ALEXANDER AS KING
PHILIP, King of Macedon, as we have seen, had one great
fault. He drank; and often his reason was clouded, and
his step unsteady. Now, it is impossible to respect a
man who is drunk, and everybody used to make fun of
Philip when he was in that state.
Even Alexander, his own son, felt great contempt for
him when he thus disgraced himself; and once when he
saw his father stagger and fall after one of his
orgies, he scornfully exclaimed, "See! here is a man
who is getting ready to cross from Europe to Asia, and
yet he cannot step safely from one couch to another."
Alexander, we are told, was greatly displeased by his
father's conquests, and once angrily cried that if
Philip really beat the Persians, and took possession of
Asia, there would be nothing left for him to do.
You may readily imagine, therefore, that he was not
very sorry when his father died before the expedition
could be undertaken; for he thus became, at twenty,
master of an immense army and of great riches, and head
of all the Greek cities, which were then the finest in
The news of Philip's death was received with great
 joy by the Athenians also, who thought they would now
be free. Demosthenes, in particular, was so glad to be
rid of his hated foe, that he ran all through the city
with a crown of flowers on his head, shaking hands with
everybody he met, and shouting his congratulations.
His joy was so great, because he and all his
fellow-citizens fancied that a mere boy like Alexander
would never be able to hold his own, and because they
hoped to become again the leading people of Greece.
The Thracians, who also thought that Alexander would
not be able to carry out his father's plans, now
revolted, and the young king was obliged to begin his
reign by marching against them.
Three months passed. The Greeks heard no news of
Alexander or of his army, and fancied that he had been
defeated and killed. The Thebans, thinking the right
moment had come, suddenly rose up, and said that they
would never again submit to the Macedonian yoke, but
would stay free.
They soon had cause to repent of this rash talk.
Alexander was not dead, but had conquered the Thracians
completely. Without stopping to rest, he now marched
straight down into Bœotia, and besieged and took
Thebes. All the inhabitants were either slain or sold
into slavery, the walls torn down, and not a single
building was left standing, except the house of
Pindar, a Greek poet, whose songs Alexander had always
The other Greek cities, frightened by the terrible
punishment of Thebes, sent messengers to the young
king, offering not only to obey him as their chief, but
 supply all the men, money, and stores he wished for the
expedition to Asia. Alexander graciously accepted all
these proposals, and then marched southward as far as