The legendary campaign of Alexander the Great is one of the greatest events of the ancient world. Even in antiquity, the fame of one of the greatest commanders in history was entrenched to Alexander. For seven years, the great commander was able to completely conquer the Persian Empire, which once nearly conquered Alexander’s homeland – Greece. Let’s remember this glorious story.
Alexander was born at the end of July 356 BC. e. in the capital of Macedonia – Pella. The son of a fan of Greek culture, Alexander, in addition to military affairs and horseback riding, studied music, mathematics and Greek literature. The admiration of the great creations of the Hellenes among the young Macedonian was so great that even on campaigns he carried the “Iliad” of Homer with him and put it at night at the head of the bed next to the sword. True, it was not poetry that inspired him, but heroic deeds. But even Greek literature was not able to soften Alexander’s passionate and unbridled character – he always compared himself to Achilles, from whom, by his mother, the frantic and power-hungry Olympics, he led his kind. The famous philosopher Aristotle, who, at the choice of his father, was supposed to become a mentor to a 13-year-old teenager, could not cope with him.
In addition to ethics and philosophy, Aristotle taught Alexander and the science of the state. But the idea of a great teacher was far away. Macedonia was full of noble families who sought to control the king. Greece after the death of Philip II decided to regain its freedom.
Alexander began his reign by destroying all possible pretenders to the throne and then reminded Hellas of Macedonian rule. The initial demonstration of power at the borders made the Greeks think better of it, and they recognized for Alexander all the rights of the murdered Philip II: he was elected archon, strategist-autocrat of Hellas and recognized as hegemonic. Alexander calmly departed north to war with the barbarians.
However, Thebes, incited by Athens, who had a low opinion of the abilities of the young king, could not stand the first. It is one thing to smash some barbarian tribes, it is another to take one of the most powerful cities in Greece. Can the boy do it? It turned out that yes. Alexander’s army quickly marched (in 13 days) from Thrace to Thebes. And, despite the courageous resistance of the best Theban army in Greece, the city was taken. Alexander, in the words of the ancient Greek historian Diodorus, “became brutalized by his soul.” All residents of the city, with the exception of priests and supporters of the Macedonians, were sold into slavery (30 thousand people), the male population was exterminated, and the city itself was wiped off the face of the earth. Apparently, as a tribute to Greek literature, the king left in the open field only the house of the poet Pindar. Only then did the Greeks appreciate the velvet policies of Philip II,
Now that the Greeks, who had lost all hope, were pacified, Alexander finally decided to start a war with the power of the Achaemenids. This war was to be perceived by the Greeks as a revenge for the desecration of Hellenic shrines in previous Greco-Persian wars. The desire of Alexander, who “dreamed of inheriting power, fraught not with luxury, pleasures and wealth, but with battles, wars and the struggle for glory” (Plutarch), seemed to be close to realization. In order to cut his way back, Alexander distributed most of his lands in Macedonia and, with hope, fixed his thirst for glory on Iran. In 334 BC e. Alexander threw his spear at the Asian coast, thus claiming his rights to this territory, and landed on the coast of Asia Minor with a 50,000-strong army.
Alexander was so eager for battle that, having met the enemy at the Granik River, he immediately ordered his cavalry to swim across to the other (steep!) Bank of the river and attack the enemy (according to experienced generals, this was a crazy plan). The battle, which began in the water, with the Iranians who did not expect such pressure was won! Inspired by the first success, the commander, robbing and ruining everything in his path, sped a whirlwind through the cities of Asia Minor, subjugating them to himself and establishing democratic rule (but without giving them independence, however).
In Gordion, Alexander showed everyone how he solves complex problems. In this city there was a famous wagon, to the drawbar of which, according to legend, the Phrygian king Gordius tied a yoke with a tangled knot (Gordian knot). The prediction said that whoever untied this knot would gain dominion over the world. Having tinkered with the intricacies of ropes, Alexander, seeing the futility of his attempts, furiously cut the knot with a sword.
Iranian king Darius III Kodoman was looking for a meeting with the invader. Iran has long been famous for its cavalry, which was strong on flat spaces. The Iranian king was no less confident than Alexander in his abilities and was in such a hurry to meet an uninvited guest that, without listening to any advice, he entered the rugged terrain of Cilicia, deciding to go to Alexander’s rear. Now the Iranians could not take advantage of their famous cavalry and even numerical superiority (according to ancient historians, the army of Darius III exceeded the Macedonian army three times).
November 12, 333 BC e. the battle on the Pindar River near the city of Iss. The Macedonian troops slowly approached the enemy and moved on the offensive on the move. The Iranians began to retreat under the onslaught of the Greeks and Macedonians. Alexander, who fought in the forefront, noticed Darius on a gilded chariot in the center of the army and rushed towards him, not noticing a wound and everything was wrecking in its path. Fast, frantic, impetuous, he sought to end the matter with one blow – the martial arts of the kings should decide which of them to rule in Asia. But Darius, standing among the fighting and dying bodyguards and nobles, seeing the Macedonian king so intimately drunk with battle, was the first to rush out of his army to save himself. After that, even the successfully flushed Macedonians, the left flank of the Iranians fled. The panic began, which ended in a crushing defeat for the Iranian army.
Entering the tent of Darius, which looked more like a palace, the half-imposed Macedonian king, who did not see such luxury in poor Greece, said, puzzled: “This, apparently, means to reign.”
The Iranian king who escaped in the near future was not dangerous, and Alexander went to Egypt. Along the way, he easily took the magnificent Damascus, in which remained the treasury of Darius. It was then that the Macedonians felt a taste for luxury. But the commander did not give them plenty to enjoy the oriental bliss and the splendor of gold. He impatiently drove the army forward. On the way to Egypt, Alexander, accustomed to the quick surrender of the cities, was suddenly stopped by rebellious residents of the city of Tire, who stubbornly did not want to give up. Tire forced the Macedonians to a long siege. Even the god Apollo, according to legend, who appeared in a dream to persistent citizens, could not persuade them to surrender to Alexander. The inhabitants of Tire recognized Apollo as a traitor, entangled his statue with ropes, nailed to the base (so as not to go to Alexander), and called him “Alexander”. However, these measures did not help, and after a seven-month siege, the city was taken. Unforgiving of resistance, an angry Alexander ordered the execution of 6 thousand prisoners, 2 thousand crucified and 30 thousand sold into slavery. The same fate befell the city of Gaza.