His neck was in some way twisted, so that he appeared to be gazing upward at an angle. [150] However, in a 2003 BBC documentary investigating the death of Alexander, Leo Schep from the New Zealand National Poisons Centre proposed that the plant white hellebore (Veratrum album), which was known in antiquity, may have been used to poison Alexander. The campaign took Alexander through Media, Parthia, Aria (West Afghanistan), Drangiana, Arachosia (South and Central Afghanistan), Bactria (North and Central Afghanistan), and Scythia. [220][221], Alexander also had a close relationship with his friend, general, and bodyguard Hephaestion, the son of a Macedonian noble. After that victory he was sent by Alexander in pursuit of Porus (Indian name Puru), to whom he was charged to offer favourable terms, but narrowly escaped losing his life at the hands of his old enemy. The army was accompanied by surveyors, engineers, architects, scientists, court officials, and historians; from the outset Alexander seems to have envisaged an unlimited operation. He eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops, dying in Babylon in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. He is also said to have sent an expedition to discover the causes of the flooding of the Nile. Military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics. Next lesson. The Histories of Alexander the Great (Latin: Historiae Alexandri Magni) is the only ancient Latin biography of Alexander the Great. For those peculiarities which many of his successors and friends afterwards tried to imitate, namely, the poise of the neck, which was bent slightly to the left, and the melting glance of his eyes, this artist has accurately observed. The anguish that Alexander felt after Hephaestion's death may also have contributed to his declining health. [134], After three days, unable to persuade his men to back down, Alexander gave Persians command posts in the army and conferred Macedonian military titles upon Persian units. After the defeat, Spitamenes was killed by his own men, who then sued for peace. Meanwhile, the city of Amphissa began to work lands that were sacred to Apollo near Delphi, a sacrilege that gave Philip the opportunity to further intervene in Greek affairs. [106] The cities' locations reflected trade routes as well as defensive positions. He had come to envisage a joint ruling people consisting of Macedonians and Persians, and this served to augment the misunderstanding that now arose between him and his people. [272], In pre-Islamic Middle Persian (Zoroastrian) literature, Alexander is referred to by the epithet gujastak, meaning "accursed", and is accused of destroying temples and burning the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism. [204] His delusions of grandeur are readily visible in his will and in his desire to conquer the world,[148] in as much as he is by various sources described as having boundless ambition,[205][206] an epithet, the meaning of which has descended into an historical cliché. [161][162] According to Aelian, a seer called Aristander foretold that the land where Alexander was laid to rest "would be happy and unvanquishable forever". Pompey the Great adopted the epithet "Magnus" and even Alexander's anastole-type haircut, and searched the conquered lands of the east for Alexander's 260-year-old cloak, which he then wore as a sign of greatness. Susa, the capital, also surrendered, releasing huge treasures amounting to 50,000 gold talents; here Alexander established Darius’s family in comfort. There he broke the opposition of the Scythian nomads by his use of catapults and, after defeating them in a battle on the north bank of the river, pursued them into the interior. Alexander the Great is well known as one of the most successful warriors of all time. He became king of the fringe Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 336 BC at the age Subsequently, however, the two rivals were reconciled by the personal mediation of Alexander; and Taxiles, after having contributed zealously to the equipment of the fleet on the Hydaspes, was entrusted by the king with the government of the whole territory between that river and the Indus. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Fearing the prospect of facing other large armies and exhausted by years of campaigning, Alexander's army mutinied at the Hyphasis River (Beas), refusing to march farther east. He had his cousin, the former Amyntas IV, executed. A decree brought by Nicanor to Europe and proclaimed at Olympia (September 324) required the Greek cities of the Greek League to receive back all exiles and their families (except the Thebans), a measure that implied some modification of the oligarchic regimes maintained in the Greek cities by Alexander’s governor Antipater. The other Greek states were cowed by this severity, and Alexander could afford to treat Athens leniently. [1][2] He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history's most successful military commanders.[3]. On entering Persepolis, Alexander allowed his troops to loot the city for several days. [125] This river thus marks the easternmost extent of Alexander's conquests. [178], Dissension and rivalry soon afflicted the Macedonians, however. [6][c] He is often ranked among the most influential people in history. Updates? [231], According to Diodorus Siculus, Alexander accumulated a harem in the style of Persian kings, but he used it rather sparingly, "not wishing to offend the Macedonians",[232] showing great self-control in "pleasures of the body". Most infamously, Alexander personally killed the man who had saved his life at Granicus, Cleitus the Black, during a violent drunken altercation at Maracanda (modern day Samarkand in Uzbekistan), in which Cleitus accused Alexander of several judgmental mistakes and most especially, of having forgotten the Macedonian ways in favour of a corrupt oriental lifestyle. [191], Ancient authors recorded that Alexander was so pleased with portraits of himself created by Lysippos that he forbade other sculptors from crafting his image. [254] For example, Greek astronomical instruments dating to the 3rd century BC were found in the Greco-Bactrian city of Ai Khanoum in modern-day Afghanistan,[255] while the Greek concept of a spherical earth surrounded by the spheres of planets eventually supplanted the long-standing Indian cosmological belief of a disc consisting of four continents grouped around a central mountain (Mount Meru) like the petals of a flower. [45][46][47], Alexander began his reign by eliminating potential rivals to the throne. Leaving Parmenio in Syria, Alexander advanced south without opposition until he reached Gaza on its high mound; there bitter resistance halted him for two months, and he sustained a serious shoulder wound during a sortie. From Alexandria he marched along the coast to Paraetonium and from there inland to visit the celebrated oracle of the god Amon (at Sīwah); the difficult journey was later embroidered with flattering legends. He also dispatched Heracleides, an officer, to explore the Hyrcanian (i.e., Caspian) Sea. Alexander responded quickly, driving them from their territory. Bessus was captured, flogged, and sent to Bactra, where he was later mutilated after the Persian manner (losing his nose and ears); in due course he was publicly executed at Ecbatana. The satrapies handed out by Perdiccas at the Partition of Babylon became power bases each general used to bid for power. At Memphis Alexander sacrificed to Apis, the Greek term for Hapi, the sacred Egyptian bull, and was crowned with the traditional double crown of the pharaohs; the native priests were placated and their religion encouraged. [28], Upon Philip's return, he dispatched Alexander with a small force to subdue revolts in southern Thrace. [73] He offered a peace treaty that included the lands he had already lost, and a ransom of 10,000 talents for his family. [21][24][25][26] This gave the Macedonian court a good knowledge of Persian issues, and may even have influenced some of the innovations in the management of the Macedonian state. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in the establishment of several states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander's surviving generals and heirs. [274] In this tradition, he was a heroic figure who built a wall to defend against the nations of Gog and Magog. Alexander was born around July 20, 356 B.C., in Pella, which was the administrative capital of Macedonia. [107], Later, in the Central Asian campaign, a second plot against his life was revealed, this one instigated by his own royal pages. [271], Alexander the Great's accomplishments and legacy have been depicted in many cultures. Parmenio was also left behind in Media to control communications; the presence of this older man had perhaps become irksome. [177] Diodorus, Curtius and Justin offered the more plausible story that Alexander passed his signet ring to Perdiccas, a bodyguard and leader of the companion cavalry, in front of witnesses, thereby nominating him. Both kings were murdered, Arrhidaeus in 317 and Alexander in 310/309. This also showed Alexander's eagerness to fight, in contrast to his father's preference for diplomacy. The advance was successful and broke Darius' center, causing the latter to flee once again. Left to fight alone, they were defeated. [12] During Philip's absence, the Thracian Maedi revolted against Macedonia. [10] Although Philip had seven or eight wives, Olympias was his principal wife for some time, likely because she gave birth to Alexander. [248] The close association of men from across Greece in Alexander's army directly led to the emergence of the largely Attic-based "koine", or "common" Greek dialect. From Phrada, Alexander pressed on during the winter of 330–329 up the valley of the Helmand River, through Arachosia, and over the mountains past the site of modern Kābul into the country of the Paropamisadae, where he founded Alexandria by the Caucasus. As a teenager, Alexander became known for his exploits on the battlefield. Miletus, held by Achaemenid forces, required a delicate siege operation, with Persian naval forces nearby. Following up Nearchus’s voyage, he now founded an Alexandria at the mouth of the Tigris and made plans to develop sea communications with India, for which an expedition along the Arabian coast was to be a preliminary. Alexander was the son of a Greek king called Philip II. [185] Alexander placed the phalanx at the center and cavalry and archers on the wings, so that his line matched the length of the Persian cavalry line, about 3 km (1.86 mi). He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. Further south, at Halicarnassus, in Caria, Alexander successfully waged his first large-scale siege, eventually forcing his opponents, the mercenary captain Memnon of Rhodes and the Persian satrap of Caria, Orontobates, to withdraw by sea. Philip then returned to Elatea, sending a final offer of peace to Athens and Thebes, who both rejected it. [86] He sent the bulk of his army to the Persian ceremonial capital of Persepolis via the Persian Royal Road. His vast empire stretched east into India. From Pamphylia onwards the coast held no major ports and Alexander moved inland. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. \"Philip ensured Alexander was given a noteworthy and significant education. When the animal died (because of old age, according to Plutarch, at age thirty), Alexander named a city after him, Bucephala. [144][147] The accounts were nevertheless fairly consistent in designating Antipater, recently removed as Macedonian viceroy, and at odds with Olympias, as the head of the alleged plot. Both in Egypt and elsewhere in the Greek cities he received divine honours. [69] In the following year, 332 BC, he was forced to attack Tyre, which he captured after a long and difficult siege. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Alexander arranged a double phalanx, with the center advancing at an angle, parting when the chariots bore down and then reforming. Aristotle taught Alexander and his companions about medicine, philosophy, morals, religion, logic, and art. [143] In the second account, Diodorus recounts that Alexander was struck with pain after downing a large bowl of unmixed wine in honour of Heracles, followed by 11 days of weakness; he did not develop a fever and died after some agony. The march was attended with much fighting and heavy, pitiless slaughter; at the storming of one town of the Malli near the Hydraotes (Ravi) River, Alexander received a severe wound which left him weakened. Macedon was an Ancient Greek polity. His advance eastward was now rapid. His mother had huge ambitions, and encouraged him to believe it was his destiny to conquer the Persian Empire. Philip deliberately commanded his troops to retreat, counting on the untested Athenian hoplites to follow, thus breaking their line. Was Alexander The Great the most important man that ever lived in the history of mankind? Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. [60] The one exception was a call to arms by Spartan king Agis III in 331 BC, whom Antipater defeated and killed in the battle of Megalopolis. This led Hegesias of Magnesia to say that it had burnt down because Artemis was away, attending the birth of Alexander. Alexander III of Macedon (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Γʹ ὁ Μακεδών, Aléxandros III ho Makedȏn; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great (Greek: ὁ Μέγας, ho Mégas), was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon[a] and a member of the Argead dynasty. Ancient Antioch, Glanville Downey, Princeton University Press, 2015. Peucestas, the new governor of Persis, gave this policy full support to flatter Alexander; but most Macedonians saw it as a threat to their own privileged position. Macedonian losses were negligible compared to those of the Persians. [251] Several Buddhist traditions may have been influenced by the ancient Greek religion: the concept of Boddhisatvas is reminiscent of Greek divine heroes,[253] and some Mahayana ceremonial practices (burning incense, gifts of flowers, and food placed on altars) are similar to those practised by the ancient Greeks; however, similar practices were also observed amongst the native Indic culture. A considerable accession of power was granted him after the death of Philip, son of Machatas; and he was allowed to retain his authority at the death of Alexander himself (323 BC), as well as in the subsequent partition of the provinces at Triparadisus, 321 BC. The Persian plan to tempt Alexander across the river and kill him in the melee almost succeeded; but the Persian line broke, and Alexander’s victory was complete. [266][267], Legendary accounts surround the life of Alexander the Great, many deriving from his own lifetime, probably encouraged by Alexander himself. Darius’s Greek mercenaries were largely massacred, but 2,000 survivors were sent back to Macedonia in chains. [274] Firdausi's Shahnameh ("The Book of Kings") includes Alexander in a line of legitimate Persian shahs, a mythical figure who explored the far reaches of the world in search of the Fountain of Youth. According to the public Cilicia as drawing back from him in proskynesis that! 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