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Account of the life and conquests of alexander the great

This was extremely unusual for the ancient world. His conquests ushered in centuries of Greco-Macedonian settlement and rule over non-Greek areas, a period known as the Hellenistic Age. Alexander himself lived on in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek peoples. Already during his lifetime, and especially after his death, his exploits inspired a literary tradition in which he appears as account of the life and conquests of alexander the great towering legendary hero in the tradition of Homer 's Achilles.

Early life Alexander the Great fighting the Persian king Darius Pompeii mosaic, from a third century original Greek painting, now lost. According to Plutarch Alexander 3. Olympias dreamed of a loud burst of thunder and of lightning striking her womb. In Philip's dream, he sealed her womb with the seal of the lion. Alarmed by this, he consulted the seer Aristander of Telmessus, who determined that his wife was pregnant and that the child would have the character of a lion.

Aristotle was Alexander's tutor; he gave Alexander a thorough training in rhetoric and literature and stimulated his interest in science, medicine, and philosophy. Aristotle taught that human life has a purpose and that all people need to realize that purpose and that everyone should use their abilities to their fullest potential.

He believed that happiness is acquired through use of reason and by acting virtuously. Virtue, said Aristotle, lies in moderation in all things. The pursuit of moral excellence, and of truth, is natural. According to Plutarch Alexander 2.

Philip divorced Alexander's mother, leading to a quarrel between Alexander and his father which threw into question Alexander's succession to the Macedonian throne. The cavalry wing led by Alexander annihilated the Sacred Band of Thebes, an elite corps previously regarded as invincible. The assassin was supposedly a former lover of the king, the disgruntled young nobleman Pausanias, who held a grudge against Philip because the king had ignored a complaint he had expressed.

Philip's murder was once thought to have been planned with the knowledge and involvement of Alexander or Olympias. However, in recent years Alexander's involvement has been questioned and there is some reason to believe that it may have been instigated by Darius III of Persia, the recently crowned King of Persia. Plutarch mentions an irate letter from Alexander to Darius, where Alexander blames Darius and Bagoas, his grand vizier, for his father's murder, stating that it was Darius who had been bragging to the rest of the Greek cities of how he managed to assassinate Philip.

Alexander the Great

After Philip's death, the army proclaimed Alexander, aged 20, as the new king of Macedon. Greek cities like Athens and Thebes, which had pledged allegiance to Philip, were not quick to pledge the same allegiance to a year-old boy. Period of conquests Map of Alexander's empire The defeat of the Persian Empire Alexander's army crossed the Hellespont with about 40, Greek soldiers.

After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle of the Granicus, Alexander accepted the surrender of the Persian provincial capital and treasury account of the life and conquests of alexander the great Sardis and proceeded down the Ionian coast. At Halicarnassus, Alexander successfully waged the first of many sieges, eventually forcing his opponents, the mercenary captain Memnon of Rhodes and the Persian satrap of Caria, Orontobates, to withdraw by sea.

Alexander left Caria in the hands of Ada of Caria, the sister of Mausolus, whom Orontobates had deposed. From Halicarnassus, Alexander proceeded into mountainous Lycia and the Pamphylian plain, asserting control over all coastal cities and denying them to his enemy.

From Pamphylia onward the coast held no major ports, so Alexander moved inland. At Termessus Alexander humbled but did not storm the Pisidian city.

At the ancient Phrygian capital of Gordium, Alexander "undid" the tangled Gordian knot, a feat said to await the future "king of Asia. Another version claims that he did not use the sword, but actually figured out how to undo the knot. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to decide which story is correct. Alexander the Great battling Darius at the Battle of Issus.

Darius fled this battle in such a panic for his life that he left behind his wife, his children, his mother, and much of his personal treasure. Sisygambis, the queen mother, never forgave Darius for abandoning her. She disowned him and adopted Alexander as her son instead. Proceeding down the Mediterranean coast, he took Tyre and Gaza after famous sieges.

Alexander passed near but probably did not visit Jerusalem. He founded Alexandria in Egypt, which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic Dynasty after his death. Darius was forced to flee the field after his charioteer was killed, and Alexander chased him as far as Arbela. From Babylon, Alexander went to Susa, one of the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its treasury.

Sending the bulk of his army to Persepolis, the Persian capital, by the Royal Road, Alexander stormed and captured the Persian Gates in the modern Zagros Mountainsthen sprinted for Persepolis before its treasury could be looted. Alexander allowed the League forces to loot Persepolis, and he set fire to the royal palace of Xerxes, allegedly in revenge for the burning of the Athenian Acropolis during the Greco-Persian Wars.

He then set off in pursuit of Darius, who was kidnapped, and then murdered by followers of Bessus, his Bactrian satrap and kinsman.

Bessus then declared himself Darius' successor as Artaxerxes V and retreated into Central Asia to launch a guerrilla campaign against Alexander.

Alexander the Great: Facts, Biography & Accomplishments

With the death of Darius, Alexander declared the war of vengeance at an end, and released his Greek and other allies from service in the League campaign although he allowed those that wished to re-enlist as mercenaries in his imperial army. In the process he captured and re-founded Herat and Samarkand, and he founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including one near modern Kandahar in Afghanistanand Alexandria Eschate "The Furthest" bordering today's Chinese Turkestan.

The army of Alexander the Great before the Battle of Gaugamela The army of Alexander was, for the most part, that of his father Philip. It was composed of light and heavy troops and some engineers, medical, and staff units. About one third of the army was composed of his Greek allies from the Hellenic League.

Infantry The main infantry corps was the phalanx, composed of six regiments taxies numbering about 2, phalangites each. Each soldier had a long pike called a sarissa, which was up to 18 feet long, and a short sword. For protection the soldier wore a Phrygian helmet and a shield. Arrian mentions large shields the aspis but this is disputed; it is difficult to wield both a large pike and a large shield at the same time. Many modern historians claim the phalanx used a smaller shield, called a pelta, the shield used by peltasts.

It is unclear whether the phalanx used body armor, but heavy body armor is mentioned in Arrian 1. Modern historians believe most of the phalangites did not wear heavy body armor at the time of Alexander.

Another important unit were the hypaspists shield bearersarranged into three battalions lochoi of 1, men each. One of the battalions was named the Agema and served as the king's bodyguards. Their armament is unknown; it is difficult account of the life and conquests of alexander the great get a clear picture from ancient sources. Sometimes hypaspists are mentioned in the front line of the battle just between the phalanx and the heavy cavalry and seem to have acted as an extension of the phalanx fighting as heavy infantry while keeping a link between the heavily clad phalangites and the companion cavalry, but they also accompanied Alexander on flanking marches and were capable of fighting on rough terrain like light troops so it seems they could perform dual functions.

In addition to the units mentioned above, the army included some 6, Greek allied and mercenary hoplites, also arranged in phalanxes. They carried a shorter spear, a dora, which was six or seven feet long and a large aspis. Alexander also had light infantry units composed of peltasts, psiloi and others.

Peltasts are considered to be light infantry, although they had a helmet and a small shield and were heavier then the psiloi. The best peltasts were the Agrianians from Thrace. Cavalry The heavy cavalry included the "Companion cavalry," raised from the Macedonian nobility, and the Thessalian cavalry. The Companion cavalry hetairoi, friends was divided into eight squadrons called ile, strong, except for the Royal Squadron of They were equipped with a foot lance, the xyston, and heavy body armor.

The horses were partially clad in armor as well. The riders did not carry shields.

  1. Tarn wrote in an age where world conquest and warrior-heroes were acceptable, even encouraged, whereas Green wrote with the backdrop of the Holocaust and nuclear weapons. He always led his troops from the front.
  2. Several hundred allied horses rounded out the cavalry, but were inferior to the rest.
  3. He also travelled to Libya to see the oracle of Ammon.
  4. One element, with the heavy equipment, would take a relatively safe route to Persia, the second, under his command, would traverse Gedrosia, a largely uninhabited deserted area that no large force had ever crossed before. Some started to think of themselves as citizens of the world that is, of the world as they knew it at the time.

The organization of the Thessalian cavalry was similar to the Companion Cavalry, but they had a shorter spear and fought in a looser formation. Of light cavalry, the prodomoi runners secured the wings of the army during battle and went on reconnaissance missions.

Several hundred allied horses rounded out the cavalry, but were inferior to the rest. Hostility toward Alexander During this time, Alexander adopted some elements of Persian dress and customs at his court, notably the custom of proskynesis, a symbolic kissing of the hand that Persians paid to their social superiors, but a practice of which the Greeks disapproved; the Greeks regarded the gesture as the preserve of deities, and believed that Alexander meant to deify himself by requiring it.

This cost him much in the sympathies of many of his Greek countrymen. Here, too, a plot against his life was revealed, and his friend Philotas was executed for treason for failing to bring the plot to his attention.

Although Philotas was convicted by the assembled Macedonian army, most historians consider this one of the king's greatest crimes, along with his order to assassinate his senior general Parmenion, Philotas' father.

In a drunken quarrel at Macaranda, Samarkand, he also killed the man who had saved his life at the Granicus, Clitus the Black. This is sometimes called the "murder" of Clitus, but this is a misnomer, since legally "murder" applies only to killing with premeditation, not to unpremeditated manslaughter in drunken brawls. Later in the Central Asian campaign, a second plot against his life, this one by his own pages, was revealed, and his official historian, Callisthenes of Olynthus who had fallen out of favor with the king by leading the opposition to his attempt to introduce proskynesiswas implicated on what most historians regard as trumped-up charges.

Alexander the Great

However, the evidence is strong that Callisthenes, the teacher of the pages, must have been the one who persuaded them to assassinate the king. The invasion of India With the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana Roshanak in Bactrian language to cement his relations with his new Central Asian satrapies, in B. King Omphis, ruler of Taxila, surrendered the city to Alexander.

Many people had fled to a high fortress called Aornos. Alexander took Aornos by storm. Alexander fought an epic battle against Porus, a ruler of a region in the Punjab in the Battle of Hydaspes B. After victory, Alexander made an alliance with Porus and appointed him as satrap of his own kingdom. Alexander continued on to conquer all the headwaters of the Indus River. East of Porus' kingdom, near the Ganges Riverwas the powerful kingdom of Magadha.

Exhausted and frightened by the prospect of facing another giant Indian army at the Ganges, his army mutinied at the Beas River, refusing to march further east. Alexander, after the meeting with his officer, Coenus, was convinced that it was better to return. Alexander was forced to turn south, conquering his way down the Indus to the Ocean. He sent much of his army to Carmania modern southern Iran with his general Craterus, and commissioned a fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus, while he led the rest of his forces back to Persia by the southern route through the Gedrosia present day Makran in southern Pakistan.

Alexander the Great

After India Alexander and Porus by Charles Le BrunDiscovering that many of his satraps and military governors had misbehaved in his absence, Alexander executed a number of them as examples on his way to Susa.

As a gesture of thanks, he paid off the debts of his soldiers, and announced that he would send those who were over-aged and the disabled veterans back to Macedonia under Craterus, but his troops misunderstood his intention and mutinied at the town of Opis, refusing to be sent away and bitterly criticizing his adoption of Persian customs and dress and the introduction of Persian officers and soldiers into Macedonian units. Alexander executed the ringleaders of the mutiny, but forgave the rank and file.

In an attempt to craft a lasting harmony between his Macedonian and Persian subjects, he held a mass marriage of his senior officers to Persian and other noblewomen at Opis.