Upon Philip's death, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. He succeeded in being awarded the generalship of Greece and, with his authority firmly established, launched the military plans for expansion left by his father.
Alexander the Great
1st millennium BC
Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great (Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας, Aléxandros ho Mégasiii[›] from the Greek ἀλέξω alexo "to defend, help" + ἀνήρ aner "man"), was a king of Macedon, a state in northern ancient Greece. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16. By the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas. He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history's most successful commanders. His empire stretched from Greece to modern-day Pakistan.
Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II of Macedon, to the throne in 336 BC after Philip was assassinated. Upon Philip's death, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. He had been awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father's military expansion plans. In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid empire, ruled Asia Minor, and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew the Persian King Darius III and conquered the entirety of the Persian Empire.i[›] At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.
The 1st millennium BC encompasses the Iron Age and sees the rise of many successive empires, and spanned from 1000 BC to 1 BC.
The Neo-Assyrian Empire, followed by the Achaemenids. In Greece, Classical Antiquity begins with the colonization of Magna Graecia and peaks with the rise of Hellenism. The close of the millennium sees the rise of the Roman Empire. In South Asia, the Vedic civilization blends into the Maurya Empire. The early Celts dominate Central Europe while Northern Europe is in the Pre-Roman Iron Age. The Scythians dominate Central Asia. In China, the Spring and Autumn period sees the rise of Confucianism. Towards the close of the millennium, the Han Dynasty extends Chinese power towards Central Asia, where it borders on Indo-Greek and Iranian states. Yayoi period in Japanese islands. The Maya civilization rises in Central America, while in Africa, Ancient Egypt begins its decline, rise of the Nubian Empire, and Aksum's birth. The religions of Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism (Vedic religion and Vedanta), Jainism and Buddhism develop. Graeco-Roman Europe, India and China see the rise of literature. World population greatly increases in the course of the millennium, reaching some 170 to 400 million people at its close depending on the estimates used.
Hellenistic ruler cult
The Macedonians (Greek: Μακεδόνες, Makedónes) were an ancient tribe from the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, in the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios. Generally described as an ancient Greek people, they gradually expanded from their homeland along the Haliacmon valley on the northern edge of the Greek world, absorbing or driving out various neighbouring tribes during this process (primarily Thracian and Illyrian).
Although composed of various clans, the Kingdom of Macedon, established around the 8th century BC, is mostly associated with the Argeads, both the name of the ruling dynasty and of the tribe named after it. Traditionally ruled by independent families, the Macedonians seem to have accepted Argead rule by the time of King Alexander I (r. 498–454 BC). Under King Philip II (r. 359–336 BC), they are credited with numerous military innovations which enlarged their territory and increased their control over other areas, and this led to the exploits of Alexander the Great, the establishment of several realms from the Diadochi, and the inauguration of the Hellenistic civilization.
Hellenistic religion is any of the various systems of beliefs and practices of the people who lived under the influence of ancient Greek culture during the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire (c. 300 BCE to 300 CE). There was much continuity in Hellenistic religion: the Greek gods continued to be worshipped, and the same rites were practiced as before.
Change came from the addition of new religions from other countries, such as including the Egyptian God(esse)s of Isis and Serapis, and the Syrian Gods of Atargatis and of Hadad, which provided a new outlet for people seeking fulfillment in both the present life and the afterlife. The worship of Hellenistic rulers was also a feature of this period, most notably in Egypt, where the Ptolemies adopted earlier pharaonic practice, and established themselves as god-kings. Elsewhere rulers might receive divine status without the full status of a God.
Other pro-Greek forces
The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and city-states of the Hellenic world that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus the Great conquered Ionia in 547 BC. Struggling to rule the independent-minded cities of Ionia, the Persians appointed tyrants to rule each of them. This would prove to be the source of much trouble for the Greeks and Persians alike.