Ancient History: Alexander the Great


Basic Background Material

-There had been a long history of conflict between Greece and Persia.

-Greece and Persia had very different cultures; and Greeks looked down on the Perisans as barbarians.

-In the 5th century BC, Persia had twice invaded Greece - Persia was defeated on both occasions, but not before she destroyed several Greek cities.

-The Greeks, and especially Alexander, had long dreamed of a revenge invasion of Persia.

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The Rise of Macedonia

-Macedonia had been an insignifcant part of Greece before the reign of Phillip.

-Phillip transformed MAcedonia into the leading power of Greece by:

  • Making it rich through trade, mining and agriculture
  • Uniting Upper and Lower Macedonia
  • Strengthening the posittion of the king.
  • Developing the best army in the world at the time

-Phillip declared war on Persia; nut just as he was preparing to invade, he was murdered

-Phillip's achievements were vital - without them, Alexander could not have achieved what he did

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Why did Alexander invade Persia?

-Phillip had planned an invasion - Alexnader inherited this mission

-The intial aim of Alexander's invasion was to gain revenge on Persia for the times Persia had invaded Greece 150 years before

-Alexander wanted to be seen as a hero; he was desperate for glory and fame - he believed that defeating the Persians in war would bring him these things.

-Did Alexander plan right from the beginning to take over the entire Persian Empire? We simply don't know for sure.

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