Alexander of Macedon, also known as Alexander the Great, was the son of Philip II of Macedon and inherited the Kingdom from him when Philip was assassinated. Philip had taken pains to see that Alexander was prepared to rule, and had arranged for him to be tutored by Aristotle. Aristotle taught Alexander about Greek culture and literature; an influence which Alexander retained for the remainder of his life. He ruled Macedon as Philip's regent from the age of sixteen and fought at the Battle of Chaeronea when he was eighteen. This early exposure to battle prepared him for life as a soldier.
Philip had planned an invasion of Persia before his death; and Alexander took up the project when he succeeded his father. He invaded Asia Minor and took with him philosophers and scientists to study the area. Before reaching Persia, he invaded Egypt where he visited the Oracle of Zeus-Amon. No one but Alexander entered the Oracle, and when he exited, he informed his aides that he was the son of Zeus. Whether he believed this or not, it did seem to inspire him and his troops.
When Alexander reached Persia, he destroyed the capital of Persepolis, and continued on through Asia to the Indus River in India. He had hoped to continue; but his troops threatened to mutiny and he was forced to change directions. Thereafter he invaded Arabia and reached Babylon where he died at age 33.
Because of his claim to be descended from a God, many depictions of Alexander show him as youthful and god-like. In fact he was neither tall nor physically attractive. He was bent to long instances of drunkenness; in fact during one such incident, he killed an advisor who dared disagree with him by suggesting that Alexander should not be modest in denying his own greatness.
Throughout his adult life, Alexander kept a male lover known as Hephaestus. Hephaestus died before Alexander, and he was inconsolable. He was in the process of building a magnificent mausoleum for his dead friend when he himself died, scarcely six months later. After his death, his Empire was divided between three of his commanders. Ptolemy took Egypt; Antigone took Greece, and Seleucid took Persia.
Among his accomplishments, Alexander was responsible for the spread of Greek culture throughout the Western world. The city of Alexandria in Egypt is named for him. So pervasive was his influence that the rule of Alexander is commonly known as the Hellenistic Age.