Alexander the Great is one of only a handful of ancient men whose names are part of the common knowledge. Alexander the Great's life was short, but within that time he had an eventful youth and a career spent accruing glory in empire-conquering battles. For those not interested in the precocious child or the warrior-king, there are stories about his omen-laden birth, his loves and loyalties, his wives, and his vile behavior. For the sleuth, there are mysteries yet to be solved. In short, if you're going to call yourself educated, you have to know a thing or two about this colorful Macedonian king.
With biographies of famous ancient Greek and Roman men, it is usually worth your while to see if Plutarch wrote their biographies. Since Plutarch did write a readily available biography of Alexander, please read Plutarch's Life of Alexander online here or in any edition of your choice. If Alexander the Great is totally new to you, you may wish to refer to my Alexander the Great Study Guide.
Take this brief quiz, and then compare your responses with the answers at the bottom of the page.
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Alexander Quiz Part I (Early Years)
Should you find these questions difficult, keep in mind the time period in which Alexander lived. Wrong choices may be from another era, although some wrong choices are just silly, others obvious, and others tricky.
- Which year was Alexander born?
(a) 356 B.C.
(b) 336 B.C.
(c) 340 B.C.
(d) 326 B.C.
(e) 323 B.C.
- Which event coincided with the birth of Alexander?
(a) the burning of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
(b) the burning of the Library at Alexandria
(c) Caesar's kidnapping by pirates
(d) the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius
(e) Socrates' suicide by hemlock
- Who was the mother of Alexander?
- Who was supposed to have been Alexander's father?
(a) Ammon, Zeus, or Philip II
(b) Baal, Apollo, or Philip II
(c) Dionysus, Re, or Philip II
(e) Osiris, Hermes, or Philip II
- What was the name of the famous Greek writer and philosopher -- whose fame survived the loss of much of the Classics during the Middle Ages -- who tutored Alexander?
- What do we think happened to Philip II to make Alexander king?
(a) Olympias had been giving Philip II increasingly large doses of poison.
(b) Philip II died in a drunken brawl.
(c) Philip II died in battle.
(d) Philip II died of an alcohol-related esophageal rupture.
(e) Philip II was murdered.
- When Alexander became king, one of the first places in Greece he went to was Thebes. What happened there?
(a) Alexander besieged the city for several months until he was called off to handle a revolt in Thrace.
(b) It was at Thebes that Alexander went on a drunken spree and killed one of his companions.
(c) Thebes rebelled and Alexander sacked the city.
(d) Thebes rebelled, but when Alexander said he'd pardon them, they acquiesced with his demands.
(e) Thebes rushed to join the Macedonians in their pursuit of the Persians.
- When Alexander sacked a Boeotian city, the family of which revered, ancient poet associated with Olympic victors was famously spared?
- Because of his unexpected, but simple and often-quoted response to an offer made to him by Alexander, who would Alexander have wanted to be had he not been Alexander?
- Cranium, where Alexander encountered Diogenes of Sinope, was a suburb of which city that modern historians use to name to a league, formed by Philip II, after the Battle of Chaeronea?
1. a 2. a 3. c 4. a 5. a 6. e 7. c 8. d 9. b 10. b