When Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, he encountered an entirely new problem. For the first few years of his reign, Alexander had ruled Macedonia and parts of Greece, places which were more similar than they were different – people worshipped the same gods and (generally) spoke the same language – but the Persian Empire was incredibly diverse, with people from lots of different backgrounds ruled by one king. Having come to prominence as a ruler of a homogenous kingdom, Alexander was now the master of a multi- cultural empire; what had worked as a method of ruling for the first few years of his reign might no longer prove successful. The biggest challenge that Alexander faced was how to get the defeated Persian nobility on side. Although the Macedonians had decisively defeated the Persians on the battlefield, the Persian nobility remained incredibly powerful because their vast estates were spread across the empire and they consequently had access to enormous material resources and lots of manpower. In turn, unless Alexander could reach an agreement with them, they were powerful enough to hinder his attempts to establish full control of the former Persian Empire and to rule it peacefully.
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