Wednesday 26 October | 18:00 BST

Alexander the Great became King of Macedonia after his father, Philip II, was assassinated in 336 BCE. He conquered the Persian empire, spanning from the Balkans to modern-day Pakistan, thus earning his reputation as one of the most successful military commanders in world history.

Although he was in control of Persia by 330 BCE, the battle was far from over. He stripped royal treasuries as he went, and captured the Persian capital, Persepolis – burning it to the ground in a final act of revenge against the Persia. Alexander the Great’s Macedonian Army pillaged the city, destroyed the palace complex, and killed any civilians they came upon.

Remote video URL

On 26 October 2022, Alexander the Great stood trial for war crimes at the UK Supreme Court. He was charged with four counts of violation of the laws and customs of war during the razing and conquest of Persepolis. Read the indictment here

Presided over by Lord Leggatt (Justice of the Supreme Court), the trial saw Philippe Sands KC acting as counsel for the prosecution, and Patrick Gibbs KC acting as counsel for the defence.

The prosecution argued that Alexander was a war criminal, who committed atrocities at Persepolis as a deliberate political act. The defence argued that the burning of Persepolis was not politically motivated, rather it was merely the tragic consequence of drunken behaviour. War hero or war criminal? Watch the recording above to find out.

Moot trials hosted at the Supreme Court are a tradition of the Classics for All Lawyers Group. Since 2015, Lawyers Group members have gathered at the court to witness the trials of Boudica, Socrates, Brutus, Antigone, Verres and Lysistrata. (You can watch our previous moot trials here.) 

This is a Classics for All Lawyers Group event. Lawyers Group members are invited to attend in person or watch online. If you are a member, please email [email protected] to register. If you would like to join the Lawyers Group, please sign up here

If you have any questions about this event, please contact [email protected].