Book Summary: Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman

Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman Book Cover

In his book “Alexander the Great,” Philip Freeman tells the story of one of the most famous conquerors in history. Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king who conquered an empire that stretched from Greece to India. His military campaigns were legendary, and his legacy has lived on for centuries.

Chapter 1: The Boy King

The book begins with Alexander’s childhood and upbringing. He was born in 356 BC in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia. His father was King Philip II, who was a great military leader in his own right. Alexander was raised in a household that was steeped in military tradition, and he was trained from a young age to be a warrior. He was also educated in the finest schools of the day, learning philosophy, literature, and the arts.

Chapter 2: The Invasion of Persia

In 334 BC, when Alexander was just 22 years old, he invaded the Persian Empire. This was a daring move, as the Persians were a powerful and wealthy empire, and many people thought that Alexander was too young and inexperienced to take on such a challenge. However, Alexander was determined to avenge the Macedonians who had been killed by the Persians in an earlier conflict. He led his army across the Hellespont (now known as the Dardanelles) and into Asia Minor.

Chapter 3: The Battle of Issus

The Persian army was larger than Alexander’s, but it was also more dispersed. Alexander knew that he needed to strike quickly and decisively if he was going to have any chance of victory. In November of 333 BC, he fought the Battle of Issus against the Persian army. It was a hard-fought battle, but Alexander emerged victorious. The Persian king, Darius III, fled the field, and Alexander’s army captured much of the Persian Empire’s treasure.

Chapter 4: The Siege of Tyre

After the Battle of Issus, Alexander marched south along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. He captured many cities along the way, but one city proved to be a difficult challenge: Tyre. The city was located on an island just off the coast, and it was heavily fortified. Alexander decided to besiege the city, which took many months. He built a causeway out to the island, and his engineers devised many ingenious methods for attacking the city walls. Finally, in July of 332 BC, Tyre fell to Alexander’s army.

Chapter 5: The March to Egypt

After the fall of Tyre, Alexander marched south into Egypt. He was welcomed as a liberator by the Egyptians, who had been oppressed by the Persians for many years. Alexander founded the city of Alexandria, which became one of the great cultural centers of the ancient world. He also visited the temple of the god Amun-Ra at the oasis of Siwa, where he was declared to be the son of the god.

Chapter 6: The Battle of Gaugamela

In 331 BC, Alexander faced his final challenge in the east. Darius III had rebuilt his army, and the two armies met near the city of Gaugamela in what is now Iraq. It was a hard-fought battle, but once again Alexander emerged victorious. Darius III fled the field, and Alexander’s army captured the Persian Empire’s capital, Babylon.

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Chapter 7: The Conquest of India

After his victory at Gaugamela, Alexander turned his attention to the east. He crossed the River Indus and began a series of campaigns against the Indian kingdoms. He fought many battles, including the Battle of the Hydaspes River against the Indian king Porus. Alexander’s army was victorious, but the cost was high, and many of his soldiers were killed or wounded.

Chapter 8: The Return Home

After his conquest of India, Alexander decided to return home. He had been gone for over ten years, and his army was weary and worn out. He led his army across the desert, and then sailed back to Greece. However, he died on the way, in Babylon, in June of 323 BC. He was only 32 years old.


Alexander the Great was one of the most successful military leaders in history. He conquered an empire that stretched from Greece to India, and his legacy has lived on for centuries. His campaigns were marked by daring and bravery, and he was a master of military strategy. However, his conquests also came at a great cost, and many people suffered as a result of his wars. Despite this, Alexander remains a symbol of greatness and achievement, and his story continues to inspire people around the world.

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