ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Alexander the Great, (356-323 BC) the king of Macedonia was a military genius and a great conqueror of his times. He was born in Pella, the ancient capital city of Macedonia to King Philip II and Olympia’s, the princess of Epirus. He had the great teacher Aristotle as his tutor who imparted an all round education to him in various disciplines.
After the assassination of his father in 336 BC, Alexander succeeded to the throne of Macedonia. At the time of his crowning, there was large-scale rebellion existing both within his kingdom and from abroad. He showed his military leadership and supremacy by quickly putting down all uprisings in Greece, Thrace and Illyria.
Taking advantage of a false rumor regarding his death spread among the revolutionaries in Thebes, Alexander plundered the city totally sparing only the temples and the house of the Greek lyric poet Pindar. The defeat of Thebes bought other Greek states into submission.
After securing Greece and the Balkan Peninsula, Alexander crossed the Hellespont (now known as the Dardanelles) and waged war against Persia. He met with grand success in his military adventures as he defeated the Persian army at the river Granicus, near the city of Troy, and went on to conquer both Miletus and Halicarnassus.
Alexander’s military supremacy and success led to all the states of Asia Minor surrendering to him. He entered N. Syria in 333 B.C. and defeated the large army of King Darius II of Persia in the battle of Issus. King Darius fled for his life leaving behind his family, who were treated with kindness and respect by Alexander.
Alexander’s continuing success egged him to conquer the whole of Persia. He stormed the seaport city of Tyre and captured Gaza. In 332, he entered Egypt, where he met with little resistance and was actually greeted as a deliverer. In the same year, he founded Alexandria, a city in his name at the mouth of the River Nile. He once again fought with Darius in Mesopotamia in the battle of Gaugamela and defeated him.
He conquered parts of S. Babylon and gradually extended his regions beyond the Oxus River (modern day Amu-Darya). However, in spite of his great conquests, Alexander became unpopular with his men owing to his autocratic nature and tyrannical methods.
Alexander conquered all of Bactria and Sogdiana and ventured into North India through Afghanistan. There on the banks of the River Jhelum, his fight with King Poms became a legend in India. He defeated Poms but treated him with respect owing to the royal disposition showed by the Indian King. He plundered Punjab, and wanted to venture further into India, but his men refused to go with him.
Suffering from exhaustion from continuous fighting his men were demoralized and wanted to return home. Alexander decided to return to Macedonia. He deputed Seleucus to look after his Indian territories and left with his men travelling through difficult terrains. He lost his zeal and took to drinking and finally succumbed at the young age of 33 to a serious attack of malaria in 326B.C. in Egypt.
Though Alexander accomplished great conquests against powerful kingdoms throughout Asia and the Middle East, he did not do anything to govern these territories properly. However, he remains a legend in history as a great general with several feats standing to his credit.