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Video:Profile of Alexander the Great

with Jade Broadus

Alexander the Great is a legendary figure in ancient history known for being one of the greatest commanders of all time. Watch this About.com video to learn more.See Transcript

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Transcript:Profile of Alexander the Great

Hi I’m Jade with About.com.  Today we’re going to profile the life and exploits of Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great was the King of Macedon from 336-323 BC.  He is considered one of the greatest commanders of all time, and led his army undefeated to conquer most of the known world.

Who was Alexander the Great?

A variety of legends surround his birth, some say his father was the Greek God Zeus, who came down to his mother in a lightening bolt, others say that one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World was burnt down the day of this birth, what is certain is that he was born the son of Philip II, King of Macedon, and Olympias, Princess of Epirus, in 356 BC. 

How Alexander the Great Gained Power

In his childhood, he was tutored by the philosopher Aristotle, and in 340 BC was put in charge of overseeing Macedon while King Philip II waged war against Byzantion.

While in charge, there was a revolt revolted.  Alexander swiftly responded, defeating the rebels and founding the city of Alexandropolis, the first of roughly 70 cities he would create in his lifetime.

Seeing his son’s might, Philip II had him command alongside him.  Following his father’s murder in 336, Alexander became King of Macedon and began consolidating power by defeating any possible challengers.

Hearing of Philip II’s death, the Thracians, Illyrians, and Greeks revolted, which Alexander quickly responded to and ended the rebellions using 3,000 Macedonian cavalry.

Once the Macedon borders were secure, Alexander the Great began an Asian campaign that would eventually stretch his empire all the way to the Himalayas.  Highlights of this series of conquests include; Alexander the Great solving the Gordian Knot by cutting through it with his knife and the founding of Alexandria in Egypt, which became a cultural center for hundreds of years to come.

Alexander the Great's Legacy

Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, of illness that began with fever.  It is uncertain if his death was due to natural causes or if he was poisoned. 

The lasting impression of Alexander the Great’s triumphs lies in his substantial mixing of cultures, where he tried to infuse Persian culture with Greek.  By introducing Macedonian rule to the people he conquered and making Greek the lingua franca of his empire, he was able to unite many different people and ultimately encourage trade and commerce.  Additionally, he worked hard to intermix the people of his empire in an attempt to make a homogenized race.

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