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Alexander III of Macedon or popularly known as Alexander the Great was born 356 BCE and was the King of Macedon who created one of the largest empires in ancient history. He became king at the age of 20 when his father, King Philip of Macedon, was assassinated in 336 BCE. Alexander is one of the most hated figures of antiquity, and is remembered for his tactical ability, his conquests, and the spread of Greek civilization into the east.
1. Alexander’s eyes (one blue, one brown) revealed a dewy, feminine quality. This condition is called Heterochromia, an ocular condition in which one iris is a different color from the other iris. 2. Alexander the Great had a high complexion and a harsh voice. 3. Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar both were born on the month of July and both were epileptic. 4. His neck was in some way twisted, so that he appeared to be gazing upward at an angle. 5. Alexander suffered from a congenital scoliotic disorder (familial neck and spinal deformity) like his father Philip II and his brother Philip Arrhidaeus. 6. Alexander was short by Macedonian standards. 7. His beard was scanty, and he stood out against his hirsute Macedonian barons by going clean-shaven. 8. Alexander began to exhibit signs of megalomania and paranoia after the death of Hephaestion.
9. Alexander is regarded by most historians as “the greatest general in history”. 10. Alexander never lost in a single battle. 11. His tactical exploits are still taught in military academies throughout the world. 12. Alexander’s most evident personality traits have been his violent temper and rash, impulsive nature. 13. Alexander had a great desire for knowledge, a love for philosophy and was an avid reader. 14. He had great charisma and force of personality, characteristics which made him a great leader of men. 15. Alexander was born in July 356 BC, in Pella, the capital of the Kingdom of Macedon. 16. On his mother’s side, Alexander was a second cousin of Pyrrhus of Epirus, also a celebrated general, whom the phrase “Pyrrhic Victory” was derived. 17. On the day that Alexander was born, Philip was preparing himself for his siege on the city of Potidea on the peninsula of Chalkidiki. 18. On the same day Philip also received news that his general Parmenion had defeated the combined Illyrian and Paeonian armies, and that his horses had won at the Olympic Games. 19. It was also said that on this day, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus—one of the Seven Wonders of the World—burnt down. 20. In connection to this, Hegesias of Magnesia said that it burnt down because Artemis was attending the birth of Alexander. 21. Alexander was tutored by Leonidas of Epirus (not Leonidas, king of Sparta) and the great Greek philosopher Aristotle.
22. Alexander developed a passion for the works of Homer from Aristotle’s teaching, and in particular the Iliad, which Aristotle gave him an annotated copy of, which Alexander was to take on his campaigns. 23. As a student of Aristotle, the Temple of the Nymphs at Mieza served as their classroom. 24. Many of the pupils who learned by Alexander’s side became his friends and generals and are often referred to as the “Companions'. 25. Aristotle educated Alexander and his companions in medicine, philosophy, morals, religion, logic and art. 26. Alexander began his reign by having his potential rivals to the throne murdered. He had his cousin, the former Amyntas IV, executed, as well as having two Macedonian princes from the region of Lyncestis killed. 27. Alexander also ordered the murder of Attalus, commander of the advance guard of the army in Asia Minor. 28. Cleitus the Black saved Alexander’s life at the Battle of the Granicus in 334 BC, when Alexander was personally under attack by Rhoesaces and Spithridates. Cleitus chopped off Spirithidates’ arm before the Asian satrap could bring it down on Alexander. Cleitus would meet his demise at the hands of Alexander in a drunken quarrel in 328 BC. 29. Alexander’s first participation in a major battle was during the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BCE. It was the greatest victory of his father, King Philip of Macedon. 30. Alexander’s father, Philip of Macedon, have had 7 wives. 31. Alexander the Great had three wives: Roxane, Statiera, and Parysatis.
32. Alexander was married to Barsine (Stateira), a Persian princess and daughter of Darius III in 324 BC out of political interest. 33. Alexander also married Roxana, daughter of a Bactrian nobleman, out of love. 34. Roxane was said by contemporaries to be the most beautiful lady in all Asia. 35. Alexander had two sons, Alexander IV of Macedon of Roxana and Heracles of Macedon from Barsine. Both children were killed before they reached adulthood. He lost another child when Roxana miscarried at Hydaspes. 36. Alexander’s horse is named Bucephalus, meaning ‘ox-head’ and was his companion throughout his journeys as far as India. 37. Bucephalus is a year younger than Alexander. The horse was born in 355 BCE and died in 326 BCE in Pakistan at the age of 29. It is one of the most famous actual horses of antiquity. 38. Bucephalus is described as having a black coat with a large white star on his brow and with blue eyes. 39. Alexander was 14 years old when he acquired and tamed Bucephalus. 40. Alexander tamed Bucephalus (a horse that refused to be mounted by anyone) by turning it towards the sun because he detected that it is afraid of its own shadow. 41. Alexander’s horse, Bucephalus was afraid of its own shadow. 42. Alexandra Bucephalus was a city founded in 326 BCE by Alexander the Great and named in honor of his beloved horse, Bucephalus. 43. Nicaea or Bucephala was a city in what is now the present-day Punjab, one of the cities founded or renamed by Alexander the Great. 44. The greatest emotional relationship of Alexander’s life was with his friend, general and bodyguard Hephaestion, the son of a Macedonian noble.
45. Hephaestion had been brought up with Alexander and shared all his secrets. This friendship lasted their whole lives. 46. Hephaestion’s death devastated Alexander, sending him into a six month period of grieving. 47. Hephaestion held the position of second-in-command of Alexander’s forces until his death. 48. Upon the death of Hephaestion, Alexander sacked a nearby town, and put all of its inhabitants to the sword, as a ‘sacrifice’ to Hephaestion’s ghost.
49. Campaspe, also known as Pancaste, is the mistress of Alexander, one of the first women with whom Alexander was intimate. 50. Alexander was also involved to Bagoas, a eunuch in the Persian Empire. He was reportedly the lover of Darius III and after Darius’ death, the eromenos of Alexander the Great.
51. Alexander have come to believe himself a deity, or at least sought to deify himself. 52. Olympias, his mother, always insisted to Alexander that he was the son of Zeus. 53. Alexander was pronounced the new “Master of the Universe” and son of the deity of Ammon at the Oracle of Siwa Oasis in the Libyan Desert. 54. Henceforth, Alexander began to identify himself as the son of Zeus-Ammon. 55. This is sometimes taken as a reference to Alexander: Daniel 8:5–8 and 21–22 states that a King of Greece will conquer the Medes and Persians but then die at the height of his power and have his kingdom broken into four kingdoms. 56. Alexander was briefly mentioned in the first Book of the Maccabees. All of Chapter 1, verses 1–7 was about Alexander and this serves as an introduction of the book. This explains how the Hellenistic influence reached the Land of Israel at that time. 57. According to Greek Alexander Romance, Queen Thalestris of the Amazons brought 300 women to Alexander the Great, hoping to breed a race of children as strong and intelligent as he. 58. During Alexander’s Balkan campaign, Thebes revolted openly and was razed to the ground by Alexander leaving only the temple and the house of Pindar, a poet, standing. 59. In Alexander’s conquest of Persia, he brought with him about 35,000 Macedonian soldiers and 7,600 Greeks. 60. Alexander also brought with him men who collected different specimens of plant for Aristotle. 61. Alexander was a cold-blooded murderer. Many of his satraps and military governors that had misbehaved in his absence where executed to served as examples for others. 62. Alexander also swiftly executed those who had desecrated the tomb of Cyrus the Great, for they were put in charge of guarding the tomb Alexander held in honor. 63. The Battle of Hydaspes was the last major and most costly battle fought by Alexander.
64. Alexander was wounded in the shoulder by a dart in the battle against the Aspasioi in India. 65. Alexander was wounded seriously in the ankle in a bloody fighting at the fort of Massaga. 66. Alexander slaughtered the entire population of Massaga and also reduced its buildings to rubbles. 67. Alexander also slaughtered the entire population of Ora, a stronghold of the Assakenoi. 68. Darius III had named Alexander as his successor to the Achaemenid throne. 69. At the Siege of Gaza, Alexander received a serious shoulder wound. When Gaza was taken, the male population was put to the sword and the women and children were sold into slavery 70. In 332 BCE, Alexander attacked and captured Tyre. He crucified all the men of military age and sold the women and children into slavery. 71. At the Battle of Gaugamela, Darius gathered around 100,000 men and picked a flat plain for a battlefield so Alexander would have no advantages in terrain. 72. Darius III, fearing a night attack, kept his army awake and on alert for the whole night, while Alexander’s were more rested.
73. Alexander adopted some elements of Persian dress and customs at his court. This cost him much in the sympathies of many of his countrymen. 74. During Alexander’s stay in Egypt, he founded Alexandria, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic kingdom after his death.
75. At present, Alexandria, with a population of 4.1 million, is the second-largest city in Egypt, and is the country's largest seaport, serving about 80% of Egypt's imports and exports. Alexandria is also an important tourist resort. 76. Alexander ‘undid’ the hitherto unsolvable Gordian knot, a feat said to await the future “king of Asia”. According to the most vivid story, Alexander proclaimed that it did not matter how the knot was undone, and he hacked it apart with his sword. 77. After taking Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum), Alexander committed the government of Caria to Ada as satrap; she, in turn, formally adopted Alexander as her son.
78. At the Battle of Granicus, Alexander came close to dying in the battle. Mithridates, Rhoesaces, Spithridates and several other Persian leaders were killed. 79. During the Siege of Tyre, the Tyrian losses were about 8,000, while the Macedonians lost 400. Alexander granted pardon to the king and his family, while the 30,000 residents and foreigners taken were sold into slavery.
80. At the Battle of Hydaspes, Alexander was greatly impressed by Porus for his bravery in battle, and therefore made an alliance with him and appointed him as satrap of his own kingdom, even adding some land he did not own before. 81. Alexander the Great and his men traveled as far as 16,100 kilometers away from Macedonia. 82. On either 10 or 11 June 323 BC, Alexander died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon aged 32. 83. The possible caused of Alexander’s death could be malaria or typhoid fever.
84. When Alexander died, his body was placed in a gold anthropoid sarcophagus, which was in turn placed in a second gold casket.
85. Pompey, Julius Caesar and Augustus all visited the tomb whilst in Alexandria. 86. Caligula was said to have taken Alexander’s breastplate from the tomb for his own use. 87. Alexander the Great made his troops eat onions as he believed it would prove their vitality. 88. Alexander founded some 70 cities in the lands he conquered and ordered them named after him. 89. Alexander never made it back home after he traveled and conquered all of those territories. 90. The Macedonians stormed the city of Thebes, killing almost everyone in sight, women and children included. They plundered, sacked, burned and razed Thebes, as an example to the rest of Greece. 91. During Alexander’s early formative years he decided to model himself after Achilles. 92. Alexander not only captured Darius’ throne tent, he also found himself with Darius’ complete entourage. There were 3000 talents of gold (around 2,000,000,000 pounds today - one talent was 27kg of metal (60 lbs) - the amount of weight that a man could carry all day). 93. Alexander the Great once said “I would rather live a short life of glory than a long one of obscurity”. 94. Olympias, Alexander’s mother, became the first and only Macedonian woman to rule the Macedonian Empire. 95. King Philip of Macedon’s assassin was actually one of his seven bodyguards.
96. Alexander’s original gold sarcophagus was stolen, melted down, and replaced with glass. 97. Alexander’s horse, Bucephalus died at the Battle of Granicus in his Indian campaign. 98. Upon Alexander’s death, his empire was divided into 3; Europe was governed by Antigonus, Asia was under Seleucus and Egypt was ruled by Ptolemy. 99. Alexander liked drama, the flute and the lyre, poetry and hunting. 100. Alexander the Great died without designating a successor but whispered in his dying moment that his successor should be ‘the strongest’.
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