Alexander the Great Summary By Philip Freeman

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Alexander the Great (2011) is a remarkable book that delves into Alexander's historic military campaigns and his impact on history.

In this book, readers get to explore the life of one of the greatest military leaders to have ever lived.

Alexander set out from Greece at the age of 21, and in ten short years he was able to conquer the Persian Achaemenids and create an empire that stretched across Eurasia.

His legacy was so powerful that it left a lasting influence for centuries after.

This book is a captivating account that explains why Alexander is remembered as one of history's greatest heroes.

Alexander the Great

Book Name: Alexander the Great (The Macedonian who conquered the world)

Author(s): Philip Freeman

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 28 Minutes

Categories: Book Summaries

Author Bio

Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman is a well-researched and comprehensive look into the life and legacy of Alexander the great.

The author of this book, Philip Freeman, is a highly qualified historian and professor of Classics at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

He received his Ph.D from Harvard University and has since written several books on topics such as Julius Caesar and St.

Patrick of Ireland.

His decades of research and experience makes him uniquely suited to tackle this significant subject of Alexander the Great's life.

Unraveling the Journey of Alexander the Great: From The Battle of Isus to Christianizing His Empire

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great is one of the most well-known ancient Greeks – but do you really know what made him so great? With Alexander the Great, you can learn all about why he was so successful and admired.

At the time of his death, Alexander ruled an empire that stretched from Europe to Afghanistan.

It was easily the largest anyone had ever seen then or even now.

That’s why he has become a symbol of a successful conqueror.

Take an adventure with Alexander through this book as you explore important battles like The Battle of Isus against Persia; discover how Alexander’s trip to Egypt changed him forever; and understand how his conquests spread Christianity throughout the world.

Alexander’s Clever Thinking and Fearless Actions Showed How Far He Excelled Compared to the Rest

Alexander the Great was born in 356 BC, into the Macedonian royal family.

His father, Philip II of Macedon, was an accomplished conqueror and witness to great feats in battle.

Though he was an imposing figure, Philip soon noticed his son’s talents and potential for greatness.

At only thirteen years old, Alexander had already proven himself to be a remarkable individual, when his father was offered an untamable horse for a high price.

Young Alexander stepped in and proposed a deal that he could mount the animal if given the chance, and with his quick-thinking skills, led the horse into the sun until it became calm enough for him to mount it.

This horse would later become one of history’s most iconic animals – Bucephalus .

Philip felt both proud and threatened–proud to have such a talented son but afraid of him taking too much power away from him on the battlefield.

This fear came to head when Alexander outperformed him on one particular battlefield and Philip attempted to rein him in by divorcing Alexander’s mother Olympias in favor of remarrying.

To calm things down at the royal wedding banquet afterwards—where wine flowed freely as per tradition—mediation efforts were successful between Alexander, his mother and Philip, who put aside their differences.

Alexander the Great’s talents were spotted early on while he was still part of the Macedonian royal family; even then it was clear that great things were ahead for this extraordinary young man!

Alexander the Great’s Brilliant Military Tactics Solidified His Place as a Conqueror of Legend

Military Tactics

Alexander the Great was determined to pick up where his father had left off in expanding their empire.

In order to do this, he had to take care of any and all rebellion at home by silencing the southern Greek states first.

Upon doing so, Alexander embarked on his most ambitious mission: invading Persia.

He made sure that his authority was reinforced at home and he had a powerful army behind him to ensure success.

With nearly 6,000 troops in tow, Alexander marched towards Persia in 334 BC.

He quickly proved himself as an adept strategist during the initial battle against Persia at the Granicus River, using two wings of cavalry to strike down their enemies from multiple sides.

This decisive victory gave Alexander the upper hand and granted him passage into Persia and soon enough, the domination of the Persian Empire.

Alexander’s Unconventional Strategies Lead to Unimaginable Victories

Alexander was an incredibly talented commander, and his keen military mind showed in many of his conquests.

When it came to marching through the lands of Asia Minor and taking major cities, he moved swiftly and with ease.

He conquered Sardis and Ephesus with little effort due to his tactical knowledge of when and where to go next.

When he reached Miletus and found a Persian navy headed there, he knew that a direct confrontation wouldn’t work out in his favour – so instead he took the city first.

His interpretation of an eagle perched on one of his ships gave him the insight to do this, resulting in another decisive victory for Alexander.

With no plans of resting anytime soon, Alexander pressed forward through the winter of 334 BC, which was considered unconventional yet ultimately successful.

Then when it came time to take Telmessus, again Alexander demonstrated adept war tactics by using female dancers inside the city as assassins!

Alexander’s Luck Takes a Turn for the Worse and He Conquers Despite Deadly Dilemmas

Alexander the Great faced many dangerous moments during his conquering campaign, but one in particular stands out.

As he neared the end of his campaign and was on his way back home, an unexpected illness threatened to put an early end to his life.

His own trusted doctor, Philip whom had known Alexander since childhood, recommended a risky medicinal treatment which Alexander accepted, despite being warned that Philip may have been bribed by the Persians to poison him.

Fortunately for us all, Alexander chose wisely and emerged from the treatment alive and ready to continue his campaign.

Had this fateful moment gone differently, it is likely that history would have been drastically altered.

Because of Alexander’s bravery in taking the medicine – rather than succumbing to death – a whole new era began with Darius, the Great King of Persia calling off his invasion of Greece and facing off against Alexander head-on instead.

Alexander’s Epic Battle of Issus Reveals His Determination to Conquer All of Persia

Alexander's Epic Battle

When Alexander the Great first encountered King Darius of Persia in November 333 BC, it was at the Battle of Issus.

This event has gone down in history as one of the greatest battles of all time, and with good reason.

A small Turkish mountain range separated the two armies with Darius hoping to face Alexander on a large battlefield where his superior number of cavalry could overwhelm him.

But instead, they ended up on a narrow stretch of land near the Pinarus River.

Alexander’s forces were initially pushed back, but during a vicious counterattack his right wing cut through the Persian army, allowing them to start attacking from two directions.

Further demoralizing for Darius and his men as their enemy seemed to be omnipresent.

Inevitably, this intense fighting led to both sides locking eyes where suddenly things changed for an epic confrontation.

This moment has been memorialized forever in an iconic mosaic displayed proudly in Pompeii today.

The battle concluded with Alexander now victoriously acquiring many Persian captives including Darius’s mother and son who were both expecting their fate would be far more dire than what ended up happening instead.

To everyone’s surprise, Alexander welcomed Darius’s mother humbly then promised to raise her Great King’s son as his own – clearly demonstrating that although he was going into battle with every intention of winning by any means necessary, he still respected those he opposed alike.

Alexander’s Journey to Found the City of Alexandria Revealed His Destiny to Change History

Alexander’s time in Egypt proved to be a momentous turning point in his life.

Since there was no resistance to his rule, it provided a perfect opportunity for him to show the Egyptians that he meant to be a benevolent ruler and respect their culture.

This was also the city where Alexander chose to found Alexandria, as he had seen it in a dream and been foretold by an oracle that it would become a major hub of trade and provide sustenance to the world.

In addition, Alexander ventured beyond the Mediterranean coast and into the Sahara Desert in order to visit an oracle at the sanctuary of Ammon, which ultimately gave him insight into his own purpose and destiny.

All of these events proved crucial for Alexander throughout his journey, as they enabled him to gain independence from past rulers and cement his legacy as one of Greece’s greatest conquerors.

Alexander’s Resourcefulness at the Battle of Gaugamela Secures His Empire and Capture of Babylon

After soundly defeating King Darius’s army in the Battle of Gaugamela, Alexander marched towards Babylon.

With the Persians defeated, it was time for the ancient Mesopotamian city to come back under Greek control and with that hope, Alexander entered.

Alexander was awed by what he saw when entering Babylon as the city was renowned for its huge walls – which sources say were at least 300 feet tall – and an impressive plan that featured hundreds of bronze gates and a perfect grid system.

The citizens of Babylon welcomed Alexander with open arms, excited to be freed from oppressive Persian rule, showering him with music, flowers and gifts.

His victory was truly an astonishing one – upon arriving in Babylon his empire now spanned three continents, containing a multitude of different ethnicities.

The Rise and Fall of Alexander the Great: From Ambitious Conquest to Unfortunate Error

Fall of Alexander the Great

Despite a major setback at the Persian Gates, Alexander was eventually able to conquer Persopolis, the capital of Persia.

He regrouped and discovered an alternative route through the mountains that allowed him to surprise the remaining forces and massacre them.

With Persepolis finally in his grasp, Alexander’s men saw it as a grand finale to their long struggle.

Though he likely wished to prevent further bloodshed in the city, Alexander knew that if he attempted to stop his men he would face a full-scale rebellion, so reluctantly chose not to intervene in the pillaging.

Sadly, once inside Persepolis, Alexander made a mistake that would live on with him for years – according to some reports, after drinking heavily at the Palace of Persepolis he was convinced by an Athenian woman to burn down much then palace in retaliation for Athens being burned down by the Persians 100 years prior.

While he quickly tried to contain the blaze it was too late – something which has been compared over time unfavorably with Helen of Troy’s role in starting The Trojan War.

Following this incident he set out on his quest for Darius but upon arrival found out that Bessus had latched on before him and killed Darius.

The cowardly act greatly saddened Alexander who had come to respect Darius as his adversary during this time.

Alexander Pushes His Men Through the Perilous Hindu Kush to Punish Bessus for Darius’ Murder

Alexander was determined to see justice for the cowardly betrayal of Darius by pursuing Bessus.

After giving a rousing and inspiring speech to motivate his troops, Alexander began a treacherous march that would eventually take him to India.

Along the way, he had to brave crossing one of the most treacherous mountain range known – the Hindu Kush mountains in present-day Afghanistan.

The army had to walk single file over mountains whose average height was 15,000 feet – a remarkable feat in the dead of winter!

Fortunately, Bessus didn’t anticipate Alexander’s crazy ambition and so didn’t expect him.

It took five arduous days for Alexander’s army to make it through this dangerous passage and finally confronted their target in the summer of 329 BC at the Bactrian region.

When Alexander finally met with Bessus, he flogged and tortured him before handing him over to Darius’s family who finished off with an execution.

As such, Alexander’s pursuit concluded with success as justice was restored for Darius once again.

Alexander’s Long Campaign Comes to an End When His Loyal Soldiers Urge Him to Return Home


Alexander the Great’s conquest was remarkable.

He achieved feats few even try to envisage, let alone conquer.

But when he and his army arrived at the banks of the Ganges River in India, they encountered a new kind of exhaustion.

It wasn’t physical but rather emotional; exhaustion caused by longing for their families and homes back in Macedonia that had only grown with each battle.

It was one of Alexander’s generals who best articulated this feeling when he addressed the troops accompanying Alexander on his mission.

He proclaimed that the men were proud to have come so far and conquered so much during the seven year journey, yet they wanted nothing more than to lay eyes on their home once again – a suggestion followed by loud cheers and applause.

This made it clear to Alexander that although this part of India had been fulfilled, he would need to build a new army with fresh Macedonian soldiers in order for them to continue onward any further.

In the end, Alexander made a hard decision: it was time for him and his army to turn around and head back home – yet another testament to his strength as a leader and innovator as well as an acknowledgement of forgiveness from him towards his weary soldiers after such an arduous path they took together.

Alexander’s Near-Death Experience Shows How Fragile Life Is and How Quickly We Can Leave it All Behind

Alexander the Great hardly experienced a peaceful death, dying at the ripe age of 32.

He had only returned from his campaign in India three years earlier, and already had ambitious plans for further expansions of his empire.

Alexander was determined to control the entire Arabian and North African coastline, as well as travel along the entire length of Africa’s coast on foot.

He even started to think about how he would respond to reports regarding a troublesome tribe called the Romans.

Unfortunately, his life was cut short before he could get far with any of these ideas and plans –– only three years after returning from India, Alexander passed away without being able to fully live out all that he had set out to do.

On his journey home from Babylon, he ignored warning signs from Chaldean priests not to enter while headed west towards the setting sun –– an omen commonly regarded as portentous of death.

That night he partook in excessive drinking and soon afterwards began feeling gravely ill until ultimately succumbing days later.

His last words were “To the strongest”; this phrase foreshadowing who would come next in line for power for much what was left of his expansive kingdom.

Alexander the Great’s Conquests Forever Transformed Eurasia and Shaped History

Alexander the Great’s legacy would live on and have far-reaching effects across the world.

His ten-year campaign, which extended Greek culture to large portions of Eurasia, left behind a lasting imprint on places like Persia, India and Rome.

In India, he forever transformed art and architecture; statues of Buddha in human form draw heavy inspiration from his statues of Apollo.

Alexander was remembered for his philosophical nature throughout Persia, even making an appearance in the Qur’an as a “philosopher-king”.

Furthermore, Greece would remain a primary language for intellectual pursuits in the Mediterranean region; this meant it was used not just by Romans but also Jews and early Christians who replicated the Gospels in Greek.

This allows us to speculate that Christianity wouldn’t have extended beyond Roman Palestine if it weren’t for Alexander’s impact on the world.

Other conquerors such as Julius Caesar, Augustus and Napoleon all took inspiration from him — but at no point did anyone ever manage to extend their empire further than Alexander himself did.

Wrap Up

The final summary of Alexander the Great is that he was a remarkable leader and one of the most accomplished commanders in history.

His conquest extended an initially small Macedonian empire to encompass not only Greece but also all the way east to India – making it one of the largest empires in antiquity.

Through a combination of strategic planning and his adept military abilities, Alexander unified numerous distinct cultures into one expansive realm under his control.

Even today, he remains an inspiration for those who long for greatness!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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