Alexander the Great, one of the greatest generals of all time and one of the most powerful personalities of antiquity, was born in 356 bc in Pella, Macedonia. Alexander's mother, Olympias, was the orphaned daughter of King Neoptolemus of Epirus, an area located in what is now Albania. Tradition tells that Olympias was descended from Achilles, the mythical hero of the Iliad, while Alexander's father, Philip II of Macedonia, was said to descend from Zeus's son Heracles. During Alexander's training with Leonidas, the young prince is said to have extravagantly thrown two fistfuls of incense on the altar fire during a religious ceremony. Due to the influence of Aristotle, Alexander developed a strong interest in medicine, botany, and zoology. Later, his knowledge of medicine would stand him in good stead, lending understanding to his concern for his soldiers' wounds and sicknesses.