Alexander The Great: 8 Things You May Not Know About Him
Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, is considered one of history’s greatest war strategists. He lived a short, albeit war-packed life, from 356 to 323 B.C. Nate Barksdale of History reveals interesting bits of information about the great warrior-king.
1. Always a Winner
He tasted his first war victory at 18 years old and never lost a single battle after that. Alexander the Great won the respect of his allies and foes alike. His war tactics remain a source of admiration today. In fact, they’re still studied by modern-day students in military academies. The conqueror’s fighting prowess was never more pronounced than in the battles he fought in Asia. His Macedonian phalanx was known for overpowering enemies with their powerful sarissa, a specially-designed spear.
2. A Learned Philosopher
Alexander was not only an intelligent war tactician; he was a learned philosopher, as well. The great Aristotle taught 13-year-old Alexander for 3 years, introducing him to theology and important sciences. As a young man, he admired and studied the works of great thinkers. He particularly respected the ideas of ascetic philosopher Diogenes the Cynic, even declaring that if he were not Alexander, he would be Diogenes. In India, he was known for stopping important military operations just to exchange ideas with gymnosophists or “naked philosophers.”
3. Naming Cities After Himself
Alexander was fond of naming his conquered cities after himself. He even has one named after his favourite horse. More than 70 cities were named Alexandria, including Egypt’s second-largest city today. Most of these cities were founded around military forts and along his armies’ conquests which ran along the territories of modern-day Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Turkey. The city of Bucephala in India was named after his horse.
Alexander fell in love with his future wife, Roxanne, the first time he laid eyes on her. He saw her while inspecting his captives after the siege of a mountain fortress, Sogdian Rock located north of Bactria. She bore their only son, Alexander IV.
5. Dressing Like His Conquests
Alexander began to dress like the Persians after conquering them. It was his way of gaining firmer control over them – to act and dress like a Persian. The girdle and Persian diadem over a striped tunic became his iconic look. He married two Persian women and even forced 92 of his men to take Persian wives, too.
6. Agreeable Smell
Whether fact or a result of the idolatry towards Alexander, Plutarch wrote about Alexander’s most agreeable smell, from his breath to his skin.
7. Early, Mysterious Death
The warrior king died at 32 years old from what still remains a mysterious death. History claims that he drank a bowl of wine at a party, fell ill afterwards, and then died 2 weeks later. Suspicions were rife that he was poisoned, and that his trusted general may have been involved.
8. Honey in Death
His body was immersed in a vat of honey when he died. Alexander’s tomb in Alexandria was visited by Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Augustus Caesar. In 215 A.D., Roman Emperor Caracalla visited the over 500-year-old mummy. It was the last recorded visit to the tomb before it was destroyed with the unrest that led to the end of the Roman era.