125 Facts About Alexander The Great


Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.

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Alexander The Great succeeded his father Philip II to the throne in 336 BC at the age of 20, and spent most of his ruling years conducting a lengthy military campaign throughout Western Asia and Egypt.

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Alexander The Great was undefeated in battle and is widely considered to be one of history's greatest and most successful military commanders.

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Alexander The Great's death left unexecuted an additional series of planned military and mercantile campaigns that would have begun with a Greek invasion of Arabia.

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Alexander The Great founded more than twenty cities that bore his name, with the most prominent being the city of Alexandria in Egypt.

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Alexander The Great became legendary as a classical hero in the mould of Achilles, featuring prominently in the historical and mythical traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures.

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Alexander The Great was the son of the erstwhile king of Macedon, Philip II, and his fourth wife, Olympias.

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Later in his childhood, Alexander The Great was tutored by the strict Leonidas, a relative of his mother, and by Lysimachus of Acarnania.

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Alexander The Great was raised in the manner of noble Macedonian youths, learning to read, play the lyre, ride, fight, and hunt.

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Alexander The Great detecting the horse's fear of its own shadow, asked to tame the horse, which he eventually managed.

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In return for teaching Alexander The Great, Philip agreed to rebuild Aristotle's hometown of Stageira, which Philip had razed, and to repopulate it by buying and freeing the ex-citizens who were slaves, or pardoning those who were in exile.

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Under Aristotle's tutelage, Alexander The Great developed a passion for the works of Homer, and in particular the Iliad; Aristotle gave him an annotated copy, which Alexander The Great later carried on his campaigns.

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Concerned that other Greek states might intervene, Alexander The Great made it look as though he was preparing to attack Illyria instead.

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Alexander The Great was the first to break the Theban lines, followed by Philip's generals.

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In 337 BC, Alexander The Great fled Macedon with his mother, dropping her off with her brother, King Alexander The Great I of Epirus in Dodona, capital of the Molossians.

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Alexander The Great continued to Illyria, where he sought refuge with one or more Illyrian kings, perhaps with Glaukias, and was treated as a guest, despite having defeated them in battle a few years before.

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Accordingly, Alexander The Great returned to Macedon after six months due to the efforts of a family friend, Demaratus, who mediated between the two parties.

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Olympias and several of Alexander The Great's friends suggested this showed Philip intended to make Arrhidaeus his heir.

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Alexander The Great reacted by sending an actor, Thessalus of Corinth, to tell Pixodarus that he should not offer his daughter's hand to an illegitimate son, but instead to Alexander The Great.

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When Philip heard of this, he stopped the negotiations and scolded Alexander The Great for wishing to marry the daughter of a Carian, explaining that he wanted a better bride for him.

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Alexander The Great was proclaimed king on the spot by the nobles and army at the age of 20.

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Alexander The Great began his reign by eliminating potential rivals to the throne.

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Alexander The Great had two Macedonian princes from the region of Lyncestis killed, but spared a third, Alexander Lyncestes.

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Alexander The Great ordered the murder of Attalus, who was in command of the advance guard of the army in Asia Minor and Cleopatra's uncle.

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Alexander The Great spared Arrhidaeus, who was by all accounts mentally disabled, possibly as a result of poisoning by Olympias.

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Alexander The Great found the Thessalian army occupying the pass between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, and ordered his men to ride over Mount Ossa.

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Alexander The Great stopped at Thermopylae, where he was recognized as the leader of the Amphictyonic League before heading south to Corinth.

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The Theban resistance was ineffective, and Alexander The Great razed the city and divided its territory between the other Boeotian cities.

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Alexander The Great showed his intent to conquer the entirety of the Persian Empire by throwing a spear into Asian soil and saying he accepted Asia as a gift from the gods.

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Alexander The Great left the government of Caria to a member of the Hecatomnid dynasty, Ada, who adopted Alexander The Great.

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From Halicarnassus, Alexander The Great proceeded into mountainous Lycia and the Pamphylian plain, asserting control over all coastal cities to deny the Persians naval bases.

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At the ancient Phrygian capital of Gordium, Alexander The Great "undid" the hitherto unsolvable Gordian Knot, a feat said to await the future "king of Asia".

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Alexander The Great offered a peace treaty that included the lands he had already lost, and a ransom of 10,000 talents for his family.

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Alexander The Great replied that since he was now king of Asia, it was he alone who decided territorial divisions.

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Alexander The Great proceeded to take possession of Syria, and most of the coast of the Levant.

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Alexander The Great restored the temples neglected by the Persians and dedicated new monuments to the Egyptian gods.

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Alexander The Great was pronounced son of the deity Amun at the Oracle of Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert.

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Henceforth, Alexander The Great often referred to Zeus-Ammon as his true father, and after his death, currency depicted him adorned with the Horns of Ammon as a symbol of his divinity.

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Babylonian astronomical diaries says that "the king of the world, Alexander The Great" sends his scouts with a message to the people of Babylon before entering the city: "I shall not enter your houses".

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From Babylon, Alexander The Great went to Susa, one of the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its treasury.

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Alexander The Great sent the bulk of his army to the Persian ceremonial capital of Persepolis via the Persian Royal Road.

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Alexander The Great himself took selected troops on the direct route to the city.

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Alexander The Great then stormed the pass of the Persian Gates which had been blocked by a Persian army under Ariobarzanes and then hurried to Persepolis before its garrison could loot the treasury.

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On entering Persepolis, Alexander The Great allowed his troops to loot the city for several days.

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Curtius claims that Alexander The Great did not regret his decision until the next morning.

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Alexander The Great buried Darius's remains next to his Achaemenid predecessors in a regal funeral.

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Alexander The Great claimed that, while dying, Darius had named him as his successor to the Achaemenid throne.

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Alexander The Great viewed Bessus as a usurper and set out to defeat him.

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Alexander The Great founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and Alexandria Eschate in modern Tajikistan.

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However, when, at some point later, Alexander The Great was on the Jaxartes dealing with an incursion by a horse nomad army, Spitamenes raised Sogdiana in revolt.

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Alexander The Great personally defeated the Scythians at the Battle of Jaxartes and immediately launched a campaign against Spitamenes, defeating him in the Battle of Gabai.

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Pierre Briant explains that Alexander The Great realized that it was insufficient to merely exploit the internal contradictions within the imperial system as in Asia Minor, Babylonia or Egypt; he had to create a central government with or without the support of the Iranians.

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Alexander The Great wrote a letter in 332 BC to Darius III, wherein he argued that he was worthier than Darius "to succeed to the Achaemenid throne".

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Against Bessus however, Briant adds, Alexander The Great reasserted "his claim to legitimacy as the avenger of Darius III".

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Alexander The Great's sacking of Thebes ensured that Greece remained quiet during his absence.

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Alexander The Great sent back vast sums from his conquest, which stimulated the economy and increased trade across his empire.

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Alexander The Great appears to have introduced a new coinage in Cilicia in Tarsus, after the Battle of Issus in 333 BC, which went on to become the main coinage of the empire.

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Alexander The Great minted gold staters, silver tetradrachms and drachmas, and bronze.

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The reverse design of Alexander The Great's tetradrachms is closely modelled on the depiction of the god Baaltars, on the silver staters minted at Tarsus by the Persian satrap Mazaeus before Alexander The Great's conquest.

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Alexander The Great did not attempt to impose uniform imperial coinage throughout his new conquests.

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Alexander The Great invited the chieftains of the former satrapy of Gandhara, to come to him and submit to his authority.

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Alexander The Great was emboldened to divide his forces, and Ambhi assisted Hephaestion and Perdiccas in constructing a bridge over the Indus where it bends at Hund, supplied their troops with provisions, and received Alexander The Great himself, and his whole army, in his capital city of Taxila, with every demonstration of friendship and the most liberal hospitality.

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Alexander The Great followed close behind and captured the strategic hill-fort after four bloody days.

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Alexander The Great was impressed by Porus's bravery, and made him an ally.

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Alexander The Great appointed Porus as satrap, and added to Porus's territory land that he did not previously own, towards the south-east, up to the Hyphasis.

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Alexander The Great founded two cities on opposite sides of the Hydaspes river, naming one Bucephala, in honour of his horse, who died around this time.

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Philostratus the Elder in the Life of Apollonius of Tyana writes that in the army of Porus there was an elephant who fought brave against Alexander's army and Alexander dedicated it to the Helios and named it Ajax, because he thought that a so great animal deserved a great name.

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Alexander The Great sent much of his army to Carmania with general Craterus, and commissioned a fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus, while he led the rest back to Persia through the more difficult southern route along the Gedrosian Desert and Makran.

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Alexander The Great reached Susa in 324 BC, but not before losing many men to the harsh desert.

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The Macedonians quickly begged forgiveness, which Alexander accepted, and held a great banquet with several thousand of his men.

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Meanwhile, upon his return to Persia, Alexander learned that guards of the tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae had desecrated it, and swiftly executed them.

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Back in Babylon, Alexander The Great planned a series of new campaigns, beginning with an invasion of Arabia, but he would not have a chance to realize them, as he died shortly after Hephaestion.

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Plutarch's account is that roughly 14 days before his death, Alexander The Great entertained admiral Nearchus and spent the night and next day drinking with Medius of Larissa.

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Alexander The Great developed a fever, which worsened until he was unable to speak.

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Justin stated that Alexander The Great was the victim of a poisoning conspiracy, Plutarch dismissed it as a fabrication, while both Diodorus and Arrian noted that they mentioned it only for the sake of completeness.

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Veratrum album poisoning can have a prolonged course and it was suggested that if Alexander The Great was poisoned, Veratrum album offers the most plausible cause.

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Alexander The Great's body was laid in a gold anthropoid sarcophagus that was filled with honey, which was in turn placed in a gold casket.

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Alexander The Great's death was so sudden that when reports of his death reached Greece, they were not immediately believed.

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Arrian and Plutarch claimed that Alexander The Great was speechless by this point, implying that this was an apocryphal story.

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Diodorus, Curtius and Justin offered the more plausible story that Alexander The Great passed his signet ring to Perdiccas, a bodyguard and leader of the companion cavalry, in front of witnesses, thereby nominating him.

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Diodorus stated that Alexander The Great had given detailed written instructions to Craterus some time before his death, which are known as Alexander The Great's "last plans".

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The Macedonian phalanx, armed with the sarissa, a spear 6 metres long, had been developed and perfected by Philip II through rigorous training, and Alexander used its speed and manoeuvrability to great effect against larger but more disparate Persian forces.

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Alexander The Great recognized the potential for disunity among his diverse army, which employed various languages and weapons.

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Alexander The Great overcame this by being personally involved in battle, in the manner of a Macedonian king.

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Alexander The Great personally led the charge in the center, routing the opposing army.

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Alexander The Great arranged a double phalanx, with the center advancing at an angle, parting when the chariots bore down and then reforming.

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Ancient authors recorded that Alexander The Great was so pleased with portraits of himself created by Lysippos that he forbade other sculptors from crafting his image; scholars today find the claim dubious.

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Nevertheless, Andrew Stewart highlights the fact that artistic portraits, not least because of who they are commissioned by, are always partisan, and that artistic portrayals of Alexander "seek to legitimize him, to interpret him to their audiences, to answer their critiques, and to persuade them of his greatness", and thus should be considered within a framework of "praise and blame", in the same way sources such as praise poetry are.

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Details from the Alexander The Great Sarcophagus show that he had a fair complexion with ruddy cheeks.

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Outward appearance of Alexander The Great is best represented by the statues of him which Lysippus made, and it was by this artist alone that Alexander The Great himself thought it fit that he should be modelled.

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Historians have understood the detail of the pleasant odour attributed to Alexander The Great as stemming from a belief in ancient Greece that pleasant scents are characteristic of gods and heroes.

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Alexander The Great is described as having one eye light and one eye dark.

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Alexander The Great instilled a sense of destiny in him, and Plutarch tells how his ambition "kept his spirit serious and lofty in advance of his years".

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Alexander The Great had a calmer side—perceptive, logical, and calculating.

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Alexander The Great had a great desire for knowledge, a love for philosophy, and was an avid reader.

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Alexander The Great had great self-restraint in "pleasures of the body", in contrast with his lack of self-control with alcohol.

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Alexander The Great had great charisma and force of personality, characteristics which made him a great leader.

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Alexander The Great appears to have believed himself a deity, or at least sought to deify himself.

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Alexander The Great adopted elements of Persian dress and customs at court, notably proskynesis, which was one aspect of Alexander The Great's broad strategy aimed at securing the aid and support of the Iranian upper classes; however the practise of proskynesis was disapproved by the Macedonians, and they were unwilling to perform it.

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However, Alexander The Great was a pragmatic ruler who understood the difficulties of ruling culturally disparate peoples, many of whom lived in kingdoms where the king was divine.

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Alexander The Great married three times: Roxana, daughter of the Sogdian nobleman Oxyartes of Bactria, out of love; and the Persian princesses Stateira and Parysatis, the former a daughter of Darius III and the latter a daughter of Artaxerxes III, for political reasons.

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Alexander The Great apparently had two sons, Alexander IV of Macedon by Roxana and, possibly, Heracles of Macedon from his mistress Barsine.

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Alexander The Great lost another child when Roxana miscarried at Babylon.

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Alexander The Great had a close relationship with his friend, general, and bodyguard Hephaestion, the son of a Macedonian noble.

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Green argues that there is little evidence in ancient sources that Alexander The Great had much carnal interest in women; he did not produce an heir until the very end of his life.

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Nevertheless, Plutarch described how Alexander The Great was infatuated by Roxana while complimenting him on not forcing himself on her.

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Green suggested that, in the context of the period, Alexander The Great formed quite strong friendships with women, including Ada of Caria, who adopted him, and even Darius's mother Sisygambis, who supposedly died from grief upon hearing of Alexander The Great's death.

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Alexander The Great's legacy extended beyond his military conquests, and his reign marked a turning point in European and Asian history.

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Libanius wrote that Alexander The Great founded the temple of Zeus Bottiaios, in the place where later the city of Antioch was built.

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Alexander The Great sought to insert Greek elements into Persian culture and to hybridize Greek and Persian culture, homogenizing the populations of Asia and Europe.

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Pompey the Great adopted the epithet "Magnus" and even Alexander's anastole-type haircut, and searched the conquered lands of the east for Alexander's 260-year-old cloak, which he then wore as a sign of greatness.

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Alexander The Great was used by these writers as an example of ruler values such as and, but and.

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Alexander The Great began openly mimicking Alexander in his personal style.

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Caracalla's mania for Alexander The Great went so far that Caracalla visited Alexandria while preparing for his Persian invasion and persecuted philosophers of the Aristotelian school based on a legend that Aristotle had poisoned Alexander The Great.

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Pausanias writes that Alexander The Great wanted to dig through the Mimas mountain, but didn't succeed.

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Alexander The Great says this was Alexander's only unsuccessful project.

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Arrian wrote that Aristobulus said that Alexander The Great named Icarus island in the Persian Gulf after Icarus island in the Aegean.

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Alexander The Great wrote and received numerous letters, but no originals survive.

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Many of the legends about Alexander The Great derive from his own lifetime, probably encouraged by Alexander The Great himself.

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Alexander The Great has figured in both high and popular culture beginning in his own era to the present day.

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In pre-Islamic Middle Persian literature, Alexander The Great is referred to by the epithet gujastak, meaning "accursed", and is accused of destroying temples and burning the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism.

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Alexander The Great was depicted as performing a Hajj many times in subsequent Islamic art and literature.

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Alexander The Great then travelled the known world in search of the Water of Life and Immortality, eventually becoming a prophet.

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Syriac version of the Alexander The Great Romance portrays him as an ideal Christian world conqueror who prayed to "the one true God".

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In Egypt, Alexander The Great was portrayed as the son of Nectanebo II, the last pharaoh before the Persian conquest.

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