Biography of Alexander the Great :- King of Macedonia whose achievements and extraordinary military skills allowed him to forge, in less than ten years, an empire stretching from Greece and Egypt to India, Thus beginning the so-called Hellenistic period (centuries IV-I BC) of antiquity. It happened very young to his father, Philip II , assassinated in the year 336 BC This one had prepared to him to reign, providing a military experience to him and entrusting to Aristotle its intellectual formation.
Biography of Alexander the Great
- Born:- July 356 BC, Pella, Greece
- Died:- June 323 BC, Babylon, Iraq
- Parents:- Philip II of Macedon, Olympias
- Spouse:- Roxana (m. 328 BC–324 BC), Stateira II (m. 325 BC–324 BC), Parysatis II (m. 325 BC–324 BC)
- Children:- Alexander IV of Macedon, Heracles of Macedon
For the history of ancient civilization, the exploits of Alexander the Great provided a whirlwind of such proportions that even today one can speak without palliatives of a before and after his passing through the world. And although its providential legacy (the extension of Hellenistic culture to the remotest confines) was favored by a whole range of favorable circumstances which historians point out in a timely manner, his biography is indeed a true epic, the manifestation in time of Fantastic Homeric visions, and the vivid example of how some men look down upon their contemporaries to nurture the imagination of future generations incessantly.
By the second half of the fourth century BC, a small territory in northern Greece, despised by the haughty Athenians and styled barbarian, began its brilliant expansion under the aegis of a military man of genius: Philip II , king of Macedonia. The key to his warlike successes was the perfection of the “oblique battle order”, previously experienced by Epaminondas. It consisted in arranging the cavalry in the attacking wing, but above all in providing mobility, reducing the number of ranks, to the infantry phalanxes, which until then could only maneuver in one direction. The famous Macedonian phalange was formed by rows of sixteen men in the background with helmet and iron shield, and a spear called sarissa.
Alexander was born in Pela, capital of the old Macedonian region of Pelagonia, in October 356 BC. That year he gave many congratulations to the ambitious Macedonian community: one of his most renowned generals, Parmenion, overcame the Illyrians; One of his riders was victorious in the Games celebrated in Olimpia; And Philip had his son Alexander, who in his impressive warlike trajectory would never know defeat.
The legend goes that on the very day that Alexander was born, an extravagant pyromaniac burned one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the temple of Artemis in Ephesus, taking advantage of the absence of the goddess, who had come to protect the birth of the prince. When he was arrested, he confessed that he had done so that his name would go down in history. The authorities executed him, ordered him to disappear to the most remote testimony of his passage through the world and forbade anyone to ever pronounce his name. But more than two thousand years later the infamous uproar of the disturbed Erostratus is remembered, and the priests of Ephesus, according to legend, saw in the catastrophe the unmistakable symbol that someone, in some part of the world, had just been born to reign over the entire East. According to another description, that of Plutarch,
Born to conquer
Predestined by gods and oracles to rule at once two empires, the confirmation of that exceptional destiny seems today more attributable to its own peculiar reality. Nieto and son of kings at a time when the aristocracy was composed of warriors and conquerors, was prepared for it since it came to light.
At the time of his birth, his father, Philip II, general of the army and new king of Macedon, whose throne he had acceded months earlier, was far from Pela in the Chalcidice peninsula, celebrating with his soldiers the surrender of the Greek colony Of Potidea. When he received the news, full of joy, he immediately sent a letter addressed to Aristotle to Athens, in which he took part and thanked the gods that his son was born in his time (that of the philosopher) Hope that one day he would become his disciple. Queen Olimpias of Macedonia, her mother, was the daughter of Neoptolemy, king of Molosia, and, like her father, determined and violent. She closely watched the education of her children (Alexander’s sister Cleopatra would soon be born) and imbued her own ambition with them.
The prince had first in Lysimachus and then in Leonidas two severe pedagogues who submitted their infancy to a rigorous discipline. Nothing superfluous, Nothing frivolous, Nothing that would induce sensuality, Irritably and emotionally natural, this austerity apparently agreed with his character, and acquired a perfect mastery of himself and his actions.
When, at the age of twelve, the king, who had hitherto escaped from his side because of his constant military campaigns, decided to devote himself to his education, he marveled at the presence of an intelligent and courageous child, full of discretion, Interested in what happened around him. It was the right time to entrust Aristotle with the education of his son. From the age of thirteen until the age of seventeen, the prince practically lived with the philosopher. He studied grammar, geometry, philosophy and, especially, ethics and politics, although in this sense the future king would not follow the conceptions of his preceptor. Over the years, he would confess that Aristotle taught him to “live worthily”; He always felt for the Athenian thinker a sincere gratitude.
Aristotle taught him to love the poems of Homer , in particular the Iliad , which in time would become a true obsession of the adult Alexander. The new Achilles was once questioned by his master about his plans for him when he had attained power. The prudent Alexander answered that the time would come to answer him, because man can never be sure of the future. Aristotle, far from harboring suspicions about this reticent reply, was extremely pleased and prophesied that he would be a great king.
Alexander was growing as the Macedonians increased their dominions and Philip their glory. From an early age, his appearance and courage were compared to those of a lion, and when he was only fifteen years old, according to Plutarch , an anecdote took place that anticipated his dazzling future. Philip wanted to buy a wild horse with a beautiful print, but none of his horsy riders could take him, so he had decided to give it up. Alejandro, infatuated with the animal, wanted to have his chance to ride it, although his father did not believe that a boy would triumph where the older ones had failed. To the astonishment of all, the future conqueror of Persia ascended on the back of the one who would be his inseparable friend for many years, Bucephalus, and galloped upon him with unprecedented ease.
Healthy, robust and of great beauty (always according to Plutarch), Alejandro would incarnate at the age of sixteen and seventeen the prototype of the ideal young man. In the full validity of the love of Dorian, already enriched by Plato with his philosophy, and descendant himself of Dorians with a teacher who, for his part, had been for twenty years the favorite disciple of Plato, it is not difficult to imagine his sexual awakening. Already by reciprocal admiration with Aristotle himself, and by providing him with other boys as a formative method of his spirit, there would have been only the role corresponding to his age and condition in the time and in the warrior society in which he lived.
If, as Plato maintained, this type of love promoted heroism, in Alexander, during those years, the awakening of the hero was imminent. At sixteen he felt qualified to lead a war, and with sufficient command and judgment to reign. I could very soon prove both. His father wounded in Perinto, he was called to replace him. It was the first time he had taken part in a battle, and his conduct was so brilliant that he was sent to Macedonia as regent. In 338 he marched with his father to the south to subdue the tribes of Anfisa, north of Delphi.
From 380 BC, a visionary Greek, Isocrates , had preached the necessity of abandoning internal strife on the peninsula and of forming a Panhellenic League. But decades later, Athenian Demosthenes showed his concern for the conquests of Philip, who had seized the northern coast of the Aegean. Demosthenes, the declared enemy of Philip, took advantage of the distance to induce the Athenians to arm themselves against the Macedonians. When the king found out, he departed with his son to Queronea and beat the Athenians. The glorious Theban phalanges, invincible from their formation by the brilliant Epaminondas, were completely devastated. Even the last Theban soldier died in the battle of Queronea, where young Alexander captained Macedonian cavalry.
Alexander knew how to gain the admiration of his soldiers in this war and acquired such popularity that the subjects commented that Philip was still its general, but that its king was already Alexander. Quinto Curcio says that after the triumph at Queronea, where the prince had shown, despite his youth, that he was not only a heroic fighter but also an able strategist, his father embraced him and with tears in his eyes said: My son, find yourself another kingdom worthy of you. Macedonia is too small! ”
After the campaigns against Thracians, Illyrians and Athenians, Alexander, Antipater and Alcímac were named delegates of Athens to manage the peace treaty. It was then that he saw Greece for the first time in its entire splendor. The Greece I had learned to love through Homer. The land from which Aristotle had transmitted his pride and passion. In his brief stay he received great honors. There he attended gyms and lectures and exercised in the sport of the pentathlon, under the attentive and admiring gaze of the adults, who transformed these centers into true “courts of love.” There he was in direct contact with art at the height of Praxiteles and with the preliminary moments of the attic school.
The murder of Philip
Philip, meanwhile, had gathered under his authority all of Greece except Sparta. In 337, at the age of forty-five, he had a passion from the Adriatic mountains, and did not hesitate to return to Iliria in search of Atala, the princess he had fallen in love with. After twenty years of marriage (although very few of them were close to his wife and the disagreements were increasingly increasing), he also did not hesitate to repudiate the Olympics and celebrate a new marriage with Atala.
Alexander, who loved his mother, could not bear the offense which the king inferred from his lawful wife. In spite of this, he was forced to attend the wedding banquet. During the ceremony he criticized the performance of his father, and this, drunk, came to threaten him with his sword. Outraged, wounded in his own love, the prince ran beside his mother and begged him to flee with him. With a few faithful people, mother and son left Pela to take refuge in the palace of their uncle Alexander, king of Molosia in succession of his maternal grandfather.
There they lived until Filipo, showing signs of repentance, promised to pay the queen the honors that corresponded to him. Nevertheless, although Olimpias acceded, it is very possible that he already conspired with Pausanias for the perpetration of his revenge against Philip and the crystallization of his ambitions of regency. A few weeks later (it was already the spring of 336) they all returned to Epirus, including Philip. The wedding of his daughter Cleopatra was celebrated with Alexander of Molosia, uncle of the bride. During the nuptial procession, Filipo II was assassinated by Pausanias.
It seems clear that Olympias participated (perhaps was the mentor) in the assassination of the king. But Alejandro, was he alien? In his twenties he made himself with the kingdom of Macedonia: almost a divine design to begin at last the life of glory to which he felt destined. And at once he set to work. In the first place (here Quinto Curcio Rufo says that he “punished the murderers of his father by himself”, but it does not seem reliable), he did eliminate all those who could oppose him. The year 336 had not ended when the popular assembly of Corinth was designated “Generalissimo of the Greek armies”.
King of Macedonia
At the beginning of the year 335, the uprising of Thrace and Illyria required a brief campaign during which he achieved the conquest and submission of both regions. He had not just returned to his kingdom when the rebellion of the Thebans, united with that of the Athenians, after the rumor of his death in Icaria, demanded a new and urgent battle to prevent the total coalition.
But the siege of Thebes was not easy; Thrace and Illyria had, by comparison, been a child’s play. Before the resistance of the city, Alexander decided to take it by assault. More than six thousand citizens slaughtered a garrison of thirty thousand soldiers and ordered the total demolition of the city, although in an act more than eloquent of their respect for art And culture, ordered to save from the demolition the house in which Pindar had lived , the Greek poet of Cinocéfalos, who sang with great lyrical beauty to the athletes in their Epinices (or “songs of the sport”) and that was counted among their Favorite poets. Athens submitted without resistance.
Upon returning to Macedonia, he worked to prepare for the war against the Persian Empire, a campaign begun by his father (for whom he had been a lifelong dream), and who had been interrupted after his death. It is possible that between the final months of 335 until the spring of 334 he had made various trips to Epirus and Athens. In Epirus reigned its sister Cleopatra, the queen of Molosia that counted on its advice. In Athens Lysippus , the sculptor of Sique and friend of Alexander, made him several busts, some of which could date from that time.
The conquest of the Persian Empire
While preparing his departure for Persia they informed him that the statue of Orpheus, the lira player, was sweating, and Alexander consulted with a soothsayer to ascertain the meaning of this premonition. The augur predicted a great success in his enterprise, because the divinity manifested with this sign that for the poets of the future it would be arduous to sing his exploits. After commanding his general Antipater to preserve Greece in peace, in the spring of 334 BC the Hellespont crossed with thirty-seven thousand men ready to avenge the offenses inflicted by the Persians on their homeland in the past. Would never go back. Alexander occupied Thessaly and declared to the local authorities that the people of Thessaly would remain forever free of taxes. He also swore that, like Achilles.
When they arrived at Corinth, Alexander wanted to meet the great philosopher Diogenes , famous for his proverbial contempt for wealth and conventions, which, though he was in his eighties, retained his intellectual faculties. Sitting under a shed, warming him in the sun, Diogenes looked at the king with complete indifference. According to Plutarch, when the monarch said to him, “I am Alexander the King,” Diogenes replied: “And I am Diogenes the Cynic.” “Can I do anything for you?” Asked Alexander, and the philosopher replied, “Yes, you can do me the favor of leaving, for with your shadow you are taking away the sun.” Later the king would say to his friends: “If it were not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes.”
Later, another singular anecdote offers a new legendary dialogue, but this time with Dionides, famous pirate between the curios, tirrenos and Greeks, who, captured and led before its presence, did not arrogate before the admonition of the king when this one him Said, “By what right do you plunder the seas?” Dionides answered him, “With the same wherewith thou lovest the earth.” “But I am a king and you are only a pirate.” “We both have the same office,” said Dionides. If the gods had made me a king and a pirate of you, I would perhaps be better sovereign than you, whereas you would never be a skilful pirate without prejudice as I am. “They say that Alexander, by all answer, He forgave
In June of 334 he obtained the victory of the Gránico, on the Persian satraps. In the fierce and bloody battle Alexander almost perished, and only the timely help at the last moment of his general Clito saved his life. Conquered also Halicarnaso, it went towards Phrygia, but before, as it passed by Ephesus, was able to know the celebrated Apeles , that would become its private and exclusive painter. Apelles lived in the court until the death of Alexander.
At the beginning of 333, Alexander arrived with his army to Gordión, city that was court of the legendary king Midas and important commercial position between Ionia and Persia. There the Gordians posed an apparently irresolvable dilemma to the invader. An intricate knot tied the yoke to the chariot of Gordius, king of Phrygia, and it was long held that anyone who could undo it would dominate the world. All had failed until then, but the intrepid Alexander could not escape the temptation to unravel the riddle. Of a sure and violent blow executed with the edge of his sword, cut the rope, and then commented with sarcasm: “It was that simple.” Alexander thus affirmed his pretensions of universal dominion.
He crossed the Taurus, crossed Cilicia, and in the autumn of 333 BC, the great battle against Darius III, King of Persia, took place on the plain of Issos. Before the confrontation he harangued his troops, fearful of the bulky numerical superiority of the enemy. Alexander relied on victory because he was convinced that nothing could be done by the crowds against intelligence, and that a blow of audacity would come to decant the balance on the side of the Greeks. When the outcome of the contest was still uncertain, the coward Dario fled, abandoning his men to the catastrophe. The cities were sacked and the king’s wife and daughters were taken hostage, so that Darius was obliged to present Alexander with unusually advantageous peace conditions for the victorious Macedonian. He granted him the western part of his empire and the most beautiful of his daughters as his wife. The noble Parmenion seemed to him a satisfactory offer, and advised his chief: “If I were Alexander, I would accept.” To which he replied: “And I also were Parmenion.”
Alexander wanted to dominate all Persia and could not settle for that honorable treaty. This had to be done with control of the eastern Mediterranean. He destroyed the city of Tire after seven months of siege, seized Jerusalem, and entered Egypt without any resistance. Preceded by his fame as a conqueror of the Persians, he was received as a deliverer. Alexander presented himself as protector of the ancient religion of Amun and, after visiting the temple of the oracle of Zeus Amón in the oasis of Siwa, located in the desert of Libya, proclaimed his divine filiation in the purest pharaonic style.
That visit to a sanctuary, whose titular god was not purely Egyptian, had an undoubted political purpose. Alexander the Great, as a good politician, could not miss the opportunity to increase his prestige and popularity among the Hellenes, many of whom were reluctant to his person. It is said that after having requested the consultation of the oracle, the priest responded with the greeting reserved to the pharaohs treating him like “son of Amón”. Then (he goes on the legend), he penetrated only inside the building and listened attentively to the answer “according to his desire”, as Alexander himself would declare. On this visit and on the scope of the prophecy have been poured rivers of ink. Most historians agree that the oracle would have informed the Macedonian of his divine origin, And predicted the creation of his Universal Empire. The fact is that no text is known to provide information about the words of the oracle.
Upon returning to the western end of the delta, he founded, in an admirable natural setting, the city of Alexandria, which became the most prestigious in Hellenistic times. To determine its location was inspired by Homer. He used to say that the poet had appeared to him in a dream to remind him of a few verses from the Iliad : “In the undoubted and resounding Ponto / there is an island to Egypt contrasted / of Faro with the distinguished name . ” Next coastline planned the city that was to be the capital of Hellenism and the meeting point between East and West. As they could not delimit the urban perimeter with lime, Alejandro decided to use flour, but the birds came to eat it destroying the established limits.
In the spring of 331 he had left Macedonia for three years, with Antipater as regent; But neither they nor after seems to have thought of returning. He continued his exploration across the Euphrates and the Tigris, and in the plain of Gaugamela he confronted the last of the armies of Darius III, bringing to an end, in the battle of Arbelas, the Achaemenid dynasty. The impressive Persian troops counted on this occasion with a terrifying force of shock: elephants.
Parmenion was in favor of attacking protected by the darkness, but Alexander did not want to hide to the sun its victories. That night he slept restless and confident as his men marveled at his strange serenity. He had matured a great plan to avoid the maneuvers of the enemy. His best weapon was the speed of the cavalry, but also counted on the little strength of his opponent and planned to dismiss the army at the first opportunity. In fact, Darius was weak again and fled before the proximity of Alexander, suffering a new and infamous defeat. All the capitals opened before the Greeks. While entering Persepolis, Alexander had almost simultaneously occupied Susa, Babylon and Ecbatana. In July 330, Darius was killed. Kiss, the satrap of Bactriana.
Alexander then subdued the eastern provinces and continued his march eastwards. Many were the anecdotes and legends that from then on were accumulating around this demigod that seemed invincible. The story goes that he wore Persian stole, a garment foreign to Greek customs, to symbolize that he was king of both of them. We know that, driven by vengeance, he had the city of Persepolis burned; Who, in anger, killed with a spear to Clito, the one who had saved his life in Granicus; Who ordered that Aristotle’s nephew philosopher Callisthenes be executed for having composed verses alluding to his cruelty and that he married a Persian princess, Roxana, in contravention of the expectations of the Greeks. Alexander even went to India, Where he had to fight against the noble Hindu king Poros. As a result of the tragic battle, his faithful horse Bucéfalo died, in whose honor founded a city called Bucefalia.
But his army, as new Alexandria was founding in its wake, was losing men. These were exhausted, weakened, until in 326, upon arriving at Hyphasis (the most easterly point they could reach), he had to resume the way back after the mutiny of his soldiers. During the return, the army split up: while General Nearchus was searching for the sea route, Alexander drove the bulk of the troops through the infernal desert of Gedrosia. Thousands of men were killed. Thirst was more devastating than enemy spears. Although decimated, the army managed to reach its destination, and with the celebration of the wedding of eighty generals and ten thousand soldiers the conquest of the East was terminated.
Even in Babylon, he did not hesitate to order the Macedonians who opposed him to be executed. It had as its project the creation of a new army formed by Hellenes and barbarians to thus abort the traditions of Macedonian freedom. He wanted to build a mixed nation, and he assumed the Achaemenid ritual while seeking and gaining support from eastern families. He believed in this way to ensure the success of his plans for universal domination. Although he continued his campaigns and continued to project new ones until, on his deathbed, he could no longer speak, there was a fact, however, that all his certainties would collapse: the death of Hephaestion.
Alexander had married Roxana during a campaign in Bactra, from whose union Alexander IV, his only son, was born posthumously. He also married Estatira in Susa when, because of his zeal for racial integration, he had several marriages between his Macedonian soldiers and Oriental women. Estatira was the eldest daughter of Dario III; Dripetis, also married then with Hefestión, the smaller one. He trusted Ptolemy, his relative (perhaps his stepbrother) and officer of his high command. He also had in Nearco, one of his officers, a comrade and friend from childhood. But Hephaestion had been more than all of them: his friend, perhaps his lover, but above all an intelligent man who shared his ideas of statesmanship; Both experienced mutual admiration.
The death of Hephaestion in October 324, while at Ecbatana, caused him such pain that he himself was declining until his own death, which occurred a few months later. In 325, upon returning from India, during his march along the Indus he had received a dangerous wound in the chest; His return to the desert of Gedrosia in extreme conditions returned to break his health. Almost at the end of the summer of 324, he decided to rest for a while and settled in the summer palace of Ecbatana, accompanied by Roxana and his friend Hefestión. His wife became pregnant. His friend suddenly became ill and died. Alexander took the body to Babylon and organized the funeral of Hephaestion.
He immediately began a new campaign exploring the coasts of Arabia. As he sailed down the Lower Euphrates he contracted a malarial fever that would be fatal. Before his death, in June of 323, in a still imposing but already demolished ziggurat of Bel-Marduk, Alexander, less imposing, gave his royal ring to Perdiccas, his lieutenant since the death of Hephaestion. Alejandro was thirty-three years old. At his side was Roxana. Estatira remained in Susa, in the harem of the palace of his grandmother Sisigambis. Behind the walls that guarded the inner city, the Euphrates continued to flow. That same day, free from fabulous hopes, with nothing to bequeath to men except his miserable barrel, at almost ninety, Corinth also died in his unfortunate counterpart, the frowning philosopher Diogenes the Cynic .
The strange phenomenon of the non-corruption of the body of Alexander, more remarkable still with the heat prevailing in Babylon, would have given rise, in Christian times, to believe that it was a miracle, to sanctify it. In the fourth century BC there was no such tradition that attracted the attention of the hagiographers. Perhaps the most accurate explanation is that his clinical death occurred long after what was then believed.
Casimir was murdered by Casandro when he was thirteen, in 310 BC Casandro was the eldest son of Antipater, regent when Alexander the Great left for Asia, and after that murder was king. Of Macedonia. Cleopatra, his sister, continued to rule Molosia for many years after King Alexander died. Olympia, his mother, disputed the regency of Macedonia with Antipater and in 319 BC allied with Poliperconte, the new regent; When he had achieved the goal pursued throughout his life, was executed in 316 BC in Pidnia. Ptolemy , an officer of his high command, would later be king of Egypt, founder of the Ptolemy dynasty and author of a History of Alexander.
Alexander the Great Achievements
The conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander was much more than a simple warlike episode between Greeks and Persians. Whether it was for the size of the company or its success, the old world was not the same again after ten years of uninterrupted campaigns by the Macedonians and their allies in the East. Alejandro’s reasons for carrying out a campaign of such magnitude and difficulty are unknown to us. He himself argued for his desire to avenge the Persian invasions of more than a century before, although there is no doubt that there was, in part, the will to unite the heterogeneous Greek city-states, once confronted with Macedonia and then under their rule, in A joint venture that unites efforts and avoids dissent.
With an army consisting of about forty thousand men and the firm intention of liberating the Greek cities subdued by the Persians, Alexander crossed the Hellespont in the spring of 334 BC, starting his march against the Persian Empire and leaving his kingdom in the hands of Antipater. Precisely the composition of his army, coupled with his indisputable talent as a strategist and the skilful choice of trained and trusted men as generals, was the key to his victories.
Already in the configuration of its first army a balanced set of troops with different weapons met. This group consisted of heavy infantry, composed of Greek contingents sent by the Corinthian League and mercenaries; The Macedonian phalange of heavy armament, with the characteristic sarissa (spear of about five meters in length); The light infantry, composed of Macedonians, Thracians and peonies endowed with javelin; The body of Cretan archers; And, occupying a relevant position, the Macedonian heavy cavalry, main body of shock of his army, supported by the light cavalry of Thessalians and Thracians.
When he arrived in Asia, Alexander inaugurated a series of actions overflowing with symbolic and ideological load, such as his visit to the tomb of the mythical Achilles in Troy. Almost at once he confronted the Persian troops, who were superior in number, by the river Gránico, obtaining a resounding victory and sending Athens three hundred armors of the vanquished as an offering to the goddess Athena.
This first victory not only struck a hard blow to the Persian Empire, but it validated the power and the forces of Alexander and consolidated its position before the Greeks. Nothing could stop her advance to the Greek cities on the coast of Asia Minor, which took shape in the capture of Sardis and Ephesus, and in an easy neutralization of the resistance offered by Miletus and Halicarnassus, animated by Rhodius Memnon, ally of the Persians. Before these cities he presented himself as a liberator, instituting supposedly democratic systems, although under his control.
On his way to the interior, by Lycia and Pamphylia, he reached Gordius in Phrygia, where the famous knot was known, which, according to legend, would grant the dominion of Asia to him who was capable of undoing it. Alexander solved it by cutting it with a swipe, incorporating another act full of symbolism to his actions of confirmation and showing off his power and legitimation of his ambitions. Through Cappadocia he directed his army to Syria, reaching in the region of Cilicia the city of Tarsus, where he was held by a serious disease. But as soon as he had recovered he continued with the conquest of nearby cities, such as Solos and Malos.
Syria, Palestine and Egypt
On the way to the north of Syria, in the autumn of 333 BC he came to confront the Achaemenid king, Darius III, at Issos. In this battle he inflicted a new defeat on the Persian troops, forcing the great king to retreat beyond the Euphrates, and the camp where the royal family, the wife, the sons and the mother of Darius, remained at the mercy of Alexander.
Thus began a new stage in which it consolidated its control in Asia Minor (on whose shores the last foci of Persian resistance succumbed), while the Aegean islands were liberated by the Macedonian fleet, and opened new possibilities of conquest in the Siriopalestine region, Closing the exits to the sea of the Persian Empire. At the same time he managed to silence the voices of certain Greek sectors that were still rising against him.
The Phoenician cities of the coast, from Pados to Sidon, surrendered without presenting any opposition before the irrepressible advance of the Macedonian. Simultaneously, Alexander refused the advantageous proposals of Darius III, who offered him the Asian territories on the other side of the Euphrates, as well as one of his daughters in marriage and ten thousand talents, in exchange for peace and the liberation of his family. Members did restore the Persian king). Pledged in his campaign of conquest, he came before the gates of the city of Tire, whose long resistance proved futile, being punished its population in an exemplary way, like that of Gaza. In the winter of 332 BC, the conquest of Palestine had already culminated and was headed for Egypt.
Before the Egyptian population, Alexander became the authentic artifice of his liberation from the Achaemenid yoke; For this reason, when he reached the Nile delta, he did not find it too difficult to defeat the Persian satrap, isolated and without the support of the Egyptian people. Upon his arrival in Memphis he was acclaimed as liberator and invested with the power and crown of Pharaoh. Precisely, one of its first measures was the foundation of a city in the delta of the Nile, to which it gave its own name, Alexandria. He then went through the desert to the oracular sanctuary of Amun, in the oasis of Siwa, where he was proclaimed by the priests as “son of Amun,” a god already identified with Zeus by the Greeks. In this way he consolidated his own divine ascendancy as a descendant of the Argae dynasty, which dated back to Heracles and, therefore,
Mesopotamia, Persia and Media
Alexander did not delay long in Egypt, but he retraced his steps to reach the Phoenician coasts, from where he left for Mesopotamia in the summer of 331 BC. Having left behind the Euphrates River and after crossing the Tigris, he found himself in Gaugamela with the army of Darius, who had unsuccessfully renewed his proposal for peace. The victory in this battle was decisive, for the disorderly retreat of the Persians and the escape of the king left many of the vital centers of the Persian Empire defenseless. Babylon was easily subdued and Alexander seized the magnificent royal treasure; In Persia the cities of Susa, Persepolis (where the royal palace burned down) and Pasargada succumbed one after another.
Alexander’s continued successes were temporarily overshadowed by the revolt of Sparta, seconded by other anti-Macedonian cities, which was finally suppressed by Antipater. In the spring of 330 BC, Alexander resumed the march after Darius to Media. When he reached Ecbatana, the Persian had slipped away again, taking refuge in Bactriana. Before resuming the persecution, Alexander decided to reorganize his troops, relieving the Greek troops (rewarded with magnanimity) and entrusting to the Macedonian Harpalo the custody of the enormous riches obtained in the boots.
In his fierce harassment of the Persian king he entered the northeast region, crossing the Caspian Gates. In the meantime, Darius had been overthrown by Beso, the satrap of Bactriana, who, before Alexander’s advance, ordered Darius to be killed, proclaiming himself sovereign with the name of Artaxerxes. In view of the unexpected manner in which events had precipitated and the situation had changed in that summer of 330 BC, it is not surprising that Alexander took charge of the remains of his late enemy, ordering his burial in the royal tomb Of Persepolis. With this apparent gesture of benevolence he really emphasized his status as the legitimate successor of Darius III. As such, it was to end the usurper of the throne and conquer the eastern territories of the Persian Empire.
From Parthia to India
In the southeastern region of the Caspian Sea and in the Iranian area various peoples were subdued, as were the territories of Parthia. Alexander then marched to the East, conquering successively Aria, Drangiana and Aracosia, where he stopped in the spring of 329 BC before crossing the Paropamiso and the mountain range of the Hindu Kush. Without the imposing heights being an obstacle, he arrived at Bactriana, the refuge of the usurper, who, however, had fled. Following him with tenacious determination by the territory of Sogdiana, Beso was finally captured and executed.
Tireless in his eagerness to conquer, Alexander continued with his army in Sogdiana, taking the capital, Maracanda (Samarcanda). A revolt that sprung up in this city, headed by Spitens, was choked promptly, with the consequent death of the insurgent. Thus the limit of the Persian Empire in the river Yaxartes was reached. However, the search for a natural boundary explains his subsequent campaign in India, in the region of the Indus river, specifically in the so-called “five rivers” (Punjab).
In the spring of 326 BC, he arrived on the banks of the Indus, earning soon the support of King Taxiles and other princes of the Hidaspes River region, even in his confrontation with King Poros, who dominated the region between The Hidaspes and the river Acesines. Finally it reached the river Hifasis, the most eastern of all, obtaining in this way the submission of the region. Dissuaded, before the refusal of the army, to continue advancing towards the east, and after converting this fluvial course in the eastern limit of the empire, undertook the return.
In the region of Hidaspes, where the army stopped in the winter of 325 BC to build a fleet, the confrontation with the Malians took place, in which Alexander was badly wounded by an arrow. In the summer of the same year the return was undertaken, dividing the army in order to follow a double itinerary, one by land, along the coast and under the command of Alexander, and another by sea, with the fleet built for The expedition across the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, led by Nearco.
In the itinerary followed by Alexander, it emphasizes its fierce effort to cross the desert of Gedrosia (Baluchistan), emulating to the own Ciro, but with a high cost in lives between the ranks of its army. In the spring of 324 BC he arrived at Susa, going during the summer to the city of Opis and arriving in the winter of the same year, finally, to Babylon, made the capital of his ephemeral empire. From there he was engaged in his plans to prepare a wide expedition of conquest to Arabia, which was truncated by his untimely death on June 13, 323 BC, provoked by the fever, perhaps originated by previous and chronic diseases never healed.