This Day in History (10-Jun-323 BCE) – The Death of Alexander the Great

At the tender age of twelve, in front of his father King Phillip II and several nobles of the Macedonian court, Alexander tamed a spirited horse named Bucephalus. The proud Phillip infamously told the prince, “O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.” Alexander would ride Bucephalus in all of his major battles, together till the very end. Philip hired the Greek philosopher Aristotle to be Alexander’s personal tutor, whose philosophy became of importance in Alexander’s later life.

After Philip’s assassination, Alexander ascended the throne and quickly disposed of all of his domestic enemies by ordering their execution. He restored Macedonian rule in Greece and with the conquered territories firmly in Macedonian control, Alexander completed the final preparations for the invasion of Asia with the army of 40,000. His ship approached the Asia Minor’s coast  where he crossed the river Granicus, near the ancient city of Troy and defeated the Persians. Further Battle of Issus ended in a big victory for Alexander . Alexander entered Egypt in the beginning of 331 BC.  In the spring of 327 BC, Alexander and his army marched into India invading Punjab. The greatest of Alexander’s battles in India was at the river Hydaspes, against king Porus, one of the most powerful Indian rulers. The Indians were defeated in a fierce battle, even though they fought with elephants, which the Macedonians had never seen before. Porus was captured and like the other local rulers he had defeated, Alexander allowed him to continue to govern his territory.  In this battle Alexander’s horse Bucephalus was wounded and died.

Alexander the Great finally made a miscalculation: his men wanted to go home. Angry to be asked to turn around despite being just three months’ march from his ultimate goal, he relented. His kingdom, now at its largest boundary, extended over more than two million square miles from northern Greece to western India. In the return journey, after battling an unknown illness for nearly two weeks, Alexander the great quietly died at the royal palace in the heart of Babylon.



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