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When Alexander was 13, Philip called on the great philosopher Aristotle to tutor his son. Alexander was just 16 when Philip went to battle the Byzantiums and left him in charge of Macedonia. In B. Just 20 years old, Alexander claimed the Macedonian throne and killed his rivals before they could challenge his sovereignty. He also quashed rebellions for independence in northern Greece.

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Alexander appointed the general Antipater as regent and headed for Persia with his army. Victory went to Alexander and the Macedonians.

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Alexander then headed south and easily took the city of Sardes. But his army encountered resistance in the cities of Miletus, Mylasa and Halicarnassus. Under siege yet not beaten, Halicarnassus held out long enough for King Darius III, the newest Persian king, to amass a substantial army. From Halicanassus, Alexander headed north to Gordium, home of the fabled Gordian knot , a group of tightly-entwined knots yoked to an ancient wagon.

Lancaster Pamphlets in Ancient History

Legend had it whoever unwound the knot would conquer all of Asia. As the story goes, Alexander took on the challenge but was unable to unravel the knot by hand. He took another approach and sliced through the knot with his sword, claiming triumph. As it became clear Alexander would win the Battle of Issus, Darius fled with what remained of his troops, leaving his wife and family behind. His mother, Sisygambis, was so upset she disowned him and adopted Alexander as her son.

By now it was clear that Alexander was a shrewd, ruthless and brilliant military leader—in fact, he never lost a battle in his life. Next, Alexander took over the Phoenician cities of Marathus and Aradus.

He rejected a plea from Darius for peace and took the towns of Byblos and Sidon. He then laid siege to the heavily fortified island of Tyre in January B.

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But Alexander had no navy to speak of and Tyre was surrounded by water. Alexander instructed his men to build a causeway to reach Tyre. All went well until they came within striking distance of the Tyrians. After rejecting another peace offer from Darius, Alexander set out for Egypt. He was sidelined at Gaza, however, and forced to endure another lengthy siege. After several weeks, he took the town and entered Egypt where he established the city that still bears his name: Alexandria.

Alexander traveled to the desert to consult the oracle of Ammon, a god of supposed good counsel.

Alexander The Great - A Titan Of History

Legends abound about what transpired at the oracle, but Alexander kept mum about the experience. Still, the visit furthered speculation Alexander was a deity. Following fierce fighting and heavy losses on both sides, Darius fled and was assassinated by his own troops. Finally rid of Darius, Alexander proclaimed himself King of Persia. With Bessus out of the way, Alexander had full control of Persia.

To gain credibility with the Persians, Alexander took on many Persian customs. He began dressing like a Persian and adopted the practice of proskynesis, a Persian court custom that involved bowing down and kissing the hand of others, depending on their rank.

Alexander the Great by Richard Stoneman

The Macedonians were less than thrilled with the changes in Alexander and his attempt to be viewed as a deity. They refused to practice proskynesis and some plotted his death. Increasingly paranoid, Alexander ordered the death of one of his most esteemed generals, Parmerio, in B. Pushed too far, Alexander killed Cleitus with a spear, a spontaneous act of violence that anguished him. Some historians believe Alexander killed his general in a fit of drunkenness—a persistent problem that plagued him through much of his life. Alexander struggled to capture Sogdia, a region of the Persian Empire that remained loyal to Bessus.

Supposedly, one of those on the rock was a girl named Roxane.

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As the story goes, Alexander fell in love with Roxane on sight. He married her despite her Sogdian heritage and she joined him on his journey. Some tribes surrendered peacefully; others did not. Even so, after a fierce battle in a raging thunderstorm, Porus was defeated.

One event took place at Hydaspes which devastated Alexander: the death of his beloved horse, Bucephalus. Alexander wanted to press on and attempt to conquer all of India, but his war-weary soldiers refused, and his officers convinced him to return to Persia. So Alexander led his troops down the Indus River and was severely wounded during a battle with the Malli. After recovering, he divided his troops, sending half of them back to Persia and half to Gedrosia, a desolate area west of the Indus River. In early B. Wanting to unite the Persians and Macedonians and create a new race loyal only to him, he ordered many of his officers to marry Persian princesses at a mass wedding.

He also took two more wives for himself. But after Alexander took a firm stand and replaced Macedonian officers and troops with Persians, his army backed down. To further diffuse the situation, Alexander returned their titles and hosted a huge reconciliation banquet.