Aristotle taught Alexander inhis early teen years. He stimulated his interest in science, medicine, andphilosophy. In the summer of 336 BC, Alexander’s father was assassinated, andAlexander ascended to the Macedonian throne. He found himself surrounded byenemies at home and threatened by civilizations all over.
But Alexander disposedof quickly of all his enemies by ordering their execution. Then he took off toThessaly, where partisans of independence had gained ascendancy, and restoredMacedonian rule. Before the end of the summer of 336 BC as general of theGreeks in a campaign against the Persians, originally planned by his fatherbefore he croaked, he carried out a successful campaign against the defectingThracians, penetrating to the Danube River. On his return he crushed in a singleweek the threatening Illyrians and then again took of to Thebes, which hadrevolted. He took the city by storm and razed it, sparing only the temples ofthe gods and the house of the Greed lyric poet Pindar, and selling the survivinginhabi tants, about 8000 in number, into slavery. Alexander’s promptness incrushing the revolt of The bes brought the other Greek states into instantsubmission.
Alexander began his war against Persia in the spring of 334 BC bycrossing the Hellespont (now Dardanelles) with an army of 35,000 Macedonian andGreek troops: his chief officers, all Macedonians, included Antigonus, Ptolemy,and Seleucus. At the river Granicus, near the ancient city of Troy, he attackedan army of Persians and Greek soldiers which totaled 40,000 men. His forcesslatured the enemy and according to tradition, only lost 110 men! After thisbattle all the stated of Asia Minor submitted to Alexander. Continuing south,Alexander encountered the main Persian army, commanded by King Darius III, atIssus. The size of Darius’s army was unknown; but ancient tradition said itcontained about 500,000 men but now is considered a very big exag geration.
TheBattle of Issus, in 333 BC, ended in a great victory for Alexander, who treatedthem with the respect due to royalty. Tyre, a strongly guarded seaport, offeredobstinate resistance, but Alexander took it to by storm in 332 after a siege ofseven months. Alexander captured Gaza next and then passed on into Egypt, wherehe was greeted as a deliverer. By these successes the Nile River, the city ofAlexandria, which later became the literacy, scientific, and commercial centerof the Greek world. Cyrene, the capital of the ancient North African kingdom ofCyrenaica, gave up to Alexander soon afterward, extending his dominance toCarthaginian territory.
In the spring of 331, Alexander made a trip to the great temple andoracle of Amon-Ra, Egyptian god of the sun, whom the Greeks identified as Zeus. The earlier Egyptian pharaohs were believed to be sons of Amon-Ra; and Alexander,the new ruler of Egypt, wanted the god to ac knowledge him as his son. Amon-Ra(Zeus) agreed. I tried doing that the other day and Amon-Ra accepted but I toldhim that he wasn’t good enough for me.
So he has cursed me by making my rightarm longer then my left are for 7 years. Crossing the Euphrates and the Tigrisrivers, Alex ander met Darius at the head of an army of unknown size, which,according to the exaggerated accounts of antiquity, was said to number a millionmen! This army he completely defeated in the Battle of Guagamela, Oct 1, 331. Daruis fled as he had done at Issus and was later killed by two of his owngenerals. Babylon surrendered after Gaugamela did, and the city of Susa withits enormous treasures was soon taken over also by Alexander. Then, in midwinter,Alexander forced his way to Persepolis, the Persian capital, and plundered inand the royal treasures and took the rich by their butt, and burned the cityduring a drunken binge and thus completed the destruction of the ancient PersianEmpire.
His domain now extended along and beyond the southern shores of theCaspian Sea, including modern Central Asia. It had taken Alexander only 3 yearsto master this vast area. In June, 323 BC, Alexander contracted a dangerous fever and died. Heleft his empire, in his own words, too the strongest; this resulted in hugeconflicts for half a .