At the young age of 32, Alexander the Great had built an empire spanning three continents. He conquered the long feared Persian army - who had ravaged Greek cities for centuries - with military strategy and tactics that would be studied for millenniums to follow. His leadership was unique for his time - encouraging blending of cultures rather than establishing the superiority of one. In this quiz we will look at the history, conquests and the death of the one of the greatest military commanders of all time - Alexander the Great.
Where was Alexander the Great Born?
Alexander the Great was born in the Pella, Macedonia. On the day he was born some very strange things happened. An important temple for the Macedonians, Diana of Ephesus, burnt to the ground. Hegesias of Magnesia, who documented Alexander's life, wrote that the goddess of the temple Artemis, chose to attend Alexander's birth rather than save the temple.
Alexander's father who consulted eastern oracles, predicted that the burning of the temple marked a great event and the young prince with god like abilities had great success written in his future.
Who was Alexander the Great's Father?
In history, Alexander has overshadowed his father Philip II - who himself was a great leader. Before Philip came to power, Macedonia used to be a small poor kingdom living under the shadow of powerful Greek states like Athens, Thebes and Sparta.
In his time as the king, Philip made Macedonia a powerful state. He revolutionised agriculture, trade, mining and most importantly - the military. Earlier, the military was a part-time occupation, mostly filled with farmers during the agricultural off-season. Philip made military a full-time profession where soldiers were solely trained in the art of warfare.
Yet, the Greeks considered the Macedonians to be unskilled barbarians. But 70 years of Peloponnesian War - where Athens and Sparta fought each other - had left the Greek city states weakened with no signs of unity. Philip took the opportunity to conquer Greece and established the start of the powerful Macedonian empire.
Which famous philosopher was Alexander the Great's teacher?
Alexander the Great was taught by the great philosopher Aristotle. Aristotle, who was the student of another great Greek philosopher Plato, played a important role in shaping Alexander's life. Aristotle taught young Alexander subjects like science, politics, law, ethics and morality.
Alexander's desire for global conquest and exploration was stirred by the philosopher who taught him to think logically, explore, discover and learn. He also handed Alexander his favourite book - Iliad by Homer. Alexander loved the book so much, he took it with him to sleep. Aristotle also told tales of the great distant lands where you can travel to the ends of the earth, lying beyond India.
However one Aristotle teaching that Alexander did not take with him was the idea of the Greek Superiority. Aristotle believed the Greeks to be better and civilized people; Alexander rejected that idea. When Alexander conquered Persia he treated Persians as equals and gave them dignity and respect for their way of life.
At what age did Alexander Become the King?
Alexander became the King of Macedonia at the age of 20. But, before taking the throne, Philip ensured that the prince was trained well. When Philip left on missions, Alexander would take command of Macedonia. On one such incident, Thrace, a region in Macedonia rebelled. Alexander marched to the region, curbed the rebellion and named a city after himself - Alexandropoulos. When he was 18, he was already in charge of a cavalry which he led to the battle in Athens.
But, things weren't quite right at home. His father had married another woman as part of his "diplomacy" and Alexander could see the throne slipping from his hand. In 336.BC Philip was murdered by his own bodyguard. There are unproven suspicions that Alexander and his mother Olympias planned the murder. Alexander was declared the king of Macedonia by the Macedonian nobles and army.
Who did Alexander the Great fight in his first Battle?
As soon as Alexander became the king, there were rebellions across his new kingdom. Thrace decided to revolt, so did Athens and Thebes. Alexander had to stamp his authority. Alexander as a king first marched into battle against Thrace.
The Thrace revolt folded quickly, Thebes however decided to resist. This infuriated Alexander who burnt the city to the ground. Realising what happened in Thebes, the horrified Athenians decided not to put up a fight. The League of Corinth, an alliance of Greek states, decided to elect Alexander their leader and lead the long planned war against the Persians.
Alexander led 30,000 troops and 5000 cavalry across Hellespont and into Persian territory. Here he visited Troy, the city from his favourite book Iliad. Taking inspiration from his hero Achilles, he began his daring raid against the Persians.
Who was the king of Persia when Alexander invaded?
Darius III was the king of Persia and he looked unconcerned about the Macedonian Army Marching into his land. So unconcerned in fact, that he sent the local governor to fight the first battle. The two forces lined up across the banks of the Granicus. Alexander charged immediately wading the strong waters and climbing the steep banks of the river on his horse, taking the Persians by surprise. And it worked, killing very important Persian noblemen until a Persian soldier Spithridates struck Alexander's helmet. Alexander almost blacked out. When Sphithridates raised his arm up to deliver a lethal blow, Cleitus the Black swung his sword to cut off Spithridates's arm.
Alexander met the Persian forces again in the battle of Issus. But this time, Darius decided that Alexander was a serious threat and took command of his army. The gulf of Issus had a mountain on one side and the sea on the other. The Persian plan to use its massive army of 100,000 men to pin down the 40,000 Macedonians on the narrow battlefield.
But, the plan failed. The Macedonian flanks held up the enemy until the infantry split open the Persian defences. Darius III fled the battle field.
The military campaign headed south as Alexander decided to conquer Syria and Egypt next. Alexander spent six months in Egypt, setting up the city of Alexandria - a global cultural hub. He then made his way back to Persia again, where he would meet Darius III in one of the most famous strategic battles of all time.
Alexander the Great conquered Persia in the battle of _____________?
After months of preparation Darius was ready to face Alexander again and this time he was prepared. The narrow battle field was abandoned for flat plains of Gaugamela. There were 100,000 troops, 200 chariots and 15 elephants in the Persian army. Alexander only had 50,000 combined infantry and cavalry on his side.
As the battle commenced, Darius's army units were drawn into the Macedonian flanks. These flanks were a stroke of a genius by Alexander that dispersed and isolated the Persian Army farther and farther away from Darius. This left an opening for Alexander's cavalry to attack. Darius was left exposed and he once again fled the battle field. Alexander chased after Darius for days until he came across his wounded body. Darius had been stabbed by his own men and left to die. Alexander provided Darius a full military funeral and took over as the ruler of Persia.
Which king did Alexander the Great fight in India?
Having fought and conquered their long sworn enemies, Alexander now headed east to unknown lands. The soldiers who thought the Persian victory meant a return home did not like this new expedition whatsoever. However, a few enthusiastic words from Alexander later, the troops marched east across the Bactrian desert to reach the Jhelum river (Hydaspes).
The Pauravas king, Porus had a huge army with giant elephants waiting for him on the other side. The mighty river fed by the monsoon rain posed its own challenges. The constant downpour and the wild jungle landscape dampened the morale of the forces further.
Alexander however was calm and waited for Porus to make a mistake. Once he saw an opportunity, the Macedonian troops quietly crossed the river on rafts. The battle in the dense jungle was new to the Macedonian forces but Alexander strategically started targeting the flanks of the Porus's army. The archers had killed enough elephant riders to stop them from being a threat. Porus's army retreated but the king hadn't stop fighting. Despite being injured, he kept attacking the Macedonian forces before being captured. Alexander admired his bravery and spared his life. Porus went on to be Alexander's good friend and was appointed governor of the land.
Alexander now had an empire stretching from Greece to the western borders of India.
At what river did Alexander the Great stop the conquest east?
Alexander the Great's campaign towards India stopped at the banks of the river Beas (Hyphasis).
After the win against Porus's army, Alexander wanted to conquer India. Porus warned Alexander about the vast armies that lay to the east. But, there was a bigger obstacle they had to overcome first - the nature.
Alexander choose a bad time for his Indian conquest. The monsoon rains made life a hell for even the rugged Macedonian soldiers. Their clothes were always wet, they had to move across the lands covered in deep mud, mosquitoes bothered them, there was the danger of floods and snakes and crocodiles were killing soldiers.
The soldier's morale, down as it was, completely collapsed when they came across the river Beas. The wide river with raging monsoon currents was the end point. They could go no further even for their beloved king. The soldiers rebelled against Alexander; they had the democratic right under the Macedonian law to choose to not fight for their king.
How did Alexander Die?
Alexander is believed to have died of typhoid.
After returning from India, Alexander first went to Susa, where he started hearing about the uprisings around Persia. He regained control of his empire's administration and executed the rebellious governors. He then went to Babylon to finally rule and govern his kingdom. He fell sick and died after 10 days of illness .
Historians who evaluated the symptoms through various ancient documents, think that Alexander died of Typhoid, a disease common in the region. Alexander the Great died at the young age of 32, leaving behind a lasting legacy.
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