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Current time:0:00Total duration:11:14

Video transcript

I'm going to talk about one of the most famous conquerors in all of human history and that is Alexander the Great but before talking about all of the things that he conquered let's think about how he got started out and in particular how he's able to consolidate control over the empire that his father begins so in the last video we saw that exiting the Peloponnesian War the Greeks were weak sparta and its allies the Peloponnesian League they had won but the the Greeks were ripe for being conquered and they end up being conquered by Philip the second King of Macedonia and he rules from Pella and shortly after he becomes king his son his first son Alexander is born and Alexander is the son that Philip has with Olympius Olympius is the is the daughter of the king of Molossia which makes her Melosh ian and not macedonian which is going to be somewhat important later on when philip ii dies but the early part of Alexander's life is quite good and he seems to be in favor with his father Philip the second after all Alexander seems like a decent heir to the throne the early in his life he gets from his father what is arguably the best tutor for sure of the time probably the best tutor in human history in Aristotle and the way that his father convinces two convinces him to tutor Alexander when Alexander's 13 and he to tourism from when Alexander is about 13 to about 16 is Philip destroys Aristotle's village of Stowe gira as he as he conquers Greece and Aristotle says okay sure I'll I'll tutor your son but in it in exchange for that why don't you rebuild my hometown and free all of the people who had been enslaved after the town was conquered and so Philip agrees Alexander gets a great tutor there's also the stories of how Alexander carried favor with his father by taming the famous horse Bucephalus who Alexander will eventually ride into Asia he conquers the Persian Empire and beyond and Phillip very proud of his young son being able to conquer this seemingly untamable horse as Philip conquers as he conquers Greece Alexander is alongside him leading troops showing him to be a capable military general a capable leader so all seems to be working out well for Alexander until Philip takes up his what ends up being his seventh and last wife until then Olympius was his favoured wife and Olympius is a bit of a character at least from the point of historians you should take all of this with a grain of salt because many of these histories and these stories were written hundreds of years later and so it's not clear how much was a true account versus how much was made up but beyond Olympius not being macedonian she is from melosa as she is also according to Plutarch part of the cult of Dionysus and she worships snakes and potentially even sleeps with snakes which is really off-putting to a lot of the Macedonians and so when King Philip in three around three thirty seven or 338 finds a Macedonian to marry and her name is Cleopatra not the famous Cleopatra from history we'll talk about her a few in a few hundred years but you see here philip ii he takes his seventh wife i don't list them all here i only list Olympius here who he marries in 357 BCE and then they have Alexander born Alexander the third shortly thereafter the next year they also have another daughter Cleopatra once again not the the Cleopatra when people refer to it in history but then around three thirty seven or 338 BCE he takes his seventh wife and this seventh wife is also named Cleopatra she is Macedonian Philip renames her eurid Eurydice after his after his mother and so you can imagine this is already a little bit threatening because well what if this Cleopatra has a son and he eventually does have a son and now that son would be pure Macedonian as opposed to Alexander who is only half macedonian and this becomes quite pointed at the wedding of philip and cleopatra the Macedonian Cleopatra in 337 or 338 BCE when we have this account and once again take all of this with a grain of salt this is an account by Plutarch that was written 400 years later but Plutarch writes at the wedding of Cleopatra this is Cleopatra Eurydice this is the Macedonian Cleopatra the young one whom Philip fell in love with and married she being much too young for him her uncle Attalus and you see him on our little family tree here this is Cleopatra's uncle Attalus a Macedonian her uncle Attalus in his drink desired the Macedonians would implore the gods to give them a lawful successor to the kingdom by his niece let me underline that give them a lawful successor to the kingdom you might be saying wait I thought Alexander was a lawful successor Alexander is probably thinking the same thing this so irritated Alexander that throwing one of the cups at his head throwing it at at Attalus his head you villain he said what am i then a bastard then Philip Alexander's dad taking a delicious part so he didn't take his son side he take the side of his in-laws rose up and would have run his son through but by good fortune for them both either his over-hasty rage or the wine he had drunk made his foot slip so that he fell down on the floor at which Alexander reproachfully insulted over him see there said he the man who makes preparations to pass out of Europe into Asia overturned in passing from one seat to another so this account by Plutarch is even vaguely true it shows this real tension that is forming between Alexander and his father and it's of course being goaded on or likely to be goaded on by his mother Olympius who was the primary wife for a little bit but now she's being pushed aside in favor of this Macedonian Cleopatra and so she actually goes into voluntary exile Alexander follows her and so things are quite tense and they really come to a boiling point or I guess everything gets released a year or two later when Olympius is other child Cleopatra the other Cleopatra not Cleopatra Eurydice and not the famous Cleopatra from history she gets married to Olympia cies brother and so she's marrying her uncle and many strange things happen like this in the ancient world this is 336 BCE and this is the famous wedding where philip ii is assassinated by his bodyguard who was likely philip ii former lover but once philip ii gets assassinated you could imagine that many people are wanting to have a go at the throne in particular alexander aided by his mother Olympius and so immediately there tends there starts to be a consolidation of power and the first way to consolidate power is to kill off all of the folks who might threaten you and so Olympius and alexander and many historians a give credit mainly to Olympius some say Alexander was involved more or less but they go on a killing spree Europa is killed Karen s is killed these are the children of Cleopatra Eurydice at the time of this we're talking 336 335 BCE these would have been they would have been toddlers they would have been two at most three years old they are being killed there are some accounts that Cleopatra is killed or she is forced to hang herself there's some accounts that some combination of them are burned alive Alexander goes after Atlas the famous uncle who insulted him at the wedding party only a few years ago he kills his cousin a - who might have had a claim to the throne other princess so this is this bloody bloody period so even though sometimes people glorify some of these rulers like Alexander the Great that know they unified all these people and they pushed culture throughout the world or however you want to talk about it they came to they usually come to power in very brutal ways and they're conquering is also very brutal know what you really really shouldn't romanticise oh let's conquer other people a war is ugly and when there's multiple factions coming to a throne that is also ugly so we are for early after philip ii death alexander with the help of his mother is able to consolidate power within his family really secure his place as the king of the makedonia nor the Macedonian Empire and so the next thing is is to secure his hold on the empire militarily and you immediately start having rebellions to the north and west of Macedon or makkad on and so in particular the illyrians which is in modern-day Albania so this region right over here they start to revolt Alexander goes and makes a point of seeing seeing the pass at Pelham this is a very strategic location but while he's there with his military forces so while he's there with his military forces you can imagine the other city steeped States of Greece in particular Athens and Thebes say hey now's our chance the King King Philip is dead Alexander is out fighting with the illyrians let's rise up and regain our independence and many of them thought that Alexander might have already died in a previous military campaign and so you can imagine they were very surprised after Alexander took control through a siege at Pelham and is able to come down surprisingly quickly he really makes his soldiers march hundreds of kilometers in a matter of weeks to come down to come down and put down the rebellion from his point of view at Thebes and the Thebans refused to stop rebelling and so in retaliation Alexander the Great completely destroys Thebes this famous this famous city of antiquity this you know only a few decades before this time the leading city-state in all of Greece and so he destroys Thebes he enslaves its people but that's what allows him to essentially scare the rest of the city states of Greece to come in line he hasn't conquered Sparta or his empire hasn't conquered Sparta that'll happen soon but the rest but it really consolidates his power and now we're talking 335 BCE he's ready to think about doing what his father was playing and going off and trying to conquer Asia