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Alexander of Macedonia: Be “Great” Like a Legend

by guest on May 22, 2013
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Given the title as Alexander the Great, this ruler and hero of Macedonia is famous for being one of the most brilliant military tacticians of all time. His power as a leader led him to build one of the biggest empires in history and to be a famous legend.

The things you can learn from Alexander of Macedonia, or Alexander the Great, are almost endless. When you hear about an undefeated military leader, their approach to conquering challenging situations is often a timeless tactic. One trivial lesson from the life of Alexander the Great that we want you to focus on is not his rise to power, but rather his fall and death. Alexander was very gifted in having a talent and knack for being a fearless leader while learning under the tutelage of Aristotle. However, with all of his power and knowledge, it was his health that brought the end to this great king.

Take care of your body and mind and you’ll be great without being the cause of your own downfall. Pay attention to your body and follow the signs that it gives you. You can be a billionaire, a politician, and undefeated in all aspects of your life – only eventually to be defeated by your own negligence. Times were definitely different back then with crazy diseases lingering and without the advanced technology and medicine that we have; however, this is still a critical lesson. I have many friends who I know would be far more successful if they slept more. They work late and stay up late trying to get ahead. Eventually burning themselves out to the point of being sick, followed by having to catch up and work twice as hard.

The Life and Youth of Alexander the Great

alexander of macedonia 2Alexander of Macedonia was born on July 20, 356 BC. He was the son of the king of Macedonia, Philip II and his fourth and principal wife, Olympias. He was raised by Lanike the nurse, and then later Leonidas, a relative who acted as his tutor, and King Philip’s own general Lysimachus. His first impressive act in his legend was when he was ten years old, where he tamed a supposedly wild horse, which he later named Bucephalas, in front of his father and friends. The most famous tutor of Alexander was Aristotle, who taught many subjects to Alexander and his friends at the Temple of the Nymphs at Mieza.

He officially became prince regent at the age of sixteen, when his father left to wage war against Byzantion. A revolt by the Thracian Maedi had the young ruler stepping up and beating them back quickly. It was at this time that he also founded the city Alexandropolis. Then after, Philip took his son more often on his campaigns, and Alexander gained more power.

The Macedonian ruler Philip II was assassinated in 336 BC during the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra to Alexander I of Epirus. The assassin, Pausanias, had been Philip’s captain of his bodyguards and attempted to flee. The legend tells of him tripping over a vine and caught and killed by his pursuers.

The King of Macedonia

Alexander of Macedonia became king at the age of twenty, and thus started his true legend. His first act as ruler of Macedonia was to kill all possible threats to his throne, including his cousin Amyntas IV. In 334 BC, he took an army of almost fifty thousand and marched across the Hellespont in Asia.

Alexander of Macedonia conquered the Persian Empire, including Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia. He also led a campaign into India, after which his men almost revolted for the wish to return home. Alexander eventually conceded, but lost many men on the way home when they traveled through the desert. By then his power had grown immensely and his status as a hero confirmed.

The Death of Alexander of Macedonia

At the height of his power, Alexander of Macedonia died in June 323 BC at the age of 32. He contracted a fever while at the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon, which grew so bad that he was unable to speak. There have been several versions of his exact cause of death, but he nevertheless died as a hero and a well loved legend.

Facts about Alexander of Macedonia

  • He copied the Persians’ practice of prokynesis and attempted to apply it to his court, much to his nobles’ horror.
  • He named a city Bucephala after his favorite horse.
  • Alexander of Macedonia was a military hero, having never lost a battle even in outnumbered situations.
  • Though he married twice, to Roxana and Stateira II, his main relationship was that with his friend Hephaestion, who was also his general and bodyguard. Haphaestion’s death was a complete devastation for Alexander.
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