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Alexander the Great was probably the greatest general of all time and his conquests and brief reign changed the history of the world. Once the great Macedonian had dreamt of a universal Empire that encompassed the known world. However, the realm that he created did not long survive and quickly fragmented. Within a few years of his death, Macedonian generals had divided his territories into a number of different Hellenistic states. The sudden collapse of the Empire that Alexander built, was due to a number of factors. These include the early and the rather unexpected death of the great king, absence of a capable successor, rebellious generals, and the sheer extent of the territories, meant that the vast Empire collapsed into a series of warring kingdoms.
[[File: Alex One.jpg|200px|thumb|left| Alexander the Great]]
Alexander the Great became king of Macedonia after the death of his father, Phillip II. He had inherited a powerful kingdom and a full treasury, but above all, he had inherited the Macedonian army often regarded as among the greatest fighting forces in the history of warfare. After putting down a rebellion in Greece and securing Macedonia’s frontiers he launched an invasion of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, which spanned much of Western Asia. He claimed that he was waging a war of revenge in retaliation for the two earlier Persian invasions of Greece <ref> Arrian, Campaigns of Alexander, I, 56</ref>. Alexander defeated the Persians at the River Granicus (332 BC) and he swiftly conquered all of Asia Minor (Turkey). The Great Persona King Darius II assembled a large army and confronted Alexander at the River Issus (332BC). The Macedonian was once again victorious, and he went on to capture Egypt. The Achaemenid monarch offered to cede to the son of Phillip II, the western portion of his Empire if he stopped his aggression. Alexander rejected this and invaded the heartland of the Persian state. At the battle of Gaugamela, he utterly defeated Darius II and went on to annex all of Persia. The Macedonian monarch pursued Darius II into Central Asia, who was later assassinated by one of his own generals. Alexander’s conquests provided a great administrative challenge and he adopted the Persian system of satrapies or semi-autonomous territorial units, which were ruled by his Macedonian lieutenant. He also adopted a conciliatory policy towards the Persians, as evidenced by his treatment of the family of Darius’<ref> Plutarch. Life of Alexander, v, ix</ref>. Alexander alienated many of his generals by his actions. In particular, they disliked the fact that he began to assume the prerogatives and manners of an Oriental monarch and was introducing Persians into the army <ref> Arrian, 4, 67</ref>. The conqueror was not content with his vast domains and wanted to conquer the known world. He invaded north-west India and successfully annexed several kingdoms before his troops mutinied and forced him to turn back. The retreat from India was a disaster and many died crossing the arid Marakan region. Alexander returned to Babylon, but he soon developed a fever and fell gravely ill and died at the age of 32 in 322 BC.