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The Story of the Greeks

Page: 101

While Demosthenes was thus flying madly, his friends and fellow-citizens were bravely meeting the Macedonians; but, in spite of all their courage, they were soon forced to yield to the Macedonian phalanx, and the battlefield was left strewn with their dead.

Alexander, Philip's son, who was then only eighteen years of age, commanded one wing of his father's army, and had the glory of completely crushing the Sacred Battalion of the Thebans, which had never before been beaten.

This brilliant victory at Chæronea made Philip really master of all Greece; but he generously refrained from making the Athenians recognize him openly as their lord, although he made their government do whatever he pleased.

As Greece was now obedient to him, the ambitious Philip began to plan the conquest of Asia and the downfall of the Persian Empire. To get as large an army as possible, he invited all the Greeks to join him, artfully reminding them of all they had suffered at the hands of the Persians in the past.

His preparations were nearly finished, and he was on the point of starting for Asia, when he was murdered by Pausanias, one of his subjects, whom he had treated very unkindly.[Pg 227]


XCI. 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, O-lym´pi-as, Alexander was a descendant of Achilles, the well-known hero of the Trojan War. He was born at Pel´la, 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, Par-me´ni-o, 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[Pg 228] 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.


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