Only Alexander's royal bodyguard remained loyal. 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. 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. With the Greek mainland subdued under Macedonian rule, Philip turned his well-oiled army East toward the Persian Empire, a far greater prize. A Standing Army. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. 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. 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. That conflict featured the famous Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartan warriors made a heroic last stand against tens of thousands of Persian invaders. 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. 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. As Britannica recounts, he had vanquished Persia and triumphantly entered Egypt, which embraced him as "a deliverer." Together, Alexander and his father would create an army unlike anything the ancient world had even seen. Alexander The Great “The first recorded incident regarding Alexander the Great and UFO’s was recorded in 329BC.Alexander decided to invade India and was attempting to cross the river Indus to engage the Indian army when “gleaming silver shields” swooped down and made several passes over the battle. Darius and his generals chose a battle site near the town of Gaugamela. 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. Much like Alexander the Great conquered the world by courting the loyalty of a vast army who worshipped him like a deity, Jeff Bezos apparently … “He’s invading Persia to punish the Persians retroactively for daring to invade Greece in the first place.”. 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. Aristotle Was His High School Teacher. forged was not long-lasting, but his heroic deeds were legendary. Alexander the Great conquers Persia. The Macedonian Phalanx, a rectangular infantry formation, was... Alexander Used Political Campaigns to Rule Greece. They were present at the grand army revue Alexander assembled in 324 BC. The Battle of Issus, in which Alexander the Great secured a decisive victory over Darius III of Persia. 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. (136 kg) of supplies over a long distance. Alexander moved his army on to the east, still hoping to find the end of the earth. When a man was killed, another rose to take his place. Alexander the Great was one of the most talented generals who ever existed, but he was helped a great deal by his exceptional army. Jeff Bezos Reportedly Considers Himself the Alexander the Great of Modern Exploitation Jezebel - Emily Alford. It was remarkable, mainly, because it was a standing army. 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. At dawn, the Macedonians took the battlefield. A stunned Darius reportedly hopped on his horse and fled, with the rest of his army close behind. He also worked hard in other ways to maintain the l… 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. Alexander the Great. In the century leading up to Alexander’s reign, Persia was furthered weakened by a civil war and other internal rebellions. He would draw enemy troops toward one flank, then wait for a momentary gap to open up in the center of the enemy lines for a head-first cavalry charge. Alexander III was born in 356 B.C. 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.”. Alexander responded with what’s known as his “pawn sacrifice” of several thousand troops destined to die as a set up for the final move. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. But before Alexander could push into Persia, he had to take care of business back home. All Rights Reserved. According to Arrian, Alexander used Arachosian, Bactrian, Parapamisadaean, Sogdian, Indian, and Scythian troops. The Battle of the Granicus: May 334 BC. Alexander the Great recognized that rigorous discipline, unity, and uniformity were the lifeblood of his killing machine, aka his massive army. Updated February 12, 2020 Alexander the Great, King of Macedon from 336 - 323 B.C., may claim the title of the greatest military leader the world has ever known. Always the savvy strategist, Alexander knew that he couldn’t rule the Greek mainland by fear and brute force alone. a) Cavalry. 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). 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. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. 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. Alexander and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army is an excellent work on the often under appreciated, yet critically vital, aspect of warfare: logistics. During the 4th century B.C., no man understood that better thanÂ Alexander the Great. At this point, Darius ordered a full-frontal charge on the rest of the Macedonian army, but it took time for his orders to reach his left flank. Then he ordered the entire Macedonian line to march quickly to the right. Battle Strategy. But Alexander will not be outplayed. Philip reorganized all of Macedonian society around a professional army and raised elite fighting forces of infantry, cavalry, javelin throwers and archers. At Issus, Alexander debuted the battle strategy that would assure him victory after victory during his remarkable reign of conquest. Army pay was meager but was paid promptly. Days later, with Alexander’s cavalry in hot pursuit, Darius was killed by his own cousin, who delivered the fallen king’s head to Alexander as a tribute. The army supposedly reached 120,000 front-line troops at one point. A Roman mosaic of Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great is regarded as one of the most influential people in history. Alexander owed a tremendous debt to his father for leaving him a world-class army led by experienced and loyal generals. 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. This is the reason Alexander the Great's army revolted. At the time of his … Sort by: Top Voted. So as he turned his attention back to Persia, Alexander framed his campaign against the Achaemenid Empire as a patriotic retaliation for Persia’s failed invasion of the Greek mainland a century earlier. Weaponry also got an upgrade under Philip. Diadochi and the Hellenistic Period. Alexander counter-struck with a regiment of 1,500 mercenaries tasked with holding the right-hand position. The vast Eurasian empire that Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.) 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. Philip and Alexander were able to do this because: 1. Permitted booty was fair and significant -- thus his soldiers were well motivated to win battles. “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.” ― … While Philip effectively drilled the Macedonians into an incredible fighting force, Alexander (the Great) endowed his inherited army with an air of majesty and pompousness. Alexander III, king of the ancient state of Macedon, is often heralded as one of history’s greatest military commanders. 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. Alexander recognized that rigorous discipline, unity, and uniformity were the lifeblood of his killing machine. The march thither from Oria occupied in all sixty days. India proved to be much bigger than the Macedonians had supposed. in the small Kingdom of Macedonia. 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 if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Alexander the Great takes power. Rise of Rome. He immediately initiated a series of military reforms. Per the Ancient History Encyclopedia, the king proclaimed, "Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.". As Alexander and his elite Royal Companion Cavalry raced into the heart of the Persian defenses, they were momentarily surrounded by the enemy, but the experienced Macedonian sarissa regiments fought their way through. Our mission is to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Perhaps surprisingly, the size of his army never went over 40,000. Knowing he would be outmatched in manpower, Alexander relied on speed and distraction. Their advance was halted when they reached Halicarnassus, the capital of Caria, which was defended by a Greek comma… After suffering humiliating back-to-back defeats in Greece in the 5th-century B.C., Persia stopped expanding. Next lesson. Aristocratic young men would start their military training at seven years old and graduate to officers at 18. Appalled by the treasonous act, Alexander had the man tortured and executed before declaring himself the undisputed king of Macedonia, Greece, and now Persia. Backed by his shiny new army, Philip marched south in 338 B.C. At just 32 years old, Alexander died in Persia in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon from a sudden and mysterious illness. 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. Alexander's Army In the 4th century bc, the Macedonian army was the best in the world. The reign of Alexander the Great was short-lived. What Alexander did value and perhaps what kept his army smaller, was the mobility and speed gave military advantage. and defeated an all-star alliance of Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaeronea. After their first victory, the Macedonians went to the south, where the Persian stronghold Sardes surrendered and the Macedonians could occupy Greek cities like Ephesus, Priene, and Miletus. For more than two centuries, the Achaemenid Empire of Persia ruled the Mediterranean world. This did not include camp followers. The Reason Alexander The Great's Army Revolted. But there were also signs that the Persian Empire was already in decline. Previous wars such as the Persian and Peloponnesian War had demonstrated that the old ways were no longer dependable. Alexander planned to create a "master race" through the intermixing of Macedonians and Persians. 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. … FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. This tutelage would instill in Alexander a lifelong love of reading and music. Armed with a military juggernaut, the Macedonian monarch turned islands, mainlands, and almost every other land in the known world into hisÂ empire. he adopted a policy that enraged the devoted soldiers who had traveled and trampled the world with him. The Allied Greeks – Delving into the scope of the infantrymen, earlier we talked about how around … 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. This created just enough slack in the Persian line for Alexander to strike. How Alexander the Great Conquered the Persian Empire Philip II Left Alexander the Great a Fierce Army. He and 80 officers wedded Persian women to get the ball rolling in the hay. Alexander the Great is one of the most extraordinary individuals in history. On their way back along the Indus, Alexander was wounded by Malli warriors. In all the battles he participated, Alexander the Great led from the front of the battle. “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. “As soon as Alexander came to the throne, he openly stated that he would carry on his father’s plans,” says Graham Wrightson, a history professor at South Dakota State University and author of Combined Arms Warfare in Ancient Greece. 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." 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. Why was the Macedonian Army so good? 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. But Darius botched the location of the battle, which ended up being a narrow strip of land between a ridge and the sea that neutralized his numbers advantage. But he would try his troops' patience too much, prompting his remarkable army to mutiny. OK, there was no such thing as high school in the fourth … True to his strategy, Alexander’s army advanced in a line with the two flanks drawn back like a bow. Immediately after Alexander was made king, Thebes rose up to challenge his authority—a big mistake. Even the way soldiers bathed was tightly regulated. - 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." But between 326 and 324 B.C. He camped the Macedonian army in the hills above the battle site to fuel up and rest while he drew up a game plan. Turns out Alexander was also great at conflict resolution. Each soldier swore an oath of loyalty to the king. The Persians, fearing a night attack, remained in ready formation all night, anxiously awaiting a charge that never came. After subduing all of the Persian Empire, his army marched east and got as far as India before turning back home to Macedon. He invaded and vanquished part of India, only turning back after his war-weary army insisted. “Darius even flattened the ground so that his scythe chariots could charge at the Macedonians,” says Wrightson. In the interim, Darius regrouped and called in reinforcements from the East, while Alexander marched his army South into Egypt. Introduced into Alexander’s army in either Syria or Egypt, the camel played a critical role in Alexander’s conquests. 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. Darius, fearing he was about to be overlapped on his left side, sent in 5,000 of his best cavalry. In a pitched battle, the Companions usually fought on the right wing of the Macedonian army, next to the shield-bearing guards, the hypaspists, who would guard the right flank of the phalanx. “Alexander creates a propaganda campaign that the Macedonians are invading Persia on behalf of the Greeks, even though Macedon wasn’t part of Greece and didn’t fight on the side of Greece in the original Greco-Persian wars,” says Wrightson. When Philip II became king of Macedonia in 359 BCE, he inherited an army that was relatively ineffective. Alexander faced his first big test not long after crossing … In 325, after Alexander had recovered, he and his army headed north along the … Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Image. This is a child's book on Alexander. Thanks to reforms implemented by his father, Philip II, Alexander would wield an army that displayed unprecedented discipline. But he would try his troops' patience too much, prompting his remarkable army to mutiny. 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. But he never made it home. 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. 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." A full-blown mutiny ensued. No man is an island unto himself, and no king conquers an island alone. Besides giving off disturbing 1930s Germany vibes that his troops obviously wouldn't have picked up on, the policy made the Macedonian worry that their status was in jeopardy. To quell the rebellion, the king fired his entire army and began replacing his troops with Persians. 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