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  • 1. WALDEMAR HECKEL isProfessor of Ancient Historyat the University of Calgary.His publications includenumerous articles on the historyof Alexander the Great, The LastDays and Testament of Alexanderthe Great (Stuttgart 1988) andThe Marshals of Alexanders Empire(London 1992). Together withJohn Yardley he has producedthe Penguin edition of QuintusCurtius Rufus: The History ofAlexander (1984), a commentaryon Justins books on Alexander(OUP 1997) and most recentlyLivy: The Dawn of the RomanEmpire for Oxford WorldsClassics (2000).PROFESSOR ROBERT ONEILL,AO D. PHIL. (Oxon), Hon D.Litt. (ANU), FASSA, Fr Hist S,is the Series Editor of theEssential Histories. His wealthof knowledge and expertiseshapes the series content andprovides up-to-the-minuteresearch and theory. Born in1936 an Australian citizen, heserved in the Australian army(1955-68) and has held a numberof eminent positions in historycircles, including the ChicheleProfessorship of the History ofWar at All Souls College,University of Oxford, 1987-2001,and the Chairmanship of theBoard of the Imperial WarMuseum and the Council of theInternational Institute forStrategic Studies, London.He is the author of many booksincluding works on the GermanArmy and the Nazi party, andthe Korean and Vietnam wars.Now based in Australia on hisretirement from Oxford he is theChairman of the Council ofthe Australian Strategic PolicyInstitute.
  • 2. Essential HistoriesThe Wars ofAlexander the Great336-323 BC
  • 3. Essential HistoriesThe Wars ofAlexander the Great336-323 BCWaldemar Heckel
  • 4. First published in Great Britain in 2002 by Osprey Publishing, For a complete list of titles available from Osprey PublishingElms Court, Chapel Way, Botley, Oxford OX2 9LP UK please contact:Email: info@ospreypublishmg. com Osprey Direct UK, PO Box 140,© 2002 Osprey Publishing Limited Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 2FA, UK. Email: info@ospreydirect. co. ukAll rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposeof private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under Osprey Direct USA, c/o MBI Publishing,the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988, no part of this PO Box 1, 729 Prospect Ave,publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or Osceola, WI 54020, USA.transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrical, Email: info@ospreydirectusa. comchemical, mechanical, optical, photocopying, recording or www. ospreypublishing. comotherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyrightowner Enquiries should be made to the Publishers.Every attempt has been made by the publisher to secure theappropriate permissions for material reproduced in this book. Ifthere has been any oversight we will be happy to rectify thesituation and written submission should be made to thePublishers.ISBN 1 84176 473 6Editor: Rebecca CullenDesign: Ken Vail Graphic Design, Cambridge, UKCartography by The Map StudioIndex by David WorthingtonPicture research by Image Select InternationalOrigination by Grasmere Digital Imaging, Leeds, UKPrinted and bound in China by L. Rex Printing Company Ltd.02 03 04 05 06 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 21
  • 5. Contents Introduction 7 Chronology 13 Background to war The decline of the city-states and the rise of Macedon 14 Warring sides The Persians, the Macedonians and allied troops 22 Outbreak Alexanders rise to power 28 The fighting Alexander conquers an empire 35 Portrait of a soldier Two generals and a satrap 72 The world around war Rome, Carthage and India 76 Portrait of a civilian A historian, athletes and courtesans 81 How the war ended The death of Alexander 84 Conclusion and consequences The struggle for succession 86 Further reading 90 Glossary 92 Index 94
  • 6. IntroductionThe conquests of Alexander the Great form Mycenaean-Minoan Greeks. Even after thea watershed between the world of the Greek fall of Troy ended what the historiancity-state {polls) and the so-called Hellenistic Herodotus regarded as the first great struggleworld, the eastern kingdoms, where between east and west, and after the collapseAlexanders successors applied a veneer of of the Bronze Age civilisations - underGreek culture and administration to a circumstances that are still not clear - newbarbarian world. These ancient Near Eastern waves of Greek migrants splashed against theterritories had always been the battleground shores of Asia Minor. From there, they spreadbetween eastern and western civilisations, to the Black Sea coast and the Levant, andand would continue to be so well beyond eventually to the west as well.the chronological confines of the ancient By the sixth century BC, however, Greekworld. settlements in Asia Minor became subject to Western contact with the Near East had the authority of the Lydians. This kingdombegun in the Bronze Age, in Hittite Asia had allied itself with the Medes, who ruledMinor, in the Orontes valley of Syria and in the Persians from Ecbatana (modernthe Nile delta of Egypt. The spectacular Hamadan) until they were overthrown byfrescoes and other artefacts of the prehistoric Cyrus the Great. Croesus, whose name iscivilisations of the Aegean depict contact, synonymous with fabulous wealth, was thefriendly and hostile, between foreigners and last of the Lydian rulers and, in 548/7, he raised an army against the Persian upstart, misled by Greek oracles into thinking that he would acquire a greater empire. After an indecisive battle near the Halys, the Lydian troops disbanded, as was their practice - for it was not customary to wage war over the winter months - but Cyrus brought his Persians up to the walls of Sardis, seized its citadel and put Croesus to death. (Greek tradition was embarrassed by the oracles deception and maintained that Apollo intervened at the last minute, saving Croesus from the flames and transporting him to an idyllic world. ) Between 547 and 540 Cyruss generals subdued coastal Asia Minor, while he turned his attention to the Elamites and Babylonians. By the end of the century, the Achaemenids ruled an empire that extended from the Indus to the Aegean and from Samarkand to the first cataracts of the Nile. The title King of Kings was thus no empty boast. Marble head of Alexander (Greek Ministry of Culture)
  • 7. 8 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great Persian domination of Greek Asia Minor administered as the Persian satrapy ofthreatened the city-states of the peninsula to Skudra, and at some point thereafter thethe west, as well as the islands that lay in Persians received the submission ofbetween. In 513 Darius I crossed the Macedon. Even the isolationist states to theHellespont (Dardanelles), the narrow strait south, in particular Sparta, were forced tothat separates the Gallipoli peninsula of take notice.Europe from what is today Asiatic Turkey. The Athenians and the Eretrians ofPortions of Thrace were annexed and Euboea had aided a rebellion by the Ionians,
  • 8. Introduction 9 The tomb of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire (d. 530 BC). Alexander had Poulamachos, a Macedonian, impaled for desecrating the tomb. (TRIP) descendants, the Gortyae, fought Alexander at Gaugamela. Then Datis landed on Athenian soil at Marathon; however, contrary to expectation, a predominantly Athenian force defeated the Persian army. The Athenian victory provided an immense boost to Greek confidence, which would be put to the test ten years later, when Darius son and successor, Xerxes, came dangerously close to defeating a coalition of Greeks and adding the lower Balkans to the Persian Empire. Only the great naval victory at Salamis (summer 480) prevented the Persian juggernaut from crushing all resistance in Greece. That victory hastened the retreat of Xerxes with the bulk of his army; those who remained under Mardonius were dealt the decisive blow on the battlefield of Plataea in 479. The ill-fated expedition of Xerxes resulted in strained but stable relations between Greece and Persia, a balance of power that in some respects resembled the Gold War of the twentieth century. The Greek world, however, was itself divided and polarised, with the Spartans exercising hegemony over the Peloponnesian League as a counterweight to Athens, which, under the guise of liberating the Hellenes from Persia, had converted the Delian League - originally, a confederacy of autonomous allies - into an empire. By the middle of the fifth century, Athens was reaping the financial benefits of the incoming tribute and unashamedly extolling the virtues of power politics. The inevitable clash of Demosthenes on Persiaa futile (as it turned out) attempt to throw I consider the Great King to be theoff the Persian yoke (499/498-494/493). common enemy of all the Greeks... NorVictorious over the rebels, Darius launched a do I see the Greeks having a commonpunitive campaign against their supporters: friendship with one another, but somein 490 his general, Datis, crossed the Aegean trust the King more than they do someand destroyed the city of the Eretrians, many of their own [race]. of whom were subsequently enslaved in the Demosthenes 14. 3heart of the Persian Empire - their
  • 9. 10 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great
  • 10. Introduction 11Greek powers took place between 431 and had closed ranks in order to resist the404 and was known as the Peloponnesian War common enemy, Persia. But when the threat(see The Peloponnesian War in this series). receded, the Hellenic League dissolved andWhen it was over, the Athenian Empire the political horizons of the Greeksexisted no more and the gradual decline of narrowed. Certain intellectuals neverthelessthe Greek city-states through internecine promoted the concept of Panhellenism, evenwarfare set the stage for the emergence of a if it meant the forcible unification of thegreat power in the north: the kingdom of city-states. When Philip achieved this, byMacedon. means of his victory at Chaeronea and the The struggle for hegemony amongst the creation of the League of Corinth, hecity-states of Sparta, Thebes and Athens attempted to renew Panhellenic vigour bymade it clear that Greek unity - the elusive reminding the Greeks of the commonconcept of Panhellenism - was something enemy, the Persians.that could not be achieved peacefully, The concept of a war of vengeance was,through negotiation or commitment to a however, a hard sell. Although somegreater purpose; rather it was something to appealed directly to Philip to bring about thebe imposed from outside. Earlier the Greeks unification of Greece and lead it against
  • 11. 12 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the GreatPersia, others, like Demosthenes, who poleis who favoured unity under thecriticised the interference of the Persian King hegemony of their own states. In the face ofin Greek affairs, espoused Panhellenism only Macedonian imperialism, Demosthenes wasif it could be accomplished under Athenian content - at least, according to his accusers -leadership or for Athenian benefit. And there to accept Persian money to resist Philipwere like-minded politicians in the other and Alexander.
  • 12. Chronology560-550 The rise of Cyrus the Great 333 Alexander cuts the Gordian547 Cyrus defeats Croesus of knot; defeats Darius III at Issus Lydia 332 Capture of Phoenician coastal513 Darius Is invasion of Europe cities; siege of Tyre and Gaza results in near disaster north of 332/331 Alexander in Egypt; founding of the Danube Alexandria at the mouth of the499-493 The Ionian Revolt Nile490 Battle of Marathon 331 Darius III defeated for the second480-479 Xerxes invasion of Greece time at Gaugamela in northern478-431 The Delian League becomes an Mesopotamia Athenian Empire 331/330 Capture of Babylon, Susa,449 Peace of Callias Persepolis and Ecbatana431-404 The Peloponnesian War 330 Death of Darius and end of the401 Battle of Cunaxa; March of the official Panhellenic War; Ten Thousand Alexander moves into396-394 Agesilaus in Asia Minor Afghanistan; execution of394-387/386 The Corinthian War Philotas and Parmenion371 Battle of Leuctra 329-327 War in Central Asia between the360/359 Perdiccas killed in battle Amu-darya and Syr-darya (the with Illyrians; accession of Oxus and Iaxartes rivers) Philip II 328 Death of Cleitus; Alexanders359-336 Reign of Philip II of Macedon political marriage to Roxane356 Birth of Alexander the Great 327 Failed attempt to introduce353 Philip IIs victory over the proskynesis at the court; Phocians in the Crocus Field conspiracy of the pages;346 Peace of Philocrates; Philip Alexander invades India becomes master of northern 326 Battle of the Hydaspes (Jhelum) Greece river; the Macedonian army338 Battle of Chaeronea; Philip refuses to cross the Hyphasis becomes undisputed military (Beas) river leader (hegemon) of Greece 325 Alexander at the mouth of the337 Formation of the League of Indus Corinth 324 Alexander returns to Susa and336 Death of Philip; accession of punishes those guilty of Alexander the Great maladministration in his335 Alexander campaigns in Illyria; absence destruction of Thebes 323 Death of Alexander in Babylon334 Beginning of the Asiatic 323-281 The Age of the Successors and expedition; battle of Granicus formation of the Hellenistic river; major coastal cities of Asia kingdoms Minor fall to Alexander 323-330 The Hellenistic Period
  • 13. Background to warThe decline of the city-statesand the rise of MacedonDecline of the Greek city-states it was followed by Theban invasions of the Peloponnese, the foundation of MegalopolisThe victory of Sparta in the Peloponnesian as a check on Spartan activities in the south,War (431-404 BC) and the destruction of the and the liberation of Messenia, which hadAthenian Empire ended the balance of power hitherto provided Spartas helots and itsin the Greek world. Sparta emerged as an economic underpinnings.oppressive and unimaginative master.Nevertheless, the price of victory had beengreat and domination of Greece made The Thebans comment on the nature ofdemands on Sparta that she could not easily Spartan imperialismmeet. Sparta was notoriously short of Now we are all aware, men of Athens,manpower and the needs of empire - that you would like to get back themaintaining garrisons and fleets, and empire which you used to have. Surelyproviding Spartiate officials abroad - strained this is more likely to happen if you go toher resources and undermined the simple the help of all victims of Spartanbut effective socio-economic basis of the injustice... In the war with you [thesestate and its military power. Newly states], at the urgent entreaties of Sparta,enfranchised helots (state slaves) performed took their share in all the hardships andgarrison duty, and wealth infiltrated Spartan dangers and expense; but when thesociety; personal wealth and the use of gold Spartans had achieved their object, didand silver had been banned by the legendary they ever get any share of the power orlawgiver Lycurgus. glory or money that was won? Far from But the problems were not only domestic. it. The Spartans, now that things haveHostility to Spartan power, which was gone well for them, think it perfectlyexercised in a ruthless and often corrupt proper to set up their own helots asmanner, led to a coalition of Thebes, Corinth, governors, and meanwhile treat their freeArgos and a resurgent Athens against the new allies as though they were slaves... Whatmasters of Greece. Although Sparta withstood they gave them was not freedom but athis initial test, which is referred to as the double measure of servitude.Corinthian War (394-387/386), the bitter This arrogant dominion of Sparta isconfrontations of this war were the easier to destroy:... the Spartans, few inforerunners of a life-and-death struggle that number themselves, are greedilywould see the brief emergence of Thebes as the dominating people who are many timesdominant hoplite power. as numerous as they and also just as The famous Theban wedge began as a well armed. defensive measure in 394. Soon, however, it Xenophon, Hellenica 3. 5. 10-15 (Rexbecame clear that it had tremendous Warner trans., Penguin)offensive potential and, as a result of thesuccessful execution of Theban tactics by therenowned Sacred Band, Thebes replaced Greek encounters with PersiaSparta as the leader of Greece, at least onland. Spartas defeat at Theban hands in the These convulsions in central and southernbattle of Leuctra (371) was catastrophic and Greece must be viewed against the
  • 14. Background to war 15 Monument commemorating the Theban victory over during an unstable period known,Sparta at Leuctra (371 BC). The victory was attributable misleadingly, as the Peace of Nicias - theto the Theban wedge and the courage of the SacredBand. For Sparta the defeat was staggering, and the Athenians had suffered a devastating defeatTheban general Epamonidas exploited Spartan weakness in Sicily. For a state that was ringed withby invading Peloponnesus, establishing the city of enemies, the collapse of the army in the westMegalopolis and freeing the Messenians. Theban power had much the same effect as Napoleons andcame to an abrupt end at Chaeronea in 338 BC, and Hitlers disastrous Russian campaigns. For thethree years later the city was destroyed by Alexander(Photo by the author) subject states of the empire, it was the signal for rebellion, and defections occurred on a grand scale.ever-present backdrop of the Persian Empire. Economically battered and militarilyIn the middle of the Peloponnesian War - shaken, Athens now resumed the war against
  • 15. 16 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the GreatSparta, which at the same time had found a opposite them, the effort was for naught,paymaster in the Persian King. Although since Cyrus himself was killed in an attackAthens had made peace with Artaxerxes I - on his brother in the centre of the line.the infamous and much disputed Peace of Struck under the eye with a javelin, CyrusCallias (449) - this agreement needed to be fell, and with him collapsed the dream forrenewed, and there had apparently not been the fulfilment of which an army hada formal agreement with Artaxerxes struggled against distance and difficultsuccessor, Darius II (424-403). Darius at first terrain, and ultimately a vastly moreallowed his satraps to distribute funds to numerous enemy. But it was not entirely inSparta and her allies in the hope of vain, at least as a lesson to the Greeks: forrecovering the Greek coastal cities. the ease with which a relatively mobile and The compact with Persia that followed, efficient army could strike at the heart of thewhile militarily expedient, was politically empire exposed the weaknesses ofharmful to Spartas reputation amongst the Achaemenid Persia. One of the Greeks whoGreeks. For, in the struggle to defeat Athens, participated in the campaign, Xenophon,which had once espoused the liberty of the wrote a colourful account of the adventure,Hellenes, Sparta was agreeing to hand back which made delightful reading for GreekGreek city-states in Asia Minor to Persia. In schoolboys. It was almost certainly read by407, Darius sent a younger son, Cyrus, to Alexander in his youth, and its lessons didsupply the Spartans with the resources to not elude him.defeat their enemies. In the process, Cyrus In the meantime, Athens too haddeveloped a strong bond of friendship with attempted to revive its maritime power,the Spartan admiral Lysander. The latter had creating the Second Athenian League. Butpolitical ambitions at home, and the former this fell far short of the Delian League of thewas eager to bring about a Peloponnesian fifth century, for the member states werevictory in the war so that he could, in the wary of Athenian imperialistic ambitions andnear future, draw upon their soldiery, whichhe regarded as the best in the ancient world. The health of Darius II was clearly failing, Xenophons observations on the nature ofand the heir to the throne was Cyruss elder the Persian Empirebrother, Artaxerxes (II). He appears to have Generally speaking, it was obviousbeen a rather lethargic man, already that Cyrus was pressing on all the wayapproaching middle age. A faction at court, with no pause except when he halted forencouraged by the efforts of the queen provisions or some other necessity. Hemother, sought to win the kingship for Cyrus. thought that the quicker he arrived theBut, in order to challenge his brother, Cyrus more unprepared would be the Kingwould need a military edge. And this, he when he engaged him, and the slowerbelieved, could be supplied by a Greek he went, the greater would be the armymercenary army. Darius died soon after the that the King could get together. Indeed,collapse of Athens, and in 402/401, Cyrus set an intelligent observer of the Kingsin motion his scheme to overthrow empire would form the followingArtaxerxes. A force of some 11, 000 mercenaries estimate: it is strong in respect of the- they were to become known (after some extent of territory and numbers ofdefections and casualties) as the Ten inhabitants; but it is weak in respect ofThousand - accompanied a vastly greater its lengthened communications and thebarbarian force from Lydia to Mesopotamia. dispersal of its forces, that is, if one can Not far from Babylon, at a place called attack with speed. Cunaxa, the armies of the feuding brothers Xenophon, Anabasis 1. 5. 9 (Rex Warnermet. Although the Greeks won an easy trans., Penguin)victory against the barbarians stationed
  • 16. Background to war 17the Athenians themselves incapable of constantly threatened by the Illyrians to theasserting their domination by force. In the west and the imperialistic (or, at least,event, it mattered little, since the debilitating hegemonic) tendencies of the Athenians andwars of the city-states to the south had Thebans. By the queen Eurydice, Amyntasdiverted Greek attention from the growing had three sons, all destined to rule.danger in the north. Alexander II held the throne only briefly (369-368) before he was murdered. A brother-in-law, Ptolemy of Alorus, then served as regent for the under-aged Perdiccas III, until he too was assassinated in 365. Perdiccas was now master of his own house and throne, but the kingdom continued to be threatened by the Illyrians to the west, and in 360/359 these destroyed the Macedonian army, leaving Perdiccas dead on the battlefield and only a child (Amyntas) as heir to the throne. During the reign of his brothers, the youngest son, Philip, had spent some time as a hostage in Thebes, at that time the most powerful military state in Greece. Here he had witnessed the Theban infantry reforms and had given thought to applying the lessons to the Macedonian army. Hence, when the emergency created by the Illyrian disaster of 360/359 brought him to power, as regent for Amyntas IV, Philip knew not only what to do but how to do it. Indeed, he dealt with the crisis so effectively - combining military action with diplomacy, or even duplicity - that the claims of Amyntas were swept aside. It was Philips reforms that made the army invincible: little did he realise that, while he was struggling to ensure Macedons survival, he was training and organising an army of world conquerors. Philip rapidly mastered northern Thessaly, with its chief town of Larisa, and sealed his political gains by marrying Philinna, a woman of the ruling family. The Phocians A wonderful feat of surgery Critobulus enjoys great celebrity for having removed the arrow from Philips eye and ensuring that the loss of the eye did not leave his face deformed. Pliny, Natural History 737 (J. C. Yardley trans. )
  • 17. Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greathad plundered the treasures of Delphi in For a while, Philip directed hisorder to buy mercenaries, and the inability of attention to the north-east, to thethe Thessalians and the Thebans to deal with Thraceward area and Byzantium. But inthem cast Philip in the role of the gods 338, he crushed the combined armies ofchampion. After his victory at the Crocus Athens and Thebes at Chaeronea, and wasField in 353, his men wore laurel wreaths on able to impose a settlement on Greece,their heads, symbolising their service to through the creation of the League ofApollo. By 346, by the terms of the Peace Corinth, which recognised him as its leaderof Philocrates, Philip had made himself (hegemon). The foreign policy of the Greeksmaster of northern Greece. He spoke for was securely in his hands, but PhilipsThessaly and he held the deciding votes greatest challenges were to come from hisof the Amphictyonic Council that own kingdom; indeed, from his owncontrolled Delphi. household.
  • 18. Background to war 19 Alexander relates Philips achievements civilized you... Thessaly, so long your Philip found you a tribe of bugbear and your dread, he subjected to impoverished vagabonds, most of you your rule, and by humbling the Phocians dressed in skins, feeding a few sheep on he made the narrow and difficult path the hills and fighting, feebly enough, to into Greece a broad and easy road. The keep them from your neighbours - men of Athens and Thebes, who for years Thracians, Triballians and Illyrians. He had kept watching for their moment to gave you cloaks to wear instead of skins; strike us down, he brought so low - and he brought you down from the hills into by this time I myself was working at my the plains; he taught you to fight on equal fathers side - that they who once exacted terms with the enemy on your borders, from us either our money or our till you knew that your safety lay not, as obedience, now, in their turn, looked to once, in your mountain strongholds, but us as the means of their salvation. in your own valour. He made you Arrian 7. 9 (A. de Selincourt city-dwellers; he brought you law; he trans., Penguin)Medallion showing the head of Philip II. The fact that the left side of his face isshown may be significant: Philip was struck by an arrow in the right eye duringthe siege of Methone in 354 BC. (Archaeological Museum ofThessaloniki)
  • 19. 20 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the GreatRemains of theTemple of Apollo at Delphi. The Pythia,the priestess of the god, declared that Alexander wouldbe invincible. (Authors collection)
  • 20. Background to war 21The lion of Chaeronea, a monument to the Greekswho fell at Chaeronea in 338 BC fighting Philip II.(Authors collection)
  • 21. Warring sidesThe Persians, the Macedoniansand allied troopsThe Persians which in turn was subdivided into ten groups of 100 (sataba), and these into tenFrom the time of Darius I (521-486), the units of ten (dathaba). These were, in reality,Persian Empire was divided administratively only nominal strengths, and thus we caninto 20 provinces known as satrapies, each explain, at least in part, the wildlygoverned by a satrap - at least, such was the exaggerated numbers of Persians in theGreek approximation of khshathrapavan, a Greek sources, especially in Herodotusword that is Median in origin and appears to account of the Persian Wars.have meant protector of the realm. Thesesatrapies were assessed an annual tributethat ranged from a low of 170 talents ofEuboean silver paid by the dwellers ofthe Hindu Kush region to a staggering4, 680 talents from the neighbouring Indians.(It is pointless to attempt a conversion ofancient into modern values, but it is worthnoting that in the late stages of thePeloponnesian War, i. e. about 80 years beforeAlexanders invasion, 1 talent was sufficientto maintain a trireme, with its complementof 200 men, for a month. ) Sums collected inexcess of these amounts were presumably forthe satraps personal use. In addition to the satraps of these20 provinces, there were rulers of smalleradministrative units known to the Greeks ashyparchs (hyparchoi), but the use ofterminology is often inconsistent in Greeksources and the titles satrap and hyparchare sometimes used interchangeably. Bothcan be found commanding regionallyrecruited troops. The Persian army was composed primarilyof satrapal levies, each of the Achaemenidprovinces providing troops in accordancewith wealth and population. These troopswere then divided into units based on tens.Herodotus and Xenophon speak regularly ofmyriads and chiliarchies, units of 10, 000 and1, 000, which the Persians themselves calledbaivaraba and hazaraba. Each baivarabam hadits baivarpatish (myriarch); and there was ahazarapatish (chiliarch) for every hazarabam,
  • 22. Warring sides 23 One unit, however, did maintain its full When Alexander crossed to Asia, Darius IIIstrength of 10, 000 and hence was known as had only recently become king as a result ofthe Immortals. This unit formed the elite - the convulsions at the Achaemenid selected for their physical excellence The ruthless Artaxerxes III Ochus hadand their valour - and appears to have elevated to positions of great power at theincluded a contingent of 1, 000 spear-bearers, court - he was hazarapatish or chiliarch - andwho followed the Kings chariot. In addition in the army, a eunuch by the name ofto these came the Kings special guard of Bagoas. In 338 BC, however, Bagoasspearmen, known from the golden apples murdered first Ochus, and then his sons.that constituted their spearbutts as Hence, the kingship devolved upon a certainmelophoroi or apple-bearers. These alsonumbered 1, 000 and preceded the Kings The Persian Immortals were the elite troops. Their namechariot in the royal procession. Similarly, the derives from the fact that their numbers were neverKing was accompanied by units of 1, 000 and allowed to dip below 10, 000, Nineteenth - century10, 000 cavalry. chromolithograph of the frieze at Susa. (ARPL)
  • 23. 24 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the GreatArtashata, whom Greek writers (for reasons The Macedoniansthat are unclear to us) called Codomannus,and who took the dynastic name Darius (III). Macedon, by contrast, was the product of aUnlike the sons of Ochus, Darius was a union of Upper and Lower Macedonia,mature individual, already in his early forties, which had been completed in the time ofand an experienced warrior - he had defeated Philip II and to which were added new citiesa Cadusian champion in single combat - who containing new - that is, naturalised -was wise to the machinations of Bagoas and citizens. Several of Alexanders closest friendsforced him to drink his own poison. When (hetairoi) belonged to the latter group:he turned his attention to the Macedonian Nearchus and the sons of Larichus,invaders, he had only just returned from Laomedon and Erigyius, in particular.suppressing a fresh uprising in Egypt. Generally speaking, the country was not highly urbanised and most were herdsmen; the state did not have the material for a The Royal Procession of the Persians citizen hoplite army, since most lacked the ... in front, on silver altars, was resources from which to supply themselves carried the fire which the Persians called with hoplite armour. But Macedonia had a sacred and eternal. Next came the Magi, large and robust population, which, if it singing the traditional hymn, and they could be armed cheaply and effectively, were followed by 365 young men in could prove too much for its neighbours. scarlet cloaks, their number equalling Originally, the core of the Macedonian the days of the year. Then came the military was the cavalry, particularly the chariot consecrated to Jupiter nobility that formed the kings guard and [Ahura-Mazda], drawn by white horses, rode into battle with him as his comitatus. followed by a horse of extraordinary Here we first encounter the term hetairoi, size, which the Persians called "the Suns companions (or friends). Philip appears to horse". Those driving the horses were have formed an elite battalion of infantry, equipped with golden whips and white which he named his foot-companions robes... and these were followed by the (pezhetairoi). Later the name came to mean cavalry of 12 nations of different the Macedonian infantry in general - that is, cultures, variously armed. Next in line the territorial levies, many of them from the were the soldiers whom the Persians Upper Macedonian cantons of Elimeia, called the "Immortals", 10, 000 in Lyncus, Orestis and Tymphaea. The elite number... After a short interval came foot-guard now became known as the the 15, 000 men known as "the Kings hypaspistai or shield-bearers, and even these kinsmen"... The column next to these were separate from a group of noble guards comprised the so-called described variously as the royal hypaspists Doryphoroe,... and these preceded the or the agema. royal chariot on which rode the King In the army that followed Alexander to himself... 10, 000 spearmen carrying Asia there were 9, 000 pezhetairoi, dispersed lances chased with silver and tipped among six brigades (taxeis) - each taxis with gold followed the Kings chariot, comprised 1, 500 men - and 3, 000 and to the right and left he was attended hypaspists. Although some have regarded the by some 200 of his most noble relatives. hypaspists as more lightly armed than the At the end of the column came pezhetairoi, the truth is that they were 30, 000 foot-soldiers followed by 400 of identically armed and only the basis of the Kings horses. recruitment was different. Quintus Curtius Rufus, The History of The weapon that distinguished the Alexander 3. 3. 9-21 Macedonian infantryman or phalangite was known as the sarissa, a hardwood lance
  • 24. Warring sides 25Arrowhead. This one bears the name of Philip. Allied troops(Archaeological Museum ofThessaloniki) Both Macedonians and Persians made(often cornel wood) with a metal point and extensive use of Greek hoplites, while thebutt-spike. This ranged in length from 15 to Macedonians also employed Greek cavalry.18ft (4. 5-5. 5m), though longer ones seem to But the numbers of Greeks in the Persianhave come into use, and weighed about 141b army were substantially larger - an(6kg). Since it required two hands to wield, embarrassing statistic for Alexander, whosethe shield, about 2ft (0. 6m) in diameter, propaganda had attempted to sell hiswas either suspended from the neck, thus campaign as a Panhellenic war, fought forrendering the breastplate virtually the good and the pride of all Greeks againstsuperfluous, or else attached by means of a a hated to the upper arm. The helmet was In Alexanders army, the Thessalian cavalrythat of the Phrygian style, worn also by equalled in strength the Macedoniancavalrymen, though the latter are often Companions (1, 800-2, 000) and fought on thedepicted sporting the so-called left wing under the general command ofBoeotian helmet. Parmenion; but since Thessaly belonged to the The Macedonian cavalry, known as the political orbit of Macedon and Alexander wasCompanion Cavalry, was subdivided into the archon of the Thessalian League, thesesquadrons called ilai. The strength of an ile was troops must be regarded as distinct from thoseprobably about 200, though the Royal of the allies. Nevertheless, it is worth notingSquadron {He basilike) comprised 300 men. that, once the Panhellenic phase of theEight ile of Companions were supplemented by conquest was declared over, the Thessaliansfour ilai of scouts (prodromoi) or sarissa-bearers were allowed to return home, though they (sarissophoroi) and one of Paeonians. Whereas sold their horses and returned on foot.the Companions were generally armed with Other allied horsemen are attested,the cavalrymans spear (xyston), the including Peloponnesian horse, Thracianssarissophoroi, as their name implies, wielded the and mercenary cavalry. An inscription from cavalry sarissa, a shorter version of the Orchomenus records the names of local infantrymans lance, probably in the 12—14ft cavalrymen who served with Alexander. In (3. 5-4. 25m) range, weighing about 41/2lb (2kg). 334, Alexander led 7, 000 allies and
  • 25. 26 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great Surrender of the Greek mercenaries leaving it to him to do what he would To the envoys of the Greeks, -who with them; if not, they must take what begged him to grant them terms for the steps they could for their own safety. whole mercenary force, Alexander They replied that they placed replied that he would make no compact themselves and the rest in Alexanders with them whatever; men who fought hands, and urged him to send an officer with the barbarians against Greece to lead them under safe conduct to his against the decrees of the Greeks were camp. guilty of grave wrongs. He ordered them Arrian 3. 23. 8-9 (P. A. Brunt trans., Loeb to come in a body and surrender, Classical Library)
  • 26. Warring sides 27Bronze greaves from Tomb II at Vergina, believed by many The Persians, of course, employed largescholars to have belonged to Philip II, the father of numbers of Greek mercenaries: 20, 000 areAlexander the Great. Note the mismatched pair attested at the Granicus, and 30, 000 at Issus.(Archaeological Museum ofThessaloniki) Captured Greeks were, however, sent by Alexander to hard-labour camps, and it was5, 000 mercenary infantry to Asia, and there only with difficulty that their countrymenwas a steady flow of reinforcements secured their release. Even when Darius wasthroughout the campaign, but also large fleeing south of the Caspian, shortly beforenumbers of Greeks deposited throughout the his murder at the hands of Nabarzanes andempire as garrison troops. At the time of Bessus, significant numbers of GreekAlexanders death, some 10, 000 in the Upper mercenaries remained with him, commandedSatrapies were planning to abandon their by Patron the Phocian and Glaucus ofposts and return to Greece, something they Aetolia. Eventually these orphaned mercenarieshad previously attempted upon hearing the were forced to place themselves atfalse news of the Kings death in 325. Alexanders mercy.
  • 27. OutbreakAlexanders rise to powerThe assassination of Philip crisis, and the attractions of the young Cleopatra were a pleasant diversion fromThe outbreak of the Macedonian war of the affairs of state and the demands of hisconquest was in fact a two-part process, the shrewish queen, Olympias, the mother offirst arrested by the assassination of its Alexander the Great. Philips infatuationinitiator, Philip II. Once he had crushed blinded him to both the politicalGreek resistance at Chaeronea in late expectations of his new wifes family andsummer 338, Philip forged an alliance of the resentment of his son and, known, after the place where its At the wedding-feast, Cleopatras uncle,council met, as the League of Corinth. This Attalus, had toasted the marriage with theconvened for the first time in spring 337, tactless prayer that it should produceelected Philip as its military leader (hegemon) legitimate heirs to the Macedonian throne.and laid the foundations for a Panhellenic Alexander (understandably) took issue withexpedition against Persia. this remark, and hurled his drinking cup at What Philips exact aims were, in terms of Attalus. Philip, in turn, besotted with loveterritorial acquisition, are not clear. Many and wine, drew his sword and lunged at hissuppose that he would have contented son. But he stumbled and fell amid thehimself, initially at least, with the liberation couches of the banquet, impaired by drinkof Asia Minor. This would certainly have and an old war injury.been in keeping with Philips practices in the When the groom awoke the next morningpast. From the time that he overcame to the sobering reality, Alexander was alreadyinternal opposition and secured his borders on his way to Epirus, the ancestral home ofagainst barbarian incursions, Philip his mother, who accompanied him. Fromexpanded slowly and cautiously over a there he meant to journey to the kingdom ofperiod of almost 20 years. Unlike Alexander, the Illyrians, the traditional enemy ofwhose practice it was to conquer first and Macedon, intending to reassert his birthrightconsolidate later - and, indeed, later never with their aid. But this right had never reallycame in some cases - Philip was content to been challenged by Philip, at least notacquire territory systematically, without intentionally, and diplomacy servedoverextending Macedonian power. eventually to bring about the sons return But Philips conquests were pre-empted by and a reconciliation.assassination, and the stability of the The abrasive Attalus had, in the interval,kingdom was disrupted by an ill-advised been sent with Parmenion and an army tomarriage. Macedonian kings, at least from establish a beachhead in Asia Minor. Butthe time of Persian influence in the region there were nevertheless in Macedonia those(after 513), were polygamous, and Philip who resented Attalus and feared themarried for the seventh time in October 337. fulfilment of his prayer. Many looked toThe bride was a teenager of aristocratic Philips nephew, Amyntas son of Perdiccas,Macedonian background - most of Philips who had ruled briefly as a minor, but hadbrides had, in fact, been foreigners - but been forced to yield the kingship to histhe union was the result of a love affair uncle. Instead of eliminating him as arather than politics. Indeed, Philip was potential rival, Philip allowed him to live as aexperiencing what we would call a mid-life private citizen and married him to one of his
  • 28. Outbreak 29 Cleopatra Philips marriages The name Cleopatra is commonly In the twenty years of his rule Philip associated with Egypt: virtually everyone married the Illyrian Audata, by whom he is familiar with Cleopatra VII, the had a daughter, Cynnane, and he also mistress of Julius Caesar and Mark married Phila, sister of Derdas and Antony, who died in 30 BC. But the Machatas. Then, since he wished to name occurs already in Homers Iliad extend his realm to include the and was popular in ancient Macedonia. Thessalian nation, he had children by Archelaus Is queen, Philips seventh wife two Thessalian women, Nicesipolis of and Alexander the Greats sister were all Pherae, who bore him Thessalonice, and Cleopatras. It was actually the daughter Philinna of Larissa, by whom he of the Seleucid king Antiochus III who produced Arrhidaeus. In addition, he became the first Cleopatra to rule Egypt, took possession of the Molossian when in 194/3 she married the young kingdom by marrying Olympias, by king Ptolemy V Epiphanes. whom he had Alexander and Cleopatra, and when he took Thrace the Thracian king Cothelas came to him with hisdaughters, Cynnane. Now in 337/336 he daughter Meda and many gifts. Afterbecame the focus of a dissident group, an marrying Meda, Philip also took herunwilling candidate for the throne, supported home to be a second wife along withby a faction from Upper Macedonia that Olympias. In addition to all these wivesplanned the assassination of Philip. he also married Cleopatra, with whom This at least was the official version that he was in love; she was the daughter offollowed the deed; the version promulgated Hippostratus and niece of Attalus. Byby Alexander, perhaps with the aim of bringing her home as another wifediverting attention from the true culprits - for alongside Olympias he made a total shambles of his life. For straightaway,Medallion with the head of Alexanders mother right at the wedding ceremony, AttalusOlympias, from a series of medallions commissioned by made the remark "Well, now we shallthe Roman Emperor Caracalla (AD 212-17). This queen, certainly see royalty born who areone of Philips seven wives, had a profound influence on legitimate and not bastards". Hearing her sons character and also created considerable this, Alexander hurled the cup he had in political mischief in Macedonia during Alexanders absence in Asia. (ISI) his hands at Attalus, who in turn hurled his goblet at Alexander. After that Olympias took refuge with the Molossians and Alexander with the Illyrians, and Cleopatra presented Philip with a daughter who was called Europa. Athenaeus 13. 557 (J. C. Yardley trans. ) there were many who held Alexander himself responsible, or, failing that, the jilted queen, his mother. It was an act in keeping with her character, and certainly she voiced no public disapproval, though we may doubt that she crowned the assassin, Pausanias of Orestis, who had been killed as he tried to escape and whose body was subsequently impaled.
  • 29. 30 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great The assassination of Philip II under the name Myrtale, which was the In the meantime, as the auxiliary name that Olympias bore as a little girl. troops from Greece were assembling, All this was done so openly that she Philip celebrated the marriage of his appears to have been afraid that the daughter Cleopatra to that Alexander crime might not be clearly demonstrated whom he had made King of Epirus. The as her work. day was remarkable for its sumptuous Justin 9. 6. 1-4, 7. 8-14 (J. C. Yardley, trans. ) preparations, which befitted the greatness of the two kings, the one giving away a daughter and the other taking a wife. There were also splendid games. Philip was hurrying to see these, flanked by the two Alexanders, his son and his son-in-law, without bodyguards, when Pausanias, a young Macedonian nobleman whom nobody suspected, took up a position in a narrow alleyway and cut Philip down as he went by, thus polluting with funereal sorrow a day set aside for rejoicing... It is thought that Olympias and her son... incited Pausanias to proceed to so heinous a crime... At all events, Olympias had horses ready for the assassins getaway. Afterwards, when she heard of the Kings murder, she came quickly to the funeral, ostensibly doing her duty; and on the night of her arrival she set a golden crown on Pausanias head while he still hung on the cross, something which no one else but she could have done while Philips son was still alive. A few days later, she had the murderers body taken down and cremated it over the remains of her husband; she then erected a tomb for him in the same place and, by inspiring superstition in the people, saw Marble bust believed to be Aristotle. As a boy, Alexander to it that funerary offerings were made had been educated by Leonidas and Lysimachus, tutors to him every year. After this she forced selected by his mother In 343 BC, Aristotle, whose father Cleopatra, for whom Philip had divorced Nicomachus had been a physician at the court of Philips father Amyntas III, was summoned to Macedonia from her, to hang herself, having first Asia Minor and taught Alexander at Mieza. His attitudes murdered her daughter in the mothers towards barbarians (non-Greeks) whom he regarded as arms, and it was from the sight of her inferior and worthy of being slaves of the Greeks, did not rival hanging there that Olympias rub off on his pupil. (Ann Ronan Picture Library) gained the vengeance she had accelerated by murder. Finally she Alexander was quick to mete out consecrated to Apollo the sword with punishment, freeing himself at the same which the King was stabbed, doing so time of rivals for the throne. Antipater, who had in the past served as regent of Macedon
  • 30. Outbreak 31in Philips absence, supported Alexandersclaims, and it was an easy matter to roundup and execute rivals on charges ofconspiracy. Attalus too was found to havebeen corresponding with the Athenians - anunlikely scenario - and executed on the newkings orders by his colleague, Parmenion. Abloody purge masqueraded as filial piety, andthose who could saved themselves byaccommodation with the new king or byflight. Both types would resurface during thecampaign, having delayed rather thanaverted the extreme penalty.Alexander, the worthy heirPhilips abortive expedition thus representeda false start. But Alexander acceded to morethan just the throne of Macedon; he alsoinherited his fathers Persian campaign. Hewas doubtless eager to depart, for we aretold that as an adolescent he complained tohis father that he was leaving little for himto conquer. Things did not, however, proceed asplanned. The accession of Alexander incited Bust of Demosthenes. The Athenian orator was a bitterrebellion amongst the subject states and the opponent of Macedon and of Philip II in particular At the time of Alexanders accession he mocked him as a childbarbarian kingdoms that bordered on and compared him with the simpleton, Margites. ButMacedonia. And the new king was forced to Demosthenes soon discovered his mistake. Copy of theprove himself, especially in the south, where original by Polyeuktos produced c. 280 BC, Copenhagen.the Athenian orator Demosthenes, the (Ann Ronan Picture Library)implacable enemy of Philip II, was deridingAlexander as a child and a fool. Sparta, however, refused to join the Resistance to the new king in Thessaly was League or make public recognition ofcrushed by speed and daring, as steps (known Macedonian suzerainty, for they claimed thatas Alexanders Ladder) cut into the side of they could not follow another, since it wasMt Ossa allowed the Macedonians to turn the their prerogative to lead. SpartanThessalians position. They responded with intransigence was to flare into open rebelliongestures of contrition and recognised in 331, when Agis III attacked MacedonianAlexander as archon of the Thessalian League, troops in the Peloponnese, only to bea position previously held by his father. An defeated and killed at Megalopolis. For theinitial uprising by Thebans, Athenians and time being, however, Alexander was contentSpartans was stifled by Alexanders timely to ignore them, as they bore their militaryarrival in Greece, where he summoned a impotence with ill grace.meeting of the League of Corinth, the very Nevertheless, the Greek city-states wereexistence of which was symbolic of not yet ready to renounce all claims toMacedonian power. The meeting elected him independence and leadership. Alexanderhegemon and Philips successor as strategos clearly thought that he had cowed them into(general) of the Panhellenic crusade. submission with the mere show of force, and
  • 31. 32 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the GreatThe remains of Pella, birthplace of Alexander the Great. left to his son, and Macedonian dominion in(Greek Ministry of Culture) the east was built on the foundations of Philips military reforms.he now turned to deal with the border tribes But Alexanders activities in the northof the Illyrians and Triballians before turning gave rise to rumours - false, but deliberatelyhis attentions to Asia. Both were subdued in spread - that the King had been killed inshort order, though in each case the training Illyria. In spring 335 the Thebans threw offand discipline of the Macedonian troops the Macedonian yoke, besieging the garrisonmade the task seem easier than it was. It was that Philip had planted on their acropolisan efficient fighting machine that Philip had (the Cadmea) after Chaeronea and claiming
  • 32. Outbreak 33 Alexanders response was quick and brutal: within two weeks he was before the gates of Thebes. Athens and Demosthenes proved that they were more capable of inciting others to mischief than of supporting the causes they had so nobly espoused. Through their inaction, they saved themselves and stood by as Alexander dealt most harshly with Thebes, which would now become an example to the other Greek poleis: Alexander would tolerate no rebellion in his absence, and he would regard those who preferred the barbarian cause to that of their fellow Greeks as Medisers and traitors to the common cause. Indeed, the city had a long history of Medism, and there was a Panhellenism and anti-Persian sentiment I maintain that you [Philip] should be the benefactor of Greece, and King of Macedon, and gain to the greatest possible extent the empire of the non-Greek world. If you accomplish this, you will win universal gratitude: from the Greeks for the benefits they gain, from Macedonia if your rule is kingly and not tyrannical, and from the rest of the world if it is through you that they are liberated from Persian despotism and exchange it for Greek protection. Isocrates, Philip 153 (A. N. W. Saunders trans., Penguin). A contrary view For, personally, I am not in agreement with the Corinthian Demaratus who claimed that the Greeks missed a very pleasurable experience in not seeingto champion the Hellenic cause. The Alexander seated on Darius throne.cornerstone of Macedonian propaganda had Actually, I think they might have hadbeen the claim that Philip had unified the more reason to shed tears at the realisationGreeks for the purpose of attacking Persia, that the men who left this honour tothe common enemy of Greece, and Alexander were those who sacrificed theavenging past wrongs. In this he was merely armies of the Greeks at Leuctra, Coronea,borrowing the sentiments of Isocrates and and Corinth and in Arcadia. other Panhellenists. But the Thebans now Plutarch, Agesilaus 15. 3-4 (J. C.proposed to use Persian funds to liberate Yardley trans. )Greece from the true oppressor, Macedon.
  • 33. 34 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great tradition that the allied Greeks, at the time of Xerxes invasion, had sworn the Oath of Plataea, which called for the destruction of the city. Officially, the razing of Thebes could be presented as the initial act of the war of vengeance. (Gryneum in Asia Minor would suffer a similar fate, with the same .. justification. ) Terror would prove more effective than any garrison. To avert the charge of senseless brutality, Alexander portrayed the decision to destroy the city and enslave its population as the work of the Phocians and disaffected Boeotians, for even in those days, inveterate hatred knew no respect for human life. Persuaded by Demades, the Athenians sent an embassy to congratulate Alexander on his victories in the north and to beg forgiveness for their own recent indiscretions. The King demanded that they surrender the worst trouble-makers, ten prominent orators and generals, including Demosthenes, Lycurgus and Hyperides, but in the event only one, Charidemus, wasIvory portrait head of Alexander (Archaeological offered up, and he promptly fled to the courtMuseum ofThessaloniki) of Darius III.
  • 34. The fightingAlexander conquers an empireAsia Minor against them. Some sources, and possibly Alexander himself (for official purposes),The Macedonian advance forces under charged the Persian King with trying toParmenion and Attalus encountered stubborn pre-empt the expedition by engineeringresistance in Asia Minor after landing there in Philips assassination. If there was any truthspring 336. Although they captured Cyzicus, to the charge, the act itself had little effect.and thus threatened Dascylium, the capital of Indeed, it replaced a more cautiousHellespontine Phrygia, their push southward commander with a daring and ambitiouswas thwarted by Memnon the Rhodian, a one. The reality of Alexanders presence onson-in-law of the Persian Artabazus and brother Asian soil demanded immediate andof the mercenary captain who had helped concerted action.Artaxerxes III recapture Egypt in the 340s. The Persians continued to hire largeMemnons successes were followed by the numbers of Greek mercenaries, who for oncearrest and execution of Attalus, which probably were fighting for more than pay. Like manydid nothing to raise the morale of the army.Parmenion did, however, take Gryneum,sacking the town and enslaving its inhabitants, The composition of Alexanders armyfor the city had a history of Medism. It was found that, of infantry, thereElsewhere, another colleague of Parmenion, were 12, 000 Macedonians, 7, 000 alliesCallas son of Harpalus, who had perhaps come and 5, 000 mercenaries. These were allout as Attaluss replacement, was confined to under the command of Parmenion. Thethe coastline. All in all, the expeditionary force Odrysians, Triballians and Illyrianshad not made a good beginning. accompanying him numbered 7, 000, The advent of Alexander, with an army and there were a thousand archers andof about 40, 000, altered the situation so-called Agrianes, so that the infantrydramatically. The satraps of Asia Minor led totalled 32, 000. Cavalry numbers weretheir territorial levies into Hellespontine as follows: 1, 800 Macedonians,Phrygia and held a council of war at Zeleia. commanded by Parmenions sonHere they rejected Memnons proposal that Philotas; 1, 800 Thessalians, commandedthey adopt a scorched earth policy, opting by Callas, the son of Harpalus; frominstead to challenge the Macedonian army the rest of Greece a total of 600,at the nearby Granicus river. commanded by Erigyius; and Asia Minor was no stranger to Greek 900 Thracian guides and Paeonians,invasion. In the 390s, Tissaphernes and with Cassander as their commander.Pharnabazus, the satraps of Sardis and This made a total of 4, 500 cavalry.Dascylium, proved adequate to deal with Such was the strength of the armyforces dispatched by Sparta and, in fact, that crossed to Asia with Alexander. Theplayed each other false for the sake of minor number of soldiers left behind ingains. The Macedonian invasion was on a Europe, who were under Antipatersdifferent scale, with much greater avowed command, totalled 12, 000 infantry andintentions, for the Persians were not 15, 000 cavalry. ignorant of the creation of the League of Diodorus 17. 17. 3-5 (J. C. Yardley trans. )Corinth, or of its mandate to wage war
  • 35. 36 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatof their compatriots at home, they doubtless when slain. Most of the prominent Persianregarded Persia as the lesser evil, and leaders were among the dead; Arsites escapedAlexander for his part treated captured the battlefield, only to die by his own hand;mercenaries harshly, as traitors rather than Arsames fled to Cilicia, to fight again at Issus.defeated enemies. The Persian commanders, Upon receiving the news of the Persianhowever, failed to appreciate the personal disaster at the Granicus, Mithrenes, themotivations of the Greek mercenaries and commandant of Sardis, chose to surrender totheir leaders: distrustful of the very men who Alexander despite the citys strong naturalhad nothing to gain by surrendering, they defences. His judgement proved sound, forviewed Memnon with suspicion and negated Alexander kept him in his entourage andthe effectiveness of the mercenary infantry. treated him with respect, eventuallyAt any rate, they stationed their cavalry on entrusting him with the governorship ofthe eastern bank of the Granicus river and Armenia. But the Greek cities of the coastkept the Greek infantry in reserve. Before continued to resist, in part because historythese saw action, the battle had been lost. had taught them that the Persian yoke was The Persian cavalry proved to be no lighter than that of previous liberators, butmatch, in tactics or hand-to-hand combat, also because Memnons army and the Persianfor the European horsemen. Two would-be fleet limited their options.champions were felled by Alexanders sarissa, The cities of Miletus and Halicarnassusa third was in the act of striking the King both offered fierce resistance. The former Alexander at the Granicus which there was plume striking for its Alexander plunged into the river whiteness and its size. Alexander received with 13 cavalry squadrons. He was now a spear in the joint of his cuirass, but was driving into enemy projectiles towards not wounded. Then the Persian generals an area that was sheer and protected by Rhoesaces and Spithridates came at him armed men and cavalry, and negotiating together. Sidestepping the latter, a current that swept his men off their Alexander managed to strike Rhoesaces, feet and pulled them under. His who was wearing a cuirass, with his leadership seemed madcap and senseless spear, but when he shattered this he rather than prudent. Even so, he resorted to his sword. While the two persisted with the crossing and, after were engaged hand-to-hand, Spithridates great effort and hardship, made it to the brought his horse to a halt beside them targeted area, which was wet and and, swiftly pulling himself up from the slippery with mud. He was immediately animal, dealt the King a blow with the forced into a disorganised battle and to barbarian battle-axe. He broke off engage, man against man, the enemies Alexanders crest, along with one of the who came bearing down on them, plumes, and the helmet only just held before the troops making the crossing out against the blow, the blade of the axe could get into some sort of formation. actually touching the top of the Kings The Persians came charging at these hair. Spithridates then began to raise the with a shout. They lined up their horses axe for a second blow but Cleitus (the against those of their enemy and fought Black) got there first, running him with their lances and then, when the through with his spear. At the same lances were shattered, with their swords. moment Rhosaeces also fell, struck down A large number closed in on the King, by a sword-blow from Alexander. who stood out because of his shield and Plutarch, Alexander 16. 3-11 (J. C. the crest on his helmet, on each side of Yardley trans. )
  • 36. The fighting 37could count on support from the Persianfleet until the occupation of Mycale by Harpalus, the Imperial TreasurerPhilotas deprived it of a base. At Harpalus, son of Machatas, belongedHalicarnassus, daring sallies were made to one of the royal houses of Upperagainst Alexanders siege equipment, but Macedonia, that of Elimea. Afflicted by aeventually the city was betrayed by the physical ailment that left him unfit forcommanders of the army, Orontopates and military service, he nevertheless servedMemnon, who abandoned it to the Alexander in other ways. In the 330s heMacedonians. Alexander restored to the served as one of Alexanders hetairoi, inthrone Ada, the widow of the previous ruler, this case, probably one of the Crownwho had been supplanted by Orontopates, Princes advisers; he was exiled by Philipand allowed her to become his adoptive for encouraging Alexander to offermother - in effect, reserving for himself the himself as a prospective husband of thehereditary claim to Caria. (Philip had taught Carian princess Ada, whom Philip hadhis son that not all power was gained by the planned to marry off to his half-wittedsword.) By winter 334/333, Alexander had son, Arrhidaeus. Harpalus was appointedmade considerable headway in the conquest treasurer early in the campaign, but heof Asia Minor, but he had yet to face Darius became involved with an unscrupulousIII and the weight of the Persian army. individual named Tauriscus, who For Darius, the necessity of taking the persuaded him to flee from Alexandersfield in person was less than welcome, since camp - no doubt he absconded with athe Great King had had only a brief respite sum of the Kings money. Alexander,from the chaos that attended his accession. however, forgave and recalled him,In spite of the debacle at the Granicus, the reinstating him as treasurer.Persian situation was far from critical: a Later in the campaign, when the Kingcounter-offensive in the Aegean was had gone to India and Harpalusbeginning to enjoy some success, with the remained in Babylon, the latter enjoyed aanti-Macedonian forces regaining ground on life of extravagance and debauchery,Lesbos and at Halicarnassus. But Memnon importing delicacies for his table anddied suddenly from illness. To replace him courtesans for his bed. When newsDarius appointed Pharnabazus, who arrived that Alexander was returningassigned the naval command to Datames from the east, he fled to Athens, takingand met with the Spartan King, Agis, near with him vast sums of money, andSiphnos in the hope of encouraging an attempted to induce the Athenians to gouprising in the Peloponnese. to war. Rebuffed by the Athenians - at At Gordium Alexander had fulfilled - or, least, on an official level - he sailed awayperhaps, cheated - the prophecy that gave to Crete, where he was murdered by onedominion over Asia to anyone who could of his followers, a certain Pausanias.undo the Gordian knot. Frustrated by theintricacies of the knot, he cut it with hissword. Some of the Macedonians were far been struck down by fever - probably a boutfrom convinced that a venture deeper into of malaria - after bathing in the Cydnusthe heart of the empire would be successful: river, and it was not at all certain that heHarpalus, his personal friend and treasurer, would survive.fled shortly before the battle of Issus. The Darius, for his part, had attracted to hisofficial story was that he had been up to cause the largest force of Greek mercenariessome mischief with a scoundrel named employed by a Persian king in the history ofTauriscus, but Harpalus may have had Achaemenid rule - 30,000 Greeks, accordingserious misgivings about his kings chances. to the official historian, Callisthenes.To complicate matters further, Alexander had Amongst these was Amyntas, son of
  • 37. 38 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the GreatAntiochus, who had been a supporter ofAlexanders cousin and rival, Amyntas IV,and who fled Macedonia soon after Philipsassassination. Another leader of mercenarieswas Charidemus, a longstanding enemy ofMacedon. Charidemus, as it turned out, fellvictim to court intrigue, but Amyntas gavea good account of himself before escapingfrom the battlefield with some4,000 mercenaries, only to find adventureand death in Egypt. Dariuss army, which the Alexanderhistorians (Curtius, Justin, Diodorus andArrian) estimated at between 312,000 and600,000, moved from Babylon to Sochi,where it encamped at the beginning ofautumn 333. Alexander, meanwhile, reachedthe coastal plain of Cilicia and the Pillar ofJonah - the so-called Syrian or AssyrianGates - south of modern Iskenderun, whichgave access to Syria. In fact, it was in order toavoid the Belen Pass that the Persians enteredCilicia via the Amanic Gates (the Bahçe Pass)and reached Issus through Toprakkale. ToAlexanders surprise, the positions of the twoarmies were now reversed, with Dariussituated north of the Pinarus river andastride the Macedonian lines ofcommunication. By the same token, therewas nothing to prevent Alexander frommarching into Syria except the danger tohis rear. But if the protagonists were to meet, itwas advantageous for Alexander to fight inthe restricted terrain of Cilicia, where themountains and sea reduced the mobility ofthe enemys troops and negated hisnumerical superiority. Even Alexander, whoseized the narrows to the south on the nightbefore the engagement, had to march hissmaller army considerably forward into thewidening coastal plain before he coulddeploy his infantry in a line and leavesufficient room for the cavalry to protect theflanks. He positioned himself with theCompanion Cavalry on the right wing, hard Macedonians would not be overawed byagainst the hills that restricted movement. Persian numbers, he took a defensive Darius sent a force south of the Pinarus in position, using the banks of the Pinarus asorder to buy time for the deployment of hisown troops. Now that it was clear that the Relief of Persian guards from Persepolis. (TRIP)
  • 38. The fighting 39
  • 39. 40 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatan added impediment; where the riverbanks Kardakes, half on each side. Against thesegave insufficient protection, he erected troops the vaunted Macedonian pezhetairoipalisades. A bid to move forces behind the found it difficult to advance, and here theyMacedonian position, in the hills, proved suffered the majority of their casualties,ineffective, and Alexander drove them to including the taxiarch Ptolemy, son ofseek refuge in higher ground by using the Seleucus.Agrianes and the archers; in the event, they Having put the Persian left to flight,were not a factor in the battle of Issus. Alexander now wheeled to his own left, That Alexander, in imitation of the younger slamming into the Greek mercenaries andCyrus at Cunaxa, charged directly at the destroying their formation. Before he couldPersian centre, where Darius himself was come to grips with the Great King, thepositioned, may be more than mere fiction. Persian ranks broke and Darius fled in hisThere was something in the mentality of the chariot. Hampered in his flight by the roughage that required leaders to seek each other terrain, he abandoned his chariot andout. (One is reminded of Alexanders mounted a horse to make good his escape; asapocryphal remark that he would participate an added precaution he removed his royalin the Olympic games but only if he competed insignia and eluded the enemy under thewith princes!) But, if the story is true, this cover of darkness.must have occurred in the second phase of the Some 100,000 Persian infantry werebattle, when Alexander turned to deal with the either killed or captured at Issus, along withGreek infantry that were exploiting a breach 10,000 horsemen, for the armoured horse,in the Macedonian phalanx. which had fought gallantly, dispersed when The Greek infantry occupied the centre of it learned of Dariuss flight, only to sufferthe line and were most encumbered by the more grievously in their bid for safety.terrain. While Alexander routed the Persian Among the captives were found the mother,left, which shattered on the initial assault,the heavy infantry in the centre surged Detail from the Alexander Mosaic at Pompeii. Darius IIIforward, losing its cohesiveness. (The pattern prepares to flee the battlefield. (Ann Ronanwould repeat itself at Gaugamela, with more Picture Library)dangerous results.) Here, opposite them,Darius had stationed his 30,000 Greekinfantry, supported by 60,000 pickedinfantrymen whom the Persians called Alexanders alleged encounter with Darius In this action he received a sword wound in the thigh: according to Chares this was given him by Darius, with whom he engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Alexander sent a letter to Antipater describing the battle, but made no mention in it of who had given him the wound: he said no more than that he had been stabbed in the thigh with a dagger and that the wound was not a dangerous one. Plutarch, Alexander 20 (I. Scott-Kilvert trans., Penguin)
  • 40. The fighting 41wife and children of Darius himself. By The Alexander Mosaic. Darius and the Persians undercontrast, Alexanders losses were slight. But attack by Alexander (Ann Ronan Picture Library)we have only Macedonian propaganda to goby and figures, like the sensational stories of of the individuals captured there reveal thatAlexander struggling with Darius in person, the city was not merely a convenient placemust be treated with caution. to deposit the treasures and non-combatants, After the staggering defeat at Issus, but that Darius had intended to move hisDamascus fell into the hands of Parmenion. base of operations forward. He clearly didThe amount of treasure and the importance not expect to be routed in a single
  • 41. 42 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great Antigonus the One-Eyed Besieger). After Alexanders death, An officer of Philip IIs generation, Antigonus emerged as one of the leading Antigonus was already approaching 60 Successors and, together with his son, when he accompanied Alexander to Asia. made a bid for supreme power. He died, In the spring of 333 he was left behind as however, on the battlefield of Ipsus in 301, the governor (satrap) of Phrygia, which and Demetrius, who experienced his share had its administrative centre at Celaenae. of victories and defeats, proved to possess There he remained for the duration of the more showmanship than generalship. But war, attended by his wife Stratonice and ultimately his son, named after his his sons, one of whom, Demetrius, was to paternal grandfather, was to establish the become the famous Poliorcetes (the Antigonid dynasty in Macedonia.Detail of Alexander from the Alexander Mosaic, now at Pompeii. Alexanderis intent upon attacking Darius in person. (Ann Ronan Picture Library)
  • 42. The fighting 43Sisygambis, mother of Darius III, mistakes Hephaestion for satraps to deal with the continued resistance inAlexander the Great after the Persian defeat at Issus in Asia Minor. Antigonus the One-Eyed, a certain333 BC. Painting by Francisco de Mura (1696-1782). Ptolemy (perhaps even a kinsman of(Ann Ronan Picture Library) Antigonus) and Balacrus dealt effectively with what Persian forces remained behind.engagement and forced to seek refuge in thecentre of the empire. For Alexander the victory - particularly in Phoenicia and Egyptthe aftermath of Memnons death - providedthe opportunity of pushing ahead himself with In Phoenicia, meanwhile, the news of Issus ledthe conquest and leaving his newly appointed to defection on a large scale. Representatives of
  • 43. 44 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatthe coastal cities brought Alexander crowns ofgold that symbolised their surrender: Aradus, Hephaestion, Alexanders alter egoMarathus and Byblus submitted in short order. Hephaestion, son of Amyntor, hadAnd, although the cities themselves received been a close friend of the King sincegood treatment from the conqueror, there boyhood. He had been with Alexanderwere some rulers, like Straton (Abd-astart) of as a teenager at Mieza, when the CrownSidon, who despite their surrender were Prince was educated by Aristotle.deposed. It appears that the Sidonians, who Romanticised accounts compared thenow welcomed Alexander as a liberator - for two with Achilles and Patroclus.Artaxerxes III had put down an insurrection in Whether they were lovers, as manythe city with the utmost brutality - were not modern writers like to assert, is notinclined to retain in power a man with a entirely clear. But Alexander certainlylengthy record of collaboration with the promoted Hephaestions career despitePersians. According to the tradition, Alexander the fact that he seems to have possessedallowed his best friend, Hephaestion, to select poor leadership qualities and littlea new king: he found a scion of the royal military skill. He was nevertheless ahouse, Abdalonymus, reduced by poverty to gifted organiser and Alexander left manyworking as a gardener, and upon him he matters of logistics - supply, transport ofbestowed the crown. equipment, bridge-building and the The capture of Phoenicia added a new founding of settlements - to him.dimension to Alexanders campaign, one By the time the army reached India,that must not be downplayed. The area was Hephaestions promotion had broughtcritical for the survival of the Persian fleet, about friction with other officers,which was, in turn, Dariuss chief hope of especially the fine soldier Craterus. Atdefeating Alexander if he could not do so on one point the two came to blows inthe battlefields of the east. Alexander had front of their respective troops andabandoned all attempts at defeating the Alexander had to intervene. Although hePersian navy at sea and had disbanded the chided Hephaestion because he failed toMacedonian fleet: it was numerically recognise that without Alexander heinferior, just as its ships and sailors were of would be nothing, he remained devotedinferior quality; and, to make matters worse, to his lifelong friend. In October 324,the Greek naval powers, especially the Hephaestion died of illness, and theAthenians, could not be fully trusted. It was King was inconsolable.better to deprive the Persian navy of its basesand thereby reduce its power, withoutrunning the risk of a military disaster at sea loyal to Darius. By contrast, the inlandthat might turn the tide of the war but Syrians were more inclined to stay withwould almost certainly tarnish Alexanders Darius, and we find them joining theirreputation as an invincible foe. former satrap, Mazaeus, in the army that Alexanders naval strategy worked. As the faced Alexander again in 331 at Gaugamela.inhabitants and governments of each region Darius meanwhile resorted to diplomacy,surrendered to him, their naval contingents for his family had fallen into the victorstoo abandoned the Persian cause. The hands when the Persian camp was takenPhoenicians found themselves in an after the Kings flight from Issus. Letters wereawkward position, since large numbers of sent to Alexander offering money andtheir citizens, including many of their local territory in exchange for Dariuss kinfolk.dynasts, served with the Persian fleet. These But the exchanges between the two kingsrulers especially found it preferable to demonstrated merely the Persian Kingssurrender to Alexander in the hope of refusal to recognise the gravity of the dangerretaining their power rather than remain to the empire. Furthermore, Darius persisted
  • 44. The fighting 45Relief showing a hunting scene. Hephaestion is the figure the Euphrates, 30,000 talents and the handwith the raised sword. He was Alexanders boyhood of his daughter in marriage - but Persianfriend and alter ego. In 324 BC he married the younger concessions failed to keep pace withdaughter of Darius III, and thus became the brother-in-lawof one of Alexanders own Persian brides, the princess Macedonian conquests. Darius no longer hadStateira. In October of the same year he died of an illness the authority to dispose of Alexandersat Ecbatana. (Greek Ministry of Culture) spear-won land. Whereas the northern Phoenician citiesin treating Alexander as an upstart, an had capitulated on the news of Alexandersinferior who could, as he thought, be bought approach, Tyre resisted the Kings request tooff with the cession of Asia Minor and make sacrifices to Hercules (Melqart) within10,000 talents. their city. This was, of course, a transparent But Alexander held the trump cards and ploy to gain control of the place. But thewas not prepared to fold, when diplomacy Tyrians could afford to be defiant, or at leastoffered less than he had obtained by so they thought, for about half a mileconquest. Negotiations continued for almost (0.8km) of sea separated them from thetwo years, with an escalation of the terms - Macedonian army, and the city fathersDarius was eventually to offer Asia west of responded that Alexander was welcome to
  • 45. 46 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great Macedonians and burning their towers to the ground. Here the ancient sources diverge on the matter of the causeway, and it is not certain whether Alexander began a new one, approaching the city from a different angle, or merely widened the existing one. In the event, the mole did not prove to be the decisive factor, since the city walls, which rose 160ft (50m) above the point of attack, were most heavily fortified at that very point and could not be shaken by battering rams. Instead the critical support came from the Cypriotes and Phoenicians, many of whom had abandoned the Persian fleet of Autophradates once they received news that their cities had surrendered. These ships gaveA modern Greek coin depicting Alexander wearing the Alexander the advantage on the sea and thediadem and the Horns of Amun. the Egyptian deity Tyrians were content to block their harbourwhom the Greeks regarded as a ram-headed Zeus. The entrances - when they did sail out, it wasinscription on top reads megas Alexandros (Alexanderthe Great). On his own coinage and in his own time this with heavy losses. Using the fleet to assailepithet was never used. (TRIP) the walls, Alexander found that the south side of the city had the weakestsacrifice to Hercules at Old Tyre, which wassituated on the mainland. Furthermore,there was the expectation - vain, as it turned The importance of Tyreout - of aid from their North African colony, Friends and fellow soldiers, I do notCarthage. Neither grand strategy nor see how we can safely advance uponAlexanders reputation, however, could allow Egypt, so long as Persia controls the sea;the young king to bypass the city. and to pursue Darius with the neutral Alexander realised that the siege of an city of Tyre in our rear and Egypt andisland city would be no easy matter, and that Cyprus still in enemy hands would be aa lengthy siege would buy valuable time for serious risk, especially in view of thehis enemy. Hence, he sent heralds into the situation in Greece. With our army oncity in the hope of persuading the Tyrians to the track of Darius, far inland in thesurrender. But the diplomatic approaches direction of Babylon, the Persians mightwere rebuffed, and the heralds executed and well regain control of the coast, and thusthrown into the sea. Work began be enabled with more power behindimmediately upon the building of a them to transfer the war to Greece,causeway from the mainland to the island. where Sparta is already openly hostile to In the early stages the work went well and us, and Athens, at the moment, is but anquickly, because the water was shallower unwilling ally; fear, not friendliness,near the mainland and out of range of keeping her on our side. But with TyreTyrian missiles. As the mole approached the destroyed, all Phoenicia would be ours,city, however, ships began to harass the and the Phoenician fleet, which both inworkers, and Alexander erected two towers, numbers and quality is the predominantwith hides and canvases to shield the element in the sea-power of Persia,workers and with turrets from which to would very like come over to us.shower missiles upon the enemy. To this the Arrian 2.18 (A. de SelincourtTyrians responded by sending a fire-ship trans., Penguin)against the end of the mole, driving off the
  • 46. The fighting 47The Libyan oasis of Siwah, where Alexander was paid for their defiance in the slaughter thatacknowledged by the priests as the Son of Amun, ensued, though many Sidonians helped tohence legitimate pharaoh of Egypt. (TRIP) save their fellow Phoenicians from the enemys rage.fortifications, and these he assaulted until a Gaza, too, resisted Alexander, but the citybreach occurred. Once the walls had given fell after only two months. By contrast,way, the defenders were virtually helpless, Egypt, which now lay open, welcomed thebut they fought desperately. The citizens Macedonians as liberators. Thus ended the
  • 47. 48 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatlast period of Persian occupation and thebrief reign of the Thirty-First Dynasty. Alexander makes light of Antipaters victoryAlexanders legitimacy as Egyptian pharaoh over Agis III at Megalopoliswas proclaimed in Memphis and given Alexander even added a joke whendivine sanction at the Libyan oasis of Siwah, he was told of the war waged bywhere the conqueror was greeted as the son Antipater against Agis. "Men," he said,of Amun. "it appears that while we were in the process of vanquishing Darius, there was a battle of mice over there in Arcadia.Uprising in Greece Plutarch, Life of Agesilaus 15 (J. C. Yardley trans.)When Alexander returned to Tyre, after hislengthy sojourn in Egypt, he learned ofserious unrest in the Peloponnese. There the the battlefield, Agis did not sell his lifeSpartan King, Agis III, who had begun his cheaply; nor did the 5,300 other Greeks whodealings with the Persian leaders in the perished in the battle. Alexander, when heAegean very soon after Alexanders departure learned of the engagement, dismissed it asfrom Europe, openly resisted Macedonian insignificant. But the contest had leftpower. In a bold move he defeated the army 3,500 Macedonians dead, and until it hadof Corrhagus, thus forcing Antipater himself been decided his activities in the east wereto lead an army to the south. Nor was Agiss suspended in uncertainty.force inconsequential: he had collected22,000 men from the neighbouring states ofElis, Arcadia and Achaea, and with these he The final clash with Dariusnow laid siege to Megalopolis. (This was thecity that the Theban general Epaminondas While Alexander directed his attentions tohad founded when he invaded the Phoenicia and Egypt, Darius, once hisPeloponnese and ended Spartas hegemony attempts to win a negotiated settlement hadthere.) failed, marshalled another army. If there was Antipater was, however, preoccupied with anything that the empire had in abundance,affairs in Thrace, where the strategos (military it was manpower; though, as Darius wouldgovernor) of the region, Memnon, was in learn, mere numbers of men would notopen rebellion. This was clearly not done by suffice against a brilliant tactician likeprearrangement with Agis and the Alexander. Nevertheless, the barbarian armyanti-Macedonian forces in the south, for at Gaugamela contained several contingentsMemnon quickly came to terms with that had faced the Macedonians before.Antipater and thus freed him to deal with Syrians, defeated at Issus but steadfast inthe Greek insurrection. Furthermore, the fact their loyalty to Persia, stood shoulder tothat Memnon later brought reinforcements shoulder with Persians, Babylonians andto Alexander in the east suggests that the Medes, who formed the nucleus of the GreatKing did not regard his actions as Kings strength.treasonous. Nevertheless, the composition of Dariuss The Macedonian army confronted Agis at army was radically different from that whichMegalopolis in the summer of 331 - had been routed at Issus, for it included thecertainly the entire rebellion had been fine horsemen from the Upper Satrapiessuppressed before the battle of Gaugamela (Central Asia) - not just the Arians,was fought. The contest was a renewal of the Arachosians and Bactrians, but the Scythianbitter struggle between Macedon and the cavalry of the Dahae, Sacae and Massagetae -Greeks, who had still not accepted the which Darius had either been unable tosuzerainty of the former. Although he fell on mobilise or considered superfluous in 333.
  • 48. The fighting 49Not restricted by the terrain as they had at the Persian left while the infantry held thebeen at Issus, the Persians were more centre. This time, however, his infantry didconfident of victory on the expansive plains not attack the centre head-on, as theof northern Mesopotamia. And here too they Macedonians had tackled the Greeks andwould bring to bear the terrifying spectacle Kardakes in the first engagement. Instead itof scythed chariots and elephants. advanced obliquely, the hypaspists following As he had done at Issus, Darius prepared closely the cavalry attack, and the remainderthe battlefield, which was littered with of the pezhetairoi surging to keep up with theobstacles and traps for the unsuspecting hypaspists. And, just as had happened atenemy, though these were revealed by Issus, a gap occurred as the phalanx rusheddeserters and their effectiveness negated. But forward, which was again exploited by theprimarily the Persians relied on vastly enemy. This time, however, Alexander didsuperior numbers and the luxury of not turn immediately to aid the phalanx, butdeploying them as they chose on the plains instead rode on in pursuit of the Persian left.beyond the Tigris. Darius expected to His thinking was surely that he did not wantoutflank and envelop the Macedonian army, Darius to escape him a second time.which was pitifully small by comparison. Nor was the infantry challenged by troopsThe scythed chariots, making a frontal of similar quality to those at Issus. Rather itcharge, proved ineffectual: Alexanders was the Scythian and Indian cavalry thatjavelin-men simply parted ranks upon their broke through the line, only to turn theirapproach and shot down their drivers or attention to plundering the Macedoniantheir teams. The chariot had become a baggage camp. More disciplined were thesymbol of oriental vanity, for its effectiveness horsemen stationed on the Persian right.had already been challenged by infantrymen Here Mazaeuss squadrons were exertingat the end of the Bronze Age, and it pressure on the Macedonian left, under theremained a splendid anachronism, but no command of Parmenion. Although the oldmatch for cool minds and brave hearts. general eventually overcame his opponents, Some aspects of the battle of Gaugamela he had been forced to send riders toare reminiscent of Issus - not surprisingly,since Alexanders method was to drive hard Excavated ruins of Babylon. (TRIP)
  • 49. 50 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatsummon Alexander to return. It was the midnight. Other contingents dispersed toproper thing to do, but it was also to harm their territories, as was the custom amongsthis reputation, for the official history the barbarians. Those who commanded thequestioned Parmenions competence and garrisons and guarded the treasures in theblamed him for spoiling an otherwise total empires capitals made formal surrender tovictory. In truth, it was the steadfastness of Alexander. One man, Mazaeus, the PersianParmenion and Craterus on the left, hero of Gaugamela, surrendered Babylon,combined with the rapacity of the barbarian together with the gazophylax (guardian ofallied horse - who stopped to plunder the treasures), Bagophanes. Alexanderinstead of coming to Mazaeuss aid - that entered in great ceremony the ancient city,secured the victory at Gaugamela. which now publicly turned its resources over Although Darius had again escaped from to the new king, as it were.the battlefield, Gaugamela proved fatal for What the Alexander historians depict as athe Persian Empire. The Great King fled in spontaneous welcome was in fact ritualthe direction of Arbela, which he reached by surrender, enacted so many times in the
  • 50. The fighting 51past - in ceremony for the legitimate heir tothe throne, as well as in earnest for a Babylon surrenders to the Macedonianconquering king. In return, Alexander conquerorappointed Mazaeus satrap of Babylon, A large number of the Babyloniansthough he installed a garrison in the city had taken up a position on the walls,and military overseers (strategoi) to ensure eager to have a view of their new king,the loyalty of the new governor and the but most went out to meet him,population. including the man in charge of the Despite Gaugamelas ranking as one of the citadel and royal treasury, Bagophanes.decisive battles of world history, the fact is Not to be outdone by Mazaeus in payingthat it was only decisive for the Persian side. his respects to Alexander, BagophanesFor Darius it was, one might say, the final had carpeted the whole road with flowersnail in the coffin; Alexander, on the other and garlands and set up at intervals onhand, could have survived defeat in both sides silver altars heaped not justnorthern Mesopotamia and still held the with frankincense but with all manner of perfumes. Following him were his gifts - herds of cattle and horses, and lions, too, and leopards, carried along in cages. Next came the Magi chanting a song in their native fashion, and behind them were the Chaldaeans, then the Babylonians, represented not only by priests but also by musicians equipped with their national instrument. (The role of the latter was to sing the praises of the Persian kings, that of the Chaldaeans to reveal astronomical movements and regular seasonal changes.) At the rear came the Babylonian cavalry, their equipment and that of their horses suggesting extravagance rather than majesty. Surrounded by an armed guard, the king instructed the townspeople to follow at the rear of his infantry; then he entered the city on a chariot and went to the palace. Curtius Rufus, The History of Alexander 5.1.19-23 (J. C. Yardley trans., Penguin) western portion of the empire. Victory, however, belonged to the Macedonians, and the might of Persia was shattered. Babylon had no hope of resisting, and Susa, too, avoided pillage by embracing the conqueror. The entry of Alexander the Great into Babylon. Painting by Johann Georg Platzer (1704-61). (Ann Ronan Picture Library)
  • 51. 52 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the GreatReconstruction of the Ishtar Gate of Nebuchadrezzar structures. Reinforcements continued to(AKG Berlin) arrive, even though the avenging army moved ever closer to its ultimate goal, thatAgain the defecting satrap, Aboulites, was most hated of all cities: Persepolis.retained and once more a Macedonian The satrap of Persis, Ariobarzanes,garrison was imposed. had mustered a sizeable force: with The blueprint had been established: 25,000 defenders he blocked the so-calledAlexander would regularly combine a show Persian or Susidan Gates in an attempt toof native rule with the fetters of military stall the Macedonians until the citysoccupation. But, with Darius still at large, treasures could be removed. If this was notAlexander introduced military reforms to his aim, it was certainly Alexanders fear.strengthen the army and the command Dividing his force in two, Alexander led the
  • 52. The fighting 53more mobile contingents through the Reconstruction of Babylon showing the Ishtar Gate. (TRIP)mountains to the rear of the pass, leavingCraterus to fix the enemys attention on fact, Ariobarzanes was delaying only awhat he perceived as the stalled army. In portion of the Macedonian force: the slowest
  • 53. 54 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatelements and the baggage-train were Its symbolic importance - the veryfollowing the wagon road into Persis under meaning of the Greek form of the namethe command of Parmenion. The satraps Persepolis, City of the Persians, enhancedposition was circumvented by Alexander, its actual associations with Xerxes and thewhose men braved the perils of terrain and great invasion - dictated its fate: pillage, rapewinter snow, led by captive guides. and massacre ensued. The palace too fellAriobarzanes troops were slaughtered in the victim to the victors wrath, but only afterpass and it was now a relatively simple the treasures had been removed and shippedmatter to bridge the Araxes, whereupon to Ecbatana. Then, whether by design orTiridates surrendered both city and treasure through a spontaneous urge for revenge, itto the Macedonians. was put to the torch. One version attributed
  • 54. The fighting 55the burning to an Athenian courtesan, Thaïs, Battle of Gaugamela, 331 BC, commonly but inaccuratelywho was to become the mistress of Ptolemy, referred to as the battle of Arbela.The town of Arbela was actually some distance from the battlefield, andthe later King of Egypt. Darius in his flight did not reach it until after midnight The destruction of Persepolis was From the studio of Charles Le Brun (1619-90).symbolic rather than total, for it continued (AKG Berlin)as the capital of the province during the ageof the Successors. It did, however, illuminate expedition, and the allied troops wouldthe difficulties faced by the conqueror. For naturally assume that it warranted theirone thing, it could be taken to signify the demobilisation. Still, Alexander could remindcompletion of the war of vengeance, the them that as long as Darius lived, theattainment of the stated goal of the mission had not been completed.
  • 55. 56 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great Conversely, the destruction of the palace Rightly had Parmenion advised against suchand the maltreatment of the citizens action, reminding Alexander that he shouldundermined Alexanders propaganda, which not destroy what was now his own property.had at an early stage sought to portray him Nevertheless, what may have causedas the legitimate successor of the Great King. resentment in Persia could well have been received with a degree of satisfaction inRuins of Persepolis.The palace was put to the torch by Babylon and Susa, even Ecbatana, all ofAlexander, as an act of policy since the city symbolisedpast atrocities by Persians against Greeks, but most of which had been overshadowed by thethe city remained untouched and continued to function advent of the Achaemenids and theduring the Hellenistic period. (TRIP) establishment of Persepolis.
  • 56. The fighting 57Columns of the ancient audience hall at Persepolis. (TRIP) Advance into Central Asia At the beginning of 330, Darius retained only one of the four capitals of the empire, Ecbatana (modern Hamadan). It was a convenient location, from which he could receive reports of Alexanders activities in Persia and at the same time summon reinforcements from the Upper Satrapies. Furthermore, it lay astride the Silk Road, the great east-west corridor that ran south of the Elburz mountains and the Caspian and north of the Great Salt Desert. Unfortunately, many of the Kings paladins advised against awaiting Alexander in that place, and they urged Darius to withdraw in the direction of Bactria, which lay beyond the Merv oasis, just north-west of modern Afghanistan. This plan was adopted by Darius, but only when it was too late to elude Alexander, who resumed hostilities once the mountain passes were free of snow. The Great Kings columnPersian helmet from Olympia in Greece. (AKG Berlin) was much too cumbersome: the royal
  • 57. 58 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatequipment that offered the necessary figures, they arrested the King, only tocomforts, and the covered wagons that murder him soon afterwards. His body wassheltered the concubines on the journey, left by the side of the road in the hope thatmade slow progress through the Sar-i-Darreh when Alexander encountered it he mightor Caspian Gates, even though they had break off the pursuit. Nabarzanes himselfbeen sent in advance of the army. Only attempted to rally support in Hyrcania40,000 native troops and 4,000 Greeks and Parthia; Bessus continued towardsremained with Darius, and deserters - many Bactria and Sogdiana, accompanied byof them prominent men - drifted back 600 horsemen. With Darius dead, he himselftowards the Macedonian force that was, assumed the upright tiara, the sign ofevery day, shortening the distance between kingship, and styled himself Artaxerxes,the two armies. the fifth of that name. In the remote village of Thara, the For Alexander, the time had come to callchiliarch, Nabarzanes, and Bessus, one of a halt. He had covered some 450 milesthe Kings kinsmen, challenged Dariuss (720km) in three weeks: with a larger forceleadership. Aided by other prominent he had pushed east from Ecbatana to Rhagae (that is, from Hamadan to Rey, on the edgeAlexander comes upon the dead Persian King. (ISI) of modern Teheran), a march of roughly
  • 58. The fighting 59250 miles (400km), in 11 days; after afive-day rest, he had taken a much smaller, The death of Satibarzanesmounted force another 200 miles (320km), The deserter Satibarzanescoming upon Dariuss body late on the sixth commanded the barbarians. When heday of pursuit. Bessus himself had, for the saw the battle flagging, with both sidespresent, eluded him, but the Macedonian equally matched in strength, he rode uparmy had scattered in the chase and the to the front ranks, removed hisdaily arrival of high-ranking Persian deserters helmet ... and challenged anyonemade it necessary to take stock before willing to fight him in single combat,turning to deal with the usurper. adding that he would remain Some Persians were installed as satraps - bare-headed in the fight. Erigyius foundPhrataphernes in Parthia, Autophradates the barbarian generals display ofamongst the Tapurians - while others bravado intolerable. Though wellremained in the Kings entourage, awaiting advanced in age, Erigyius was not to besuitable employment and reward. Two ranked second to any of the youngerdangerous men were pardoned, Nabarzanes men in courage and agility. He took offand Satibarzanes. The former ought to have his helmet and revealed his whiteconsidered himself lucky to escape execution, hair ... One might have thought that anbut instead contrived to regain control of order to cease fighting had been givenParthia and Hyrcania; ultimately, however, he on both sides. At all events theywas arrested and killed. The latter was immediately fell back, leaving an openreinstated in his old satrapy of Aria (in the space, eager to see how matters wouldHerat region of Afghanistan), though a turn out ...detachment of 40 javelin-men under The barbarian threw his spear first.Anaxippus was sent with him to his capital of Moving his head slightly to the side,Artacoana. Satibarzanes promptly murdered Erigyius avoided it. Then, spurring onhis escort and openly rebelled, encouraged his horse, he brought up his lance andperhaps by reports of Bessuss usurpation. ran it straight through the barbarians Only two days after learning of gullet, so that it projected through theSatibarzanes treachery, Alexander was in back of his neck. The barbarian wasArtacoana, from which the rebellious satrap thrown from his mount, but still foughthad fled. But when Alexander replaced him on. Erigyius drew the spear from thewith another native ruler, Arsaces, and wound and drove it again into his face.moved on to subdue Afghanistan, Satibarzanes grabbed it with his hand,Satibarzanes returned with the aim of aiding his enemys stroke to hasten hisreimposing his rule. In this he failed, and he own death.was killed in single combat by the Quintus Curtius Rufus, History ofMacedonian cavalry officer Erigyius. Alexander 7.4.33-37 Alexander, meanwhile, moved south andcame upon the Ariaspians, who lived nearLake Seistan. These supplied his army, just as In 329, Alexander again turned to deal200 years earlier they had aided Cyrus the with Bessus in Bactria, crossing the HinduGreat of Persia and earned the title Euergetai Kush via the Khawak Pass and reaching(Benefactors). From there the Macedonians Qunduz. On his approach, the barbariansfollowed the Helmand river valley, the sent word that they were prepared to handcourse of which took them in the direction over to him the usurper Bessus; strippedof Arachosia. A new settlement was naked, in chains and wearing a dog-collar,established at Alexandria-in-Arachosia (near Bessus was left by the roadway to be pickedmodern Kandahar), one of many such up by Alexanders agent, Ptolemy. But thosefoundations in the area. who had betrayed him fled, wary of
  • 59. 60 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatsubmitting to Alexander and determined to founded by Cyrus the Great at the northernmaintain their independence in one of the limit of his empire, the King was wounded inmost remote regions of the empire. the neck. A new frontier settlement nearby - Bessus was sent to Ecbatana to be tortured this one called Alexandria-Eschateand executed, the traditional punishment for (Alexandria the Farthest, modern Khojend)traitors. He had done more than simply - served to restrict the flow of the Scythianmurder Darius; he had challenged horsemen who were aiding the BactrianAlexanders claims to the kingship. Claims to rebels, but it threatened the patterns of lifelegitimacy have little force, however, unless in Sogdiana and only incited furtherbacked by military action, as Dariuss insurrections. A guerrilla war ensued, withillustrious forefather and namesake had the rebels entrusting their families anddiscovered in the years from 522 to 519. property to the numerous strongholds inThat kings imperial propaganda, inscribed in the region.three languages on the rock face of Bisutun, One of the local barons, Sisimithresproclaims how he became king through the (known officially as Chorienes), took refugewill of Ahura-Mazda; but it took the might of on Koh-i-nor, which the ancients calledhis armies and the public execution of his simply the Rock of Chorienes. Although hisopponents to confirm the gods will. mother pressed him to resist the invader, And so too Alexander was forced to fight Sisimithres was persuaded to surrender.on. Seven towns along the Iaxartes Alexander had sent to him another(Syr-Darya) offered stubborn resistance but prominent Sogdianian named Oxyartes, whofell to the conquerors, and at Cyropolis, may well have reported how the rebel Arimazes had been captured with relative ease, despite the natural defences of hisModern Khojend. The city began as a settlement(Alexandria-Eschate) to protect the crossing of the fortress, and punished with crucifixion.Iaxartes river (Syr-Darya). In this vicinity Cyrus the Great Over the winter of 328/327 Sisimithreshad also established a frontier outpost. (TRIP) supplied Alexanders army with pack
  • 60. The fighting 61 the lengthy guerrilla war that he had been Alexander and Roxane unable to bring to an end militarily. Philip II Writers give the height of the rock of had used political marriage to great Sisimithres as 15 stades, with 80 stades as advantage in his time; after seven years of its circumference. On top, it is reportedly campaigning, Alexander too had come to flat and contains good soil, which can appreciate its usefulness. support 500 men, and on it Alexander is It is difficult to determine how much the said to have been sumptuously marriage to Roxane influenced Alexanders entertained and to have married Roxane, thinking about the benefits of intermarriage the daughter of Oxyartes. with the barbarians. Some ancient writers Strabo, Geography 11.11.4 mention other marriages between Macedonians and barbarian women at this time, but these may anticipate the greatanimals, sheep and cattle, as well as mass-marriage ceremony at Susa in 324. It is2,000 camels. Alexander returned the favour certain, however, that soon after marryingwhen spring approached, plundering the Roxane Alexander attempted to introduceterritory of the Sacae and returning to the Persian custom of obeisance (proskynesis)Sisimithres with 30,000 head of cattle. This at his court. This met with fierce resistancegesture, too, was matched by the barbarian, on the part of his Macedonian generals andwho entertained him on the Rock. Here it courtiers, and the King reluctantlywas that Alexander met Oxyartes daughter, abandoned the scheme.Roxane, whom he subsequently married. It isdepicted as a love-match, which may be true,but the political implications did not escape Invasion of IndiaAlexander either. By means of a weddingceremony, the Macedonian King terminated The political marriage of Alexander and Roxane had brought the guerrilla war in Bactria and Sogdiana to an end, but the Tension between Alexander and his fighting was to continue. The Macedonian Macedonians army now turned its attention to the last Ever since the death of Darius, corner of the Achaemenid Empire. Here Alexander had become increasingly three provinces remained: Parapamisadae, orientalised. He had begun to adopt which lay beyond the passes of the Hindu certain elements of Persian dress; his Kush as one marched east from the city of belief in his divine parentage was also Bactra (Balkh, near Masar-e-sharif); Gandhara regarded as an eastern pretension. (now part of northern Pakistan); and Furthermore, he had become more Hindush (Sindh), the valley of the Indus. autocratic. In summer 328 Alexander Once through the Hindu Kush, Alexander killed Cleitus the Black, the man who advanced into the Bajaur and Swat regions, had saved his life at the Granicus, in a moving relentlessly towards the Indus, where drunken quarrel in Samarkand. In the an advance force under Hephaestion and following spring, several pages along Perdiccas had constructed a boat-bridge with Hermolaus conspired to murder the across the river, leading into the territory of King, but their plot was revealed and the the Taxiles. conspirators were executed. Callisthenes, On the march, Alexander had the tutor of the pages, was suspected of encountered fierce resistance from the complicity and put to death as well. Aspasians and Assacenians. The chief city of And, in these years, the King had begun the latter was Massaga, located in the Katgala to drink more heavily than before. Pass and defended by a woman, Cleophis, the mother (or possibly widow) of the local
  • 61. 62 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great The wedding of Alexander and Roxane. Painting by Perdiccas, son of Orontes Il Sodoma, based on an ancient account of the painting by Aetion. (AKG Berlin) Perdiccas was another of the young and talented officers of Alexander, one of several who would struggle for power dynast, Assacenus. He had died only shortly after the death of the King. In 336, he before Alexanders arrival at the city, was a member of Philip IIs hypaspist probably in an earlier attempt to stop the bodyguard: it was unfortunate that the Macedonians en route. It was Assacenuss Kings assassination occurred on his brother, Amminais, who conducted the shift, to use modern parlance. Alexander actual defence, with the help of 9,000 promoted him to the rank of taxiarch mercenaries, but legend chooses instead to and as such he led one of the brigades of focus on the Queen, who negotiated the the pezhetairoi. Probably in 330, he surrender of the city and retained her throne became a member of the seven-man Bodyguard (Somatophylakes) and soon afterwards he commanded a hipparchy Queen Cleophis of Massaga of the Companion Cavalry. He appears to From there he headed for... the realm have worked well with Alexanders of Queen Cleophis. She surrendered to closest friend, Hephaestion, but others Alexander but subsequently regained her found him difficult to deal with. throne, which she ransomed by sleeping After Hephaestions death, he was with him, attaining by sexual favours undoubtedly the most influential of the what she could not by force of arms. The Kings officers, and after Alexanders own child fathered by the king she named death Perdiccas was the logical person to Alexander, and he later rose to assume control of affairs in Babylon. sovereignty over the Indians. Because she Nevertheless, he had made too many had thus degraded herself Queen enemies and his ambition made him the Cleophis was from that time called the object of suspicion and hatred. In "royal whore" by the Indians. 320 BC his invasion of Egypt failed and Justin 12.7.9-11 (J. C. Yardley trans., he was murdered by his own officers. Clarendon Ancient History series)
  • 62. The fighting 63Samarkand today. The old city of Maracanda occupied the The King now crossed into the territory ofmound behind the city. It was here that Alexander killed Ambhi (officially Taxiles), who ruled thehis friend and general Cleitus in a drunken brawl. (TRIP) region between the Indus and Hydaspes (Jhelum) rivers and gave Alexander a lavishby dazzling Alexander with her beauty. Her reception in his capital at Taxila (near modernstory must be read with caution, since her Islamabad). He was at the time hard pressedname and conduct are reminiscent of the by his enemies - Abisares to the north (in thefamous Egyptian queen, Cleopatra VII. The Kashmir) and Porus, Rajah of the Paurava, tofirst historian to mention her may, indeed, the west. In exchange for support, hehave written in the Augustan age, when accepted a Macedonian garrison and anCleopatra herself had gained notoriety. overseer, Philip, son of Machatas. But Ambhi Some of the Assacenians fled to a remained nominal head of the territory.seemingly impregnable mountain known to Porus meanwhile had urged Abisares tothe ancients as Aornus (probably Pir-sar, lend aid against Taxiles and the Macedonianthough some have suggested Mt Ilam). Here, invader. Instead, he made (token?)just as he had done in his siege of Arimazes, submission to Alexander, content to awaitAlexander overcame the rugged terrain, this the outcome of events. And when Porustime herding many of the terrified natives to went down to defeat, Abisares sent moneytheir deaths as they attempted to descend and elephants, but argued that he could notthe steep embankment overhanging the come in person on account of illness. It is anIndus. By capturing the place, the King old trick of rulers who are confronted bycould claim to have outdone his mythical those more powerful, and it was attemptedancestor, Hercules, who had been driven off later by Montezuma when Cortesby an earthquake. approached Tenochtitlan.
  • 63. 64 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great Porus himself determined to face the and the effect of the elephants stationed uponinvader and his arch-enemy, Taxiles, at the them decisive. It was necessary to make theHydaspes river, guarding the crossing near crossing elsewhere, and to do so unopposed.modern Haranpur. There would be no repeat At first, Alexander resorted to a series ofof the charge at the Granicus. The Hydaspes feints - or, more precisely, to a repetition ofwas a much greater river, the banks steeper, the same feint, as he marched a detachment
  • 64. The fighting 65 The battle between Alexander and Porus. In the battle at the Hydaspes river, Alexander and Porus did not actually meet each other in combat, although the Macedonian King met the Indian rajah after he had suffered numerous wounds. (Ann Ronan Picture Library) A digression on boat-bridges The historian Arrian can find no evidence for how Alexander bridged the Indus, but he comments: The quickest way of bridging I know is the Roman use of boats ... Their boats are at a signal allowed to float downstream, yet not bows on, but as if backing. The stream naturally carries them down, but a rowing skiff holds them up till it manoeuvres them into the appointed place and at that point wicker crates of pyramid shape full of unhewn stones are let down from the bows of each ship to hold it against the stream. No sooner has one ship thus been made fast than another, just at the right interval to carry the superstructure safely, is anchored upstream and from both boats timbers are accurately and smartly laid and planks crosswise to bind them together. The work goes on in this way for all the boats needed ... On either side of the bridge gangways are laid and fastened down, so that the passage may be safer for horses and baggage animals, and also to bind the bridge together. Arrian 5.7.3-5 (P. A. Brunt trans., Loeb Classical Library) encirclement by instructing his brother, Spitaces, to keep watch upstream. Craterus, with the heavy infantry, was left to face the main Indian army at the original crossing-point, and Alexander eventually, under the cover of night, heavy rain andof the army to a position upstream and thunder, marched some 171/2 miles (28km)returned again to the main camp, while upriver (near modern Jalalpur) and made aPoruss forces on the opposite bank mirrored crossing just where the heavily wooded islandhis actions. Soon he positioned a contingent of Admana sits in a bend of the river. Here heunder Meleager several miles to the north; reached the opposite side before Spitaces wasbut Porus too had taken precautions against able to challenge him. Indeed, the island had
  • 65. 66 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatproved to be such an effective screen that The limits of conquestAlexander himself landed his men there,mistaking it for the opposite bank of the Victorious over the army of Porus, theHydaspes. Consequently, Porus had to Macedonians had moved eastward across theabandon his original position and turn to meet Punjab, coming inevitably to the Hyphasisthe encircling force, while Craterus began to (Beas) river. Beyond this lay the populous andlead the rest of the army across the river. little-known subcontinent of India proper. (It The engagement that followed was decided should be noted that Alexander never crossedprimarily by the cavalry, even though the the boundaries of what is modern India.) Hereheavy rains had reduced the battlefield to it was that the war-weary Macedonians,mud and swamp. The elephants, interspersed battered by the elements, their uniformsbetween units of infantry, proved once again literally rotting off their bodies, called a be a greater liability than advantage to Alexander yearned for further adventure andPoruss army. In the end, the Macedonians conquest, this time in the valley of thewere victorious. Porus had fought gallantly Ganges. The soldiers, however, conducted aand received many wounds. strike (secessio) and even the bravest and most The valiant enemy earned Alexanders loyal of Alexanders officers spoke on theirrespect, and was allowed to retain his kingdom. behalf. The King sulked in his tent, but theIt had not always been so: Alexander had often men remained obdurate. There was nothing tobeen less than generous in his treatment of do but turn back.stubborn adversaries. (Witness the case of Batis This is the traditionally accepted view ofof Gaza, whom Alexander dragged behind his the end of Alexanders eastward march. Butchariot in imitation of Achilles treatment of did it really happen in this way? Why, oneHector.) The greater challenge lay, however, in asks, would an experienced and shrewdthe attempt to bring about lasting peace military leader like Alexander allow reportsbetween the Indian rivals. Curtius claims that of extraordinary dangers, or numerousan alliance between Taxiles and Poros was enemies and exotic places, to come to thesealed by marriage, the common currency in attention of soldiers who, as he knewsuch transactions. But the arrangement was perfectly well, were demoralised and tired?never entirely satisfactory. Though Taxiles was The skilful leader tells his troops what heperhaps more to be trusted than Poros, wants them to know, which is virtuallyAlexander needed the latter for his upcoming always less than the whole truth. If thecampaigns in the Punjab. fantastic report of India beyond the Hyphasis was leaked to the Macedonian soldiery, it was because he wanted them to hear it. If it Porus and Alexander was merely a case of rumour taking hold, Alexander was the first to speak. then Alexander handled the matter badly. In What, he said, do you wish that I his speech to the men, in which he claims to should do with you? be debunking the rumours, he nevertheless Treat me as a king ought, Porus is reports them in vivid detail; then he changes said to have replied. his tack and argues that, even if the stories For my part, said Alexander, pleased are true, there is no need to be concerned. by the answer, your request shall be This was not the time for the truth, much granted. But is there not something you less for exaggeration. It was a face-saving would wish for yourself? Ask it. gesture by a king who was just as tired as his Everything, said Porus, is contained in men, for whom it would have been unheroic this one request. to decline further challenges. Instead the Arrian 5.19 (A. de Sélincourt responsibility for ending this glorious march trans., Penguin) into the unknown was placed squarely on the shoulders of the common soldier. His
  • 66. The fighting 67stubbornness alone robbed Alexander of Hyphasis in the quest for ocean. Alexanderfurther glory. This was the propaganda line, knew full well that the Indus river systemand this is how it has come down to us. would lead him there, and he hadFurther evidence of Alexanders duplicity can transported boats in sections for the verybe found in the fact that he ordered the men purpose of following the river to its build a camp of abnormal size, containing On the way, he subdued warlike tribes,artefacts that were larger than life, in order troublesome neighbours for his new vassal,to cheat posterity into thinking that the Porus. Among these were the Mallians, inexpeditionary force had been superhuman. whose town Alexander would have a close brush with death. Disregarding his own safety and forgettingReturn to the west that the Macedonians enthusiasm for war was no longer what it had been, AlexanderThe army was returning to the west - but was the first to scale the city walls and jumpnot directly. It was not necessary to cross the inside. Only a few bodyguards accompanied
  • 67. 68 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great stood up to the hardships as well as any man, Deception at the limits of Alexanders march and indeed it was on this march that he Two days were devoted to his anger displayed some of his most noble qualities, and on the third Alexander emerged the march was an unmitigated disaster. Those from his tent to issue instructions for modern writers who delight in blackening his twelve altars of square-cut stone to be reputation have gone so far as to suggest that erected to commemorate his expedition. Alexander exposed his men to the perils of He further ordered the camp the Gedrosian wasteland in order to pay them fortifications to be extended, and back for their refusal to proceed beyond couches on a larger scale than their size the Hyphasis. required to be left behind, his intention When Alexander returned to the west, he being to make everything appear greater celebrated mixed marriages on a grand scale than it was, for he was preparing to at Susa (324 BC). Alexander himself married leave to posterity a fraudulent wonder. Stateira, daughter of Darius III, and Parysatis, Quintus Curtius Rufus, The History of whose father, Artaxerxes III, had ruled Alexander 9.3.19 (J. C. Yardley shortly before. Another of Dariuss daughters, trans., Penguin) Drypetis, married Hephaestion, and nearly a hundred other noble Persian women were given as brides to Macedonian officers. Evenhim. When the troops saw that their King larger numbers of common soldiers tookwas trapped, they scrambled up the ladders, barbarian wives, but this was probably just aoverloading and breaking them. Inside the way of legitimising common-law unions thatwalls, the King was showered with arrows: had existed for some time. The marriagesone protector at least perished in his appear to have been unpopular with thedefence, while others were as gravely aristocracy, and after Alexanders deathwounded as Alexander himself. Once the most appear to have repudiated theirtroops poured over the battlements, the Persian wives.slaughter began, but their King had an arrow On the other hand, it was the integrationlodged deep in his chest, just below the ribs. of large numbers of barbarian troops into the Miraculously, Alexander survived, though Macedonian army that gave offence to thefor a good portion of the journey downriver soldiery. Not long afterwards, at Opis on thehe was all but incapacitated. By the time he Tigris, the army mutinied, complaining thatreached the Indus delta, he had recovered,and from here he sailed out into the IndianOcean and conducted sacrifices at the limitsof his empire, just as he had done at theHellespont in 334. Nevertheless, the return of the Macedonianarmy can hardly be depicted as triumphant.One portion sailed along the coast, eventuallypassing through the Straits of Hormuz andentering the Persian Gulf: it was a journeyfraught with hardship, deprivation anddanger. Another, led by Alexander himself,struggled through the Gedrosian desert,suffering staggering losses on account of theelements and the malfeasance of theneighbouring satraps. Although AlexanderAlexander wearing the elephant headdress. (AKG Berlin)
  • 68. The fighting 69 Craterus, Alexanders most trusted As the campaign progressed, commander Craterus exercised more frequent Craterus began the expedition as a independent commands. When taxiarch, a commander of pezhetairoi. He Alexander returned through the served as the second-in-command on the Gedrosian desert, Craterus led the left wing, under the direct authority of slower troops and the invalids through Parmenion, whom he was being groomed the Bolan Pass towards modern to replace. Craterus was an officer of Kandahar. En route he apprehended unswerving loyalty to the King. The rebels, whom he brought to the King saying went that Hephaestion was fond for execution. In 324 he was sent to of Alexander (philalexandros) but Craterus replace Antipater as viceroy of was fond of the king (philobasileus). Not Macedon. This order would be surprisingly, these two young pre-empted by Alexanders death and commanders would become rivals and the outbreak of the Lamian War. In their disagreements would lead to an 321/320 Craterus returned to Asia and open confrontation that threatened to did battle with Eumenes near the involve their respective units. But Hellespont. He was, however, thrown Crateruss promotion was based on from his horse and trampled beneath ability whereas in Hephaestions case its hoofs. It was an ignominious end there was at least a suspicion of nepotism for one of Alexanders greatest - even if no one said so publicly. generals.they were being supplanted by foreigners. Macedonia under the command of Craterus,These complaints Alexander countered with who was himself in poor health. Some ofsoothing words, but the ringleaders of the them would indeed reach their homeland,mutiny were seized, chained and thrown but only to fight some more. Others wouldinto the Tigris. Ten thousand veterans, many not advance beyond Cilicia before becomingof them injured, were sent back to embroiled in the wars of the Successors.
  • 69. 70 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great
  • 70. The fighting 71
  • 71. Portrait of a soldierTwo generals and a satrapParmenion and Philotas of bragging about his own familys achievements or disparaging those of theWhen Alexander ascended the Macedonian King, she repeated to others, until the talkthrone, two powerful generals of Philip II was reported to Craterus, a faithful friendexercised considerable influence at the court and officer of Alexander. Craterus dislikedand in the army. Only one, Antipater, was in Philotas personally - and in this he was notMacedonia at the time. The other, alone, for Philotas had many enemies whoParmenion, had been sent by Philip to were at the same time close friends of thecommand the advance force in Asia Minor. King. Craterus therefore gatheredHe was an experienced and well-loved leader incriminating evidence from Antigone andof men. In the year of Alexanders birth, brought this to Alexanders attention. But, at356 BC, Parmenion had defeated the Illyrian that time, with the outcome of the warruler Grabus, while Philip himself was against Darius still undecided, the Kingbesieging Potidaea. Twenty years later, he chose to overlook the indiscretion.was the senior officer in the army and his Things changed, however, whensons, Philotas and Nicanor, commanded the Alexander found himself master of theCompanion Cavalry and the hypaspists Persian capitals. Parmenion had suddenlyrespectively. These were amongst the finest become expendable, and he was left attroops in the Macedonian army. Ecbatana when Alexander pushed on in Parmenions contributions were, however, pursuit of Darius and Bessus. At first, it wasa source of embarrassment to the young king, to be a temporary measure, but Dariusswho believed that the success of others murder altered the complexion of thedetracted somehow from his own glory. And campaign. The Thessalian cavalry, which hadhe was particularly annoyed when he learned served on Parmenions wing, was nowthat in Egypt Parmenions son, Philotas, was dismissed and sent back to Europe. Andboasting that all the Kings successes were Craterus, who had been groomed asdue to his fathers generalship. Parmenions replacement - at both Issus and The information had come to Alexander in Gaugamela he was the old generalsan unusual way. Amongst the spoils taken at second-in-command - had proved himselfDamascus was a woman named Antigone. This more than capable; furthermore, he waswoman was of Macedonian origin, from the younger, more energetic and, what was mosttown of Pydna, but had been captured by the important, unswervingly loyal to the King.Persian admiral Autophradates while travelling These circumstances, and the fact thatby sea to celebrate the mysteries of Samothrace. Parmenions elimination required(It was at this festival, many years earlier, that justification, gave rise to stories thatPhilip had met the young Olympias, the future Parmenions advice was timid or unsoundmother of Alexander.) Antigone had thus and that his performance at Gaugamelabecome the mistress or concubine of a Persian was substandard.notable and had been deposited at Damascus Separated from his influential father,before the battle of Issus. Philotas became more vulnerable to the When Parmenion captured the city and intrigues of his enemies. And thisthe spoils were divided, Antigone became vulnerability was increased when, during thePhilotass mistress. What he told her, by way march through Aria, Philotass brother
  • 72. Portrait of a soldier 73 Alexander thus called a meeting of his The official historian criticises Parmenion advisers - excluding Philotas, who might There is general criticism of a otherwise have been summoned - and asked lacklustre and apathetic performance on for their candid opinions. These were freely Parmenions part in that battle, either given and unanimous: Philotas would not because age was by now to some extent have suppressed the information unless he sapping his courage or because, as were either party to the plot or at least Callisthenes has it, he was embittered favoured it. Such negligence could not be and envious of the officious and excused when it involved the life and safety self-important way in which Alexander of the King. And so Atarrhias with a was wielding his authority. In any case, detachment of hypaspists - in effect, these Alexander was annoyed by Parmenions were the Macedonian military police - was call for help, but did not tell his men the sent to arrest Philotas. truth about it. Instead, he gave the Confronted with the facts, Philotas signal to fall back on the ground that he confessed that he had indeed learned of the was calling a halt to the slaughter and conspiracy, but that he had not taken it that night was coming on. seriously. If this was the truth - we shall Plutarch, Alexander 38.11 (J. C. never know what went through Philotass Yardley trans.) mind - he may have reflected on an earlier episode, when his father had sent an urgent letter to Alexander, alleging that Philip ofNicanor died of illness. Indeed, not only was Acarnania, the Kings personal physician, hadthe family itself weakened, but also many been bribed to poison him in Cilicia. In thewho had served with Parmenion were no event, the report proved false andlonger with the army. Hence, when Philotas Parmenions reputation was tarnished.was implicated in a conspiracy at Phrada On the other hand, in the shadowy world(modern Farah) in Afghanistan in late 330, of the Macedonian court, where kings hadthere were few to defend or protect him. often been murdered for merely slighting a The crime itself was one of negligence rather mans honour, anything was possible andthan overt treason. A young Macedonian - he everything potentially dangerous. Philotassis described as one of the hetairoi, and hence trustworthiness was called into question: hadnot insignificant - by the name of Dimnus had he not been guilty of disloyal talk in the past?divulged the details of a conspiracy to which As a young man, he had been raised at thehe was a party (though he was clearly not its court of Philip as a companion of Amyntas,instigator), to his lover, Nicomachus. The latter, son of Perdiccas, whom Alexander hadfearing for his life if the conspiracy should fail executed on suspicion of aspiring to regainand he be implicated, told everything he knew his throne. Furthermore, his sister had beento his brother, Cebalinus, who promptly went married briefly to the Kings bitter enemyto report the matter to Alexander. Attalus. Unable to gain access to the King, When questioned under torture, PhilotasCebalinus informed Philotas and urged him admitted also that another adherent ofto deal with the matter. But on the following Attalus, a certain squadron commanderday, when he approached Philotas again, (ilarches) named Hegelochus had suggestedCebalinus discovered that the latter had not to Parmenion and his sons that they murderspoken to the King concerning the the King; but the plan was rejected as tooconspiracy because, as he claimed, it had not dangerous in the circumstances of 331. At anyseemed to him a matter of great importance. rate, it seems that the topic of AlexandersCebalinus therefore devised other means of removal from power had certainly come up.revealing the plot, mentioning also Philotass The younger commanders urged the Kingsuspicious behaviour. not to forgive Philotas a second time, for he
  • 73. 74 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the GreatAlexander, as portrayed on the Alexander Sarcophagus, Mazaeus, servant of three kingswhich shows his victory at Issus. (AKG Berlin) Mazaeus is known from both historicalwould continue to be a danger to him. Their sources and coin legends to have been satrapprofessed concern for Alexanders safety of Cilicia, and later of Syria andmasked, only slightly, their hatred for Mesopotamia (Abarnahara, the land beyondPhilotas and their desire for military the river) in the time of King Artaxerxes III.advancement; this could best be achieved by Under Darius III he had doubtless fought ateliminating him and members of his faction. Issus, although there is no mention of him.For Alexander, although he concurred with In 331, he had been ordered to preventtheir opinion, it was nevertheless a difficult Alexanders crossing of the Euphrates atdecision. How would Parmenion react to his Thapsacus, but had insufficient numbers tosons execution? He remained in Ecbatana, do more than harass the bridge-builders.astride the lines of communication and at Upon Alexanders arrival, Mazaeus withdrewthe head of a substantial army. If Philotas and rejoined Darius, who was now followingwere to be executed for treason, then the the course of the Tigris northward.charge must be extended to include his At Gaugamela Mazaeus commanded thefather. The army, which tried Philotas and Persian cavalry on the right wing and led afound him guilty, accepted also the guilt of charge of dense squadrons together with thehis father. The Macedonians were realists and scythe-chariots, inflicting heavy casualties.recognised that expediency must triumph He then sent a squadron of Scythianover legal niceties. horsemen to capture the Macedonian camp, Philotas was publicly executed; his father while he himself exerted pressure onin Ecbatana was presented with a letter Parmenion and the Thessalian cavalry on theoutlining the charges against him and struck Macedonian left. Parmenion, in turn, wasdown as he read them. forced to send riders to recall Alexander, who
  • 74. Portrait of a soldier 75 modern scholarly view, the sarcophagus itself A missed opportunity would have been commissioned for the The [Macedonian] army could have former satrap of Syria (and resident of Sidon) been annihilated if anyone had had the rather than the undistinguished courage to seize victory at this juncture, Abdalonymus, whom Hephaestion had but the Kings unceasing good fortune elevated to the kingship in 332. kept the enemy at bay ... If Mazaeus had Mazaeus fled from the battlefield to attacked the Macedonians as they Babylon, which he promptly surrendered to crossed [the Tigris], he would no doubt the Macedonians. In return he was installed have defeated them while they were in as its satrap, the first Persian to be so disorder, but he began to ride towards honoured by Alexander. (Mithrenes had been them only when they were on the bank in Alexanders entourage since 334, but his and already under arms. He had sent appointment as satrap of Armenia did not only 1,000 cavalry ahead, and so occur until 330.) The Alexander Sarcophagus Alexander, discovering and then also depicts a notable Persian engaged in a scorning their small numbers, ordered lion hunt together with Alexander and other Ariston, the commander of the Paeonian Macedonians - one of the Macedonian riders cavalry, to charge them at full gallop. may be Hephaestion. If this depicts a Quintus Curtius Rufus, The History of historical event, then it could not have Alexander 4.9.22-24 occurred before late 331, and the most likely Persian with whom Alexander hunted is once again Mazaeus.had gone off in pursuit of Darius. Eventually When Alexander pursued Darius in hisMazaeus was overcome by the tenacity of the final days, Mazaeuss son, Brochubelus orThessalians and the demoralising news of Antibelus, defected to him. Mazaeus himselfDariuss flight. remained in office and served his new master It is highly likely that the great loyally until his death in late 328,battle-scene on the so-called Alexander whereupon he was replaced by anotherSarcophagus from Sidon - now in the barbarian: Arrian calls the successorIstanbul Museum - depicts Mazaeuss valour. Stamenes and Quintus Curtius Rufus writes,If this is so, then, contrary to the accepted Ditamenes, but neither form is convincing.
  • 75. The world around warRome, Carthage and IndiaEmergence of Rome Indeed, Pyrrhus, a second cousin of the conqueror, was destined to give the RomansThe fourth century BC, which is treated by a fright some 43 years after AlexandersGreek historians as a period of decline after death. And his was but a small army, withthe so-called Golden Age of Athens, was for limited goals.the Roman world a time of rebirth. The city Alexander of Epirus, however, suffered thewhich, according to its historical traditions, fate of all champions summoned by thewas founded in 753 BC - that is, 244 years Italian Greeks: rather than joining him inbefore the establishment of the Republic in the struggle against their enemies, they were509 - had experienced a period of growth in content to sit back and let him do thethe fifth century that was arrested, indeed fighting for them. Ultimately, he was killed -shattered, by the irruption of Gauls in 390 or the victim of a prophesied fate that he had386. Despite face-saving propaganda that saw gone to Italy to avoid. The oracle of DodonaCamillus snatch victory from the grasp of had foretold that he would die by thethe Gauls after they had defeated the Acheron river. Since there was a river of thisRomans at the river Allia, the truth is that name in Epirus, Alexander decided to movethe Romans paid the marauders in order to on to Italy, only to discover as he was struckbe rid of them. The conquest of the Italian down in an Italian stream that it too waspeninsula had to be started anew, if indeed known as the Acheron.much of it had been subject to Rome before Such at least is the legend and the bitterthe Gallic sack. lesson that those who seek to avert fortune At about the same time as Alexander must learn. But the important fact is that, ascrossed into Asia, his uncle and Alexander the Great was subduing the east,brother-in-law, Alexander I of Epirus, crossed his namesake was engaged in a strugglethe Adriatic in order to champion the cause between the inhabitants of the westernof the Greeks in southern Italy, who were peninsula who had not yet fallen under thebeing hard pressed by the Lucanians and power of Rome. But this was soon to come. InBruttians. Roman historians later the years that followed, the Romans defeatedcommented on the Epirote Kings failure, the Samnites in three bitter wars, and by 265,noting that whereas Alexander the Great seven years after the death of Pyrrhus, theyhad been fighting women in Asia, the other were confronting the Carthaginians across theAlexander had encountered men. This straits of Messina. When Alexander the Greatunflattering remark was typical of Roman died in Babylon, the First Punic War was onlyattitudes towards Alexander the Great, for it two generations in the future (see The Punicwas a popular topic of debate whether Wars in this series).Alexander would have been able to conquerthe Romans. Later Hellenistic kings, like Philip V, CarthageAntiochus III and Perseus, proved to beunworthy of Alexanders reputation, and the Carthage, the North African city near modernRomans themselves, or at least those who Tunis, was founded according to tradition inwere honest with themselves, knew that 814/813 by settlers from Tyre: the namethese were pale reflections of a bygone era. Kart-Hadasht is Phoenician for New Town.
  • 76. The world around war 77Although archaeological evidence has yet toconfirm the traditional date, it certainly The fate of Alexander of Epirusexisted by the late eighth century and soon Alexander, king of Epirus, had beendeveloped as the most important Phoenician invited into Italy when the people ofsettlement in the western Mediterranean. Its Tarentum petitioned his aid against theproximity to Sicily, where numerous Bruttii. He had embarked on thePhoenician trading posts (emporia) had been expedition enthusiastically, as though aestablished, made it a natural protector of the partition of the world had been made,Punic peoples against the Greeks of the island. the East being allotted to Alexander, son By Alexanders time, Carthaginian power of his sister Olympias, and the West tohad been restricted to western Sicily, but it himself, and believing he would have nowas to become a serious threat to the city of less scope to prove himself in Italy,Syracuse by the last decade of the fourth Africa and Sicily than Alexander wascentury. Not much later Carthage became going to have in Asia and Persia. Thereembroiled in a struggle with Rome, as a was a further consideration. Just as theresult of an appeal to both parties by a group Delphic Oracle had forewarnedof lawless mercenaries, the Mamartines (or Alexander the Great of a plot againstSons of Mars), who had taken over him in Macedonia, so an oracularMessana, across from the toe of Italy. response from Jupiter at Dodona had That incident led to the First Punic War warned this Alexander against the city of(264-241), which forced the Romans to Pandosia and the Acherusian River; anddevelop a real navy for the first time in their since both were in Epirus - and he washistory - along with the effective but unaware that identically-named placesephemeral device known as the corvus or existed in Italy - he had been all the more eager to opt for a campaign abroad, in order to avoid the perils of destiny ... He commenced hostilities with both the Bruttii and the Lucanians, capturing many of their cities, and he concluded treaties and alliances with the Metapontines, the Poediculi and the Romans. The Bruttii and the Lucanians, however, gathered auxiliary forces from their neighbours and resumed their war with increased fervour. During this campaign the king was killed in the vicinity of Pandosia and the River Acheron. He did not discover the name of the fateful region until he fell, and only when he was dying did he realize that the death which had led him to flee his native land had not threatened him there after all. The people of Thurii ransomed and buried his body at public expense. Justin 12.2.1-5, 12-15 (J.C. Yardley trans., Clarendon Ancient History series) Bronze head of Alexander from the third century BC, (Madrid, Prado)
  • 77. 78 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the GreatPersian illustration of Alexander talking to wise men. (AnnRonan Picture Library)
  • 78. The world around war 79Dionysus on a leopard. Mosaic from Pella, 4th century BC. korax, a beaked grappling device attached toWhen Alexander reached India he began to emulate a boarding platform. It also led them toDionysus as well as Heracles, the paternal ancestor he had acquire their first provinces outside Italy. Butvenerated since the beginning of his reign. (ArchaeologicalMuseum ofThessaloniki) it was the first of a series of life-and-death struggles between the two dominant states of Alexander learns of the Nanda rulers treacherously murdered, seizing the Torus ... added that their ruler was throne ostensibly as protector of the not merely a commoner but a man from kings children. He then killed the the lowest class. His father had been a children and sired this present ruler, barber whose regular employment barely who had earned the hatred and kept starvation at bay, but by his good contempt of the people by behaviour looks he had won the heart of the more in keeping with his fathers station queen. By her he had been brought into in life than his own. a comparatively close friendship with Curtius 9.2.6-7 (J. C. Yardley the king of the time, whom he then trans., Penguin)
  • 79. 80 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatthe west. This would see the emergence of a adjacent to the Indus in return forgeneral who was, in many ways, the equal of 500 elephants. But in the mid-320s, muchAlexander: Hannibal, the avowed enemy of of India was ripe for the picking.Rome. But when Alexander was conqueringthe east, the bitter Punic Wars and thebrilliance of Hannibal and Scipio were still in The Galatiansthe unforeseen future. Far to the north and the west of Greece, another group, the Celts or Gauls, wereIndia and the Mauryan dynasty beginning a steady migration eastward that would lead them down the Balkan riverIn the east, meanwhile, in the valley of the valleys towards Macedonia. In the years thatGanges, the Nanda dynasty was nearing its followed 280, they would throw Macedoniaend. Rumour held that the ruling king, and northern Greece into turmoil. Onewhom the Greeks called Xandrames, was the column would advance as far as Delphi, onlyson of a lowly barber who had murdered his to be driven off (seemingly with the aid ofsovereign and married the Queen. Plutarch, Apollo) by the Aetolians, who were hailed asin his Life of Alexander, comments that when saviours of Greece. According to their ownthe Macedonians reached the Punjab they tradition, they were beaten by their ownwere seen by a young man named drunkenness and lack of discipline.Sandracottus, who was destined to be the Eventually, they were transported across thefounder of the Mauryan dynasty and was Bosporus and came to settle in north-centralknown to the Indians as Chandragupta. He Anatolia in the region that bears their name,would later force Alexanders successor in the Galatia. For the next century they would beeast, Seleucus Nicator, to cede the satrapies the scourge of Asia Minor.
  • 80. Portrait of a civilianA historian, athletes andcourtesansCallisthenes the historian Convicted of complicity in the conspiracy of the pages, Callisthenes was apparentlyCallisthenes of Olynthus was, according to incarcerated and died some months later ofsome accounts, the nephew of the philosopher obesity and a disease of lice. The PeripateticAristotle, and although he is often depicted as philosophers, the followers of Aristotle,a philosopher himself, he was little more than never forgave amateur. He joined Alexanders expeditionas the official historian and, if - as appears tobe the case - he sent his history back to Callisthenes defies AlexanderEuropean Greece in instalments, he was at Alexander sent around a loving cup ofthe same time historian, propagandist and gold, first to those with whom he hadwar correspondent. made an agreement about obeisance His travels with Alexander took him to (pwskynesis); the first who drank from itexotic places and he was able to speculate on rose, did obeisance, and received a kissnatural phenomena as well as describe the from Alexander, and this went round allcourse of the war, for he appears to have in turn. But when the pledge came totheorised about the source of the Nile. It was Callisthenes, he rose, drank from thehis literary training that led him to depict cup, went up to Alexander and made toAlexander as a latter-day Achilles, and it would kiss him without having done obeisance.not be wrong to class him with the numerous At that moment Alexander was talkingflatterers who swelled the Kings ego and to Hephaestion and therefore was notentourage. But, although he likened the attending to see whether the ceremonyreceding sea near Mt Climax in Pamphylia to a of obeisance was carried out ... But ascourtier doing obeisance (proskynesis) to the Callisthenes approached to kissGreat King, he nevertheless resisted Alexanders Alexander, Demetrius, son of Pythonax,attempt to introduce the Persian court protocol one of the Companions, remarked thatin 328/327. For this reason, he fell out with the he was coming without having doneKing and when, some time later, a conspiracy obeisance. Alexander did not permitwas uncovered involving the royal pages, Callisthenes to kiss him; andCallisthenes was easily implicated. Callisthenes remarked: I shall go away It was one of his functions at the court to short one kiss.tutor the young men of the Macedonian Arrian 4.12.4-5 (P. A. Brunt trans., Loebaristocracy - just as in the 340s Aristotle had Classical Library, slightly modified)tutored Alexander and several of his coevalfriends (syntrophoi) at Mieza. Abrupt andaustere in manner, Callisthenes had made Flatterers and professionalfew friends, though some like Lysimachus athletesthe Bodyguard may have enjoyedexchanging philosophical ideas with him. The entourage of the Macedonian KingThese two serious types may have bonded, included a wide variety of modern jargon would have it, for Actors and musicians, poets and dancers,Lysimachuss personality can hardly be jugglers and ball-players can all be found intermed effervescent. Alexanders camp, though many of them
  • 81. 82 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatmade only brief stops with the army as theytoured the Greek cities of the Near East. A Greek boxer in Alexanders entourage: aActors were particularly useful: because they warriors opinion of a professional athletetravelled and because they spoke so One person present at the banqueteloquently, they were often used as envoys was the Athenian Dioxippus, a formerto the court of some king or dynast; boxer whose superlative strength hadsometimes they merely brought news of rendered him well known and well likedevents in another part of the empire. Thus by Alexander. Jealous and spiteful menAlexander received news of the defection of would make cutting remarks about him,his treasurer Harpalus from Cissus and partly in jest, partly in earnest, sayingEphialtes, two comic actors who are attested that they had along with them a useless,as winners in dramatic competitions in bloated animal and that, while theyAthens. went into battle, he was dripping with Some actors were clearly present at the oil and preparing his belly for a banquet.Hydaspes river, for it was there that the Now at this feast the Macedoniantroops were entertained with a production of Horratas, who was already drunk, beganthe comic play Agen, written by a certain to make the same type of insultingPython - possibly of Sicilian origin. Another comment to Dioxippus and to challengeactor, Thersippus, carried Alexanders letter him, if he were a man, to fight a duelto Darius, rejecting the Kings offer to with him with swords the next day.ransom the members of his family, whom Only then, said Horratas, wouldAlexander had captured at Issus. And, at the Alexander be able to decide whether hedrinking party in Maracanda (Samarkand) was reckless or Dioxippus a coward.there were bards who sang of a Macedonian Q. Curtius Rufus, The History of Alexanderbattle in the region. We are not told what it 9.7.16-17 (I. C Yardley trans., Penguin)was they sang about, except that it was aMacedonian defeat. One scholar hasplausibly suggested that they had produced a following day, with the athlete getting themock heroic epic that recounted the valour better of the soldier. But Dioxippuss successof one of their own, the harpist Aristonicus, did not endear him to the King, and soonwho fought valiantly and died when afterwards he was framed by certain courtiers,barbarian horsemen attacked a small who planted a drinking cup in his quarterscontingent of Macedonians, including pages and claimed that he had stolen it from one ofand non-combatants. the Kings parties. Dishonoured by this trick, Athletes are also attested in the camp. A Dioxippus committed suicide, the victim ofyoung man named Serapion appears to have two forms of prejudice.served no useful purpose other than to playball with the King. But most famous of theathletes was an Athenian boxer, Dioxippus, Courtesans: Thaïs, Pythionicewho is named also as one of the Kings and Glyceraflatterers. The confrontation in India betweena Macedonian soldier, Corrhagus, and the The presence of prostitutes has been aGreek athlete reveals not only the ethnic feature of armies since the earliest time. Eventension that existed in the army between the Crusader armies, motivated by the mostGreeks and Macedonians, but also the typical righteous intentions, had no shortage ofdisdain of the veteran soldier for the them. Alexander himself certainly had theprofessional athlete. Both men had imbibed occasional liaison with such women:excessively and, after they had exchanged Pancaste had been the mistress of Alexanderinsults, the Macedonian challenged the before he gave her to the painter Apelles,Athenian to a duel. This was fought on the who had fallen in love with her.
  • 82. P o r t r a i t of a civilian 83 Whether the Athenian courtesan Thaïs and Glycera in Syria, and according to awas originally Alexanders mistress before she hostile tradition made the people performtook up with Ptolemy is unclear. The popular proskynesis in front of her.account of Alexander (the so-called Vulgate)portrays her as the one who, when revellingwith the King in Persepolis, induced him to Theopompus denounces Harpalusput the torch to the royal palace. But she is to Alexandernot some fictitious character, invented to Theopompus says, in his treatise Ondiscredit the King. At some point she became the Chian Letter, that after the death ofthe mistress of Ptolemy and bore him three Pythionice Harpalus summoned Glycerachildren - Lagus, Leontiscus and Eirene - the from Athens; on her arrival she took upfirst named after Ptolemys father, the last her residence in the palace at Tarsus anddestined to become the bride of Eunostus, had obeisance done to her by thethe King of Soli on Cyprus. populace, being hailed as queen; further, Most notorious, however, were the all persons were forbidden to honourAthenian courtesans Pythionice and Glycera. Harpalus with a crown unless they alsoThey were in succession the mistresses of the gave a crown to Glycera. In Rhossus theytreasurer Harpalus, who grieved excessively even went so far as to set up an image ofat the death of the former, and who her in bronze beside his own. The like isallegedly built monuments for her, in recorded by Cleitarchus in his HistoryBabylon and Athens, which surpassed those of Alexander.of great politicians and generals. The latter, Athenaeus 13.586c (C. B. Gulick trans.,Glycera, was treated by Harpalus as if she Loeb Classical Library)were a queen. He erected statues of himself
  • 83. How the war endedThe death of AlexanderThe war against the barbarians of the east drinkers, by ancient standards at least, andhad, in fact, several different endings. The there are tales of drinking contests in whichPanhellenic crusade, which was the pretext the winner does not live long enough tofor going to war in the first place and the enjoy the prize. In fact, the stories ofjustification for the recruitment of allied alcoholism are suspect as well: they wereGreek troops, came to an end in 330 BC, invented, or at least embellished, by writerswith the symbolic destruction of Persepolis like Ephippus of Olynthus with the aim ofand, later in Hyrcania, with the death of discrediting the King.Darius. Those allied soldiers who wished to This is what we do know. After sailing onreturn home were dismissed from the marshes of the Euphrates waterway nearHecatompylus. But the war itself was not yet Babylon, a region where malaria wasfinished. First, there was the matter of endemic, the King returned to the city. OneBessus, who had usurped the throne: he evening he was invited to a drinking party atwore the tiara upright, in the style of the the home of Medius of Larisa. WhileGreat King, and called himself Artaxerxes V. drinking, he suddenly experienced a pain inSecondly, there was the matter of annexing his chest, as if he had been pierced by anthe remainder of the Persian Empire, which arrow or a spear. He soon returned to hisrequired Alexander to campaign as far north own quarters and his health deterioratedas the Syr-Darya (the Iaxartes river) and as steadily. Nevertheless, he slept, bathed andfar east as the Indus. And, when all this had continued drinking, at least for a while. Hebeen done, there was the task of developed a fever, which became moreconsolidating his conquests. severe, and not long afterwards he began to But one thing had the effect of bringing lose the ability to speak. By the time theAlexanders wars to an abrupt and men had learned of his predicament, he waspermanent end: his premature death in not longer able to address them, but couldBabylon. Those stories about seers warning only make physical gestures of recognition.him to avoid Babylon and omens of others On 10 or 11 June 323, he was dead. He hadoccupying his throne are all inventions after not yet reached his thirty-third birthday.the fact. Even the cause of his death was The loss of a dearly loved king was baddebated in ancient times and continues to be enough, but the uncertainty of the future wastoday. Was it typhoid, cholera or malaria? A increased by the fact that no provisions hadgood case has recently been made for the last been made for the succession and numerousone. Did he die of poison, the victim of a controversial policies had been set in motion -conspiracy by a number of his generals? This the proclamation of the Exiles Decree, whichtoo gains support from the occasional had a disruptive effect on the politics of themodern historian, though the story of his Greek world, and the orders that Craterusmurder was clearly a fabrication of the should relieve Antipater of his command inpropaganda wars of his successors. Or was he Europe. Grandiose and expensive plans hadthe victim of depression and alcoholism? also been laid, both for the erection ofThis is the most difficult to prove, since we monuments (e.g. the massive funeral pyre forcannot psychoanalyse him or determine to Hephaestion) and for military expeditions. Itwhat extent his drinking affected his health. soon became clear that, although theThe Macedonians were notoriously heavy conquests had come to an end, the war was
  • 84. How the war ended 85about to be prolonged; for the struggles be more bitter and more destructive thanbetween Alexanders marshals were destined to those against the Persian enemy. The Persian Queen Mother learns of simultaneously for the living and the Alexanders death dead. Who would look after her girls, The news quickly reached Darius she wondered? Who would be another mother too. She ripped off the clothes Alexander? This meant a second she wore and assumed the dress of captivity, a second loss of royal status. mourning; she tore her hair and flung On the death of Darius they had found a herself to the ground. Next to her sat protector, but after Alexander they one of her granddaughters who was in would certainly not find someone to mourning after the recent loss of her guard their interests. husband, Hephaestion, and the general ... Finally, she surrendered to her anguish reminded her of her personal sorrow. She covered her head, turned grief. But Sisygambis alone felt the woes away from her granddaughter and that engulfed her entire family: she wept grandson, who fell at her knees to plead for her own plight and that of her with her, and withdrew simultaneously granddaughters. The fresh pain had also from nourishment and daylight. Five days reminded her of the past. One might after deciding on death, she expired. have thought that Darius was recently Quintus Curtius Rufus, The History of lost and that at the same time the poor Alexander 10.5.19-22, 24 (J. C. Yardley woman had to bury two sons. She wept trans., Penguin)
  • 85. Conclusion and consequencesThe struggle for successionThe wars of Alexander had resulted in the The border provinces in the east wereconquest of an empire and the imposition of disrupted by both the presence of hostilea Greco-Macedonian ruling class upon a elements on the fringes and a reluctance ondiverse population that had hitherto been the part of their Greek garrison troops tounited under Persian control. Greek was now remain there. Upon the premature news ofto replace Aramaic as the official written Alexanders death - after the attack on thelanguage of the east, although local tongues Mallian town in the Punjab - the Greeks ofwould endure - just as regional culture and Bactria and Sogdiana, some 10,000 inreligion would not be wiped out by the mere number, had entertained hopes ofchange of rulers. But the success of the abandoning their outposts and marchingexpedition must be measured by the back to the west, an undertaking that wouldeffectiveness of the process of consolidation have exceeded by far the accomplishment ofrather than the speed of conquest. the more famous Ten Thousand In fact, the Macedonian conquest was far three-quarters of a century earlier. The firstfrom complete, as some areas were only attempt in 324 was thwarted at the outset;partially subdued and others were bypassed the second, immediately after Alexandersintentionally in a bid to come to grips with death, resulted in the slaughter of thethe Persian King and to strike at the majority of these troops through thenerve-centres of the Achaemenid Empire. treachery of Peithon, to whom thePockets of independent or recalcitrant states suppression of the revolt had been entrusted.remained throughout the east: Pisidia, Such was the confused state of the newCappadocia, Armenia are notable examples empire when Alexander returned to Babylonfrom the north-western region; the Uxians, to meet his fated end. Between 323 and 321who had collected payment from the Persians (or 320), preparations were made to conveywho crossed their territories, and who had the Kings body from Babylon to the oasis ofbeen chased from the invasion route by Siwah, where he would rest in the lonelyAlexander, were again asserting their embrace of his divine father Amun.independence in the age of the Successors. Meanwhile, the centrifugal tendencies were When Alexander the Great died in 323, encouraged or repressed by the varioushis Notebooks {Hypomnemata) included factions within the officer corps, as eachgrandiose plans for the conquest of North pursued either a course of separatism or theAfrica and the circumnavigation of the fruitless attempt to preserve the integrity ofArabian peninsula, though in truth there was the empire.much left to be done in areas that had Here again Alexander had been largely toformerly been subject to, or else a thorn in blame: he had never made adequatethe side of, the Persian kings. The presence provision for the succession, nor did heof would-be overlords who were even more name an heir or even an executor of hisalien than the Achaemenids served only to will. Perhaps he had designated Perdiccas asstrengthen their determination to resist. regent, by handing his signet ring toSome regions rebelled in Alexanders Hephaestions successor on his deathbed. Butlifetime, incited by the very Persianofficials whom he had appointed as The Lion of Amphipolis. Probably a monument to thesatraps and hyparchs. Macedonians killed in combat. (Authors collection)
  • 86. Conclusion and consequences 87
  • 87. 88 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Greatsome modern scholars have questionedwhether this gesture was ever made, Ptolemy, son of Lagus, ruler of Egyptassuming that it was part of the propaganda Ptolemy is perhaps one of the bestdevised by Perdiccas or his military heir, known of Alexanders commanders toEumenes of Cardia. the modern reader. Nevertheless, in Certainly, Alexander had been wrong in 323 BC he was far from being the mostkeeping his officers on a fairly equal footing. noble, influential or most accomplishedThis had, perhaps, increased his own security, of the Kings marshals. Born in the 360s,for, once he had freed himself from the he was older than many of the otherclutches of older generals and their factions, young generals and he may not havehe was not eager to create powerful new held his first command until late 331 (atrivals. Instead, he balanced one appointment the Persian Gates); if so, he was what wewith another, encouraging a certain amount would call a late bloomer. During theof rivalry and even open confrontation. As a campaigns in what are now Afghanistanresult, the army too was divided, each section and Pakistan, he came into his own as afavouring its own commander or military commander; he had also been acombination of commanders. An even greater member of the Bodyguard since 330.divide existed between the cavalry and When Alexander died, he received theinfantry. In short, a peaceful and effective satrapy of Egypt, which he fortified andtransfer of power was all but impossible. put on a sound administrative and Thus history moves from the age of the economic footing. Thereafter it wasbrilliant conqueror to that of his Successors impossible to dislodge him, and he ruled(Diadochoi). Amongst the first to contest the there until 283, sharing the throne withprize were the young and able officers who his son, Philadelphus, in the periodwere coeval with the King, and who had 285-283. At some point, he wrote abeen raised at the Macedonian court and History of Alexander, which is now lost.educated along with the Crown Prince atMieza. They were also the first to die. Someadmittedly endured and established Bodyguard. The supporters of the kingshipdynasties that would rule the so-called were men like Perdiccas, Aristonous,Hellenistic kingdoms - Seleucus, Lysimachus Eumenes and probably Craterus, but theand Ptolemy - but others, like Antipater and kings themselves were hardly imposingAntigonus the One-Eyed, were grisled figures: one was a mentally defectiveveterans in 323. The former did not long half-brother of Alexander, named Arrhidaeussurvive the King. Antigonus, however, lived but known officially as Philip III; the otheruntil 301, when he perished on the was the infant son of Alexander and Roxane,battlefield of Ipsus. Many indeed were the hampered as much by his semi-barbariancompanions of Alexander who crossed the blood as by his age. And, in the wings, therethreshold of old age, and even then few died was Heracles, the illegitimate son ofin their beds. Ptolemy, son of Lagus, better Alexander and his mistress, Barsine, theknown as Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt, proved a daughter of the Persian Artabazus and arare exception. Rhodian woman. In the early stages, the struggle was to Matters were made worse by the armysexercise authority on behalf of inept or hostility to Alexanders plans to integrateillegitimate candidates for the throne, or else Persians into the military and the commandto defy such authority in a bid to carve out a structure. Some accommodation would haveportion of the empire for oneself. In the to be made with the barbarian if thelatter group, we find Ptolemy, who from the multicultural empire was to become afirst chafed at the thought of serving under a cohesive whole. This included also a shiftingfellow officer, and Peithon, a former of the government to a more central
  • 88. Conclusion and consequences 89location - probably to Babylon, though some aid, as did his daughter, Cleopatra VII, whohave disputed this claim - since it would be linked her fortunes first to Julius Caesar,impossible to rule the east from Pella. then to Mark Antony, and thus attained a Hence the Diadochoi, starting from a measure of greatness. Ultimately, however,position of disadvantage and weakness, these associations brought her infamy andcould scarcely be expected to succeed. the destruction of her kingdom.Posterity remembers them as lesser men who The most extensive and diverse territory -jeopardised the whole for the sake of that is, the bulk of Alexanders empire - wasindividual gain, whose pettiness and ruled by the descendants of Seleucus Nicator.personal rivalries squandered all that Already in his reign, the eastern satrapiesAlexander had won and sacrificed countless were ceded to Chandragupta. In the time oflives in the process. This verdict is unfair. his successor, Antiochus I, the GalatiansPremature death had saved Alexanders entered Asia Minor and settled aroundreputation, ensured his greatness. His Gordium and modern Ankara, posing agenerals were left to clean up the mess, to threat to the Hellenes of Asia Minor, whoattempt to consolidate the conquered gradually turned towards the dynasts ofempire, without enjoying any of the Pergamum. The third man of this line,authority of the man who had created it. Attalus I, gave his name to the dynasty, The wars of the Successors lasted until the which sought the friendship of Rome as alate 280s, when Lysimachus was killed in the means of protecting itself from thebattle of Corupedium and his conqueror Antigonids in the west and the Seleucids inSeleucus was assassinated by an the east. There were indeed short-termopportunistic and ungrateful son of Ptolemy advantages but, in the long run, RomanSoter known to posterity simply as Ceraunus protection entailed loss of freedom in(The Thunderbolt). Then it was that the matters of foreign policy. In 133, whenSuccessor kingdoms came to be ruled by the Attalus III died, he left his kingdom to theoffspring of the conquerors: the Hellenistic Romans, who converted it into the provincekingdoms had been formed. of Asia. The Antigonids (descendants of Antigonus The Seleucids themselves had beenthe One-Eyed and Demetrius the Besieger) crippled by the War of the Brothers in theruled Macedon and dominated the affairs of second half of the third century. A briefthe south by garrisoning the so-called Fetters reassertion of Seleucid power underof Greece - Demetrias (near modern Volos), Antiochus III proved ephemeral, for in 189Chalcis and Acrocorinth. In 197, at that king met with decisive defeat at theCynoscephalae, Philip V was defeated by the hands of the Romans. The subsequent PeaceRomans in what is called the Second of Apamea deprived the Seleucids of theirMacedonian War; a Third Macedonian War, lands west of the Taurus Mountains andin which Philips son Perseus succumbed to imposed a huge indemnity upon them. Fromthe army of L. Aemilius Paullus, effectively this point onwards, it was a story of steadybrought Antigonid rule to an end. decline. Pressured by the Parthians in the In Egypt the Ptolemaic dynasty enjoyed a east and threatened by a revived Ptolemaicperiod of prosperity in the third century BC, kingdom to the south, the Seleucidsespecially under its Sun-King, Ptolemy II embarked upon a series of civil wars betweenPhiladelphus, but by the late second century rival claimants to the throne. By the middleit was in decline and threatening to destroy of the first century, they had ceased to exist,itself from within. An unpopular and weak having been crushed by the competingruler, dubbed Auletes (the Flute-Player) by forces of Roman imperialism, Parthianthe Alexandrians, survived only with Roman expansion and Jewish nationalism.
  • 89. Further readingAncient sources Carney, E. D., Women and Monarchy in Ancient Macedonia, Norman, Oklahoma, 2000.Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, Cook, J. M., The Persian Empire, New translated by A. de Sélincourt, with notes York, 1983. by J. R. Hamilton, Penguin Classics, Engels, D.W., Alexander the Great and the Harmondsworth, 1971. Logistics of the Macedonian Army, Berkeley,Diodorus of Sicily, translated and edited by California, 1978. C. Bradford Welles, Loeb Classical Library, Errington, R. M., A History of Macedonia, vol. VIII, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1963. translated by Catherine Errington,Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Berkeley, California, 1990. Pompeius Trogus, Books 11-12: Alexander the Fuller, J. F. C, The Generalship of Alexander the Great, translated by J. C. Yardley, Great, New York, 1960. with commentary by Waldemar Heckel, Green, P., Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 BC: Clarendon Ancient History Series, A Historical Biography, London, 1970; repr. Oxford, 1997. Berkeley, California, 1991.Plutarch, The Age of Alexander, translated by Hammond, N. G. L., The Genius of Alexander the Ian Scott-Kilvert, Penguin Classics, Great, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1997. Harmondsworth, 1973. Heckel, W., The Last Days and Testament ofQuintus Curtius Rufus, The History of Alexander the Great: A Prosopographic Study, Alexander, translated by J. C. Yardley, with Historia Einzelschriften, Heft 56, introduction and notes by Waldemar Stuttgart, 1988. Heckel, Penguin Classics, Heckel, W., The Marshals of Alexanders Harmondsworth, 1984. Empire, London, 1992. Holt, F. L., Alexander the Great and Bactria, Leiden, 1988.Modern works Lane Fox, R., Alexander the Great, London, 1973.Berve, H., Das Alexanderreich auf Marsden, E. W., The Campaign of Gaugamela, prosopographischer Grundlage, 2 vols, Liverpool, 1964. Munich, 1926. Olmstead, A. T., History of the Persian Empire,Borza, E. N., In the Shadow of Macedon: The Chicago, 1948. Emergence of Macedon, Princeton, New Pearson, L., The Lost Histories of Alexander the Jersey, 1990. Great, New York, 1960.Bosworth, A. B., Conquest and Empire: Roisman, J. (ed.), Alexander the Great: Ancient The Reign of Alexander the Great, and Modern Perspectives, Lexington, Cambridge, 1988. Massachusetts, 1995.Bosworth, A. B., Alexander and the East: The Sekunda, N. and Chew, S., The Persian Army Tragedy of Triumph, Oxford, 1996. 560-330 BC, Osprey Elite Series, no. 42,Bosworth, A. B. and Baynham, E. J. (eds), Oxford, 1992. Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction, Stein, A., On Alexanders Track to the Indus, Oxford, 2000. London, 1929.Briant, P., LEmpire Perse de Cyre a Alexandre, Stewart, A., Faces of Power: Alexanders Image and Paris, 1996. Hellenistic Politics, Berkeley, California, 1993.
  • 90. Further reading 91Stoneman, R., Alexander the Great, Lancaster Wilcken, U., Alexander the Great, with notes Pamphlets, London, 1997. and bibliography by E. N. Borza, NewWarry, J., Alexander 334-323 BC: Conquest of York, 1967. the Persian Empire, Osprey Campaign Wood, M., In the Footsteps of Alexander the Series, no. 7, Oxford, 1991. Great, Berkeley, California, 1997.
  • 91. Glossaryagema: the elite guard of the cavalry or hypaspists: (literally, shield-bearers) the the hypaspists. infantry guard of the Macedonian king.archon: a senior magistrate (literally, one Often they formed a link between the who is first, one who leads). Philip II pezhetairoi and cavalry in the and Alexander were archons of the Macedonian line. Thessalian League. ilarches: commander of a squadron (ile)baivarpatish: (Persian) commander of of cavalry. 10,000, i.e. a myriarch. ile: see ilarches.chiliarch: commander of a thousand. Also ile basilike: the Royal Squadron. This fought the Persian hazarapatish, who could be in the immediate vicinity of the king as a either commander of a thousand or the mounted bodyguard. Cleitus the Black most powerful court official. was its commander.Delian League: A confederacy of Greek Medism: the Greek term for collaboration states, mainly maritime, organised by the with the Persians. Medising was Athenians in 478/7 (after the Persian symbolised in the late sixth and early fifth invasion of Xerxes was repelled). The centuries by the giving of earth and League had its headquarters on the island water to the Persian King, but any form of Delos (hence the name) and its of friendly intercourse with Persia could members paid an annual tribute called give rise to the charge of Medism. phoros, which was collected by officials melophoroi: (literally, apple-bearers) Persian known as hellenotamiai (stewards of guards, distinguished by apple-shaped the Greeks). Within a generation the spearbutts. League had been converted into an myriarch: commander of 10,000 = Persian Athenian Empire. baivarpatish.Doryphoroe: (literally, spear-bearers) the Oath of Plataea: according to the historian bodyguard associated with kings Herodotus, the Greek allies swore an oath and tyrants. before the battle of Plataea in 479 togazophylax: a Persian treasurer or rather punish Medisers, especially the Thebes, guardian of the treasures. with destruction, enslavement andhazarapatish: commander of a thousand. confiscation of property, with a tithe from Equivalent of the Greek chiliarch. the proceeds to be paid to the god Apollo.hipparch: a cavalry commander, i.e. a Peloponnese: the southern part of European commander of a hipparchy. Greece, south of the Gulf and the Isthmushoplite: heavily armed Greek infantryman. of Corinth. The hoplite carried a circular shield, wore Peloponnesian League: A league of states, a cuirass (breast-plate), a helmet which mainly but not exclusively (it included gave additional protection to nose and the Boeotians) from the Peloponnesus, cheeks, and (normally, but not always) which was controlled by its military greaves. To be effective the hoplite had to leader (hegemon) Sparta. Unlike the Delian fight in formation, since the overlap of League, it had no compulsory, fixed the shields protected the exposed right payments. side of the warrior. The spear became a pezhetairoi: the foot-companions, the thrusting weapon rather than a javelin. Macedonian heavy infantry.
  • 92. Glossary 93proskynesis: the Persian practice of doing satrap: governor of a Persian province or obeisance to their king. It involves satrapy. The Median name khshathrapavan bowing and blowing a kiss. The extent of means Protector of the Realm. the debasement depends on the status of satrapy: see satrap. the individual. Somatophylakes: the seven Bodyguards ofPythia: the priestess of the god Apollo the Macedonian king. at Delphi. taxiarch: a brigade (though some writers callSacred Band: A Theban unit constituted in the taxis a battalion) commander. the fourth century under the leadership of taxis: see taxiarch. Gorgidas, it comprised 150 pairs of lovers, Thessalian League: a political union of the in the belief that these would fight more cities of Thessaly which was normally valiantly for each other. It was instrumental under the leadership of one of its chief in Thebes major victory at Leuctra (371). cities, either Pherae or Larisa. Its chief The unit was destroyed at Chaeronea (338). magistrate was originally known as asarissa: (sometimes spelled sarisa) the tagus, but later the name was changed Macedonian lance, normally about to archon. 15-18ft (4.5-5.5m) for infantrymen and Trireme: A warship with three banks of oars perhaps 14ft (4.25m) for cavalry. In the (with one man per oar). The type seems to post-Alexander period it seems to have have originated in Phoenicia but was become longer. adopted and perfected by the Greeks. Thesarissophoroi: (literally sarissa-bearers) normal complement of the trireme was cavalrymen who were armed with 200 men. the sarissa. xyston: the cavalrymans spear.
  • 93. 94 Essential Histories • The Wars of Alexander the Great IndexFigures in bold refer to illustrations Autophradates 59, 72Abdalonymus 44, 75 Babylon 49, 50-51, 52, 53, 62Abisares 63 Bactria, guerrilla war in 60-61Aboulites 52 Bagoas 23, 24actors, in Alexanders entourage 82 Bagophanes 50, 51Agesilaus 33 Balacrus 43Agis III 31, 37, 48 Bessus 58, 59-60, 84Alexander I of Epirus 76, 77, 79 boat-bridges 65Alexander II of Macedon 17Alexander the Great 7, 34, 42, 46, 58, 64-65, 68, 74, 77 Callas 35 character and reputation 26, 56, 61, 66-68, 73, 79, 88 Callias, Peace of (449) 16 conspiracies against 61, 73, 81 Callisthenes 37, 61, 81 death and burial 84-85, 86 Camillus 76 entourage 81-83 Carthage 76-78 marriages 61, 62, 68 Cebalinus 73 quotations 19, 48 Ceraunus 89 rise to power 28-34 Chaeronea, battle of (338) 12, 21 succession 86-89 Chandragupta 80, 89 tactics 36, 49, 54, 64-65 Charidemus 34, 38 unfulfilled plans 86 chariots 49 wounded 60, 68 Cissus 82Alexander Philhellene 17 Cleitarchus 83Alexandria, foundation 13 Cleitus the Black 36, 61, 63Alexandria-Eschate 60 Cleopatra, wife of Philip II 28, 29, 30Ambhi (Taxiles) 63, 64, 66 Cleopatra VII of Egypt 63, 89Amminais 62 Cleophis, Queen of Massaga 61-63Amphipolis, Lion of 87 Corinthian War (394-387/6) 14Amyntas III 17 Corrhagus 82Amyntas IV 17, 28-29, 73 courtesans, in Alexanders entourage 82-83Amyntas, son of Antiochus 37-38 CraterusAnaxippus 59 career 69, 71, 72, 84Antigone, Macedonian concubine 72 in the field 50, 53, 65, 66Antigonids 89 and Hephaestion 44Antigonus the One-Eyed 42, 43, 88, 89 Critobulus 17Antiochus III 89 Crocus Field (353) 20Antipater 30-1, 35, 48, 69, 72, 84, 88 Croesus 7Apamea, Peace of (189) 89 Cunaxa, battle of (401) 16Arbela, battle of see Gaugamela, battle of Curtius Rufus, Quintus, quotations from 24, 51, 59, 66, 68,Archelaus 17, 29 75, 79, 82, 85Ariobarzanes 52-54 Cyrus the Great 7, 9, 59, 60Ariston 75 Cyrus the Younger 16Aristonicus 82Aristotle 30 Damascus 41armies Darius I 9, 60 allies 25-27 Darius II 16 Macedonian 24-25, 32, 35, 52, 69 Darius III 23-24, 27, 40, 41, 58 Persian 22-23, 24, 39, 41, 48-49, 57 in Asia Minor 37-43armour, Macedonian army 25, 26 daughters 69Arrian, quotations from 19, 27, 46, 65, 66, 75, 81 family captured by Alexander 40-41, 44, 82Arsaces 59 at Gaugamela 48-50Arsames 36 negotiates with Alexander 44-45Arsites 36 retreat and death 57-59Artaxerxes I 16 Datames 37Artaxerxes II 16 Datis 9, 11Artaxerxes III Ochus 23, 35, 44, 68 Delian League 9Asia Minor Delphi 20, 20, 80 Alexanders campaign 35-43 Demetrius, son of Pythonax 81 and Persians 7-8 Demetrius Poliorcetes 42, 89Assacenus, King of Massaga 62 Demosthenes 9, 12, 31, 31, 33, 34Atarrhias 73 Dimnus 73Athenaeus, quotations from 29, 83 Diodorus, quotation from 35Athens Dionysus 79 Athenian Empire 11 Dioxippus 82 Corinthian War (394-387/386) 14 Drypetis 69, 85 and Macedon 31, 33, 34, 37 Peloponnesian War (431-404) 15-16, 16-17 Ecbatana 57 Persian Wars 9 Egyptathletes, in Alexanders entourage 82 Alexander in 47-48Attalus 28,29, 31,35, 73 under Ptolemaic dynasty 88, 89Attalus I 89 Epamonidas 15Attalus III 89 Ephialtes 82
  • 94. Index 95Erigyius 24, 35, 59 Panhellenism 11, 12, 33Eumenes of Cardia 88 Parmenion 31, 35, 49-50, 56, 69, 72-74Euboea, Persian attack on (490) 8-9 Patron the Phocian 27 Pausanias of Orestis 29, 30Galatians 80, 89 Pella 32-33Gaugamela, battle of (331) 44, 48-51, 54-55, 72, 74-75 Peloponnesian War (431-404) 15-16, 17Gauls 76, 80 Perdiccas II 17Gaza, siege of (332) 47 Perdiccas III 17Gedrosia, march through 68-69, 71 Perdiccas, son of Orontes 61, 62, 86-88Glaucus of Aetolia 27 Persepolis 52-56, 56, 57Glycera 83 Perseus 89Gordian knot 37 Persian Wars 7-12, 17Granicus river, battle of (334) 27, 36 PersiansGreeks, in Italy 76, 77, 78 Alexanders campaigns 35-Gryneum 34, 35 Persian army 22-23, 24, 39, 41, 48-49, 57 Persian Empire 10, 16, 22Halicarnassus 37 relations with Greeks 7-12, 14-16Harpalus 35, 37, 82, 83 Pharnabazus 35, 37Hegelochus 73 Philip II 12, 17-21, 19, 27, 28-30, 37, 72helmets 25, 57 Philip V 89Hephaestion 43, 45 Philip of Acarnania 73 and Alexander 68, 75 Philocrates, Peace of (346) 20 death 84, 85 Philotas 35, 72-74 in the field 61 Phoenicia, Alexander in 43-47 marriage 68 Phrataphernes 59 overview 44 Plataea, battle of (479) 9 and Perdiccas 62 Pliny, quotation from 17Hermolaus 61 Plutarch, quotations from 33, 36, 40, 48, 73, 80Herodotus 7, 22 Porus, Rajah of the Paurava 63-66, 64-65Hydaspes river, battle of the (326) 64-66, 64-65, 70, 82 Poulamachos 9Hyphasis (Beas) river, halt at 66-68 prostitutes, in Alexanders entourage 82-83 Ptolemy I Soter 59, 83, 88, 89The Immortals 23, 23, 24 Ptolemy II Philadelphus 89India Ptolemy of Alorus 17 Alexander in 61-69, 67 Punic War, First (264-241) 77-80 dynasties 80 Pythionice 83Ionian Revolt (499/498-494/493) 8-9Isocrates 33 Rhoesaces 36Issus, battle of (333) 27, 38-43, 38, 72, 74 Rome 76, 77-78, 89Italy 76-80, 78 Roxane 61, 62Justin, quotations from 30, 62, 77 Salamis, battle of (480) 9 Samarkand (Maracanda) 61, 63, 82Khojend 60, 60 Sandracottus 80 Satibarzanes 59lances 25 Seleucids 89League of Corinth 12, 21, 28, 31 Seleucus Nicator 80, 88, 89Leuctra, battle of (371) 14, 15 Serapion 82Lydia 7 Sisimithres 60-61Lysander 16 Sisygambis 43, 85Lysimachus the Bodyguard 81, 88, 89 Siwah oasis 47, 48, 86Macedon 26 Sogdiana, guerrilla war in 60-61 after Alexander 80, 89 Sparta Macedonian army 24-25, 32, 35, 52, 69 Corinthian War (394-387/386) 14 Persian capture of 8 and Macedon 31, 48 rise of 11, 12, 17-21 Peloponnesian War (431-404) 8, 16Mamartines 77 Spitaces 65Maracanda (Samarkand) 61, 63, 82 Spithridates 36Marathon, battle of (490) 9 Straton 44Massaga 61-62 Susa, fall of 51-52Mauryan dynasty 80 Syracuse 77Mazaeus 44, 49, 50, 51, 74-75Megalopolis 14, 15, 31, 48 Taxiles see AmbhiMemnon, governor of Thrace 48 Thais 55, 83Memnon the Rhodian 35, 36, 37 Theban wedge 14, 15Miletus 36-37 Thebes 17, 31, 32-34Mithrenes 36, 75 Theopompus 83 Thersippus 82Nabarzanes 58, 59 Thessaly 17,20, 25, 31Nanda dynasty 79, 80 Tiridates 54navies Tissaphernes 35 Persian 44 Tyre, siege of (332) 45-47 Roman 77-79Nearchus 24, 71Nicanor 72, 73 weaponsNicias, Peace of 15 Macedonian army 24-25, 25Nicomachus 73 Persian army 57 Roman navy 77-79obeisance 61, 81, 83Olympias 28, 29, 29, 30, 72 Xandrames 80Orontopates 37 Xenophon 14, 16, 22Oxyartes 60, 61 Xerxes 9, 18
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