Reason for alexander the great conquests

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                       Alexander the Great: Conquest of Asia


       According to (Skelton 6) Greece was an established civilization around 500 BCE,

it reached its peak in 400 BCE and then a started to decline. During this era, a great

young conqueror rose from the frontier state of Macedonia and shredded the might of

great Persian Empire. The young charismatic leader started to roll thunder on Mighty

Persians just at the age of 20 Years. Over just 12 years, he extended his reach until

India and provided fresh blood for declining Greek civilization. His marvels brought

wealth and new culture to the Hellenic Greek. In modern world, he is known as

Alexander the Great of Macedonia. In preceding paragraphs, we will look at his

objective behind the conquest of Asia.

       Brief Introduction to Alexander the Great

       Alexander was the son of King Philip of Macedon. He was born in 356 BCE. At

the time of his birth, Philip had reunited the once vassal kingdom of Macedonia to a

rising power of Hellenic Greece. As per (Abbott 6)Alexander inherited the energy of his

Mother Olympias. His father was a charismatic leader who as per (Skelton 15) re-

organized the Macedonian Army into a might fighting Machine. According to (Skelton
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16) in 337 BCE, Philip forged an alliance with Greek cities to attack the Persian Empire.

In 336 BCE, Philip was assassinated and Alexander was succeeded his father on the

throne of Macedonia. During the early reign of two years, as per (Skelton 16) he

thrashed the revolts of Thrace and alliance of Athens and Thebes. In 334 BCE,

Alexander set on course to fulfill his father’s plan of Persian conquest. According to

(Skelton 23), the decisive battle of Gaugamela in 331 BCE marked the end of Persian

Empire of Darius. Alexander continued his conquest further into parts of Persian Empire

until he reached India. The decade long, wars had a devastating effect on Greek Army.

The battle of Hydaspus further aggravated the situation. All these factors forced

Alexander to abandon his campaign and return to Babylon. In 323 BCE, as per (Skelton

58) he died of typhoid fever leaving behind the legacy.

The Story behind the Alexander’s Conquest of Asia

       Before proceeding to discuss the reasons behind the Alexander’s conquest of

Asia, it is deemed appropriate to take a brief look at the political situation of Greece at

the time of Alexander. As per (Heckel 190), in 402 BCE Sparta earned a resounding

victory over Athens which ended the balance of power in Greek world. As per (Heckel

192) the Spartan campaign was funded by Darius the king of Persian Empire. The

Persian Empire had an appetite for expansion, which according to (Skelton 8) led to

wars of conquest around 500 BCE. The Persian efforts to undermine the Greeks

continued openly and covertly throughout the times to come. The Spartan victory over

Athens disrupted the whole balance of power and gave a chance of frontier kingdoms

like Macedonia to rise. Philip, father of Alexander capitalized on this opportunity and

made Macedonia a rising regional power. As per (Heckel 194), Philips forged an
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alliance named as league of Corrinth, which united most parts of Greece under his flag.

Philip planned an invasion of Persian Empire shortly. His assassination in 336 BCE

halted the invasion temporarily.

The Old Enemy

      The ancient history is fill with the arch rivalries among factions of the ancient

world. Greeks were an established civilization at the time of Alexander and Persian

were an expanding imperial empire. The expansion quest of Persian Empire had always

eyed the Greeks as potential targets. As per (Heckel 191-193) Persians had always

made military incursions into Greek areas. Persian had quite a success at time of King

Xerxes and subdued many Greek coastal cities and destroyed their temples. They also

supported Spartan on their war against Athens. Philip of Macedon and his son

Alexander had all the legitimate reason to attack the Persian Empire in Asia. Hence

keeping Persians at bay might be the prime political reasons of attacking the Asian

empire of Persia.

The Plunder

      Although the official version of Greek history behind the Asian conquest is old

animosity with Persians, but it has to be bear in mind that history has always written by

the victor. Just at the beginning of 4th century BCE, the Hellenic Greek civilization was

declining. The conquest wars and Spartan adventures had shaken the city-states of

Greece both economically and militarily. Being an Agrarian society Greeks were just at

the brink of disappearance. At the same time, the grandeur of Persian Empire was on

the rise. As per (Skelton 73), the revenues and natural resources of Persian Empire
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were beyond the imagination of Greeks. These huge piles of wealth might have been of

great interest for declining Greek civilization. Although the historians of that time had

never admitted this fact openly, but still enormous wealth of Persia could also be one of

the reason of Alexander’s conquest.

The Iliad’s Impression

      As mentioned by (Abbott 7) Alexander was the student of great Greek

Philosopher Aristotle. His great teacher had a specially prepared version of Homer’s

Iliad for the young prince. Iliad was tale of Troy’s legendary conquest by the Greeks.

Troy was a powerful city in modern day Turkey and conquered by Greeks after stiff

resistance. Being a young prince, Alexander was always delighted by Homer’s tale.

According to (Skelton 7) , the young King always kept a copy of Iliad under his pillow

and memorized most of the 16000 lines of the epic poem. He was greatly inspired by

the legends of Achilles and Heracles. The troy in the story of Homer can be taken as an

Asian city. Therefore, the Iliad becomes a tale of Asian conquest. His inspiration for

characters like Achilles and Heracles can be a driving force behind his Asian conquest.


      As per (Skelton 49), by the end of 327 BCE, Alexander had annexed nearly all of

the Persian Empire. His journey did not stop here. He continued to march towards India.

According to many ancient historians like Arrian, he was motivated by ambition to move

towards India. According to the Greek legend of that time, India was an invincible

country. Only victors on this land were Dionysus (Greek God) and mythical hero

Heracles. His insatiable ambition and curiosity might have influenced him to move
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further into the unknown territory of India. Alexander’s decision to continue to India had

always been under question by many writers. (Kurke 99-100) Has also raised question

on his venture to India. Although no written accounts, explaining this could be found in

history. However, the inference of his ambitious nature and his wish to rise to heroism of

Heracles and Dionysus might be the tangible explanation of his ventures.


      Although the greatness of young Macedonian conqueror is un-rivaled, Asia had

always been the inspiration of civilized Greeks. The old animosity with Persians, wealth,

personal inspiration and insatiable ambition of Alexander led him to the conquest of

Asia. Although due to unavailability of earliest accounts, the exact causes for his Asian

invasion may not be furnished explicitly. However, inferences from a thorough study of

his era are drawn towards his rationale behind the conquest.
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                                    Works Cited
      Abbott, Jacob. Alexander the Great. New York and London: Harper & Brothers
Publishers, 1902.

      Heckel, Waldemar. The Wars of Alexander the Great. New York: Osprey
Publishing, 2003.

     Kurke, Lance B. The Wisdom of Alexander the Great. New York: American
Managment Association, 2004.

      Skelton, Pamela Dell and Debra. Empire of Alexander the Great. New York:
Shoreline Publishing Group, 2005.

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