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Alexander's campaign 334 – 323 AD

from 978-3-14-100790-9 from page 92 fig. 1
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Alexander's campaign 334 – 323 AD
In 359 BC Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, was king of the Macedonians. First, he reorganised the army and marched against the Greeks, whom he defeated at Chaeronea. Philip, however, did not want to conquer Greece and intended to form the Greeks and Macedonians into a great army, in order to venture into a campaign of conquest against Persia. The developing collapse of the Persian Empire favoured his intention, but Philip was assassinated before he could execute his plan.
Alexander was barely 20 years old when he inherited his father's rule over Greece and Macedonia. Educated by Aristotle, he underwent a comprehensive education. More importantly, he had ambition and considerable courage and he took up his father's plans.
A Greek city was destroyed and its inhabitants sold as slaves as a warning to all cities
opposing Alexander's rule. He then ordered the Greek leaders to a meeting at Corinth, to discuss the Persian campaign. Alexander emerged from this meeting strengthened and all joined in the plans for the Persian campaign. In 334 BC, in the initial battle at Granicus, the Persian army was forced to flee.

The Asia campaign
The episode of the Gordian Knot took place in the conquered Asia Minor. In the Temple of Gordion there was a cart on which the shaft was firmly tied and knotted with a strap. It was prophesied that whoever could undo the knot would achieve world domination. Alexander took his sword and , without hesitation he cut through the knot. This act was interpreted as a message that world domination would be achieved by the sword.
In 333 BC, a second great battle with the Persian army took place in Issus, where it was again defeated. After his victory, Alexander went to Persia. However, he did not go directly, as he would have risked attack from the Persian provinces of Phoenicians and Egypt. He first moved to the south and for seven months and his forces besieged the Phoenician city of Tyre, until they finally surrendered. Egypt, however, surrendered without resistance. There, Alexander made it known to the priest that he was a son of the Sun and thus was the new pharaoh.
It was not until 331 BC that the real campaign against the inner Persian Empire started from Egypt. Across Syria, Alexander moved on to Gaugamela. Awaiting him there was, was the Persian King Darius, who had gathered a huge army. Before the battle, King Darius made an offer to Alexander; half his kingdom and his daughter's hand in marriage, if that would satisfy him. It is alleged that Parmenios, one of Alexander's generals, said "If I were Alexander, I would accept", to which Alexander replied: "Me too, if I were Parmenios." In the ensuing battle the Persian army had its last but largest defeat ever. King Darius was killed trying to escape into the mountains.
After a mutiny of his troops, Alexander ended the campaign. He sent a large part of his army home by sea and journeyed with the rest through the Gedrosia desert to Babylon, where he held court from then on. In 323 BC, at the age of 32, Alexander died suddenly from a febrile infection, many of his plans were never carried out. He did not have a successor and his ambitious plans for a merger of all conquered peoples, despite the introduction of a common language- the Koine, failed. His territory was divided into the successor kingdoms. In Egypt, the Ptolemies took control, the Seleucid empire emerged from Mesopotamia, Thrace fell to Lysimachus, who, later, also conquered Asia Minor, and Greece went to Cassander.
K. Lückemeier, E. Astor

Keywords: Asia battle campaign city foundation desert history pass

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