Alexander The Great

By: Raphael Genato, Safar Williams, Jonathan Good

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Who is Alexander The Great?

Alexander III of Macedon, known as Alexander The Great (21 July 356 BCE – 10 or 11 June 323 BCE), was the son of King Philip II of Macedon. He became king upon his father’s death in 336 BCE and went on to conquer most of the known world of his day. He is known as 'the great' both for his military genius and his diplomatic skills in handling the various populaces of the regions he conquered. He is further recognized for spreading Greek culture, language, and thought from Greece throughout Asia Minor, Egypt, and Mesopotamia to India and thus initiating the era of the "Hellenistic World".

Persia

From Babylon, Alexander went to Susa, one of the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its legendary treasury. He sent the bulk of his army to the Persian ceremonial capital of Persepolis via the Royal Road. Alexander himself took selected troops on the direct route to the city. He had to storm the pass of the Persian Gate, which had been blocked by a Persian army under Ariobarzanes and then hurried to Persepolis before its garrison could loot the treasury.

On entering Persepolis, Alexander allowed his troops to loot the city for several days. Alexander stayed in Persepolis for five months. During his stay a fire broke out in the eastern palace of Xerxes and spread to the rest of the city. Possible causes include a drunken accident or deliberate revenge for the burning of the Acropolis of Athens during the 2nd Persian War.

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Egypt

When Alexander destroyed Tyre, most of the towns on the route to Egypt quickly capitulated, with the exception of Gaza. The stronghold at Gaza was heavily fortified and built on a hill, requiring a siege. Alexander came upon the city only to be met with a surprising resistance and fortification. When "his engineers pointed out to him that because of the height of the mound it would be impossible… this encouraged Alexander all the more to make the attempt". The divine right that Alexander believed he had gave him confidence of a miracle occurring. After three unsuccessful assaults, the stronghold fell, but not before Alexander had received a serious shoulder wound. As in Tyre, men of military age were put to the sword and the women and children were sold into slavery.

Jerusalem opened its gates in surrender, and according to Josephus, Alexander was shown the Book of Daniel's prophecy, presumably chapter 8, which described a mighty Greek king who would conquer the Persian Empire. He spared Jerusalem and pushed south into Egypt.

Alexander advanced on Egypt in later 332 BC, where he was regarded as a liberator. He was pronounced the new "master of the Universe" and son of the deity of Amun at the Oracle of Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert. Henceforth, Alexander often referred to Zeus-Ammon as his true father, and subsequent currency depicted him adorned with rams horn as a symbol of his divinity. During his stay in Egypt, he founded Alexandria-by-Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic Kingdom after his death.

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Mini Bio: Alexander the Great