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The Battle of Gaugamela,
1st October 331 BC
On the 20th
September 331 BC,
Alexander’s scouts reported seeing
Darius’ army on the march.
• This information turned out ...
Alexander’s army stopped, pitched
camp, and waited for orders.
• This camp was 7 miles away from Darius’
army, and Alexand...
Shortly before midnight on the
29th
September Alexander
ordered his army to move.
• As he came within sight of Darius’ arm...
Most of Alexander’s generals urged
him to attack immediately, but
Parmenio suggested Alexander
wait for morning.
• For onc...
If Darius knew Alexander was
coming, Alexander would keep
him waiting.
• At least the timing of the battle could be on
Ale...
On the 30th
September Alexander
surveyed the battlefield.
• He noticed that the Persians had laid
snares and stakes on the...
Alexander’s army waited, and on
the night of the 30th
Alexander
made a human sacrifice to the god
of Fear
• His generals t...
“Alexander does not
steal his victories.”
Alexander stayed up late that night.
• The next morning he slept in – late.
• His generals got so worried that Parmenio
ga...
“How can you sleep as if you had the battle
already won?” they asked him.
Alexander replied:
“What? Do you not think that ...
Alexander’s army numbered 47,000
men.
Darius’ army is reported to have
been around 250,000 men.
• The big danger for Alexa...
Darius had revised his tactics since
Issus, and his men now had
different weapons more suited to
close fighting.
• His cav...
• Points to note:
• Darius’ position and the measures taken to defend him
• Alexander’s positioning of his light infantry
...
Left: Darius on his chariot
Above: Bessus
Alexander rode out in front of his
men
• Alexander called upon his men, in the
name of Zeus, to fight hard to strengthen
t...
When Alexander’s men came
within a mile of the Persians
they began advancing obliquely.
• The Macedonian left, commanded b...
Darius sent his cavalry left to track
Alexander’s movements, and they
stopped him before he could move
too far to the right
In the centre, the scythed chariots
began their attack
• First, Alexander’s archers and javelin throwers
moved forward. Th...
A gap had opened up in the
Persian lines, between the cavalry
on the left as it tried to outflank the
Macedonians, and the...
Alexander led the wedge-shaped
Companion cavalry charge through
the gap and straight for Darius’s
chariot
• Again he threw...
At first, Alexander’s only concern
was to finish the defeat
• He ignored Darius’ escape and turned to
surround and slaught...
Alexander did not catch up with
Darius
• Some versions say that Parmenio was
being battered so severely on the left that
A...
Alexander had again beaten Darius
• People now began to call him the King of
Asia, though he could not legitimately
claim ...
The battle of gaugamela, 331 bc
The battle of gaugamela, 331 bc
The battle of gaugamela, 331 bc
The battle of gaugamela, 331 bc
The battle of gaugamela, 331 bc
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Transcript of "The battle of gaugamela, 331 bc"

  1. 1. The Battle of Gaugamela, 1st October 331 BC
  2. 2. On the 20th September 331 BC, Alexander’s scouts reported seeing Darius’ army on the march. • This information turned out to be wrong, as Alexander discovered when he questioned captured Persians.
  3. 3. Alexander’s army stopped, pitched camp, and waited for orders. • This camp was 7 miles away from Darius’ army, and Alexander waited there for 4 days.
  4. 4. Shortly before midnight on the 29th September Alexander ordered his army to move. • As he came within sight of Darius’ army Alexander called a halt and gathered his generals together for an emergency council of war. Something in his battle plans seems to have been troubling him.
  5. 5. Most of Alexander’s generals urged him to attack immediately, but Parmenio suggested Alexander wait for morning. • For once, Alexander took Parmenio’s advice. Perhaps he had seen that Darius’ army was lined up ready for battle (the Persians knew he was coming), or perhaps he was overwhelmed by the numbers of Persian soldiers.
  6. 6. If Darius knew Alexander was coming, Alexander would keep him waiting. • At least the timing of the battle could be on Alexander’s terms.
  7. 7. On the 30th September Alexander surveyed the battlefield. • He noticed that the Persians had laid snares and stakes on the ground to hold up his cavalry, while elsewhere they had levelled the ground for their chariots. • Alexander also saw the 200 scythed chariots made ready for the battle.
  8. 8. Alexander’s army waited, and on the night of the 30th Alexander made a human sacrifice to the god of Fear • His generals told him to attack in the dark. • Alexander is said to have replied:
  9. 9. “Alexander does not steal his victories.”
  10. 10. Alexander stayed up late that night. • The next morning he slept in – late. • His generals got so worried that Parmenio gave the order for the army to prepare for battle, and then went to wake Alexander.
  11. 11. “How can you sleep as if you had the battle already won?” they asked him. Alexander replied: “What? Do you not think that this battle is already won, now that we have been spared from pursuing a Darius who burns his land and fights by retreating?”
  12. 12. Alexander’s army numbered 47,000 men. Darius’ army is reported to have been around 250,000 men. • The big danger for Alexander was the prospect of being encircled – Darius had 30,000 cavalry against Alexander’s 7,000.
  13. 13. Darius had revised his tactics since Issus, and his men now had different weapons more suited to close fighting. • His cavalry had been strengthened, and Darius’ only obvious weakness was his infantry, but Darius did not expect the battle to be won on foot.
  14. 14. • Points to note: • Darius’ position and the measures taken to defend him • Alexander’s positioning of his light infantry • The details of the terrain and Alexander’s responses to it
  15. 15. Left: Darius on his chariot Above: Bessus
  16. 16. Alexander rode out in front of his men • Alexander called upon his men, in the name of Zeus, to fight hard to strengthen the Greeks. • He saw an eagle circling the battlefield and heading towards the Persians. How could his men fail to see the omen which this sight presented?
  17. 17. When Alexander’s men came within a mile of the Persians they began advancing obliquely. • The Macedonian left, commanded by Parmenio, was at risk from encirclement, but Alexander’s Companions were riding away from the area of worst danger
  18. 18. Darius sent his cavalry left to track Alexander’s movements, and they stopped him before he could move too far to the right
  19. 19. In the centre, the scythed chariots began their attack • First, Alexander’s archers and javelin throwers moved forward. Their aim was good, but some chariots continued. • Then, as they galloped past, some Macedonians slashed at the horses with blades longer than the scythes on the chariots. • Those charioteers which reached the phalanx were amazed as gaps opened up in the phalanx and then closed again as the chariots charged through. The chariots careered into the baggage, but did little damage there, and when they finally slowed, the drivers were killed by the reserve troops
  20. 20. A gap had opened up in the Persian lines, between the cavalry on the left as it tried to outflank the Macedonians, and the cavalry and elephants in the centre. • Alexander took the opportunity.
  21. 21. Alexander led the wedge-shaped Companion cavalry charge through the gap and straight for Darius’s chariot • Again he threw his spear at the Great King, and again he missed! • Alexander had got too close for comfort and Darius escaped.
  22. 22. At first, Alexander’s only concern was to finish the defeat • He ignored Darius’ escape and turned to surround and slaughter the Persians in the centre. • Once victory was certain Alexander set off in pursuit of Darius.
  23. 23. Alexander did not catch up with Darius • Some versions say that Parmenio was being battered so severely on the left that Alexander received a message and went to relieve him • More probably, however, Darius simply had too much of a head-start and Alexander could not see through the dust
  24. 24. Alexander had again beaten Darius • People now began to call him the King of Asia, though he could not legitimately claim this title. • Darius had again escaped and Alexander had to capture him
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