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Throughout history, many individuals have established themselves as leaders and warriors. From demonstrating strategic military prowess to displaying impressive feats of strength and combat, these legendary fighters made their mark on history to inspire future generations. Among these warriors, an individual who stands out is Alexander the Great. Regarded as a genuine military genius, Alexander the Great is responsible for establishing the largest empire of the ancient world, and his militaristic exploits imparted a lasting influence on society and culture that remains renowned even today.


Early Life

Legends suggest Alexander’s father was the Greek god Zeus; even devoid of this mythological relation, Alexander’s birthright is impressive. In 356 BCE, Alexander was born to King Philip II and Queen Olympias in Macedonia. King Philip II was an accomplished leader with bold aspirations. He was compelled by a desire to challenge and conquer the massive Persian empire, but the king was unable to achieve this goal.

Growing up, Alexander received a diversified education; his father wanted to raise a refined, well-rounded future king, so Alexander was subject to an intense and extensive education including lessons in horseback riding, fighting, reading, writing, and philosophy. In fact, Alexander was tutored in philosophy by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, and his teaching method greatly influenced Alexander’s leadership; when he conquered other nations, he never forced his beliefs on those he conquered. Instead, he introduced Greek culture to the conquered peoples in a way that promoted critical thought and consideration.

An impressive feat from Alexander’s childhood was when he tamed the horse known as Bucephalus which was a fearsome beast with a temper. This horse served as Alexander’s mount and companion for many years.



After his father was assassinated in 336 BCE, Alexander ascended the throne at the age of 20 years. To assert his claim to the throne, he killed his rivals so they could not challenge him.

One of Alexander’s first endeavors as king was to lay siege to the Persian Empire as his father had aspired to do. Over the course of the next ten or so years, Alexander attacked, razed, and conquered cities within the Persian Empire. His troops sacked Baalbek, liberated Ephesos, and conquered Aleppo, though these are just a few of his exploits.

In Egypt, Alexander founded the city of Alexandria. Influenced by Aristotle, Alexander did not push his own beliefs and thoughts onto the inhabitants of conquered cities; in exchange for safe travel and open trade routes to supply resources to his troops, Alexander permitted freedom of religion and thought—those who opposed him, however, were ruthlessly struck down and often executed for their rebellion.

In 331 BCE, Alexander became the king of Persia at the age of 25. The remainder of his life was devoted to founding cities and expanding his empire.


Leadership Style

While Alexander the Great’s military tactics are certainly held in high regard, he led with more than just physical might. In addition to his strategic and fearless approach to battle, Alexander was also considered charming, charismatic, and all around brilliant. These qualities inspired fierce loyalty in Alexander’s people, so much so that they were willing to fight for and defend his vision of the future with their lives. 



The claim that Alexander the Great was the son of a god did not originate from legend itself. In reality, he himself promoted this belief, claiming he was a demigod and the son of Zeus. His mother, Olympias, also endorsed the myth, claiming his birth was a virgin birth and that Zeus had impregnated her directly.

Throughout the Persian campaign, Alexander increasingly became compelled by his own mysticism, and various exploits throughout the campaign further encouraged him. After founding Alexandria, he visited the Oracle of Siwa and was named the son of the god Zeus-Ammon

He worked to develop his public persona as a godly ruler, granting himself the Persian title ShahanShah (meaning “King of kings”) as he continued to conquer the land and found cities of his own. He also adopted Persian practices such as proskynesis, which required his subjects to kneel and kiss his hand prior to addressing him.

Alexander’s obsession with his own deification as well as Persian cultural practices led to unease amongst his troops, and several assassination plans were hatched and ultimately foiled. Those who were responsible were executed regardless of their relationship to the king.


Over the course of Alexander’s leadership, he never lost a battle. His military prowess was unparalleled. In the end, he died not by the hand of an enemy soldier but instead by fever at the age of 32 years. Having spread Greek culture across the entire Persian empire, Alexander’s influence and military campaign ultimately brought about the rise of the Hellenistic Period in which Greek culture melded with indigenous cultures.

Though Alexander the Great lived a relatively short life, his military brilliance and unmatched charisma have helped to establish him as a prolific historical figure whose influence has persisted for thousands of years.


Jorge J. Perez is an attorney in South Florida. He is passionate about history, particularly that which predates the 20th century.