Alexander the Great was the son of King Philip of Macedonia, a kingdom just north of modern-day Greece. As a child he already showed the spark, the daring and the courage which would flame to light as he grew up and became Alexander the Great.
Legend tells of a horse named Bucephalus. A horse that none could train. King Philip was ordering it killed when Alexander intervened. Although only twelve, he offered to try and subdue the horse. Reluctantly, his father agreed.
Alexander succeeded. He tamed the horse, who was thereafter his faithful companion till death. Bucephalus brought Alexander into and through many military campaigns. Alexander even named a city after him: Bucephala.
After his father died, Alexander succeeded to the throne at the young age of eighteen. Although young, his determination and desire for conquest were large. He rode into Greece and conquered everything except Sparta.
After subduing the Hellene city-states, he rode east, sweeping across the Middle East. He conquered Egypt, Mesopotamia and Persia. At the borders of India, his soldiers would go no further. Reluctantly, with many a backward glance at the land that might have been his, Alexander headed home. At some point in the journey, he fell ill. For days he lay on a cot in his tent, racked with a burning fever.
Fearing his end was near, he called his generals together one last time. When asked who would succeed him to kingship, for he had no heirs, he replied:
“The strongest.” And he died.
As would be expected, his generals commenced fighting amongst themselves to determine who would be the strongest. Failing to find one who was stronger than all the others, they came to the conclusion that they had to divide the kingdom.
They divided the land amongst themselves. There were larger and smaller kingdoms. One of these, Egypt, was claimed by a general called Ptolemy. His descendants would deal with Caesar of Rome at the times of Cleopatra. The empire Alexander had built was destroyed and the generals he’d trusted were at war with each other.
The world would never be the same again.