Alexander the Great Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Crystal Ladwig
What do you think someone has to do to get the word great added to their name? Read on to learn about Alexander the Great's life and what he did that was so great.

Alexander's Early Years

Alexander was a prince born in 356 BCE (before the Common Era). His dad, King Philip II, ruled a land called Macedonia, which was just to the north of Greece.

His father was away at war a lot, so his mother, tutors, and other people who helped the royal family raised him. His most famous tutor was the philosopher Aristotle. From Aristotle and his other tutors, young Alexander learned drama, music, reading, poetry, philosophy, math, horsemanship, hunting, and how to fight.

Although a young king, Alexander was one of the most powerful leaders the world has ever known.
Alexander the Great bust

What Alexander really enjoyed most was fighting. He became skilled at war, both planning attacks as well as actually carrying them out. He also loved his horse. Legend has it that his father wanted to buy a new horse, but it was too wild. Alexander convinced his father to let him have the horse if he could ride it, and he did. This horse, Bucephalus, became Alexander's closest fighting companion. As an adult, he even named a city after his horse--Bucephala.

At the age of 16, Alexander became a soldier. Three years later, when Alexander was only 19, his father was murdered, and he became king.

Alexander the Great

Alexander is called Alexander the Great mainly because of his many conquests, which are like large military battles where one side takes over the other. In fact, Alexander the Great is considered to be one of the greatest military leaders of all time. During his time as king, Alexander created one of the largest empires of ancient times.

Alexander used cavalry (soldiers on horseback) to help defeat his enemies.
Alexander and Bucephalus

The Great Warrior

Almost all of Alexander's time as king was spent at war. It took him about three years to gain total control over his homeland of Macedonia and the land to the south, Greece. Then he set his sights on conquering the Persian Empire across the Aegean Sea. In 333 BCE, at only 23 years of age, his great military strategies allowed him to defeat the Persians. After he captured King Darius of Persia, he declared himself King of Persia.

Then Alexander set out for Egypt. With the strength of his forces and his smart ways of fighting, Egypt was defeated in only two years. There, Alexander created and started building the city of Alexandria (named after himself). It would become one of the greatest cities in the ancient world as a center of Greek culture, trade, and knowledge.

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