The Conquests of Alexander the Great

Essay by King646High School, 12th gradeA+, September 2006

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Alexander the Great, a Macedonian King, is considered one of the most successful and influential military commanders in world history. Alexander was born in July of 356 BC, at Pella, Macedon. He was the son of King Philip II of Macedon and his fourth wife, the Eprius princess, Olympias. However, legend explains that Alexander's real father was Zeus, not Philip. Arixstandros Telmisy, a distinguished oracle, determined that Olympias was pregnant, and that her child possessed the traits of a lion.

Being born into nobility, Alexander had an excellent education. In fact, Alexander was thoroughly taught by Aristotle at the Mieze temple, in rhetoric and literature, along with the other boys belonging to the Macedonian aristocracy. Aristotle taught him to appreciate the Iliad and the works of Homer. In addition, Aristotle inspired Alexander's interest in science, medicine, and philosophy. His uncle, Leonidas, taught Alexander how to play many musical instruments, such as the lyre.

Philip II contributed greatly to his son's education and hired the most renowned philosophers and teachers.

Alexander's father, Phillip II, ruled Macedon from 359 to 336 BC. Alexander's accomplishments may not have been achieved if it weren't for his father's military and political efforts. Philip's military work included fortifying the Macedonian army and establishing alliances, which would prove necessary for many of Alexander's conquests.

One strength of the Macedonian army was their tactics and formation of the phalanx, which was created by Philip. The Macedonian phalanx had a variety of formations; however, for the most part, it was composed of a sixteen men on a side, with a total of 256 men in each unit. The soldiers were equipped with a sarissa, a thirteen-foot spear. In addition, the formation of the phalanx was able to transform into a line or wedge shape, which would be indicated by...