Alexander the Great

"It is a lovely thing to live with great courage and die leaving
an everlasting fame." Alexander The Great Long before the
birth of Christ, the land directly above what we know as
Greece today, was called Macedonia. Macedonia still
exists, but it is now Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and modern
Greece. Macedonia was considered to be part of ancient
Greece, but the people of these two countries couldn\'t be
more different. No people in history ever gave so much to
the human race as the ancient Greeks. They produced
architectural monuments, four of the greatest dramatic
actors who ever lived, one of the most brilliant statesmen
and two of the greatest historians. Scientists, philosophers
and artists all thrived in this country. The political system
we call democracy had its roots in this culture. The
Macedonians in comparison with their Greek neighbors
were crude and fierce in their outlook. They were a rough
people. They never produced any artists, philosophers, or
great actors. But they produced Alexander The Great - a
man with a legacy so remarkable that it has challenged the
minds of men ever since. Alexander was born to conquer
the world. His life was bold and from beginning to end, it
was etched with dramatic clarity. Every important event in
his life brought him one step closer to fulfilling his ambition.
He was the first leaders, like Caesar and Napoleon, who
partly be accident and partly by design, set out to gather
the whole world into their fists, unify it, rule it and enlighten
it. But unlike the other great giants of history, Alexander
was a shooting star whose blaze of glory ended with his
death, at not quite thirty-three years old… Alexander was
born in 356 BC to King Philip of Macedonia and his wife,
Olympias. On the day of Alexander\'s birth, Philip was
away in battle. A courier brought Philip the message of his
son\'s birth, along with two other messages - Philip\'s horse
had won first prize in the Olympic Games and his army had
just won a very important battle. With three pieces of good
news at once, Philip always thought his son\'s arrival into the
world came with an omen of good luck. As Crown Prince
of Macedonia and at that time, his father\'s only heir,
Alexander was raised to inherit his father\'s kingdom.
Alexander was good at sports and even as a young child
showed a very ambitious streak. One of his courtiers
commented on how well he ran and suggested that he
compete in the Olympic foot races. Alexander refused and
replied that we would only run against kings, so that he
could be sure that no one threw the race in his favor. As a
young boy, Alexander began to show many of the traits
that made him famous - courage, cleverness and complete
self-confidence. Once when Alexander\'s father brought
home several horses, one horse in particular caught
Alexander\'s eye. It was an enormous black horse and one
that none of King Philip\'s men seemed to be able to mount
and ride. Alexander approached his father and asked for
the horse. On a dare and a bet from his father, Alexander
did what no one else had been able to do, mount and ride
the horse. The horse, Bucephalus, became one of the most
famous horses in history and for most of the sixteen years
of his life was the only horse that Alexander ever rode in
battle. When Bucephalus died, Alexander gave him a
funeral worthy of a king and named a city after him.
Alexander\'s education is said to have been the most
expensive in history. Philip persuaded Aristotle, the Greek
philosopher and scientist to be Alexander\'s tutor. In
addition to the large sum of money paid to Aristotle for his
years of service as a teacher, Philip also agreed to rebuild
the town where Aristotle had been born (which Philip had
destroyed in a raid) and permit its exiled citizens to return.
Aristotle introduced Alexander to many things, but in
particular he instilled in Alexander the love of books.
Alexander\'s favorite was Homer\'s Iliad, which he learned
by heart. Throughout his entire life, whereever he was,
Alexander slept with two things under his pillow - a dagger
for protection and a copy of the Iliad. When Alexander
was seventeen, his father left him temporarily in charge of
Macedonia while he attended state matters in Greece.
While his father was away, a tribe in a northern province,
apparently hoping to take advantage of Alexander\'s youth
and inexperience started a revolt. Alexander gathered his
army, marched against the rebels, beat them in battle and
captured their chief city. He renamed their city after himself
Alexandropolis. By the time Alexander was