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Alexander was born in Pella Macedonia the son of Philip of Macedon who was an excellent general and organizer His mother was Olympias princess of Epirus She was brilliant and hot-tempered Alexander inherited the best qualities of both his parents But he was even more ambitious than his father He wept bitterly when he heard of Philips conquests and said My father will get ahead of me in everything and will leave nothing great for me to do Alexanders mother taught him that Achilles was his ancestor and that his father was descended from Hercules Alexander learned by heart the Iliad a story about the deeds of Achilles He carried a copy of the Iliad with him and Achilles became Alexanders model Even as a boy Alexander was fearless and strong He tamed the beautiful and spirited Bucephalus a horse that no one else dared to touch or ride Later this famous steed carried him as far as India where it died Alexander then built the city of Bucephala on the Hydaspes River in memory of his beloved horse Philip was so proud of Alexanders power over the horse that he said O my son seek out a kingdom worthy of thyself for Macedonia is too little for thee HIS YOUTH When Alexander was 13 years old he became the pupil of Aristotle He was always eager to learn Aristotle inspired the talented youth with a great love for literature He took part in sports and daily exercise to develop a strong body Aristotle also inspired in Alexander a keen interest in other countries and races of people and in animals and plants Alexanders education was not all from books He talked with ambassadors from many foreign countries and with other noted persons at his fathers court When he was only 18 he commanded part of Philips cavalry at the battle of Chaeronea Alexander also acted as his fathers ambassador
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