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Alexander the great (356 BC—323 BC) is also called Alexander III of Macedonia. He was King of Macedonia and conqueror of the Persian Empire. He is considered one among the greatest military geniuses of all time. Alexander was born in 356 BC in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia. He was the son of Philip II, King of Macedonia, and Olympias, the princess of neighbouring Epirus. Alexander spent his childhood watching his father transform Macedonia into an excellent military power, and watching him win victory after victory on the battlefields throughout the Balkans.
When he was 13, Philip hired the Greek philosopher Aristotle to be Alexander’s personal tutor. During following three years, Aristotle gave Alexander training in rhetoric and literature and stimulated his interest in science, medicine, and philosophy, all of which became important in Alexander’s later life.
Alexander is remembered as a folk-hero in Europe and much of western and central Asia, where he's usually called Iskander. In Iran, on the opposite hand, he's remembered as the destroyer of their first great empire and as the leveller of Persepolis. Ancient sources are generally written with an agenda of either glorifying or slandering the person , making it difficult to judge his actual character.
Modern opinion on Alexander has run the gamut from the concept that he believed he was on a divinely-inspired mission to unite the civilization, to the view that he was the ancient world's equivalent of a Napoleon or a Hitler, a megalomaniac bent on world domination. Such views tend to be anachronistic, however, and therefore the sources allow a range of interpretations. Much about Alexander's personality and aims remain enigmatic. Alexander had a legendary horse named Bucephalus (ox-headed), supposedly descended from the Mares of Diomedes.
According to one story, the philosopher Anaxarchus checked the vainglory of Alexander, when he aspired to the honours of divinity, by pointing to his wounded finger, saying, "See the blood of a mortal, not of a god." In another version, Alexander himself acknowledged the difference in response to a sycophantic soldier.
In 340 BC, Philip assembled an oversized Macedonian army and invaded Thrace. He left 16-year-old Alexander with the ability to rule Macedonia in his absence as regent. But because the Macedonian army advanced deep into Thrace, the Thracian tribe of Maedi bordering north-eastern Macedonia rebelled and posed a danger to the country. Alexander assembled an army, led it against the rebels, and with swift action defeated the Maedi, captured their stronghold, and renamed it Alexandropolis.
Alexander became king of Macedonia in 336 BC when his father was assassinated. A meeting of Greek cities made him General (supreme commander). He used this authority to launch his father's military expansion plans. In 334 BC, he invaded Persian-ruled Asia Minor. He began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Alexander broke the ability of Persia in a very series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He overthrew the Persian King Darius III and conquered the whole Persian Empire. At that time , Alexander's empire stretched from the Adriatic to the Indus .
He invaded India in 326 BC and defeated King Porus, who ruled a region in Punjab. Afterwards, they became allies. Alexander's empire was the most important state of its time, covering approximately 5.2 million square km.
Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, of unknown causes. Poison, murder, or a fever after a battle have all been suggested. Alexander was only 32 years old. Legend has it that Alexander was preserved in a clay vessel full of honey. At his death, he was planning a series of campaigns that might have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart. Several states were then ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander's surviving generals and heirs. They fought and conquered each other. The largest surviving piece was the Seleucid Empire.
Other names used for Alexander the great in several parts of the globe
Because of the range of the conquered lands, Alexander the great was known by different names, if not in his time then within the stories passed down in generations since then. His different names in different parts of the world are:
• Europe -- Alexander the Great
• Central Asia -- Iskander
• The Arab world and some parts of India -- Sikandar
• Parts of India -- Alakshendra
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