Alexander the Great now ruled a wide area, but he still wanted more lands. Beyond Persia lay India. Alexander led his soldiers east from Persia to the Indus River. There he fought Porus, an Indian king.
King Porus himself fought from high atop a large elephant. Though these beasts were a terrifying sight, they were not enough to win the battle. After being wounded, Porus surrendered to Alexander's forces. Alexander allowed Porus to continue as ruler of his kingdom.
Alexander planned to push on from the Indus Valley to the Ganges River. However, his conquest-weary soldiers refused to follow. Bitterly disappointed, Alexander turned back to Babylon in 326 B.C.
Shortly after he returned to Babylon, in 323 B.C., Alexander became ill with a fever. He died a few days later, not long before his thirty-third birthday. Legend says that before Alexander's death, a soldier asked, "To whom will rule of the great empire go?" Alexander answered, "To the strongest!"
No one leader proved strong enough to replace Alexander. His empire broke up quickly after his death as his generals fought for control. The empire split into many parts. The largest of these parts were Macedonia, Syria, and Egypt. These three kingdoms were often at war with one another. Even so, these Hellenistic kingdoms continued and built upon many of Alexander's ideas.
Why did Alexander's empire break up after his death?