history of alexander the great

He subsequently overthrew Persian King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. Both in Egypt and elsewhere in the Greek cities he received divine honours. In addition, Persian nobles had been accepted into the royal cavalry bodyguard. The campaign took Alexander through Media, Parthia, Aria (West Afghanistan), Drangiana, Arachosia (South and Central Afghanistan), Bactria (North and Central Afghanistan), and Scythia. [63] Greeks used the word Margites to describe fool and useless people, on account of the Margites. Omissions? [243][244], Hellenization was coined by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen to denote the spread of Greek language, culture, and population into the former Persian empire after Alexander's conquest. Crossing the Oxus, he sent his general Ptolemy in pursuit of Bessus, who had meanwhile been overthrown by the Sogdian Spitamenes. [60] The one exception was a call to arms by Spartan king Agis III in 331 BC, whom Antipater defeated and killed in the battle of Megalopolis. [75][76] The men of military age were massacred and the women and children sold into slavery. So Alexander's generals set about carving up the new empire. It included: Alexander earned the epithet "the Great" due to his unparalleled success as a military commander. The death of the son necessitated the death of the father, and thus Parmenion, who had been charged with guarding the treasury at Ecbatana, was assassinated at Alexander's command, to prevent attempts at vengeance. [200] He had a calmer side—perceptive, logical, and calculating. [103] However, when, at some point later, Alexander was on the Jaxartes dealing with an incursion by a horse nomad army, Spitamenes raised Sogdiana in revolt. As Mazaeus’s appointment indicated, Alexander’s views on the empire were changing. This discontent was now fanned by the arrival of 30,000 native youths who had received a Macedonian military training and by the introduction of Asian peoples from Bactria, Sogdiana, Arachosia, and other parts of the empire into the Companion cavalry; whether Asians had previously served with the Companions is uncertain, but if so they must have formed separate squadrons. Most infamously, Alexander personally killed the man who had saved his life at Granicus, Cleitus the Black, during a violent drunken altercation at Maracanda (modern day Samarkand in Uzbekistan), in which Cleitus accused Alexander of several judgmental mistakes and most especially, of having forgotten the Macedonian ways in favour of a corrupt oriental lifestyle. Pompey the Great adopted the epithet "Magnus" and even Alexander's anastole-type haircut, and searched the conquered lands of the east for Alexander's 260-year-old cloak, which he then wore as a sign of greatness. [82] During his stay in Egypt, he founded Alexandria-by-Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic Kingdom after his death. On the site of modern Leninabad (Khojent) on the Jaxartes, he founded a city, Alexandria Eschate, “the farthest.” Meanwhile, Spitamenes had raised all Sogdiana in revolt behind him, bringing in the Massagetai, a people of the Shaka confederacy. Thus, in Bactria and Sogdiana, Alexander successfully used his javelin throwers and archers to prevent outflanking movements, while massing his cavalry at the center. He founded the city of Alexandria near the western arm of the Nile on a fine site between the sea and Lake Mareotis, protected by the island of Pharos, and had it laid out by the Rhodian architect Deinocrates. [78] After three unsuccessful assaults, the stronghold fell, but not before Alexander had received a serious shoulder wound. [98] Alexander buried Darius' remains next to his Achaemenid predecessors in a regal funeral. When the Thessalians awoke the next day, they found Alexander in their rear and promptly surrendered, adding their cavalry to Alexander's force. [59], After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle of the Granicus, Alexander accepted the surrender of the Persian provincial capital and treasury of Sardis; he then proceeded along the Ionian coast, granting autonomy and democracy to the cities. [112] Alexander sent back vast sums from his conquest, which stimulated the economy and increased trade across his empire. [249] Koine spread throughout the Hellenistic world, becoming the lingua franca of Hellenistic lands and eventually the ancestor of modern Greek. Fearing the prospect of facing other large armies and exhausted by years of campaigning, Alexander's army mutinied at the Hyphasis River (Beas), refusing to march farther east. Whereas he was of a fair colour, as they say, and his fairness passed into ruddiness on his breast particularly, and in his face. He was born in 356 bce at Pella in Macedonia, the son of Philip II and Olympias (daughter of King Neoptolemus of Epirus). Arrian, Anabasis of Alexander, §7.20- Greek, Arrian, Anabasis of Alexander, §7.20- English, "The Mughal Sikander: Influence of the Romance of Alexander on Mughal Manuscript Painting", "Quintus Curtius Rufus, History of Alexander the Great", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Alexander_the_Great&oldid=999873762, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from April 2016, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2015, Articles containing Persian-language text, Pages using Sister project links with hidden wikidata, Pages using Sister project links with default search, Articles with Encyclopædia Britannica links, Wikipedia articles with BALaT identifiers, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CINII identifiers, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with TePapa identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Construction of a monumental tomb for his father Philip, "to match the greatest of the, Conquest of Arabia and the entire Mediterranean basin, Development of cities and the "transplant of populations from Asia to Europe and in the opposite direction from Europe to Asia, in order to bring the largest continent to common unity and to friendship by means of intermarriage and family ties", "Empire" as a description of foreign policy, This page was last edited on 12 January 2021, at 11:09. Alexander the Great. [150] However, in a 2003 BBC documentary investigating the death of Alexander, Leo Schep from the New Zealand National Poisons Centre proposed that the plant white hellebore (Veratrum album), which was known in antiquity, may have been used to poison Alexander. In his short life span he had conquered many empires and thus he was considered as one of the greatest military geniuses to have ever lived. [16] Contemporaries who wrote accounts of his life included Alexander's campaign historian Callisthenes; Alexander's generals Ptolemy and Nearchus; Aristobulus, a junior officer on the campaigns; and Onesicritus, Alexander's chief helmsman. We’re constantly expanding this list of Alexander the Great historical sites and you can view the current selection below. Later in his childhood, Alexander was tutored by the strict Leonidas, a relative of his mother, and by Lysimachus of Acarnania. During this turmoil, the Illyrians invaded Macedonia, only to be repelled by Alexander. [122] The other was Nicaea (Victory), thought to be located at the site of modern-day Mong, Punjab. Undefeated in battle, he un leashed his army on countries great and small to forge an empire that stretched over three continents, from Greece to India and as far south as Egypt. [51], Alexander stopped at Thermopylae, where he was recognized as the leader of the Amphictyonic League before heading south to Corinth. [282], In Greek Anthology there are poems referring to Alexander.[283][284]. [274], The figure of Dhul-Qarnayn (literally "the Two-Horned One") mentioned in the Quran is believed by scholars to be based on later legends of Alexander. [86] He sent the bulk of his army to the Persian ceremonial capital of Persepolis via the Persian Royal Road. Left to fight alone, they were defeated. Alexander the Great is part of Makers of History, a 19th century biography series by two brothers--Jacob and John S.C. Abbott. [60] Alexander's sacking of Thebes ensured that Greece remained quiet during his absence. [272] One well-known fable among Greek seamen involves a solitary mermaid who would grasp a ship's prow during a storm and ask the captain "Is King Alexander alive?" [278] His defeat of Darius was depicted as Egypt's salvation, "proving" Egypt was still ruled by an Egyptian. For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand war elephants. [49] Alexander spared Arrhidaeus, who was by all accounts mentally disabled, possibly as a result of poisoning by Olympias. Both Athens and Philip sent embassies to win Thebes' favour, but Athens won the contest. The Histories of Alexander the Great (Latin: Historiae Alexandri Magni) is the only ancient Latin biography of Alexander the Great. The horse refused to be mounted, and Philip ordered it away. [229], Green argues that there is little evidence in ancient sources that Alexander had much carnal interest in women; he did not produce an heir until the very end of his life. This cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen, and he eventually abandoned it. Ptolemy IX Lathyros, one of Ptolemy's final successors, replaced Alexander's sarcophagus with a glass one so he could convert the original to coinage. His troops were extremely loyal, believing in him throughout all hardships. When Onesicritus read this passage to his patron, Alexander's general and later King Lysimachus reportedly quipped, "I wonder where I was at the time. [274], According to Josephus, Alexander was shown the Book of Daniel when he entered Jerusalem, which described a mighty Greek king who would conquer the Persian Empire. At length, at the Amanis, he was rejoined by Nearchus and the fleet, which also had suffered losses. [199] He had great self-restraint in "pleasures of the body", in contrast with his lack of self-control with alcohol. Demades likened the Macedonian army, after the death of Alexander, to the blinded Cyclops, due to the many random and disorderly movements that it made. At this point Alexander benefitted from the sudden death of Memnon, the competent Greek commander of the Persian fleet. Alexander the Great, also known as Alexander III or Alexander of Macedonia, (born 356 bce, Pella, Macedonia [northwest of Thessaloníki, Greece]—died June 13, 323 bce, Babylon [near Al-Ḥillah, Iraq]), king of Macedonia (336–323 bce), who overthrew the Persian empire, carried Macedonian arms to India, and laid the foundations for the Hellenistic world of territorial kingdoms. All three of these people had motive to have Philip murdered. Bessus was now in Bactria raising a national revolt in the eastern satrapies with the usurped title of Great King. Alexander thus underlined his Panhellenic policy, already symbolized in the sending of 300 panoplies (sets of armour) taken at the Granicus as an offering dedicated to Athena at Athens by “Alexander son of Philip and the Greeks (except the Spartans) from the barbarians who inhabit Asia.” (This formula, cited by the Greek historian Arrian in his history of Alexander’s campaigns, is noteworthy for its omission of any reference to Macedonia.) He founded more than twenty cities bearing his name. This edition can be found on the Hathi Trust website, and the following table contains links to the individual chapters in the translation, together with the translator's introduction. The so-called "Alexander Sarcophagus", discovered near Sidon and now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, is so named not because it was thought to have contained Alexander's remains, but because its bas-reliefs depict Alexander and his companions fighting the Persians and hunting. In September Alexander too set out along the coast through Gedrosia (modern Baluchistan), but he was soon compelled by mountainous country to turn inland, thus failing in his project to establish food depots for the fleet. This army was to prove remarkable for its balanced combination of arms. [261] Alexander was used by these writers as an example of ruler values such as amicita (friendship) and clementia (clemency), but also iracundia (anger) and cupiditas gloriae (over-desire for glory). Hugely ambitious, Alexander drew inspiration from the gods Achilles, Heracles, and Dionysus. Alexander was emboldened to divide his forces, and Ambhi assisted Hephaestion and Perdiccas in constructing a bridge over the Indus where it bends at Hund,[115] supplied their troops with provisions, and received Alexander himself, and his whole army, in his capital city of Taxila, with every demonstration of friendship and the most liberal hospitality. Crushing the mountain tribe of the Ouxians, he now pressed on over the Zagros range into Persia proper and, successfully turning the Pass of the Persian Gates, held by the satrap Ariobarzanes, he entered Persepolis and Pasargadae. [193] Lysippos' sculpture, famous for its naturalism, as opposed to a stiffer, more static pose, is thought to be the most faithful depiction. How far the rigour that from now onward Alexander displayed against his governors represents exemplary punishment for gross maladministration during his absence and how far the elimination of men he had come to distrust (as in the case of Philotas and Parmenio) is debatable; but the ancient sources generally favourable to him comment adversely on his severity. While the siege of Tyre was in progress, Darius sent a new offer: he would pay a huge ransom of 10,000 talents for his family and cede all his lands west of the Euphrates. [69] In the following year, 332 BC, he was forced to attack Tyre, which he captured after a long and difficult siege. Crossing the Elburz Mountains to the Caspian, he seized Zadracarta in Hyrcania and received the submission of a group of satraps and Persian notables, some of whom he confirmed in their offices; in a diversion westward, perhaps to modern Āmol, he reduced the Mardi, a mountain people who inhabited the Elburz Mountains. [239][240][241][242], Libanius wrote that Alexander founded the temple of Zeus Bottiaios (Ancient Greek: Βοττιαίου Δῖός), in the place where later the city of Antioch was built. [102], In 329 BC, Spitamenes, who held an undefined position in the satrapy of Sogdiana, betrayed Bessus to Ptolemy, one of Alexander's trusted companions, and Bessus was executed. [161][163] His successor, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, transferred the sarcophagus to Alexandria, where it remained until at least late Antiquity. [18], When Alexander was 13, Philip began to search for a tutor, and considered such academics as Isocrates and Speusippus, the latter offering to resign from his stewardship of the Academy to take up the post. The famous encounter between Alexander and Diogenes the Cynic occurred during Alexander's stay in Corinth. The struggle turned into a Persian rout and Darius fled, leaving his family in Alexander’s hands; the women were treated with chivalrous care. He became king of the fringe Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 336 BC at the age [121] Alexander founded two cities on opposite sides of the Hydaspes river, naming one Bucephala, in honour of his horse, who died around this time. [163] Perhaps more likely, the successors may have seen possession of the body as a symbol of legitimacy, since burying the prior king was a royal prerogative. Greek astronomical treatise) and Paulisa Siddhanta texts depict the influence of Greek astronomical ideas on Indian astronomy. Shortly afterward, however, Callisthenes was held to be privy to a conspiracy among the royal pages and was executed (or died in prison; accounts vary); resentment of this action alienated sympathy from Alexander within the Peripatetic school of philosophers, with which Callisthenes had close connections. [72], In spring 333 BC, Alexander crossed the Taurus into Cilicia. [59] This was due to use of terrain, phalanx and cavalry tactics, bold strategy, and the fierce loyalty of his troops. The Thessalians and Greek allies were sent home; henceforward he was waging a purely personal war. [133] Meanwhile, upon his return to Persia, Alexander learned that guards of the tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae had desecrated it, and swiftly executed them. Philip was then named Hegemon (often translated as "Supreme Commander") of this league (known by modern scholars as the League of Corinth), and announced his plans to attack the Persian Empire. The anguish that Alexander felt after Hephaestion's death may also have contributed to his declining health. For having had all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants. [138] Back in Babylon, Alexander planned a series of new campaigns, beginning with an invasion of Arabia, but he would not have a chance to realize them, as he died shortly after Hephaestion. [239] The temple was designed by Pytheos, one of the architects of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Philip had started to build up an empire by uniting some of the separate city-states to the north of Greece. "[53] At Corinth, Alexander took the title of Hegemon ("leader") and, like Philip, was appointed commander for the coming war against Persia. He appointed Porus as satrap, and added to Porus' territory land that he did not previously own, towards the south-east, up to the Hyphasis (Beas). Alexander's legacy includes the cultural diffusion and syncretism which his conquests engendered, such as Greco-Buddhism. Alexander the Great Alexander the Great: His Life and His Mysterious Death Ancient Greece Anthony Everitt Babylon Dionysus Hanging Gardens Mesopotamia Persian Empire Random House More Story 5 Audiobooks to Help With Those End-of-Summer Blues Every book is a journey, promised one of those 1980s reading posters in our elementary school library. He had a high complexion and a harsh voice. [21][24][25][26] This gave the Macedonian court a good knowledge of Persian issues, and may even have influenced some of the innovations in the management of the Macedonian state. [58], While Alexander campaigned north, the Thebans and Athenians rebelled once again. Alexander has figured in both high and popular culture beginning in his own era to the present day. He eventually turned back at the demand of his homesick troops, dying in Babylon in 323 BC, the city that he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. [275] In the Shahnameh, Alexander's first journey is to Mecca to pray at the Kaaba. A decree brought by Nicanor to Europe and proclaimed at Olympia (September 324) required the Greek cities of the Greek League to receive back all exiles and their families (except the Thebans), a measure that implied some modification of the oligarchic regimes maintained in the Greek cities by Alexander’s governor Antipater. [190] However, Ogden calculates that Alexander, who impregnated his partners thrice in eight years, had a higher matrimonial record than his father at the same age. [249] Furthermore, town planning, education, local government, and art current in the Hellenistic period were all based on Classical Greek ideals, evolving into distinct new forms commonly grouped as Hellenistic. [143] In the second account, Diodorus recounts that Alexander was struck with pain after downing a large bowl of unmixed wine in honour of Heracles, followed by 11 days of weakness; he did not develop a fever and died after some agony. At Gordium in Phrygia, tradition records his cutting of the Gordian knot, which could only be loosed by the man who was to rule Asia; but this story may be apocryphal or at least distorted. "[269], In the first centuries after Alexander's death, probably in Alexandria, a quantity of the legendary material coalesced into a text known as the Alexander Romance, later falsely ascribed to Callisthenes and therefore known as Pseudo-Callisthenes. [164], While Alexander's funeral cortege was on its way to Macedon, Ptolemy seized it and took it temporarily to Memphis. The Alexander Romance, in particular, has had a significant impact on portrayals of Alexander in later cultures, from Persian to medieval European to modern Greek. He found that his treasurer, Harpalus, evidently fearing punishment for peculation, had absconded with 6,000 mercenaries and 5,000 talents to Greece; arrested in Athens, he escaped and later was murdered in Crete. [134], After three days, unable to persuade his men to back down, Alexander gave Persians command posts in the army and conferred Macedonian military titles upon Persian units. They refused to be sent away and criticized his adoption of Persian customs and dress and the introduction of Persian officers and soldiers into Macedonian units. The greatest conqueror in history, he is still only thirty-two. Under Aristotle's tutelage, Alexander developed a passion for the works of Homer, and in particular the Iliad; Aristotle gave him an annotated copy, which Alexander later carried on his campaigns. - [Instructor] Now, we're going to talk about one of the most famous conquerors in all of human history, and that is Alexander the Great. [254][256][257] The Yavanajataka (lit. Alexander replied that since he was now king of Asia, it was he alone who decided territorial divisions. His neck was in some way twisted, so that he appeared to be gazing upward at an angle. It was also said that on this day, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, burnt down. This led Hegesias of Magnesia to say that it had burnt down because Artemis was away, attending the birth of Alexander. [144][175], Perdiccas initially did not claim power, instead suggesting that Roxane's baby would be king, if male; with himself, Craterus, Leonnatus, and Antipater as guardians. Marching west into Illyria, Alexander defeated each in turn, forcing the two rulers to flee with their troops. When the animal died (because of old age, according to Plutarch, at age thirty), Alexander named a city after him, Bucephala. [144][147] The accounts were nevertheless fairly consistent in designating Antipater, recently removed as Macedonian viceroy, and at odds with Olympias, as the head of the alleged plot. His campaigns greatly increased contacts and trade between East and West, and vast areas to the east were significantly exposed to Greek civilization and influence. For other uses, see. His vast empire stretched east into India. Alexander the Great conquers Persia. [202], Alexander was erudite and patronized both arts and sciences. After visiting Ilium (Troy), a romantic gesture inspired by Homer, he confronted his first Persian army, led by three satraps, at the Granicus (modern Kocabaş) River, near the Sea of Marmara (May/June 334). It was written the Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus [1] in the 1st-century AD, but the earliest surviving manuscript comes from the 9th century. The earliest of these is Diodorus Siculus (1st century BC), followed by Quintus Curtius Rufus (mid-to-late 1st century AD), Arrian (1st to 2nd century AD), the biographer Plutarch (1st to 2nd century AD), and finally Justin, whose work dated as late as the 4th century. [30] Philip marched on Amphissa (ostensibly acting on the request of the Amphictyonic League), capturing the mercenaries sent there by Demosthenes and accepting the city's surrender. In the aftermath of Massaga and Ora, numerous Assakenians fled to the fortress of Aornos. He had a great desire for knowledge, a love for philosophy, and was an avid reader. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through western Asiaand northeast Africa, and by the age … His military tactics are still being studied, while he brought Greek culture as far east as modern day Afghanistan and Pakistan. [13] Plutarch offered a variety of interpretations of these dreams: that Olympias was pregnant before her marriage, indicated by the sealing of her womb; or that Alexander's father was Zeus. [183] The Macedonian phalanx, armed with the sarissa, a spear 6 metres (20 ft) long, had been developed and perfected by Philip II through rigorous training, and Alexander used its speed and manoeuvrability to great effect against larger but more disparate[clarification needed] Persian forces. With a good cavalry force Alexander could expect to defeat any Persian army. [11], Several legends surround Alexander's birth and childhood. [52] This reply apparently delighted Alexander, who is reported to have said "But verily, if I were not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes. According to the ancient sources, the two sides fought bitterly for some time. The world that was created by the Macedonian king Alexander the Great in just a few years was far more united than any time before that in history. [105] This behaviour cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen. [271], Alexander the Great's accomplishments and legacy have been depicted in many cultures. His empire spread from Gibraltar to the Punjab, and he made Greek the lingua franca of his world, the language that helped spread early Christianity. In the area of architecture, a few examples of the Ionic order can be found as far as Pakistan with the Jandial temple near Taxila. Nevertheless, Hellenization occurred throughout the region, accompanied by a distinct and opposite 'Orientalization' of the successor states. The celebrated Macedonian king has been one of the most enduring figures in history. Alexander and his exploits were admired by many Romans, especially generals, who wanted to associate themselves with his achievements. [106][238] However, a century or so after Alexander's death, many of the Alexandrias were thriving, with elaborate public buildings and substantial populations that included both Greek and local peoples. [34][35], When Philip returned to Pella, he fell in love with and married Cleopatra Eurydice in 338 BC,[36] the niece of his general Attalus. [251] Several Buddhist traditions may have been influenced by the ancient Greek religion: the concept of Boddhisatvas is reminiscent of Greek divine heroes,[253] and some Mahayana ceremonial practices (burning incense, gifts of flowers, and food placed on altars) are similar to those practised by the ancient Greeks; however, similar practices were also observed amongst the native Indic culture. After this, details on the fate of the tomb are hazy.[165]. He is also said to have sent an expedition to discover the causes of the flooding of the Nile. [118] Alexander was impressed by Porus' bravery, and made him an ally. [179], Diodorus stated that Alexander had given detailed written instructions to Craterus some time before his death. His eyes (one blue, one brown) revealed a dewy, feminine quality. In the process, both Alexander IV and Philip III were murdered. At first, the cities must have been inhospitable, little more than defensive garrisons. [88] Alexander stayed in Persepolis for five months. With these victories, he secured his northern frontier. [272] The colloquial form of his name in modern Greek ("O Megalexandros") is a household name, and he is the only ancient hero to appear in the Karagiozis shadow play. [41] However, it appears Philip never intended to disown his politically and militarily trained son. [12] According to the ancient Greek biographer Plutarch, on the eve of the consummation of her marriage to Philip, Olympias dreamed that her womb was struck by a thunderbolt that caused a flame to spread "far and wide" before dying away. There have been, since the time, many suspicions that Pausanias was actually hired to murder Philip. The other Greek states were cowed by this severity, and Alexander could afford to treat Athens leniently. [261], Emperor Julian in his satire called "The Caesars", describes a contest between the previous Roman emperors, with Alexander the Great called in as an extra contestant, in the presence of the assembled gods.[262]. ", In 337 BC, Alexander fled Macedon with his mother, dropping her off with her brother, King Alexander I of Epirus in Dodona, capital of the Molossians. [14] Such legends may have emerged when Alexander was king, and possibly at his instigation, to show that he was superhuman and destined for greatness from conception. 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