More than 2,000 years ago today was the birthday of one of the greatest commanders in world history: Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great.
He was born in the northern Greek city of Pella and at only 20 years old succeeded his father Philip II to become the king of Macedon.
Mentored by Aristotle during his youth, Alexander would later spend years traveling through Asia and northeast Africa, embarking on an unparalleled military campaign during which he never lost a battle; in the end, he built one of the biggest empires in the ancient world that spanned from Greece to northwestern India.
One of the greatest conquerors to ever live, Alexander and his army established numerous colonies across the Near East, spreading their culture throughout the region and leaving influences that persisted centuries beyond — such as a notable presence of Greek speakers in Asia Minor until the 1920’s.
Alexander’s legacy as a prolific general still lives to this day, as historians from Greek and non-Greek cultures alike prominently reference him in academia.
Institutions such as the British Museum, which have important art from the period, celebrated the anniversary of Alexander’s birth with a tweet featuring a marble statue of his face from their own collection.
According to its website, the museum acquired the marble portrait of Alexander in Alexandria, Egypt — the city founded by the legendary conquerer in 331 BCE — as well as the location of his tomb, which remains unfound.
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