Alexander III was to become known as one of history’s most successful military commanders and by the age of 30 had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world. He was never defeated in battle.
Born in Pella (ancient capital of Macedonia) in 356BC to the then King Philip II and his fourth wife Olympia.
He was raised by a nurse and in his early years was tutored by Leonidas (relative of his mother) and Lysimachus of Acarnania.
Alexander was to tame a bad tempered and unruly horse when he was 10 years old, and the horse Bucephalas was to be with him through his many battles.
At 13, Aristotle was employed to tutor Alexander and he continued this until Alexander was 16. He taught him medicine, philosophy, literature, religion, morals and art. Alexander developed a passion for the works of Homer. Aristotle is thought to have given Alexander an annotated copy of Homer’s Iliad, which he was to carry with him on his campaigns.
His education finished at 16, and he was left in charge, as regent of Macedonia when he father went to war with Byzantion. He was himself to quell many rebellions at home including a revolt by the Thracian Maedi. At 16 he was a macedonian captain, and even at this young age he gained respect for his bravery and battle strategy.
In 336BC King Philip was assassinated, and Alexander at the age of 20 was to inherit a powerful, yet unstable kingdom, however he was determined to continue the conquest of Persia that his father had started.
After dealing with his opposition at home, in 334BC he travelled to conquer Asia Minor and was victorious at the battle of Granicus, siege of Hallicarnasus and the siege of Miletus. This was the start of a campaign that would last 10 years.
In 333BC he moved onto Syria, defeating the Persian army at the battle of Issus and the siege of Tyre.
In 332BC Alexander moved onto Egypt and was victorious at the siege of Gaza. He was to make Alexandria his capital city.
In 331BC he was to conquer Babylonia at the battle of Gaugamela, and move on through Persia.
Alexander chased King Darius of Persia, through Persian territory and was victorious at the battle of the Persian Gate. Eventually Darius was to flee and Alexander became High King of the Persian Empire.
Alexander invaded India around 326BC and this was to be his final military campaign.
He died in Babylon, possibly of a fever in 323BC. He was only 32 years old.