ALEXANDER'S EMPIRE



The ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, situated in the north of modern Greece, was established by Perdiccas I about 640 B.C. Perdiccas was a Dorian, although the Macedonian tribes included Thracian and Illyrian elements. Originally a semibarbarous and fragmented power, Macedon became tributary to Persia under the Persian kings Darius I and Xerxes I and thereafter struggled to maintain itself against Thracians and other barbarians and against the Greek cities of the Chalcidice as well as Sparta and Athens.
A new stage began with Archelaus (d.399 B.C.), who centralized the kingdom with a system of roads and forts; he also fostered the Hellenization of his people by inviting famous Greek artists, Euripides among them, to his court.
Few regions gave much thought to Macedonia. The area was so primitive that it seemed to belong to another age- it was a rude, brawling, heavy-drinking country of dour peasants and landowning warriors. The language was Greek, but so tainted by barbarian strains that Athenians could not understand it. Macedonia remained an outland. Growth of trade in the early fourth century promoted the rise of several cities, yet when Perdiccas III, king of Macedonia, fell in 359 B.C. while fighting the Illyrians the seaboard of his state was largely under Athenian control or in the hands of the Chalcidian league, grouped about Olynthus.
Philip (382-36), brother of the dead king, was made regent for the infant heir, soon set aside his nephew, and became outright king.
Once power was his, the young monarch swiftly brought order to his domain by armed force when necessary, by diplomatic guile whenever he could, Philip set out to make Macedon the greatest power in the Greek world.
Alexander was born in 356 to the first wife of Philip. As a teenager Alexander was educated by Athenian philosopher
Aristotle. By the year 337 all of the Greek city-states had been conquered or forced into an alliance by Philip. He was planning to lead their joint forces for an invasion of the Persian empire when he was assassinated in 336. Thus at the age of 20, Alexander became king of the Macedonians.
After Philip's death, some Greek cities under Macedonian rule revolted. In 335 B.C. Alexander's army stormed the walls of the rebellious city of Thebes and demolished the city. About 30,000 inhabitants were sold in slavery. Alexander's action against Thebes discouraged, for a time, rebellion by other Greek cities
With Greece under control, Alexander turned to his fathers plan for attacking the Persian Empire. In 334 B.C., he led an army of about 35,000 infantry and cavalry across the Hellespont from Europe to Asia. The Persians sent out troops that met Alexander's forces at the Granicus River. Alexander and his cavalry charged across the river and won the battle. This victory opened Asia Minor to Alexander. After marching along the southern coast of Asia Minor.



Alexander and his army headed north to the city of Gordium.
By 333 B.C., Alexander had reached the coast of Syria. There, in a fierce battle at Issus, he defeated the king of Persia, Darius III, but could not capture him. Alexander's army them marched south into Phoenicia to capture key naval bases at port cities. Part of one such city, Tyre, stood on an island about 1/2 mile offshore. Unable to capture the island from the sea, Alexander ordered his engineers to build a causeway out to the island, converting it to a peninsula that still remains today. His troops used such weapons as battering rams, catapults, and mobile towers in their attack. The Tyrians on the island surrendered in 332 B.C, after seven months of fighting. Alexander's use of huge siege machines at Tyre introduced a new age of warfare.
Alexander next entered Egypt. The Egyptians welcomed him as a liberator from Persian rule, and they crowned him pharaoh. On the western edge of the Nile Delta, Alexander founded a city in 331 B.C. and named it Alexandria after himself.
From Alexandria, the Macedonian king made a long difficult trek through the Libyan Desert, a part of the Sahara, to the oasis of Siwah. He consulted the oracle of the god Zeus-Ammon, and, according to legend, the oracle pronounced Alexander the son of god.
Alexander left Egypt with an army of 4000,000 foot soldiers