Historical Figures

Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.E.)

Alexander of Macedon (ruled 336-323 BCE), known to history as Alexander the Great, ascended to power when Philip II of Macedon was assassinated in 361 B.C.E. The kingdom passed to his 20 year old son, Alexander, who rapidly consolidated his power and then led a united Greece in a war of revenge and conquest against the Persians. In 334 B.C.E, he crushed the Persian army and conquered Syria and Phoenicia. By 331, he had occupied Egypt and founded the seaport he named Alexandria. The Egyptian priests of Amun recognized him as the son of a god, an idea he readily adopted.

In 331 B.C.E., Alexander reached the Persian capital of Persepolis, where his troops accidentally burned down the palace. He continued east until 326 BCE, when he reached the western part of India (now present-day Pakistan). Finally his troops refused to go any farther. On the way home, Alexander died of fever in 323 B.C.E. He was only 33 years old.

Drawn from

Fred S. Kleiner, ed, Gardner's Art Through the Ages: A Global History, Fourteenth edition, (Wasworth Cenage Learning: Boston), 2013.

Web Resources

  • Khan Academy
    Read more about Alexander the Great.
  • Khan Academy
    Watch a video about Alexander the Great's ascension to power.