alexander the great

Cultural Dictionary

Alexander the Great definition


A ruler of Greece in the fourth century b.c. As a general, he conquered most of the ancient world, extending the civilization of Greece east to India. Alexander is said to have wept because there were no worlds left to conquer. In Alexander's youth, the philosopher Aristotle was his tutor.

Note: Before beginning his conquests, Alexander allegedly unloosed the Gordian knot by cutting through it. It was believed that the person who unfastened the Gordian knot would rule a vast territory in Asia. Alexander founded the city of Alexandria, which became a great center of learning in Egypt.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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