How was the empire of Alexander the Great

Alexander the great: ten reasons Alexander conquered the world

The question of how Alexander the Great (356-323) managed to conquer the greatest empire of antiquity within a few years has always provoked new answers. Die WELT finds ten reasons.


Alexander was the son of Philip II of Macedonia and the Epeirotic king's daughter Olympias. His father, who came to the throne as guardian of a prince, was a gifted general and prudent statesman who had made the troubled tribal kingdom on the edge of the Greek world its supremacy. His mother participated in orgiastic cults, was domineering and demonic. It shaped his childhood. Above both family trees, Alexander was a descendant of Heracles and Perseus, great heroes of myth. You became his role model.


Although Philip II also had other wives, Alexander received an education that was in keeping with a crown prince. With friends of the sons of the aristocracy, he went to school with the (then not so famous) scholar Aristotle. At the same time, his father used him for military tasks. In the battle against the Greek city-states near Chaironeia in 338 he commanded the cavalry, whose attack brought victory.


When Philip II was murdered in 336, his army was already in Asia Minor to stage the Panhellenic campaign of revenge against the Persian hereditary enemy. The campaigns under Philip, which lasted more than 20 years, had shaped the Macedonian army into a terrible war machine: 9,000 Pezhetaires in six regiments, heavy infantry fighting with long lances; 3000 Hypaspists, similarly armed, but more agile; 6000 lightly armed men for long-range combat; 1200 hetaires on horseback, the guard, and 600 scouts. In addition there were 7000 hoplites from the Greek states, as many mercenaries and several thousand horsemen.

Art of war

Alexander was the man to use this weapon under any condition. Against this fight with combined arms - a term that is not applied to the armed forces of the Blitzkrieg for nothing - the heavy, gigantic armies of Persia had no chance. At Gaugamela, Alexander realized that the Persians had prepared the battlefield with traps. He maneuvered to the right, thereby pulling the enemy front apart and smashing it with a targeted cavalry attack against the position of the great king. In addition, Alexander could rely on excellent subordinates. And his army. She followed Alexander's charisma to the end of the world.


Despite all his military superiority, it was not his victories but above all his politics that made Alexander the ruler of the world. He did not justify his rule dogmatically, but through a clever analysis of the respective circumstances and the pragmatic solutions that resulted from them. The satrap organization of the Persian Empire was largely taken over.

Above all, however, Alexander refrained from seeing Asia as Macedonian-Greek prey from the start. Instead, local elites were drawn into court, administration and the army. In relation to the former subjects of the great king, Alexander appeared as his successor, not as a foreign conqueror, while he led his army for a long time as a charismatic tribal king.