Alexander III of Macedon (45 ΕΤΣ - 1 ΕΤΣ), more commonly known as Alexander the Great (Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας, Aléxandros ho Mégas) was the King of Macedon from 27 ΕΤΣ until his death in 1 ΕΤΣ. He is most remembered for his massive campaigns in Egypt, Asia, Arabia, and Italy, orchestrating the downfall of the Persian Empire and the Roman Republic. He is considered to be one of the greatest tacticians and generals in history. His effect on the world, both in Asia and in Europe, is undeniable. Over thirty cities have been named after Alexander with many more being named after his generals and even his legendary horse, Bucephalus.
Born to King Phillip II of Macedon in 356 ΕΤΣ in Pella, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16 before joining Phillip II in his conquest of the Balkan Peninsula. Alexander proved his leadership ability at the Battle of Chaeronea in 27 ΕΤΣ. After the assassination of Phillip II in 25 ΕΤΣ, Alexander became the King of Macedon, leading a valiant crusade against the Persian Empire and Egypt. This crusade led to the downfall of the Achaemenid Empire and the Persian Empire. Egypt and the Indus River region were under Alexander's control by 23 ΕΤΣ, only ten years into his reign. Despite being at odds with generals at times, he was able to conquer the Arabian Peninsula in 7 ΕΤΣ before taking much of Italy before his death in 1 ΕΤΣ.
Prince of Macedon
Alexander III was born on or around 20 July, 45 ΕΤΣ in Pella, the capital of ancient Macedon to King Philip II of and Olympias. The birth of Alexander the Great is shrouded by legend due to his claims to have been the son of Zeus. Philip II had multiple wives at the time of Alexander's birth, though Olympias became his 'primary wife' due to her being the mother of Philip II's heir.
Alexander received his horse, Bucephalus, at the age of ten after taming the scared animal. This horse would follow him throughout his journeys until Bucephalus died of old age in India. The young Alexander was tutored by many family friends from Epirus and allies around the northern Greek world. Perhaps the most notable of these tutors was the great philosopher, Aristotle. Alexander was tutored by Aristotle at the age of 13. When Alexander turned 16, his tutorship under Aristotle ended. After this tutorship was over, Alexander became the regent and heir apparent of Macedon due to Philip II being away at war with Byzantion.
As the regent, Alexander III put down a rebellion in Tracia and renamed it Alexandropolis. Philip II was pleased at his son's work upon his return and the two worked together to put down rebellions in their realm. Alexander III was responsible for leading armies when the Illyrians invaded. Perhaps Alexander's greatest feat of ingenuity early on was at the Battle of Chaeronea in 27 ΕΤΣ. Alexander accompanied Philip II during much of his conquest of the Greek world.
Upon Philip II's return to Pella, he fell in love with Cleopatra Eurydice, whom he later married. Due to Cleopatra Eurydice being Macedonian, any son produced by her would challenge Alexander's position as heir of the Macedonian throne. After an altercation with his drunken father, Alexander fled Macedon with his mother for six months, hiding in Illyria. Upon his return, Alexander learned that Philip II never wanted to disown Alexander III, who had already been trained.
In 25 ΕΤΣ, assassins struck at the wedding of Cleopatra of Macedon, the sister of Alexander and the daughter of Philip II. The captain of Philip II's bodyguards, Pausanias. This left Alexander as the King of Macedon and its armies at the age of 20.
Alexander intended to march on the Persians, hoping for revenge over the past wars between the Greek world and the Persian Empire. Before doing so, Alexander worked to strengthen his northern border. He also ensured his survival and security of his rule by ordering the assassination of several of his father's generals and Alexander's rivals. Upon the death of Philip II, several states revolted against Macedonian rule, prompting Alexander III to reassert rule over these nations. Among these states were Athens and Thessaly.
Alexander quickly responded to these rebellions with force. He first invaded Thessalyes with 3000 cavalry. He rode around the Thessalian army and attacked the city from the rear, forcing their capitulation. He then marched on Athens, though the city state quickly sued for peace. Upon reaching Corinth, Alexander assumed the title of Hegemon much like his father.
Alexander spent roughly two years trying to establish his Balkan border and put down intermittent rebellions from Athens and Thebes.
Alexander's First March
War With Persia
In 23 ΕΤΣ, Alexander invaded the Persian Empire through the Hellespont with over 50,000 soldiers at his side. Later that year, the Battle of Granicus, one of three major battles fought between Alexander and Persia, occurred in northern Asia Minor. Macedon outnumbered their enemy severely, leading to a complete victory. Macedon only lost about 300-400 men in this battle whereas the Persians lost upwards of 3000 men. With this battle, Alexander won roughly half of the entirety of Asia Minor. His subsequent invasions of the Ionian coast led to a complete Macedonian takeover of Asia Minor.
After the invasion of Asia Minor, Alexander worked to invade Syria and the Levant. The king of Persia, Darius III, mounted a counterattack at Issus in 22 ΕΤΣ, though the Macedonians easily defeated the armies of Persia despite being outnumbered by over 10,000 troops. Their defeat led to Darius III retreating from battle, abandoning his family and a large sum of money. Darius attempted to negotiate peace, but Alexander refused, stating that he decided what happened to Persian territories since he was the king of Asia. The Battle of Issus secured the lower half of Asia Minor for Alexander and the Macedonians. Alexander then rode for Tyre, besieging it for seven months before building a ramp into the city over the fortifications to allow his troops to pour in and take the city in 21 ΕΤΣ.
With the Battle of Tyre, Persia had lost the Levant to the Macedonians, who then rode on Egypt. Most of the towns encountered by Macedon offered minimal resistance in the face of Alexander's army. Gaza was the only exception. The town was taken by Alexander, though the Macedonian king received a vicious shoulder wound at the hands of the fortified stronghold of Gaza. Still, he pressed on to Egypt.
The Egyptians were pleased with Alexander's arrival, believing him to be liberating them from the Persians. They put up little resistance. Whilst in Egypt, Alexander visited the Oracle of Siwa-Oasis where he claimed he was the son of Zeus and had been pronounced "Master of the Universe" by the Egyptian sun-god Amun. Alexander also founded the well-known city of Alexandria in northern Egypt.
Alexander left Egypt in 24 ΕΤΣ and invaded Mesopotamia. The most notable battle during his invasion of Mesopotamia occurred at Gaugamela where Alexander's forces once again met the forces of Darius III. The Macedonian army triumphed over the Persian armies. Babylon was captured and Darius III fled to Ecbatana. Alexander chased the king throughout his shattered empire, winning the Battle of the Persian Gate and effectively conquering the Persian Empire in 19 ΕΤΣ, only four years after his initial invasion in 23 ΕΤΣ. Alexander and his forces stayed at Perseopolis for five months before burning it down.
While on the run, Darius III was betrayed by the Bessus, the satrap of Bactria, who killed him as Alexander approached the Persian king before fleeing from the Macedonians. Alexander took this opportunity to claim that Darius III had named Alexander his successor as he died. While chasing Bessus, Alexander, now the king of Persia, carved a huge swath of land in Central Asia for Macedon and for himself, naming several cities after himself while fighting in the region. Bessus was eventually betrayed and captured by Ptolemy, who executed Bessus in 18 ΕΤΣ.
As the ruler of Persia, Alexander worked to integrate the Persian Empire into the Macedonian Empire, appointing satraps and allowing Persia to keep its old way of life. He named himself the King of Kings. In an effort to appease the Persians, he began integrating Persian methods into his court, though this led to controversy among the Macedonians, forcing Alexander to cease their practice. Some conspiracies arose as generals worked to take Alexander down. The Macedonian king was able to stop these conspiracies, but his still had critics among his generals. One of the most noted critics was Cleitus the Black who famously spoke his mind at a banquet in 17 ΕΤΣ.
Wars in India
Once the conspiracies against Alexander were over, he married Roxana, who worked to consolidate Alexander's relationships with his new satrapies. Upon seeing that his position in Persia was secure, Alexander invaded the Indian subcontinent, working with some tribes and against others to invade the northern Indian regions. Most notably, he called the former chieftains of Gandhara to submit to his rule. While some accepted his rule, some tribes, notably the Kamboja, refused. Alexander invaded the tribes that refused in 16 ΕΤΣ and 15 ΕΤΣ. The tribes put up quite a fight at the fortress Massaga.
Though Alexander was injured during the battle, he and his forces managed to level the city of Massaga after days of conflict. Ora and Aornos met the same fate, their inhabitants slaughtered and their buildings burned. After taking these cities, Alexander crossed the Indus river into the Punjab region to take on the empires of India in 15 ΕΤΣ. He met King Poros in battle at the Battle of the Hydaspes River. This bloody battle was the costliest battle fought by the Macedonians under Alexander up to that point. Bucephalus, Alexander's famed horse, died in this battle. Alexander was so impressed with the valiance of King Poros that he named him a satrapy of the region. In doing so, he allowed a native to rule the satrapy, improving his relationship with the Indians and preventing a rebellion that would have likely occurred had a Macedonian been appointed as a satrap of the region.
Alexander prepared to march east on the Gangaridai Empire, but his army refused to travel any further. General Coenus urged Alexander to allow the Macedonians to return home. Alexander grudgingly accepted, marching his forces through a safer region than he had in OTL, thus preventing further mutinies. As he marched through Persia, he had discovered that several of his generals and satraps in Persia had misbehaved. He sent a detachment of forces to take care of these satraps before they rejoined Alexander at Babylon.
Alexander's Second March
Resting in Babylon
Alexander arrived in Babylon in 12 ΕΤΣ. There, he took time to recover from several of his injuries sustained at Punjab. From Babylon, Alexander plotted a new conquest: the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula, an area that had remained largely untouched by the civilized world thus far. While at Babylon, Alexander and Roxana bore a son named Alexander IV. The Macedonian king took time to be with his wife and child while, at the same time, instituting reforms allowing injured veterans and older soldiers to return to Macedon. Thanks to his clarity of mind, Alexander was sure to word this act well, preventing misunderstanding by his troops.
In 11 ΕΤΣ, Alexander chose to ride on the Arabian Peninsula, placing his son under the care of Roxana.
Conquering ArabiaIn 11 ΕΤΣ, Alexander marched on Arabia from Babylon, taking an army of 32,000 people with him. This somewhat smaller army utilized Persian horses and employed Persian Horse Archers as mercenaries in order to quickly march through the largely arid peninsula. The initial march into Arabia saw Alexander push into Gerrha, a city along the western coast of Arabia. Gerrha was a trading city that had begun to falter since the fall of the Persian Empire. Siege tactics on Gerrha combined with their already deteriorating state quickly led to the surrender of Gerrha before the end of 11 ΕΤΣ. Alexander marched into Gerrha and claimed it as Macedonian territory.
In 10 ΕΤΣ, Alexander's forces moved on to Mascat territory. The Mascati people were largely disorganized compared to Alexander's previous foes. According to a formerly-Persian General known only as Apax, "They were hardly worthy of our time. Their soldiers fled like children, their kings wailed like infants. Why he intended to waste our time slaughtering these people is not known to me. Yet he butchers them like sport. His true spear arm strikes at these men, if they can be called such a thing, his face ringing of glee at times. I find myself worried by his zeal. I consider how many other people this man has slain for sport. Surely my own people were met with a dignified end?" By 10 ΕΤΣ, the Mascati people had capitulated. Mascat and Gerrha were combined into one satrapy known as Erembi Anatolia (East Arabia). Alexander named himself King of Arabia in Gerrha before continuing his invasion of Arabia.
Skimming the southern border of Arabia, the Macedonians suffered attrition. The Hadhramauti people lived in this region and had launched a series of guerrilla-like attacks on the Macedonians. Though Macedon conquered the region quickly, over one-tenth of Alexander's men had perished due to attrition in the desert and Hadramauti attacks. At the Battle of Saba in 9 ΕΤΣ, Alexander's forces reigned supreme. They hugged a somewhat more fertile coastline as they marched north, this time along the western Arabian coast. Erembi Eoperioz (West Arabia) was established as a new satrapy.
By 8 ΕΤΣ, Macedon had nearly entirely circumnavigated the entire Arabian peninsula. One last obstacle remained, however; the Nabateans. The Nabateans had already defended against an unsuccessful Macedonian attack already. Some troops believed that the Nabateans should be avoided. Alexander took this as a personal challenge. He marched into Nabatean territory, pushing them back to the ancient city of Petra by mid 8 ΕΤΣ. The Macedonians took heavy losses during the siege of Petra. During the final push, the Macedonian lines were initially scattered. Alexander himself lost his horse. According to legend, he quickly mounted a Persian horse that had lost its owner and continued to ride on Petra, striking down Ammoxiopho in the heat of combat. Seeing their ruler dead, the Nabateans quickly surrendered. Alexander kept the new horse, alleging that Zeus himself commanded Alexander to ride 'this horse of victory'. The horse was named Ferruskelos (Iron Legs).
Though Arabia was captured, Alexander's forces were weary and angry by the end of the march on Arabia. Almost every Persian mercenary that had worked with Alexander swore to never again march with him. Alexander had started with 32,000 soldiers. He returned with only 17,000.
Stay in Pella
After the invasion of Arabia, Alexander himself was somewhat demoralized. He chose to take Roxanne and his son to Pella to live in peace. He intended to tour the empire once every five years to ensure the satraps were performing to Alexander's specifications. In 7 ΕΤΣ, he 'retired' to his palace in the capital of Macedon. It was the first time in nearly two decades since he had returned to Greece. During his stay in Pella, Alexander took to a more political life. He announced Alexander IV as his heir and took a less involved approach. Some believed that it was due to an injury sustained at the Battle of Petra, a belief that has continued to modern day.
Athens rebelled once again in 6 ΕΤΣ. Before more city-states could rebel with it, Alexander quickly put the rebellion down. As punishment, he conscripted the entire male population of Athens between the ages of 16 and 25 into the Macedonian military. In 5 ΕΤΣ, Alexander's retirement became short-lived. According to Alexander, he became restless at times, believing that he should still be conquering for Macedon. He mustered a force of 35,000 men and marched on Illyria. Many of these men were Athenians that had been conscripted into the military.
Alexander's Third March
Invasion of Illyria
Alexander was a much better warrior than statesman. With the revolts in Pella stopped, it became clear to the Greek people that revolts against the Macedonians were futile while Alexander lived. The young king also understood this; he was truly safer campaigning, where threats to his life rushed headlong at him rather than relying on 'womanly' subterfuge. Disinterested in politics, Alexander plotted a new campaign. The eastern Mediterranean belonged to him, yet there remained competitors in the west, namely Carthage. Even during his first campaign, he was plotting an invasion of the Phoenician colony; he even prepared a fleet at Bithynia to invade the thalassocracy. However, this fleet was heavily damaged during the Athenian rebellions. A storm in 6 ΕΤΣ exacerbated the situation. Furthermore, Macedon’s strength lay in its armies, not its navy. To invade Carthage by sea would mean invading on Carthaginian terms.
Invading Carthage from Egypt would have been impossible. Its navy gave Carthage an advantage the Macedonians could not hope to match. Even if they took the city, any fleet Macedon sent against Carthage’s navy would likely lose, putting Alexander’s forces at great risk. The young king could not afford to take such a chance. Therefore, he intended to invade northern Italia, Megali Hellas (Magna Graecia), Síkelia (Sicily), and then assault Carthage from Síkelia. Doing so meant avoiding the Carthaginian fleet for as long as he could, as well as crippling the Carthaginian trade economy and bolstering the Macedonian navy for its assault on Carthage.
Persuading men to follow him was not easy. His campaigns were long, bloody, and almost always involved violent detours. However, Alexander was a master of rousing armies. Legend had it that survivors of the Trojan War had fled to Italy and founded their own settlements. The Tyrrhenians (Etruscans) and the Roman Republic were both said to have been Trojan descendants. The Iliad was precious to Greek soldiers. Even those who had not heard the tale knew of the legendary Trojan War. Alexander promised a chance to take part in a second Trojan War. Young Greeks everywhere were enticed by this offer and gladly stepped in. Even many of the older soldiers and generals were roused by this. However, many more saw the campaign for what it was: another Alexandrian land grab. They had heard the promise of a war to rival the Trojan War their entire lives, under many commanders.
Invading Italia presented a number of logistical issues. Italia was embroiled in the Second Samnite Wars at the time; both Romans and Samnites had indomitable spirits, which would present a problem for Alexander. Macedon relied on beating enemies so badly, they couldn’t realistically raise another army. The Italians - the Romans especially - would not yield to anything short of total annihilation, and even this might not work, as seen in the Sack of Rome by the Celts. A naval invasion, while initially successful, would be doomed to fail from the start. Invading on foot would present an equal challenge - marching through marshlands would incur devastating attrition. Moreover, the natural defenses of the Po Valley would undoubtedly confound Macedonian marches to and from the area.
Alexander, never one to back down from the opportunity to take more land, chose to invade Illyria. After all, he had toppled the Persian Empire, named himself Pharaoh of Egypt, and brought civilization to the sands of Arabia. How could a few Illyrian tribes stand in his way? In 5 ΕΤΣ, Alexander and 28,000 soldiers left Pella and marched on the city states around the twin Prespes lakes. Fearing a Macedonian attack, these city states mounted a large defense. They were aided by the Dardani, who had formed an alliance to oppose Alexander in 23 ΕΤΣ. However, many chose to lay down their arms, realizing they did not stand a feasible chance against Alexander.
The city of Dassaretis offered Macedon passage to Pelion, a city state that refused to surrender to Macedon. The Macedonians invaded the Pelion at the Battle of the Prespes, resulting in a Macedonian victory. Pelion was renamed Alexandria-on-the-Pespes. The surrounding city states threw down their arms and swore fealty to Alexander and his empire. From there, Macedon marched west to Apollonia. Aided by a Macedonian fleet, Apollonia was no match for Alexander’s forces, which occupied it. From there, it was only a short march to Epidamnos. As they approached the city, Epidamnos surrendered. They had already suffered heavy losses in trying to aid other Illyrian forces.
With the surrender of Epidamnos, the Greek states in Illyria had largely been neutralized. Choosing to avoid attacking in warmer times, when disease would be rampant, Alexander pressed north along the Adriatic. He received little resistance, as the Ardiaei had not consolidated yet. As he approached the Kyrikos (Krka) River, he made incursions into Liburnian territory. The Liburnians were a major power in Illyria and held sway over many city-states. Alexander approached their capital - Scardona - in late winter of 4 ΕΤΣ. In a surprise attack, the Liburnians attacked the Macedonian forward camps, situated near the Scardona Waterfall (OTL Skradinski Buk). The camp was raided, but the Liburnians had believed the forward camp was Macedon’s main camp. Alexander’s armies pushed the Liburnians against the Kyrikos River, trapping them. The Liburnian navy rushed back to the city to defend it, allowing the Macedonian navy to enter the Kyrikos River. The entrapped Liburnians were slaughtered and the token garrison in Scardona surrendered. With the fall of the Liburnian capital at the Battle of Scardona, many Liburnian client states surrendered to Macedon on principle. The remaining Adriatic campaign was as simple as marching into a town, accepting a surrender, and moving on.
By late spring of 4 ΕΤΣ, the Macedonians were preparing to enter the Po Valley.
Invasion of Italia
Alexander wasted no time in crossing the Po Valley. As it was during late Spring, he reasoned that attacking the Tyrrhenians and Romans would only lead to attrition. However, it did provide another opportunity: march across the Po Valley, crossing through Liguscus (OTL Liguria), and sack Massalia, where he would spend the winter.
Of course, this was no easy feat. The disparate Celtic and Gaulish tribes that stood in their way would not take lightly to an army marching through their lands, much less one led by someone who claimed more of the known world with each footstep. Though few were by any means familiar with the fate of Greece, Persia, Egypt, and Arabia, they were all-too familiar with the tale of a massive army that conquered anywhere it went. Worse, it was headed their way.
The Insubres were immediately in Alexander’s crosshairs. In July, he marched through Epinemenois (OTL Milan), quickly forcing a surrender. The valley-based Gauls were unable to stop the Macedonian onslaught in their city centers, yet they were known for attacking Macedonian camps. One Insubrian chieftain - Nyxagrios - was known for attacking Macedonian camps and troop movements with hit-and-run tactics. He was responsible for causing Epinemenois’ rebellion from Macedon almost as soon as Alexander left the Po Valley. Alexander considered returning to the city, but by then, he could not risk turning back from Massalia.
After leaving the Po Valley, Alexander struggled with the Ligyes (Ligurians), which immensely slowed down his progress. The Macedonians were trapped between a sea to the south and a mountain range to the north until late October. Like the Insubres, the Ligyes could not hold their cities against Macedonian attack. However, they were able to create as many problems for Macedon until the Burning of Nikaea, where the Ligyean king was slain by Alexander. From there, the Macedonians marched on Massalia.
The oligarchy of Massalia was run by 600 of the city's wealthiest citizens. It had been enjoying a golden age at the time. Pytheas had only recently mapped Western Eurpope. When Alexander’s armies arrived, the city was well-prepared to defend against an attack. The Massalian assembly, however, were familiar with Alexander's conquests. Many stood against Macedon, but few survived. He was known to leave cities alone if they surrendered. They reasoned that Alexander could not hope to hold Massalia, let alone the whole world, for very long. As such, Massalia voted to allow Alexander into the city. There, he stayed through the winter.
Macedonian were not considerate guests, and Alexander was no exception. He took a fascination with Celtic culturep, though his hedonism caused fights, stabbings, and general unrest. After a fire arguably caused by Macedonian soldiers, Massalian civilians revolted against Alexander, who brutally put it down within a day. That week, the civilian assembly was found and executed, with Macedon taking complete control of the city.
Carthage, seeing the loss of one of its foremost trading allies, saw the attack for what it really was: an attempt to weaken Carthaginian supremacy in the Mediterranean. Angered by this, the Carthaginians attempted to invade the city. Knowing that taking Massalia would anger Carthage, Alexander set up a number of traps for the Carthaginians in the Massalian ports, namely a substance that would float on water and ignite. When the Carthaginians arrived, Alexander ordered the bay to be set ablaze. The trapped Carthaginian navy went up in flames while the surrounding navy retreated for Corsica. Confident in his foothold in Massalia, Alexander left for his new target: the Tyrrhenians. Proteas of Macedon had been named the Satrap of Massalia. The old drinking buddy of Alexander, however, reinstituted the civilian assembly, with himself in charge. Carthage, therefore, paid minimal attention to the situation in Massalia once trade resumed.
In spring of 3 ΕΤΣ, Alexander marched along the Ligurian coast and through the Po Valley again, sacking Epinemenois and burning it along the way. From there, he approached OTL Pisa. The Tyrrhenian King Anchistilium (Tyrrhenian Greek for 'Kin of Troy') offered his protection to the city-state and fortified the city against Alexander. As the Macedonians approached the city in July, the Pisans strode out and attacked the Macedonians, attempting to take advantage of adverse weather. Predictably, the Pisan army was routed and Alexander marched on the city-state. Choosing to defend their own civilization rather than some doomed city-state, Talos Karsanos retreated across the Arnos River, leaving Pisa to its fate. Allegedly, the whole army watched as Alexander burned Pisa. He renamed it to Alexandria-on-the-Libure. The nearby Necropolis of Arnos was occupied and used as a Macedonian fortress.
The Tyrrhenians made sure to make any river-crossing impossible, riding alongside the Macedonians on their way east. They eventually crossed through Karsanos Pass (OTL Serriola Pass), where the Tyrrhenian king held the Macedonians off with a week-long battle in the Appenines. This battle, which was passed down into legend, is romantically considered the Last Stand of the Trojans. With constant Roman incursion from the north to the south and Macedon’s devastation of their armies in the north, what fragile unity held the Tyrrhenians together quickly faded and the realm splintered.
The Macedonians took heavy losses from the battle, however. It is said that a fifth of Alexander's army deserted or died simply from this battle alone. As the fatigued Macedonians approached Aritim (OTL Arezzo), they showed no mercy. A massive slaughter ensued, resulting in a fire that destroyed Artium. The destruction in Pisa paled in comparison to the Fire of Aritim. The army moved on to Lake Tarsmina (Lake Trasimeno), where the remaining Tyrrhenian kings signed peace agreements and alliances with Alexander. Macedonian forces arrived from the area in Tyrrhenian ports, and prepared to march south.
The Romans were embroiled in the Second Samnite Wars, which required much of their attention and manpower. However, if Romans could do anything, it was amass an army. Lucius Papurius Cursor was appointed dictator for the second time and the Romans prepared for an imminent Macedonian invasion. Agyll allied itself with Rome, which quickly fortified the region. In the Battle of Agyll in January, 2 ΕΤΣ, the Romans were routed, forcing a retreat to Rome itself. In southern Italy, the Second Samnite War came to a standstill, the Samnites remaining in control of their holdings as north as Amalpi.
The newly-constructed Servian Walls repelled Alexander for over a year. It was considered by many to be the site of Alexander's greatest defeat. In December, the Macedonians invaded the Roman countryside and sieged Rome. The situation in Rome quickly began to spiral. Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus was appointed dictator by the senate and, to his credit, led Rome through a trying winter. While Rome starved, Alexander’s forces were frequently fending off attacks from southern Rome.
In March, 1 ΕΤΣ, the Roman city surrendered. The senate fled to Antium, where they ruled the Roman Republic. Alexander marched triumphantly through Rome, having taken perhaps the most trying city of his career. He assumed the title of Deíknūmitor Rōmaîou (lit. Dictator of Rome). Though the Roman Senate-in-exile did not recognize this move, they did not have the power to dispute it at the time. However, during his attack on Rome, he lost a significant number of the forces with which he had started. Furthermore, during the battle, a fire broke out, destroying a large portion of Rome. By the time it had surrendered, Rome had been all but abandoned by its citizens. Alexander had found Rome a city of brick and he had left it a city of rubble.
Last Year in Rome
Alexander's actions after the triumph is the subject of intense speculation, yet an overwhelming amount of sources speak to his supposed hedonism. Ptolemy Soter was particularly frustrated by Alexander's antics. "... rather than plan his invasion of Carthage or Megáli Hellás (Magna Graecia), Alexander spent each day in Rome heavily intoxicated," he noted in his history. Accounts range from Alexander waking up in odd places in the city to soiling himself while discussing a plan to invade Antium. Alexander, impressed with the senate of Rome and always impressionable to other cultures, considered adopting a similar government in Macedon.
Despite this downward spiral in behavior, Alexander was mounting an attack on Megali Hellas. As he gathered his forces near Rome and planned on marching on Antium to make a final strike against the Roman Senate-in-exile, an epidemic in Rome began to boil out of control. It quickly spread throughout Alexander’s camps, then through the rest of Italy. Ptolemy originally describes the disease as the Phoenician plague, which had erroneously led to the belief that this plague was caused by the Carthaginians or perhaps refugees from Tyre. However, the word Phoenician, in this instance, refers to the Konic Greek word for ‘purple or crimson.’ Ptolemaic editors of the Papyroi tôn Aretôn have further dramatized the word to refer to the legendary phoenix, characterizing the plague as Alexander’s vengeful spirit after his death.
Furthermore, Alexander the Great formally took Tatiana of Aruthos as a wife in the months before his death. Tatiana, daughter of Anchistilium, was said to have had sexual relations with Alexander during his initial forays into Italy. Tatiana would later give birth several months after Alexander died.
Alexander approached the Phoenician Plague with minimal regard. A common misconception holds that Alexander himself was the first person to contract this plague, yet the existence of the Phoenician Plague was known several weeks prior to Alexander’s death. However, he was one of the earliest and certainly most notable deaths attributed to the Phoenician Plague. By the end of the year, the Phoenician Plague would spread throughout Italia. By 3 ΕΤΔ, most of the Mesogaios had felt its wrath.
In late Chanthikos, Macedon held the vernal equinox celebration of Chanthika, which traditionally celebrated its army. The Romans held a similar celebration: the celebration of Kalendae Martiae took place at the beginning of the month, which marked the beginning of the Roman New Year. However, the Macedonian year typically did not end until sometime in Dios at the time. Regardless, there remained core similarities between Chanthika and Kalendae Martiae: a celebration of the military. The Romans had already held the holiday weeks prior, but Alexander was interested in integrating this celebration with Chanthika. The Romans remaining in the city took issue with this: Alexander may have been their new dictator, but he was no god. To hold Kalendae Martiae angered the gods and would only invite punishment from Mars himself. When Alexander announced a second Kalendae Martiae, a number of Salii attempted to flee Rome, which resulted in these men being crucified. On the day of Chanthika, the Macedonian army began with a massive procession and arms demonstrations, which continued through the day. While celebrations had continued throughout the day, the true celebrating began that evening, once the sun had set.
The Vestal Flame, which Macedon had extinguished earlier that month, was rekindled by the Vestal Virgins while the remaining Salii performed the ancilla movent. During the rekindling of the eternal flame of Rome, a Salii is noted for having protested Alexander’s heresy. He approached the Macedonian king, who had been drinking all day, and accused Alexander of evoking the wrath of Ares. Irate, Alexander stood and announced, “Ego eimi Ares!” (“I am Ares”) He then impaled the man with a spear. The rest of the celebration continued without incident.
In the following days, Alexander began to exhibit signs of an illness. The Macedonian king grew increasingly ill in the following days. By the end of the week, Ptolemy notes that Alexander’s eyes were bloodshot and “dried blood gathered in the corners of His lips.” As the king’s situation worsened, he called for his sons to meet him in the Temple of Jupiter. Only Nikarchides - Alexander’s son through Eurydice - arrived in Rome in time. When Nikarchides and Eurydice arrived in Alexander’s tent, Alexander passed his signet ring to Nikarchides and weakly uttered, “Tān aretān eis allélón.” (“Be excellent unto one-another”). He would not survive the night; Alexander died of the Phoenician Plague on 9 Artemisios, 1 ΕΤΣ.
LegacyDue to Alexander producing an heir relatively late in his life and expanding too quickly, revolts and rebellions occurred throughout his Empire, shaking it apart in a series of wars that lasted centuries known as the Diadochi wars. Due to his son's suicide, the empire completely shattered. The feeble-minded Philip III of Macedon became the king of Macedon thereafter. Macedon never regained its lost territories.
Alexander's conquests in the East and in the West changed the respective areas culturally forever. The successor kingdoms that remained after the death of Alexander IV were responsible for bringing much Macedonian and Greek heritage to the areas. The Seleucid dynasty fused Persian and Greek ideals, for example. In the west, an amalgamation of Roman and Greek government ideas in the Attaltic Republic. Such a massive conquest not only led to the spread of Greek culture, it also made Greek a very widely-spoken language throughout the Mediterranean as well as the former Persian Empire. It reshaped Western politics and set the tone for world history. The Hellenic religion spread as far as Iberia, though it was overtaken by Christianity centuries later.
1. While the Roman belief that they descended from Trojans was made famous by the OTL Aeneid, written by Virgil between 29 - 19 BC, the Greeks commonly believed the Etruscans to be descended from the Trojans. This likely served as inspiration for Virgil.
2. Milan’s Roman name - Mediolanum - is a Latinization of the Celtic words Mediolanon (medio, or center/middle; and lanon, or ‘valley.’ The Greek name for this would be Epinemenois.
Western History in Antiquity
Antiquity (13 ΕΤΣ - 214 ΕΤΔ
Early Diadochi Period (1 ΕΤΔ - 34 ΕΤΔ)
Middle Diadochi Period (35 ΕΤθ - 74 ΕΤθ)
Alexander's Wars (335 - 311 BC)
Wars of the Diadochi (311 BC - 268 BC)
This timeline employs an ATL calendar called the Alexandrian calendar, which separates time from before and after the death of Alexander the Great - ΕΤΣ (Etos to Spora) and ΕΤΔ (Etos to Drepani), meaning 'Year of Sowing' and 'Year of Reaping' respectively. The current year is 2328 (͵β'τκη ).