FF – Alexander the Great

Born 356BC in Pella in Macedon.

Parents: Philip II of Macedonia and his 4th wife Olympias.

Raised by a nurse, Lanike (sister of Alexander’s future general Cleitus the Black).

Tutored in his young life by Leonidas (relative of his mother) and Lysimachos of Acarnania.

Aged 10, he tamed an unruly horse, which he named Bucephalas (ox-head). He was to ride this horse at all his battles until it died during the Indian campaign.

Aged 13 – 16 he was tutored by Aristotle and taught medicine, philosophy, literature, religion, morals and art.

Alexander developed a passion for the works of Homer, especially the Iliad. He is believed to have carried a copy with him on his campaigns.

Aged 16 his education ended. Alexander became regent and heir apparent to the kingdom of Macedonia, while his father Philip II was away on campaign.

Alexander was to fight with his father at the battle of Chaeronea in 338BC, against a Greek city-state alliance including Athens and Thebes.

Alexander III of Macedon was to take the throne at the age of 20 in 336BC following the assassination of his father.

Early 335BC Alexander led his Balkan Campaign to strengthen and safeguard the northern borders. He fought and defeated Thracian and Illyrian opposition to do this. He then travelled south to quell a rebellion by Thebes and Athens. He destroyed Thebes and following this Athens capitulated.

334BC Alexander set out to conquer the Persian Empire which would last over 10 years. In 334BC he fought at the battle of Granicus; the 1st of three major battles against the Persian Empire where he defeated the forces of the satraps (provincial governors). He also laid siege to both Miletus and Halicarnassus.

333BC He gained a victory at the battle of Issus against Darius III of Persia. This was the 2nd major battle to gain overall control of Persia.

332B Alexander laid siege to the island of Tyre. He was unable to penetrate the defensive walls. The siege was to last 7 months. Alexander built a causeway from the island to the mainland, he then managed to breach the walls and destroy Tyre.

332BC He laid siege to Gaza and started the conquest of Egypt.

331BC The battle of Gaugamela became the 3rd and decisive battle against the Persian Empire. There was also the battle of the Uxian Defile in December.

330BC The battle of the Persian Gate. This was the last stand for the Persian army and they held Alexander and his army for a month, hoping to give time for Darius to recruit another army but they were finally to fall to the strength of Alexander’s army.

329BC Saw the siege of Cyropolis; and the battle of Jaxartes where the Macedonian army fought the Scythians (Iranian Eurasian nomads)

May 327BC – March 326BC. Alexander led the Cophen campaign in India. This was to establish communication lines for a later campaign in India.

326BC Start of the Indian campaign. Fought at the battle of Hydaspes, against King Porus of the Paurava kingdom in Punjab. 326BC also saw the last ever siege of Alexander at Aornos.

326BC – 325BC Mallian campaign against the Malli (people) of eastern Punjab.

Alexander spent his time in Persia, and even wore Persian dress and used Persian customs. He sent many of his soldier’s back to Macedonia.

323BC He died of a fever in the city of Babylon aged 32 or 33.


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