Alexander the Great: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Alexander the Great, King of Macedon (a northern state of Ancient Greece) and one of history’s most famous and successful military leaders.

  • Alexander the Great was born on 20th July, 356 B.C. in Pella, Macedonia. His parents were Philip II, the King of Macedon and Olympia, daughter of King Neoptolemus.

  • It is said that Alexander was of a rebellious nature from his early childhood. His earliest tutor, Leonidas, had a hard time controlling the restless boy. Lysimachus, another one of his tutors, had to use role-playing to capture Alexander’s attention.
  • Alexander was also tutored by Aristotle. The famous philosopher taught him poetry, drama, philosophy, science and politics. It was through Aristotle that Alexander came to be familiar with Homer’s Iliad and it is said that it is the epic of Homer that inspired him to become a great warrior hero. In fact, it is known that he always used to carry the book with him.
  • Alexander and his mother, Olympia, fell out with Alexander’s father, Philip II, when he married Cleopatra Eurydice. They were made to flee Macedon and stayed in Epirus with Olympia’s family until the father and son were reconciled again.
  • In 336 B.C., Philip II was murdered by a Macedonian noble. Then only 19, Alexander showed great presence of mind by bringing the Macedonian troops to his side and by seizing the throne. Shortly after, he was also elected the leader of the Corinthian League (a group made up of all of the Greek states).
  • In 334 B.C., Alexander the Great started his expedition to conquer the Empire of Persia. In the space of one year, after a number of battles, he defeated Darius, the King of Persia, and declared himself the King of the Persian Empire.
  • In 331 B.C., he achieved his conquest over Egypt and created the city of Alexandria – one of twenty cities to be named after Alexander the Great.
  • In 327 B.C., he won another important battle, against Prince Oxyartes of eastern Iran, and he married Rhoxana, the prince’s daughter.
  • Alexander the Great had stretched his empire, one of the biggest of the ancient world, as far as to Punjab in northern India. He had defeated King Porus’ troops in India, but, impressed by Porus’ intelligence and courage, gave him back his state and reinstated him as king.
  • Alexander the Great died in Babylon in 323 B.C. at the age of 32. It is not known for certain how he died. Some think he was poisoned by his enemies, whereas others suggest his death was due to malaria or typhoid fever.
  • Alexander the Great has been the subject of many novels and movies. In 2004, the role of Alexander was played by Colin Farrell in the Oliver Stone movie, Alexander.