Alexander The Great
Alexander The Great was able to do something most men of higher authority can only dream of. He was able to turn Greece a huge empire with grace. This was able to turn the western part of civilization it something extraordinary. Everyone became united and by a common culture left its mark on language, literature, and politics. If your are still wondering why they added the great to his name you will soon know why. Alexander is one of the most hated figures of antiquity, and is remembered for his tactical ability, his conquests, and the spread of Greek civilization into the east.
“In 359-336 BC, Philip II, Alexander’s father became king of Macedon in northern Greece, a rural, still tribal region that was not particularly strongly identified with its rulers. Philip was 23 at the time. His realm had no great military tradition, but in his youth, Philip had been sent as a hostage to Thebes where he observed the Theban war machine at work and realized Macedonian greatness would not be built on the traditional Greek military-political model. Philip discovered a major weakness in Greek armies. As Greek cities had become more aristocratic, with greater and greater disparities between wealth and poverty, they depended less and less on citizen armies and came to rely increasingly on mercenaries. Philip was able to exploit recently acquired gold and silver mines to pay for a professional, standing army. Unlike the traditional citizen-soldier who had to spend most of the year working–or who enjoyed independent wealth–professional soldiers could stay in the field year round. In a series of campaigns ending around 338 BC, Philip came to dominate almost the entire Greek peninsula. In 336 he was assassinated, almost certainly not with Alexander’s connivance, though suspicion rather naturally fell on him. Philip had recently re-married, an act that put Alexander’s status in some doubt (website).”
The 20 year old Alexander became king of Macedonia after his father’s death and had many plans to continue in his footsteps. Having been tutored by Aristotle, Alexander admired the Greeks. He thought that their culture was refined and that it had many things to offer. He also admired Persian greatly. Alexander was determined to conquer both Greece and Persia, and combine them into an empire that would rival any other empire anywhere in the world. For the next 13 years Alexander marched his troops from battle to battle. conquering more and more territory. At age 33, Alexander the Great contracted a fever which quickly took his life. The empire he had worked so hard to build was divided among three of his generals whose decedents ruled these three territories as separate empires.
Picture from: Battle of Issus