Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great

Born: July 20 or 21, 356 BC in Pella, Macedon
Died: June 10 or 11, 323 BC (at age 32) in Babylon
Nationality: Greek
Famous For: King of Macedonia and Persa

Alexander the Great is known to many as the conqueror of the Persian Empire; a skilled military mastermind who served as a point of reference for subsequently great men like Napoleon and Caesar.

This King of Macedonia is recorded to have surmounted significant odds to claim Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor in a little over a decade. Since he had done all this by the age of 30, many people believed he was superhuman and so did he.

Early Life

Born in 356 BC, Alexander was born into the royal family to Philip II and Olympias. Since his father spent much of his time in administration and warfare, Alexander spent most of his childhood with his mother and his teachers.

The king’s son was taught by the renowned philosopher Aristotle, as well as a personal physical instructor Leonidas who trained him in the art of war. Growing up, he idolized Heracles and Achilles and their philosophy of victory for personal distinction and glory.

At the tender age of 12, Alexander was exhibiting his fearlessness. He managed to tame a horse named Bucephalus that had made it impossible for any horseman to mount it to the great admiration of his father and his friends. Bucephalus would go on to be his trusted companion in the battlefield until it was killed in 326 BC.

Leadership in Conquests

At 16 years of age, Alexander the Great was already claiming his place at the throne and in warfare. When his father left him in charge of Macedonia after leaving for conquest, Alexander rallied the army to fight the Maedi and capture their territory.

He was thus given command over a section of the army in their invasion of Athens and he proved to be very competent, helping his father conquer and rule all of Greece. Philip was assassinated soon after and Alexander ascended the throne. He immediately executed anyone in his family who lay claim to the throne thus elimination any and all opposition.

Greek cities tried to seek independence after Philip’s death and Alexander moved swiftly to reconsolidate them using both diplomacy and brutality. With all of Greece in order, he took up his father’s unfinished quest to capture Persia. In fierce battles that were fought against King Darius III, Macedonia claimed victory. He then went on a conquering spree across Asia Minor, the Mediterranean, and Egypt.

Leadership Strategies

Alexander the Great had a brilliant mind for battle and always managed to coin strategic insights and calculated approaches to every battle. Together with his fiery temper and uncanny audacity, he believed himself to be immortal and thus became reckless and unyielding. Regardless of how impossible the odds seemed, his army was loyal in every combat.

Marriage and Death

In 327 BC, Alexander surprisingly fathered a child with a Persian aristocrat but did not marry her. He instead married Sogdian princess Roxana and never even saw his son’s birth. He also married the daughter of Darius III, Barsine. Roxana is believed to have killed both of the other women after Alexander’s death.

Leaving his wives and unborn son behind, Alexander the Great set out for battle and contracted a fever which killed him shortly thereafter. The empire he had worked hard to build soon fell apart and was conquered by other powers.