Alexander was not a pushover, however. He massacred anyopposition of his rule (usually with little loss of life on his side), andhe brutally silenced anyone who refused to obey him. He was not a leaderlike Darius of Persia, who watched his army battle from miles away, or fromthe very back, Alexander rode right up in front with his army, and stayedwith his soldiers even in the heaviest fighting. Sadly his power crumbledafter his death, because he left no successor to his empire. On July 20, 365 BC, Olympius, the wife of King Philip the Second ofMacedonia, gave birth to a son and named him Alexander.
This boy wouldeventually become the greatest military leader in history. On the day ofhis birth, it is said that the temple of Artemis burned down, thusindicating a good omen for Alexander’s future greatness. The true date ofhis birth is unknown, but the most widely accepted one is July 20, becausehe centered many important events on or very near that date later inlife. 1 As a child, Alexander often became discouraged when he heard that hisfather had conquered another territory. He worried that nothing would beleft for him. He spent much of his childhood around his father’s army, soby the age of thirteen, he had become very mature.
I think the story of howAlexander captured his prize horse, Bucephalus, at the age of thirteendemonstrates his maturity and bravery. Philip had bought an incrediblybeautiful horse, but he was so fierce, no one could touch him. Just whenthe men were ready to give up, Alexander arrived and bet thirteen talents(a lot of money for a thirteen-year-old) that he could tame the horse. Hecalmly approached the horse and realized that it was afraid of its ownshadow. By riding Bucephalus into the sun and slowly turning him around, hewas able to ride the horse. This horse became his best friend and when hedied, Alexander named a city after him.
2 Alexander’s mother, Olympias, was a princess of Epirus (a capturedcity) who after seeing her city fall, fell in love with Philip, and latermarried him. She was said to be brilliant, hot-tempered and extraordinarilybeautiful. She taught Alexander that the great Achilles was his ancestor,and that he should strive to be like him. She had Alexander read theIlliad, the story of the feats of Achilles, and to his dying day he alwayskept a copy of this story with him. Achilles became Alexander’s role model,and his ambition was to be as brave, kind, and mighty as Achilles. Alexander’s Father, Philip, was king of Macedonia and ruler of manyterritories.
He was said to have once been handsome until the effects ofwar took their toll, scarring him horribly. He was an incredible militarycommander, very ambitious, and a good speaker and leader. Alexander wassaid to have his mother’s good looks and cunning, and his father’s ambitionand military prowess. 3 4 Alexander parents always wanted the best for their son. They hiredsome of the finest tutors around, including the brilliant Aristotle, whobegan to teach Alexander around the age of thirteen. Aristotle taughtAlexander the ways of the Greeks, which he incorporated into his lifethereafter.
Alexander found interest in philosophy, ethics, othercountries, politics, plants animals, military, and a wide range of othersubjects. After Aristotle, his parents employed Alexander’s uncle,Leonidas. Alexander hated Leonidas because he was very strict, so thistutor did not last very long. Alexander’s final tutor was a man namedLysimachus. He taught the young prince the cultural aspects of the worldaround him, and gave him an appreciation for fine arts such as music,poetry and drama.
He also taught Alexander to play the lyre. By his lateteens, Alexander had become very intelligent and well rounded young man. 5 Alexander rose to power quickly, and at an early age. His .