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Alexander & the Greeks
336 – 334 BC
336 BC
• Darius III becomes king of Persian
• Philip is murdered by Pausanias
• Alexander becomes kind of Macedonia,
Hegemon and Strategos of the
Corinthian League
336 BC
• Alexander inherits a ‘Hellenised’ Macedonia:
* young Macedonian noblemen learn Greek
literature, ideas, customs and beliefs
* Greek becomes official language of Macedonian
army and administration
Although during Philip’s time Athens preached against
‘uncivilised’ Macedonia and evil nature of Philip, and
convinced other Greek states to be allies against
* Athens & allies are defeated at Battle of
Chaeroneia in 338BC
*Philip then able to unite and befriend Greeks to
form an allied army capable of fighting the Persian
empire (a ‘Panhellenic Campaign’)
336 BC
Alexander inherits King Philip’s Legacy:
• a highly trained, disciplined and wellequipped army (Phalanx)
• Position of Hegemon (Federal Leader)
and Strategos (military commander of
the League’s forces)
336 BC
• Alexander is 20 years old, impatient and
anxious to do things his way, ‘leave his
• Very keen to be king
336 BC
Immediately after the death of Philip:
• An investigation is carried out and finds
the Lyncestis brothers (3) guilty of
plotting to kill Philip
• Alexander punishes Heromenes &
Arrhabaeus BUT Alexander Lyncestis is
pardoned despite evidence against him…
336 BC
• Alexander Lyncestis was the first person to
salute Alexander as the new king! “Hail king of
This appealed to Alexander’s ego – he was a
It also suggests that Alexander might have
been involved in Philip’s murder. If he were
truly angry and distressed, why not punish all
three brothers?
336 BC
• Alexander has a state funeral for Philip
with pomp and ceremony
• Assassinates those who threaten his
right to the throne:
*Amyntas killed
* Attalus killed
* Cleopatra & her baby killed (at
the request of Olympias)
336 BC
Alexander claims loyalty given to his
father (by Macedonian noblemen) was an
hereditary right:
* promised to follow father’s
336 BC
Alexander and the Greeks:
* punished rebels severely, rewarded those who
are loyal
League of Corinth important to Alexander:
• Control over Greek states, Athenian fleet,
Greek armies
• Maintain peace in Greece
• Lead the allied troops in ‘religious war of
revenge’ against Persia
Alexander wants to befriend the Greeks
League of Corinth
• Determined the nature of the
relationship between Macedonia and
• Promised the Greek states:
*exemption of military occupation
*ability to rule their own affairs
• Rival Greek states were forced to unite
under the terms of the LOC
• Relationship between Greeks &
Macedonia is mistrust, fear, and hatred
• Greeks hated Macedonian rule
335 BC
First Greek Rebellions:
• Alexander avoids confrontation with Thessalian
cavalry (waiting to do battle against him), he follows a
narrow, unusual route and enters the city.
• Thessalians has no choice but to welcome him
• Recognise him as Archon, allow him use of cavalry
This shows Alexander’s ingenuity: master strategist,
conquering by surprising the enemy.
335 BC
• New king of Persia, Darius III, decides
to reclaim authority over Greek states
• Sends agents with gold to encourage
Greeks to rebel against Macedonia
• A rumour starts that Alexander had
been killed in the north
335 BC
• Second Greek rebellions:
• With the promise of help from Athens
(whose leader accepts Persian money)
Thebes rises up against Macedonia
• They only believe Alexander’s alive when
he’s outside the city gates!
335 BC
• Alexander offers Thebans an amnesty,
only the surrender of two rebels
• Thebans reply by inviting anyone to join
them and the Persians “free Greece
from tyrants”
• Alexander is furious and orders attack
335 BC
• The Macedonian phalanx pushes into the city:
battle becomes a massacre (6000 Thebans
• Alexander treats the rebellion as an
infringement of the Common Peace of the
Corinthian League – decision about its fate
went to his allies
• City of Thebes to be razed to the ground,
territory divided between allies, and survivors
enslaved – 30,000 Thebans enslaved
Why did Alexander punish
Thebes so severely?
• JR Hamilton calls it “a calculated act of
terrorism on the part of Alexander”
• It would teach other Greek states a lesson
(strike fear in them)
• Now he could build a relationship with them:
they had no choice but to accept him as
• Greek states apologise to him – Athens even
sent a congratulation on his safe return and
defeating Thebes!
• What do Alexander’s actions tell you about
him as a leader?
• King Agis wants an allied rebellion to
overthrown Macedonia
• First rebellion, they defeat Macedonia with
20,000 infantry and 2000 cavalry
• Second rebellion, with the help of money &
ships from Darius, they fight against
Antipater and his 40,000 troops at
• Agis is defeated and killed
• Alexander forces Sparta to join Corinthian
Alexander & the Greeks:
Things to note
• Alexander determined (prepared to do
anything to achieve firm control)
• Military ingenuity
• Skill and energy, speed of movement
• Had firm control over Greeks because he
knew they were hostile to Macedonian rule
• He needed them for military reasons and
because it strengthened his political position
• Greeks supported war against Persia
What do the rebellions tell us?
• Determination of Greeks to overthrow
Macedonian rule
• Superiority of Macedonian army
• Alexander’s keenness to maintain the
League of Corinth
How did the Greeks
contribute to Alexander’s
• Supplied him with support for invasion of
• Supplied him with troops & naval fleet
• Athens was the excuse he needed to invade
Persia (revenge)
• Alexander admired Greek culture, esp Athens
• Did Greek states cause more trouble than
they were worth, with constant threats of