Alexander the Great
When looking for legendary leaders Alexander the Great cannot escape notice. Why is this so? Who was this man to have such a lasting recognition down through the ages? His life shall be explored so that it may be determined whether he is worthy of such fame.
Alexander the Great was a Macedonian prince, and was born in the year 356 B.C. He was taught by three teachers who were renowned for their knowledge: Leonidas, Lysimachus and Aristotle. While he was still in his teens, Alexander became a soldier and fought in several campaigns against the Thracian, Athenian and Theban armies. Although he helped his father, Philip II, unite most of the Greek states; father and son became estranged after Philip abandoned his former queen for a new and better alliance. It took some time before Alexander would even speak to his father again, and her preferred to live with his mother in the place she had been banished to.
Upon Philip II’s murder, Alexander seized the throne. Even though he was nineteen, Alexander managed to gain the support of the military, particularly of the generals who had seen him fight before. The army, in an act to prove their loyalty, slew any other potential heirs to the throne. Cleopatra, Philip II’s second wife, was driven to suicide after Alexander’s mother murdered her daughter. With the death of his father the Greek states split again and Alexander had to wrestle to get them back under his control.
Once Greece was secured, Alexander set about conquering the Persian empire and Egypt. He secured both of these nations under his rule and turned his sights on Rome and Carthage. However, before he could begin these new campaigns he died of malaria in Babylon, being only thirty-two years of age. Upon his death Alexander’s empire tore itself apart as his generals fought each other for control, his own son was not born until a few months after the king’s death.
To conclude, Alexander was a brilliant military strategist. He suffered very few defeats and took care of his troops to ensure their efficiency. Yet, for all his learning, he failed to leave behind an heir strong enough to hold onto the empire he had made. The war that followed Alexander’s death ripped Greece and Asia apart, and in the chaos many of the things Alexander had built was destroyed. While he can be held up as a exceptional general his flaws should not be overlooked.