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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.
[[File: A;ex 2.jpg|200px|thumb|left|Painting of a Macedonian soldier from a 3rd century BC tomb]]
==Civil War and Disintegration==
The generals in the army soon usurped control of the Empire. They at first agreed to cooperate and to hold together the Empire in the name of Alexander’s brother who was crowned King Phillip III. Alexander’s infant son from his wife Roxana was made co-ruler with Phillip III after his birth. The royal family was sent to Macedonia to the royal capital at Pella. The great general Perdiccas was the Regent and he was technically the supreme commander of the army. Immediately there were problems and the Macedonian generals began to pursue their own interests and formed their own private armies. There were several conspiracies involving members of the dead king’s extended family. Moreover, many of the generals became suspicious of Perdiccas who seemed to be seeking to make himself sole ruler of the Empire of Alexander <ref> Hornblower, Simon, and Spawforth, Tony. Who's Who in the Classical World (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 238 </ref>. This led to the first War of the Diadochi or Successors of Alexander. By 321 AD Ptolemy the satrap of Egypt was acting like an independent ruler and when he seized the body of Alexander, it was seen as an attempt to make himself the great general’s heir. Perdiccas attempted to invade Egypt but he bungled the crossing of the Nile and he was later assassinated by his own generals. Antigonus defeated Eumenes, who had regarded himself as the successor of Perdiccas and he became the most powerful ruler in the lands conquered by Alexander <ref> Hornblower and Spawforth, p. 167</ref>. However, much of the Empire was outside of his control and Antigonus sought to reunite all the lands that had been formerly controlled, by the greatest Macedonian king. There were three more civil wars, between the successors of Alexander that ravaged an area from Greece to Central Asia. At this time, Seleucus was forced to concede, the satrapies in India to the rising regional superpower the Mauryan kingdom. The fourth Diadochi war was decided at the Battle of Ipsus (301 AD). Here Antigonus was defeat by a coalition led by Seleucus <Hornblower and Spawforth, p 189</ref>. The aftermath of the battle was the final partition of the Macedonian Empire. There were no further attempts to reunify the lands conquered by Alexander the Great. After some more wars, by 280 BC, Alexander’s conquests were finally divided between the Seleucids in Asia, the Ptolemies in Egypt, and the Antigonids in Macedonia. These kingdoms proved durable and the successor states endured for roughly 200 years.