In 323 BCE, Alexander the Great was on top of the world. Never a man to sit on his hands or rest upon his laurels, Alexander began planning his future campaigns, which may have included attempts to subdue the Arabian Peninsula or make another incursion into India. But fate had other plans for the young Macedonian king. One night, while feasting with his admiral Nearchus, he drank too much and took to bed with a fever. At first, it seemed like the fever was merely a consequence of his excess, and there was not much concern for his health, but when a week had elapsed and there was still no sign of his getting better, his friends and generals began to grow concerned. The fever grew, consuming him to the point that he could barely speak. After two weeks, on June 11, 323 BC, Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, Hegemon of the League of Corinth, King of Kings, died.
On his deathbed, some historians claim that when he was pressed to name a successor, Alexander muttered that his empire should go "to the strongest". Other sources claim that he passed his signet ring to his general Perdiccas, thereby naming him successor, but whatever his choices were or may have been, they were ignored. Alexander's generals, all of them with the loyalty of their own corps at their backs, would tear each other apart in a vicious internal struggle that lasted almost half a century before four factions emerged victorious: Macedonia, the Seleucid Empire in the east, the Kingdom of Pergamon in Asia Minor, and the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. During the course of these wars, Alexander's only heir, the posthumously born Alexander IV, was murdered, extinguishing his bloodline for ever.
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