Alexander’s tutor, Aristotle, taught him from age 13 to 16 and stimulated his interest in science, medicine, and philosophy. He was well prepared to take over the throne. In the summer of 336 BC Philip was assassinated, and Alexander ascended to the Macedonian throne. He soon showed his power when the large city of Thebes revolted in 335. He stormed the city with mighty force and took 30,000 people as slaves.
Alexanders next attempt was to defeat Persia. He could never be the dominant force in his area as long as the Persian ruler Darius was still living. After beating Persia the second and final time in 332, Darius, who managed to survive, fled to the mountains. He died in the mountains when one of his own noblemen killed him.
With Darius dead, Alexander was crowned King of Persia and became known as the king of all Asia. Babylon surrendered after Gaugamela, and the city of Susa with its enormous treasures was soon conquered. Then, in midwinter, Alexander forced his way to Persepolis, the Persian capital. After plundering the royal treasuries and taking other rich booty, he burned the city during a drunken binge and thus completed the destruction of the ancient Persian Empire. His domain now extended along and beyond the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, including modern Afghanistan and Baluchistan, and northward into Bactria and Sogdiana, the modern Western Turkistan, also known as Central Asia.
It had taken Alexander only three years, from the spring of 330 BC to the spring of 327 BC, to master this vast area. In order to complete his conquest of the remnants of the Persian Empire, which had once included part of western India, Alexander crossed the Indus River in 326 BC. Here he invaded the Punjab as far as the river Hyphasis, at this point the Macedonians rebelled and refused to go farther. He then constructed a fleet and passed down the Indus, reaching its mouth in September 325 BC. The fleet then sailed to the Persian Gulf.
With his army, he returned overland across the desert to Media. Shortages of food and water caused severe losses and hardship among his troops. Alexander spent about a year organizing his dominions and completing a survey of the Persian Gulf in preparation for further conquests. He arrived in Babylon in the spring of 323 BC. In June he contracted a fever and died. He left his empire, in his own words, to the strongest; this uncertain testament resulted in dire conflicts for half a century.
Alexander was one of the greatest generals of all time, noted for his brilliance as a tactician and troop leader and for the rapidity with which he could traverse great expanses of territory. He was usually brave and generous, but could be cruel and ruthless when needed. The theory has been advanced that he was actually an alcoholic having, for example, killed his friend Clitus in a drunken fury. He later regretted this act deeply. As a statesman and ruler he had arrogant plans; according to many modern historians he cherished a scheme for uniting the East and the West in a world empire, a new and enlightened world brotherhood of all men.
He trained thousands of Persian youths in Macedonian tactics and enrolled them in his army. He himself adopted Persian manners and married Eastern wives, namely, Roxana, daughter of Oxyartes of Sogdiana, and Barsine, the elder daughter of Darius; and he encouraged and bribed his officers to take Persian wives. Shortly before he died, Alexander ordered the Greek cities to worship him as a god. Although he probably gave the order for political reasons, he was, in his own view and that of .