F Heritage History | Story of the Greeks by Helene Guerber
Contents 
Front Matter Early Inhabitants of Greece The Deluge of Ogyges Founding of Important Cities Story of Deucalion Daedalus and Icarus The Adventures of Jason Theseus Visits the Labyrinth The Terrible Prophecy The Sphinx's Riddle Death of Oedipus The Brothers' Quarrel The Taking of Thebes The Childhood of Paris Muster of the Troops Sacrifice of Iphigenia The Wrath of Achilles Death of Hector and Achilles The Burning of Troy Heroic Death of Codrus The Blind Poet The Rise of Sparta The Spartan Training The Brave Spartan Boy Public Tables in Sparta Laws of Lycurgus The Messenian War The Music of Tyrtaeus Aristomenes' Escape The Olympic Games Milo of Croton The Jealous Athlete The Girls' Games The Bloody Laws of Draco The Laws of Solon The First Plays The Tyrant Pisistratus The Tyrant's Insult Death of the Conspirators Hippias Driven out of Athens The Great King Hippias Visits Darius Destruction of the Persian Host Advance of the Second Host The Battle of Marathon Miltiades' Disgrace Aristides the Just Two Noble Spartan Youths The Great Army Preparations for Defense Leonidas at Thermopylae Death of Leonidas The Burning of Athens Battles of Salamis and Plataea The Rebuilding of Athens Death of Pausanias Cimon Improves Athens The Earthquake The Age of Pericles Teachings of Anaxagoras Peloponnesian War Begins Death of Pericles The Philosopher Socrates Socrates' Favorite Pupil Youth of Alcibiades Greek Colonies in Italy Alcibiades in Disgrace Death of Alcibiades Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants Accusation of Socrates Death of Socrates The Defeat of Cyrus Retreat of the Ten Thousand Agesilaus in Asia A Strange Interview The Peace of Antalcidas The Theban Friends Thebes Free Once More The Battle of Leuctra Death of Pelopidas The Battle of Mantinea The Tyrant of Syracuse Damon and Pythias The Sword of Damocles Dion and Dionysius Civil War in Syracuse Death of Dion Philip of Macedon Philip Begins His Conquests The Orator Demosthenes Philip Masters Greece Birth of Alexander The Steed Bucephalus Alexander as King Alexander and Diogenes Alexander's Beginning The Gordian Knot Alexander's Royal Captives Alexander at Jerusalem The African Desert Death of Darius Defeat of Porus Return to Babylon Death of Alexander Division of the Realm Death of Demosthenes Last of the Athenians The Colossus of Rhodes The Battle of Ipsus Demetrius and the Athenians The Achaean League Division in Sparta Death of Agis War of the Two Leagues The Last of the Greeks Greece a Roman Province

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




Birth of Alexander

When Philip died, he was succeeded by his son Alexander, a young man of twenty, who had already earned a good name by leading part of the army at the battle of Chæronea. His efforts, as you know, had defeated the Sacred Battalion of the Thebans, and helped much to secure the victory.

Through his mother, Olympias, Alexander was a descendant of Achilles, the well-known hero of the Trojan War. He was born at Pella, a city of Macedon, three hundred and fifty-six years before Christ. His father was so pleased to have a son, that he said that all the boys born in his kingdom on the same day should be brought up with Alexander in the palace, and become his bodyguard.

Thus you see the young prince had plenty of playmates; and, as there was nothing he liked better than fighting, he soon began to play soldiers, and to train his little regiment.

From the very first, the Macedonians had declared that Alexander was born to greatness, and several noted events that took place on the day of his birth served to confirm this belief.

In the first place, Parmenio, Philip's general, won a grand victory on that day; then Philip's horses, which had been sent to Olympia, got the prize at the chariot races; and, lastly, the famous temple at Ephesus, dedicated to Diana, was burned to the ground.

The first two events were joyful in the extreme; but the burning of this temple, which was among the wonders of the world, was a great calamity. Every one was anxious to know how it had happened; and all were very angry when they found out that it was not an accident, but had been done on purpose.

The man who had set fire to it was crazy. His name was Erostratus; and when he was asked why he had done such a wicked thing; he said that it was only to make his name immortal. The people were so indignant, that they not only condemned him to die, but forbade all mention of his name, hoping that it would be forgotten.

In spite of this care, Erostratus' name has come down to us. It is immortal indeed, but who except a crazy man would wish to win such fame, and could bear to think that all who ever heard of him would condemn his action, and consider him as wicked as he was insane?

Alexander was first given over to the care of a nurse. He loved her dearly as long as he lived, and her son Clytus was always one of his best friends and most faithful comrades.

As soon as he was old enough, Alexander began to learn the Iliad and Odyssey by heart; and he loved to hear about the principal heroes, and especially about his own ancestor, Achilles.

He admired these poems so much that he carried a copy of them with him wherever he went, and always slept with it under his pillow. Both the Iliad and the Odyssey were kept in a box of the finest gold, because Alexander thought nothing was too good for them.