7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Alexander the Great

City of Alexandria, Greek-Persian wars, heavy partying…

Those are the things you might already know about Alexander the Great, but there is a lot more to him than that. I hope that the list below can help you learn more about this enigmatic leader.

Aristotle

Aristotle by Francesco Hayez

Aristotle by Francesco Hayez, Credits: Wikimedia

Before he was winning battles and hearts, teenage Alexander spent a lot of time with Aristotle during tutoring sessions initiated by Alexander’s father, Philip II of Macedon. While Aristotle was initially suspected in Alexander’s murder twenty years later, Alexander had no way of knowing that at the time of his tutelage and has learned a lot. He was also a fan of Diogenes and said at one point that if he weren’t Alexander, he would’ve been Diogenes.

Fragrance and Grandeur

Hercules and the Hydra

Hercules and the Hydra, Credits: Wikimedia

The name “Alexander the Great” speaks a lot about the type of person Alexander was. While the title was undoubtedly deserved, Alexander himself believed that he was descended from heroes Hercules and Achilles and suffered from delusions of grandeur. His mother’s claims that he was a direct descendant of Zeus are believed to be the main trigger.

In fact, Alexander believed himself to be “godlike” so much that he even smelled like gods, although this might have had something to do with the traditional attributing of godlike status to rulers.

Alexandria and Bucephala

Library of Alexandria

Library of Alexandria, Credits: Wikimedia

Alexander was very much aware that he was Great and had no issue with letting the world know it too. He was an amazing conqueror and founded almost 70 cities all over the ancient world, all of which he named after himself – Alexandria. The most famous of those cities is, of course, Alexandria on the Nile that was home to one of the greatest lost treasures of the world – The Library of Alexandria.

However, Alexander also loved his horse, Bucephalus – so much that he named a city after it that he founded after one of his toughest battles. The location of the city of Bucephala still hasn’t been 100% confirmed, but we’re almost certain that it’s somewhere in Pakistan.

The Gordian Knot

The Knot used by Gordius of Gordium to secure his chariot was known to be the most complex knot in the ancient world. Legend stated that whoever untied it would be the greatest ruler of Asia the world’s ever seen. Naturally, Alexander the Great had attempted it at 23. Failing to untie it, he sliced through it with his sword – an incident said to be the moment in history when Alexander “officially” became Alexander the Great.

Never Lost a Battle

Battle of Alexander versus Darius

Battle of Alexander versus Darius, Credits: Wikimedia

Unsurprisingly, Alexander the Great has never lost a single battle in his life. His military tactics are still the subject of studies in many military schools around the world. He won his first battle at the tender age of 18, but his most famous conquest is said to be the defeat of the Persian King Darius III in 334 BC. Alexander was the person who invented the phalanx – a military technique used to this day.

Siege of Tyre

Alexander at the Siege of Tyre

Alexander at the Siege of Tyre, Wikimedia

The Siege of Tyre is a moment in Alexander’s life that truly proves that he wasn’t just a ruthless warrior and conqueror, but also an incredibly skilled and patient strategist. Tyre was a large city on an island that was impenetrable (until Alexander came along that is). Instead of throwing himself and his army into a losing battle on the sea and beneath the fortress’ walls, Alexander devised a plan to construct causeways over the sea that would lead directly to the island from the rocks and the rubble from an abandoned city. The causeways were, however, merely a distraction. While the people on the island found the Greek forces, Alexander’s fleet approached Tyre, taking it by surprise and leading towards its ultimate surrender.

Mysteriously sweet death

The Death of Alexander the Great

Credits: Wikimedia

To this day, we’re still theorizing as to what, or who, has killed Alexander at just 32 years old. What we do know is that he was quite fond of wine and died a few days after getting smashed on it at a party. The conspiracy theories have been floating around pretty much since this day and included Aristotle, Alexander’s bodyguard and General Antipater as culprits.

After Alexander passed away, his body was immersed in honey by the Babylonian embalmers for almost a year before it was sent home to Macedonia to be buried.

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