes (conversations) |chapter= ignored (help); Part 2, Part 3, Part
4, Part 5, Part 6.
Alexander the Great at DMOZ
Alexander the Great: An annotated list of primary
sources, Livius.
The Elusive Tomb of Alexander the Great, Archology.
Alexander the Great and Sherlock Holmes, Sherlockian Sherlock.

30

18

18
18.1

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Alexander the Great Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander%20the%20Great?oldid=655588098 Contributors: AxelBoldt,


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Psmith, Vardion, Waerth, Tonsofpcs, ChrisO, Mhacdebhandia, PBS, Schutz, RedWolf, Donreed, Altenmann, Naddy, Lowellian, Mirv,
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Kbahey, Tourguide, Inter, Tom harrison, Aratuk, Lupin, Hagedis, MSGJ, Zigger, Peruvianllama, Average Earthman, Everyking, No Guru,
Perl, Maha ts, Curps, Varlaam, Jfdwol, Pavlidis, DO'Neil, Canon, Gilgamesh, Guanaco, Per Honor et Gloria, Mboverload, Redux, Solipsist, Foobar, Khalid hassani, Bobblewik, Tagishsimon, Golbez, Richard Myers, Wmahan, PenguiN42, Gadum, Utcursch, Sohailstyle, Geni,
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18.2

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domain Contributors: Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Innotata using CommonsHelper. Original artist: Jona Lendering
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18.2

Images

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File:Alexander_and_Hephaestion.jpg Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Alexander_and_Hephaestion.


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File:Mappa_di_Eratostene.jpg Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Mappa_di_Eratostene.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: Bunbury, E.H. (1811-1895), A History of Ancient Geography among the Greeks and Romans from the Earliest Ages
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20Pages/112.html Original artist: Bunbury, E.H. (1811-1895) / Eratosthenes?
File:Mid-nineteenth_century_reconstruction_of_Alexander{}s_catafalque_based_on_the_description_by_Diodorus.jpg
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File:Name_of_Alexander_the_Great_in_Hieroglyphs_circa_330_BCE.jpg Source:
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photographed at Louvre Museum, own letters added Original artist: PHGCOM
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34

18

TEXT AND IMAGE SOURCES, CONTRIBUTORS, AND LICENSES

File:Pella_Lion_Hunt_Mosaic.jpg Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/Pella_Lion_Hunt_Mosaic.jpg License: Copyrighted free use Contributors: ? Original artist: ?
File:People_icon.svg Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/People_icon.svg License: CC0 Contributors: OpenClipart Original artist: OpenClipart
File:Plan_of_Alexandria_c_30_BC_Otto_Puchstein_1890s_EN.svg Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/
Plan_of_Alexandria_c_30_BC_Otto_Puchstein_1890s_EN.svg License: CC BY-SA 3.0 Contributors: Based on: Shepherd, William
(1911) Historical Atlas New York: Henry Holt & Co. p. 34-35. Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at
Austin. Perry-Castaeda Library Map Collection. Original artist: Philg88
File:Portal-puzzle.svg Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fd/Portal-puzzle.svg License: Public domain Contributors: ?
Original artist: ?
File:Roman_-_Medallion_with_Alexander_the_Great_-_Walters_591_-_Obverse.jpg Source:
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wikipedia/commons/6/6a/Roman_-_Medallion_with_Alexander_the_Great_-_Walters_591_-_Obverse.jpg License:
Public domain Contributors: Walters Art Museum: <a href='http://thewalters.org/' data-x-rel='nofollow'><img alt='Nuvola lesystems folder
home.svg'
src='//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/81/Nuvola_filesystems_folder_home.svg/20px-Nuvola_
filesystems_folder_home.svg.png' width='20' height='20' srcset='//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/81/Nuvola_
filesystems_folder_home.svg/30px-Nuvola_filesystems_folder_home.svg.png 1.5x,
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thumb/8/81/Nuvola_filesystems_folder_home.svg/40px-Nuvola_filesystems_folder_home.svg.png 2x' data-le-width='128' data-leheight='128' /></a> Home page <a href='http://art.thewalters.org/detail/21555' data-x-rel='nofollow'><img alt='Information icon.svg'
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width='20'
height='20' srcset='//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/35/Information_icon.svg/30px-Information_icon.svg.png 1.5x,
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data-le-height='620' /></a> Info about artwork Original artist: Anonymous (Roman Empire)
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commons/3/34/The_killing_of_Cleitus_by_Andre_Castaigne_%281898-1899%29_reduced.jpg License: Public domain Contributors:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:The_killing_of_Cleitus_by_Andre_Castaigne_%281898-1899%29.jpg Original artist: Andre
Castaigne
File:The_phalanx_attacking_the_centre_in_the_battle_of_the_Hydaspes_by_Andre_Castaigne_(1898-1899).jpg
Source:
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Castaigne_%281898-1899%29.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: Public Domain Original artist: Andr Castaigne
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