Alexander the great and his empire

The Peloponnesian War
 In 431 B.C.E., Sparta
declared war on Athens
 This conflict was called
the Peloponnesian War
 After 27 years of fighting,
Sparta finally won.
 Meanwhile, a new
danger was growing to
the north, in Macedonia.
Philip II Unifies Greece
 A Macedonian king, Philip II,
saw that constant wars had
left the Greeks divided and
 He seized the chance and
brought Greece under his
 By 338 B.C.E., he had
conquered most of mainland
Greece, although he allowed
the city-states to keep many
of their freedoms.
 Philip wanted to attack Persia
next, but in 336 B.C.E., he was
Alexander Takes the Throne
 After Philip’s death, his
son, Alexander, became
the new Macedonian
 Like his father, he
wanted to invade Persia
for its great wealth, but
he also recognized that
fighting Persia would
help to unite the Greeks
by giving them a
common enemy.
Alexander’s Method
 Alexander planned to use
both terror and kindness to
conquer an empire.
 The towns and cities that
resisted him would be
burned to the ground and
their people sold into
 The towns and cities that
surrendered would keep
their government officials,
and Alexander would help
them rebuild their
damaged property.
Alexander’s Goals
 Alexander wanted all the
people he conquered to
accept him as their ruler.
 He also wanted to spread
Greek culture, but at the
same time, he did not
want to destroy every
local custom in his
 His goal was to bring
people of very different
cultures together under a
single government.
Alexander Spreads Greek Ideas
 Alexander greatly
admired Greek culture
and wanted to spread
Greek ideas throughout
his empire.
 One way he did this was
by building Greek-style
 Most of these new cities
contained an agora
(marketplace), temple,
theater, law courts, and a
 The most famous of the
new cities was called
Alexandria, and was
located in Egypt.
 In time, it became an
important center for trade
and learning.
 Alexandra had all of the
amenities a great Greek
city should, but the most
impressive part was the
library which contained
more than half a million
Alexander’s Use of Religion
 Alexander used religion in
2 ways to inspire loyalty
among the people he
 First, he honored Egyptian
and Persian gods and
treated them as equal to
Greek gods.
 Second, Alexander
encouraged the idea that
he himself was a god.
 Later, he would even
require all Greeks to accept
him as the son of Zeus!
Alexander Adapts
 Alexander’s plan was to
show respect for the
cultural practices of the
people he conquered, and
he did this by adopting
some of their practices
 Although he allowed many
local governors to run the
day-to-day business of
their lands, he made sure it
was Macedonians who led
the army and controlled
Walk Like A...Persian?
 Alexander borrowed many
Persian customs in particular.
 He wore Persian-style clothes
and received visitors in a
luxurious tent, the way a
Persian king would.
 Visitors had to kneel in front
of the throne and bend over
until their head touched the
 Alexander then raised his
visitor to his feet, kissed him,
and called him “Kinsman,”
meaning family.
The Empire Crumbles
 After stretching his
empire all the way to
India, Alexander caught a
disease (probably
malaria) and died at the
age of 33.
 After his death, the
empire crumbled.
 Settlers left the cities he
had constructed, and
they fell to ruin.
 His generals fought each
other for control.
So, then what??
 In the end, Alexander’s
vast realm was divided
into 3 separate
kingdoms: Egypt, Asia,
and Greece.
 In the centuries to
come, Greek power
would slowly fade
away, but Greek
culture would continue
to influence the world.

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