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Preceded by:
Darius III
Pharaoh of Egypt
Argead Dynasty
Succeeded by:
Philip III
Alexander III of Macedon
Alexander the Great
Koine Greek: Μέγας Ἀλέξανδρος
Romanized: Megas Alexandros
Latin: Alexander Magnus
Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus.

332–323 BC (9 years)
Chosen of Re, Beloved of Amun
Horus name
Strong Bull, Protector of Egypt
Nebty name
t Z1
The Lion, Great of Might, who
Seizes Foreign Lands
Golden Horus
Strong Bull who Protects Egypt,
Ruler of the Sea and of
what the Sun Encircles
Father Philip II
Mother Olympias
Consort(s) Roxana, Stateira III, Parysatis II
Issue Alexander IV, Heracles (alleged
illegitimate son)
Born 20 or 21 July 356 BC, Pella
Died 10 or 11 June 323 BC, Babylon
(aged 32)
Burial Memphis (initial),
Alexandria (reburial)
Monuments Alexandria
For other pages by this name, see Alexander.

Alexander the Great (Koine Greek: Μέγας Ἀλέξανδρος,[1] Megas Alexandros;  July 356 BC–June 11 323 BC), also known as Alexander 'III', king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of the most successful military commanders in history and one of the last great pharaohs of Egypt. Before his death, he conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks. Alexander is also known in the Zoroastrian Middle Persian work Arda Wiraz Nāmag as "the accursed Alexander" due to his conquest of the Persian Empire and the destruction of its capital Persepolis. He is known as Eskandar in Persian, Dhul-Qarnayn (The two-horned one) in Middle Eastern traditions, al-Iskandar al-Kabeer in Arabic, Sikandar-e-azam in Urdu, Skandar in Pashto, Alexander Mokdon in Hebrew, and Tre-Qarnayia in Aramaic (the two-horned one), apparently due to an image on coins minted during his rule that seemingly depicted him with the two ram's horns of the Egyptian god Ammon. He is known as Sikandar in Urdu and Hindi, a term also used as a synonym for "expert" or "extremely skilled".

Following the unification of the multiple city-states of ancient Greece under the rule of his father, Philip II of Macedon, (a

Alexander the Great in Hieroglyphs

Alexander the Great in Hieroglyphs

labour Alexander had to repeat twice because the southern Greeks rebelled after Philip's death), Alexander would conquer the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia and extend the boundaries of his own empire as far as the Punjab. Before his death, Alexander had already made plans to also turn west and conquer Europe. Also he wanted to continue his march eastwards, in order to find the end of the world, since his boyhood tutor Aristotle, told him tales about where the land ends and the Great Outer Sea begins. Alexander integrated foreigners (non-Macedonians, non-Greeks known as the Successors[2]) into his army and administration, leading some scholars to credit him with a "policy of fusion." He encouraged marriage between his army and foreigners, and practiced it himself. After twelve years of constant military campaigning, Alexander died, possibly of malaria, typhoid, or viral encephalitis. His conquests ushered in centuries of Greek settlement and rule over distant areas, a period known as the Hellenistic Age, a combination of Greek and Middle Eastern culture. Alexander himself lived on in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. After his death (and even during his life) his exploits inspired a literary tradition in which he appears as a legendary hero in the tradition of Achilles.

Early life[]


Alexander in youth

Alexander the Great was the son of King Philip II of Macedon and of his fourth wife, Epirote princess Olympias. According to Plutarch (Alexander 3.1,3), Olympias was impregnated not by Philip, who was afraid of her and her affinity for sleeping in the company of snakes, but by Zeus Ammon. Plutarch relates that both Philip and Olympias dreamt of their son's future birth. Olympias dreamed of a loud burst of thunder and of lightning striking her womb. In Philip's dream, he sealed her womb with the seal of the lion. Alarmed by this, he consulted the seer Aristander of Telmessus, who determined that his wife was pregnant and that the child would have the character of a lion.[3] Another odd coincidence is that the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was set on fire the same night of his birth. Plutarch claimed the gods were too busy watching over Alexander to care for the temple.

Aristotle was Alexander's tutor and he gave Alexander a thorough training in rhetoric and literature and stimulated his interest in science, medicine, and philosophy. After his visit to the Oracle of Ammon at Siwa, according to five historians of antiquity (Arrian, Curtius, Diodorus, Justin, and Plutarch), rumors spread that the Oracle had revealed Alexander's father to be Zeus, rather than Philip. According to Plutarch, his father descended from Heracles through Caranus and his mother descended from Aeacus through Neoptolemus and Achilles.[4] Aristotle gave him a copy of the Iliad which he always kept with him and read frequently.

As Alexander was walking with his father one day, they came across a few men attempting to tame and mount a wild, black horse. Alexander immediately took a liking for the horse, and begged his father if he would buy it for him. Philip laughed and told him if he could mount the horse, he would. Alexander watched the horse's behavior, and soon realized that it was merely afraid of its own shadow. He walked over to the horse and faced it towards the sun to hide its shadow, and immediately was able to mount it. His father bought the horse, and he named it Bucephalus (which means "ox-head"), whom would be his loyal steed for the next two decades until it would die in battle.


Ascent of Macedon[]

When Philip led an attack on Byzantium in 340 BC, Alexander, aged 16, was left as regent of Macedonia. In 339 BC, Philip took a fifth wife, the Macedonian Cleopatra. As Alexander's mother, Olympias, was from Epirus (a land in the western part of the Greek peninsula and not part of Macedon), and Cleopatra was a true Macedonian, this led to a dispute over Alexander's legitimacy as heir to the throne. Attalus, the uncle of the bride, supposedly gave a toast during the wedding feast giving his wish for the wedding to result in a legitimate heir to the throne of Macedon; Alexander hurled his goblet at Attalus shouting "What am I, a bastard then?" Alexander's father apparently had drawn his sword and moved towards Alexander, but then had fallen in a drunken stupor. Alexander remarked "Here is the man planning on conquering from Greece to Asia, and he cannot even move from one table to another." Alexander, his mother, and sister (also named Cleopatra) then left Macedon in anger.

Eventually Philip reconciled with his son, and Alexander returned home; Olympias and Alexander's sister remained in Epirus. In 338 BC Alexander assisted his father at the decisive Battle of Chaeronea against the Greek city-states of Athens and Thebes, in which the cavalry wing led by Alexander annihilated the Sacred Band of Thebes, an elite corps regarded as invincible. After the battle, Phillip led a wild celebration, from which Alexander was notably absent (it is believed he was treating the wounded and burying the dead, both of his own troops and of the enemy). Philip was content to deprive Thebes of its dominion over Boeotia and leave a Macedonian garrison in the citadel. A few months later, to strengthen Macedon's control over the Greek city-states, the League of Corinth was formed.

In 336 BC, Philip was assassinated at the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra of Macedonia to King Alexander of Epirus. The assassin was supposedly a former lover of the king, the disgruntled young nobleman Pausanias of Orestis, who held a grudge against Philip because the king had ignored a complaint he had expressed. Philip's murder was once thought to have been planned with the knowledge and involvement of Alexander or Olympias. Another possible instigator could have been Darius III, the recently crowned King of Persia. After Philip's death, the army proclaimed Alexander, then aged 20, as the new king of Macedon. Greek cities like Athens and Thebes, which had been forced to pledge allegiance to Philip, saw in the new king an opportunity to retake their full independence. Alexander moved swiftly and Thebes, which had been most active against him, submitted when he appeared at its gates. The assembled


Greeks at the Isthmus of Corinth, with the exception of the Spartans, elected him to the command against Persia, which had previously been bestowed upon his father.

The next year, (335 BC), Alexander felt free to engage the Thracians and the Illyrians in order to secure the Danube as the northern boundary of the Macedonian kingdom. While he was triumphantly campaigning north, the Thebans and Athenians rebelled once again. Alexander reacted immediately and while the other cities once again hesitated, Thebes decided this time to resist with the utmost vigor. The resistance was useless; in the end, the city was conquered with great bloodshed. The Thebans encountered an even harsher fate when their city was razed to the ground and its territory divided between the other Boeotian cities. Moreover, all of the city's citizens were sold into slavery; Alexander spared only the priests, the leaders of the pro-Macedonian party, and the descendants of Pindar, whose house was the only one left standing. The end of Thebes cowed Athens into submission and it readily accepted Alexander's demand for the exile of all the leaders of the anti-Macedonian party, Demosthenes first of all.

Period of conquests[]

Fall of the Persian Empire[]

Alexander's army had crossed the Hellespont with about 42,000 soldiers—primarily Macedonians[5] and Greeks, more southern city-states of Greece, but also including some Thracians, Paionians and Illyrians. After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle of Granicus, Alexander accepted the surrender of the Persian provincial capital and treasury of Sardis and proceeded down the Ionian coast. At Halicarnassus, Alexander successfully waged the first of


many sieges, eventually forcing his opponents, the mercenary captain Memnon of Rhodes and the Persian satrap of Caria, Orontobates, to withdraw by sea. Alexander left Caria in the hands of Ada, who was ruler of Caria before being deposed by her brother Pixodarus. From Halicarnassus, Alexander proceeded into mountainous Lycia and the Pamphylian plain, asserting control over all coastal cities and denying them to his enemy. From Pamphylia onward, the coast held no major ports and so Alexander moved inland. At Termessus, Alexander humbled but did not storm the Pisidian city. At the ancient Phrygian capital of Gordium, Alexander "undid" the tangled Gordian Knot, a feat said to await the future "king of Asia." According to the most vivid story, Alexander proclaimed that it did not matter how the knot was undone, and he hacked it apart with his sword. Another version claims that he did not use the sword, but actually figured out how to undo the knot. 

Alexander's army crossed the Cilician Gates, met and defeated the main Persian army under the command of Darius III at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC. Darius fled this battle in such a panic for his life that he left behind his wife, his two daughters, his mother Sisygambis, and much of his personal treasure. Proceeding down the Mediterranean coast, he took Tyre and Gaza after famous sieges (see Siege of Tyre). Alexander passed through Judea near Jerusalem but probably did not visit the city.

In 332 BC–331 BC, Alexander was welcomed as a liberator in Egypt and was pronounced the son of Zeus by Egyptian priests of the god Ammon at the Oracle of the god at the Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert. Henceforth, Alexander referred to the god Zeus-Ammon as his true father, and subsequent 

currency featuring his head with ram horns was proof of this widespread belief. He founded Alexandria in Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic Dynasty after 


his death. Leaving Egypt, Alexander marched eastward into Assyria (now northern Iraq) and defeated Darius and a third Persian army at the Battle of Gaugamela. Darius was forced to flee the field after his charioteer was killed, and Alexander chased him as far as Arbela. While Darius fled over the mountains to Ecbatana (modern Hamadan), Alexander marched to Babylon.

From Babylon, Alexander went to Susa, one of the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its treasury. Sending the bulk of his army to Persepolis, the Persian capital, by the Royal Road, Alexander stormed and captured the Persian Gates (in the modern Zagros Mountains), then sprinted for Persepolis before its treasury could be looted. After several months Alexander allowed the troops to loot Persepolis. A fire broke out in the eastern palace of Xerxes and spread to the rest of the city. It was not known if it was a drunken accident or a deliberate act of revenge for the burning of the Athenian Acropolis during the Second Persian War. The Book of Arda Wiraz, a Zoroastrian work composed in the 3rd or 4th century AD, also speaks of archives containing "all the Avesta and Zand, written upon prepared cow-skins, and with gold ink" that were destroyed; but it must be said that this statement is often treated by scholars with a certain measure of skepticism, because it is generally thought that for many centuries the Avesta was transmitted mainly orally by the Magians.


He then set off in pursuit of Darius, who was kidnapped, and then murdered by followers of Bessus, his Bactrian satrap and kinsman. Bessus then declared himself Darius' successor as Artaxerxes V and retreated into Central Asia to launch a guerrilla campaign against Alexander. With the death of Darius, Alexander declared the war of vengeance over, and released his Greek and other allies from service in the League campaign (although he allowed those that wished to re-enlist as mercenaries in his imperial army).

His three-year campaign against first Bessus and then the satrap of Sogdiana, Spitamenes, took him through Media, Parthia, Aria, Drangiana, Arachosia, Bactria, and Scythia. In the process, he captured and refounded Herat and Maracanda. Moreover, he founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and Alexandria Eschate ("The Furthest") in modern Tajikistan. In the end, both were betrayed by their men, Bessus in 329 BC and Spitamenes the year after.

Hostility toward Alexander[]

During this time, Alexander adopted some elements of Persian dress and customs at his court, notably the custom of proskynesis, a symbolic kissing of the hand that Persians paid to their social superiors, but a practice of which the  Greeks disapproved. The Greeks regarded the gesture as the preserve of deities and believed that Alexander meant  to deify himself by requiring it. This cost him much in the sympathies of many of his countrymen. Here, too, a plot against his life was revealed, and one of his officers, 


Philotas, was executed for treason for failing to bring the plot to his attention. Parmenion, Philotas' father, who had been charged with guarding the treasury at Ecbatana, was assassinated by command of Alexander, who feared that Parmenion might attempt to avenge his son. Several other trials for treason followed, and many Macedonians were executed. Later on, in a drunken quarrel at Maracanda, he also killed the man who had saved his life at Granicus, Clitus the Black. Later in the Central Asian campaign, a second plot against his life, this one by his own pages, was revealed, and his official historian, Callisthenes of Olynthus (who had fallen out of favor with the king by leading the opposition to his attempt to introduce proskynesis), was implicated on what many historians regard as trumped-up charges. However, the evidence is strong that Callisthenes, the teacher of the pages, must have been the one who persuaded them to assassinate the king.

Invasion of India[]

After the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana (Roshanak in Bactrian) to cement his relations with his new Central Asian satrapies, in 326 BCE Alexander was finally free to turn his attention to India. Alexander invited all the chieftains of the former satrapy of Gandhara, in the north of present-day Pakistan, to come to him and submit to his authority. Ambhi, ruler of Taxila, whose kingdom extended from the Indus to the Hydaspes (Jhelum), complied. But the chieftains of some hilly clans including the Aspasios and Assakenois sections of the Kambojas (classical names), known in Indian texts as Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas (names referring to their equestrian nature), refused to submit.

Alexander personally took command of the shield-bearing guards, foot-companions, archers, Agrianians and horse-javelin-men and led them against the Kamboja clans—the Aspasios of Kunar/Alishang valleys, the Guraeans of the


Guraeus (Panjkora) valley, and the Assakenois of the Swat and Buner valleys. Writes one modern historian: "They were brave people and it was hard work for Alexander to take their strongholds, of which Massaga and Aornus need special mention."[6] A fierce contest ensued with the Aspasios in which Alexander himself was wounded in the shoulder by a dart but eventually the Aspasios lost the fight; 40,000 of them were enslaved. The Assakenois faced Alexander with an army of 30,000 cavalry, 38,000 infantry and 30 elephants.[7] They had fought bravely and offered stubborn resistance to the invader in many of their strongholds like cities of Ora, Bazira and Massaga. The fort of Massaga could only be reduced after several days of bloody fighting in which Alexander himself was wounded seriously in the ankle. When the Chieftain of Massaga fell in the battle, the supreme command of the army went to his old mother Cleophis (q.v.) who also stood determined to defend her 


motherland to the last extremity. The example of Cleophis assuming the supreme command of the military also brought the entire women of the locality into the fighting.[8] Alexander could only reduce Massaga by resorting to political strategem and actions of betrayal. According to Curtius: "Not only did Alexander slaughter the entire population of Massaga, but also did he reduce its buildings to rubbles." A similar manslaughter then followed at Ora, another 

stronghold of the Assakenois.

In the aftermath of general slaughter and arson committed by Alexander at Massaga and Ora, numerous Assakenian 

people fled to a high fortress called Aornos. Alexander followed them close behind their heels and captured the strategic hill-fort but only after the fourth day of a bloody fight. The story of Massaga was repeated at Aornos and a similar carnage on the tribal-people followed here too.

Writing on Alexander's campaign against the Assakenois, Victor Hanson comments: "After promising the surrounded 

Assacenis their lives upon capitulation, he executed all their soldiers who had surrendered. Their strongholds at Ora and Aornus were also similarly stormed. Garrisons were probably all slaughtered.”[9]

Sisikottos, who had helped Alexander in this campaign, was made the governor of Aornos.

After reducing Aornos, Alexander crossed the Indus and fought and won an epic battle against Porus, a ruler of a region in the Punjab in the Battle of Hydaspes in 326 BCE.

After the victory, Alexander was greatly impressed by Porus for his bravery in battle, and therefore made an alliance with him and appointed him as satrap of his own kingdom, even adding some land he did not own before. Alexander then named one of the two new cities that he founded, Bucephala, in honor of the horse who had brought him to India, who had died during the Battle of Hydaspes. Alexander continued on to conquer all the headwaters of the Indus River.

East of Porus' kingdom, near the Ganges River, was the powerful empire of Magadha ruled by the Nanda dynasty. Fearing the prospects of facing another powerful Indian army and exhausted by years of campaigning, his army mutinied at the Hyphasis River (the modern Beas River), refusing to march further east. This river thus marks the eastern-most extent of Alexander's conquests:

"As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India. For having had all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants. For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand fighting elephants." Plutarch, Vita Alexandri, 62[10]

Alexander, after the meeting with his officer Coenus, was convinced that it was better to return. Alexander was forced to turn south. He sent much of his army to Carmania (modern southern Iran) with his general Craterus, and commissioned a fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus, while he led the rest of his forces back to Persia by the southern route through the Gedrosian Desert (now part of southern Iran and Makran in southern Pakistan).

Alexander left forces in India however. In the territory of the Indus, he nominated his officer Peithon as a satrap, a position he would hold for the next ten years until 316 BCE, and in the Punjab he left Eudemus in charge of the army, at the side of the satrap Porus and Taxiles. Eudemus became ruler of the Punjab after their death. Both rulers returned to the West in 316 BC with their armies, and Chandragupta Maurya established the Maurya Empire in India.

After India[]

Discovering that many of his satraps and military governors had misbehaved in his absence, Alexander executed a number of them as examples on his way to Susa. As a gesture of thanks, he paid off the debts of his soldiers, and announced that he would send those over-aged and disabled veterans back to Macedonia under Craterus, but his troops misunderstood his intention and mutinied at the town of Opis, refusing to be sent away and bitterly criticizing his adoption of Persian customs and dress and the introduction of Persian officers and soldiers into Macedonian units. Alexander executed the ringleaders of the mutiny, but forgave the rank and file. In an attempt to craft a lasting harmony between his Macedonian and Persian subjects, he held a mass marriage of his senior officers to Persian and other noblewomen at Susa, but few of those marriages seem to have lasted much beyond a year.

His attempts to merge Persian culture with his Greek soldiers also included training a regiment of Persian boys in the ways of Macedonians. Most historians believe that Alexander adopted the Persian royal title of shahanshah ("great king" or "king of kings").

It is claimed that Alexander wanted to overrun or integrate the Arabian peninsula, but this theory is widely disputed. It was assumed that Alexander would turn westwards and attack Carthage and Italy, had he conquered Arabia.

After traveling to Ecbatana to retrieve the bulk of the Persian treasure, his closest friend and possibly lover[11] Hephaestion died of an illness, or possibly of poisoning.


On the afternoon of June 10–11, 323 BC, Alexander died of a mysterious illness in the palace of Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon. He was just one month shy of attaining 33 years of age. Various theories have been proposed for the cause of his death which include poisoning by the sons of Antipater or others, sickness that followed a drinking party, or a relapse of the malaria he had contracted in 336 BC. It is known that on May 29, Alexander participated in a banquet organized by his friend Medius of Larissa. After some heavy drinking, immediately before or after a bath, he was forced into bed due to severe illness. The rumors of his illness circulated with the troops causing them to be more and more anxious. On June 9, the generals decided to let the soldiers see their king alive one last time. They were admitted to his presence one at a time. While the king was too ill to speak, confined himself to move his hand. The day after, Alexander was dead. The poisoning theory derives from the story held in antiquity by Justin and Curtius. The original story stated that Cassander, son of Antipater, viceroy of Greece, brought the poison to Alexander in Babylon in a mule's hoof, and that Alexander's royal cupbearer, Iollas, brother of Cassander, administered it. Many had powerful motivations for seeing Alexander gone, and were none the worse for it after his death. Deadly agents that could have killed Alexander in one or more doses include hellebore and strychnine. In R. Lane Fox's opinion, the strongest argument against the poison theory is the fact that twelve days had passed between the start of his illness and his death and in the ancient world, such long-acting poisons were probably not available.

However, the warrior culture of Macedon favoured the sword over strychnine, and many ancient historians, like Plutarch and Arrian, maintained that Alexander was not poisoned, but died of natural causes. Instead, it is likely that Alexander died of malaria or typhoid fever, which were rampant in ancient Babylon. Other illnesses could have also been the culprit, including acute pancreatitis or the West Nile virus. Recently, theories have been advanced stating that Alexander may have died from the treatment not the disease. Hellebore, believed to have been widely used as a medicine at the time but deadly in large doses, may have been overused by the impatient king to speed his recovery, with deadly results. Disease-related theories often cite the fact that Alexander's health had fallen to dangerously low levels after years of heavy drinking and suffering several appalling wounds (including one in India that nearly claimed his life), and that it was only a matter of time before one sickness or another finally killed him.

No story is conclusive. Alexander's death has been reinterpreted many times over the centuries, and each generation offers a new take on it. What is certain is that Alexander died of a high fever on June 10 or 11 of 323 BC.

On his death bed, his marshals asked him to whom he bequeathed his kingdom. Since Alexander had no heir (his son Alexander IV would be born after his death), it was a question of vital importance. There is some debate to what Alexander replied. Some believe that Alexander said, "Kratitso" (that is, "To the strongest!") It should be taken into note however that he might have said, "To Craterus". This is possible because the Greek pronunciation of "the strongest" and "Craterus" is different only by accent. The phrase and name are in fact, separated by only one letter in the ancient Greek language. Most scholars believe that if Alexander did intend to choose one of his generals, his obvious choice would have been Craterus because he was the commander of the largest part of the army (infantry), because he had proven himself to be an excellent strategist, and because he displayed traits of the "ideal" Macedonian. Regardless of his reply, Craterus was eventually assassinated before he could organize a coup with the infantry and Alexander's empire was split into four kingdoms.

Alexander's death has been surrounded by as much controversy as many of the events of his life. Before long, accusations of foul play were being thrown about by his generals at one another, making it incredibly hard for a modern historian to sort out the propaganda and the half-truths from the actual events. No contemporary source can be fully trusted because of the incredible level of self-serving recording, and as a result what truly happened to Alexander the Great may never be known.

Alexander's body was placed in a gold anthropid sarcophagus, which was in turn placed in a second gold casket and covered with a purple robe. Alexander's coffin was placed, together with his armour, in a gold carriage that had a vaulted roof supported by an Ionic peristyle. The decoration of the carriage was very lavish and is described in great detail by Diodoros.

According to one legend, Alexander was preserved in a clay vessel full of honey (which can act as a preservative) and interred in a glass coffin. According to Aelian (Varia Historia 12.64), Ptolemy stole the body and brought it to Alexandria, where it was on display until Late Antiquity. It was here that Ptolemy IX, one of the last successors of Ptolemy I, replaced Alexander's sarcophagus with a glass one, and melted the original down in order to strike emergency gold issues of his coinage. The citizens of Alexandria were outraged at this and soon after Ptolemy IX was killed. Its current whereabouts are unknown.

The so-called "Alexander Sarcophagus," discovered near Sidon and now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, is now generally thought to be that of Abdylonymus, whom Hephaestion had appointed as the king of Sidon by Alexander's order. The sarcophagus depicts Alexander and his companions hunting and in battle with the Persians.


  1. The name Αλέξανδρος derives from the Greek words άλεξω (to repel, shield, protect) and άνηρ (man; genitive case ανδρος), and means "protector of men".
  2. Whether the Macedonians of Alexander's time and before were Hellenes (Greeks) is disputed by scholars. The question largely depends on the classification of the Ancient Macedonian language. By separating Macedonians and Greeks in this sentence and others, no position in this debate is implied.
  3. Plutarch, Alexander 2.2–3.
  4. Plutarch, Alexander 2.1.
  5. See note 1.
  6. Worthington, p. 162, from an extract of A. K. Narain, 'Alexander the Great', Greece and Rome 12 1965, p 155–165.
  7. Curtius.
  8. (Ancient India, 1971, p 99, Dr R. C. Majumdar; History and Culture of Indian People, The Age of Imperial Unity, Foreign Invasion, p 46, Dr R. K Mukerjee.
  9. Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power, 2002, p 86, Victor Hanson.
  10. Plutarch, Vita Alexandri, 62
  11. Aelian, Varia Historia; XII.7


  • Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, English translation by Aubrey de Sélincourt (1971, first published 1958) Penguin Classics published by the Penguin Group, London ISBN 0-14-044253-7.
  • Green, Peter. Alexander of Macedon: 356-323 B.C. A Historical Biography. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992. ISBN 0520071662.
  • Lane Fox, Robin, Alexander the Great, London (Allen Lane) 1973, ISBN 0-86007-707-1.
  • Lane Fox, Robin, The Search for Alexander, Little Brown & Co. Boston, 1st edition (October 1980). ISBN 0316291080.
  • Renault, Mary. The Nature of Alexander, 1st American edition (November 12, 1979), Pantheon Books ISBN 0-394-73825-X.
  • Wilcken, Ulrich, Alexander the Great, W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition (March 1997). ISBN 0393003817.
  • Worthington, Ian, Alexander the Great, Routledge; 1st edition (February 1, 2003). ISBN 0415291879.

Further reading[]

  • Brill's Companion to Alexander the Great by Joseph Roisman (editor). Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2003.
  • De Santis, Marc G. “At The Crossroads of Conquest.” Military Heritage, December 2001. Volume 3, No. 3: 46–55, 97 (Alexander the Great, his military, his strategy at the Battle of Gaugamela and his defeat of Darius making Alexander the King of Kings).
  • Fuller, J.F. C; A Military History of the Western World: From the earliest times to the Battle of Lepanto; New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1987 and 1988. ISBN 0-306-80304-6
  • Gergel, Tania Editor Alexander the Great (2004) published by the Penguin Group, London ISBN 0-14-200140-6 Brief collection of ancient accounts translated into English
  • Larsen, Jakob A. O. "Alexander at the Oracle of Ammon", Classical Philology, Vol. 27, No. 1. (Jan., 1932), pp. 70–75.
  • Cartledge, Paul. Alexander the Great (2005)
  • Pearson, Lionel Ignacius Cusack. The Lost Histories of Alexander the Great. Chicago Ridge, IL: Ares Publishers, 2004 (paperback, ISBN 0-89005-590-4).

Non-Greek/Latin perspectives[]

  • A. Shapur Shahbazi, "Iranians and Alexander", American Journal of Ancient History n.s. 2 (2003), 5-38: the Persian side of the story.
  • R.J. van der Spek, "Darius III, Alexander the Great and Babylonian scholarship" in: Achaemenid History 13 (2003), 289-346: an overview of several Babylonian sources
  • Two chapters of Jona Lendering's Dutch book Alexander de Grote, which uses the cuneiform sources, are available in translation. In this chapter, he argues that at Gaugamela, Alexander attacked a Persian army that was looking for an excuse to run away; and in this chapter, he offers a Babylonian perspective on Alexander's final days.
Darius III
Pharaoh of Egypt
Argead Dynasty
Philip III