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The next important matter occupying the attention of the young king was

the meeting of the Amphictyonic council at Thermopylae. It was necessary

for Alexander to have conferred on him his father's seat as president of

that venerable body. This dignity, however, was easily attained at the

hands of the Amphictyons, and Alexander immediately sought the still

higher honor of being elected generalissimo of all the Greeks. For this

purpose a congress of the states was called to meet at Corinth. When the

body was assembled, the king proposed to the delegates that the great

expedition against Persia, which had been cut short by the death of his

father, should now be resumed, and that himself should be elected to

command the combined forces of the West. The proposition was readily

assented to by a majority of the delegates, though not without the

opposition of the Lacedaemonians, who held that they were restrained by

an ancient custom from committing the command of their armies to


It appears, withal, from this circumstance, that the deliberations of

the congress were untrammeled by any fear of the king, each state being

allowed to exercise the suffrage in its own way. Thus was brought to a

successful conclusion the preliminary arrangements by which the largest

and most important expedition ever undertaken in Greece was intrusted to

a youth of twenty years.

Now it was that the ambitions of Alexander found free scope for

exercise. Preparations were immediately resumed for the equipment of the

army for the grand campaign into Asia. It was perhaps fortunate for

Alexander that at this juncture difficulties arose which furnished an

opportunity to test his capacities and try the mettle of his soldiery in

a field near home. Before the expedition could set out for Asia Minor,

ominous clouds gathered around his kingdom, and threatened invasions

gathered on three sides of the realm. On the west the Illyrians revolted

and resumed their independence. On the north the Thracians, headed by

the warlike tribe of Triballi, rose in arms; and on the east the

miscellaneous nationalities inhabiting the coasts and islands of the

AEgean again betook themselves to marauding and piracy.

It was this alarming condition of affairs which first struck fire from

the daring spirit and military genius of the young king. Hastily

dividing his forces he dispatched Parmenio with one division against the

Illyrians, while