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Alexander I Conquests, Reign, Legacy

During the festival that followed, King Philip II was murdered at the hands of Pausanias, a Macedonian noble. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University. Our publication has been reviewed for educational use by Common Sense Education, Internet Scout (University of Wisconsin), Merlot (California State University), OER Commons and the School Library Journal.

Alexander endeavored to reach the « ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea » and invaded India in 326 BC, achieving an important victory over Porus, an ancient Indian king of present-day Punjab, at the Battle of the Hydaspes. Due to the demand of his homesick troops, he eventually turned back at the Beas River and later died in 323 BC in Babylon, the city of Mesopotamia that he had planned to establish as his empire’s capital. Alexander’s death left unexecuted an additional series of planned military and mercantile campaigns that would have begun with a Greek invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars broke out across the Macedonian Empire, eventually leading to its disintegration at the hands of the Diadochi. His reign was also marked by conflict and temporary alliances with the Thracian ruler Sitalces of the Odrysian Kingdom.

Philip’s son Alexander III (Alexander the Great; reigned 336–323) overthrew the Achaemenian (Persian) Empire and expanded Macedonia’s dominion to the Nile and Indus rivers. On Alexander’s death at Babylon his generals divided up the satrapies (provinces) of his empire and used them as bases in a struggle to acquire the whole. Macedonia itself remained the heart of the empire, and its possession (along with the control of Greece) was keenly contested. Antipater (Alexander’s regent in Europe) and his son Cassander managed to retain control of Macedonia and Greece until Cassander’s death (297), which threw Macedonia into civil war.

Alexander II (r. 370 – 368 BC) invaded Thessaly but failed to hold Larissa, which was captured by Pelopidas of Thebes, who made peace with Macedonia on condition that they surrender noble hostages, including the future king Philip II of Macedon (r. 359 – 336 BC). The kingdom of Macedonia was an ancient state in what is now the Macedonian region of northern Greece, founded in the mid-7th century BC during the period of Archaic Greece and lasting until the mid-2nd century BC. Led first by the Argead dynasty of kings, Macedonia became a vassal state of the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia during the reigns of Amyntas I of Macedon (r. 547 – 498 BC) and his son Alexander I of Macedon (r. 498 – 454 BC). The period of Achaemenid Macedonia came to an end in roughly 479 BC with the ultimate Greek victory against the second Persian invasion of Greece led by Xerxes I and the withdrawal of Persian forces from the European mainland.

  • The votes of the Thessalians and their clients gave him a control of its council, which could be used on occasion for political and diplomatic ends.
  • Some historians say Alexander died of malaria or other natural causes; others believe he was poisoned.
  • The general peace was a political innovation of the Greeks themselves, used several times in the past 50 years in attempts to stabilize affairs while promoting this or that hegemony.

His intimidation tactic proved effective; the other Greek city-states, including Athens, chose to pledge their alliance to the Macedonian Empire or opted to remain neutral. These divisions created small, independent communities which were brought under a single monarchy which originally ruled from the city of Aigai (Vergina) and later from Pella. The king oversaw the administration of the realm as a whole but it was up to individual subordinates to work out details of trade, a policy which seems to have been left over from the time when separate tribes had their own kings. The Macedonians bartered for goods instead of using coinage up until the 5th century BCE and relied heavily on agriculture, especially in the lowlands. Unlike their neighbors to the south, they worked the land themselves and had no slaves; a policy and lifestyle which further encouraged southern Greek contempt. During the Persian invasion of 480 BCE, Macedonia was under Persian rule and compelled to provide troops for the invading force.

Just 20 years old, Alexander claimed the Macedonian throne and killed his rivals before they could challenge his sovereignty. Even though he had already murdered Alexander IV and Roxana, the son and the widow of Alexander the Great, Cassander did not take the royal title until 305. His ruthlessness toward Alexander’s family was partly dictated by political considerations, but his personal hatred for the dead king was evidenced by his rebuilding of Thebes, which had been leveled by Alexander as punishment for the Theban rebellion. Cassander, (born c. 358 bc—died 297 bc), son of the Macedonian regent Antipater and king of Macedonia from 305 to 297. Even before the peace with Athens was ratified (346), the Athenian publicist Isocrates was inviting Philip to reconcile the four leading cities of Greece and to lead a united Greek alliance in a war of expansion against Persia. A step in this direction was Philip’s intervention now to end the Sacred War, in recognition of which he was admitted to membership of the Delphic Amphictyony—an association of neighbouring states.

When he returned to Macedonia his brother Perdiccas soon found him ready for a command. « Perhaps the most significant legacy of Alexander was the range and extent of the proliferation of Greek culture, » Abernethy said. « The reign of Alexander the Great signaled the beginning of a new era in history known as the Hellenistic Age. Greek culture had a powerful influence on the areas Alexander conquered. » The Gedrosia crossing was a miserable failure, and upto three-quarters of Alexander’s troops died along the way. « The burning heat and the lack of water destroyed a great part of the army and particularly the pack animals, » Arrian wrote. Despite his men’s fatigue, and the fact that he was far from home, Alexander pressed on into a land that the Greeks called « India » (what is now present-day Pakistan).

king of macedonia

The Macedonian kings, who wielded absolute power and commanded state resources such as gold and silver, facilitated mining operations to mint currency, finance their armies and, by the reign of Philip II, a Macedonian navy. Unlike the other diadochi successor states, the imperial cult fostered by Alexander was never adopted in Macedonia, yet Macedonian rulers nevertheless assumed roles as high priests of the kingdom and leading patrons of domestic and international cults of the Hellenistic religion. The authority of Macedonian kings was theoretically limited by the institution of the army, while a few municipalities within the Macedonian commonwealth enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and even had democratic governments with popular assemblies. Many conquered lands retained the Greek influence Alexander introduced, and several cities he founded remain important cultural centers even today.

Philip’s enemies could affect a high moral tone and contempt for a barbarous Macedonian, but even his friends might have wondered whether he ought to be allowed into the heart of Greece with an army. Particularly, he could finish the Sacred War, which the Thessalians, Thebans, and others still could not finish for themselves. Athens could not prevent this now and had reason to fear that Philip’s next campaign in Thrace (346) might challenge its own control of the sea route to southern Russia, its main source for imported grain.

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