Alexander the Great takes power | World History | Khan Academy

Alexander the Great takes power | World History | Khan Academy

– [Instructor] Now,
we’re going to talk about one of the most famous conquerors
in all of human history, and that is Alexander the Great. But before talking about all of the things that he conquered, let’s think about how he got started out and in particular, how he’s
able to consolidate control over the empire that his father begins. So, in the last video, we saw that exiting the Peloponnesian War, the Greeks were weak. Sparta and its allies,
the Peloponnesian League, they had won, but the Greeks
were ripe for being conquered. And they end up being
conquered by Philip II, King of Macedonia, and
he rules from Pella. And shortly after he
becomes king, his son, his first son, Alexander, is born. And Alexander is the son that
Philip has with Olympias. Olympias is the daughter
of the king of Molossia, which makes her Molossian
and not Macedonian, which is going to be
somewhat important later on when Philip II dies. But the early part of
Alexander’s life is quite good and he seems to be in favor
with his father, Philip II. After all, Alexander seems like
a decent heir to the throne. Early in his life, he gets from his father what is arguably the best
tutor, for sure of the time, probably the best tutor in
human history, in Aristotle. And the way that his father convinces him to tutor Alexander when Alexander’s 13, he tutors him from when Alexander
is about 13 to about 16, is Philip destroys
Aristotle’s village of Stagira as he conquers Greece. And Aristotle says, “Okay,
sure, I’ll tutor your son. “But in exchange for that, why
don’t you rebuild my hometown “and free all of the people
who had been enslaved “after the town was conquered?” And so, Philip agrees;
Alexander gets a great tutor. There’s also the stories of
how Alexander carried favor with his father by taming
the famous horse Bucephalus, who Alexander will
eventually ride into Asia as he conquers the
Persian Empire and beyond. And Philip, very proud of his young son being able to conquer this
seemingly untamable horse, as Philip conquers, as he conquers Greece, Alexander is alongside him leading troops, showing him to be a
capable military general, a capable leader. So, all seems to be working
out well for Alexander until Philip takes what ends up being his seventh and last wife. Until then, Olympias was his favored wife. And Olympias is a bit of a character, at least from the point of historians. And you should take all of
this with a grain of salt because many of these
histories and these stories were written hundreds of years later, and so it’s not clear how
much was a true account versus how much was made up. But beyond Olympias not being Macedonian, she is from Molossia, she is
also, according to Plutarch, part of the Cult of Dionysus
and she worships snakes and potentially even sleeps with snakes, which is really off-putting
to a lot of the Macedonians. And so, when King Philip,
in around 337 or 338, finds a Macedonian to marry
and her name is Cleopatra, not the famous Cleopatra from history, we’ll talk about her
in a few hundred years, but you see here, Philip II,
he takes his seventh wife. I don’t list them all here. I only list Olympias here
who he marries in 357 BCE. And then they have Alexander,
born Alexander III, shortly thereafter the next year. They also have another
daughter, Cleopatra. Once again, not the Cleopatra when people refer to it in history. But then, around 337 or 338
BCE, he takes his seventh wife, and this seventh wife
is also named Cleopatra. She is Macedonian. Philip renames her
Eurydice after his mother. And so, you can imagine this is already a little bit threatening. Because, well, what if
this Cleopatra has a son? And she eventually does have a son. And now, that son would
be pure Macedonian, as opposed to Alexander,
who is only half-Macedonian. And this becomes quite pointed at the wedding of Philip and Cleopatra, the Macedonian Cleopatra,
in 337 or 338 BCE when we have this account, and once again, take all of this with a grain of salt. This is an account by Plutarch that was written 400 years later. But Plutarch writes, “At
the wedding of Cleopatra,” this is Cleopatra Eurydice, this is the Macedonian
Cleopatra, the young one, “whom Philip fell in
love with and married, “she being much too young
for him, her uncle Attalus,” and you see him on our
little family tree here, this is Cleopatra’s Uncle
Attalus, a Macedonian, “her uncle Attalus in his drink “desired the Macedonians
would implore the gods “to give them a lawful
successor to the kingdom “by his niece.” Let me underline that. Give them a lawful
successor to the kingdom. You might be saying, “Wait, I thought Alexander
was a lawful successor?” And Alexander’s probably
thinking the same thing. “This so irritated Alexander “that throwing one of
the cups at his head,” throwing it at Attalus’ head,
“‘you villain,’ he said. “‘What, am I then a bastard?’
Then Philip,” Alexander’s dad, “taking Attalus’ part,” so he
wouldn’t take his son’s side, he takes the side of his in-laws, “rose up and would have
run his son through, “but by good fortune for them both, “either his over-hasty rage,
or the wine he had drunk, “made his foot slip, so that
he fell down on the floor. “At which Alexander
reproachfully insulted over him: “‘See there,’ said he, ‘the
man who makes preparations “‘to pass out of Europe into Asia, “‘overturned in passing
from one seat to another.'” So, if this account by
Plutarch is even vaguely true, it shows this real tension that is forming between Alexander and his father. And it’s of course being goaded on, or likely to be goaded on,
by his mother, Olympias, who was the primary wife for a little bit but now she’s being pushed aside in favor of this Macedonian, Cleopatra. And so she actually goes
into voluntary exile, Alexander follows her, and
so things are quite tense. And they really come to a boiling point, or everything gets released
a year or two later, when Olympias’ other child,
Cleopatra, the other Cleopatra, not Cleopatra Eurydice and not the famous Cleopatra from history, she gets married to Olympias’ brother. And so, she’s marrying her uncle. Many strange things happened
like this in the ancient world. This is 336 BCE and this
is the famous wedding where Phillip II is
assassinated by his bodyguard, who was likely Phillip II’s former lover. But once Phillip II gets assassinated, you could imagine that many people are wanting to have a go at the throne, in particular, Alexander,
aided by his mother, Olympias. And so immediately, there
starts to be a consolidation of power and the first
way to consolidate power is to kill off all of the
folks who might threaten you. And so Olympias and Alexander, and many historians give
credit mainly to Olympias, some say Alexander was
involved more or less, but they go on a killing spree. Europa is killed, Caranus is killed. These are the children
of Cleopatra Eurydice. At the time of this, we’re
talking 336, 335 BCE, they would have been toddlers. They would have been two,
at most three years old. They’re being killed. There are some accounts
that Cleopatra is killed or she is forced to hang herself. There’s some accounts that
some combination of them are burned alive. Alexander goes after
Attalus, the famous uncle who insulted him at the wedding
party only a few years ago. He kills his cousin, Amyntus, who might have had a claim
to the throne, other princes. So this is this bloody, bloody period. So even though sometimes people
glorify some of these rulers like Alexander the Great, that
they unified all these people and they pushed culture
throughout the world, or however you want to talk about it, they usually come to
power in very brutal ways. And their conquering is also very brutal. You really shouldn’t romanticize, oh let’s conquer other people. A war is ugly and when
there’s multiple factions coming to a throne, that is also ugly. So, we’re shortly after
Phillip II’s death. Alexander, with the help of his mother, is able to consolidate
power within his family, really secure his place as the king of the Macedonian Empire. And so the next thing is to secure his hold
on the empire militarily and you immediately
start having rebellions to the North and West of Macedon. And so, in particular, the Illyrians, which is in modern-day Albania, so this region right over here. They start to revolt. Alexander goes and makes a point of sieging the pass at Peliam. This is a very strategic
location but while he’s there with his military forces,
so while he’s there with his military forces, you can imagine the other city-states of Greece, in particular Athens and Thebes,
say hey now’s our chance. King Phillip is dead, Alexander’s out fighting
with the Illyrians, let’s rise up and regain our independence. And many of them thought that Alexander might have already died in the
previous military campaign. And so you can imagine
they were very surprised after Alexander took control
through a siege at Peliam, and is able to come down
surprisingly quickly. He really makes his soldiers march hundreds of kilometers
in a matter of weeks, to come down and put down the rebellion, from his point of view, at Thebes. And the Thebans refuse to stop rebelling and so in retaliation, Alexander the Great completely destroys Thebes,
this famous city of antiquity. Only a few decades before this time, the leading city-state in all of Greece. And so he destroys Thebes,
he enslaves its people, but that’s what allows
him to essentially scare the rest of the city-states
of Greece to come in line. He hasn’t conquered Sparta, or his empire hasn’t conquered
Sparta, that will happen soon but the rest, it really
consolidates his power. And now, we’re talking 335 BCE, he’s ready to think about doing
what his father was planning and going off and trying to conquer Asia.

25 thoughts on “Alexander the Great takes power | World History | Khan Academy

  1. teaches algebra , physics , biology , chemistry , geometry , world history , geography , trigonometry , calculus , he teaches everything ..
    he's the best ..
    yes he's salman Khan

  2. It's really sad to distort history like that….FYI there weren't any Greece at that time, it was only Greek city states. Not to mention the fact that if Macedonia was not one of the Greek city states, how come the Greek language was spread to Asia after Alexander's conquest????

  3. Hey man I love watching your videos; they’re very educational but you should number them so that other viewers can 🥫 follow along and jump from movie to movie.

  4. There are so many things wrong with this video and so much important information completely ignored!! The consolidation of power takes place after the death of Philip II not when he’s still alive. Immediately after his death rumors spread of Olympia’s and Alexander’s conspiracy to kill Phillip. The 3 men who chased down the assassin and ran him through were Alexander’s childhood friends thus sealing the truth of the matter forever. However, later on Olympias took down his body and buried it in a place of honor (take that as you will). Antipater who was the first to publicly support Alexander and one of Philips veteran generals caused many more to join. At this point in time Atilous (Macedonian General) was secretly communicating with Demosthenes of Athens to conspire against Alexander’s rule spreading a false rumor of the Kings death. However, the latter found out and convinced Parmenion (very important to the story as a whole) one of Phillips generals to kill and take control of Atilous’s men thus further consolidating his power. Alexander then marched from Illyria ( siege of Pellium) to Thebes putting down the revolt. Once he succeeded he asked that all the leaders of the neighboring tribes on what to do about Thebes. He raised it to the ground and sold all the inhabitants into slavery. This ends up providing the necessary funding of the Macedonian (not Mack-edonia) war machine for the next 6 months and allows Alexander to abolish taxation to the Greeks as a whole further consolidating his power.
    You’re not very thorough on a few subjects but I did find your mathematics videos helpful.

  5. If Alexander was "greek", why he atack Thebes?! It's like Jews celebrating Hitler.

    HLA genes in Macedonians and the sub-Saharan origin of the Greeks.

    Arnaiz-Villena A, et al. Tissue Antigens. 2001.

    Show full citation


    HLA alleles have been determined in individuals from the Republic of Macedonia by DNA typing and sequencing. HLA-A, -B, -DR, -DQ allele frequencies and extended haplotypes have been for the first time determined and the results compared to those of other Mediterraneans, particularly with their neighbouring Greeks. Genetic distances, neighbor-joining dendrograms and correspondence analysis have been performed. The following conclusions have been reached: 1) Macedonians belong to the "older" Mediterranean substratum, like Iberians (including Basques), North Africans, Italians, French, Cretans, Jews, Lebanese, Turks (Anatolians), Armenians and Iranians, 2) Macedonians are not related with geographically close Greeks, who do not belong to the "older" Mediterranenan substratum, 3) Greeks are found to have a substantial relatedness to sub-Saharan (Ethiopian) people, which separate them from other Mediterranean groups. Both Greeks and Ethiopians share quasi-specific DRB1 alleles, such as *0305, *0307, *0411, *0413, *0416, *0417, *0420, *1110, *1112, *1304 and *1310. Genetic distances are closer between Greeks and Ethiopian/sub-Saharan groups than to any other Mediterranean group and finally Greeks cluster with Ethiopians/sub-Saharans in both neighbour joining dendrograms and correspondence analyses. The time period when these relationships might have occurred was ancient but uncertain and might be related to the displacement of Egyptian-Ethiopian people living in pharaonic Egypt.

  6. Kali-Yuga, the Age of Quarrel and Hypocrisy… However, a personal experienced, present-day Macedonians are peaceful, friendly and hard-working

  7. Alexander Speaking to Thessalians and other Greeks

    On this occasion, he [Alexander] made a very long speech to the Thessalians and the other Greeks, and when he saw that they encouraged him with shouts to lead them against the enemies, he shifted his lance into his left hand, and with his right appealed to the gods, as Callisthenes tells us, praying them, if he was really sprung from Zeus, to defend and strengthen the Greeks.

    [Plutarch. Alexander (ed. Bernadotte Perrin) XXXIII]

  8. Nowhere in history there is a mention of a country named Macedonia. Macedonia in history is referred to as a Greek city state. Nothing ancient was ever found in the Bulgarian dialect you speak. On the contrary everything that was ever found is written in Greek. Ancient coins with Alexander on them and his name written in Greek. Not Slavic. He spread the Greek language and civilization to all the countries he conquered. Not the Slavic. Alexander never conquered Greece, but he united them and fought the Persian empire. He took revenge for what the Persians did to Greece. Philippos and Alexander the 1st participated in the Olympics where ONLY Greeks could participate. It was forbidden for anyone else who wasn't Greek to participate. Even Philippos wife took the name Olympiada because her husband won in the Olympics. All the names you use in this video are all Greek. Not Slavic. Read real ancient history and look at the archeological findings especially in Vergina Pella. You will everything is in Greek. Don't fill the minds of people who don't know history with hot air. I can understand why you would want luxurious ancestors and glorious history but it's of no good if it isn't true.

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