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13 Facts About Alexander the Great


Tomb erected at Ecbatana for a favorite of Alexander the Great.

Tomb erected at Ecbatana for a favorite of Alexander the Great. 1785. Hephaestion was actually cremated and his ashes buried elsewhere, in Babylon. He died October 324.

© NYPL Digital Gallery

13 Facts About Alexander the Great

Use Your judgment: Remember that Alexander is a larger than life figure so what is attributed to him could be propaganda mixed with fact.

  1. Birth
    Alexander was born around July 19/20, 356 B.C.
    Omens at the Birth of Alexander
  2. Parents
    Alexander was the son of King Philip II of Macedon and Olympias, daughter of King Neoptolemus I of Epirus. Olympias was not the only wife of Philip and there was much conflict between Alexander's parents. There are other contenders for the father of Alexander, but they're mush less believable.
  3. Education
    Alexander was tutored by Leonidas (possibly his uncle) and the great Greek philosopher Aristotle. (Hephaestion is thought to have been educated along with Alexander.)
  4. Who Was Bucephalus?
    During his youth, Alexander tamed the wild horse Bucephalus. Later, when his beloved horse died, Alexander renamed a city in India for Bucephalus.
  5. The Promise Shown When Alexander Was Regent
    In 340 B.C., while father Philip went off to fight rebels, Alexander was made regent in Macedonia. During Alexander's regency, the Maedi of northern Macedonia revolted. Alexander put down the revolt and renamed their city Alexandropolis.
  6. His Early Military Prowess
    In August 338 Alexander showed his mettle helping Philip win the Battle of Chaeronea.
    Arrian's 'Campaigns of Alexander'
  7. Alexander Succeeds His Father to the Throne
    In 336 B.C. his father Philip was assassinated, and Alexander the Great became ruler of Macedonia.
  8. Alexander Was Wary of Those Around Him
    Alexander had potential rivals executed in order to secure the throne.
  9. His Wives
    Alexander the Great had 3 probable wives however that term is interpreted:
    1. Roxane,
    2. Statiera, and
    3. Parysatis.
  10. His Offspring
    Alexander's children were
    • Herakles, son of Alexander's mistress Barsine,

      [Sources: Alexander the Great and His Empire, by Pierre Briant and Alexander the Great, by Philip Freeman, but join the discussion: Children of Alexander]

    • Alexander IV, son of Roxane.
    Both children were killed before they reached adulthood.
  11. Alexander Solved the Gordian Knot
    They say that when Alexander the Great was in Gordium (modern Turkey), in 333 B.C., he undid the Gordian Knot. This is the fabled knot tied by the father of the legendary ass-eared King Midas. The same "they" said that the person who untied the Gordian Knot would rule all of Asia. Alexander the Great may have undone the knot by the simple expedience of slashing through it with a sword.
    To Cut the Gordian Knot
  12. Death of Alexander
    In 323 B.C. Alexander the Great returned from the area of modern India and Pakistan to Babylonia, where he became ill suddenly, and died at age 33. We don't now why he died. It could have been disease or poison.
  13. Who Were Alexander's Successors?
    The successors of Alexander are known as the Diadochi.
    Romm's 'Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire'Briant's 'Alexander the Great and His Empire'
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