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Alexander the Great was an ambitious warrior king that was born to lead his kingdom to greatness. His many titles indicated his far reaching conquests during his lifetime, including “King of Macedonia”, “King of Persia”, “King of Asia”, “King of the Four Quarters of the World”, “Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt” etc. In Alexander’s short life of only 32 years, he became one of the best military tacticians in the world. His military genius allowed him to build and rule an enormous empire in the ancient world from 336 to 323 B.C. His successful military endeavors were boasted by his vast conquering empire that stretched from Greece to Persia, to Egypt, throughout Asia Minor, and India. He spread Greek culture throughout the lands he conquered, changed the way those civilizations thought about government, language, and art, and improved their quality of life. Today, we continue to see how his legacy influenced and changed the course of history.
Alexander the Great was born in the summer of 356 B.C. in a town called Pella. Alexander was the son of King Philip II of Macedonia and Olympia of Epirus, who was the daughter of the Molossian King Neoptolemus I. Phillip II was an aggressive leader who created a powerful army that conquered much of Greece. His frequent military campaigns kept him away from Alexander who grew up without seeing much of his father. His mother, Olympia was dominating and possessive and influenced much of his youth. As Alexander grew, she filled him with resentment for his father’s licentious ways and his absence. Although his parents were discontented with one another, they both wanted the young prince to have an extraordinary education.
Olympia brought two tutors from her own family to teach and train Alexander. The first tutor, Leonidas was hired to teach Alexander mathematics, archery and horsemanship, but Leonidas was severe teacher stressing a strenuous daily regime with a lean diet and strict exercise and deficient in luxuries. This prepared Alexander for the battlefield. The other tutor was Lysimachus who remained close to Alexander throughout his life. Lysimachus used role-playing to ensnare Alexander’s interest. One Alexander’s favorite character to impersonate was Achilles; a role model whose stories from the Iliad influenced Alexander later when he was conquering Asia.
When Alexander was 13, the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle became his tutor. For three years, Aristotle taught Alexander politics, science, drama, poetry and philosophy. When teaching Alexander, Aristotle noticed that the Iliad inspired him and wrote a shortened copy and gave it to Alexander. Alexander was rumored to have kept the copy for the rest of his life and keep it under his pillow at night. Alexander’s education ended during 340 B.C. at Meiza.
While Alexander was learning in Meiza Phillip II was expanding Macedonia. He attacked and conquered Thrace, Thessaly and Chalkidike. He wanted to unite the Greek city-states into one province and the Greeks didn’t want that. So in 338 King Phillip left Macedonia and went to Chaeronea to battle with the Athenians and Thebans. A little before this Alexander came back from Meiza so Phillip left his kingdom with his 16 year old son as the acting king. For a while the battle at Chaeronea was uncertain and the win could have gone to either side, but then Alexander came and led a charge on the left wing of Athens’ and Thebes’ armies. The Macedonians won the battle. The Greek city-states were under King Phillip’s and Macedonian control now. But Phillip’s original objective still wasn’t complete; Greece was still separate. So Phillip II united all of the Greek city-states (excluding Sparta) into the Corinthian League. The Greek city-states could no longer fight between themselves, their armies were now controlled by Phillip to be used as…