Alexander the Great was not always known by this title. He earned his well-fitting designation after remarkable demonstrations of his military genius, political shrewdness, and cultural visions.His achievements in government and conquest transformed him into a legendary figure and worldwide influence in subsequent ages. He unified and Hellenized most of the ancient civilized world, creating a mighty empire that he had envisioned for most of his life, since the commencement of his conquests.
Alexander was born in 356 B.C.Philip, who was the brother of King Perdiccas III of Macedonia, in northern Greece, fathered him.Alexander's mother was Philip's wife, Olympias, daughter of King Neoptolemus I of Epirus, in modern Albania.Alexander had a younger sister, named Cleopatra, not to be confused with the famous Egyptian queen.Alexander's parents, unfortunately enough for him, loathed each other.In keeping with the tradition of Macedonians, Philip had numerous lesser wives and children–all whom Olympias regarded with contempt and animosity.When one of these lesser wives gave birth to a mentally retarded son, Philip Arrideaeus, rumors told that Olympias had caused his disability with poison. Olympias was a conniving, devious woman; she told Alexander that Philip was not his real father, although this was not true-Philip certainly believed Alexander was his son. He made sure that the boy was well educated and trained.Alexander was educated during his early teenage years by the Greek philosopher, Aristotle.Although they later differed on political issues such as Alexander's decision to deplete the importance of the city-state, the famous philosopher performed his duty-preparing the young boy for undertaking campaigns against the Persian Empire, as well as inculcating in him a love of learning so vital to Hellenic (Greek) culture.
When Alexander was three years old, in 359 B.C., King Perdiccas died…