Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Alexander the Great
- For other Alexanders, see Alexander (disambiguation).
Alexander III, in Greek "ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ" ("Megas Alexandros") (late July, 356 BC–June 10, 323 BC), King of Macedon (336 BC-323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was one of the most successful military commanders of the ancient world. Following the unification of the multiple city states of Ancient Greece under the rule of his father, Philip II of Macedon, Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Egypt and Mesopotamia, and surpassed its boundaries as far as Afghanistan and India. Alexander treated conquered peoples with great respect, integrating non-Greeks into his administration and army, and leading some scholars to credit him with a “policy of fusion.” After twelve years of campaigning, Alexander died, probably of malaria or typhoid. Alexander’s conquests ushered in centuries of Greco-Macedonian settlement and rule over non-Greek areas, known as the Hellenistic Age. Alexander himself lived on in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek peoples.
Alexander was the son of King Philip II of Macedon and of 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. Plutarch (Alexander 2.2-3) 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.
After his visit to the Oracle of Ammon at Siwah, according to all five of the extant historians (Arrian, Curtius, Diodorus, Justin, and Plutarch), rumors spread that the Oracle had revealed Alexander's father was Zeus, rather than Philip. According to Plutarch (Alexander 2.1), his father descended from Heracles through Caranus and his mother descended from Aeacus through Neoptolemus and Achilles.
The ascendance of Macedon
Macedon was located to the north of classical Greece. In an effort to unite the rest of the Greek world against the ascendant power of Philip II of Macedon, Demosthenes denouced Philip as "no Greek, no way allied to Greece,"  and as a threat to the freedom of the Greek city states. Olympias herself was from Epirus, another Greek state on the edge of classical Greek civilization, on the northwest of the Greek peninsula. Macedonians were keen to adopt the achievements of the Greeks, and Philip selected the noted Athenian philosopher Aristotle, who was born in the Greek city of Stagira on the Chalcidice peninsula, to tutor young Alexander.
When Philip led an attack on Byzantium in 340 BC, Alexander, aged 16, was left in command of Macedonia. In 339 BC Philip divorced Alexander's mother, leading to a quarrel between Alexander and his father which threw into question Alexander's succession to the Macedonian throne. In 338 BC, Philip created The League of Corinth. Alexander also assisted his father at the decisive battle of Chaeronea in this year. In 336 BC, Philip was assassinated at the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra to King Alexander of Epirus. The assassin was supposedly a former lover of the king, the disgruntled young nobleman (Pausanias), who held a grudge against Philip because the king had ignored a complaint he had expressed. His murder was once thought to have been planned with the knowledge and possible involvement of Alexander or Olympias, but in recent years Alexander's involvement has been questioned, and there is some reason to believe that it may have been instigated by Darius III Codomannus, the recently crowned King of Persia. Plutarch mentions an irate letter from Alexander to Darius III, where Alexander blames Darius and Bagoas for his father's murder, stating that it was Darius who had been bragging to the rest of the Greek city states how he managed to have Philip assassinated.
After the death of Philip, Alexander, then aged 20, was acclaimed by the army as the new king of Macedon. Greek cities like Athens and Thebes, which had pledged allegiance to Philip were not quick to pledge it to a 20-year-old boy. Macedonian rule was considered "alien" by the Greek states and imported from outside by the members of other tribes and as Plutarch says, allophyloi (Plutarchus, Vita Arati, 16).
He immediately ordered the execution of all of his potential rivals and marched south with his armies in a campaign to solidify control of Greece and confront the Persian Empire.
Ethnicity of Alexander and the Macedonians
In the Classical era and today, the question of whether Alexander should be described as a Greek or as a Macedonian has proved extremely controversial. Some regard the ancient Macedonians as an ethnic group distinct from the Greek peoples, others consider them to have been ethnically Greek. Relatedly, there is debate as to whether the Macedonian language was a distinct tongue, or merely a dialect of Greek. Thus, the appropriate word with which to describe Alexander's ethnicity is unclear.
Classical authors differed in their descriptions of the Macedonians, with some considering them to be Hellenic (related to the other Greek peoples) and others regarding them as northern 'barbarians' (that is, foreigners unrelated to the Greeks). Thus, some Greeks would have considered the Macedonian ascendance to be a shift in power from one Greek state to another; others would have seen it as a takeover by barbarians.
This controversy remains potent in modern times, because the area corresponding to Ancient Macedon is now divided between the modern state of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Both Greek nationalists and Macedonian nationalists have claimed Alexander as their own national hero, and take great offense when he is described as belonging to the other nation. However, this debate is ahistorical, since modern Macedonians are Slavs who are ethnically unrelated to the ancient Macedonians, while modern Greeks are also not purely related to the inhabitants of Ancient Greece.
Period of conquests
The defeat of the Persian empire
Alexander's army crossed the Hellespont with about 40,000 Greek and Macedonian soldiers. After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle of Granicus, Alexander proceeded down the Greek cities of the Ionian coast and through Caria, Lycia and Pamphylia. At Halicarnassus in Caria, Alexander waged the first of many sieges. Turning inland, Alexander's army passed through the ancient Phrygian capital of Gordium, where Alexander solved the Gordian knot.
Alexander's army crossed the Cilician Gates and met the main Persian army under the command of Darius III Codomannus at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC. Proceeding down the Mediterranean coast, he took Tyre and Gaza after famous sieges (see Siege of Tyre). Alexander passed near but probably did not visit Jerusalem.
In 332-331 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 Siwah oasis in the Libyan Desert. 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 Iraq) to defeat Darius and a third Persian army in the Battle of Gaugamela. When Darius was forced to flee the field after his charioteer was killed, Alexander chased him as far as Arbela. When 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, while he stormed and captured the Persian Gates (in the modern Zagros Mountains), then sprinted for Persepolis before its treasury could be looted. He allowed the League forces to loot Persepolis, and he set fire to the royal palace of Xerxes, allegedly in revenge for the burning of the Athenian Acropolis during the Second Persian War. 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 at an end, 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 Bessus and his successor Spitamenes took him through Media, Parthia, Aria, Drangiana, Arachosia, Bactria and Scythia. In the process he captured and refounded Herat and Samarkand, and he founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including one near modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and Alexandria Eschate ("The Furthest") bordering today's Chinese Turkestan.
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. This cost him much in the sympathies of many of his Greek countrymen. Here, too, a plot against his life was revealed, and his Companion and friend Philotas was executed for treason for failing to bring the plot to his attention. Although Philotas was convicted by the assembled Macedonian army, most historians consider this one of the king's greatest crimes, along with his order to assassinate his senior general Parmenion, Philotas' father. In a drunken quarrel at Macaranda Samarkand, he also murdered the man who had saved his life at the 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 most historians regard as trumped-up charges.
Diversity of Armies
Alexander’s army was one of the first to successfully use siege weapons. His father, Philip, had siege material but never figured out how to utilize this new powerful weapon. During his first months as king, however, Alexander soon had an opportunity to try them out. Various city-states in Greece revolted, most notably the city of Thebes. After the Thebans refused to surrender, he attacked the walls with catapults and ballistas and promptly sacked the city. The heart of Alexander's army, however, was his well-trained cavalry, which helped turn the battle in Alexander’s favor on many an occasion. His cavalry was made up of two types of units. The first had long spears, which were used to pierce enemy ranks. The second were units that carried long two-handed swords. These units had to be well trained because these riders did not have stirrups yet (Fox 108-111). His army also consisted of spearmen that carried weapons that were thirteen feet long (“The Real” n.p.). These spearmen were very effective against cavalry and charging footmen. These soldiers were trained to wave their spears up and down while charging, helping to deflect any arrows that were shot in their direction. This type of infantry was very competent in the open battlefield but had difficulty maneuvering, especially in certain types of terrain. Troops with ranged weapons (i.e. archers and slingers) helped to cause carnage amongst the enemy ranks before they reached Alexander's line, and proved quite useful against Persian archers. One of the more effective infantries he had were the shield bearers. Carrying shields and swords, these men were typically kept on his flanks. If the enemy attempted to flank him, these heavily-armed soldiers could serve well to protect the interior of the line. Alexander also had certain units that could be compared to America’s Special Forces unit. These men were called Gurkhas and they carried javelins. Alexander used Gurkhas for rough climbs and night attacks. During this time period no other army had such diversity. Alexander was well known for his skill in balancing armies (Fox 108-111).
The invasion of India
With the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana (Roshanak in Bactrian) to cement his relations with his new Central Asian satrapies, in 326 BC Alexander was finally free to turn his attention to India. King Omphis , ruler of Taxila, surrendered the city to Alexander. Many people had fled to a high fortress/rock called Aornos. Alexander took Aornos by storm (see siege of Aornos ). Alexander fought an epic battle against the Indian monarch Porus in the Battle of Hydaspes (326). After victory, Alexander made an alliance with Porus and appointed him as satrap of his own kingdom. Alexander continued on to conquer all the headwaters of the Indus River.
East of Porus' kingdom, near the Ganges River, was the powerful kingdom of Magadha. Exhausted and frightened by the prospect of facing another giant Indian army at the Ganges River, his army mutinied at the Hyphasis (modern Beas), refusing to march further East. Alexander, after the meeting with his officer, Coenus , was convinced that it was better to return. Alexander was forced to turn south, conquering his way down the Indus to the Ocean. 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 Gedrosia (modern Makran in southern Pakistan).
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 who were over-aged and the 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 Opis, 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. It is not certain that Alexander adopted the Persian royal title of shahanshah ("great king" or "king of kings"), but most historians think that he did.
After traveling to Ecbatana to retrieve the bulk of the Persian treasure, his Chiliarch and closest friend Hephaestion died of an illness. Later Roman writers considered Alexander's display of mourning excessive (although it may not have been seen that way by his contemporaries). He conducted a campaign of extermination against the Cossaens to assuage his grief. On his way back to his capitol at Babylon, Alexander encountered many signs of his impending death, and he fell ill and indeed died shortly after he entered the city.
Alexander's marriages and sexuality
Alexander's greatest emotional attachment is generally considered to have been to his companion, cavalry commander (chiliarchos) and possibly lover, Hephaestion. They had most likely been best friends since childhood, for Hephaestion too received his education at the court of Alexander's father. Hephaestion makes his appearance in the histories at the point when Alexander reaches Troy. There the two friends made sacrifices at the shrines of the two heroes Achilles and Patroclus, Alexander honouring Achilles, and Hephaestion, Patroclus. As Aelian in his Varia Historia (12.7) claims, "He thus intimated that he was the object of Alexander's love, as Patroclus was of Achilles." Many discussed his ambiguous sexuality. Letter 24 of those ascribed to Diogenes of Sinope, thought to be written in the first or second century, and probably reflecting the gossip of Alexander's day, exhorts him: "If you want to be beautiful and good (kalos k'agathos), throw away the rag you have on your head and come to us. But you won't be able to, for you are ruled by Hephaestion's thighs." And Curtius reports that "He scorned [feminine] sensual pleasures to such an extent that his mother was anxious lest he be unable to beget offspring." To whet his appetite for the fairer sex, King Philip and Olympias brought in a high-priced Thessalian courtesan named Callixena.
Later in life Alexander married several princesses of former Persian territories: Roxana of Bactria; Statira, daughter of Darius III; and Parysatis, daughter of Ochus. He fathered at least two children, Heracles born in 327 BC by his mistress Barsine the daughter of Satrap Artabazus of Phrygia, and Alexander IV of Macedon by Roxana in 323 BC. This would be in keeping with the ancient omnivorous approach to sexuality.
Curtius maintains that Alexander also took as a lover "... Bagoas, a eunuch exceptional in beauty and in the very flower of boyhood, with whom Darius was intimate and with whom Alexander would later be intimate," (VI.5.23). Eumenes writes that, previous to venturing further east, Alexander installed Bagoas in a villa outside of Babylon and required all his officers and courtesans, both Greek and Persian, to render him honours (i.e. to present him with rich gifts). Alexander's favor to Bagoas is also apparent in his subsequent appointment of Bagoas as one of the trierarchs , men of substance who oversaw and funded the construction of the navy for the journey homeward. Their relationship seems to have been well known among the troops, as Plutarch recounts an episode (also mentioned by Athenaios and Dicaearchus) during some festivities on the way back from India, in which his men clamor for him to openly kiss the young man. "Bagoas [...] sat down close by him, which so pleased the Macedonians, that they made loud acclamations for him to kiss Bagoas, and never stopped clapping their hands and shouting till Alexander put his arms round him and kissed him." (Plutarch, The Lives). Whatever his relationship with Bagoas, it was no impediment to relations with his queen: six months after Alexander's death Roxana gave birth to his son and heir Alexander IV. Besides Bagoas, Curtius mentions yet another lover of Alexander, Euxenippos, "whose youthful grace filled him with enthusiasm." (VII.9.19)
The suggestion that Alexander was homosexual or bisexual has outraged many Greeks and Macedonians, who regard him as a national hero. They argue that historical accounts describing Alexander's relations with Hephaestion and Bagoas as sexual were written centuries after the fact, and thus it can never be established what the 'real' relationship between Alexander and his male companions were. Others argue that the same can be said about all our information regarding Alexander. Such debates, however, are considered anachronistic by scholars of the period, who point out that the concept of homosexuality did not exist in antiquity: sexual attraction between males was seen as a normal and universal part of human nature since it was believed that men were attracted to beauty, an attribute of the young, regardless of gender. If Alexander's love life was transgressive it was not for his love of beautiful youths but for his involvement with a man his own age, in a time when the standard model of male love was pederastic. See History of Homosexuality for more information.
It has been proposed that Alexander was also a "cross-dresser," on the grounds that he was known to wear the "silvery dress" of Athena, which he received from priests at Troy. This idea, however, subsists upon a misunderstanding of "dress," used in the sense of "attire." In fact, it was Athena who was the cross-dresser, wearing armor when Greek women and other female gods did not.
In the afternoon of June 10, 323 BC, Alexander died of a mysterious illness in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. He was only 33 years old. Various theories have been proposed for the cause of his death which includes poisoning by the sons of Antipater, murder by his wife Roxane , and sickness due to a relapse of malaria he had contracted in 336 BC.
In 1998, in an article titled "A Mysterious Death" in the New England Journal of Medicine, volume 338:1764-1769, David W. Oldach, M.D. (a professor of pathology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine), and others (including eminent Alexander historian Eugene N. Borza), analyzed Alexander's symptoms as described in Arrian, Diodorus and Plutarch. Oldach dismissed the poisoning theory and diagnosed the king's final illness as typhoid, perhaps complicated by peritonitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome, leading to the possibility that a helplessly paralyzed Alexander might actually have been killed by his embalmers.
That Alexander's body failed to decompose for, it is said, six days supports the theory that he was suffering from typhoid induced paralysis but it also points to poison as many poisons act as a preservative. Graham Phillips in 'Alexander the Great: Death in Babylon' is skeptical that Alexander could have really lasted long in a state of paralysis, presumed dead in hot Babylon. He gives other reasons for doubting typhoid pointing out that Alexander is not described as suffering from diarrhea. He suggests a plant based poison is more likely and favors Belladonna in particular. Belladonna may produce paralysis of the vocal cords which fits the description of how Alexander though conscious was unable to speak.
According to legend, Alexander was preserved in a clay vessel full of honey ("it’s a preservative. In ancient times, the bodies of kings were put up for safe keeping in vats of honey." ) and interred in a glass coffin (due to the rarity of transparent glass in the ancient world, it would have been an incredibly expensive sarcophagus). A sarcophagus discovered in Sidon was allegedly Alexander's but it was proven to actually be the coffin of Abdylonymus, the one Hephaestion appointed as the king of Sidon by Alexander's order. The sarcophagus is in Istanbul Archaeological Museum in Turkey. The magnificent sarcophagus is remarkable for stunning carvings on the exterior detailing the battle scenes.
Legacy and division of the Empire
Main article: Diadochi
After Alexander's death his empire was divided among his officers, first mostly with the pretense of preserving a united kingdom, later with the explicit formation of rival monarchies and territorial states.
Ultimately, the conflict was settled after the Battle of Ipsus in Phrygia in 301 BC. Alexander's empire was divided at first into four major portions: Cassander ruled in Greece, Lysimachus in Thrace, Seleucus I Nicator ("the winner") in Mesopotamia and Iran, and Ptolemy I in the Levant and Egypt. Antigonus I ruled for a while in Asia Minor and Syria, but was soon defeated by the other four generals. Control over Indian territory was short-lived, ending when Seleucus I was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya, the first Mauryan emperor.
By 270 BC, Hellenistic states consolidated, with:
By the 1st century BC though, most of the Hellenistic territories in the West had been absorbed by the Roman Republic. In the East, they had been dramatically reduced by the expansion of the Parthian Empire and the secession of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom.
Alexander is remembered as a legendary hero in Europe and much of western and central Asia, where he is known as Iskander. To Zoroastrians, on the other hand, he is remembered as the destroyer of their first great empire and as the leveller of Persepolis. Ancient sources are generally written with an agenda of either glorifying or denigrating the man, making it difficult to evaluate his actual character. Most refer to a growing instability and megalomania in the years following Gaugamela, but it has been suggested that this simply reflects the Greek stereotype of a medizing king. The murder of his friend Cleitus, which Alexander deeply and immediately regretted, is often pointed to, as is his execution of Philotas and his general Parmenion for failure to pass along details of a plot against him, though this last may have been prudence rather than paranoia.
Modern opinion on Alexander has run the gamut from the idea that he believed he was on a divinely-inspired mission to unite the human race, to the view that he was the ancient world's equivalent of Napoleon or Hitler, a megalomaniac bent on world domination. Such views tend to be anachronistic, however, and the sources allow a variety of interpretations. Much about Alexander's personality and aims remains enigmatic.
According to one story, the philosopher Anaxarchus checked the vainglory of Alexander, when he aspired to the honours of divinity, by pointing to his wound, saying, "See the blood of a mortal, not the ichor of a god." (In another version Alexander himself pointed out the difference in response to a sycophantic soldier.)
The ancient sources for Alexander's life are, from the perspective of ancient history, relatively numerous. Alexander himself left only a few inscriptions and some letter-fragments of dubious authenticity, but a large number of his contemporaries wrote full accounts. These included his court historian Callisthenes, his general Ptolemy, and a camp engineer Aristoboulus. Another early and influential account was penned by Cleitarchus . Unfortunately, these works were lost. Instead, the modern historian must rely on authors who used these and other early sources. The five main accounts are by Arrian, Curtius, Mestrius Plutarch, Diodorus, and Justin. Much is recounted incidentally in other authors, especially including Strabo.
The "problem of the sources" is the main concern (and chief delight) of Alexander-historians. In effect, each presents a different "Alexander," with details to suit. Arrian presents a flattering portrait, Curtius a darker one. Plutarch can't resist a good story, light or dark. All include a considerable level of fantasy, prompting Strabo (2.1.9) to remark, "All who wrote about Alexander preferred the marvellous to the true." Nevertheless, the sources tell us much, and leave much to our interpretation and imagination.
Surviving classical period histories:
- The Roman historian Arrian of Nicomedia wrote Anabasis Alexandri or "The Campaigns of Alexander" in Greek.
- Another Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus wrote Historiae Alexandri Magni, a biography of Alexander the Great in Latin in ten books, of which the last eight survive.
- The Greek historian/biographer Plutarch of Chaeronea wrote a Life of Alexander (see the Parallel Lives) and two orations On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander the Great (see Plutarch#Other_Works)
- The Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus who was from Sicily wrote Bibliotheca historia ("Library of world history") in Greek. Book 17 of that work has the conquests of Alexander as its main topic, but there are three more books covering parts of the actions of Alexander and his successors (the "Diadochi").
- The Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus by Justin, which contains many provable errors of fact and is highly compressed.
Alexander was a legend in his own time. His court historian Callisthenes portrayed the sea in Cilicia as drawing back from him in proskynesis. Writing after Alexander's death, another participant, Onesicritus, went so far as to invent a tryst between Alexander and Thalestris, queen of the mythical Amazons. (When Onesicritus read this passage to his patron, Alexander's general and later King Lysimachus, Lysimachus quipped "I wonder where I was at the time?")
In the first centuries after Alexander's death, probably in Alexandria, a quantity of the more legendary material coalesced into a text known as the "Alexander Romance," later falsely ascribed to the historian Callisthenes and therefore known as Pseudo-Callisthenes. This text underwent numerous expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages, exhibiting a plasticity unseen in "higher" literary forms. Latin and Syriac translations were made in Late Antiquity. From these, versions were developed in all the major languages of Europe and the Middle East, including Armenian, Georgian, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, Serbian, Slavonic, Romanian, Hungarian, German, English, Italian, and French. The "Romance" is regarded by most Western scholars as the source of the account of Alexander given in the Koran (Sura "The Cave"). It is the source of many incidents in Ferdowsi's "Shahnama". A Mongol version is extant.
Some believe that, excepting certain religious texts, it is the most widely-read work of pre-modern times.
A list of the various titles held by Alexander throughout his life (all dates BC). Titles which are unknown whether he used or not, and unknown dates that he assumed confirmed titles, are marked with a question mark.
- Crown Prince of Macedon: 356-336
- Descendent of Achilles: 356-323
- Regent of Macedon: 340-336
- King of Macedon: 336-323
- Hegemon of Corinthian League: 336-323
- Son of Ammon-Zeus: 333-323
- Pharaoh of Egypt: 332-323
- King of Asia: 331-323
- Shahanshah(?) of Persia: 331(?)-323
- Basileus: 331(?)-323
Main cities founded by Alexander
Around 70 cities are said to have been founded by Alexander. Some of the main ones are:
- Alexandria, Egypt
- Alexandria Asiana , Iran
- Alexandria in Ariana , Afghanistan
- Alexandria of the Caucasus, Afghanistan
- Alexandria on the Oxus, Afghanistan
- Alexandria of the Arachosians , Afghanistan
- Alexandria on the Indus, Pakistan
- Alexandria Eschate, "The furthest", Tajikistan
- Kandahar (Alexandropolis), Afghanistan
Alexander in popular media
- A 1956 movie starring Richard Burton titled Alexander the Great was produced by MGM
- Numerous television series about Alexander have been created.
- From 1969 to 1981, Mary Renault wrote a historical fiction trilogy, speculating on the life of Alexander: Fire from Heaven (about his early life), The Persian Boy (about his conquest of Persia, his expedition to India, and his death, seen from the viewpoint of a Persian eunuch), and Funeral Games (about the events following his death).
- The British heavy metal band Iron Maiden had a song entitled "Alexander the Great" on their album Somewhere in Time (1986). The song describes Alexander's life, but contains one inaccuracy: in the song it is stated that Alexander's army would not follow him into India.
- A further trilogy of novels about Alexander was written in Italian by Valerio Massimo Manfredi and subsequently published in an English translation, entitled The Son of the Dream, The Sands of Ammon and The Ends Of The Earth.
- An epic animated retelling of the story called Reign: The Conquerer by Peter Chung of Aeon Flux fame debuted on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block variety show in 2003.
- Oliver Stone's film Alexander, starring Colin Farrell, was released on November 24, 2004.
- Baz Luhrmann had been planning to make a very different film about Alexander, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but the release of Stone's film eventually persuaded him to abandon the project. 
- Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso's 1998 album Livro includes an epic song about Alexander called "Alexandre."
- Steven Pressfield's 2004 book The Virtues of War is told from the first-person perspective of Alexander.
| King of Macedon|
Darius III Codomannus
| King of Persia|
| Pharaoh of Egypt|
| King of Asia|
- Alexander the Great: An annotated list of primary sources
- Plutarch: The Life of Alexander (in English)
- Quintus Curtius Rufus: Histories of Alexander (in Latin)
- Plutarch: Of the Fortune or Virtue of Alexander the Great (in English)
- Arrian: Campaigns of Alexander the Great
- Extensive bibliography (large PDF) by University of Calgary scholar Waldemar Heckel
- Livius Project index of related articles by Dutch scholar Jona Lendering
- Alexander the Great on the Web (directory)
- Alexander's Home on the Web, with an Alexander forum
- Alexander the Great of Macedonia: from history to eternity
- A genealogy of Alexander
- A biography of Alexander focusing on his male loves
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