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|Ancient||Knowledge of Democracy|
|Medieval||More Great People|
|Industrial||1/2 cost Library|
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Alexander (356 - 323 BC) was the son of King Phillip II of Macedon, an extremely successful king and warlord who had rescued his kingdom from the verge of extinction and then led his people to triumph by conquering Athens, Illyria, and Thrace - the three powers who, a few short years before, had been on the verge of conquering Macedonia. As the son of the most powerful monarch in the "civilized" world, Alexander got the best of everything, including education - the scholar Aristotle, the great thinker of Western Civilization, was his tutor.
At 16 Alexander led an army to quell a Thracian rebellion while his father was away. Alexander stormed the rebel stronghold and broke the back of the rebellion.
Several years later, Alexander's father was assassinated while in the process of mounting an invasion of Persia. Alexander immediately took power, and within two years he carried out his father's interrupted invasion of Persia. Alexander's force consisted of 30,000 foot soldiers and 5,000 cavalrymen, a huge army for the day, and was accompanied by engineers, surveyors, scientists, and even historians.
Alexander had amazing success against the Persians. He repeatedly beat their best soldiers, routinely fighting against odds of 10-to-1. His success can be attributed to his military genius, his force's superb training and equipment, and their magnificent esprit de corps, largely engendered by their faith in Alexander's invincibility.
Having secured Persia's surrender, Alexander then moved south, conquering Syria, Palestine, much of modern Iraq, and eventually Egypt herself. He returned to Persia, destroyed the last of the Persian forces and took over the entire country. He continued east, eventually coming into contact with the great Indian King Porus, who fought him to a standstill. Alexander eventually won the conflict, but at such a heavy cost that his men begged him to end the campaign and let them return to their families. Alexander himself returned to rule his empire from the captured city of Babylon.
In eight short years of fighting, Alexander had conquered more territory than any other living being. He successfully led his forces into battle against all of the great nations of the day, but none could stand against him. He was the absolute ruler of the largest empire the world had ever seen.
Apparently he found this boring.
Once in Babylon, Alexander began an inexorable decline. He began drinking heavily and engaging in all kinds of available debauchery (and there was much debauchery to be found in Babylon). He became subject to fits of anger and bouts of paranoid delusion. One night, in a fit of blind rage and under the influence of alcohol, Alexander murdered Cleitus, his closest associate. This barbaric act was to haunt Alexander for the rest of his life - which wasn't very long.
In June of 332 BC, his body weakened by his excesses, Alexander died of malaria. He was 32 years old.
Alexander was said to be the descendent of Achilles, the hero of the Homer's "Iliad", as well as Hercules, a half-god and one of Greece's most renowned strongmen.
Alexandria, Egypt, home to both the Great Library and the Great Lighthouse - one of the seven wonders of the ancient world - was founded by Alexander in 331 BC.