• Imagining History

Alexander the Great: Who was he? - A KS2 Guide

New Awesome Book Klaxon! AWWWOOOOOGGGGA!!!


Pal of the Imagining History blog, Best-Selling Historian Dominic Sandbrook, has a new chronicle in his 'Adventures in Time' series hitting book shelves across the country today (that's Thursday the 4th of November, 2021. Thought I'd mention the date just in case you're reading this a hundred years from now. I don't want you charging off to your local bookshop and being disappointed to find you missed the book's release date by an entire century).


Dominic has written two fabulous new books for children: World War 1 and Alexander the Great. We loved both books and found them absolutely thrilling but, for this blog, we thought we'd have a closer look at the near godlike hero of antiquity, Alexander!


We learnt absolutely loads reading Alexander the Great and, from our studious studying, we've put together this blog. It's a brief intro to the man and legend known as Alexander. For the full fantastic and so unbelievable it must be true story, be sure to check out Adventures in Time: Alexander the Great.


A mosaic of Alexander the Great taken from Pompeii. Image Courtesy of Ruthven

Alexander the Great was greatest of all the Alexanders. There has never been as greater Alex in the history of Alex’s. He was even greater than my friend Alex, who is one of the finest Fornite players in all of Lancashire, so that's really saying something. But just why was Alexander the Great so great?


Born in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia in July 356 BC, Alexander founded a Macedonian Empire. He conquered every city-state in ancient Greece before taking on the Persian Empire. He never lost a battle and had soon achieved the seemingly impossible, the defeat of the Persian Empire and their massive armies.


That's one biiiiiiiig Empire alright. Thanks to Generic Mapping Tools

Alexander racked up some 11,000 miles of travel at the head of his army, founding an empire that was 2,000,000 square miles in size. For some context, that’s really, really, really, really big. He achieved this all when the most advanced mode of transportation was a horse.


At the end of his reign Alexander had founded some 70 cities, though despite his tactical genius he was clearly a bit rubbish at naming; as nearly every single city was named ‘Alexandria’ - after himself! The exception was the city of ‘Bucephala’, named after his favourite horse which had died in battle.


Due to his fame, historians know lots and lots about Alexander the Great, they even know what he smelt of. Plutarch wrote that Alexander had “a most agreeable odour” and “his breath and body all over was so fragrant as to perfume the clothes which he wore.” Clearly Alexander the Great must have used Sure for Men to tame his stinky armpits.


Alexander died at the young age of 32. Modern medical experts have theorised that malaria, lung infection, liver failure or typhoid fever may have polished Alexander off. Whatever the cause of his death, it is clear that during his short life Alexander had change the course of world history. I’ve no idea how he found time for it, I barely have chance for breakfast in the morning.

Are you a teacher? Yes? Then you'll definitely want Imagining History to bring their 'Ancient Greece: Hero Training' Interactive workshop to your school.


Our Award-Winning sessions combine role-play, storytelling, demonstrations and drama and performance to bring history to life for your students.


In our 'Ancient Greece: Hero Training' workshop your students will learn all about the Myths & Legends of Ancient Greece by walking in the shoes of the great Greek heroes themselves. They will:

  • Take on the roles of the key Greek Gods to learn about their devious ways

  • Learn the wisdom of Oedipus by solving the riddles of the fearsome Sphinx

  • Develop the cunning of Heracles by completing his most demanding Labour

  • Discover what makes a great hero by re-creating the challenges set to heroes like Jason, Achilles, Theseus and more


Find out more here.


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