Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of twenty. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, and he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world by the age of thirty, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history’s most successful military commanders.
During his youth, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16. After Philip’s assassination in 336 BC, he succeeded his father to the throne and inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father’s Panhellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of Persia. In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire) and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Following the conquest of Anatolia, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew Persian King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.
He sought to reach the “ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea” and invaded India in 326 BC, winning an important victory over the Pauravas at the Battle of the Hydaspes. He eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in the establishment of several states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander’s surviving generals and heirs.
Last Three Wishes
On his death bed, Alexander summoned his army generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:
- The best doctors should carry his coffin…
- The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery…
- His hands should be let loose, so they hang outside the coffin for all to see!!
One of his generals who was surprised by these unusual requests asked Alexander to explain.
Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:
- “I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal ..”
- “I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, will stay on earth…”
- I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is: TIME.
We do not take to our grave any material wealth. TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more TIME.
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