ALEXANDER THE GREAT
( 356 B.C.-323 B.C.)


         In 338 B.C. after winning a war against the Athenians, King Philip II of Macedonia (a region of northwest Greece) became the first ruler to unite the squabbling city-states of ancient Greece.  He did not have long to enjoy his success though.  During a wedding feast, he was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards.  A newly formed empire fell into the hands of Philip's twenty-year-old son, Alexander.
         Luckily, Alexander had plenty of ambition.  He had intelligence as well.  Growing up he had been tutored by a famous Athenian philosopher, Aristotle (himself trained by
Plato), who found Alexander to be a brilliant pupil.  Early on Alexander showed his military prowess.  At the age of fourteen he thwarted a rebellion while his father was away campaigning, and at sixteen he led a squadron of troops against the Athenians.
         After the death of his father, Alexander immediately acted on his desire to spread Greek culture throughout the known world.  He rallied his armies and set out on one of most amazing military careers of all-time.  In only twelve years he conquered the massive Persian Empire and brought the known world (Asia Minor, the Middle East, Mesopotamia, Egypt) as well as part of India under his rule.  Yet one evening as he celebrated his victories, he fell ill and soon after died.  Some speculate his cause of death to be poisoning, but most assume it was a case of
malaria.  At his death he was only thirty-two.  
         There are many reasons why Alexander was such a successful conqueror.  He was the first leader to use the technique of colonization, creating new cities based on Greek ideals in conquered lands.  He not only brought armies to these new lands, but also engineers, architects, scientists, and philosophers, effectively spreading Greek culture across the world.  Without Alexander the Greek world would never have had the far-reaching impact that it has on the modern world.

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Alexander Commands His Troops