Profession: Macedonian King and Conqueror of Persia
Why Famous: By the age of thirty, Alexander created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas. Undefeated in battle during his lifetime he is held up as one of history's greatest military commanders.
The son of Philip II of Macedon, a northern Greek kingdom that had exerted contol over all of Greece, Alexander was tutored by the philosopher Aristotle before succeeding his father after his death at just 20 in 336 BC.
In 334 BC Alexander set off on campaign against the waning but still powerful Persian Empire with 40,000 men. Leading his army personally he defeated Persian forces along the Ionian coast and in Egypt before comprehensively defeating the Persians with a smaller army at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC.
Alexander went on to vanquish Bactria, marrying Roxana, daughter of a Bactrian leader in a mass wedding. In 327 BC he even crossed the Indus River to invade India before turning back.
Alexander's genius was in conquering territory and his efforts to establish a long-term empire were short-lived. His early and mysterious death, perhaps from fever or poisoning in 323 BC, also led to his empire's break-up. However his image of a divine all-conquering golden hero would set the template for a leader in the Greco-Roman world ever after.
- 0334-05-22 BC The Macedonian army of Alexander the Great defeats Darius III of Persia in the Battle of the Granicus
- 0331-10-01 BC Alexander the Great defeats Darius III of Persia in the Battle of Gaugamela