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Alexander the Great Lesson for Kids: Battles & Conquests

Instructor: David Wilson

David has taught college history and holds an MA in history.

Perhaps the greatest military leader in history, Alexander the Great conquered the known world, creating an empire stretching from Greece to India. Learn about his incredible victories and stories in this lesson.

The Great King

What would you like to do by age 30? Perhaps you want to climb a mountain, or go hang-gliding, or even have kids of your own. Now imagine conquering all the parts of the known world! One man did so - King Alexander III of Macedon - and for this incredible achievement he is remembered in history as Alexander the Great. His strength as a leader and his intelligence on the battlefield meant that he defeated almost every enemy that he ever came across.

Starting Off

You don't take over the world all in one go: you start small. Alexander began his lifelong conquests as a teenager near his own home. He fought in the Battle of Chaeronea (pronounced kai-row-knee-ah) in 338 BC under his father, King Philip of Macedon. Macedon is a region in northern Greece, and the battle was fought between the Macedonians and their Greek neighbors. Alexander helped win the battle, but soon afterwards his father died, making Alexander a king with the task of conquest.

Bust of Alexander the Great
Alexander sculpture

Alexander had to pacify, or keep calm and obedient, the neighboring Greeks. He dreamed of conquering the nearby Persian Empire, which controlled almost all of the Middle East. To get all of Greece on his side, he defeated the last foes in the area and brought together allies. After taking over Greek city-states like Athens, Corinth, and Thebes, Alexander could challenge the Persians.

Famous Fights

While Alexander is remembered for a number of his conquests, without a doubt his most famous battles were against the Persians. The Persian army had a huge number of soldiers, perhaps as many as double the army of the Greeks. Alexander could have been frightened by such a massive enemy, but instead he decided to face them down while leading the charge on his horse, Bucephalus.

Alexander fought the Persians and their Emperor Darius at the Battle of Guagamela. While Darius had huge numbers and even war elephants, Alexander charged directly at the emperor on his chariot. Darius ran away, causing the Persian army to lose heart. With that defeat, the Persians never recovered.

Alexander the Great in battle
Alexander in battle

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