Alexander the Great battle against King Poros in 327 BC and the game of chess

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Alexander was considered one of the four greatest generals of all time, if not the greatest. Not only did he conquer one of the greatest empire of its time, the persian empire, he also never, lost a battle throughout his lifetime. He would've conquered lands all the way up to China if it werent for his men refusing to go any further in Sangela. He accomplished all of this by the age of 33. Who knows where he would v’e gone if he lived a full life. His goal in his conquests was to expand Greek values eastward. His incredible personal leadership and drive for glory as well as his absolute self confidence and indomitable willpower made this possible and also added to his title of Alexander the Great.

His career started at 16. As the son of Philip II of Macedonia, he was required to show leadership skills from a very early age. While his father went to Byzantium to quell an uprising of the local people, Plutarch’s Life of Alexander tells us that Alexander suppressed the revolt of the Maedi very effectively back home in Macedonia as his father left him in charge in his absence. When the Athenians revolted two years later, he distinguished himself when he defeated the Thebans, or the Sacred Band, a garrison of exceptionally trained soldier who served as couples in 338 BC at the famous battle of Chaeronea. Thereafter, Athens sued for peace after they realized the determination of Philip II and his son Alexander. Here he distinguished himself in military strategy after conquering Greece.

After the assassination of Philip, when Alexander was age 20, he received full control of the army. He managed to crush the Thracian revolt and, later that same year, he formed a special alliance with the Corinthian League who, in return, offered him an additional 18,000 soldiers from various Greek states. Now he was free to pursue his main objective which was the conquest of Persia.

With an army of 50,000 and a cavalry of 3,600, in 334 BC he lead his army across the Hellespont into Asia and Persian Territory. His first great conquest was the Battle of Granicus, where he showed great skill in targeting the weakest point of the Persian army. He used the element of surprise by attacking the Persians from a side they did not expect and forced the army to fight close to the river. His next great military conquest was at Issus in Syria in 333 BC where he first encountered King Darius III of Persia. Alexander drove a wedge into the army using his Phalanx, thus opening a passage to the King. When it was abundantly clear that Alexander was going to win the battle, Darius fled. Instead of going after him, Alexander instead chose to go South to Egypt which he conquered in 332 BC. No one in history had ever accomplished this before. While there, he consolidated his power by establishing one of the first cities of Alexandria. By doing this he protects his power in Egypt as he moves East for his final conquest of Persia in the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC.

At the Battle of Gaugamela, we see Alexander’s famous use of different military tactics which added to the greatness of his legacy. Realizing that he needed flat terrain to fully exploit the power of the Phalanx, Alexander drew the Persian king onto the plain of Gaugamela. He used the hammer and anvil technique of attack. In other words, the infantry attack from the front while the cavalry maneuver from each side to attack from the rear. The element of surprise threw the Persians, who outnumbered the Greeks five to one, into total disarray and once again Darius fled. Shortly after, Darius is killed by a local governor. By winning this Battle, Alexander soon conquered the entirety of Persia, a feat that before his lifetime seemed impossible. This solidified Alexander's legacy as great.

In 16 years, Alexander conquered half of the known world, embraced and learned their customs, all while leaving a legacy of Hellenism in the east and Mediterranean Basin that was able to survive hundreds of years past his death. He reshaped the middle east politically, dissolving the Persian Empire and left Greek as the diplomatic language of the region for centuries to come. His four generals who inherited his empire continued to shape those regions in a way that introduced Greek culture and values to the middle east, especially in Egypt under King Ptolemy who established a dynasty that lasted until the death of Cleopatra in 36 BC. For all of these reasons, we can agree that Alexander has earned the title of Alexander the Great.

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