A Historical Biography of Alexander the Great

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A Historical Biography of Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great lived before Christ, but he was driven by a vision of global unity as modern as today. Alexander is seen in many roles in our culture. The most famous of these is being a great general and conqueror of the world. During his short life, Alexander conquered the known world and helped spread the culture of the Greeks. Much of what he accomplished must be viewed in the circumstances of his time and his upbringing. Without these we may not have had the spread of Greek culture or even heard of the man called Alexander. I will discuss how Alexander was able to accomplish all of this in such a short time and the events and strategies that helped him along the way. To understand the events of his life you need to know the man. Alexander's father, Philip II influenced the events in the military and political areas that eventually helped Alexander in his conquests. When Philip took power in 359 B.C., Macedonia was in turmoil and he immediately set out to put the people under his control. Philip developed the Macedonian army and formed alliances with the Balkan peoples. Philip established many political reforms that made his state a great power. He increased the size of the Royal Companions/heairoi, which gave more people positions of power and a sense of belonging to the kingdom. Also, the sons of the nobles were allowed to receive education in the court of the king. The reason for this was that the sons would develop a strong loyalty to the king; furthermore it allowed Philip, in a sense, to keep the sons hostage from their parents, from interfering with his authority. On the military side, the battle of Chaeronea, in August of 338 B.C., helped put Athenians and Thebans under Macedonia control, which left Sparta the only Greek state not under Philip's authority.

Also, Philip introduced new weapons to the army, such as the 6-meter sarissa, a wooden pike with a metal tip used by the infantry in the phalanx. The sarissa when held upright in the phalanx (rows of eight), helped hide the maneuvers from the view of the enemy. If held horizontally by the front rows, it could penetrate from 20 feet away. Philip also made the military a full-time occupation that paid a salary, instead of a part-time job that it used to be. By doing this, the army was able to drill regularly, and build unity and cohesio...

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...xander the Great. Without this man accomplishing what he did, I can very easily say our world, culture, and history would be completely different. A map of Alexander's journey.

Works Cited

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Dodge, Theodore. Alexander; a history of the origin and growth of the art of war from the earliest times to the battle of Ipsus, B.C. 301, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1918. Ehrenberg, Victor. Alexander and the Greeks. Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1938.

Green, Peter. Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: a historical biography. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

Lamb, Harold. Alexander of Macedon, the journey to the world's end. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1946.

Plutarch. The age of Alexander: nine Greek lives. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973. Popovic, John. "Alexander the Great, from history to eternity." URL: (Mar 1996).

Tarn, W.W. Alexander the Great. Chicago: Ares Publishers, 1981. Welles, C. Bradford.

Alexander and the Hellenistic world. Toronto: A.M. Hakkert, 1970. Woods, Michael. "Alexander the Great." URL: (13 Sep. 1998).
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