Life and Times of Alexander the Great

Topics: Alexander the Great, Philip II of Macedon, Olympias Pages: 6 (1668 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Life and Times of Alexander the Great


Alexander the great made an impact on world history that few individuals can profess to have done. He ruled all of the known world, and one of the largest empires ever. His men were the first westerners to encounter tales of the Yeti. They even discovered and classified new types of flora and fauna, such as the red mold that grew on their bread while they were in Asia, and made it appear as if it were bleeding. He expanded the Hellenist sphere of influence to the farthest reaches of the globe.

When the king of Greece visited the British colony of India around the turn of the century, the colonial government had some native Indian dances displayed for him. He was shocked when he immediately recognized the dances as the same harvest dances that his fellow Greeks performed near Thessalonika. This was the breadth of Alexander's influence on hundreds of different cultures around the world. Throughout the whole of Europe, Asia, and North Africa, stories of this great man have been handed down from generation to generation throughout the centuries. In many cases Alexander has even taken on a superhuman aura, and many unbelievable legends have been based on his life.

When Julius Caesar visited Alexandria, he asked to see the body of the greatest warrior of all time-Alexander the Great. Such was Alexander's reputation, able to impress even the powerful Caesar. He was, without a doubt, one of the most remarkable men that ever walked the face of this Earth. And this is the story of his life.

The Life and Times of Alexander the Great

The story of Alexander the Great is one of courage, genius, and great accomplishment; but it is also somewhat of a bittersweet one, ending with his tragic death during the prime of his life, at thirty-two.

Alexander was born to Philip II of Macedon and Olympias, his principal wife, in 356 BCE, mpic Games. Just three years earlier, Philip had ascended to the throne after the death of his older brother, Perdikkas1, and named the city of Philipi after himself. Shortly thereafter, at the age of twenty, he met Olympias at a religious ceremony on the island of Samothrace.

Olympias was of the Mystery Religions, and was initiated at an early age. She spent her time at wild orgies during which snakes were wrapped around the worshippers limbs. She kept this custom of sleeping with snakes throughout her marriage to Philip. In addition, she sacrificed thousand of animals to her particular god or goddess each year. Interestingly enough, she had a cruel streak normally common only to the Greek men of her time. Throughout her career she was no slower than her male rivals to kill off enemies who seemed to threaten her.

Olympias, believing that she was descended from Achilles, and being of royal Epeirosian blood herself, thought that she was rightly entitled to respect from Philip as his queen. For this reason Olympias was constantly upset at Philip's long stays away from home. This anger was especially directed towards his torrid affairs with the nearest nubile waif.

At the time of Alexander's birth, Philip was involved in a campaign to defeat the Illyrian provinces in battle and incorporate them into the Greek empire that he was building for himself. In that month, Philip received three messages bearing good in quick succession: his victory over the Illyrians, Alexander's birth, and Macedonian victory in the Olympic races.

Alexander resembled his mother more than his father. It was in memory of Macedonia's greatest king, Alexander I, that Alexander was named. Philip, currently engaged in a plan for the conquest of Greece and eventually parts of Asia, had high hopes for his firstborn son to eventually continue in his footsteps. In the following year Alexander's only sibling, a sister named Cleopatra, was born.

Alexander probably had no recollection of his father having both of his...
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