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356 - 323 BC

Alexander the Great was born 20th July 356 BC, the son of Philip of Macedonia. Macedonia was a state in Northern Greece next to the Aegean Sea. Macedonians were thought of as barbarians by the rest of the Greek states.

It was Alexander’s father Philip that assembled the mighty Macedonian army. Philip’s army with their main weapon, long pikes, soon became the most feared army of their time. After a series of battles, Philip took control of Greece; this allowed him to plan the invasion of Persia. He hoped to destroy the Persian Empire that had been invading Greece in an attempt to impose Persian rule.

With the murder of Philip at a Banquet, stabbed in the chest by a young Macedonian noble, Alexander became king Alexander III at the age of 20.

His first battle was against tribes in the north of Macedonia that didn't want to be ruled by the young king. While Alexander was defeating the tribes in the north of Macedonia, the rest of Greece began to revolt as they saw that as their chance to end Macedonian rule.

In an attempt to hold on to his inheritance, Alexander attacked Thebes, destroying most of the buildings and sold over 30,000 people into slavery. After Thebes, the rest of Greece soon fell back into Macedonian rule.

With Greece secured, Alexander set out on the invasion of Persia planned by his father.

Alexander the Great image

Alexander the Great

Alexander with an army of 35,000 Macedonians and 7,600 Greeks, crossed the Hellespont into northeastern Turkey in 334 BC. They traveled south until they met the Persian king Darius III at the Granicus River. Soon after the battle began, the Persians realized they had underestimated the Macedonian army and fled.

Alexander then moved on until he met Darius with his reinforced army at Issus in the southwest of Turkey. Again Alexander’s army defeated the Persians and again Darius fled to safety.

Alexander then traveled through Syria and Lebanon with most of the cities falling without a fight, only Tyre held out. It took Alexander seven months to capture Tyre.

Securing the lands of Syria and Lebanon allowed Alexander and his army to move into Egypt. Arriving in Egypt, Alexander was welcomed by the Egyptians who were glad to see the end of Persian rule. Alexander was so popular in Egypt, he was made an honorary pharaoh. Before moving on, he ordered the building of a city on the northern coast of Egypt to be named Alexandria.

With Darius still free and Alexander wanting complete control of Persia, he traveled back into Persia in 331 BC to search for Darius. The third battle at Gaugamela, near modern Erbil in Northern Iraq, ended with Darius being defeated and again fleeing. Soon after that battle, Darius was assassinated by his own people. That allowed Alexander to take control of Persia.

In 327 BC, Alexander traveled east into India to try and re-establish control of the parts of India once under Persian rule. He also had ambitions of conquering the whole Indian continent. He got as far as the Punjab before being caught up in a ferocious battle with the Indian Porus at the River Hydaspes. After sustaining great losses in that battle, Macedonian commanders persuaded Alexander to turn for home.

The mighty Macedonian army made their way down the Hydaspes and Indus rivers through Pakistan. After survived a series of battles on their way, they eventually made it to the coast of the Arabian Sea south of Karachi/ Pakistan. Alexander then marched his men through the treacherous Gedrosian Desert loosing nearly three-quarters of his army to the harsh conditions.

After returning to Babylon, Alexander fell ill after a drinking spree and died of a fever. It is thought he might have been poisoned. His body was though to have been taken to Alexandria in Egypt to be Buried, although his burial sight has never been found.

The Alexander Sarcophagus, seen right, is exhibited in the Istanbul Archeological Museum/ Turkey. This sarcophagus that was found in an underground Royal Necropolis in Lebanon 1887, is thought to have been carved for King Abdalonymos of Sydon in the 4th century BC.

When first discovered, it was thought the sarcophagus was that of Alexander the Great, although this theory was soon proven incorrect. The reason for the claim that it could be Alexander's final resting place was, engravings on the sarcophagus show battle sceens with Alexander on horseback.

Alexander Sarcophagus image

Alexander Sarcophagus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_the_Great People List