While Alexander executed the reprisal, Darius unsuccessfully sent killers to him. When he failed to eliminate his opponent, Darius sent ambassadors to Alexander with a proposal of peace and alliance. But in response, the Macedonian king demanded unconditional surrender. The ambassadors left with nothing, and Alexander went to Egypt.
Egypt, long hostile to Iran, surrendered without resistance. Alexander was proclaimed the son of the god Amun and “king of Lower and Upper Egypt.”
The newly-minted pharaoh did not stay long in Egypt. Against the “son of God” again stood Darius III with a huge army. Two troops met at the village of Gavgamela (331 BC). This time, Alexander answered all the amazed questions of friends who were accustomed to his attacks on the move, replied: “I do not steal the victory.” The king ordered the soldiers to rest. And Darius with his millionth (according to the ancient Greek historian Arrian) army stood all night waiting for the attack. And when the rested Macedonians went on the attack, the Iranian army, exhausted by night standing, put up inert resistance to them. The large numbers turned out to be a disadvantage for them: because of their crowding, the Iranians were an excellent target for Macedonian spears and swords. And again, being in the midst of the battle, the first could not stand Darius III. Alexander, rushed to him, managed to notice only the receding back of the king. With a general panic in the Iranian army, the beating of the retreating began.
At the Battle of Gaugamela, the Macedonians inflicted a decisive defeat on Iranian forces. After this battle in Asia, only one lord remained – Alexander the Great, who in Susa sat on the throne of the Achaemenids. The treasures of Suz were piled at the feet of the king: the royal treasury of Darius III of 50 thousand talents (1310 tons) of silver, Greek values, a tribute to almost all the peoples of the world.
But Susa and Babylon were not the ultimate goal of Alexander’s Iranian campaign. There was still the capital of Persia – Persepolis. Two capitals of one state had a different fate! If in Babylon, Alexander did not touch a single stone, then Persepolis gave his army to plunder. The swords of the Greeks and Macedonians did not know mercy. To top it all, heated by wine and unreasonable speeches of the Thais of Thais from Athens, Alexander ordered the city to be set on fire.
After the conquest of the capital of the Achaemenids, Alexander released the Greek allies. The Hellenic war with Iran ended. The war of Alexander of Macedon for dominion over the ecumenical world known to people began.
But while Darius III was alive, Alexander could not calmly rule. The Iranian king still had enough satrapies – areas, sometimes including entire countries, where he could again gather troops. And Alexander rushed in pursuit of Darius, simultaneously subjugating the remaining parts of the Achaemenid state. In July 330 BC e. the king caught up with his rival. With joyful exclamations, pushing the horse, he literally flew to the place where they pointed him, and finally overtook Darius. He was dying, abandoned by everyone, treacherously defeated by his satrap Bess. Stepping off his horse, Alexander tried to hear his death throat. When Darius III gave up his spirit, Alexander announced to the army that the Iranian king had made him his successor. Not in vain did he sit on the throne of the Achaemenids, He sacrificed to the god Marduk in Babylon and ordered the restoration of the tomb of Cyrus, the founder of the Persian state! From now on, Alexander became the “legitimate” successor and heir to Darius III on the Iranian throne.
Alexander mastered with amazing ease the barbaric management methods and barbaric habits of the former lords of Iran. Still, he was not Greek, but only touched the Greek culture, but did not absorb it, despite his love for Homer. He was much more seduced by the omnipotence and permissiveness of the ruler of Asia than the simplicity and unpretentiousness of the king of Macedonia. Alexander put on Persian court clothes, which caused a lot of hidden fun and slanting looks of the Macedonians; got a harem of 300 concubines. He demanded that he prostrate before him, that his old friends ask him for an audience. Woe was to the one who did not accept the gifts of the king – he never forgave this. With a generous hand he bestowed thirsty wealth. The lord of Asia arranged magnificent receptions and ordered to honor himself everywhere as a god.
The Macedonian nobility, who tried to criticize the “divine” Alexander, paid for her arrogance: the executions of the commanders Permyon and Filot silenced her. Unrestrained and stubborn, Alexander could not endure an attempt on his royal dignity – Clit, a friend of his childhood, who saved his life in the battle of Granik, became a victim of his unbridledness and despotism. Enraged by Klit’s impudent speeches, the king killed him at a banquet.
But the magnificent courtyard and magnificent ceremonies could not hold Alexander, whose eager look, not having time to look at what he had acquired, was already striving for new lands.
The reason for the new campaigns was that the murderer of Darius III Bess also proclaimed himself king of Asia. Alexander’s army, having hardly crossed the mountains, occupied Bactria (Afghanistan) and, with incredible difficulties, defeating the waterless desert, entered Sogdiana. Bess was captured and died under terrible torture.
In Central Asia, Alexander showed himself even less human than before: the Branhids, Central Asian Gaza, and Cyropol were wiped off the face of the earth. Even the trees were not spared by the swords of the ruler of Asia, who left behind a naked desert instead of oases. This ancient land was remembered for a long time by the heavy hand of Alexander of Macedon! Worse than the barbarians was this unfaithful student of Greek philosophers. However, even the philosophers were not spared by Alexander’s frantic disposition: the philosopher Kallisfen, who dared
criticize his eastern politics, died in prison.
From the devastated Central Asia, Alexander the Great went to the fabulous India (327 BC). Having conquered the Punjab and founding the cities of Nicaea and Bukefalia, Alexander was eager for Indus to the last, as he hoped, East Sea. But the victorious march was stopped by his own troops. The Macedonians, who for eight years tirelessly conquered the inhabited world for Alexander, could not stand it. They refused to cross the river Gefasis (Bias) in front of the Ganges valley (326 BC). No threat, no persuasion, no appeal to the gods and military honor, the king could not force his soldiers to take even a step forward. And the lord of Asia turned back. But in the end, in order to edify and intimidate the descendants, he ordered that the “camp of the giants” be left on the site of the last camp. Huge tents, weapons, stables and 12 grand altars were to convince everyone
But Alexander did not go back the old way – he decided to reach the ocean, if not in the east, then in the south. The Macedonian troops, going down the Indus, conquered the cities on its shores and destroyed the inhabitants.
Having reached the cherished smooth surface of the Indian Ocean, Alexander decided to return by land with part of the troops, and sent his friend and warlord Nearch with another part of the army to get home by sea. Perhaps, later Alexander bitterly regretted that he chose this path for himself. His road lay through the hot, treacherous and waterless sands of Southeast Iran. Three quarters of the victorious army remained in the burning sands of the Gedrosian desert.
Having entered into his domain, Alexander learned that in his vast kingdom, not everything was calm. Many satraps who passed on to him from Darius III and left the king at their posts, willingly believing the rumor of the death of Alexander, decided to form their own states. The heads of these newly-minted kings and the heads of the garrisons, guilty of abuse of power, have slid a lot. But Alexander failed to establish the final order in his great power. He defeated the Iranian power, taking advantage of its main weakness – fragmentation, but did not eradicate this vice.
Alexander’s army now ceased to be purely Greek – more than half of it was made up of inhabitants of conquered countries. Even the highest military posts could get the Iranians.
The capital of his state, Alexander the Great, made Babylon. The new cities founded by Alexander were to become the support of the Greco-Macedonian rulers in Asia. A huge power, created as a result of the conquests of Alexander the Great, stretched from the Danube to the Indus and was the largest state in the Ancient World.
In 324 BC e. Alexander began to prepare for new campaigns. The next victim was supposed to be the Mediterranean: Carthage, North Africa, Sicily, Spain, Italy. Alexander was planning to send the Nonarch fleet to explore the western coast of Africa, which later, having gone to fulfill Alexander’s covenant, never returned.
But the king did not have time to complete what was begun. June 23, 323 BC e. Alexander of Macedon, the lord of half the world, died of fever in Babylon, not fulfilling all his plans. After the death of Alexander the Great, his empire, deprived of a strong internal connection, fell apart like a house of cards. Its commanders divided the world among themselves, and the coffin with the body of Alexander took to his part of the possessions the Egyptian satrap Ptolemy Lag, who made Alexander the patron god of his kind (see the article “Hellenistic States”).
A long memory remained in the centuries about Alexander the Great. And the reason for this is not his power, which disintegrated immediately after his death. He was not the founder of a new dynasty: his two sons – Alexander and Hercules – were still young in bloody feuds. His youth and the ease with which he won half the world caused excitement and envy. How many future great commanders repeated the words of Alexander: “20 years – and nothing for immortality!” Caesar thought with admiration about the amazing fate of Alexander the Great. Napoleon and Suvorov read books about his campaigns. How many legends circulated around the world, and how many eastern rulers derived their kind from Iskander the Two-Horned (in the East they called Alexander). Many of the cities he founded (more than 30) in different parts of the world, bearing his name, recalled the great conquests.
And let the Greeks, whom the king forced to honor himself as an Olympian, mockingly declared: “Let us give Alexander, if he so wants, call himself God.” He nevertheless became him. He became the idol of young minds, the embodiment of good luck, a legend and an amazing story for contemporaries and descendants.