Published on December 14, 2007
Alexander The Great: Alexander The Great Presented by: Jacob, Will, Justin, Brad, Krisha Alexander the Great: Alexander the Great “There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” (quote from Alexander the Great) Alexander the Great is arguably the greatest military leader in history. By never loosing a battle, by conquering nearly the known world in twelve years, and by spreading his influence on the known world, Alexander was the first person to receive the title “ The Great.” Today we hope to inform you about the legendary life of Alexander the Great. Boyhood: Boyhood Born on July 26, 356 B.C. in Pella, Macedonia Alexander was the son of King Philip II of Macedon and the Princess Olympias of Epirote Philip II was a great military leader and organizer and Olympias was passionate and hot-tempered Alexander inherited the best qualities from both of his parents, which later prove to be assets to his legacy Boyhood: Boyhood Alexander was more ambitious than his father and wept bitterly when he heard of Philip’s conquests saying “My father will get ahead of me in everything, and will leave nothing great for me to do." Alexander's mother taught him that Achilles was his ancestor, and that his father was descended from Hercules Alexander was told by an oracle that his true father was Zeus and not Philip II. Achilles became Alexander’s role model. Alexander learned by heart the Illiad, a story that tells about the deeds of Achilles, and carried a copy with him wherever he went. Boyhood: Boyhood As a Boy Alexander was fearless and strong. He tamed a beautiful and spirited horse that no one would dare touch or ride and named it Bucephalus. This horse would later carry him to the far reaches of India. Philip was so proud of Alexander's power over the horse that he said, "O my son, seek out a kingdom worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee." Youth: Youth When Alexander was 13 years old, he became the pupil of Aristotle. Aristotle is considered one of the greatest minds in history. Alexander was eager to learn. Aristotle inspired in Alexander the love for literature, sciences, rhetoric, philosophy, and sports. Alexander was always interested in foreign policy and would meet with ambassadors from different countries that came to his father’s court. Rise to Power: Rise to Power At age 16, Alexander was given command of Macedonia while Philip II went to war against Byzantium. When he was only 18, he commanded part of Philip's cavalry at the battle of Chaeronea. Alexander also acted as his father's ambassador to Athens. After his father’s death in 336 B.C., Alexander became king at the age of 20. Rise to Power: Rise to Power After Alexander became king, the surrounding territories revolted. The city of Thebes in Greece was the first to start the revolt Alexander’s advisors viewed that he should give up the Greek territories and not take action. Alexander decided against this and subdued the territories with lightning speed starting with Thebes. Alexander and his army stormed the city of Thebes and destroyed every building except the temples and the house of the poet Pindar. 30,000 inhabitants were sold into slavery. Seeing this, the rest of the territories surrendered and Alexander then had control of Macedonia and Greece. Conquests: Conquests In May of 334 B.C., Alexander’s Army marched across the Hellespont to invade the Persians under their King Darius III. On the way Alexander visited the city of Troy to see the Tomb of Achilles and garland it. From the Trojan Temple of Athena Alexander took a sacred Shield, said to date back to the Trojan War, to guard him on his mission. Soon after visiting Troy, Alexander struck the first Persian army to challenge him at the river Granicus meeting its commanders and their guards head on in person in a clash at the center of the battle line. Conquest: Conquest Quote from Plutarch on the Battle of Granicus: “For the enemy pressed upon him with loud and warlike outcries; and charging horse against horse, with their lances, after they had broken and spent these, they fell to it with their swords. And Alexander, being easily known by his buckler, and a large plume of white feathers on each side of his helmet, was attacked on all sides, yet escaped wounding, though his cuirass was pierced by a javelin in one of the joinings. And Rhoesaces and Spithridates, two Persian commanders, falling upon him at once, he avoided one of them, and struck at Rhoesaces, who had a good cuirass on, with such force that, his spear breaking in his hand, he was glad to betake himself to his dagger. While they were thus engaged, Spithridates came up on one side of him, and raising himself upon his horse, gave him such a blow with his battle-ax on the helmet that he cut off the crest of it, with one of his plumes, and the helmet was only just so far strong enough to save him, that the edge of the weapon touched the hair of his head. But as he was about to repeat his stroke, Clitus, called the black Clitus, prevented him, by running him through the body with his spear. At the same time Alexander dispatched Rhoesaces with his sword.” Conquest: Conquest At the battle of Granicus, Alexander’s army lost only 34 men while the Persian army lost thousands. After the battle of Granicus the Persian army regrouped and struck at Alexander again at the battle of Issus. Alexander’s army consisted of 47,000 men where as the Persian army numbered between 80,000 and 100,000 men. Outmaneuvering his opponent Alexander crushed the Persian army again inflicting 10,000 to 20,000 casualties. He himself lost 450 men and 4,000 wounded. Conquests: Conquests Alexander continued to march throughout the Persian empire conquering city after city and armies that stood in his way. He conquered the Persian Capital, Persepolis and from there the Persian empire fell before his feet. The Persian king, Darius III fled like a coward, but ended up being assassinated by his own men. Alexander hunted the assassins down and killed them for committing such a grave act. Conquests: Conquests During his march across the Persian Empire, Alexander stopped at the city of Gordium where legend says that the famous Gordium Knot was tied. Legends says that whoever unties this is reserved the empire of the world. Historians mention two different stories on how Alexander untied the Knot. The first story is that Alexander actually figured out how to untie the knot, the second is that Alexander just cut the knot to pieces with his sword and untied it that way. Conquests: Conquests Within the Persian Empire Alexander went on to conquer the territories of Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Anatolia, Syria, Gaza, Bactria, and Egypt. In 331 while conquering Egypt Alexander established the famous city of Alexandria. The priests of Egypt proclaimed Alexander Pharaoh of their lands, the son of the sun god Ammon Ra. Conquests: Conquests After conquering the territories of the Persian Empire, Alexander turned his eyes toward India. He had heard many stories of vast riches found there and that beyond India was the end of the world. The glory of war was drawing Alexander on. In 326 B.C. Alexander marched his army into the Indus Valley also called the Punjab. It was here in the Indus Valley that Alexander and his army would face something they have never encountered before in battle, the Indian war elephant. Conquests: Conquests At the river Jhelum, King Porus awaited Alexander with a great army and over 200 war elephants. No Greek soldier had ever faced elephants in such sufficient numbers during battle. What followed was a battle unique in the annals of war. Alexander found enough boats to ferry 15,000 of his best men 16 miles down river. He then marched back 16 miles and engaged King Porus from behind. Alexander drew the Indian cavalry to one flank away from the protection of their elephants and then surrounded them while his foot soldiers came up with spears to attack the elephants. By wounding the elephants, the animals became wild and turned on their own men causing chaos for their army. King Porus was taken captive and the battle was over. Alexander’s horse Bucephalus died during the battle and in his honor Alexander established a city and named it Bucephalus. Conquests: Conquests History tells us that fifty years later two Roman Legions faced a similar Indian army with a much smaller amount of war elephants and were defeated. This shows us that Alexander was a more brilliant military leader than the Romans. After Alexander conquered the western half of India, he decided to move toward the eastern half, but his men, tired of fighting, decided against this. Alexander was forced to halt his pursuit for ultimate glory. He then marched back to Babylon where he settled till his death. Alexander’s Empire: Alexander’s Empire Military Tactics: Military Tactics Alexander had a great military mind. An expert at organizing his units for complex battle maneuvers. Hiding his true numbers and managing his army during the flow of battle. That was the key. Develop of the Phalanx Box formation 8 to 36 men deep Men in front carried spears 4 to 6 meters (12 to 18 feet) Alexander’s March: Alexander’s March Phalanx : Phalanx Held vertically the wall of spears would hide the units behind the formation. Held horizontally enemies could be killed at a safe range from the formation. Phalanx was revolutionary for its time and was a very potent weapon. Spears, bows, cavalry, chariots, and some light and heavy armor. Military Tactics: Military Tactics One of Alexander’s best known military tactics was that he would fight right along side his men. By showing courage in the face of death, he would set an example to his soldiers. The following passage from Dr. Warren H. Carroll is an example of Alexander’s courage: “He prepared to storm its citadel with ladders, but the ladders broke under the weight of his men. Standing alone on the rampart, Alexander leaped down inside the enemy fortress. Just three of his men followed. Alexander slew the Mallian chieftain and beat off all his attackers, his back to the wall, until he fainted from a lack of blood from a severe wound in his chest. One of his men held the sacred shield of Troy over him saving his life until the rest of his army broke through the gates and rescued him. Every defender of the citadel was put to the sword. Alexander’s wound came from a yard long arrow that pierced his lungs and supposedly he never fully recovered.” Situations like this are the reasons why Alexander’s men respected him and had a high morale. Death of Alexander : Death of Alexander Still a Mystery to this day. In Babylon 33-year-old man Some believe it to be conspiracy involving Iollas, Cassander, and others who were unhappy with Alexander. Poisoned wine He succumbed to illness. Thus, on June 10, 323 BC, Alexander the Great die. In the Palace of Nabukodonossor The Death of Alexander : The Death of Alexander In Babylon Busy with plans to improve the irrigation of the Euphrates and to settle the Arabic coast of the Persian Gulf. Splendid entertainment in honor of Nearchus departure for Arabia. (it was also commemoration of the death of Heracles) Drank much unmixed wine His Friends asked: "To whom do you leave the kingdom?“ and he replied: "To the best (the strongest).“ Historians disagree with the death. The Alexander Romances reports 4 th of Pharmouthi as the day of the death, which corresponds to 13th of June; but according to contemporary Babylonian Astronomic Diary, which is most credible and accurate source, Alexander has died on 29th Aiaru (10th of June) Death: Death They embalmed him and placed his body in a gold sarcophagus which was taken to Memphis, Egypt. Later it was transported to it's final destination, Alexandria. Unfortunately, the tomb was not left untouched. In 89 B.C., Ptolemy IX needed money, so he opened the tomb and melted down Alexander's sarcophagus to make gold coins. People were so enraged that Ptolemy would do such a thing to a legend, that Ptolemy was killed soon after. Division of Empire: Division of Empire After the death of Alexander the Great, his generals, scrambling to gain power, broke out into civil war against each other. All of Alexander’s relatives were secretly murdered. Battles raged across the empire until finally around 305 B.C. four men emerged each gaining large portions of the empire. The empire was split into four sections, Seleucus ruling the territories of Babylon, Ptolemy ruling the territories of Egypt, Cassander ruling the territories of Macedon, and Lysimachus ruling the territories of Thrace. Legacy: Legacy Not only is Alexander known for conquering practically the known civilized world, he is also known for issuing in the Hellenistic age. The Hellenistic age was the age of Greek influence and the spread of Greek culture across the world. Alexander was known for issuing in this age because he brought together so many different civilizations. Everywhere he conquered, Alexander would build new cities and establish schools, museums, and libraries within these cities. In Alexandria, Egypt Alexander built a famous museum where the works of art and evidence of man’s creativity could be studied and collected. By doing such deeds as these, Greek culture was taught, learned, and preserved for over a thousand years with the help of Rome and Christianity. Library of Alexandria: Library of Alexandria Conclusion: Conclusion In conclusion, many historians believe that Alexander the Great would have conquered the entire world had he lived to a normal old age. Alexander was able to achieve what no other man dreamed possible. Not only did he conquered almost the known civilized world in 12 years, but Alexander also brought about a spread of Greek culture into the vast reaches of the world. Alexander was destined for glory and he achieved it. And we end with a quote from Alexander the Great, "I would rather live a short life of glory than a long one of obscurity"….or "Its better to burn out than fade away" . Works Cited: Works Cited Mechin, Jacques B. Alexander the Great. 1st ed. New York: Hawthorn Books Inc., 1966. Robinson, Charles A. Alexander the Great. 1st ed. New York: Franklin Watts Inc., 1963. Carroll, Warren H. The Founding of Christendom. 1st ed. Front Royal: Christendom College Press, 1985. Alexander the Great. 01 2001. Wikipedia. 8 Nov. 2005 <www.wikipedia.org>. Ten Horned Beast. 01 1996. Livius.org. 8 Nov. 2005 <http://www.livius.org/aj-al/alexander/alexander00a.html>.