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Ancient Greece

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great rides his horse, Bucephalus. Alexander the Great rides his horse, Bucephalus. Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) came from Macedonia, a wild mountainous area on the northern borders of Greece. His father Philip became king of Macedonia in 359 BC and united all of Greece under his rule. When Philip died in 336 BC, Alexander became the new king at the age of 20. Alexander had been taught by the Greek writer and philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC), who had helped to give him a great love of Greek poetry and art. But Alexander was also a brave and brilliant soldier. His main interest was in building up a mighty empire for Greece.

Defeat of the Persian Empire

Alexander was a fearless leader with a desire to conquer new lands. In 334 BC, he set out with an army of 30,000 foot soldiers and 5000 cavalry. Alexander marched on the Greeks’ old enemy, the Persians. The Persian Empire lay to the east of Greece. In the west, it stretched from the modern-day countries of Turkey to Egypt, while in the east it reached the borders of India. Later that year, Alexander defeated the armies of Darius III, the king of Persia, at Granicus (in modern Turkey). He now set out to bring the whole of the Persian Empire under Greek rule.Alexander battles the Persian king, Darius III.Alexander battles the Persian king, Darius III.Alexander overcame the Persian province of Egypt, then went on to capture the three palaces of the Persian kings at Babylon (in modern Iraq) and Susa and Persepolis (in modern Iran). By 326 BC, Alexander had all of the Persian Empire under this control, as far as the Indus River in modern Pakistan.

Alexander's favourite dog is believed to have been a greyhound, called Peritas. There are many stories of his loyalty to Alexander, including one that tells us he distracted a dangerous war elephant from his master.

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