The Untold Truth Of Alexander The Great

History doesn't call you The Great if you aren't truly amazing. Alexander the Great, one of the most famous and successful kings in history, qualifies: He is one of the few to have successfully conquered most of the known world, with an empire spanning from Europe to Asia.

Alexander of Macedon was the son of Macedonia's King Philip II and Queen Olympias, born in 356 BCE, according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia. Though his birth is not disputed, Alexander encouraged an urban legend that he was sired by none other than Zeus himself. Philip wanted to conquer more lands, but knew he should also establish his son in life. The king hired Aristotle as Alexander's tutor, a decision that proved pivotal in later years. Not only did Alexander learn history and philosophy, but  also showed great skill in warfare. History writes that Alexander was only 16 when he rode into battle with his father and defeated the Band of Thebes during the Battle of Chaeronea.

Early on, the young Macedonian prince proved his resilience and tenacity. As a boy, he tamed a wild horse he named Bucephalus, who went on to be a lifelong companion. He rode Bucephalus in most of his greatest victories, and even named a city after the horse.

The greatness begins

In 336 BCE, during a festival celebrating his sister's wedding, Alexander's life permanently changed, Biography explains. A bodyguard assassinated King Philip, and Alexander, 20, became king. Wishing to fulfill his dream of ruling the world, Alexander left his kingdom to conquer other lands.

His first campaign brought Alexander to Asia Minor, reports Ancient History Encyclopedia, where he invaded the city of Baalbek and renamed it Heliopolis. He then went on to attack the Persians in the Greek city of Ephesus. But it was in 333 BCE that Alexander had his taste of greatness. According to History, Alexander arrived in Issus in southern Turkey and met the Persian King Darius III's larger army. Alexander's group was smaller but shrewder, and he defeated the Persians, much as his father always wanted to do. From there Alexander fought in Tyre, conquered Egypt, and finally became King of Persia.

In Egypt, Alexander founded the city of Alexandria. He felt no need to impose his beliefs on his newly conquered peoples, probably something his old tutor Aristotle taught him, and allowed Egyptian culture and religion to continue. By the time he reached Persia, Alexander even took on Persian customs to endear himself to people. But most in Macedonia did not appreciate this. It was in Persia that Alexander met the woman who would become his wife, Roxane. Although Alexander claimed to be in love with Roxane, there are rumors that he had male lovers. He also married twice after.

End of an empire

Not satisfied with finally defeating Persia, Alexander then set his sights on lands beyond Greece and Egypt. History writes that Alexander and his men reached India in 327 BCE. By this time his men were tired from the many battles they'd fought and the long march they undertook to cross the River Ganges. Dissent simmered among the army but Alexander was determined. They crossed the river and were amazed by what they saw. While King Porus of Paurava's army was inexperienced, he had a secret weapon: elephants. Alexander's army won the battle, but at a great cost. Alexander turned back to Persia, but then decided to invade Arabia. It proved to be his last conquest.

At the time, Alexander was recovering from the death of his friend and rumored lover Hepahestion. Alexander was wounded in battle and possibly became ill as a result. He stayed in Babylon and died in 323 BCE at the age of 32. Alexander left no heirs to his vast empire. His generals decided to divvy it up and rule sectors individually.

In his brief life, Alexander proved himself Great time and again. Sometimes ruthless, sometimes compassionate, he made sure he would live up to his name as one of the greatest rulers ever.