son of King Philip II of Macedon,
said goodbye to Aristotle (his tutor),
left his native Macedonia,
and in 334 BC traversed Thrace and crossed
the chill waters of the Dardanelles to
armies into Persian-occupied Anatolia.
Using both diplomatic and military
offensives he defeated the Persians
and subdued most of Anatolia’s
kingdoms, including Sardis, Miletus and Halicarnassus (Bodrum).
After storming through Phrygia and
cutting the Gordian knot at Gordion,
he pressed east and south, conquering Syria and Egypt,
then all of Persia,
and finally reaching India.
Alexander died in Babylon in
323 BC, having accomplished more in
his 33 years than most warrior families
do in three generations.
After his death, his vast empire was
divided among his generals, many of
whom fought one another for the best
parts. Lysimachus won
at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC and
claimed western and central
Anatolia. Lysimachus encouraged
the development of Hellenic culture
in Anatolia, though the culture that
emerged had important differences from
that of the golden age of classical
art, architecture and literature. Today
we call this post-323 BC, post-Alexandrian
culture Hellenistic rather
Abandoning the old town of Smyrna
Lysimachus founded a new city and fortress
on the slopes of Mt Pagus (Kadifekale),
where the center of Izmir stands today.
The new king ordered the construction
of many other grand Hellenistic stadiums
and temples as well.
After several decades of rule Lysimachus
was killed at the Battle of
Corupedium (near modern Manisa)
in 281 BC by rival general Seleucus
I, ruler of southeastern
Anatolia based in Antioch (Antakya).
Alexander's campaigns rid Anatolia
of the Persians and allowed its local
kingdoms to flourish again, just in
time for the Romans to