Alexander the Great – one of the greatest military genius in history, Alexander the Great was born in 356 B.C. in Pella, Macedonia, the son of Philip of Macedon, who was an excellent general and organizer. His mother was Olympias, princess of Epirus.
He conquered much of what was then the civilized world, governed by his divine ambition of the world conquest and creation of universal world monarchy. He was the first great conqueror which has reached, Greece, Egypt , Asia Minor, and Assia till Afghanistan and India. He is famous for having created ethnic fusion between the Macedonians and the Persians. From victory to victory, from triumph to triumph Alexander created empire wich had marked history and brought him eternal glory.
His parents were Olympias and Philip II and according to some legends and oracles Alexander has divine origins: Zeus and Olympias.
Alexander was born at Pella in Macedonia in late July of 356 BC, on the same day on which the famous Teemple of Artemis at Ephesus was destroyed by fire. His father, Philip II of Macedon, was a brilliant ruler and strategist. His mother was Olympias, princess of Epirus, daughter of King Neoptolemus. Olympias was initiated into the cults of Dionysus an
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the largest temples ever built by the Greeks, circa 550 B.C.
According to tradition, Olympias_ ancestor was the mythical hero of the Iliad – Achilles, while his father, Philip II of Macedon, was said to descend from the Zeus_ son – Hercules.
The legend of Alexander of Macedon begins even before his birth. Alexander_s parents, King Philip II of Macedon and Myrtali – the Princess of Epirus, later known as Olympias – were in their dreams warned about his birth. Philip and Olympias were initiated in the mysterious cults of Kabira of Samothrace, and they had believed in the messages in dreams, so that they have invited thhe most renowned prophet of that time Arixstandros Telmisy, to interpret their dreams. Olympias had dreamt of a loud burst of thunder and lightening that had hit her womb, while in Philip_s dream, he was sealing her womb with the seal of the lion. Arixstandros determined that Olympias was pregnant, and that the child would have the character of lion. The oracle of Delphi advised Philip to worship Zeus-Ammon, more than any other god. That brought the advent of Alexander_s bi
Alexander_s Birth, Plutarch
Alexander was born the sixth of Hecatombaeon, which month the Macedonians call Lous, the same day that the temple of Diana at Ephesus was burnt; which Hegesias of Magnesia makes the occasion of a co
Just after Philip had taken Potidaea, he received these three messages at one time, that Parmenio had overthrown the Illyrians in a great battle, that his race-horse had won the course at the Olympic games, and that his wife had given birth to Alexander; with which being naturally well pleased, as an addition to his satisfaction, he was assured by the diviners that a son, whose birth was accompanied with three such successes, could not fail of being invincible.
At the battle of Chaeronea Philip defeated the allied Greek states of the Sacred Band of Thebes in September 338 BC. At that time Alexander was only 18, and, having been placed in command of the left wing of Philip_s cavalry, he demonstrated pe
At the Council of Corinth, Philip imposed his political system on the Greek states (with exception of Sparta); Philip gave freedom and autonomy to all the political parties in each polis, establishing an administrative system that would be stable and loyal to him.
In 337 divorced Olympias. After a quarrel at a wedding feast, Alexander and his mother left Macedonia. Few months afterward, they were reconciled and Alexander returned; but Philips_ life was in danger.
With the support of almost all Greece, Philip declared war on Persia. In the spring of 336 BC, Philip sent Attalus and Parmenion with the army of 10,000 men into Asia Minor to begin with the liberation of Greek coastal cities. But Philip himself was assassinated before he was able to depart.
Alexander in Mesopotamia
In the spring of 331 Alexander could at last leave the Mediterranean to strike into the heart of the Persian empire,
for by his occupation of all Mediterranean harbours the Persian command of the sea had inevitably collapsed, without having any significant maritime battle.
He returned to Phoenicia, nominated a Macedonian satrap for Syria, and prepared to advance into Mesopotamia, toward Babylon. Early in July 331 Alexander was at Thapsacus on the river Euphrates, then he advanced across northern Mesopotamia toward the Tigris. Darius sent his general Mazaeus, who marched up the Tigris to oppose him.
The Battle of Gaugamela
The last army gathered by an Achaemenian king was shattered in the battle called popularly after the city of Arbela some 100 km distant, or more precisely after the village of Gaugamela hard by. The Battle of Gaugamela (or Arabela as it is also called in Assyria), was the last big battle of the war, which took the place on the plain of Gaugamela between Nineveh and Arbela on the 1st October 331 BC. The happy coincidence of a lunar eclipse gives us the 1st October 331 BC as the exact day upon which the Macedonian army crossed the Tigris. Darius III succeeded to escape with his Bactrian cavalry and Greek mercenaries into Media before the battle was over. Alexander remained till he had secured the provinces to the south. He followed the Tigris into Babalonia. Babylon welcomes Alexander as new “King of Asia”; Mazaeus, who wisely surrendered Babylon was confirmed by Alexander as satrap. Alexander with Mazaeus was so generous that he granted him the right to have his coin. The same as in Egypt, the local religion and priests was encouraged. From Babylon went on to seize the riches which the Persian kings had amassed in their spring residence, Susa. Susa, also surrendered, releasing fabulous amounts of silver and gold which corresponds to 120.000 talents, when the gold was estimated in terms of silver.
Thence he at last ascended upon the Iranian plateau. The mountain tribes on the road (the Oxii, Pers, Huzha), accustomed to exact blackmail even from the king_s train, learnt by a bitter lesson that a stronger hand had come to wield the empire. Reducing to obedience the mountain tribe of the Oxians, he now continued over the Zagros range into Persia, and successfully took the Pass the Persian Gates, held by the satrap Ariobarzanes. Alexander had become Lord of Asia.
Alexander entered in the capital of Persia, Persepolis and Pasargadae, the cradle of the Achaemenian dynasty, and came upon new masses of treasure in the royal city, Persepolis. As a symbol that the Panhellenic war was terminated, Alexander ceremonially burned down the palace of Xerxes; solemn revenge for the destruction of Greek temples by Xerxes generations ago, Dionysiastic act that was inspired by the Athenian courtesan Thaïs.
Later in spring 330 Alexander marched north into Media and occupied its capital Ecbatana. Panhellenic war was over, the Thessalians and Greek allies were sent home; since then he was conducting a purely personal war. Since the Panhellenic war of revenge came to an end, Alexander_s political and ideological views on the empire were changing: He had come to new political idea of two jointly ruling people: Macedonians and Persians. That new politics created the opposition and misunderstanding between Alexander and Macedonians.
Alexander was prepared for further pursuit. Darius fled northwards from Ecbatana upon his approach. At Ecbatana new masses of treasure were seized, but when once the necessary measures which its disposal and the occupation of the Median capital entailed were taken. Before continuing to pursuit Darius, who had escaped into Bactria, he collected all the Persian treasure and entrusted it to Harpalus, who was to keep it at Ecbatana as chief treasurer. Parmenio was also left behind in Media to control communication lines.
Summer 330 Darius Death
Alexander with his fastest troops chased Darius for 12 days and nights and has passed over 800 km. Meanwhile Darius troop strength was reduced to 6000 foot and 3000 horse. Darius had moved to Bactria, to Bessus – the satrap of Bactria. It was an thrilling chase of king by king, in which each covered the ground by barely credible exertions, past Rhagae (Rai) and the Caspian gates, till early one morning Alexander came in sight of the broken train which still clung to the fallen king.
His cousin Bessus and the Persian magnates staged a coup d_etat and had betrayed and imprisoned Darius, at Skirmish (near modern Shahrud, after a the Caspian Gates), the usurper Bessus finally had stabbed his king Darius III and left him to die in agony. Bessus preferred Darius dead than imprisoned. If Darius had surrended, Alexander would leave him alive. Alexander organized an imperial funeral with all honors for the last Persian emperor. Alexander, later, captured satarp Bessus, new pretender to the Persian throne. Darius_ murder was punished and Bessus was humiliated with a public flogging before execution.
Campaign eastward, to Central Asia
After the Darius_ death there was no obstacle to Alexander_s claim to be Great King, and a Rhodian inscription of the year 330 BC. calls him “lord of Asia”, in sense of the Persian Empire; soon afterward his Asian coins have the title of king. Crossing the Elburz Mountains to the south of the Caspian which connects western Iran with the provinces to the east of the great central desert, he seized Zadracarta in Hyrcania and received the submission of a group of satraps and Persian notables.To conquer this remaining portion of the empire, Alexander now went on through the mountain belt, teaching the power of his arms to the mountain people who inhabited the Elburz Mountains, Tapyri and Mardi, till he came, passing through Zadracarta (Asterabad), to Parthia and thence to Aria. Darius_ Greek mercenaries were surrenders as well. His advance eastward was fast. In Aria he reduced to obedience Satibarzanes. In these further provinces of Iran the Macedonian King had for the first time to encounter a serious local opposition, for in the west the Iranian rule had been merely the domination of an foreign power over native populations indifferent or hostile. Here the ruling race was at home. He founded yet another Alexandria of the Aryans (modern Herat).
From Phrada during the winter of 330-329, Alexander moves to south through Arachosia toward valley of the Helmand River, and crossed the country of the Paropamisadae, where he founded another cities Alexandria in Aracosia and Alexandria by the Caucasus. The ordinarily chronology makes Alexander reach the Kabul valley in the winter of 330-329. That to fit
the actions and distances covered by Alexander into such a scheme, assuming that he went by Seistan and Kandahar, would involve physical impossibilities. In the meantime Bessus in Bactria was organizing a revolt in the eastern satrapies with the usurped title of Great King. In Central Asia to Alexander has reached the information that Bessus had taken the diadem, as Darius_ successor in Bactria, but so soon as he marched against him Aria rose in his rear, and Alexander had to return in all rush to bring the revolt under. Nor did he, when this was accomplished, again strike directly at Bactria, but made a large turning movement through Seistan over Kandahar into the Kabul valley. Crossing the mountains of Hindu Kush, Alexander marches northward over the Khawak Pass (over 3000m), Alexander brought his troops, despite food shortages, snow and very cold climate to Drapsaca (modern Banu ).
It was on the way, in Seistan at Prophthasia (mod. Farrah ), that the alienation between Alexander and his Macedonian followers, which becomes sensible in the latter part of his career, first showed itself in an ugly form. Alexander had come to merge the characters of Macedonian king and Hellenic captain-general, with which he had set out, in that of Oriental despot. He wore on occasions of state the Persian dress. A discontent began to work among the Macedonians, and at Prophtniasia the commander of the Macedonian cavalry the son of Parmenio, and certain others were arraigned before the army on the charge of conspiring against the king_s life. They were condemned and put to death. Not satisfied with procuring this, Alexander had Parmenio himself, who had been left in command in Media, put to death by secret orders.
Philotas, Parmenio_s son, commander of the elite Companion cavalry, took a part in a plot against Alexander. He was condemned by the army, and executed; and a secret message was sent to Cleander, Parmenio_s second in command, who obediently assassinated him. This brutal action diffused horror but strengthened Alexander_s position. All Parmenio_s men were eliminated and men close to Alexander promoted. The Companion cavalry was reorganized in two sections, each containing four squadrons (since then known as hipparchies); one group was commanded by Alexander_s oldest friend, Hephaestion, the other by Cleitus, an older man.
In the spring of 328 Alexander crossed westward the Hindu Kush into Bactria Bactra-Zariaspa (modern Balkh/Wazirabad in Afghanistan), appointed loyal satraps in Bactria and Aria, and followed the retreat of Bessus across the Oxus and into Sogdiana (Bokhara) Crossing the Oxus, he sent his general Ptolemy in pursuit of Bessus, who had meanwhile been overthrown by the Sogdian Spitamenes. In the July, Bessus was captured, flogged, and sent to Bactria, where he was later mutilated after the Persian manner (losing his nose and ears); several months later he was publicly executed at Ecbatana. They fastened him to a couple of trees which were bound down so as to meet, and then being let loose, with a great force returned to their places, each of them carrying that part of the body along with it that was tied to it. The Bessus was treated with the barbaric cruelty which the rule of the old Persian monarchy prescribed for rebels.
Alexander occupies Maracanda (modern Samarkand). From there Alexander marched to north by way of Cyropolis to the Jaxartes (modern Syrdarya), at the extreme limits of the Persian Empire. There he broke the rebellion of the Scythian nomads, who had massacred Macedonian soldiers. At the site of modern Khojent on the Jaxartes, he founded a city, Alexandria Eschate, “the last Alexandria” In the mean time Spitamenes, prince of Sogdiana had raised in revolt, who had escaped in the hart of Asiatic Russia raising the Massagetai against the Macedons. He now made one raid across the frontier river, the Jaxartes (Sir Dana), to teach the fear of his name to the outlying peoples of the steppe (summer 328). It took Alexander until the autumn of 328 to crush the most rigid opponent he encountered in his campaigns. In the autumn, Alexander’s general Craterus triumphed over the Massagetai; who then have killed Spitamenes, offering his head to Alexander, asking for the peace. It is interesting fact that Spitamenes daughter, Apame had become the wife of Seleuco, who had later founded the Seleucid dynasty. At Maracanda in the autumn of 328 BC, during the dyonisiastic feasts, Alexander murdered Cleitus, one of his most trusted commanders. That event widened the detachment between Alexander and many Macedonians. Alexander occupies Maracanda (modern Samarkand). From there Alexander marched to north by way of Cyropolis to the Jaxartes (modern Syrdarya), at the extreme limits of the Persian Empire. There he broke the rebellion of the Scythian nomads, who had massacred Macedonian soldiers. At the site of modern Khojent on the Jaxartes, he founded a city, Alexandria Eschate, “the last Alexandria” In the mean time Spitamenes, prince of Sogdiana had raised in revolt, who had escaped in the hart of Asiatic Russia raising the Massagetai against the Macedons. It took Alexander until the autumn of 328 to crush the most rigid opponent he encountered in his campaigns. In the autumn, Alexander’s general Craterus triumphed over the Massagetai; who then have killed Spitamenes, offering his head to Alexander, asking for the peace. It is interesting fact that Spitamenes daughter, Apame had become the wife of Seleuco, who had later founded the Seleucid dynasty.
Till the spring of 327 Alexander was moving to and from in Bactria and Sogdiana, beating down the recurrent rebellions and planting Greek cities.
On his march towards India through Afghanistan, he attacked Oxyartes and the remaining three princes (Corienes, Catanes and Austanes) who controlled the hills of Paraetacene (modern Tadzhikistan). One of his splendid moves was the capture of the Sogdian Rock. At the top of the rock was Oxyartes, who felt protected because of the vertical cliffs on each side. He provoked Alexander to send up men with wings to take the fortress. Alexander did exactly what Oxyartes ironically proposed. He sent up 300 experiences climbers during the night with the assurance of spectacular wealth if they succeed. The climb – a “very severe” in alpinistic manner of speech was concluded by the majority of the soldiers. Next morning Oxyartes was shocked to see these men “with wings” waving down at him. He surrendered with no resistance. Alexander and Oxyartes became good friends. Alexander married his sister (according some authors his daughter) Roxanne. In one of them he captured Roxana, the daughter of Oxyartes, whom he made his wife. Before the summer of 327 he had once more crossed the Hindu Kush on his way to India (see F. von Schwarz, Alex. d. Grossen Feldzuge in Turkestan, 1893, v.).
In the meantime the rift between Alexander and his European troops continued to show itself in dark incidents. Shortly afterward, at Bactra, he tried to impose the Persian court ceremonial, the prostration (proskynesis, genuflexsion) on the Greeks and Macedonians too. This custom which was normal for Persians entering the king_s presence, to them was intolerable and unacceptable. Even Callisthenes, historian and nephew of Aristotle and an old friend of Alexander, refused to abase himself. Several weeks later Callisthenes was held to be involved in conspiracy among the royal pages at Bactria and was arrested (he was executed or died in prison according some authors). It was now that Alexander completed the conquest of the provinces north of the Hindu Kush by the reduction of the last mountain strongholds of the native princes.
Invasion of India
Summer 327 – Winter 326
Before Alexander crossed into India in early summer 327 BC, he felt the necessity to reorganize the army that he had led through Persia and to it adapt the different climate and terrain. He burned all of the baggage wagons of Persian booty that impeded his mobility, and he dismissed a large number of his soldiers, reshaping his army with several thousand east Iranian cavalrymen. The fighting forces were about 40,000, while the troops with auxiliary services were 120,000 men. Crossing again the Hindu Kush mountain, this time without snow, by Bamian and the Ghorband Valley, Alexander split his forces. Whilst the heavier troops with the luggage moved down the Kabul valley to Pencelaotis (Charsadda) under Perdiccas and Hephaestion, both cavalry commanders, was sent through the Khyber Pass, Alexander led a body of lighter-armed troops and cavalry pushed up the valleys which join the Kabul from the north through the regions now known as Bajour, Swat and Buner, inhabited by Indian hill peoples. A number of their “cities” were reduced by Alexander. Ancient walled mountain villages can be in some cases identified with places where the clans are established today. The crowning exploit was the reduction of Aornus, a stronghold perched on a precipitous summit above the Indus, which it was said that Heracles had failed to take.We cannot say how much of the story of Alexander_s discovery of the sacred mountain of the Nysa and the traces of Dionysus is due to the Aristobulus and Clitarchus invention.
Meantime Perdiccas and Hephaestion had built a bridge over the Indus, and by this in the spring of 326 Alexander
passed into the Punjab (at Ohind, m. above Attock, according to Foucher, Notes sur la geogr. ane. di_ Gandhara,
1902). The country into which he came was dominated by three principalities, that of Ambhi between the Indus and the Hydaspes (Jhelum, Jehlam), centred in the great city of Takkasila (Gr. Taxila), that of the Paurara rajah (Gr. Porus) between the Hydaspes and Acesines (Chenaf), and that of Abhisara (Gr. Alisares) between the same two rivers higher up, on the confines of Kashmir.
In spring 326, crossing the river Cofen, Alexander entered Taxila, and King Taxiles equipped Alexander with elephants and troops in return for aid against his rival Porus, who ruled the lands between the Hydaspes and the Acesines. The kings of Taxila and Porus were at enmity, and for this cause the invader could reckon upon Omphis as a firm ally. Porus was prepared to contest the passage of the Hydaspes with all his strength. Abisares preferred to play a double game and wait upon events. Alexander reached the Hydaspes just as the rains broke, when the river was already swollen.
In June 326 BC. on the left bank of the Hydaspes against Porus, one of the most powerful Indian kings, Alexander fought fought the fourth and last of his pitched battles in Asia, the one which put to proof more shrewdly than any of the others the quality of the Macedonian army as an instrument of war, and yet again emerged victorious. Porus held the opposite bank with a potent army, including 200 elephants. Alexander_s army crossed the heavily defended river in dramatic manner during during a night of torrential rain. The Indians were defeated in a brutal battle, although they fought with elephants. Porus fell deeply wounded into his hands. Alexander captured Porus and, like the other kings he had defeated, allowed him to continue to reign his country. Alexander even conquested an autonomous province and granted it to Porus as a gift. He founded two cities there, Alexandria Nicaea (to celebrate his victory) and Bucephala (named after his horse Bucephalus, who died there); and Porus became his friend and ally. When he continued his progress eastwards across the Acesines, Porus was an active ally. Alexander moved along close under the hills. After crossing the Hydraotes (Ritvi) he once more came into contact with hostile tribes, and the work of storming petty towns began again.
November 326 – Spring 325
Alexander_s next goal was to reach the Ganges River, which was actually 400 kilometers away. He was impatient to continue farther, but when the Hyphasis (Beas) was reached, his army exhausted in body and spirit denied to go farther in the tropical rain. Then the Hyphasis was reached, it was a bitter mortification to Alexander, before whose imagination new vistas had just opened out eastwards, where there beckoned the unknown world of the Ganges and its splendid kings. For three days the will of king and people were locked in antagonism; Coenus, one of Alexander_s four chief commanders, acted as their speaker. His soldiers had heard stories of the powerful Indian tribes that lived on the Ganges and remembered the difficulty of the battle with Porus, they refused to proceed any farther. On finding the army insistent, although he was extremely disappointed, he accepted their decision, but persuaded them to travel south down the rivers Hydaspes and Indus so that they might reach the Ocean. On the Hyphasis he erected 12 altars to the 12 Olympian gods. On the Hydaspes Phoenician and Egyptian sailors built a fleet of 800 ships. He then proceeded down the river and into the Indus, with half his forces on shipboard and half marching in three columns down the two banks, leaded by Craterus, Hephesteion and him. The fleet was commanded by Nearchus, and Alexander_s own captain was Onesicritus; both of them later wrote the memoirs of the campaign. The march was attended with much fighting and heavy, merciless massacre; at the invasion of one town of the Malli near the Hydraotes (Ravi) River, Alexander was heavily wounded. During this journey, Alexander sought out the Indian philosophers, the Brahmins, who were famous for their wisdom, and debated them on philosophical issues. He became legendary for centuries in India for being both a wise philosopher and a courageous conqueror.
Alexander and his army reached the mouth of the Indus in July 325 B.C. Alexander left the conquered portion of India east of the Indus to be governed under Porus, Omphis of Taxila, and Abisares; the country west of the Indus under Macedonian governors, and set out to explore the great river to its mouth (for the organization of the Indian provinces, see especially Niese, vol. i. pp. 500 f.). The fleet prepared on the Hydaspes sailed in October, while a land army moved along the bank. The confluence of the Hydaspes and Acesines passed, the Macedonians were once more in a region of hostile tribes with towns to be stormed.
It was at one of these, a village of the Malli, that a memorable incident occurred, such as characterized the personality of Alexander for all succeeding time.One of the villages in which the army stopped belonged to the Malli, who were said to be one of the most warlike of the Indian tribes. Alexander was wounded several times in this attack, most seriously when an arrow pierced his breastplate and his ribcage. He leapt from the wall with only three companions into the hostile enviroment, and, before the army behind him could effect an entrance, lay wounded almost to death. The Macedonian officers rescued him in a narrow escape from the village.
He recovered and beat down the resistance of the tribes, leaving them annexed to the Macedonian satrapy west of the Indus. Below the confluence of the Punjab rivers into the single stream of the Indus the territory of loose tribes was succeeded by another group of regular principalities, under the rajahs called by the Greeks Musicanus, Oxycanus and Sambus. These opposed a national resistance to the Macedonians, the fires of which were fanned by the Brahmins, but still the strong arm of the western people prevailed.
The rajah of Patala abandoned his country and fled. It was the high summer of 325 when Alexander reached Patala, situated at the apex of the Indus delta, built a harbor and explored both arms of the Indus, which then ran into the Rann of Kutch. From here he explored both arms of the delta to the ocean, now seen by the Macedonians for the first time.
He had determined that the Indus fleet should be used to explore this new world and try to find a water way between the Indus and the Persian Gulf. A great part of the land-forces had been already sent off under Craterus in the earlier summer to return west by Kandahar and Seistan; the fleet was to sail under the Nearchus from the Indus mouth toward Persian Gulf; Nearchus, a Cretan with naval experience, who made a exploration voyage along the Persian Gulf. was put in command of a fleet of 150 ships that took the sea route. Nearchus sailed westwards with northeast monsoon in late October 325 BC. Alexander himself intended to lead land-forces, across the dangerous, coast of Baluchistan, through the terrible sand-wastes of the Gedrosian Desert (Mekran).
September – October 325
Alexander marched along the coast through Gedrosia (modern Baluchistan), but he was soon forced by mountainous country to turn inland. Craterus, a high ranking officer, already had been sent off with the baggage and siege train, the elephants, and the sick and wounded, together with three battalions of the phalanx, by way of the Mulla Pass, Quetta, and Kandahar into the Helmand Valley; from there he marched through Drangiana in order to rejoin the main army on the Amanis (modern Minab) River in Carmania. Alexander, on land, lost nearly three quarters of his army because of the severe conditions of the desert, and in a unexpected monsoon flood while they were encamped in a Wadi many of them died.
Autumn – Winter 325
When the survivors reached the region called Carmania, their fortune changed radically as they were welcomed into the prosperous country. Alexander and his men celebrated the end of their calamities in the desert and traveled in luxury to Harmezeia, where they rejoined to Nearchus_ fleet, which also had suffered losses. Then the joined army marched to Persis to take rest.
Consolidation of the empire
The empire was weakened by years of absence and rumors of his death, and it had not functioned altogether efficiently and on Alexander_s reappearance many incompetent and scoundrel in high office had to be replaced by better men. In Carmania, in Persis, complaints from the provinces continued to reach him, as well as the news of disorders in Macedonia and Greece. Between 326 and 324 BC over a third of his governors (i.e. satraps) were replaced and six were executed, including the Persian satraps of Persis, Susiana, Carmania, and Paraetacene; three generals in Media, including Cleander, were accused of extortion and convoked to Carmania, where they were arrested, examined, and executed.
In spring 324 he was back in Susa, capital of Elam and administrative center of the Persian Empire; at Susa Alexander held a banquet to celebrate the conquest of the Persian Empire. In promotion of his policy of fusing Macedonians and Persians into one master race, he and 80 of his officers took Persian wives; he married Darius_ daughters Barsine (also called Stateira) and Hephaestion married her sister Drypetis, and 10,000 of Macedonian soldiers which married with native wives were given generous gifts. The filopersian policy brought increasing friction to Alexander_s relations with the rest of Macedonians, who had no understanding for his new conception of the empire. His determination to incorporate Persians on equal terms in the army and the administration of the provinces was heavily criticized by Macedonians. This discontent was now disqualified by the arrival of 30,000 native youths who had received a Macedonian military training and by the introduction of Orientals from Bactria, Sogdiana, Arachosia, and other parts of the empire into the Companion cavalry. Persian aristocracy had been accepted into the royal cavalry bodyguard. Peucestas, the new governor of Persis, gave this policy full support, but most Macedonians saw it as a danger to their own favored position. An actual mutiny of the Macedonians broke out at Opis (324 BC.) on the Tigris, when Alexander_s decision to send home Macedonian veterans under Craterus was interpreted as a move toward transferring the seat of power to Asia. There was an open insurrection involving all but the royal bodyguard; but when Alexander discharged his whole army and enrolled Persians instead, the opposition deceased. An emotional scene of reconciliation was followed by a vast banquet with 9,000 guests to celebrate the ending of the misunderstanding and the partnership in government of Macedonians and Persians as partners in the empire. Ten thousand veterans were now sent back to Macedonia with gifts, and the crisis was eliminated.
In summer 324 Alexander attempted to solve another problem, that of the nomadic mercenaries, of whom there were thousands in Asia and Greece, many of them political exiles from their own cities. A decree brought by Nicanor to Europe and proclaimed at Olympia (September 324) required the Greek cities of the Greek League to receive back all exiles and their families (except the Thebans), a maneuver that indicated some modification of the oligarchic regimes maintained in the Greek cities by Alexander_s governor Antipater. Alexander now planned to recall Antipater and replace him by Craterus; but he has died before this could be done. In autumn 324 Hephaestion died in Ecbatana, and Alexander indulged in extravagant mourning for his best friend; he was given a royal funeral in Babylon with a pyre costing 10,000 talents. His post of chiliarch (grand vizier) was left unfilled. It was probably in connection with a general order now sent out to the Greeks to honor Hephaestion as a hero that Alexander linked the demand that he himself should be accorded divine honors. For a long time his mind had dwelt on ideas of godhead. Alexander had on several occasions encouraged favorable comparison of his own accomplishments with those of Dionysus or Heracles.
PERSEUS PROJECT, against the Cossaeans, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.111.1
In November of 324 Alexander carried out punitive expedition against the Cossaeans in the hills of Luristan. The following spring at Babylon he received complimentary embassies from the Libyans and from the Bruttians, Etruscans, and Lucanians of Italy; representatives of the cities of Greece who came to celebrate and confirm Alexander_s divine status. Following up Nearchus_ voyage, he had founded an Alexandria at the mouth of the Tigris and made plans to develop sea communications with India, for which an expedition along the Arabian coast was to be a preliminary one. He also appointed Heracleides to explore the Hyrcanian (Caspian) Sea.
The plans for the conquest of the western Mediterranean and the creation of a universal monarchy were mentioned by Diodorus. In his later years Alexander_s aims have been directed toward exploration, in particular of Arabia and the Caspian. The exploration of the waterways round about the empire was Alexander_s immediate concern, the discovery of the presumed connection of the Caspian with the Northern Ocean, the opening of a maritime route from Babylon to Egypt round Arabia. The latter enterprise Alexander designed to conduct in person; under his supervision was prepared in Babylon an immense fleet, a great basin dug out to contain 1000 ships, and the water- communications of Babylonia taken in hand. Innovations were carried out in the tactical system of the army which were to modify considerably the methods of future battle-fields.
Mysterious Death and Apotheosis
Suddenly, in Babylon, while busy with plans to improve the irrigation of the Euphrates and to settle the Arabic coast of the Persian Gulf; Alexander was taken sick after a splendid entertainment in honour of Nearchus departure for Arabia (it was also commemoration of the death of Heracles). There he drank much unmixed wine, and finally, filling a huge beaker, downed it at a gulp. The pain increased and no one was able to do anything helpful and Alexander continued in acute suffering. His Friends asked:
“To whom do you leave the kingdom?”
and he replied:
“To the best (the strongest).”
These were his last words. Predicca has received from the king before he died his ring, as the symbol of his regency.
On the sundown of 10th of June, after the ten day fever, in the Palace of Nabukodonossor, Alexander died. Historians disagree about the date of Alexander_s death (Aristobulus (30th or 29th) last day (triakàdi) of Daesius; Plutarch 28th of Daesius; Daesius was the eighth Macedonian month). While 5th-century Armenian version of the Historia Alexandri Magni, The Alexander Romances reports 4 th of Pharmouthi as the day of the death,which corresponds to 13th of June; but according to contemporary Babylonian Astronomic Diary, which is most credible and accurate source, Alexander has died on 29th Aiaru (10th of June). Alexander III of Macedon died in his 33rd year; and had reigned for 12 years and eight months.( 8 month -Arrian; 7 month Diodorus)
Some historians disagree about the death of Alexander, and state that this occurred in consequence of a draught of poison, it seems necessary for us to mention their account also.
His Friends staged a vast contest in honour of his funeral. Ptolemy, the later king of Egypt, transferred Alexander_s body to Alexandria in Egypt. He received divine honors, both in Egypt and elsewhere in the Greek cities
Some centuries later, Alexander_s golden sarcophagus was melted down for coinage by the Ptolomius XI (116-107, 87-81 B.C.)and replaced with one of alabaster. Strabo (17. C 794), who visited Alexander_s tomb himself in the first century A.D. The subsequent mismanagement of Egyptian affairs by Ptolemy IX_s successors, as well as the economic collapse of the kingdom, caused by an incompetent administration, made it impossible for the Ptolemies to restore Alexander_s gold sarcophagus. Diodoros from Sicily visited Alexandria and Alexander in ca. 60 B.C. and has preserved an exciting description of the tomb for posterity (18.26.3; 28.2-4).
Alexander_s prominent visitors included Caius Julius Caesar who visited Alexandria in 45 B.C. and went to pay his respects to his idol. -[Suetonius (Caesar, VII) and Lucian (X.19), second century A.D.] When Augustus defeated Marcus Anthonius and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 B.C. and then conquered Alexandria in 30 B.C., he visited Alexander_s tomb. When Augustus_s guides offered to take him next to the tombs of the Ptolemaic dynasty, Augustus answered that he came to see a king and not dead people (Dio Cassius, Roman History, 51; 2nd-3rd centuries A.D.). An anecdote in Dio_s report of Augustus_s visit to Alexander is interesting: When Augustus inclined over to kiss the Alexander, he accidentally broke Alexander_s nose.
Some other Roman emperors visited the tomb of Alexander in Alexandria: Caligula, went to Alexandria, paid a visit to the Sema and left with Alexander_s cuirass (Xiphilinus, Epitome of Dio_s Roman History). Septimus Severus (early third century A.D.) eventually closed the tomb to the public because he was nervous about its safety under the hoards of tourists who rushed to visit. The last reported imperial visit was made by Caracalla (3rd century A.D.), who believed that he was Alexander_s reincarnation. [ Herodian (Tes Meta Markou Basileias Historion Biblia 4, 8) and Ioannes Antiocheus (ca. 108-238 A.D.).]
The alabaster sarcophagus disappeared some time in the 4th century AD, and his alabaster tomb may be found at the cemetery near latin quarter of Alexandria.
In 1995 his tomb was eventually? rediscovered in oasis of Siwah (although there are not certain archeological proofs). Quite apart from the fact it was in Siwah, Egypt and not Alexandria, where it was visited many times in antiquity, the tomb is dedicated to Alexander.
No heir had been appointed to the throne, and his generals adopted Philip II_s illegitimate son, Philip Arrhidaeus, and Alexander_s posthumous son by Roxanne, Alexander IV, as kings, sharing out the satrapies among themselves, after much negotiation.He and his uncle Philip, as joint kings, were placed under the guardianship of Perdiccas, Peithon and Antipater in succession. After the death of Antipater (309) Roxana fled with his sun to Epirus, and was afterwards taken back to Macedonia, together with Olympias, by Polyperchon. Both kings were murdered, Arrhidaeus in 317 and Alexander IV in 309 with his mother Roxane were assassinated by Cassander who then usurped the throne of Macedonia and married Thessaloniki (Alexander the Great_s sister) in order to legitimize his position (Justin xiv. 6, xv. 2). The parts of former Alexander_s empire became independent monarchies, and the generals, following Antigonus_ lead in 306, took the title of monarch. The turbulent years from 323 to 301 B.C. saw endless conflicts among Alexander the Great_s generals which ended with the parceling out of the Alexander_s empire and the creation of the first Hellenistic kingdoms. Alexander generals known as Diadochs had established their own kingdoms on the rests of the Alexander_s empire:
Several different sources of the period have survived, especially Plutarch, Diodorus, Xenophon and Arrian. Classic authors have covered different issues, which are compared with the information obtained from other sources, such as inscriptions and political speeches from Athens (Demosthenes).
Alexander had the iron will and capacity to led his men; he knew when to with draw and to modify and adapt his policy. Alexander had imaginative fantasy of genius which was driven with the strong romantic figures like Achilles, Heracles, and Dionysus. He was sometimes cruel and autocratic. The only clear characteristics that emerge are his outstanding military genius and his successful politics. The only psychologically clear motive is the pursuit of glory: the urge to surpass the heroes of myth and to attain divinity. The success of his ambition, at immense cost in human terms, spread a veneer of Greek culture far into central Asia, which remained present during the Hellenistic era for a long time after his death.
His financial policy was centralized with collectors independent of the local governors, the establishment of a new coinage helped trade everywhere and vast amount of the Persian treasuries, have created desperately needed impact to the economy of the Mediterranean.
Alexander has founded over 70 new cities. The Greek influence remained strong and the colonization process was continued by Alexander_s successors. The diffusion of Hellenic customs over Asia till India was one of the most dominant effects of Alexander_s conquests, but his plans for ethnic fusion, did not have success. The Macedonians rejected the idea of ethnic fusion and in the later Seleucid Empire the Hellenistic element was dominant. After his death, nearly all the noble Susa marriages were dissolved.
As a conqueror Alexander is among the greatest the history has seen. He had adapted new tactics and created innovative forms of warfare ( battles against the Shaka nomads, or against Porus with his elephants). His strategy was genial and imaginative and he knew how to use the opportunities that occurred in every battle that were decisive for the victory.
He initiated the era of the Hellenistic monarchies, and created, if not politically, at least economically and culturally, a single market extending from Gibraltar to the Punjab, open to trade, social and cultural exchange. This vast territory had common civilization, and the Greek was in fact was the lingua franca of the time.
Alexander_s expedition brought significant improvements of geography and natural history. His achievements mark a decisive moment in the World history. The Roman Empire, the spread of Christianity as a world religion, and the thousand years of Byzantium were all in part the consequences of Alexander_s conquests.
XIX Century historiography
Alexander the Great is one of the instances of the vanity of appealing from disputes to ” the verdict of posterity “; his character and his policy are estimated today as variously as ever. Certain features-the high physical courage, the impulsive energy, the fervid imagination – stand out clear; beyond that disagreement begins. That he was a great master of war is admitted by most of those who judge his character unfavourably, but even this has been seriously questioned (e.g. by Beloch, Grieck. Gesck. ill. (i.), p.66). There is a dispute as to his real designs. That he aimed at conquering the whole world and demanded to be worshipped as a god is the traditional view. Droysen denies the former, and Niese maintains that his ambition was limited by the bounds of the Persian empire and that the claim to divine honours is fabulous (Historische Zeitschr. lxxix., 1897, i f.). It is true that our best authority, Arrian; fails to substantiate the traditional view satisfactorily; on the other hand those who maintain it
urge that Arrian_s interests were mainly military, and that the other authorities, if inferior in trustworthiness, are completer in range of vision. Of those, again, who maintain the traditional view, some, like Niebuhr and Grote, regard it as convicting Alexander of mad ambition and vainglory, whilst to Kaerst Alexander only incorporates ideas which were the timely fruit of a long historical development. The policy of fusing Greeks and Orientals again is diversely judged. To Droysen and Kaerst it accords with the historical conditions; to Grote and to Beloch it is a betrayal of the prerogative of Hellenism.