On this day in 323 BC, Alexander the Great, the young Macedonian military genius who forged an empire that stretched from the eastern Mediterranean to India, dies in Babylon at the age of 33.
The son of King Philip II of Macedonia, Alexander received a classical education from famed philosopher Aristotle. At the age of 16, he led his first troops into battle. In 336 BC, Alexander ascended to the throne upon his father’s assassination and two years later set off to conquer the world. In all his great campaigns, he never lost a single battle.
Within his empire, he founded lasting cities, such as Alexandria in Egypt, and brought about sweeping changes based on Greek models. During the return from an eastern campaign, he fell sick with a fever and died. He had not selected a successor and his giant empire rapidly fell apart.