Early LifePharaoh Alexander the Great - The Pharaohs - The People
The Infamous Pharaoh who built himself an Empire and was welcomed into rule Egypt with open arms after the subjugation faced by the Egyptians from the Persians
Born in Capital City Pella, Macedonian, Greece to King Philip II and Queen Olympias of Epirus, the rulers of the Macedonian empire on the 20th of July 356 BC.
Prince Alexander was taught by Aristotle at the Temple of the Nymphs in Mieza, alongside Ptolemy, Cassander and Hephaestion. Together they learnt Logic, Religion, Medicine, Philosophy, Morals, and Art from Aristotle until he reached the age of 16. As with all Macedonian Princes he was also educated in fighting, hunting, riding, and playing music, especially the lyre.
Socially, Prince Alexander mixed at his father’s court with Persian exiles who had received protection from his father as they opposed their own ruler.
This would have clearly shaped how the future King Alexander would go on to challenge the Persian Empire and may have had some bearing on how he triumphed over them.
At 16 whilst his father travelled north to war against the Thracians, Prince Alexander was made Regent. The tribe of Maedi decided to rebel against the Macedonian’s whilst the Throne was occupied by an untried ruler. Prince Alexander responded with speed and ousted them from their territories. In their former territory he founded the city of Alexandropolis. His father utilised his heir’s military success and took him into a war with him against the Athenians and the Thebans and Prince Alexander was the first to break the Theban lines in battle, winning the battle. This victory led to the Hellenic Alliance of which King Philip II, Alexander’s father, was made Supreme Commander, today known as the League of Corinth.
His father then married Cleopatra Eurydice, a Macedonian. This meant that any heir of King Philip II and Queen Cleopatra would be a full Macedonian, not a half Macedonian like Crown Prince Alexander. According to Macedonian law this meant that any male heir born to the newlyweds could threaten Alexander’s position in the succession. At the wedding feast, Queen Cleopatra’s Uncle Attalus prayed allowed for Philip and Cleopatra to bear a true Macedonian heir. Crown Prince Alexander took offence at this, allegedly retorting, “what am I then, a bastard?”. His father rose and took Attalus’ side against his own Crown Prince and heir, but before he could take any drunken revenge on his own son, he fell to the floor.
Not long after this in 337 BC, Alexander and his mother had to flee Macedon for their own safety. They were away for 6 months; their safe return having been mediated by Demaratus and Alexander was again given the Title Crown Prince. But life was not quiet for long as a marriage offer seemed to show that King Philip II wanted to elevate a different son to be Crown Prince, Philip Arrhidaeus.
The Persian governor offered his daughter to Alexander’s half-brother, Philip Arrhidaeus, in marriage. To stop this marriage and potential putting aside, Alexander sent an actor to dissuade the Persian governor from the hand of Philip and instead offer his daughter to Crown Prince Alexander. When King Philip II found out about his, he ceased all negotiations and sought to reprove Alexander saying that he should look higher for a bride than a Persian Governor’s daughter. To punish Alexander for his actions he then exiled 4 of his main friends, Ptolemy, Harpalus, Nearchus, and Erigyius.
King Philip II appeared to have been playing off one side against another without realising that he was making more enemies than allies. Whilst at the wedding in Aegae of his daughter, another Cleopatra, to his brother-in-law and Alexander’s uncle, Ruler Alexander I of Epirus, King Philip II was assassinated by Head Bodyguard, Pausanias. The assassin was caught and killed when he tripped over a vine.
Crown Prince Alexander was immediately proclaimed King of Macedonia by the Army and the Nobles who were present. At 20 years old he was the King of Macedon.