Alexander the Great served as king of Macedonia from 336 to 323 B.C. During his time of leadership, he united Greece, reestablished the Corinthian League and conquered the Persian Empire.
Conqueror and king of Macedonia, Alexander the Great was born on July 20, 356 B.C., in Pella, in the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. During his leadership, from 336 to 323 B.C., he united the Greek city-states and led the Corinthian League. He also became the king of Persia, Babylon and Asia, and created Macedonian colonies in the region. While considering the conquests of Carthage and Rome, Alexander died of malaria in Babylon (now Iraq), on June 13, 323 B.C.
Alexander the Great was born in the Pella region of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia on July 20, 356 B.C., to parents King Philip II of Macedon and Queen Olympia, daughter of King Neoptolemus. The young prince and his sister were raised in Pella’s royal court. Growing up, the dark-eyed and curly-headed Alexander hardly ever saw his father, who spent most of his time engaged in military campaigns and extra-marital affairs. Although Olympia served as a powerful role model for the boy, Alexander grew to resent his father’s absence and philandering.
Alexander received his earliest education under the tutelage of his relative, the stern Leonidas of Epirus. Leonidas, who had been hired by King Phillip to teach Alexander math, horsemanship and archery, struggled to control his rebellious student. Alexander’s next tutor was Lysimachus, who used role-playing to capture the restless boy’s attention. Alexander particularly delighted in impersonating the warrior Achilles.
In 343 B.C., King Philip II hired the philosopher Aristotle to tutor Alexander at the Temple of the Nymphs at Meiza. Over the course of three years, Aristotle taught Alexander and a handful of his friends philosophy, poetry, drama, science and politics. Seeing that Homer’s Iliad inspired Alexander to dream of becoming a heroic warrior, Aristotle created an abridged version of the tome for Alexander to carry with him on military campaigns.
Alexander completed his education at Meiza in 340 B.C. A year later, while still just a teen, he became a soldier and embarked on his first military expedition, against the Thracian tribes. In 338, Alexander took charge of the Companion Cavalry and aided his father in defeating the Athenian and Theban armies at Chaeronea. Once Philip II had succeeded in his campaign to unite all the Greek states (minus Sparta) into the Corinthian League, the alliance between father and son soon disintegrated. Philip married Cleopatra Eurydice, niece of General Attalus, and ousted Alexander’s mother, Olympia. Alexander and Olympia were forced to flee Macedonia and stay with Olympia’s family in Epirus until Alexander and King Philip II were able to reconcile their differences.