Alexander the Great is one of those great stopping points in history. His ascent to glory occupies many great “What if” questions, as does his death, and his reign. That’s one of the fun things about this lesson, we got to talk through some of these things.
Alexander the Great mapwork
We started off our lesson about Alexander the Great first listening to the audio books for Mystery of History 1 (affiliate link). But, it’s one thing to listen to how much of the world he conquered and hear Alexander conquered more of the known world than anyone else.
It’s a completely different thing to actually see what that looked like.
So we started coloring Alexander’s empire. Our maps came from Wondermaps (affiliate link), but I’m sure you can find some online, I just like the lazy convenience of not having to find them.
To do this activity you need 4 different colored pencils and a pen or pencil (for those who are wondering, I bought this pack a few years ago and it’s still going strong: Crayola 50ct Long Colored Pencils, affiliate link).
It’s fairly straight forward.
- Color what Philip defeated, which is most of the Peloponnesian peninsula and a bit more.
- Alexander the Great first defeated Egypt (there’s some great stories to tell there about Alexander)
- Then he defeated Persia, which is a whole other activity
- And finally he went as far as the mountains by India.
Alexander the Great and Egypt
According to several ancient historians when Alexander entered Egypt he was welcomed as a savior to their country. He was a deeply religious man and respected the Egyptian culture and was enthralled with the Egyptian gods. During his visit he was crowned Pharaoh and given the double crown of Egypt, and then went on to visit the Oracles who pronounced him the son of Amun-Ra. Alexander was now literally a deity.
Wherever he went, Alexander built cities or renamed cities after himself, but his most elaborate city was in Egypt, the city of Alexandria, which housed the great libraries that were rumored to hold all of human knowledge (which was later burned by a careless Roman solder when they took over a few centuries later).
Alexander left Egypt with the plans to come back and rule from there.
Alexander the Great and the Israelites
According to the Hebrew historian Josephus, Alexander the Great came to Israel and swept through there. But, he came to Jerusalem and was greeted by the high priest in his purple robes and all his regalia. Then the priest welcomed Alexander and showed him the passage in Daniel predicting his coming and that he would destroy the Persians.
This was good news to Alexander who was on his way to fight the Persians at Gargamella and was not sure if he would prevail because of their superior chariots.
Alexander the Great and the Persians
This was of course my boys favorite part, and they’ve decided this TV series is EPIC and we must watch ALL OF THEM. So we will, as we cover the different battles in our history studies.
It’s interesting to see what decisions were made in these epic battles and see it recreated using technologies only available recently.
What if’s for Alexander the Great
The most interesting thing One interesting thing about Alexander the Great is how young he died, and the large number of questions that come from him. Here’s some of the things we talked through that historians often argue about:
- What is Alexander had gone West instead of East? Who would have won in that great battle the Greeks or the Romans?
- What if Alexander had not died at 33? Supposedly he died regretting having nothing more to conquer. What would have happened if he’d lived to a ripe old age?
- What if Alexander the Great had a succession plan? Would his empire have rivaled Rome’s? His empire lasted as long as he was alive, and fell apart at his death.
There are so many great questions about Alexander the Great. What would you ask?