Alexandre the Great

Home / Ephesus Information / People of Ephesus / Alexandre the Great


Alexander III of Macedon is most commonly known as Alexander the Great. He succeeded his father, Philip II, to the throne at the age of twenty and spent most of his reign on military campaign in Asia and northeast Africa. By the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world. His kingdom stretched from Greece to Egypt and into northwest India. Undefeated in battle, he is considered one of the most successful military commanders in history.

Alexander was tutored by the great philosopher Aristotle in his youth. He came to the throne after his father was assassinated. Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. As the general of Greece he used his authority to launch his father’s military expansion plans. In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire and began a ten year series of military campaigns. Alexander broke Persia in a series of battles including Issus and Gaugamela, after which he overthrew the Persian King Darius III and conquered the entire First Persian Empire.

Alexander wanted more. His goal was to make his empire stretch to the “ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea”, so he invaded India in 326 BC. Eventually his troops demanded they leave India and return home. When Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, a series of civil wars tore his empire into several states ruled by his surviving generals and heirs.

Alexander’s biggest legacy is the cultural diffusion engendered by his conquests. He founded some twenty cities, most notably Alexandria in Egypt. His settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east started the Hellenistic era. Aspects of this can be seen in Byzantine traditions in the mid-15th century and the presence of the Greek language in central and far eastern Anatolia as late as the 1920s. Alexander is often ranked among the world’s most influential people of all time.

Share this page