The Hellenistic Age • Alexander the Great
Objective: Create a timeline showing major events from Alexander's life and explain why those events were chosen.
- Why do you think Alexander the Great was such a successful conqueror?
- Why was Alexander's defeat of Persian king Darius III so important?
Notes on Implementation:
- Extend learning by having students choose one of the events from their timelines to write about.
- Engage in cross-cultural comparisons by having students compare and contrast Alexander the Great and other powerful conquerors or empire builders, such as Julius Caesar or Candra Gupta Maurya.
- If students need support, provide them with a list of events to find as they read and watch the videos. When students find the event, they should add the date. Finally, students should put the events in order. This can serve as the outline of a timeline.
Student Activity: Students can access the below activity in the Hellenistic Age Topic Center within the World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras database.
During the fourth century BCE, Macedonian king and conqueror Alexander the Great created a large empire by leading his army to a series of victories throughout the Mediterranean world and the Near East. Though Alexander's vast empire fell apart into different kingdoms soon after his death, his legacy persisted through the spread of Greek culture, customs, and ideas in the regions he had conquered.
In this activity, you will read and watch videos to learn about Alexander the Great. Then you will create a timeline showing the main events of his life.
- Alexander the Great: Overview
- Alexander the Great: Introduction
- Philip II and Rise of Alexander
- Alexander's Career and Conquests
- A Great General vs. a Great King
- Begin by reviewing the Resources to learn about Alexander the Great. As you read and watch the videos, take notes about major events in his life.
- Create and illustrate a timeline showing the major events of Alexander the Great's life. Your timeline should begin with his birth in 356 BCE and end with his death in 323 BCE. (Remember, because Alexander lived before the Common Era, the years count down instead of up.) Choose five events between Alexander's birth and death dates that represent major milestones in his life and rule. For each event include the year that it occurred, an illustration, and one or two sentences about the relevance of the event. If needed, conduct additional research to find more specific information. Be prepared to defend your decisions for choosing the events you do.
- Present your timeline. Explain why you chose the events on your timeline and how they influenced history.
- Discuss what you learned about Alexander the Great with a small group of peers. How did his childhood influence events in his life? Why was the defeat of Darius III important? What made Alexander so successful? Do you think these same traits and leadership skills would make Alexander "great" today? Why or why not? What do you think would have happened if he had not died at such a young age?
- Strong leadership results in success of political and military campaigns
Possible Answers for Activity:
Students' timelines should include the dates of Alexander the Great's birth and death, as well as at least five events between those dates, such as:
- 356 BCE: Alexander is born in Macedonia, to Philip II and Olympias; Philip is king of Macedonia
- 338 BCE: Alexander joins Philip in the successful Battle of Chaeronea
- 336 BCE: Philip is assassinated, and Alexander becomes the ruler of Macedonia
- 334 BCE: Alexander beats Darius III of Persia at the Battle of the Granicus
- 333 BCE: Despite being greatly outnumbered, Alexander beats Darius at the Battle of Issus
- 332 BCE: Alexander wins the siege of Tyre; defeats a much-feared Phoenician/Persian fleet; and leads a successful attack on Gaza
- 332–331 BCE: Alexander moves to Egypt, where he is revered and hailed as a liberator; he founds Alexandria, Egypt, which becomes one of the most important cultural and educational centers of its time
- 331 BCE: Alexander defeats the Persian Army at the Battle of Gaugamela; Darius is murdered; Alexander assumes rule of Persia
- 329 BCE: Alexander extends the empire east across the Hindu Kush, to Bactria, and Samarkand
- 327 BCE: Alexander marries Sogdian princess Roxana
- 326 BCE: Alexander returns to Persia when his troops refuse to go further
- 323 BCE: Alexander dies at the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon
"Alexander the Great." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com. Accessed 15 Sept. 2019.