At the age of 20, Alexander III became the king of Macedonia when his father Philip was assassinated. Before he could begin his now famous campaign to conquer Persia, he had to take control of Illyria, Greece, and the Thracian tribes. Once his control of the region was in place he began hi campaign to conquer Persia. Alexander had amassed a large military force that included some 48,000 soldiers, 6,000 cavalry, and a naval force that consisted of 120 ships and 38,000 sailors.Alexander invaded Asia when he crossed with his army at Hellespont. His first victory over the Persian army occurred at Granicus.
Alexander continued down along the Ionian coast winning numerous battles and sieges. During the battle of Issus, Alexander’s army defeated Persia’s main army under the command of Darrius III. This defeat gave Alexander control of land as far as the Euphrates river in what is now modern day Iraq. Alexander continued along the Medeteranean coast and conquered Syria. He was forced to lay siege on the island city of Tyre, which refused to capitulate to him. After a five month long siege, Tyre finally fell.
As a result of the siege an enraged Alexander had 7000 men killed and 30,000 women and children were sold into slavery.Alexander’s next major battle occurred at the stronghold of Gaza. It was here that Alexander received a serious shoulder wound. It took four attempted assaults in order to defeat Gaza.
Just like Tyre, every man of military age was killed and the rest of women and children were sold into slavery.Alexander entered Egypt and was hailed not only as a liberator but also ordained as the new Master of the Universe. While in Egypt he created the now legendary city called Alexandria. Alexander left Egypt moving eastward into Mesopotamia where he met and defeated Darius at the battle of Gaugaumela. Darius once again fled while Alexander chased him all the way to Arbela. While being chased, Alexander conquered Babylon.
After capturing Susa and seizing all of it’s treasure, Alexander split his forces to take Persepolis, the capitol of Persia. His main military force went along the royal road while Alexander, along with hand selected men went direct storming the Persian gates that were blocked by the Persian army and then sped to Persepolis. He did this so that he could prevent the garrison there from looting and destroying the treasury there. After a five month stay in Persepolis, Alexander burned the city down.
This was done for what some believed was in retaliation of Acropolis being burned during the second Persian war.Alexander then turned his attention to the India. The land was ruled by clan chieftans. Some of the chieftans had refused to submit to Alexander’s rule.
Alexander attacked and defeated these clans in a series of battles. During the battle of Massaga, Alexander was once again seriously wounded, this time in the ankle. Massaga was totally destroyed down to rubble and all of it’s inhabitants were killed. After similar battles at Ora and Aornos, Alexander crossed the Indus river where he fought and defeated king Porus during the battle of Hydaspes.Near the Ganges river at the kingdom of Magadha, Alexander’s army revolted. Tired after years of war and the prospect of fighting another major military force, his men refused to march any further.
After consulting his generals, he decided to move south back towards Persia. He continued to conquer land along the way. On 10 June 323 B.C.E.
, Alexander died due to a mysterious illness while staying in the palace of Nebuchadrezzar in Babylon.Alexander the Great’s legacy cannot be understated. During his ten year reign, he never lost a single battle, even though most of the time he was outnumbered. He conquered most of the known world. His empire covered almost 2 million square miles.
He founded nearly 20 cities that bore his name. The greatest and his first was Alexandria in Egypt, which is still a major city today. He merged the west with the east. Called the Hellinization, he spread the Greek language, culture, art, knowledge of math, science and medicine throughout his empire. He was able to accomplish all of this all by the time he died at the age of 33.