ALEXANDER THE GREAT, Greek king and military leader, was born in Thrace on this date; One of the most successful military commanders in history, undefeated in battle. By his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks (d. 323 BCE) After traveling to Ecbatana to retrieve the bulk of the Persian treasure, his beloved, Hephaestion, died of an illness, or possibly of poisoning. Alexander mourned by Hephaestion’s side for six months.

It is said that on the night before the mother of Alexander, Olympias, was to be married to King Phillip of Macedonia, she dreamt that a thunderbolt struck her body and filled it with power. After the marriage, it is said that Phillip peeked into her chamber, and found her lying with a serpent, and that he afterward dreamt that her womb was sealed and that a lion dwelled within her. And on the night that he was born the great Temple at Ephesus was burned to the ground by a vandal, because the goddess Artemis was away, assisting with the birth of Alexander the Great. He was considered to be the son of Zeus, and this divine origin was what was given as an explanation for the unprecedented conquests that he accomplished.

In Alexander’s youth, Aristotle, a student of Plato, educated him along with his following of young princes, who were later serve as his generals, and the founders of great dynastic monarchies of the Hellenistic world. Foremost of these was his ever loyal and devoted Hephaestion. In one of their first battles, while Phillip was still king, the young Alexander proved himself by defeating the Sacred Band of Thebes, the army of homosexual lovers who were the most famous and courageous warriors of their time. Alexander is said to have wept at their destruction, and buried them with honor, erecting a statue of a Lion over their grave.

He would later go one to conquer the entire Eastern world, Asia Minor, Syria, Judea, Egypt, and all of Persian, as far East as India. The Empire of Alexander spread Greek culture throughout the world, and made the communication of far-distant ideas possible so that the new Hellenistic culture that he created, was a combination of classical Greece and of the exotic cultures that were imported from every corner. After the death of Alexander, at only thirty-three years of age, he was deified by his generals who divided his great Empire among themselves.