Alexander the Great: Empire & Death

To this end, at Susa he commanded that a large number of Macedonians marry Persian princesses. After Alexander managed to recruit tens of thousands of Persian soldiers into his army, he dismissed many of his existing Macedonian soldiers. This enraged the soldiers, who spoke critically of Alexander’s new troops and condemned him for adopting Persian customs and manners. Alexander appeased the Macedonian soldiers by killing 13 Persian military leaders. The Thanksgiving Feast at Susa, which had been geared towards solidifying the bond between Persians and Macedonians, shaped up to be quite the opposite.

  • His death—and the bloody infighting for control that happened afterwards—unraveled the empire he’d fought so hard to create.
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  • “The reign of Alexander the Great signaled the beginning of a new era in history known as the Hellenistic Age. Greek culture had a powerful influence on the areas Alexander conquered.”
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  • Philip suffered serious wounds in battle, such as the loss of an eye, a broken shoulder and a damaged leg, according to Worthington.
  • According to the ancient historian, Herodotus, they were the first people to call themselves “hellenes.” The term Hellenistic later became synonymous with all things Greek.
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  • Philip II’s son Alexander the Great, leading a federation of Greek states, accomplished his father’s objective of commanding the whole of Greece when he destroyed Thebes after the city revolted.
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  • Later that year, Alexander defeated the Persians at the Battle of Gaugamela.
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However, Alexander’s untimely death in 323 BC triggered a series of civil wars and regents for his young son Alexander IV, ultimately leading to the Argead dynasty’s demise. In the wake of his father’s death, Alexander, then 19, was determined to seize the throne by any means necessary. He quickly garnered the support of the Macedonian army, including the general and troops he had had fought with at Chaeronea. The army proclaimed Alexander the feudal king and proceeded to help him murder other potential heirs to the throne. Ever a loyal mother, Olympia further ensured her son’s claim to the throne by slaughtering the daughter of King Philip II and Cleopatra and driving Cleopatra herself to suicide.

Demosthenes saw Philip now as a bar to Athenian greatness and a threat to its freedom and existence; he talked tirelessly to warn the Athenians of the danger and to convince the Greeks in general that it was their danger too. Philip in these years conciliated Athens in small ways even under provocation, but he came to see that Demosthenes and the anti-Macedonians were beyond conciliation (343–342). In 323 B.C., Alexander was in Babylon in modern-day Iraq, and his next major military target was apparently to be Arabia on the southern end of his empire. In June 323 B.C., while he was readying troops, he caught a fever that would not go away. He soon had trouble speaking and eventually died, with some suggesting he was poisoned.

In the process, he created a uniquely effective army, combining many different types of troops into one formidable, fast moving team. This was the army Alexander led against the Persian Empire, composed of Philip’s men, fighting in the same way they had done for more than 20 years. Under such conditions, many of his men insisted that Alexander turn back home, according to Abernethy. Sailing south down the Indus River, he fought a group called the Malli and was severely wounded after he led an attack against their city wall. One element, with the heavy equipment, would take a relatively safe route to Persia, the second, under his command, would traverse Gedrosia, a largely uninhabited deserted area that no large force had ever crossed before.

king of macedonia

Please note that some of these recommendations are listed under our old name, Ancient History Encyclopedia. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Alexander named no successor and so his empire was divided between his four generals, Lysimachus (who would rule Thrace and Asia Minor); Ptolemy I (Egypt, Palestine, Cilicia, Nabatea, Cyprus); Seleucus (Mesopotamia, the Levant, Persia, and India); and Cassander who took Macedonia and Greece. These four were known as the Diadochi (successors) and even though each had enough land and riches to satisfy anyone, they all – with the possible exception of Ptolemy I – wanted more and the Wars of the Diadochi (322-c.275 BCE) began. Alexandria, an ancient Egyptian town thought to be founded by Alexander the Great, became a major hub of science during this period as well. Greek mathematician Euclid, who taught in Alexandria, founded the study of geometry with his mathematical treatise The Elements.

She was believed to resent Philip’s latest wife and was held responsible when Attalus’ niece and her newborn baby were murdered soon after the assassination. Much later, after Alexander’s death, Olympias led armies and killed rivals in the struggle to control the succession. She was without doubt a formidable character—as clever, capable and ruthless as her husband and her son. While this was a considerable honor for one so young, it did nothing to remove the memory of the outrage, and no doubt Attalus’ relatives and supporters at court made sure there were plenty of reminders. Brooding on it all, Pausanias focused his hatred on Philip for failing to treat him with the respect he felt was his due as a former lover and more generally from the king to a member of the Macedonian aristocracy, who fought alongside him in battle and feasted with him in peacetime.

However, his death may have been announced prematurely, according Katherine Hall, a senior lecturer in the Department of General Practice and Rural Health at the University of Otago in New Zealand. After his troops had captured a fortress at a place called Sogdian Rock in modern-day Uzbekistan in 327 B.C. The two married, and they had an unborn son at the time of Alexander’s death. At the Battle of Granicus, fought in modern-day western Turkey, not far from the ancient city of Troy. The ancient Greek historian Arrian wrote that Alexander defeated a force of 20,000 Persian horsemen and an equal number of foot soldiers. He then advanced down the coast of west Turkey, taking cities and depriving the Persian navy of bases.

A Roman army forced him to fight at Pydna (in southern Macedonia), where he was defeated by Lucius Aemilius Paullus. After marching as a captive in Aemilius Paullus’s triumph (167), Perseus spent the brief remainder of his life in captivity. Perseus’s failure revealed his inability to reconcile the needs of Macedonia with the reality of Roman predominance. Throughout his reign, he was able to expand the empire to Asia and India.

Philip suffered serious wounds in battle, such as the loss of an eye, a broken shoulder and a damaged leg, according to Worthington. In 334, Alexander embarked on his Asiatic expedition, arriving in Troy that spring. Alexander then faced Persian King Darius III’s army near the Grancius River; Darius’ forces were swiftly defeated. By fall, Alexander and his army had made it across the southern coast of Asia Minor to Gordium, where they took the winter to rest. In the summer of 333, the troops of Alexander and Darius once again went head to head in battle at Issus.

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