If you were a leader or a normal person in your time, would you like to have ‘‘the great’’ in your name? Me too. Alexander the Great did some pretty great things while he was a leader, he came upon many challenges like his fathers death and the Persian army. He also created a legacy after his death as we study it today. We are actually studying it in Social Studies. We just started learning about him last week and this is one of the projects we did (to the right).
In 359 B.C., Alexander’s father, Philip II became the king of Macedonia. When he became king one of his biggest goals was to defeat the Persian Empire. Many of you reading this probably has goals for this year like Philip and steps to accomplish them. He first had to unite the Greek city-states and put them under his rule and then he could take his strong army to fight as one against Persia. Philip took control of the city-states one-by-one by defeating/bribing them and others joined on their own will. An Athenian lawyer, Demosthenes, warned the Greeks that Philip threatened the freedom of them. Philip controlled most of Greece before Demosthenes could get followers.
Before Alexander’s father could conquer the Persian Empire, he was killed. Alexander took over at 20 years old ready to accomplish his father’s goal, conquer Persia. His father had put him in the Macedonian army when he was very young so he was in many battles and by the age of 16, he was serving as a commander. Anyways, in 334 B.C. Alexander invaded Asia Minor with 40,000 soldiers and calvary (the strongest and the ones on horseback). His calvary crushed the Persian army at the battle of Granicus. In 333 B.C. he defeated the Persians at Issus which then forced the Persian king, Darius Ⅲ, to run away. Then in 331 B.C. Alexander conquered Egypt and built the city of Alexandria (after himself) there becoming one of the most important cities of the ancient world. Later that year, Alexander defeated Darius’s forces at Gaugamela and then took over the rest of the Persian Empire.
Alexander wasn’t named “the great” for any reason. He created many legacys while being a great leader to his army. In 327 B.C. he and his army marched to India until his soldiers got tired and Alexander decided to lead them home. On their way, the army crossed a desert and there wasn’t very much water. When his soldier’s found some water they put it in a helmet and gave it to Alexander, but he was willing to suffer the same thirst his soldiers were by pouring it on the ground. His health was a wreck when they returned home and then died at age 32. Alexander was a great and brave military leader that would lead his army anywhere and they would follow. One reason we can call him Alexander the Great is that when he died, Alexander was the most powerful ruler in the ancient world. Also, his legacy was a world that knew about Greek culture. Wherever Alexander’s army went, they spread the Greek language, ideas, and art. That is another reason why we call him Alexander the Great.
Alexander definitely lived up to his name. He had a long journey that created an even longer story. From accomplishing his father’s biggest goal to leading his army back home. His legacy changed Greek culture and other places Alexander and his army traveled through. Alexander the Great believed he could conquer his father’s goal and lead his army with him while spreading ideas/language.
Image from http://www.greece-is.com