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Alexander the Great was an icon in the Ancient Greece military. His diligent and courageous leadership led to the formation of a gigantic empire. More interesting was the young age at which he inherited the throne from his father and successfully expanded the territory within a decade that left a legacy even after his death.
Alexander III of Macedon/Alexander the Great was the ruler of the Macedon, an Ancient Kingdom of Greece. He was one of the members of a famous royal house in the Ancient Greece known as the Argead Dynasty (Cartledge, 2011). He was born in 356 BC and became a student of Aristotle until age 16. At 20, he inherited the throne of a strong kingdom with a brave army from his father, Philip II, after his assassination. His military ambitions inspired him to launch campaigns in the North East Africa and Asia. Therefore, at 30, he had a vast empire spreading from North West India to Greece and Egypt. He was a brilliant commander. Thus, he was rarely defeated. Even in the 21st century, military officers continued paying homage to him as their role model (Yenne, 2010). His rule terminated after his death in 323 BC in Babylon. Therefore, series of armed conflicts broke his empire into different states that fell under his heirs and surviving military commanders. The story of Alexander is very interesting because of the young age at which he became a ruler of a vast kingdom. Moreover, we should admire his brave command of a huge army that conquered vast territories through bloody fights to build an empire. This paper seeks to explore the conquered territories such as Asia Minor, Levant and Syria, Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia, and Persia among others, as well as the legacy he left behind after death.
The Series of Invasions and Conquests
In 334 BC, he gathered a group of approximately 48,000 fighters and a fleet of estimated 120 ships with people and horses a board drawn from the Greek City States, Macedon, as well as mercenaries fighting for Greece to compose an army to invade Hellespont. He claimed that gods gave him the Asian soils and unlike his father who was diplomatic, he was determined to fight for the same. Upon his incursion, he defeated Persians in the war of Granicus. He went ahead to liberate cities and give them democracy and autonomy as he occupied the towns near the coastal line to capture the Persian naval bases after which he proceeded to the inland (Roisman & Worthington, 2010).
The next target was Levant and Syria. Therefore, in 333 BC, he proceeded to Cilicia through Taurus. After a break following health complications, he went on in his mission to Syria where the army of Darius repulsed him back to Cilicia. However, Alexander reorganized his troops to launch more attack to his opponents until Darius escaped (Roisman & Worthington, 2010). The Greek Empire consequently expanded to Syria and some parts of Levant. Thus, he consequently attacked Tyre where he killed men and sold women and children to slave traders.
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From Tyre, he skipped Jerusalem, and his incursion advanced towards Egypt where he encountered resistance at the Gaza City built on a hill and had fortified walls. He retreated but unsuccessfully waged a couple attacks until he succeeded in the third despite sustaining injuries. To suppress uprising tendencies, he killed males and sold women and underage to slave dealers. He founded the Alexandria City the former Capital of Egypt before departing in 331 BC (Roisman & Worthington, 2010).
From Egypt, the troops surged towards the East targeting Northern Iraq/Mesopotamia. When they met Darius once again, they chased him away and consequently captured Babylon. The next destination was Susa where he looted the city possessions including the treasury as well as other installations during his five months sojourn (Heckel & Lawrence, 2009).
Between 327 and 326 BC, Alexander led the attack of Kunar, Guraeus, Buner, and Swat Valleys in India in which he sustained injuries but emerged successfully. He further advanced to the Massaga Fort where he killed people and destroyed structures. He further captured Aornos and consequently founded a couple of cities namely Bucephala and Nicaea near river Hydaspes. He was determined to continue expanding his empire. However, his troops were tired of war and persuaded him to end the mission at that point.
The Legacy of Alexander’s Greek Empire
The Greek Kingdoms built by Alexander spread to over 5.2 million square kilometers and survived for 200-300 years known as the “Hellenistic era” (Green, 2007). He built many cities that bore his name, spread “Koine” — a Greek dialect — to the land that he conquered. He attempted to harmonize the Asian and European culture. However, his successors frustrated the dream. His rule promoted trade between the East and the West, and it led to the spread of Greek Civilization (Roisman & Worthington, 2010).
In Egypt, he founded the former capital city of Alexandria that remained a cultural hub, as well as a tourist destination even in the 21st century (Roisman & Worthington, 2010). The “Hellenistic culture” led to the introduction of an ancient library in Egypt that was the biggest of its kind and it promoted music, mathematics, philosophy, science, and poetry among other formal disciplines. Trade and shipping also flourished in the city due to the proximity of the Red and the Mediterranean Sea. The City boasts of cultural heritage through the presence of archeological sites containing tombs, statues, and fossils attributed to Alexander and the “Hellenistic Culture” as a whole.