The Hebrew Book of Esther presents the unsuccessful venture to kill the Jews living in the Persian empire during the reign of a certain Ahasuerus. Although the absence of clear historical allusions or perspectives renders the question uncertain, most scholars of ancient biblical history consider to be Xerxes. The threat was diverted by the courage and ingeniousness of Esther and her cousin Mordecai, along with the help of a series of fortunate circumstances. The significance of these events explains the origin of the festival of Purim, the Book of Esther has been read aloud in the synagogue at that feast since antiquity.
After the assassination of his father Alexander III ("The Great") ascended to the throne and assumed his father's plan of a crusade to punish the Persians for Xerxe's invasion of Greece almost a century and a half later. Alexander crossed the Hellspont with a complement of approximately fifty thousand in 334 B.C. and defeated the Persian army in three major battles, the last in 331 B.C..
These victories solidly united the army created by his father into an irresistible force by his uncanny strategic insight, versatility and courage beyond reason. Persepolis was sacked and the palace of Xerxes burned. Conquering Bactria and Sogdiana, he extended his way across the eastern frontier to the Hyphasis, and the lower Indus River. From the Indus Delta he continued westward through the Gedrosian desert. Reaching Susa in 324, where he and ninety-one members of his court married wives of Persian nobility. There Alexander the Great succumbed to his death, probably by a fever following a drinking party in Babylon, on June 323.
Source: The Oxford Companion to the Bible, 1993.