Last Name 1 Full Name Teacher’s Name Subject Date Alexander the Great: Conquest of Asia Introduction 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 Last Name 2 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 Last Name 3 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 Last Name 4 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. Ambition 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 Last Name 5 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. Conclusion 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. Last Name 6 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.