Alexander the Great
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The Greek commander Memnon and his men considerably slow down the advance of Alexander and many Macedonians died during the long and difficult sieges of the Greek cities of Halicarnassus, Miletus, Mylasa. But at the end the Macedonian army defeated the enemy and conquered the coast of Asia Minor. Alexander then turned northward to central Asia Minor, to the city of Gordium. Gordium was a home of the famous so-called Gordian Knot.
Alexander knew the legend that said that the man who could untie the ancient knot was destined to rule the entire world. To that date nobody had succeeded in raveling the knot. But the young Macedonian king simply slashed it with his sword and unraveling its ends. Battle of Issus. Describing the atmosphere before a battle, the Roman historian Curtius explained how Alexander raised the morale of the Macedonians, Greeks, Illyrians, and Thracians in his army, one at the time:.
The Macedonians, who had won so many battles in Europe and set off to invade Asia They were the world's liberators and one day they would pass the frontiers set by Hercules and Father Liber. They would subdue all races on Earth. Bactria and India would become Macedonian provinces. Getting closer to the Greeks, he reminded them that those were the people the Persians on the other side who provoked war with Greece, As the Illyrians and Thracians lived mainly from plunder, he told them to look at the enemy line glittering in gold Curtius Rufus 3.
Darius's army greatly outnumbered the Macedonians, but the Battle of Issus ended in a big victory for Alexander. Ten's of thousands of Persians, Greeks, and other Asiatic soldiers were killed and king Darius fled in panic before the Macedonian phalanx, abandoning his mother, wife, and children behind. Alexander treated them with the respect out of consideration for their royalty. Sieges of Tyre and Gaza. The victory at Issus opened the road for Syria and Phoenicia. In early , Alexander sent general Parmenio to occupy the Syrian cities and himself marched down the Phoenician coast where he received the surrender of all major cities except the island city of Tyre which refused to grant him access to sacrifice at the temple of the native Phoenician god Melcart.
A very difficult seven-month siege of the city followed. In an enormous effort, the Macedonians begun building a mole that would connect the island-city with the coast. Tons of rocks and wood were poured into the water strip separating the island from the coast but its construction and the attacks from the city walls cost Alexander many of his bravest Macedonians.
Although seriously tempted to lift the siege and continue marching on Egypt, Alexander did not abandon the project and continued the siege, surrounding the island with ships and blasting the city walls with catapults. When the walls finally gave in, the Macedonians poured their anger over the city defenders - 7, people were killed, 30, were sold as slaves. Alexander entered the temple of Melcart, and had his sacrifice. Phoenician ships burning the Macedonian siege towers. Artwork by Johnny Shumate Macedonians storming the walls of Tyre. Artwork by Johnny Shumate. During the seven-month siege of Tyre, Alexander received a letter from Darius offering a truce with a gift of several western provinces of the Persian Empire, but he refused to make peace unless he could have the whole empire.
6 things you (probably) didn’t know about Alexander the Great
He continued marching south toward Egypt but was again held up by resistance at Gaza. The Macedonians put the city under a siege which lasted two months, after which the scenario of Tyre was repeated. With the fall of Gaza, the whole Eastern Mediterranean coast was now secured and firmly in the hands of the Macedonians. The mainland Greeks had hoped that the Persian navy and the Greek commander Memnon would land in Greece and help them launch a rebellion against Antipater's Macedonians, transfer the war into Macedonia itself, and cut off Alexander in Asia, but the sealing of the coast prevented this from happening.
Memnon fell sick and died while attempting to regain the lost Greek city of Miletus on the Asia Minor coast, and the Persian plan to transfer the war into Europe well apart. Conquest of Egypt. Alexander entered Egypt in the beginning of BC. The Persian satrap surrendered and the Macedonians were welcomed by the Egyptians as liberators for they had despised living under Persian rule for almost two centuries. Here Alexander ordered that a city be designed and founded in his name at the mouth of river Nile, as trading and military Macedonian outpost, the first of many to come.
He never lived to see it built, but Alexandria will become a major economic and cultural center in the Mediterranean world not only during the Macedonian rule in Egypt but centuries after. In the spring of Alexander made a pilgrimage to the great temple and oracle of Amon-Ra, the Egyptian god of the sun, whom the Greeks and Macedonians identified with Zeus Ammon.
The earlier Egyptian pharaohs were believed to be sons of Amon-Ra and Alexander as new ruler of Egypt wanted the god to acknowledge him as his son. He decided to make the dangerous trip across the desert to visit the oracle at the temple of the god. According to the legend, on the way he was blessed with abundant rain, and guided across the desert by ravens.
At the temple, he was welcomed by the priests and spoke to the oracle. The priest told him that he was a son of Zeus Ammon, destined to rule the world, and this must have confirmed in him his belief of divine origin. Alexander remained in Egypt until the middle of , and then returned to Tyre before facing Darius. Battle of Gaugamela. At Tyre, Alexander received reinforcements from Europe, reorganized his forces, and started for Babylon.
He conquered the lands between rivers Tigris and Euphrates and found the Persian army at the plains of Gaugamela, near modern Irbil in Iraq, which according to the exaggerated accounts of antiquity was said to number a million men. The Macedonians spotted the lights from the Persian campfires and encouraged Alexander to lead his attack under cover of darkness.
But he refused to take advantage of the situation because he wanted to defeat Darius in an equally matched battle so that the Persian king would never again dare to raise an army against him. The two armies met on the battlefield the next morning, October 1, BC. On the Persian side were numerous Asiatic nations - Bactrians, Indians, Medians, Sogdians, even Albanians from the Caucasus, the ancestors of the modern Albanians who many centuries later migrated to Europe and are now northern neighbors to the modern Greeks and western neighbors to the modern Macedonians.
The survivors of the 50, Greeks which Darius had on his side at the beginning of the war were also among the Persian ranks. Alexander Mosaic found in Pompeii. National Archaeological Museum, Naples. At the beginning of the battle the Persian forces split and separated the two Macedonians wings.
The wing of general Parmenio appeared to be backing down, but Alexander's cavalry rode straight after Darius and forced again his flight like he did at Issus.
Alexander the Great - HISTORY
Darius fled to Ecbatana in Media, and Alexander occupied Babylon, the imperial capital Susa, and the Persian capital Persepolis, and was henceforth proclaimed king of Asia. Four months later, the Macedonians burned the royal palace in Persepolis, completing the end of the ancient Persian Empire. Meanwhile in Greece, the Greeks under the leadership of Sparta rose to a rebellion against the Macedonian occupation.
Antipater was in Thrace at the time and the Greeks took the opportunity to push back the Macedonian forces. But their initial victory did not last for long as Antipater returned with a large army, defeated the rebels, and regained Greece.
In Asia, the news of the beginning of the Greek rebellion had Alexander so deeply worried, that he immediately sent money to Antipater to counter it. And when he learned that the Greeks were defeated, he proclaimed the end of the "Hellenic Crusade" and discharged all-Greek forces in his army. He no longer needed these hostages and potential troublemakers.
Alexander continued his pursuit of Darius for hundreds of miles from Persepolis.
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When he finally caught up to him, he found the Persian king dead in his coach. He was assassinated by Bessus, the satrap of Bactria which now proclaimed himself "King of the Kings", assuming the title of the Persian kings. Alexander gave Darius a royal funeral and set out for Bactria after his murderer. Trial of Philotas and the Murder of Parmenio To win the support of the Persian aristocracy Alexander appointed many Persians as provincial governors in his new empire.
He adopted the Persian dress for ceremonies, gave orders for Persians to be enlisted in the army, and encouraged the Macedonians to marry Persian women. But the Macedonians were unhappy with Alexander's Orientalization for they were proud of their Macedonian customs, culture, and language. His increasingly Oriental behavior eventually led to conflict with the Macedonian nobles and some Greeks in the train. In BC series of allegations were brought up against some of Alexander's officers concerning a plot to murder him.
Alexander tortured and executed the accused leader of the conspiracy, Parmenio's son Philotas, the commander of the cavalry. Several other officers were also executed according to Macedonian law, in order to eliminate the alleged attempt on Alexander's life. During the trial of Philotas Alexander raised the question of the use of the ancient Macedonian language. He spoke:. For he alone disdains to learn it.
But let him by all means speak in whatever way he desires, provided that you remember that he holds out customs in as much abhorrence as our language. The trial of Philotas took place in Asia before a multiethnic public, which has accepted Greek as their common language. The battles of Issus , of the Granicus River and Gaugamela are still being studied by historians and expert analysts while they remain an example, a case study concerning the tactics used and their efficiency. Until his death in Bc in Babylon he had already created an enormous empire stretching from Thrace and Macedonia to the depths of Egypt and the Indian peninsula in the Far East.
New commercial trade routes were established for the first time allowing an interaction between civilizations that had never met before! An age where Greek civilization spread all over the world at an unprecedented level thus influencing science, art and culture. Hundreds of myths and stories were being told about him in many countries while there were several references about him in the Arab, Persian, Islamic, Byzantine and European traditions and art.
The monument of Alexander the Great is located in one of the most popular areas of Thessaloniki, in Nea Paralia right by the sea. It is an impressive, six meters 20 ft. After an extended reconstruction that lasted two and a half years the entire waterfront area of Thessaloniki along with Nea Paralia transformed into a wonderful place, ideal for a relaxing walk, jogging or biking! Finding himself impressed by Porus, Alexander reinstated him as king and won his loyalty and forgiveness. Alexander forged eastward to the Ganges but headed back when his armies refused to advance any farther.
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On their way back along the Indus, Alexander was wounded by Malli warriors. In , after Alexander had recovered, he and his army headed north along the rugged Persian Gulf, where many fell prey to illness, injury and death. In February , Alexander at last reached the city of Susa. Desperate to retain his leadership and recruit more soldiers, he tried to connect Persian nobles to Macedonians in order to create a ruling class.
To this end, at Susa he commanded that a large number of Macedonians marry Persian princesses. After Alexander managed to recruit tens of thousands of Persian soldiers into his army, he dismissed many of his existing Macedonian soldiers. This enraged the soldiers, who spoke critically of Alexander's new troops and condemned him for adopting Persian customs and manners. Alexander appeased the Macedonian soldiers by killing 13 Persian military leaders. The Thanksgiving Feast at Susa, which had been geared towards solidifying the bond between Persians and Macedonians, shaped up to be quite the opposite.
He was just 32 years old. Rhoxana gave birth to his son a few months later. After Alexander died, his empire collapsed and the nations within it battled for power. Over time, the cultures of Greece and the Orient synthesized and thrived as a side effect of Alexander's empire, becoming part of his legacy and spreading the spirit of Panhellenism.
We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Sign up for the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Charles II was the monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland during much of the latter half of the 17th century, marking the Restoration era. Catherine II was empress of Russia, and led her country into the political and cultural life of Europe, carrying on the work begun by Peter the Great.
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Nicholas II was the last tsar of Russia under Romanov rule. By winning wars and expanding territories, he established Prussia as a strong military power. Philip II reigned over Macedonia from to B. He became the head of an empire that was expanded by his son and successor, Alexander the Great. Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II tried to strengthen the Habsburg empire with his enlightened reforms, but the changes he made were met with fierce opposition.
Akbar the Great, Muslim emperor of India, established a sprawling kingdom through military conquests, but is known for his policy of religious tolerance.