Life Story of the Greatest Emperor Alexander the Great

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Alexander of Macedonia is a man famed for his monumental accomplishments and his spectacular display of character. His prestige is immeasurable and has no parallel. The Macedonian king was later referred to as Alexander the Great due to his vast attainments as a scholar, expansive conquest as a warrior, and legacy as an emperor that changed the view of the world.

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The first factor that contributed to Alexander’s greatness is his royal lineage and educational background. Alexander was born in 356 BCE in Pella, Macedonia to King Philip II of Macedon and Olympia of Epirus. Olympia, formerly known as Myrtale, is the daughter Neoptolemus of Epirus. Neoptolemus is the son of Achilles and the hero of the Greek army during the Trojan war. Alexander was the product of the most affluent and influential families of Macedon. He was destined to inherit the throne of his father and rule the kingdom with the guidance of his mother. In addition to that, Alexander the Great was educated under the supervision of the brilliant minds known to history. During Alexander’s early years, his father dreamt of a refined and well-educated successor. As a result, King Philipp II commissioned Lysimachus of Acarnania to teach his son how to read, write, and to play the lyre. This education has inculcated the passion for music and poetry in Alexander’s life. He was then tutored by the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, by the time he turned 14. Aristotle became the boy’s tutor for three years. Aristotle continued to guide Alexander, and he became the emperor’s consultant in the later campaigns. He cultivated knowledge in Alexander’s innocent mind that catalyzed the emperor’s success. On the other hand, Olympia wanted a warrior out of his son. She ordered Leonidas of Epirus to train Alexander how to ride a horse, fight using weapons, and survive exhausting marches. Through this knowledge and skill, Alexander was able to tame the wild horse named Bucephalus. Furthermore, his expertise in fighting was mirrored in his later years during his conquest. The emperor once uttered, ‘I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.’ Alexander might be born as an heir to his father’s kingdom, yet he can never gain his success without the supervision of his great educators.

Alexander’s military strength peaked during his Persian invasion, and he showcased it through his empire’s solidification. He continued his father’s plans of conquering Persia after king Philip II was assassinated in 336 BCE. The battle of Gaugamela took place in 331 BCE. Alexander’s 40 000 infantry and 7 000 cavalries overthrown the larger Persian army of 100 000 soldiers. After several wars, he finally invaded the Persian empire when Shāhrūd slaughtered Darius III. Alexander buried his opponent’s body with honors in Persepolis despite their conflict. He conquered all his rival’s lands including Asia and the Mediterranean coast. This act justified the Rhodian Inscription for Alexander as the “Lord of Asia.” Furthermore, he solidified his empire by fusing the Macedonian rule and the Persian culture by forming a single superior race. 10 000 of his soldiers along with his 80 trusted officers married Persian wives. On the other hand, He and Hephaestion wedded Darius III’s daughters. Alexander appointed Persian nobles in high offices which the Macedonians considered as a threat to their community. Moreover, he strengthened his rule by allowing the involvement of soldiers from Asia in his army. These foreign warriors were trained under the Macedonian military to defend the empire. Alexander the Great was considered as a kind ruler who adapted various traditions, incorporated different races, and respected his people’s beliefs despite the negation of the Macedonians.

Although Alexander’s intention of cultural amalgamation is not successful, his greatness was still reflected through his contribution to, finances, academics, and Hellenism. One of his reforms was to establish a financial policy. However, it was not implemented due to the failure of his chief treasurer, Harpalus. As a resolution, the emperor chose to create a new silver currency derived from the Athenian coinage system. This system of currency augmented the trade from Macedonia and Persia toward other regions of the world. Moreover, he moved the focal points of civilizations in the east and introduced the era of the Greek territorial monarchies. These monarchies paved the way to Hellenism. The Hellenistic period started in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. It lasted for almost three centuries and stretched from the passing of Alexander the Great (323 BCE) until the Roman conquest in Egypt (30 BCE). This event allowed the construction of great cities such as Alexandria in Egypt. Alexandria was built with a palace and tomb for Alexander. It is complete with a road system, library, temples, zoological gardens, gymnasium, stadium, racecourse, theatre, and shrines. Harbors, lighthouses, cisterns, and canals were also built along the Nile to improve transportation and water supply. Furthermore, Alexander’s expeditions also contributed to the world economy. The emperor dispersed gold and silver from the Persian treasuries. This resulted in inflation during the first years, but as the capital generates more income, the costs started to drop. Trade flourished and Alexandria became one of the largest mercantile cities during the Hellenistic period.

Alexander of Macedon deserves to bear the name of Alexander the great for his remarkable intelligence, extensive empire and imparted heritage which altered the perception of humankind. He shaped the view of the world and his influence paved the way to the development of various civilizations. The young emperor made an impact no man can surpass thus history will forever glorify his name “Alexander the Great.” 

29 April 2022

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