Alexander the Great's military campaigns
Alexander the Great is one of the most charismatic and famous personalities of the Ancient world. He was only 20 years old when he came to power. As a result of Alexander the Great's campaign to the East, a new powerful state emerged that stretched from the Aegean Sea to the Indus River basin and from the Libyan desert to the Caspian Sea.
At the turn of the fifth and fourth centuries BC, it became clear that the main enemy of the Greek poleis, the Persian Kingdom, was significantly weakened and all the prerequisites for the beginning of conquests were formed:
- the desire of the Greeks to take revenge on the Persians for desecrating their shrines during the Greco-Persian wars
- the Greeks dreamed of combining all their poleis into a single whole to resist the " barbarians”
- Alexander the Great managed to unite Greece and create the Corinthian Union in 338-337 BC under Macedonian rule
- The Persian army, despite its large size (about 270 thousand), was much weaker than the Macedonian army both in terms of training soldiers and in terms of tactical actions.
Before the start of the campaign, Alexander the Great had only 28 thousand infantry and 4.7 thousand cavalry. In fact, he was going all in, since there was only enough food in his troops for a month.
- make the Aegean Sea free of Persian ships
- deprive Persia of all military bases in Asia Minor
- liberate the Greek poleis and make them military allies
Alexander the Great, depicted in a Roman fresco in Pompeii, 1st century AD.
Alexander the Great's military campaign to the East
Alexander the Great was confronted by the Persian king Darius III, a timid and indecisive man, who from the very beginning of the military campaign made a number of strategic mistakes that ended in his collapse. The Persian army consisted mainly of cavalry. Darius ' attempts to create regular infantry were unsuccessful. The infantry consisted of mercenaries and could not offer significant resistance to the Macedonians.
Timeline of events:
- Battle of Granicus (May 334 BC) Macedonian wins a decisive victory. Greek cities in southern Persia voluntarily go over to Alexander's side.
- Battle of Issus (333 BC) The Persians suffered a crushing defeat. All of Asia Minor became subject to Alexander the Great.
- The Persians are gradually abandoning Syria and Phoenicia. The satrap of Egypt, Savak, fell in the battle of Issus, and the new governor gave up Egypt without a fight.
- Battle of Gavgamela (October 1, 331 BC) While the Macedonian gave his army a rest and was engaged in arranging the conquered territories, Darius III saved up troops to attack the Macedonians. The decisive battle took place near the village of Gavgamely. After the defeat of Darius, the Persian kingdom ceased to exist as a state.
- Troops led by Alexander the Great are heading further south, into Babylonia. Babylon surrendered without a fight to the mercy of the victor. To the southeast, Elam and Persida fell.
- In 330 BC, near the modern Iranian city of Nastanz, Darius III was treacherously stabbed to death by his satraps, led by Bess. Macedonian ordered the execution of the traitor. The Achaemenid empire also ceased to exist legally.
Alexander the Great's Military Campaign
- Military operations shifted to the outskirts of the former Persian power. For three years, Alexander brutally suppresses local uprisings there. To mark the military presence of the Macedonians, military fortresses are built, which then turn into cities.
- In the spring of 327 BC, Alexander the Great organizes a campaign to India. At first, everything goes well for the Macedonians: taking advantage of the civil strife between the Rajas, the Hellenes quickly occupy Northwest India. However, as the Macedonian army moves deeper into the country, the resistance of the Indian troops grows. As a result of the most stubborn battle in 326 on the Hydaspes River with the Indian king Por and his army, the Hellenes suffered heavy losses. The tropical rain season began, which led to the appearance of viral diseases, and even rumors began to reach about a new large Indian army on hundreds of war elephants, which moved out to meet the Macedonians. All this forced Macedonian to abandon the continuation of the campaign.
When Alexander the Great's campaign to the east ended, revolts began on the borders of the empire. After the sudden death of Alexander, the huge empire he created began to collapse rapidly. Macedonsky did not have time to leave behind an heir and a power struggle began between his former associates.