Alexander the Great

Alexander inherited the whole of Greece from his father King Philip, who was assassinated when he was barely twenty years old. Alexander was a brave and ambitious warrior, exceptionally handsome with long curly hair. Alexander knew just about everything there was to know at the time – his tutor was Aristotle.

Alexander loved sport and riding more than anything. No one rode better than he. His father once bought a beautiful stallion that no one could tame.  His name was Bucephalus. Whenever anyone tried to ride him they were thrown off. But Alexander worked out why he did it: the horse was afraid of his own shadow. So Alexander turned the horse’s head towards the sun so he couldn’t see his shadow on the ground. Stroking him gently, he swung himself on to his back  and rode him around to widespread applause. From then on Bucephalus was his favorite horse.

Alexander set off on a campaign of conquest and soon he was king of Persia, Greece, Egypt, Phoenicia, Palestine, Babylonia, Assyria and Asia Minor.

This would probably be enough for most people but not Alexander.  In 327 bc he led his army on the most perilous adventures over unknown and unexplored mountain passes and down along the valley of the Indus into India. He was met with fierce opposition and his defeat of King Porus was one of his greatest feats. Instead of taking India he gave it back to the king. They then set off back home only by a different route. He died when he was 32 years old, an age when most people’s lives had only just begun.  He left behind libraries, Alexandria for one held around seven hundred thousand scrolls. Those seven hundred thousand scrolls were the Greek soldiers who set off to conquer the world. And that empire is still standing today. Alexander was indeed Great.  He had the help of a great horse- Bucephalus.

With thanks to E.H.Gombrich, A Little History of the World.

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