How were the ancient Greeks so successful

Conqueror: Alexander the Great

As a youth, Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, conquered the greatest empire in the history of antiquity. As a 20-year-old he dominated almost all of Greece. But that is not enough for Alexander: He wants to subjugate the Persian Empire

Alexander the Great

  • Life data: July 20, 356 BC Until June 10, 323 BC Chr.
  • Nationality: Greek
  • Quote: "I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep. But I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."

Alexander the Great begins his campaign in 334 BC. And defeated the Persians, Egyptians and Indians in the following eleven years. He covers a distance of around 32,000 kilometers

How Alexander the Great lived

Alexander the Great was born on July 20, 356 BC. Born in Pella, the capital of Macedonia, as the son of King Philip II and Queen Olympias. Various legends say that Alexander was descended from Greek gods like Heracles. He himself believed that he was the son of the god of war Zeus. Accordingly, the life of Alexander the Great is often told in legend or embellishment. Many details about his childhood do not exist.

Even as a small boy, Alexander stood by the side of his father, who led the originally insignificant Macedonia. Over the years he fought for all Greek city-states - except Sparta - and founded the Corinthian League from this. Alexander the Great took part in the campaigns and was thus well trained to later follow in his father's footsteps.

In addition, he had the opportunity to be taught by the best scholars of his time. For example, he was taught philosophy, art and mathematics by Aristotle.

How Alexander the Great changed the world

When his father in 336 BC Was murdered, Alexander succeeded the throne. In the same year, at the age of 20, he led his first crusade to what is now Bulgaria and Romania, followed by 15,000 men. The so-called Balkan campaign was successful. Alexander then marched south, where he conquered more and more Greek city-states.

In the years 343 to 333 BC He turned to the Persian Empire, the greatest world power at that time. With 40,000 men now, including around 5,000 horsemen, he also succeeded in defeating the Persian king Darius III. Then Alexander the Great conquered Egypt and was crowned Pharaoh there. On the coast he built a city - Alexandria - which still reminds of him today. After his last great victory in 331 BC. The Greeks declared themselves "King of Asia".

But even that was not enough for him: Alexander the Great, who was actually only 1.60 meters tall, continued his campaigns. He pursued the goal of conquering the entire "Eastern Ocean" and moved into what is now Pakistan and India and later also into Arabia. But then his soldiers suddenly refused any further use. They were weakened by the rigors of the past few years: They had covered over 32,000 kilometers in snow, rain and heat.

Alexander the Great had no more opportunity to defend himself against the withdrawal of his army. On June 10, 323 BC He died surprisingly. How he died is still unknown today. Alexander remained childless and is said to have said shortly before his death that this is why the strongest Greek should succeed to the throne.

To find out who that was, the people of ancient Greece fought against each other for decades. The empire of Alexander the great fell apart. But the age of "Hellenism", which he ushered in with his lifestyle, remained until the 1st century BC. Chr. Significant.