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Classics Essay – Conor Shand

Alexander the Great was always destined to be a man of, for want of a better term, greatness. However, it was not until he became King of Macedon, and then Hegemon, that he could truly press outwards to establish his empire.

Alexander established his military presence in Macedonia early on when he provided a great deal of leadership in the victory of Chaeroneia. Alexander also took on a role as an ambassador to Athens in the same year, 338 BC. These two roles were sure signs of things to come, as no less than 2 years latter, in 336 BC, Phillip the King of Macedon, Alexander’s father, was murdered. Alexander acceded to the throne in the same year, and already had a large number of issues to deal with.

Many of the Greek city-states previously subdued under the reign of King Phillip caught wind of Phillips demise. This they saw as a chance to adjust what they thought was an unfair ruling of their state by a foreign nation. Many city-states around Macedonia began to disregard Alexander’s rule. Alexander had to immediately stamp his authority on these states if he was to prove himself an able king.

These states were all members of a council that was lead previously by Phillip, and when some of them began to disregard Alexander’s genetic right to authority over them through his newfound role, the only option was for enforced allegiance. Many tribes in the states of Thebes, Athens, Thessaly and Thrace in the north of Macedon were all roused into revolt and as soon as Alexander caught word he took 3000 cavalry towards Thessaly for a victory which subdued Thessalonians forces with minimal losses. Alexander then continued pushing south towards the Peloponnese, progressively removing threats of revolt over his rule. In the same year as he had attained his kingship, Alexander had successfully prevented all major revolts to the south of Macedonia, thus establishing himself as the primary ruler of the League of Corinth and Greece itself.

Alexander then looked north, hoping to close off his northern borders in anticipation of the greater Persia/Asia Minor campaign, and having heard of threats of revolt, wanted to stamp it out as soon as possible. In 335 BC Alexander advanced to suppress several revolts. Moving north, Alexander successfully conquered the territories of Thrace, Amphipolis, Triballi and Illyria. However, this left two states to the south with a feeling that, since Alexander was far north, they could once again go into revolt. Athens and Thebes once again went against Alexander’s rule. Alexander promptly headed south and razed Thebes to the ground, defeating its ineffective resistance. This scared the state of Athens back into submission, and concluded his major campaign in the Greek area. Having successfully established his rule over a large area of the Mediterranean, and closing off both north and south borders to Macedonia, Alexander had very effectively proven himself to be a capable leader.

The conquest of all of the city-states ultimately meant that peace agreements to retain control would be necessary. With the League of Corinth, a council in place since 338 BC already established, the final few states were enforced into conformity and swore oath to join the League. Alexander became the official Hegemon, ruler of the council, through his Macedonian Kingship, and thus had significant power over the city-states.

Alexander needed complete security over his home nation, and so he had to ensure that he had his authority stamped over the states he controlled. This meant he had to ensure that all of the states he controlled would not act against him. He enforced this through diplomacy and the introduction of satraps. Firstly, Alexander would ensure that all of the states agreed not to act against him, and that they would assist Alexander militarily in the circumstance if one state did provoke him. This, amongst other diplomatic strategies, made it very difficult for the…