Darius III (c. 380 – July 330 BC), originally named Artashata and called Codomannus by the Greeks, was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, from 336 BC to 330 BC. Artashata adopted Darius as a dynastic name.
His empire was unstable, with large portions governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects.
In 334 BC, Alexander the Great began his invasion of the Persian Empire and subsequently defeated the Persians in a number of battles before looting and destroying their capital, Persepolis, by fire in 330 BC. With the Persian Empire now effectively under Alexander's control, Alexander then decided to pursue Darius. Before Alexander reached him, however, Darius was killed by his cousin Satrap Bessus.
|King of Persia|
King of Babylon
Pharaoh of Egypt
Detail of Darius III from the Alexander Mosaic
|King of Persia|
|Predecessor||Artaxerxes IV Arses|
|Successor||Alexander the Great |
Artaxerxes V Bessus (unofficially)
|Pharaoh of Egypt|
|Successor||Alexander the Great|
|Born||c. 380 BC|
|Died||July 330 BC (aged 49-50)|
|Father||Arsames of Ostanes|
Artashata was the son of Arsames, son of Ostanes; and Sisygambis, daughter of Artaxerxes II Mnemon. He had distinguished himself in a combat of champions in a war against the Cadusii and was serving at the time as a royal courier. However, prior to being appointed as a royal courier, he had served as a satrap of Armenia. He may have been promoted from his satrapy to the postal service after the ascension of Arses, for he is referred to as one of the king's "friends" at court after that occasion.
In 336 BC, he took the throne at the age of 43 after the death of Artaxerxes III and Arses. According to Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily, Artashata was installed by the vizier Bagoas, after the latter had poisoned the king Artaxerxes III and subsequently his sons, including Arses, who had succeeded him on the throne. However, a cuneiform tablet (now in the British Museum) suggests that Artaxerxes died from natural causes. Artashata took the regnal name Darius III, and quickly demonstrated his independence from his possible assassin benefactor. Bagoas then tried to poison Darius as well, when he learned that even Darius couldn't be controlled, but Darius was warned and forced Bagoas to drink the poison himself. The new king found himself in control of an unstable empire, large portions of which were governed by jealous and unreliable satraps and inhabited by disaffected and rebellious subjects, such as Khabash in Egypt. Compared to his ancestors and his fellow heirs who had since perished, Darius had a distinct lack of experience ruling an empire, and a lack of any previous ambition to do so. Darius was a ruler of entirely average stamp, without the striking talents and qualities which the administration of a vast empire required during that period of crisis.
In 336 BC Philip II of Macedon was authorized by the League of Corinth as its Hegemon to initiate a sacred war of vengeance against the Persians for desecrating and burning the Athenian temples during the Second Persian War, over a century before. He sent an advance force into Asia Minor under the command of his generals Parmenion and Attalus to liberate the Greeks living under Persian control. After they took the Greek cities of Asia from Troy to the Maiandros river, Philip was assassinated and his campaign was suspended while his heir consolidated his control of Macedonia and the rest of Greece.
In the spring of 334 BC, Philip's heir, Alexander, who had himself been confirmed as Hegemon by the League of Corinth, invaded Asia Minor at the head of an army of Macedonian and other Greek soldiers. This invasion, which marked the beginning of the Wars of Alexander the Great, was followed almost immediately by the victory of Alexander over the Persians at Battle of the Granicus. Darius never showed up for the battle, because there was no reason for him to suppose that Alexander intended to conquer the whole of Asia, and Darius may well have supposed that the satraps of the ‘lower’ satrapies could deal with the crisis, so he instead decided to remain at home in Persepolis and let his satraps handle it. In the previous invasion of Asia Minor by the Spartan king Agesilaus II, the Persians had pinned him in Asia Minor while fomenting rebellion in Greece. Darius attempted to employ the same strategy, with the Spartans rebelling against the Macedonians, but the Spartans were defeated at Megalopolis.
Darius did not actually take the field against Alexander’s army until a year and a half after Granicus, at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC. His forces outnumbered Alexander's soldiers by at least a 2 to 1 ratio, but Darius was still outflanked, defeated, and forced to flee. It is told by Arrian that at the Battle of Issus the moment the Persian left went to pieces under Alexander’s attack and Darius, in his war-chariot, saw that it was cut off, he incontinently fled – indeed, he led the race for safety. On the way, he left behind his chariot, his bow, and his royal mantle, all of which were later picked up by Alexander. Greek sources such as Diodorus Siculus' Library of History and Justin's Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum recount that Darius fled out of fear at the Battle of Issus and again two years later at the Battle of Gaugamela despite commanding a larger force in a defensive position each time. At the Battle of Issus, Darius III even caught Alexander by surprise and failed to defeat Alexander's forces. Darius fled so far so fast that Alexander was able to capture Darius’s headquarters and take Darius’s family as prisoners in the process. Darius petitioned to Alexander through letters several times to get his family back, but Alexander refused to do so unless Darius would acknowledge him as the new emperor of Persia.
Circumstances were more in Darius’s favor at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. He had a good number of troops who had been organized on the battlefield properly, he had the support of the armies of several of his satraps, and the ground on the battlefield was almost perfectly even, so as not to impede movement of his scythed chariots. Despite all these beneficial factors, he still fled the battle before any victor had been decided and deserted his experienced commanders as well as one of the largest armies ever assembled. Another source accounts that when Darius perceived the fierce attack of Alexander, as at Issus he turned his chariot around, and was the first to flee, once again abandoning all of his soldiers and his property to be taken by Alexander. Many Persian soldiers lost their lives that day, so many in fact that after the battle the casualties of the enemy ensured that Darius would never again raise an imperial army. Darius then fled to Ecbatana and attempted to raise a third army, while Alexander took possession of Babylon, Susa, and the Persian capital at Persepolis. Darius reportedly offered all of his empire west of the Euphrates River to Alexander in exchange for peace several times, each time denied by Alexander against the advice of his senior commanders. Alexander could have declared victory after the capture of Persepolis, but he instead decided to pursue Darius.
The Battle of Gaugamela, in which Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in 331 BC, took place approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Erbil, Iraq. After the battle, Darius managed to flee to the city. However, somewhat inaccurately, the confrontation is sometimes known as the "Battle of Arbela."
Darius did attempt to restore his once great army after his defeat at the hands of Alexander, but he failed to raise a force comparable to that which had fought at Gaugamela, partly because the defeat had undermined his authority, and also because Alexander’s liberal policy, for instance in Babylonia and in Persis, offered an acceptable alternative to Persian policies.
When at Ecbatana, Darius learned of Alexander's approaching army, he decided to retreat to Bactria where he could better use his cavalry and mercenary forces on the more even ground of the plains of Asia. He led his army through the Caspian Gates, the main road through the mountains that would work to slow a following army. Persian forces became increasingly demoralized with the constant threat of a surprise attack from Alexander, leading to many desertions and eventually a coup led by Bessus, a satrap, and Nabarzanes, who managed all audiences with the King and was in charge of the palace guard. The two men suggested to Darius that the army regroup under Bessus and that power would be transferred back to the King once Alexander was defeated. Darius obviously did not accept this plan and his conspirators became more anxious to remove him for his successive failures against Alexander and his forces. Patron, a Greek mercenary, encouraged Darius to accept a bodyguard of Greek mercenaries rather than his usual Persian guard to protect him from Bessus and Nabarzanes, but the King could not accept for political reasons and grew accustomed to his fate. Bessus and Nabarzanes eventually bound Darius and threw him in an ox-cart while they ordered the Persian forces to continue on. According to Curtius' History of Alexander, at this point Alexander and a small, mobile force arrived and threw the Persians into a panic, leading Bessus and two other conspirators, Satibarzanes and Barsaentes, to wound the king with their javelins and leave him to die.
A Macedonian soldier found Darius either dead or dying in the wagon shortly thereafter—a disappointment to Alexander, who wanted to capture Darius alive. Alexander saw Darius’s dead body in the wagon, and took the signet ring off the dead king’s finger. Afterwards he sent Darius’s body back to Persepolis, gave him a magnificent funeral and ordered that he be buried, like all his royal predecessors, in the royal tombs. Darius’s tomb has not yet been discovered. Alexander eventually married Darius' daughter Stateira at Susa in 324 BC.
With the old king defeated and given a proper burial, Alexander's rulership of Persia became official. This led to Darius being regarded by some historians as cowardly and inefficient, as under his rulership, the entirety of the Persian Empire fell to a foreign invader. After killing Darius, Bessus took the regal name Artaxerxes V and began calling himself the King of Asia. He was subsequently captured by Alexander, tortured, and executed. Another of Darius' generals ingratiated himself to Alexander by giving the conqueror Darius' favored companion, Bagoas.
Darius IIIBorn: ca. 380 BC Died: 330 BC
Artaxerxes IV Arses
| King of Kings of Persia
Artaxerxes V Bessus
| Pharaoh of Egypt|
The Alexander Mosaic, dating from circa 100 BC, is a Roman floor mosaic originally from the House of the Faun in Pompeii, that is allegedly an imitation of Apelles' painting. It depicts a battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia and measures 2.72 by 5.13 metres (8 ft 11 in × 16 ft 10 in). The original is preserved in the Naples National Archaeological Museum. The mosaic is believed to be a copy of an early 3rd-century BC Hellenistic painting.Alexander the Great
Alexander III of Macedon (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Γ΄ ὁ Μακεδών; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great (Ancient Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας, translit. Aléxandros ho Mégas), was a king (basileus) of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, and he created one of the largest empires of the ancient world by the age of thirty, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history's most successful military commanders.During his youth, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until age 16. After Philip's assassination in 336 BC, he succeeded his father to the throne and inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father's pan-Hellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of Persia. In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire) and began a series of campaigns that lasted 10 years. Following the conquest of Anatolia, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew Persian King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.
He endeavored to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea" and invaded India in 326 BC, winning an important victory over the Pauravas at the Battle of the Hydaspes. He eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in the establishment of several states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander's surviving generals and heirs.
Alexander's legacy includes the cultural diffusion and syncretism which his conquests engendered, such as Greco-Buddhism. He founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century AD and the presence of Greek speakers in central and far eastern Anatolia until the 1920s. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, and he features prominently in the history and mythic traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves, and military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics. He is often ranked among the most influential people in history.Arses of Persia
Artaxerxes (Artaxšacā) IV Arses (; Old Persian: 𐎠𐎼𐎫𐎧𐏁𐏂 Artaxšaçā), was Great King of Persia between 338 BC and 336 BC. He is known as Arses in Greek sources and that seems to have been his real name but the Xanthus trilingue and potsherds from Samaria report that he took the royal name of Artaxerxes IV, following his father and grandfather.Atizyes
Atizyes was a Persian satrap of Greater Phrygia under the Achaemenids in 334 BC, when Alexander the Great began his campaign. He is not mentioned in the council of Zelea where the satrap coalition was formed against the invasion, so it is not sure whether he took part in the battle of the Granicus. After the battle, he appears to be in the capital of Greater Phrygia, Celaenae where he had a garrison force of 1,000 Carians and 100 Greek mercenaries. He himself went to Syria to join the army of Darius III and fell in the battle of Issus at 333 BC. After Phrygia fell to Alexander, he appointed his general Antigonus Monophthalmus as its satrap.Atropates
Atropates (Greek Aτρoπάτης, from Old Persian Athurpat "protected by fire"; c. 370 BC – after 321 BC) was a Persian trader and nobleman who served Darius III, then Alexander the Great, and eventually founded an independent kingdom and dynasty that was named after him. Diodorus (18.4) refers to him as 'Atrapes', while Quintus Curtius (8.3.17) erroneously names him 'Arsaces'.Bessus
For the Christian saint, see Saint Bessus.
Bessus, also known as Artaxerxes V (died summer 329 BC), was a prominent Persian Satrap of Bactria in Persia, and later self-proclaimed King of Kings of Persia. According to classical sources, he killed his predecessor and relative, Darius III, after the Persian army had been defeated by Alexander the Great.Drypetis
Drypetis or Drypteis (died 323 BCE), was a princess of the Achaemenid dynasty in Persia.
Drypteis was born between 350 and 345 BCE, the daughter of Stateira I and Darius III of Persia. When her father began a military campaign against the invading army of Alexander the Great, he was accompanied by Drypteis, along with her mother, sister Stateira, and her grandmother Sisygambis. Following the Battle of Issus in 333 BCE, Darius fled, and his family was captured by Macedonian troops. Alexander personally met with the women and promised to provide dowries for Drypteis and Stateira.Although Darius tried repeatedly to ransom his family, Alexander kept them with him until 331 BCE. At that point Drypteis and her sister were sent to Susa to learn the Greek language.Drypteis married Hephaestion Amyntoros, a general in Alexander's army in 324 BCE during the Susa weddings. She was widowed soon after.Many historians accept Plutarch's account that Drypteis was killed in 323 BCE alongside her sister Stateira. Alexander had died earlier that year, and his other widow, Roxana, wished to remove her rival.According to historian Elizabeth Donnelly Carney, however, Drypteis was not killed by Roxana. Drypteis would have been of little threat to Roxana's position, as she would not have borne Alexander a child. Instead, Carney theorizes that Roxana killed Parysatis (daughter of Artaxerxes III of Persia), who was likely also a wife of Alexander.Issus, Cilicia
Issus (Phoenician: Sissu, Ancient Greek: Ἱσσός or Ἱσσοί) is an ancient settlement on the strategic coastal plain straddling the small Pinarus river (a fast melt-water stream several metres wide) below the navigationally difficult inland mountains towering above to the east in the Turkish Province of Hatay, near the border with Syria. It can be identified with Kinet Höyük in the village of Yeṣilköy near Dörtyol in the Hatay province of Turkey. Excavations on the mound occurred between 1992 and 2012 by Bilkent University. It is most notable for being the place of no less than three decisive ancient or medieval battles each called in their own era the Battle of Issus:
The Battle of Issus (333 BC); Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated Darius III of Persia. This battle is occasionally called the First Battle of Issus, but is more generally known simply as the Battle of Issus, owing to the importance of Alexander's victory over the First Persian Empire and its impact on subsequent history of the region, including all the successor polities.
Battle of Issus (194), or Second Battle of Issus — between the forces of Emperor Septimius Severus and his rival, Pescennius Niger.
Battle of Issus (622), or Third Battle of Issus — between the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Persian Empire.Whether Issus is still present within a modern settlement is hotly debated among researchers. Regardless of which mountain brook was the locus of the battles, the old town was situated close to present-day İskenderun, Turkey, in the Gulf of İskenderun. Today, no town exists on both sides of the Pinarus river, which may or may not have been called Issus.
Although Issus was once considered to have been an episcopal see, there is no evidence to support that idea: Issus is not mentioned in the "Notitiae Episcopatuum" of the Patriarchate of Antioch, to which the Roman province of Cilicia belonged.Kay Darab
Kay Darab, or Darab Kiani, is a legendary king of Iran, who ruled Zoroastrian Persia after his father Kai Bahman and his mother Homai in the 4th century BC.
He is the subject of the 12th-century Darab Nama.
According to shahnameh his son "Dara" is king when Alexander the Great conquered Persia, a role historically fulfilled by Darius III.
It was rumored the town of Darab or Darabgerd was built by him.Myriandrus
Myriandrus (Greek: Μυρίανδρος, Myríandros) was an ancient Phoenician port on the Mediterranean Sea's Gulf of Alexandretta. Its ruins are located near the modern city of İskenderun in southern Turkey.
Herodotus records the entire Gulf of Alexandretta as Marandynian Bay, after Myriandrus. (Later classical geographers would subsequently name the bay after nearby Issus.)
Xenophon claimed that Myriandrus was the border town between Cilicia and Syria. (Herodotus, meanwhile, placed the line further south at Ras al-Bassit in what is now Syria.In 333 BC, Alexander the Great intended to lay an ambush of Darius III of Persia at Myriandrus, but in the end the battle took place near Issus.Natanz
Natanz (Persian: نطنز, also romanized as Naţanz) is a city and capital of Natanz County, Isfahan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 12,060, in 3,411 families. It is located 70 kilometres (43 mi) south-east of Kashan.
Its bracing climate and locally produced fruit are well known in Iran. Its pear fruits are well known. The Karkas mountain chain (Kuh-e Karkas) (meaning mountain of vultures), at an elevation of 3,899 meters, rises above the town, and locals point in its direction telling how the Achaemenian King, Darius III, was killed nearby.Various small shrines dot the area, and it is known as the shrine of Abd as-Samad. The elements in the present complex date from 1304 with subsequent additions and restorations, such as the Khaneqah and Muqarnas vault. The tomb honors the Sufi Sheikh Abd al-Samad, and was built by the Sheikh's disciple, the Ilkhanid vizier Zain al-Din Mastari.Orontes II
Orontes II (Armenian: Երուանդ Բ, Yervand II) was a Persian noble living in the 4th century BC. He is probably to be identified as the satrap of Armenia under Darius III, and may in fact have succeeded Darius in this position when Darius ascended the throne of Persia in 336 BC.Arrian lists Orontes and a certain Mithraustes as two commanders of Armenian forces in the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. The interpretation of this passage is controversial, with different historians interpreting it as indicating that Mithraustes commanded the infantry, or that there were two different contingents of Armenian cavalry in this battle, or even that Armenia was divided into two parts ruled by two satraps.Orontes fought at the Battle of Gaugamela on the Persian right flank with 40,000 units of infantry and 7,000 of cavalry under his command, where he died. His son, Mithrenes, Satrap of Lydia, had joined Alexander the Great after being defeated at Sardis in 334 BC, and fought at Gaugamela on the side of Alexander. After the battle, Mithrenes was made Satrap of Armenia by Alexander.The ultimate fate of Orontes is unknown. Diodorus and Polyaenus mention a man named Orontes, who was a Satrap of Armenia during the Second War of the Diadochi; Diodorus adds that this Orontes was a friend of Peucestas. Andrew Burn, Edward Anson and Waldemar Heckel consider this satrap to be the same Orontes who fought for Darius III in the Battle of Gaugamela; Anson and Heckel state that Mithrenes may have perished in an unsuccessful attempt to wrest Armenia from Orontes. Heckel stated that in all likehood Armenia, which was bypassed by the Macedonian army, was never part of Alexander's empire. Anson, on the other hand, considered it likely that at some point after the Battle of Gaugamela Orontes made his submission to Alexander, who later put him in charge of the Greater Armenia. N. G. L. Hammond interpreted the sources as indicating that Armenia was already in submission when Mithrenes was sent there from Babylon late in 331 BC, that Mithrenes took it over as satrap ruling on behalf of the new Macedonian regime, and that he was left as satrap in 323 BC when Perdiccas let some satrapies remain under the existing satraps; in 317 BC Mithrenes was no longer satrap but had been replaced by Orontes.One of the inscriptions from the Mount Nemrut detailing the ancestry of Antiochus I Theos of Commagene mentions an ancestor whose name was incompletely preserved, and who was a son of Aroandas. This Aroandas (Orontes) is inferred to be the second ancestor of Antiochus listed in the inscriptions from Mount Nemrut who bore that name, succeeding the first Aroandas, who in turn was the son of Artasyrus and who married Rhodogune, the daughter of Artaxerxes II of Persia. Friedrich Karl Dörner and John H. Young (1996) interpreted the first preserved letter of the name of the son of Aroandas II as a delta, so that the name ended with -δανης, -danes. The authors considered this reading to be important, because it settled the proposal of Ernst Honigmann's ([Mιθρ]άνην), as well as one of the suggestions presented by Salomon Reinach ([Όστ]άνην). Brijder (2014) also interpreted the inscription as indicating that name of the son of Orontes II ended with -danes.Aroandas II mentioned in an inscription from Mount Nemrut was identified with the Orontes who was a commander in the Battle of Gaugamela by Karl Julius Beloch and Herman Brijder. This Orontes was also inferred to be a descendant of Orontes I and his wife Rhodoghune, possibly their son or grandson. On the other hand, Friedrich Karl Dörner was unsure whether ancient citations of connections of the bearers of the name Aroandas/Orontes with Armenia or their status as leaders of Armenian military units are compelling reasons for assuming that they were relatives. Dörner considered it very questionable whether Aroandas II mentioned in an inscription from Mount Nemrut is identical with the Orontes of Alexander's time; the author stressed the need to consider that in the course of the 4th century BC, besides the two ancestors of Antiochus I of Commagene, other bearers of the same name may have played a part in Persian politics.Roxana
Roxana (Ancient Greek: Ῥωξάνη; Old Iranian Raoxshna; sometimes Roxanne, Roxanna, Rukhsana, Roxandra and Roxane) was a Sogdian princess of Bactria whom the Macedonian king, Alexander the Great, married, after defeating Darius III, the Achaemenian king, and invading Persia. She was born in c. 340 BC though the precise date remains uncertain and died in c. 310 BC.Sabaces
Sabaces (name variants: Sabakes, Sauaces; Sataces; Diodorus Siculus calls him Tasiaces; died in 333 BC) was a satrap of Egypt during the reign of king Darius III of Persia.Sisygambis
Sisygambis (died 323 BC) was the mother of Darius III of Persia, whose reign was ended during the wars of Alexander the Great. After she was captured by Alexander at the Battle of Issus, she became devoted to him, and Alexander referred to her as "mother".Stateira II
Stateira II (Greek: Στάτειρα; died 323 BC), possibly also known as Barsine, was the daughter of Stateira I and Darius III of Persia. After her father's defeat at the Battle of Issus, Stateira and her sisters became captives of Alexander of Macedon. They were treated well, and she became Alexander's second wife at the Susa weddings in 324 BC. At the same ceremony Alexander also married her cousin, Parysatis, daughter of Darius' predecessor. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Stateira was killed by Roxana, his first wife.Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt
The Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XXXI, alternatively 31st Dynasty or Dynasty 31), also known as the Second Egyptian Satrapy, was effectively a short-lived province (satrapy) of the Achaemenid Persian Empire between 343 BC to 332 BC. It was founded by Artaxerxes III, the King of Persia, after his reconquest of Egypt and subsequent crowning as Pharaoh of Egypt, and was disestablished upon the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great.
The period of the 31st Dynasty was the second occasion in which Persian pharaohs ruled Egypt, hence the term "Second Egyptian Satrapy". Before the 31st Dynasty was founded, Egypt had enjoyed a brief period of independence, during which three indigenous dynasties reigned (the 28th, 29th, and 30th dynasties). The period before this is referred to as the "First Egyptian Satrapy" or the 27th Dynasty.Wars of Alexander the Great
The wars of Alexander the Great were fought by King Alexander III of Macedon ("The Great"), first against the Achaemenid Persian Empire under Darius III, and then against local chieftains and warlords as far east as Punjab, India. Due to the sheer scale of these wars, and the fact that Alexander was generally undefeated in battle, he has been regarded as one of the most successful military commanders of all time. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks. Although being successful as a military commander, he failed to provide any stable alternative to the Achaemenid Empire—his untimely death threw the vast territories he conquered into civil war.
Alexander assumed the kingship of Macedonia following the death of his father Philip II, who had unified most of the city-states of mainland Greece under Macedonian hegemony in a federation called the Hellenic League. After reconfirming Macedonian rule by quashing a rebellion of southern Greek city-states and staging a short but bloody excursion against Macedon's northern neighbors, Alexander set out east against the Achaemenid Persian Empire, under its "King of Kings" (the title all Achaemenid kings went by), Darius III, which he defeated and overthrew. His conquests included Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia and Bactria, and he extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as Punjab, India.
Alexander had already made more plans prior to his death for military and mercantile expansions into the Arabian Peninsula, after which he was to turn his armies to the west (Carthage, Rome, and the Iberian Peninsula). However, Alexander's diadochi quietly abandoned these grandiose plans after his death. Instead, within a few years of Alexander's death, the diadochi began fighting with each other, dividing up the Empire between themselves, and triggering 40 years of warfare.