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[[File: Alex 3.jpg|200px|thumb|left|Bust of Ptolemy later Ptolemy I of Egypt]]
==The early death of Alexander==
Alexander died after a short illness in the former palace of the Babylonian kings. The sudden demise of a man who seemed a force of nature and widely seen as a demi-god, shocked even his own enemies. Many, at the time believed that he was poisoned possibly by one of his generals. There had been conspiracies before aimed at Alexander such as the ‘Conspiracy of the Pages’ <ref>Arrian, 6, 7</ref>. However, most scholars and medical experts argue that he died of either the complications of a wound, he had received in India or from typhoid fever. The sudden death of the greatest monarch of his time left a power vacuum in his state. There was no central authority, and this was very destabilizing. Alexander had ruled as an autocrat and anyone who opposed him could technically be executed. He was the absolute ruler of his territories and had controlled both his army and satraps very tightly despite his constant campaigning <ref>Plutarch, xi, x</ref>. The sudden removal of this pivotal figure allowed ambitious individuals to pursue their own interests. The death of Alexander meant that the army did not have a single leader. Rival generals ignored their superiors and followed their own interests and this was to the detriment of the unity of the Empire. Immediately after the death of Alexander, at the Compromise of Babylon, which prevented a civil war, the generals divided the conquests into their respective spheres of influence<ref>Shipley, Graham. The Greek World After Alexander. Routledge History of the Ancient World. (Routledge, New York, 2000), p 113</ref>.
==Lack of a successor==
Remarkably while Alexander left a will, ordering further conquest and ambitious construction projects he did not state who should succeed him and wear the crown. The death of Alexander meant that his throne and all his realms should have passed to his heir<ref> Shipley, p 17 </ref>. This was far from straightforward. He had an infant son but he was declared to be illegitimate. His lawful wife was pregnant, but it was not certain if the baby would live or if it would be a male. Under Macedonian succession law only males could be crowned. However, his half-brother was alive and was in his twenties. Under the Compromise of Babylon, he was recognized as Philip III Arrhidaeus. He had accompanied Alexander on all his campaigns and was present at his death. Phillip appears to have had some intellectual disability and was not capable of ruling. He soon became the pawn of the generals and especially Perdiccas. When Roxanne, Alexander’s wife gave birth to a boy, he was named as Alexander IV of Macedonia. Perdiccas sent them to Pella where they were held as virtually prisoners. The real power lay now with the generals and the heirs of Alexander were only puppets. Phillip III and Alexander IV were both assassinated and with them ended the line of Alexander. The lack of an able and mature successor meant that the Empire was almost bound to fall into a state of civil war. When there was no clear succession plan in kingdoms in the ancient world instability inevitably followed the death of the monarch. Without a strong king at the head of the army and the state, power fell into the hands of the strongest and these were the generals. They had become very ambitious, even during the lifetime of Alexander. Many of them when they served as satrapies often acted like independent monarchs. The lack of a ruler meant that power passed to the generals and they began a series of power struggles that caused the unified Empire of Alexander to fragment into a series of different successor states <ref>Shipley, p 15</ref>.