Alexander the Great, a patient and often devious man; had never struck without careful planning. The youthful, headstrong Alexander liked to settle problems by immediate action. Making decisions with great speed, he took extraordinary risks; his success was achieved by the amount of sheer force and drive to overcome these risks. Alexander was one of the greatest and most courageous fighters in the world. He was educated as a student by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. The philosopher imbued Alexander with a love of Greek art and poetry, and instilled in him a lasting interest in Philosophy and science.
Within a year of his accession, Alexander extended his dominions northward toward the Danube River and westward towards the Adriatic Sea. He then turned his attention to Greece where Thebes and Athens were threatening to bolt the league with weapons purchased with Persian gold. Also, Athens and Thebes were to unite in war against Macedon. In 335 B.C. Alexander decided to punish the city for what he regarded as treachery; .The city was destroyed and its people sold into slavery or killed. All of the city_s buildings were destroyed except for temples and the house of Pindar the poet. Pindar was long dead, but Alexander wanted to prove that even a Macedonian conqueror could be a Hellene. The savage lesson of Thebes brought results, the Athenian assembly quickly congratulated Alexander, and the Greek states, with Sparta as the continuing exception, remained Macedonian allies.
Alexander now took on a project that Philip had planned but never carried out: an invasion of Persia. He decision to do this was purely a political one. For a century Persia had interfered increasingly in Greek affairs and had constantly oppressed the Greek cities in Asia Minor. Alexander had personal reasons too. Avid for glory and for identification with Greece, Alexander knew no better way to win both than by attacking Greece_s ancient foe. In some ways the invasion, the longest military campaign ever undertaken, was a reckless undertaking. It required a large army to move an enormous distance from its supply bases, through and unfamiliar country, against a power incalculably rich in money and men. Furthermore, Persia was governed by a patriotic and devoted military caste that was egar to show its strength in war. However the enemy had a weakness. The current king, Darius III, had come to the throne through the murder of his predecessor and was highly incompetent._Darius was no leader-in fact, he was not even a brave man. The best of his generals and satraps might have been able to compensate for his shortcomings, but the rigidly structured hierarchy of the Empire did not give them a chance._ Besides the fact that Persia was poorly ruled, Alexander was counting on another shortcoming of the Persian Empire to aide in his conquest. The Persian Empire_s subject were unloyal to and had very little affection towards their ruler(s) and would be unlikely to resist and invading army.
In 334 B.C. Alexander crossed the Hellespont. Something that his father had planned but not fully achieved. He defeated the Persian forces that were gathered on the Asian side of the River Granicus. After this victory Alexander sent three hundred suits of Persian armor back to Athens. The message that went with them read, _Alexander, the son of Philip, and the Greeks, except the Spartans, have won this spoil from the barbarians of Asia,_ thus expressing in one brief and self-assured sentence his contempt for the Persians, his even greater contempt for the Spartans, and his conviction that he was furthering a Greek cause. _Of all the generals of the ancient world Alexander was surely the greatest. He possessed an almost clairvoyant insight into strategy and was a consummately resourceful tactician.
Alexander could be compared to Napoleon in swiftness and in movement, but Alexander could be patient as well. As he showed in his siege of the fortress of Tyre, which lasted for about seven months. The old port of Tyre had been abandoned for some time, and the Tyrians were now securely enclosed behind massive walls on an island that was half a mile from the shore. Alexander made attempts to negotiate an entrance into the city but they were halted by a display of force against his