Alexander the Great
By: Peter Nazzario
When Phillip II of Macedonia was assassinted in 336 B.C.E. his son, Alexander, became the successor. The League of Corinth, had already conquered Greece so it was under Alexander's conrtol. Alexander was finally ready to fulfill his fathers dream and conquer Persia when the Greek city-state Thebes, was being reluctant. When Alexander was fighting rebellious tribes in Macedonia, false rumors of his death were spread, so Thebes declared their independence from Macedonia. Alexander was mad because this would ruin his plans to unite Greece and conquer Persia. He decided to march his army of 30,000 troops, 240 miles south to Thebes. He hoped that his army would intimidate them and make them back down, but it didn't. After three days the Thebans sent a message that any Macedonians who wanted to join them and overthrow the "Tyrant of Greece" could. A Battle began and Alexander and his army succeeded. Alexander showed mercy to many of the survivors and then destroyed the remains of the city.
Alexander the Great set out for Asia Minor in 334 B.C.E. with 35,000 troops. Since the Persian wars the Greeks dreamed about revenge, but Persia was no longer a military threat to Greece. There was economic competition between Persia and Greece but Alexander wanted to conquer it for revenge and to rule vast lands. Alexanders tactics varied, some stradigies were well planned and others relied on brute force. His main stradegy was to use phalanx and charge directly at the Enemy. In one of the most famous battles- the Battle of Issis in 333 B.C.E., the Persians killed many of Alexanders troops and probably could have won the battle but got scared and fled. Alexander still showed respect for conquered Persians by appointing some to governers and still allowing them to practice their religions. He was also very cruel, when he attacked Tyre, the citizens fought back and he was so mad he sold all 30,000 of the citizens into slavery. Eventually Alexander captured the Persian capital Persepolis, and kept all of the riches for himself. He allowed his men to burn down the Great Palace and its surrounding temples.
Alexander and his troops arrived in Egypt 332 B.C.E, since Alexander conquered Persia, Egypt saw him as more of a savior. Egypt thought Alexander would be more respecting to their religion so they treated him as their pharoah. In 331 B.C.E Alexander visited the oasis of Siwah, he went to the Oracle of Amon to hear predictions of victory in upcoming battles and confirm that he was the son of Zeus. The egyptians were excited about Alexander visiting the oasis because no pharoah has ever visited it so they treated him like a king. Before he left Egypt he made a city north of Memphis and called it Alexandria. He thought it would be important so he designed everything about the city from stores to temples and even decided which gods to paint on the temples. Alexandria later became a important city for learning with the biggest library in the world. The library helped preserve Greek cultural achievements and served as a study center for literature, philosophy, science, and math.
In 327 B.C.E Alexander led his troops over the Hindu Kush mountains. The area that the Greeks called India was sometimes willingly submitted and paid him tribute. Later Alexander faced a Indian king named Porus who first used war elephants against the Greeks. The two armies met at Hydaspes where Alexander would face war elephants for the first time. At first the troops could not cross the river because Porus had his elephants blocking the river. Porus also thought that Alexander couldn't cross the river because the moonsoons meant that rain was expected everyday. He took one group of soldiers upstream and used the rain to conceal his movements, he then crossed the river and suprised them with a full scale attack. He sent two groups to attack from the front and one from behind. Alexander killed their elephants and caused some to panic winning the battle. Alexander encountered Brahmins along the way and tried to learn as much about Hinduism as possible. In the fall, Alexander returned home, but still during his time in India he tried to learn the most about the culture as possible.
Alexander was not only know as a great general and warrior but he had respect for other cultures. The libraries in Alexandria was not only a great example of him storing greek history but also others like Egypt and Persia. Alexander also showed great intrest in India and Hinduism, he tried to learn as much as possible about other cultures. His own accomplishments helped to add to Greek achievments, his stradigies were also used by later generals and are still used today.