Alexander The Great Essay, Research Paper
3/8/97B-BLOCK Alexander the Great was one of the greatest generals of all time, he helped set forthstandard for the proceeding Greek militaries. Alexander was born in 356 B.C., in Pella,Macedonia; he was born the son of King Philip the 2nd. He was tutored by the well famousAristotle. He at the age of twenty, took over his fathers thrown after he had been assassinated( it is believed that Darius paid for the assassination of King Philip the 2nd), rulingMacedonia and Olympias. And for the next 13 years, he lead his army to many victories( Alexander ). With Alexander in the, commander-in-chief position, he had to regain a sense stabilityback to the league of Cornith (The league of Cornith was a league formed of Greekcity-states, they held together by treaties and alliances) which was starting to break apart. Hestarted by executing all potential enemies of Philip in court. Next, he had to regain the supportof Thessaly, which had broken off from the league. Quickly, Alexander rounded up 30,000troops and headed for the southern region. The Thessalians were not prepared for the attackand did not even bother to resist the Macedonians. He was off to a positive start as a King(Wepman 41). Next he asked the rest of the league to endorse him on the fight against Persia, since hehad the strongest on army on the peninsula, nobody bothered to reject him accept for Sparta.Alexander then marched his troops northward to the Danube river, on his conquest of Persia.Alexander planned on little opposition along the way, but on a narrow pass in the moutains,he was confronted by local tribesmen. Alexander had fought them before and knew theirstrategy, they were going to roll wagons down the sides of the cliffs and crush theMacedonian army. Acting quickly, Alexander sent every wagon through first, and the men onfoot second. The soldiers who did not make it through were instructed to lie down flat on theirbacks and cover themselves with their shields, so that the wagons would roll over them, andthe light javelin spears that they threw would not penetrate his soldiers shields. Not a man onthe Macedonian side was lost, soon after, 1500 Thracian soldiers lay dead. And now the pathto the Danube was clear (Wepman 43). The next step for Alexander s men, was to move across the Danube river. However, hismen had never seen such a swift, large, and wide river. One the other side of the river, therewas the Getae tribe, which felt safe from attack, but they were wrong. Alexander had his menmade their tents into flotation devices, which were made of animal hides, then they stuffedthem with hay. A total of 5,500 men ended up crossing the river. Once on the other side, theGetae spotted them and ran. Alexander s men took the woman and children for slaves, andlater sacrificed some of them to the gods for not letting any of his men drown. Later, othertribes heard word of what happened to the Getae, and decided to not receive the same fate, sothey instead came and paid tribute to Alexander (Ash 34). The next stop on Alexander s trip was the city of Thebes. Thebes had just signed atreaty with Persia and Athens that stated to oppose Alexander and all other MacedonianKings. Before moving into Thebes, Alexander offered the Thebans to surrender with nocasualties. But Thebes rejected the offer. So, Alexander s army moved into the city andoverran it. They destroyed everything in the city, except for the temples and Pindar s house (Pindar was Greek poet who was praised and therefor saved by Alexander). Alexander wantedto make Thebes an example of what would happen to people should they interfere with him orhis army. It is said that after that, when he would come across a Theban, he would help thembecause he destroyed their home (Ash 37). After the victory in Thebes, Alexander prepared for another attack on the Persians.Alexander, prior to attacking the Persians consulted the priestess at Delphi. There she toldhim, that the God Apollo could not be approached today. Since Alexander had not the timenor the patience, he grabbed her by the hair and dragged her by the hair to the altar. She toldhim, My son, you are invincible . Alexander was satisfied with this reading and began tomarch towards Persia (Ash 41). Alexander and his men gathered and set out for Persia. They crossed over from what isnow the physical boundary between Asia and Europe, the Dardanelles. They crossed in boats,the king in the lead. Alexander cast his spear towards the Asian shore as an omen, meaninghe would conquer it by force. He marched through Troy and honored Achilles for his victoryin the Trojan War, then he headed toward the Granicus river. There he was met by thePersian army. Alexander lead the charge, he set his eyes on a Persian leader and ran towardshim. Alexander killed him with his spear, then took a blow to the head; and just when helooked up, a Persian soldier was about to kill him, but Cleitus cut off the soldiers arm, savingAlexander s life. The Persians eventually withdrew, leaving the Greeks with their first victoryagainst the Persians (Ash 42). Alexander marched on, leaving his wounded soldiers at Issus. Darius, who wascommanding the Persians, went to Issus and slaughtered the wounded Greek troops. WhenAlexander heard word of this, he turned his troops around and went after Darius. Alexandersent his lancers to meet the advancing left flank of the Persian force, while he led the cavalrycharge himself. The Persian archers fell under the charge. The double attack broke the Persian
fighting spirit. With that, Darius fled, leaving his army. Without Darius, the army had littlechance of succeeding. Darius left many of his treasures and his whole family behind. Later onAlexander ends up marrying Darius s daughter ( Green 25). Alexander s next mission was to attack the Phoenician coastal cities of Syria. The cityof Sindon welcomed Alexander. But the city of Tyre resisted. Alexander began a siege on thethat lasted 7 months, his army slaughtered thousands, and set forth the saying: welcomeAlexander or die! After that, he sent Parmenion to capture the ancient city of Damascus. He took Damascus and used it s treasure to pay the Greek soldiers and pay for military goods andfood. Meanwhile, Alexander led his troops into Egypt, where he was welcomed and seen inEgyptian eyes as their liberator and pharaoh. He then went to the end of the Nile river, on theMediterranean end, and found himself a city with grain for his troops, he called this city,Alexandria (Green 28). After leaving Africa, Alexander decided to meet Darius in an open field near thevillage of Gaugamela. There, the two giant armies would have enough room to maneuver. ThePersian army brought about 200,000 infantry and about 40,000 cavalry. Alexander broughtabout 40,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry. The Persian chariots charged, the Macedonian armyparted, the chariots were hard to maneuver, so that when they rode by the Macedoniansoldiers, they were killed with spears or arrows. Alexander then led a charge against the leftwing of the Persian army. This allowed the Macedonian army to avoid the stakes in theground meant, to stab the horses. Soon after this, King Darius fled for his life. Alexanderfollowed him, but turned back to help his army fight. The dust on the field was so thick, thatthey did not know that Darius had fled. The Macedonians ended up winning the battle, thereason why, most fingers point to Alexander the Great and his remarkable military strategy (Ash 76). Alexander learned word that Darius was in Ecbatana, the last of the Persian capitals.Alexander and his men headed there, only to find that Darius had been stabbed by a mannamed Bessus. Alexander was both disappointed and pleased with the death of Darius, hisfathers killer had been put to justice, yet it was not Alexander who had served justice to hisfather; none the less, the war was still going, and he had to move foward (Ash 86). The man who had killed Darius, Bessus, had now proclaimed himself as the King ofPersia. Alexander did not like Bessus for killing Darius, when he knew that punishing Dariuswas one of the main objectives in Alexander conquering Persia. Alexander had to take hismen through the Hindu Kush, which had moutains 11,000+ feet, he lost a lot of men andhorses, but he stayed focused on the goal of engaging Bessus in battle. However, Bessusfound out that Alexander was coming and fled along with his troops, it was the nameAlexander that brought dread into Bessus s mind (Ash 89). Alexander set out on his last mission, the capture of India, the last of the Persianempire. Alexander fought many battles in India, but two are very impressive. The first one atthe Indus river valley. There, he had to clime the Pir Sar plateau with 30 companions, butrebels saw them and began to roll boulders at him and his companions. All were killed exceptfor him. But three nights later, he and the rest of his army climbed up a rope leading up theside of the plateau, and captured and ransacked the rebels (Ash 96). The last great battle Alexander fought in India was at the Hydaspes river (now theJhelum river). His army sat on one side of the river while the King of India s (Porus) army saton the other side. Eachtime Alexander sent one of his troops into a boat to cross the river,Porus reacted by doing the same. Alexander decided to wear out Porus s army, he broughtwagonloads of food, showing Porus that he was planning on camping out for awhile.Eventually, Porus stopped reacting to Alexander s men constantly getting in their boats. So inthe dead of the night, Alexander ordered his men to cross the river and take the other army.The Indian army woke up, but with little notice, the battle was pretty even, until Alexander sarmy got a big boost. Alexander had his men scare the 200 elephants that Porus had, theyscared them so much, the elephants trampled the Indian army, Porus eventually surrendered.After that, Alexander began the road home, he had conquered the Persian empire and madesure his fathers killer was put to death (Ash 96). Alexander the Great received his name due to his outstanding militaryaccomplishments. Not only was he a military wonder, but he also was a kind understandingman. He would have special funerals for his soldiers, and declare that their families need nolonger pay taxes. He visited wounded soldiers and asked them how they were. He also buriedPersian generals and released all those who were forced to fight for the Persians. A militarymarvel, and a humane man, Alexander the Great clearly shows presents himself as one of thegreatest generals off all time, the best Greek general off all time, and set forth a high standardfor the Greek military. ALEXANDERTHEGREAT ANDREW DIETER3/19/97B-BLOCK BIBLIOGRAPHY PAGE Alexander the Great. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. 1996ed.Ash, Maureen. The World s Great Explorers. Children s Press: Chicago, 1991Green, Robert. Alexander the Great. Franklin Watts: New York, 1996. Wepman, Dennis. Alexander the Great. Chelsea House Publishers: New York, 1986.