Alexander The Great was one of the greatest emperors and leaders of the world. In fact, he was the only emperor to be called, "The Great." He had studied under a great Greek Philosopher, Aristotle, who taught Alexander literature, science, medicine, philosophy and to speak and write well. Alexander was the son of Philip of Macedonia. Philip became king of Macedonia in 359 B.C., but died in 336 B.C. He left his kingdom to Alexander.
Alexander ruled for only thirteen years but he succeeded far beyond what his father had planned. After his father's death in 336 B.C., Alexander became king of Macedonia. He strengthened his claim of king by quickly stopping revolts by Athens, which tried to break away from Macedonia, by destroying the city of Thebes, and by defeating neighboring lands for breaking away from his rule. Alexander united Greece.
In 334 B.C. Alexander led his army into Persia and, after defeating an army of Persians and Greeks, he captured territories in Asia Minor.
In 332 B.C., Alexander first conquered Tyre, Gaza and then Egypt in 327 B.C.
In 331 B.C. Alexander defeated the main Persian army in Masopotamia. When the Persian king, Darius, was killed by his own soldiers, Alexander declared himself king of Persia Alexander was determined to conquer the whole world.
In 327 B.C., Alexander led his armies into India. Soon after that, the Macedonians refused to go further and wanted to return to their homes and families because they had been fighting for six years. Reluctantly, Alexander agreed to turn back. He arrived in Babylon in 323 B.C. but shortly caught a fever and died. He was not yet 33 years old.
Alexander the Great admired Athens and the Greek culture so he brought many Greek ideas to the non-Greek people of his empire. He spread Greek civilization throughout wester Asia, and opened the east to Greek trade. Alexander had a very open mind. He adopted ideas and customs from the people he had conquered. He married a Persian princess and Persians served in his army. Wherever he conquered lands, he made new cities. The most famous city he named Alexandria, in Egypt.
Greek civilization, after Alexander's death, is called the Hellenistic age. Hellenistic means "Greek-speaking" or "acting like a Greek." The Hellenistic world spread far beyond the Greek mainland and the Aegean Islands. After Alexander's death, the center of the Hellenistic world shifted from Greece to Alexandria. This happened because without Alexander to rule his empire, his generals divided it among themselves and the city-states were not strong enough to defend themselves. The power of Greece weakened. In Alexandria, Greek civilization got stronger because the Ptolemies brought Greeks to Egypt to help them rule and develop it. Many mechanical, scientific, mathematical and medical discoveries which were made during the Hellenistic age in Alexandria, Egypt, are still used today.