Alexander the great was king of Macedonia and one of the greatest generals in history. He conquered much of what was then the civilized world. Alexander brought Greek ideas and the Greek way of doing things to all the countries he conquered. He made possible the broadly developed culture of the Hellenistic Age.
Alexander was born in Pella, Macedonia, the son of Philip of Macedon, who was an excellent general and organizer. His mother was Olympias, princess of Epirus.
She was brilliant and hot-tempered. Alexander inherited the best qualities of both his parents. But he was even more ambitious than his father. He wept bitterly when he heard of Philip's conquests and said, " My father will get ahead of me in everything, and will leave nothing great for me to do." Alexander's mother taught him that Achilles was his ancestor, and that his father was descended from Hercules. He learned by heart the Iliad, a story about the deeds of Achilles. He carried a copy of the Iliad with him, and Achilles became Alexander's model .
But not too long after the defeat of the Greeks at Chaeronea, the royal family split apart when Philip married Cleopatra, a Macedonian girl of high nobility. At the wedding banquet, Cleopatra's uncle, general Attalus, made a remark about Philip fathering a ‘legitimate’ heir, i.e., one that was of pure Macedonian blood. Alexander threw his cup at the man, blasting him for calling him 'bastard child’. Philip stood up, drew his sward, and charged at Alexander, only to trip and fall on his face in his drunken stupor at which Alexander shouted:"Here is the man who was making ready to cross from Europe to Asia, and who cannot even cross from one table to another without losing his balance."
He then took his mother and fled the country to Epirus. Although allowed to return later, Alexander remained isolated and insecure at the Macedonian court. In the spring of 336 BC, with Philip’s Persian invasion... [continues]
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