But between 326 and 324 B.C. The Persian cavalry and archers were also legendary, as were the scythe chariots which cut down enemy infantry with their razor-sharp wheel hubs. It was a wide, flat valley that, unlike Issus, would allow the Persians to take full advantage of their lopsided numbers, an estimated 250,000 Persian troops facing off against Alexander’s 50,000. After their first victory, the Macedonians went to the south, where the Persian stronghold Sardes surrendered and the Macedonians could occupy Greek cities like Ephesus, Priene, and Miletus. But Persia’s rule as a dominant empire would finally be brought to an end by a brilliant military and political strategist, Alexander the Great. When Alexander was young, he was taught to fight and ride by Leonidas of Epirus, a relative of his mother Olympias, as well as to endure hardships such as forced marches. Realizing their gambit backfired, the mutineers backed down and got back in line. When a man was killed, another rose to take his place. Then he ordered the entire Macedonian line to march quickly to the right. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Image. After quickly dispatching a small regional army near the town of Granicus, Alexander had his first real test against Darius and his Persian Royal Army near the coastal city of Issus. He and 80 officers wedded Persian women to get the ball rolling in the hay. Alexander planned to create a "master race" through the intermixing of Macedonians and Persians. Knowing he would be outmatched in manpower, Alexander relied on speed and distraction. So as he turned his attention back to Persia, Alexander framed his campaign against the Achaemenid Empire as a patriotic retaliation for Persia’s failed invasion of the Greek mainland a century earlier. Most historians of Alexander's campaigns have stated that the sufferings of his men on that march were out of all proportion greater than anything they had had to endure in Asia. For a 32 page book, it does a pretty good job covering the Great King's history, with the usual caveats that apply to Alexander (very little actual primary sourcing and the secondary sources are written >150 years after his death). On their way back along the Indus, Alexander was wounded by Malli warriors. He also worked hard in other ways to maintain the l… The book begins by outlining the basics concerning how to move an army in the ancient world and the difficulties of keeping a large army supplied as it moves along a campaign. He invaded and vanquished part of India, only turning back after his war-weary army insisted. At this point, Darius ordered a full-frontal charge on the rest of the Macedonian army, but it took time for his orders to reach his left flank. Even the way soldiers bathed was tightly regulated. “Alexander creates a propaganda campaign that the Macedonians are invading Persia on behalf of the Greeks, even though Macedon wasn’t part of Greece and didn’t fight on the side of Greece in the original Greco-Persian wars,” says Wrightson. No man is an island unto himself, and no king conquers an island alone. a) Cavalry. During the 4th century B.C., no man understood that better than Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great, also known as Alexander III or Alexander of Macedonia, (born 356 bce, Pella, Macedonia [northwest of Thessaloníki, Greece]—died June 13, 323 bce, Babylon [near Al-Ḥillah, Iraq]), king of Macedonia (336–323 bce ), who overthrew the Persian empire, carried Macedonian arms to India, and laid the foundations for the Hellenistic world of territorial kingdoms. It was remarkable, mainly, because it was a standing army. But he would try his troops' patience too much, prompting his remarkable army to mutiny. For centuries this light-skinned, pagan people have claimed to be the long-lost descendants of Alexander the Great's world-conquering armies, which invaded this region in the fourth century B.C. Just as he did with his father at Chaeronea, Alexander personally led the Macedonian cavalry charge at Issus, which cut right to the heart of the Persian defenses, just as planned. The Battle of the Granicus: May 334 BC. he adopted a policy that enraged the devoted soldiers who had traveled and trampled the world with him. Days later, with Alexander’s cavalry in hot pursuit, Darius was killed by his own cousin, who delivered the fallen king’s head to Alexander as a tribute. His undermanned defeat of the Persian King Darius III at the Battle of Gaugamela is seen as one of the decisive turning points of human history, unseating the Persians as the greatest power in the ancient world and spreading Hellenistic culture across a vast new empire. Why was the Macedonian Army so good? © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. But before Alexander could push into Persia, he had to take care of business back home. In the autumn of 331 bc, Alexander the Great won a decisive victory over the Great King Darius III of Persia at the Battle of Gaugamela. - Alexander the Great They were present at the grand army revue Alexander assembled in 324 BC. The march thither from Oria occupied in all sixty days. Darius still commanded a massive army, but Persia was receding on the world stage while Macedon had the momentum of an ascendant military super power. Alexander and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army is an excellent work on the often under appreciated, yet critically vital, aspect of warfare: logistics. Alexander was able to train regiments from across his empire; at the great review of his forces in 324BC, there were apparently 120,000 men in his army, including contingents from Arachosia, Bactria, Sogdia, India, Scythia, and Egypt. Battle Strategy. This is the reason Alexander the Great's army revolted. Philip and Alexander were able to do this because: 1. Alexander used both military and political cunning to finally unseat the Persian superpower. Backed by his shiny new army, Philip marched south in 338 B.C. Diadochi and the Hellenistic Period. Introduced into Alexander’s army in either Syria or Egypt, the camel played a critical role in Alexander’s conquests. “As soon as Alexander came to the throne, he openly stated that he would carry on his father’s plans,” says Graham Wrightson, a history professor at South Dakota State University and author of Combined Arms Warfare in Ancient Greece. Philip reorganized all of Macedonian society around a professional army and raised elite fighting forces of infantry, cavalry, javelin throwers and archers. Alexander III, king of the ancient state of Macedon, is often heralded as one of history’s greatest military commanders. Besides giving off disturbing 1930s Germany vibes that his troops obviously wouldn't have picked up on, the policy made the Macedonian worry that their status was in jeopardy. Alexander faced his first big test not long after crossing … Alexander the Great conquers Persia. Alexander the Great recognized that rigorous discipline, unity, and uniformity were the lifeblood of his killing machine, aka his massive army. The beneficiary of his father's brilliance, Alexander would prove to be an extremely skilled military strategist and amazing motivator who preached, "There is nothing impossible to him who will try." What Alexander did value and perhaps what kept his army smaller, was the mobility and speed gave military advantage. But there were also signs that the Persian Empire was already in decline. A Roman mosaic of Alexander the Great. The Macedonians weren’t always a force to be reckoned with. 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