18 Interesting Facts About Alexander The Great

Alexander the great’s legacy is alive to this day and has a subtle influence on modern day historians. The conqueror of lands successfully carved out of one of the largest empires in the ancient world. His empire stretched from Greece to modern-day Pakistan. He was truly a military genius and an uncompromising leader. Alexander is a legendary hero and features prominently in the history. Let’s explore some interesting facts about Alexander the great.

Alexander the Great-British Museum

Image: wikimedia.org

1. Born and bred

Alexander the Great was born in Macedonia on July 20, 356 B.C., to King Philip II and Queen Olympia. The young prince grew up in Pella’s royal court.
Source: biography.com

2. Good news that followed Alexander’s birth

On the day Alexander was born, King Philip got the news that his general- Parmenion had defeated the armies of Illyria and Paeonia. Plus his horses had also won at the Olympic Games.
Source: phactual.com

3. Inauspicious beginning

Ruins of Temple of Artemis
Ruins of Temple of Artemis

But strangely, on the day of Alexander’s birth the temple of Artemis which was among the seven wonders of the ancient world was burned down. Some historians contemplate that the temple was burned down because Artemis herself was off celebrating Alexander’s birth.
Source: phactual.com, image: wikimedia.org

4. A heady genetic mix


Alexander is considered to be a descendant of the Greek hero Hercules from his paternal side and Achilles from his maternal side.
Source: Charles Freeman’s: Egypt, Greece & Rome


5. Alexander’s tutor

Aristotle tutoring Alexander
Aristotle tutoring Alexander

Alexander the great was a student of even greater philosopher, Aristotle. At the age of 13, Alexander started receiving education from Aristotle. Legend says that in return for his services, King Philip had rebuilt Aristotle’s hometown Stageira , which he himself had destroyed.
Source: phactual.com, image: wikimedia.org

6. Feared being disowned

After Alexander’s father, King Philip married Cleopatra; his claim at the throne had weakened because if Philip had a son with Cleopatra, their child would be considered a more legitimate heir. Alexander feared that he would be disowned by his father and hence fled the country with his mother to Epirus.
Source: Wikipedia

7. Empire builder

Battle of Issus 333BC
Battle of Issus 333BC

Alexander managed to expand his empire to the most distant points in Asia; his empire stretched from Greece to modern-day Pakistan. Alexander is also credited for spreading the Greek culture to the major part of the world.
Source: history.com, image:

8. Never lost a battle


Started at the age of 18 years when he had his very first taste of a military victory he never lost a single battle he fought. He used the tactics of ‘shock and awe’ in the battles. One of his incredible victories include the battle against Darius where he defeated forces numbered 34,000 cavalry plus 200,000 infantry, when his own forces were only 7,000 cavalry and 30,000 infantry.
Source: historyextra.com, image: wikimedia.org

9. Alexander Solved the Gordian knot

Alexander cutting the Gordian Knot
Alexander cutting the Gordian Knot

According to the legends whoever untied the Gordian knot would rule over Asia. Alexander was the one to untie the Gordian knot, by slashing through it with his sword.
Source: ancienthistory.com, image: wikimedia.org

10. Celebrating the victories

With Every land Alexander conquered from west to east he celebrated his victories by establishing a city by his name. More than 70 cities were named Alexandria, after himself. However, there was only one city which Alexander named Bucephala after his horse. The city is in the present day Pakistan.
Source: historyextra.com

11. Adopted Persian fashion

Alexander the Great Refuses to Take Water
Alexander the Great Refuses to Take Water

Alexander adopted a policy of employing Persians to his existing army while he was invading Persia. However, this wasn’t the only modification he made. He also adopted the Persian title of “King of kings,” and started to follow the Persian fashion. In addition he also adopted the Persia practices of ‘Sajda’ and ‘Pabos.’
Source: phactual.com, image: wikimedia.org


12. Love at first sight

Alexander The Great and Roxane
Alexander The Great and Roxane

When Alexander saw Roxanne, it was love at first sight. He was 28-year-old when he fell for the teenage daughter of a Bactrian nobleman, Roxanne. They got married in a traditional wedding ceremony. Roxanne gave birth to the couple’s only son, Alexander IV after Alexander’s death.
Source: history.com, image: wikimedia.org

13. Heterochromia

Alexander had a condition known as Heterochromia, due to which his eyes were of two different colors – one was blue and the other brown.
Source: historyoftheancientworld.com

14. Alexander’s Inspiration

Iliad manuscript from late 5 th or early 6th centuary
Iliad manuscript from late 5 th or early 6th centuary

Alexander was fond of Homer’s Iliad and read it often; he even kept a copy of Homer’s Iliad with him which was a gift from Aristotle. The Iliad later became a source of inspiration to Alexander the great.
Source: historyworld.net, image: wikimedia.org

15. Unmatched military tactics

alexander's invasion if india
Alexander’s invasion if India

Alexander is frequently credited to be the greatest military mind and tactician the history has ever seen. With his military genius Alexander molded his army into skilled killing machine. His military tactics were such that even today after years of his death, they remain a subject of research.
Source: Wikipedia, image: hinduwebsite.com

16. Mysterious death

The Death of Alexander the Great
The Death of Alexander the Great

Alexander died at a very young age. The exact cause of Alexander’s death remains a mystery. Historians debate about the cause of his death attributing his death to poison, malaria, typhoid fever or other maladies. What we can say for certain is that Alexander died in June 323 BC after suffering from a high fever that had lasted ten days.
Source: eyewitnesshistory.com, image: wikimedia.org

17. Embalmed in honey

Alexander the Great returned home after his death in a container of honey. Alexander’s remains were immersed in honey to avoid decay.
Source: history.com

18. Lost Location of Alexander’s tomb

For 600 years, Alexander’s tomb was a pilgrimage for people all over the world. It was visited by Mark Antony, Julius Caesar and Octavian when it was in Alexandria. When Octavian visited the tomb it was already 300 yrs old. At the beginning of the 4th century AD, tomb disappeared.
Source: news.softpedia.com