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. Alexander the Great takes power. But before Alexander could push into Persia, he had to take care of business back home. He also worked hard in other ways to maintain the l… The Greek city-states of Athens and Thebes weren’t thrilled to be under the thumb of “barbarian” kings, particularly since it infringed on their democratic ideals. … Each soldier swore an oath of loyalty to the king. Immediately after Alexander was made king, Thebes rose up to challenge his authority—a big mistake. After quickly dispatching a small regional army near the town of Granicus, Alexander had his first real test against Darius and his Persian Royal Army near the coastal city of Issus. The Macedonians weren’t always a force to be reckoned with. As a gesture of goodwill, Macedonians and Persians broke bread together at a 9,000-person banquet. The Persian cavalry and archers were also legendary, as were the scythe chariots which cut down enemy infantry with their razor-sharp wheel hubs. At the time of his … The book begins by outlining the basics concerning how to move an army in the ancient world and the difficulties of keeping a large army supplied as it moves along a campaign. Darius still commanded a massive army, but Persia was receding on the world stage while Macedon had the momentum of an ascendant military super power. The animist Kalash are outwardly different from the darker-skinned Pakistani Muslims who live in the lowlands below them, so it seemed plausible. The highest positions were in the Royal Companion Cavalry, the king’s own personal squadron, and in the Royal Hypaspists, an elite 500-man infantry unit that surrounded the king in battle. Whether motivated by Greek pride or the spoils of imperial conquest, Alexander picked up where his father left off and marched into Persia in 334 BC, where his army of 50,000 would be tested against the largest and best-trained fighting force in the known world. Per the Ancient History Encyclopedia, the king proclaimed, "Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.". It was Alexander’s father, Philip, who single-handedly transformed the Macedonian army into one of the most feared fighting machines in the ancient world. Their advance was halted when they reached Halicarnassus, the capital of Caria, which was defended by a Greek comma… But he never made it home. In the century leading up to Alexander’s reign, Persia was furthered weakened by a civil war and other internal rebellions. Alexander planned to create a "master race" through the intermixing of Macedonians and Persians. Even the way soldiers bathed was tightly regulated. Just as he did with his father at Chaeronea, Alexander personally led the Macedonian cavalry charge at Issus, which cut right to the heart of the Persian defenses, just as planned. But between 326 and 324 B.C. But Alexander will not be outplayed. he adopted a policy that enraged the devoted soldiers who had traveled and trampled the world with him. Philip and Alexander were able to do this because: 1. The reign of Alexander the Great was short-lived. This created just enough slack in the Persian line for Alexander to strike. Alexander used both military and political cunning to finally unseat the Persian superpower. It could carry more than either a mule or horse, being able to transport 300 lb. However he ensured they were well-fed. It is not clear if the definition of “companion” came from the fact that … Alexander the Great is regarded as one of the most influential people in history. In 325, after Alexander had recovered, he and his army headed north along the … When Alexander returned to Persia from his Egyptian conquests, Darius tried to delay the inevitable clash as long as possible, eventually deciding that if there was going to be a rematch, it would be on Daruis’ terms. Always the savvy strategist, Alexander knew that he couldn’t rule the Greek mainland by fear and brute force alone. Alexander the Great conquers Persia. Alexander in the Gedrosian desert [6.24.1] The next objective was the capital town of Gedrosia, situated in a district named Pura. Then he ordered the entire Macedonian line to march quickly to the right. In the spring of 334, Alexander and Parmenion crossed the Hellespont and attacked the local Persian army, which was defeated near the river Granicus in the northwest of what is now called Turkey. But Persia’s rule as a dominant empire would finally be brought to an end by a brilliant military and political strategist, Alexander the Great. Alexander was said to have been impressed by the drill of the 30,000 Persians who had been trained in the methods of the Macedonian phalanx. But there were also signs that the Persian Empire was already in decline. He and 80 officers wedded Persian women to get the ball rolling in the hay. Alexander moved his army on to the east, still hoping to find the end of the earth. When Philip II became king of Macedonia in 359 BCE, he inherited an army that was relatively ineffective. This is the currently selected item. The Battle of Gaugamela began on the morning of October 1, 331 bc, when two great armies drew up for battle to determine the destiny of empires. Backed by his shiny new army, Philip marched south in 338 B.C. The Macedonian Phalanx, a rectangular infantry formation, was developed by Philip II of Macedon and used by his son Alexander the Great to conquer other armies. OK, there was no such thing as high school in the fourth … (136 kg) of supplies over a long distance. Turns out Alexander was also great at conflict resolution. At the heart of the Persian army were the “Immortals,” an elite regiment of 10,000 infantrymen whose numbers never changed. 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. Alexander owed a tremendous debt to his father for leaving him a world-class army led by experienced and loyal generals. Roughly 12 years into his historic reign on the Macedonian throne, Alexander the GreatÂ had more than lived up to his epithet. and defeated an all-star alliance of Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaeronea. Realizing their gambit backfired, the mutineers backed down and got back in line. The army supposedly reached 120,000 front-line troops at one point. His father, Philip, was interested in cultivating a refined future king and so hired Lysimachus of Acarnania to teach the boy reading, writing, and to play the lyre. But soon after crossing the Hellespont into Persian territory, Philip was assassinated, making young Alexander the new king and commander-in-chief of the Macedonian forces. With the Greek mainland subdued under Macedonian rule, Philip turned his well-oiled army East toward the Persian Empire, a far greater prize. “Darius even flattened the ground so that his scythe chariots could charge at the Macedonians,” says Wrightson. The beneficiary of his father's brilliance, Alexander would prove to be an extremely skilled military strategist and amazing motivator who preached, "There is nothing impossible to him who will try." Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. The march thither from Oria occupied in all sixty days. Alexander faced his first big test not long after crossing … The Battle of the Hydaspes was Alexander’s last great pitched battle. In the interim, Darius regrouped and called in reinforcements from the East, while Alexander marched his army South into Egypt. According to an anecdoteÂ told by Macedonian author Polyaenus, Philip once dismissed a mercenary officer "for taking a warm bath, which apparently even Macedonian women would not do after giving birth." Most historians of Alexander's campaigns have stated that the sufferings of his men on that march were out of all proportion greater than anything they had had to endure in Asia. The battle served as a coming-out party for 18-year-old Alexander, who bravely led the Macedonian cavalry charge that broke through the Athenian ranks and secured victory for the upstart kingdom. After subduing all of the Persian Empire, his army marched east and got as far as India before turning back home to Macedon. The Allied Greeks – Delving into the scope of the infantrymen, earlier we talked about how around … Alexander III was born in 356 B.C. Diadochi and the Hellenistic Period. Alexander recognized that rigorous discipline, unity, and uniformity were the lifeblood of his killing machine. For centuries this light-skinned, pagan people have claimed to be the long-lost descendants of Alexander the Great's world-conquering armies, which invaded this region in the fourth century B.C. In the autumn of 331 bc, Alexander the Great won a decisive victory over the Great King Darius III of Persia at the Battle of Gaugamela. It’s estimated that King Darius III of Persia was in command of a total of 2.5 million soldiers spread across his vast empire. Diadochi and the Hellenistic Period. Three years before, an army of Macedonians and Greeks had crossed to Asia behind the young king of Macedonia, Alexander III, known better to history as Alexander the Great. A stunned Darius reportedly hopped on his horse and fled, with the rest of his army close behind. One of history’s first true super powers, the Persian Empire stretched from the borders of India down through Egypt and up to the northern borders of Greece. Not only did the Macedonian army easily crush the Thebian rebellion, says Wrightson, “but Alexander razed Thebes to the ground and sold the entire city into slavery, except for one house owned by the descendants of his favorite poet.”. Darius’ strategy was to cut off Alexander’s supply lines from behind and force the Macedonian troops to turn around and face off. Gone was the shorter “dory” or Greek wooden spear (7 feet long), and in its place was the much longer sarissa, an 18- to 22-foot hunting spear with an iron tip that could puncture heavy armor and impale charging cavalry horses. The Macedonian Phalanx, a rectangular infantry formation, was... Alexander Used Political Campaigns to Rule Greece. The troops wore uniforms to foster cohesion and drilled tirelessly to master the tightly packed phalanx formation that Philip innovated. Darius and his generals chose a battle site near the town of Gaugamela. Battle Strategy. Alexander counter-struck with a regiment of 1,500 mercenaries tasked with holding the right-hand position. - Alexander the Great quotes from BrainyQuote.com "I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion." What Alexander did value and perhaps what kept his army smaller, was the mobility and speed gave military advantage. How Alexander the Great Conquered the Persian Empire Philip II Left Alexander the Great a Fierce Army. Next lesson. This is a child's book on Alexander. In battle, Alexander the Great personally led the charge at the head of the royal squadron of the Companion cavalry, usually in a wedge formation. Armed with a military juggernaut, the Macedonian monarch turned islands, mainlands, and almost every other land in the known world into hisÂ empire. The Battle of Issus, in which Alexander the Great secured a decisive victory over Darius III of Persia. “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” ― … Alexander was able to train regiments from across his empire; at the great review of his forces in 324BC, there were apparently 120,000 men in his army, including contingents from Arachosia, Bactria, Sogdia, India, Scythia, and Egypt. Alexander the Great. But it was Alexander’s genius as a leader and battlefield strategist that secured his victory against an imposing adversary deep in enemy territory. While staying in the ancient MesopotamianÂ city of Opis, Alexander made the controversial decision to send Macedonian veterans home, sparking fears that he intended to relocate the capital of his empire to Asia.Â. Army pay was meager but was paid promptly. India proved to be much bigger than the Macedonians had supposed. “He’s invading Persia to punish the Persians retroactively for daring to invade Greece in the first place.”. A Standing Army. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. Knowing he would be outmatched in manpower, Alexander relied on speed and distraction. It was a wide, flat valley that, unlike Issus, would allow the Persians to take full advantage of their lopsided numbers, an estimated 250,000 Persian troops facing off against Alexander’s 50,000. It was remarkable, mainly, because it was a standing army. Alexander III, king of the ancient state of Macedon, is often heralded as one of history’s greatest military commanders. Aristocratic young men would start their military training at seven years old and graduate to officers at 18. Weaponry also got an upgrade under Philip. The Persians, fearing a night attack, remained in ready formation all night, anxiously awaiting a charge that never came. According to Arrian, Alexander used Arachosian, Bactrian, Parapamisadaean, Sogdian, Indian, and Scythian troops. Together, Alexander and his father would create an army unlike anything the ancient world had even seen. This tutelage would instill in Alexander a lifelong love of reading and music. They were present at the grand army revue Alexander assembled in 324 BC. For a 32 page book, it does a pretty good job covering the Great King's history, with the usual caveats that apply to Alexander (very little actual primary sourcing and the secondary sources are written >150 years after his death). Philip reorganized all of Macedonian society around a professional army and raised elite fighting forces of infantry, cavalry, javelin throwers and archers. “Just as Darius begins the charge, the Macedonians launch a devastating cavalry attack that goes right into the gap cunningly created by Alexander’s tactics,” says Wrightson. The mouth of the Indus lay some 800 miles to the south, and they had not even seen the valley of the Ganges. Darius grew frustrated with the lack of progress, so he sent in another 10,000 cavalry, almost his entire left flank. 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