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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>
==The Scale of the Empire ==== The early death of Alexander and the absence of any heir that could control the ambitions of the generals and others were crucial factors in the disintegration of the Empire. However, there are those who argue that even if there had been an orderly succession and the army had remained united that it would have fragmented in due course. The sheer extent of Alexander’s realm is estimated to have been 2 million square miles (5 million kilometers). Communications at the time were very slow and , furthermore, the Macedonian Empire was very diverse and divided by religion, ethnicity, and language.
Alexander had the charisma and authority to impose his will on the regions. However, even he had to give a great deal of autonomy
to his governors and was troubled by rebellious satraps <ref> Arrian, 5, 78</ref>. The vast Empire would have been very hard to keep together even had the great conqueror lived and had a capable successor. Once he died, there was no central authority to maintain unity. The scale of the territories was such that it was almost impossible to govern effectively. Instead, local military leaders often usurped entire provinces with impunity and became de-facto independent. This situation repeated itself with Ptolemy in Egypt, Seleucus in Babylon and Lysimachus in Thrace.
The sheer scale of the conquests of Alexander allowed generals to carve out often large states. Moreover, the regions required these local strongmen, who could deal with issues on the spot. Only they could maintain order and defend the frontiers because any central authority would have been too far away and distant.<ref>Green, Peter. Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1990), p 113</ref> The need for these strong local rulers was another factor in the break-up of one of the largest Kingdoms in world history.