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published: 1/20/05
updated: 12/19/13

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Alexander the Great

"It is not untrue to say that the Roman Empire, the spread of Christianity as a world religion, and the long centuries of Byzantium were all in some degree the fruits of Alexander's achievement."
--Encyclopædia Britannica

A.K.A.: Alexander III; King Alexander of Macedonia
Who: Macedonian king, military commander, conquerer of the known world
Born: 356 BCE, Pella, Macedonia
Died: June 13, 323 BC, Babylon

Interesting Facts about Alexander the Great

  • From the ages of 13 to 16, Alexander was tutored by the great philosopher Aristotle.
  • Alexander remained undefeated in battle his entire life.
  • When they visited Troy, Alexander laid a wreath on the tomb of Achilles and Hephaestion did the same upon the tomb of Patroklos.
  • Ty Cobb, baseball hall of famer, was named Tyrus by his history-loving father after the admirable city of Tyre that fought off Alexander the Great for many months.
  • On the 1986 Iron Maiden album Somewhere in Time is an original song called "Alexander the Great" that chronicles the king's life.

"Who's Who" in the Life of Alexander the Great

Alexander III
Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia.
Alexander IV (323-310 BCE)
Alexander the Great's posthumous son by Roxana and briefly king of Macedonia. He and his mother were imprisoned and then murdered by Cassander.
Antipater (c. 397-319 BCE)
Regent of Macedonia while Alexander was on his campaigns in Asia.
Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
Greek philosopher and scientist and tutor to teenage Alexander the Great.
Arrian (died 180 CE)
Greek historian and philosopher from Nicomedia. He wrote Anabasis, which chronicled Alexander's campaigns.
Bessus (died c. 329 BCE)
Bactrian governor who deposed and killed Darius III in 330 and assumed kingship of Persia as Artaxerxes IV. He attempted to oppose Alexander in the eastern part of the empire but was soon captured and killed.
Callisthenes of Olynthus (c. 360-327 BCE)
Greek historian appointed (by recommendation of his uncle and former tutor Aristotle) to accompany Alexander on his Asiatic expedition. He objected to Alexander's adoption of Oriental customs, in particular prostration before the king, and was subsequently accused of conspiring against Alexander and put in prison, where he died.
Cassander (c. 358-297 BCE)
Antipater's son and king of Macedonia from 305 to 297. He murdered Alexander IV and Roxana and rebuilt Thebes.
Darius III (died 330 BCE)
Last king of the Persian Achaemenid dynasty and a formidable opponent of Alexander the Great. He was defeated by Alexander on several occasions and his numerous offers of peace to Alexander were rejected. But when Darius was deposed and killed by the Bactrian governor Bessus, Alexander arranged for his body to be buried with great honors in Persepolis.
Olympias (c. 375-316 BCE)
Daughter of Neoptemus king of Epirus, wife of King Philip II of Macedonia and mother of Alexander the Great. She had a passionate and imperious nature and played a large role in the power struggles following the deaths of her husband and son. She often quarreled with Antipater, put Philip II's illegitimate son Philip III and his wife to death.
Parmenio (c. 400-330 BCE)
Macedonian general under Philip II and Alexander the Great. He was second in command to Alexander throughout the Persian conquests and was left to oversee Media when Alexander continued eastward toward India. Alexander charged Parmenio's son Philotas with conspiring to murder Alexander, and put both Parmenio and Philotas to death.
Philip II (382-336 BCE)
18th king of Macedonia and father of Alexander the Great. He restored internal peace to Macedonia then gained dominion over all Greece, laying the groundwork for the expansions carried out by his son.
Ptolemy I (c. 366-282 BCE)
Macedonian general under Alexander the Great who became ruler of Egypt and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which survived until 30 BCE.
Roxana (died c. 310 BCE)
Daughter of the Bactrian chief Oxyartes and first wife of Alexander the Great. After Alexander's death, she had his second wife and her infant daughter killed and gave birth to Alexander's son Alexander IV.

Timeline of Alexander the Great

356 BCE Alexander is born to Philip II and Olympias in Pella, Macedonia
343-340 Alexander is taught by Aristotle from the ages of 13 to 16
340 Alexander is left in charge of Macedonia while Philip attacks Byzantium; he defeats the Maedi
338 Alexander commands the left wing of Philip's army at the Battle of Chaeronea.
337 Philip divorces Olympias; Alexander and his father quarrel at the feast for Philip 's new marriage; Alexander and Olympias leave for Epirus.
336 Philip is assassinated; Alexander becomes king without opposition but kills the princes thought to be behind the assassination as well as all possible rivals.
335 Alexander passed through Delphi, where the oracle proclaimed him "invincible."
Winter 334-333 Alexander conquered Western Asia Minor
Fall 333 Alexander won a decisive victory against the Persians and Darius fled, leaving his family behind
Winter 333-332 Alexander laid seige to Tyre, which resisted for seven months
July 332 Alexander stormed Tyre, leaving behind great carnage and selling the women and children into slavery
November 332 Alexander arrived in Egypt, which immediately surrendered. The people welcomed him as a deliverer, he sacrificed to the sacred Egyptian bull and was crowned with the double crown of the Pharaohs.
Winter 332-331 Alexander organized Egypt and founded the city of Alexandria. He consulted the oracle of Amon regarding the future success of his expedition but told the answer to no one.
October 31, 331 Battle between Alexander and Darius in northern Mesopotamia; Alexander is victorious and pursues the Persian army for 35 miles; Darius flees into Media.
Late 331 Alexander establishes Darius' family in comfort in Babylon then takes Persepolis in Persia, where he burns down the palace of Xerxes.
Spring 330 Alexander takes Ecbatana, the capital of Media, then sends home his Thessalian and Greek allies.
Summer 330 Alexander heads east via modern Tehran to the Caspian Gates, where he learns that Bessus, the satrap of Bactria, has deposed Darius, had him stabbed and left him to die. Alexander arranges for Darius' body to be sent to the royal tombs at Persepolis for an honorable burial.
330 A Rhodian inscription refers to Alexander as "lord of Asia."
330 Alexander has Parmenio's son executed for a supposed plot on the king's life, then had Parmenio himself assassinated by Parmenio's second in command. Alexander reorganized the calvary into two sections, one commanded by his oldest friend Hephaestion.
Fall 328 Alexander had conquered modern Afghanistan and Tadzhikistan, and Bessus had been captured, tortured and executed. In modern Tadzhikistan, Alexander married Roxana, the daughter of his defeated opponent Oxyartes.
Summer 327 Alexander left Bactra and headed east over the Hindu Kush through the Khyber Pass.
326 Alexander crossed the Indus and entered Taxila, where the leader provided Alexander with elephants and troops in exchange for help against his rival Porus. Alexander defeated Porus and made him his ally by allowing him to continue to rule his kingdom. At the Hyphasis River in India, Alexander's troops mutinied, refusing to go any further in the tropical rain. Alexander agreed to turn back, but first built 12 altars to the 12 Olympian gods and a great fleet of ships. En route down the river, Alexander received a wound that weakened him.
Spring 324 At Susa, administrative center of the Persian Empire, Alexander and 80 of his officers took Persian wives. Alexander and Hephaestion married two of Darius' daughters. Alexander's aim to fully unite the Macedonians and Persians as joint rulers was growing increasingly controversial among Macedonians. At Opis, Alexander's army mutinied; Alexander dismissed his entire army and replaced them with Persians. Reconciliation followed, which was celebrated by a banquet of 9,000 guests, and the partnership between Macedonians and Persians was made official.
Summer 324 Alexander attempted to deal with the thousands of wandering mercenaries throughout Asia and Greece, most of whom were political exiles, by requiring the Greek cities of the Greek League to recall all their exiles.
Autumn 324 Hephaestion died in Ecbatana; Alexander gave him an extravagent funeral in Babylon including a funeral pyre costing 10,000 talents. Alexander also sent a general order to the Greeks that Hephaestion should be honored as a hero - and Alexander should be revered as divine. This latter demand was probably not for political purposes, but was "rather a symptom of growing megalomania and emotional instability." {Encyclopedia Britannica}
Winter 324 Alexander conducted a savage expedition in the hills of Luristan.
Spring 324 At Babylon, Alexander received complimentary embassies from Libyans and Italians.
June 324 After a prolonged banquet and drinking bout, Alexander became seriously ill.
June 13, 324 Alexander the Great died at the age of 33, probably of natural or accidental causes. His body was buried in a golden coffin in Alexandria and in Egypt and Greece he received divine honors. An illegitimate son of Philip (Arrhidaeus) and Alexander's son by Roxana (Alexander IV) were appointed kings by Alexander's generals.
319 Roxana joined Olympias in Epirus.
317 Philip Arrhidaeus and his wife are murdered by order of Olympias.
316 Roxana is captured in Macedonia by Cassander.
310 Alexander IV and Roxana imprisoned, then executed by Cassander. The generals took the title of king.

Alexander: The Movie

Alexander the Great Links


  1. Encyclopędia Britannica. Encyclopędia Britannica Premium Service. 24 Nov. 2004.
  2. "In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great with Michael Wood."
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Alexander the Great

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