A Brief History of Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great was born in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia in July 356 BC, and he died of unknown causes in June, 323 BC in Babylon. He was the son of Philip II, king of Macedonia, and Olympias, the princess of neighboring Epirus. Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle and ascended to the throne following his father's assassination in 336 BC.

Alexander's military campaigns are renowned for their scale and impact. He started by securing his rule over Macedonia, which had become unstable after his father's death, and he subdued rebellions in nearby regions. Then, Alexander launched a massive military campaign against the Persian Empire. The key battles of this campaign were the Battle of Issus and the Battle of Gaugamela, both of which Alexander won despite being vastly outnumbered. In 330 BC, he had fully toppled the Persian Empire, and its wealth went into Alexander's coffer.

In the following years, Alexander continued his conquests, moving further eastward into Asia. He invaded India in 326 BC but was eventually forced to turn back by his weary soldiers. The extent of his empire at this point was enormous, stretching from Greece in the west, Egypt in the south, to parts of India in the east.

Despite his military successes, Alexander's reign was not without controversy. His attempt to mix Persian and Greek cultures was met with resistance from his men. His rule also grew increasingly tyrannical, with several executions of close friends and officers on suspicions of treason. Moreover, his ambition to continue eastward expansion was heavily criticized by his soldiers, leading to mutinies.

Alexander the Great died in Babylon in 323 BC at the age of 32. The cause of his death remains a mystery. Various theories propose causes ranging from fever, to poisoning, to malaria. After his death, his vast empire fell into a period known as the Wars of the Diadochi (Successors), where his former generals fought for control.

Alexander the Great's legacy is immense. He is known as one of history's greatest military minds who created an empire that stretched across three continents and covered around two million square miles. His strategies and tactics are still studied in military academies today. His reign also marked the beginning of the Hellenistic age, where Greek culture spread across the east, leading to a new blending of cultures that had far-reaching impacts. Alexander's life and reign also have been depicted numerous times in literature and popular culture.