Alexander III of Macedonia

Alexander III of Macedon, popularly known as alexander the great, was born in July 356 B.C. in Pella, Macedonia. He was the son of King Philip II of Macedon and Queen Olympias of Epirus. It is believed that he had less of a close relationship with his father, compared to his mother’s close relationship with him, because of Philip’s military campaigns. Alexander III teachers included Leonidas (arithmetic, horsemanship, and archery), Lysimachus, and Aristotle (rhetoric and literature).

Although there is not a lot of information about Lysimachus, readings suggest that he was a great influence on young Alexander III. Alexander’s favorite tutor was the Acarnian Lysimachus, who devised a game whereby Alexander impersonated the hero Achilles. This delighted Olympias, for her family claimed the hero as an ancestor. In Alexander’s youthful mind, Achilles became the epitome of the aristocratic warrior, and Alexander modeled himself after this hero of Homer’s Iliad. (Gale, 2018) From a young age, he had a divine descent ideology that he carried later in life. Olympias gave to this idea by claiming that Alexander’s real father was the god Zeus.

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At age 18 Alexander led part of the Macedonian troops in the battle of Chaeronea along his father Philip II. The king and his young son Alexander overran the city of Elateia on the Boeatian border; the route to Athens and Thebes was now open. Philip marched his troops southward to confront the enemy on a small plain outside the town of Chaeronea (Wasson, 2009). The successful battle helped Philip II gain control of the Greek city-states, except for Persia.

Earlier in his life, Alexander’s relationship with his father was strained because of his father’s absence due to military campaigns. This relationship strained farther more after Philip II married a woman named Cleopatra/Eurydice which threaten Alexander’s inheritance to the throne. Even though Philip was polygamist in order to do treaties by marriage, Olympias did not accept the marriage, and she went into voluntary exile along with Alexander.

After his father was assassinated by one of his bodyguards, Alexander the Great took over the throne and dealt with every possible opposition. He quickly dealt with his enemies at home and reasserted Macedonian power within Greece. He then set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire (BBC,2014). It is said that he needed the financial supplies in order to sustain his army, so he sought war in Thebes against King Darius III, king of Persia. Initially, Alexander III wanted to negotiate peace treaty, but Persians refused. As a result, the city was crushed to the ground, soldiers were killed, and women and children were sold to slavery. This served as a message to other cities as a price to pay in case of a rebellion.

Soon after, in October 335 B.C. he prepared for his army campaign to Asia. He took west Asia Minor, Sardis, Miletus, Halicarnassus, Cilicia, Taurus, and Syria. It was in Gordius that he was told he was destined to greater things for he had cut the Gordian knot, which prophesized that he was going to be the future king of Asia. Alexander III battled king Darius III in Issus. He defeated King Darius’ army and captured his family. Even though King Darius promised a peace treaty and part of territories, Alexander III refused and proclaimed himself the king of Asia. Now, it was time for him to secure Egypt, Arbela, Babylonia, and Persia. The royal palace of Susa and its treasuries fell to Alexander in the summer of 331, and he set out for Persepolis, the capital of the Persian Empire. To prevent a royal uprising and to exact punishment for the Persian destruction of Athens in 480, Alexander burned Persepolis, a rash but symbolic act. (Gale,2018) In July 330, king Darius III was assassinated by his own satraps, making Alexander the III king of Persia.

He accustomed to the culture there. After that, He took over Iran and India where he married a woman named Rhoxana to bind his Eastern empire more closely to him in a political alliance. (gale,2018) Growing up he had a hard relationship with his father because of all the things his father did in order to grow his empire. Alexander the Great was doing the same things his father did. He was absent doing military campaigns, and he would marry multiple women in order to make alliances and grow his empire. Greatly concerned with the rule of his empire and the need for soldiers, officers, and administrators… Alexander, although married to Rhoxana, married Stateira, a daughter of Darius, to legitimize his sovereignty. (Gale, 2018) At the end of his ruling however, Macedonian followers were against his adoption of Eastern cultures such as the Persian ideals. …when he decided to dismiss his aged and wounded Macedonian soldiers, the angry soldiers condemned his Persian troops and his Persian manners. Alexander arrested 13 of their leaders and executed them. Such a divide continued until Alexander the Great’s dead in 323 at age 32.

Alexander III of Macedonia was a great strategist and his empire was an inspiration to future leaders such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Caesar, and Augustus. His legacy is seen today through the blend of Greek culture in the world through art, architecture, and literature. Different readings suggest that even though he was taking over the world and sometimes being ruthless towards opposition, he was always open to the different cultures and traditions of each city. In every country Alexander had respected the local customs, religions, and peoples. In Jerusalem he had retained the priestly rule of the Temple, and in Egypt he sacrificed to the local gods. At Memphis the Egyptian priesthood recognized him as pharaoh, offered him the royal sacrifices, and invested him as king on the throne of Ptah. They hailed Alexander as a god (gale,2018) Nevertheless, he also endorsed Greek values. This type of r?©gime worked because people would keep their traditions and religious beliefs making him seen as a liberator rather than an oppressive ruler.

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