Alexander III of Macedonia

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Alexander III of Macedon, popularly known as alexander the great, was born in July 356 B.C. in Pella, Macedonia. He was the son of King Philip II of Macedon and Queen Olympias of Epirus. It is believed that he had less of a close relationship with his father, compared to his mother’s close relationship with him, because of Philip’s military campaigns. Alexander III teachers included Leonidas (arithmetic, horsemanship, and archery), Lysimachus, and Aristotle (rhetoric and literature).

Although there is not a lot of information about Lysimachus, readings suggest that he was a great influence on young Alexander III. Alexander’s favorite tutor was the Acarnian Lysimachus, who devised a game whereby Alexander impersonated the hero Achilles. This delighted Olympias, for her family claimed the hero as an ancestor. In Alexander’s youthful mind, Achilles became the epitome of the aristocratic warrior, and Alexander modeled himself after this hero of Homer’s Iliad. (Gale, 2018) From a young age, he had a divine descent ideology that he carried later in life. Olympias gave to this idea by claiming that Alexander’s real father was the god Zeus.

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At age 18 Alexander led part of the Macedonian troops in the battle of Chaeronea along his father Philip II. The king and his young son Alexander overran the city of Elateia on the Boeatian border; the route to Athens and Thebes was now open. Philip marched his troops southward to confront the enemy on a small plain outside the town of Chaeronea (Wasson, 2009). The successful battle helped Philip II gain control of the Greek city-states, except for Persia.

Earlier in his life, Alexander’s relationship with his father was strained because of his father’s absence due to military campaigns. This relationship strained farther more after Philip II married a woman named Cleopatra/Eurydice which threaten Alexander’s inheritance to the throne. Even though Philip was polygamist in order to do treaties by marriage, Olympias did not accept the marriage, and she went into voluntary exile along with Alexander.

After his father was assassinated by one of his bodyguards, Alexander the Great took over the throne and dealt with every possible opposition. He quickly dealt with his enemies at home and reasserted Macedonian power within Greece.

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