iii IntroductionAlexander the great made an impact on world history that few individuals can profess tohave done. Heruled all of the known world, and one of the largest empires ever. His men were the firstwesterners toencounter tales of the Yeti. They even discovered and classified new types of flora and fauna,such as the redmold that grew on their bread while they were in Asia, and made it appear as if it were bleeding.
He expandedthe 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 thecentury, the colonialgovernment had some native Indian dances displayed for him. He was shocked when heimmediatelyrecognized the dances as the same harvest dances that his fellow Greeks performed nearThessalonika. Thiswas the breadth of Alexander’s influence on hundreds of different cultures around the world. Throughout thewhole of Europe, Asia, and North Africa, stories of this great man have been handed down fromgeneration togeneration throughout the centuries. In many cases Alexander has even taken on a superhumanaura, and manyunbelievable legends have been based on his life.
When Julius Caesar visited Alexandria, he asked to see the body of the greatest warriorof 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 thisis the storyof his life.
1 The Life and Times of Alexander the GreatThe story of Alexander the Great is one of courage, genius, and great accomplishment;but it is also somewhat of abittersweet 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 thethrone after the death of his olderbrother, Perdikkas1, and named the city of Philipi after himself. Shortly thereafter, at the age oftwenty, he met Olympias at areligious ceremony on the island of Samothrace. Olympias was of the Mystery Religions, and was initiated at an early age. She spent hertime at wild orgies duringwhich snakes were wrapped around the worshippers limbs.
She kept this custom of sleeping withsnakes throughout hermarriage to Philip. In addition, she sacrificed thousand of animals to her particular god orgoddess each year. Interestinglyenough, she had a cruel streak normally common only to the Greek men of her time. Throughouther career she was noslower 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 Epeirosianblood herself, thought thatshe was rightly entitled to respect from Philip as his queen. For this reason Olympias wasconstantly upset at Philip’s longstays away fromhome. This anger was especially directed towards his torrid affairs with the nearest nubile 2waif. At the time of Alexander’s birth, Philip was involved in a campaign to defeat the Illyrianprovinces in battle andincorporate them into the Greek empire that he was building for himself. In that month, Philipreceived three messagesbearing good in quick succession: his victory over the Illyrians, Alexander’s birth, andMacedonian victory in the Olympicraces. Alexander resembled his mother more than his father.
It was in memory of Macedonia’sgreatest king, Alexander I,that Alexander was named. Philip, currently engaged in a plan for the conquest of Greece andeventually parts of Asia, hadhigh hopes for his firstborn son to eventually continue in his footsteps. In the following yearAlexander’s only sibling, a sisternamed Cleopatra, was born. Alexander probably had no recollection of his father having both of his eyes, becausePhilip lost his eye storming anAthenian fortress. During Alexander’s early years, he was watched over by a man namedLeonidas2.
Leonidas saw to all ofAlexander’s education and tutelage in many varied subjects including: writing, geometry, reading,arithmetic, music, archery,horseback riding, javelin, and other types of athletics. Alexander’s nursemaid was an endearing gentleman whose name was Lysimachos, whowon Alexander’s heart at anearly age by playing imagination games with Alexander and his playmates: Ptolemy, Harpalos,Nearchos, Hephaistion, andErigyios. When Alexander reached the ripe old age of thirteen, Philip decided it was time forAlexander to receive a highereducation better befitting his young heir. Searching throughout his empire, Philip was luckyenough to find .