Alexander was born in 356 B.C. As a boy, he was tutored in Greek culture—history, science, philosophy, and medicine—and military tactics. Meanwhile, his father, King Phillip II of Macedonia, waged war. Philip aimed to control Greece, then take over the much larger kingdom of Persia.
In 336 B.C., Philip was killed. Alexander took the throne and set out to finish what his father had started.
Victory after victory allowed him to seize territory through much of the Middle East and part of North Africa. In 331 B.C., he finally defeated Persia’s king—and won his empire.
But whatever drove Alexander—be it hunger for power, wealth, or fame—he wasn’t satisfied. He kept going, making it as far east as what today is India (see map, below).