Alexander the Nice (All Components)

published on July 2, 2020

In 334 BC, Alexander, King of Macedonia, began
one of the greatest military campaigns in

history – against the superpower of the
age – the Persian Empire

Just 20 years-old, his brilliant and fearless
leadership won him battle after battle

And in an astonishing 10 year campaign that
took him to the edge of the known world, he

carved out one of the largest empires ever
known

Few men have had such a massive impact on
the course of history

To the Persians, he was Alexander the Accursed,
but to the west, he was immortalised as

Alexander the Great

Ancient Greece

From around 500 BC, this rugged land was the
scene of remarkable developments in art, philosophy,

and warfare

Its two greatest city-states were Athens,
a naval power, where democracy, art, drama

and philosophy flourished; and Sparta, an
austere, militaristic society, famed for its

formidable army

In 480 BC, these two city-states had joined
forces to fight an invasion by the mighty

Persian Empire

At the narrow pass of Thermopylae, a small
Greek force, led by 300 Spartans, held up

the enormous Persian army for three days,
before they were finally encircled and killed

Then, in the straits of Salamis, the Greek
fleet defeated the Persian navy

But they couldn't prevent the Persians burning
the sacred temples of the Athenian acropolis

The next year, at Plataea, the Greeks won
a decisive land battle against the Persians,

and forced them to abandon their invasion

The next fifty years were the golden age of
classical Greece

But rising tension between Athens and Sparta,
and their allies, eventually led to war, dragging

the Greek world into decades of destructive
fighting

Wars between the Greek city-states continued
for almost a century, leaving them exhausted

and vulnerable to a new, rising power to the
north

For centuries, sophisticated Greeks had viewed
the mountainous kingdom of Macedonia as a

backwater, hicksville – barely Greek at all

But under King Philip II, Macedonia emerged
as a formidable military force

His most famous reform: the introduction of
the sarissa, an 18 foot pike, twice the length

of a normal Greek spear, and wielded by trained
infantry fighting in close formation, known

as a phalanx

In 338 BC, at the Battle of Chaeronea, Philip's
army crushed the joint forces of Thebes and

Athens

Through alliance and conquest, Philip had
already gained control over most of his neighbours

Now, following this victory, he united all
Greece in an alliance known as the Hellenic

League, or League of Corinth, with Philip
as hegemon – or supreme commander

Only Sparta stood aside

Philip began to plan a great campaign – a
Panhellenic, or all-Greek, war against the

Persian Empire Their old foe was now an ailing
superpower, its great riches ripe for the

taking

But on the eve of launching his war, Philip
was assassinated by his own bodyguard – victim

of Macedonia's brutal court rivalries

He was succeeded by his 20 year-old son Alexander:
brilliant, restless, tutored by the great

philosopher Aristotle, and already an experienced
military commander

Alexander inherited his father's grand plan
to invade Persia, but first he had to secure

his own position as king:

At home, he had potential rivals executed,
then crushed rebellions in Illyria, Thessaly,

and central Greece

He made a special example of Thebes – completely
destroying the ancient city, and selling its

people into slavery

In the spring of 334 BC, now ready to launch
his war against the Persian Empire, Alexander

led his army across the Hellespont into Asia
Minor

It was the start of one of the greatest military
campaigns in history

Alexander's army was about 40,000 strong,
drawn from all parts of Greece

The infantry were commanded by the veteran
Macedonian general Parmenion

In the front rank, 9,000 Macedonian phalangites,
armed with the 18-foot sarissa

These were professional soldiers, well-trained
and drilled, who formed up for battle in the

phalanx, 16 ranks deep

This packed formation presented a solid wall
of iron spear-tips, and was virtually unstoppable

But it was also difficult to manoeuvre, and
highly vulnerable to attacks on its flanks

or rear

So 3,000 elite infantry, the hypaspists, or
'shield-bearers', armed with shorter spears,

guarded its flanks They were commanded by
Parmenion's son, Nikanor

The second line of Alexander's army was made
up of 7,000 Greek allies and 5,000 mercenaries,

armed as hoplites They took their name from
the hoplon, their large round shield, and

carried, shorter, 8 foot spears

A hoplite phalanx was not as effective as
the Macedonian phalangites, but still well-armed

and heavily armoured for the time

The Agrianes were the army's elite skirmishers,
expert javelin-throwers from what's now southern

Bulgaria

Other skirmishers from Thrace, and Illyria,
were armed with javelins, slings and bows

The shock troops of Alexander's army were
the Companion Cavalry, 1,800 elite horsemen

armed with spear and sword, commanded by Philotas,
another son of Parmenion

Alexander led the royal squadron in person

There were also 1,800 cavalry from Thessaly,
commanded by Kallas, 600 from other parts

of Greece, led by Erigyius, and 900 mounted
scouts from Thrace and Paeonia, under Kassander

The great Persian Empire was divided into
provinces, called satrapies

Each satrapy was ruled by a governor, or satrap

Those in Asia Minor now threatened by Alexander's
invasion met to discuss strategy

Memnon of Rhodes, a skilled Greek general
in Persian service, urged them to avoid battle

with Alexander Instead, he advised them to
use a 'scorched earth' strategy – to burn

villages and crops, and withdraw to the interior
– Alexander's army, he promised, would quickly

starve

It was good advice But the satraps were unwilling
to lay waste to their own provinces without

a fight

So they decided to face Alexander's army at
the River Granicus

The Persian army formed up behind the river,
which was shallow, but 60 feet wide with steep

banks

Their front line was a wall of cavalry, about
10,000 horsemen from across the empire – Medes

and Hyrcanians from modern Iran, Bactrians
from Afghanistan, and Paphlagonians from Turkey's

Black Sea coast

Behind, in reserve, were the infantry – several
thousand Greek mercenaries, a common sight

in Persian armies at this time These men
fought for Persian gold, and were armed with

the round shield and short spear of hoplites

The Persians may have been unsure if they
could trust these men in combat against fellow

Greeks, and so placed them at the rear

Alexander, determined to attack and destroy
this Persian force before it could retreat,

raced to the Granicus with his best troops

On his left wing, he posted Thessalian, Greek
and Thracian cavalry, under Parmenion's command

In the centre, were the massed spears of the
phalanx, its six divisions commanded by Perdikkas,

Koinos, Amyntas, Philip, Meleager, and Krateros

On the right, Alexander himself, with the
Companion Cavalry under Philotas, as well

as the elite hypaspists, the Agrianes javelin-throwers,
and the archers

Alexander, with 13,000 infantry, and 5,000
cavalry in all, was probably slightly outnumbered

But ignoring advice to wait until dawn to
cross the river, he ordered an immediate assault

He sent a squadron of Companion cavalry to
ford the river, followed by a regiment of

hypaspists and the Paeonian light cavalry

Alexander, calling on his men to show their
courage, then led his right wing across the

river

As they reached the middle of the river, the
Greeks came under a hail of javelins, darts

and arrows from the Persian line Those that
made it to the far bank were immediately charged

by the Persian cavalry

Alexander was in the thick of the fighting

“he attacked where the whole mass of their
cavalry and leaders were stationed Around

him a desperate conflict raged horses were
jammed against horses and men against men,

the Macedonians striving to drive the Persians
away from the river bank, the Persians determined

to prevent them crossing and to push them
back into the river”

Alexander's attack seemed reckless, but he
was buying time for the rest of his army to

cross the river, including the irresistible
Macedonian phalanx

Then suddenly Alexander was fighting for his
life, charged by two Persian nobles

“Rhoesaces rode up to Alexander and struck
him on the head with his sword, breaking off

a piece of his helmet But the helmet broke
the force of the blow, and Alexander struck

him down with his lance Then, from behind,
Spithridates raised his sword against the

king, but Black Cleitus, son of Dropidas,
anticipated his blow, struck his arm, and

cut it off, sword and all”

Now the Greek army was across the river, and
the Persian cavalry faced a wall of Macedonian

spears Most turned and fled

The speed and shock of Alexander's attack
meant Persia's Greek mercenaries hadn't even

had time to join the battle

Alexander, in a blood-rage, or possibly regarding
these Greeks as traitors, ignored their appeals

for mercy The mercenaries were surrounded
on all sides, and massacred

Alexander had won a great victory

Asia Minor now lay at his mercy

But the Persian Empire was still a land of
immense wealth and power Already it was mobilising

its vast resources to face him

If Alexander was to conquer this empire and
take his place in history, he'd next have

to face Darius, King of Kings, himself

In 334 BC, Alexander, the 21 year old king
of Macedonia, led a coalition of Greek forces

against the greatest power of the age – the
Persian Empire

He led an army of skilled veterans – at
its heart, men of the Macedonian phalanx,

armed with the 18 foot sarissa pike, and the
elite horsemen of his Companion Cavalry

Together, at the Battle of the River Granicus,
they'd won a first decisive victory over the

Persian army

Now, as Alexander approached Sardis, capital
of the Persian province of Lydia, its commander

surrendered without a fight

But before Alexander could advance further,
he needed to neutralise Persian naval power

Persia had a powerful fleet, with major naval
bases around the eastern Mediterranean – that

could potentially cut his lines of communication
back to Greece

Rather than challenge the Persians at sea,
Alexander decided to attack their nearest

bases: the Greek coastal cities of Miletus
and Halicarnassus

Both put up determined resistance, but were
taken by winter

The following spring of 333 BC, Alexander
continued his advance into Lycia and Phrygia

At Gordium, he was shown the legendary 'Gordian
Knot' – a prophesy said that whoever could

unpick it would rule all Asia

Alexander simply took his sword, and sliced
it in half

Meanwhile Memnon of Rhodes, a skilled Greek
general in Persian service, led Persian warships

into the Aegean, and captured the islands
of Chios and Lesbos

But after Memnon's sudden death from illness,
the offensive was abandoned

18 months had passed since Alexander's army
crossed the Hellespont and invaded the Persian

Empire

Now Alexander led his men into Cilicia
and was soon poised to cross the Nur Mountains

into Syria

But then the main Persian army, led by King
Darius III himself, emerged behind the Greek

army, to the north

Darius was determined to trap and destroy
Alexander's army, which he outnumbered almost

2 to 1

So he blocked Alexander's only escape route,
by moving his army to the coastal plain near

Issus, just 6 miles wide from mountains to
sea

The narrow battlefield would force Alexander
to fight, but it also prevented Darius exploiting

his huge numerical advantage

His army, by some estimates, was up to 100,000
strong, and contained some of the finest soldiers

in his vast empire – including 10,000 of his
own household troops, known as the Immortals

His best cavalry were massed on his right,
towards the sea, where the ground was better

for horses His best infantry, his Greek mercenary
hoplites, formed the centre

Persian infantry formed his left wing

Alexander deployed his own army for battle,
once again entrusting his left wing, nearest

the sea, to Parmenion, with the Greek cavalry
and infantry

In the centre, as always, was the Macedonian
phalanx

Alexander positioned himself and his best
troops on the right wing, toward the mountain

slopes – his elite Agriane javelin-throwers,
his archers, and behind them, the Hypaspists

and the Companion cavalry

When Alexander saw the strength of the Persian
cavalry facing Parmenion on the left, he moved

across his Thessalian cavalry to reinforce
him

Despite his overwhelming numbers, Darius held
his position behind a small river, the Pinarus,

and waited for Alexander to attack

He didn't have to wait long

Alexander called out to his men, urging them
to fight bravely, picking out some by name

Then, at the head of his army's right wing,
he charged

Once again, the speed and shock of the Macedonian
advance sent the enemy reeling back

But in the centre of the battlefield, the
Macedonian phalanx was in trouble In its

effort to keep up with Alexander, its formation
had become disordered

Now, in fierce fighting, with Darius's Greek
mercenaries, the phalanx was slowly being

driven back

Alexander, seeing the danger, regrouped, and
led the Companions in a headlong charge straight

at the Persian centre The Greek mercenaries,
threatened on their flank, were soon in disarray,

and the Macedonian phalanx was able to resume
its advance

Alexander fought his way towards the Great
King, Darius himself

Rather than face this apparently mad and fearless
Macedonian king, Darius fled the battlefield

in his royal chariot

Meanwhile the Macedonian left wing, under
Parmenion, was in a desperate fight against

the best of the Persian cavalry If the Persians
could break through here, they could envelop

Alexander's army, and snatch victory from
the jaws of defeat

But Parmenion and his troops fought doggedly,
and continued to hold the Persians at bay

As the news that Darius had fled spread among
his troops, they abandoned the fight, and

tried to save themselves

The battle turned into a massacre

Ptolemy, one of the Macedonian commanders,
told Alexander there were so many Persian

dead, his men had used them to fill a deep
ravine, so they could cross over it

The Battle of Issus was a stunning victory
for Alexander

And amongst the spoils of victory, were Darius's
wife, mother, and three children, all taken

alive, and well treated by Alexander

With the Persian field army in retreat, Alexander
now turned to subduing the western territories

of the Persian empire The next year, 332,
the coastal cities of Phoenicia submitted

to Alexander – ending Persian naval power
in the Mediterranean

But the island-city of Tyre resisted

Tyre's defenders fought bravely and skilfully
– even when Alexander began building a causeway

to the island, protected by two giant siege
towers which they counter-attacked with

fire ships

But after seven months, the city walls were
breached, and Tyre fell Most of its citizens

were killed or enslaved

Gaza too was taken by siege

Alexander continued to Pelusium, on the Nile
Delta, where the Persian governor of Egypt

surrendered the entire province to Alexander,
along with the royal treasury

At Memphis, priests of this ancient land welcomed
Alexander as their liberator from Persian

rule, and crowned him Pharaoh

At the mouth of the Nile, he founded a new
city, Alexandria then travelled to the

desert oracle of Siwah, where, according to
some accounts, the priests welcomed him as

son of Amun, king of the gods

Alexander returned east to Tyre where in
331 BC, he received news of trouble back home

Despite his great victories over the Persians,
many Greeks regarded Alexander as a tyrant

King Agis of Sparta, with Persian support,
now launched a revolt against Macedonia

Antipater, Alexander's commander in Greece,
was already dealing with rebellion in Thrace

But he quickly marched south and met Agis
in battle near the city of Megalopolis

Even the legendary Spartans were now no match
for Macedonian military power

The Spartan army was crushed

King Agis himself was among the fallen

With his base in Greece secure once more,
Alexander advanced towards the Persian heartlands,

seeking a final showdown with Darius

He received a letter from the Persian king,
offering him a fortune in gold, his daughter

in marriage, and half his empire in exchange
for peace

But Alexander's stunning victories, all the
oracles and acclamations, had now convinced

him that his destiny was to rule the world

He rejected the Persian king's offer He didn't
want half the empire – he was coming to take

it all

In 334 BC, Alexander, 21 year-old ruler of
the small Greek kingdom of Macedonia, led

an invasion of the vast Persian Empire

It seemed impossible odds, but thanks to Greek
military dominance, and Alexander's fearless

leadership, he won two great battles against
the Persians… at the River Granicus, and

at Issus

Having subdued Persian lands west of the Euphrates
River, he now headed east into the empire's

heartlands, seeking a final showdown with
the Persian King, Darius III

Receiving news that a great Persian army,
led by Darius, had assembled at Gaugemela,

near modern Mosul in Iraq – he made straight
for it

This was Darius's last chance to stop Alexander
– and Alexander's chance to smash Persian

power once and for all

Darius had chosen to fight on open ground,
where his advantage in numbers would be more

telling

His soldiers had also worked hard to clear
and flatten the terrain, to make it suitable

for Persian war chariots

By modern estimates, the Persian Army was
between 50 and 80,000 strong, and made up

of contingents from across the empire:

infantry from Syria and Babylonia

cavalry from Armenia, India and Central Asia

up to 200 scythed chariots even a handful
of war elephants

Alexander's army was smaller, and may have
been outnumbered by as much as two to one

He deployed his units in their usual formation:

On the left flank, Thracian and Thessalian
cavalry, commanded by Parmenion

In the centre, the Macedonian veterans of
the phalanx – each armed with their 18 foot

sarissa pike

On the right flank, Alexander with his elite
cavalry, the Companions; and his best infantry,

the hypaspists These were the units with
which Alexander planned to launch his main

attack

Greek hoplites formed a second line, and supported
both wings – which were angled back, to

guard against encirclement by the Persians

The battle began when Alexander led his wing
out to the right – a move that took the

Persians by surprise

Could Alexander really be trying to encircle
their huge army?

The Persians mirrored his movement, taking
troops away from their centre, to outflank

Alexander, and prevent him leaving the area
they'd cleared for the Persian chariots

But Alexander's unusual manoeuvre was a trap
– to entice the Persians to weaken their centre

When he saw that it had worked, he ordered
his Greek cavalry to charge, to keep the Persians

fixed in position

A giant cavalry battle developed on the right
wing

Darius, meanwhile, judging this to be the
decisive moment, unleashed his chariots But

expert Agrianes javelin-throwers took out
horses and crews – while the Greek infantry

opened lanes, allowing the chariots to pass
harmlessly through

Now Alexander led his Companion cavalry, and
parts of the Macedonian phalanx, in a headlong

charge straight at the weakened Persian centre,
fighting his way towards Darius himself

The sudden ferocity of Alexander's assault
threw the Persians into panic – the centre

of the army broke and ran – King Darius himself
leading the rout

But Alexander's left wing was in serious trouble
– Parmenion, facing a huge onslaught by

Persian cavalry, was virtually surrounded
– Indian and Scythian horsemen had even ridden

through a gap in the Greek line – but rather
than wheeling and attacking the Greeks from

behind, they'd carried straight on to loot
their camp

Parmenion sent a desperate appeal to Alexander
for help

The King abandoned his pursuit of Darius,
regrouped, and charged the Persian right wing

It was the hardest and bloodiest fighting
of the battle – claiming the lives of sixty

of Alexander's Companions

Finally, as news of Darius's flight spread
across the battlefield, the last Persian horsemen

turned and fled

The Battle of Gaugamela was a stunning and
complete victory for Alexander

According to ancient sources, he lost just
a few hundred men, while the Persians lost

thousands

Alexander had routed Darius's great army,
and now the road to Babylon – the empire's

main capital – lay open

The Macedonian king entered the great city
in triumph, recognised by Persian officials

as its new rightful ruler

So too at the city of Susa, where Alexander
ceremonially took his seat upon the royal

throne of Persia

In the Zagros mountains, at a pass known as
the Persian Gates, a courageous Persian force

held up Alexander's army for a month

The Greeks eventually found a mountain path
that bypassed their position, allowing them

to encircle and wipe out the defenders

In early 330 BC, Alexander reached Persepolis,
the empire's ceremonial capital

Alexander wanted to appear as a liberator
to the Persians – as a legitimate successor

to King Darius – but now, he ordered Persepolis
to be pillaged and burnt – retribution for

the Persian invasion of Greece, and the burning
of Athens' sacred temples in 480 BC

Alexander now headed north into Media, where
Darius had taken refuge in the royal city

of Ecbatana Alexander was determined to capture
Darius – but the fugitive king fled east

in the hope of raising a new army in the provinces
of Parthia, Bactria, and Sogdia

It was not to be As Alexander closed in,
the Persian king was murdered by one of his

own governors, Bessus, who then proclaimed
himself the empire’s new ruler

Alexander gave orders for Darius to be buried
in the royal tombs of Persepolis, alongside

his ancestors

Then he paused to organise his vast new empire

Alexander appointed viceroys to rule the provinces
on his behalf, keeping several Persians – who

had sworn loyalty – in their posts He also
allowed Greek troops, who wished, to return

home

Then he resumed his march east

His goal: to find and kill the usurper Bessus

subjugate the empire's eastern provinces

and reach the far edge of the world

In 330 BC, Alexander continued his march east

His goal: to find and kill Bessus – a Persian
usurper, claiming to be the rightful king

– and to subjugate the empire's eastern
provinces

Alexander headed first for Aria, today part
of Afghanistan, where the Persian governor

Satibarzanes had launched a revolt – after
initially pretending to submit to Alexander

The rebellion was crushed, and Satibarzanes
killed in single combat by a Greek cavalry

officer

Nearby, Alexander founded the city of Alexandria
Ariana, modern Herat – one of around a dozen

cities that Alexander would eventually found,
almost all bearing his name

Alexander marched on to Phrada

The Macedonian court had a long tradition
of plots and assassination Six years before,

Alexander's own father, King Philip, had been
murdered by his bodyguard

He was now informed that Philotas, commander
of his Companion Cavalry, had uncovered a

plot to assassinate Alexander, but kept it
secret

Philotas, and his father Parmenion, were among
the most respected of Alexander's commanders,

and had played crucial roles in all his great
victories

But when Philotas confessed under torture,
Alexander had him executed then sent assassins

back to Ecbatana, where Parmenion was governor,
to kill him before he even heard of his son's

death, and had a chance to turn against Alexander

In 329, Alexander resumed his pursuit of Bessus

En route, he founded the city of Alexandria
Arachosia – modern Kandahar, in southern

Afghanistan

As he reached Kunduz, Bessus was betrayed
by his own men, and handed over in chains

Alexander sent him back to Persia for execution,
as a king-slayer

Alexander pushed on into modern Tajikistan,
where the Sogdians rose up against him He

had to fight off attacks by local tribes,
and take several towns by assault

On the banks of the Jaxartes River, he founded
the city of Alexandria-Eschate, meaning Alexandria

'the Furthest' – so-named because he had,
at last, reached the limit of the Persian

Empire

This frontier was frequently raided by nomads,
known to the Greeks as Scythians

Alexander lured them into a decisive battle
near the Jaxartes The result was a crushing

victory for the Macedonian king, that put
an end to the raids

But fighting against Bactrian and Sogdian
tribes continued, frustrating Alexander, and

tying him down in a difficult guerilla war

By now, many of the Macedonian troops were
unhappy with Alexander Most had not seen

their homes in years, but their king seemed
bent on conquest without end What was worse,

he'd begun to adopt the rituals and dress
of their defeated Persian enemy – customs

they viewed as effeminate, and decadent

At Maracanda, modern Samarkand, after a furious,
drunken argument, Alexander killed Cleitus

the Black

Cleitus had been one of Alexander's best generals,
and the man who'd saved his life at the Battle

of the Granicus

Alexander was full of remorse, but his growing
arrogance was alienating more and more old

comrades

When he tried to make his countrymen perform
the traditional Persian ritual of proskynesis

– prostrating themselves before the king
– he crossed a line

To Greeks this was blasphemy – only a god
was worthy of such respect – and Alexander

was forced to back down

In Bactria, another plot to assassinate Alexander
was uncovered This time the ringleader was

a royal page – one of the sons of Macedonian
nobility who attended the king Hermolaus

had become murderously bitter towards Alexander
over a perceived injustice He and his accomplices

were tortured, and then stoned to death

Callisthenes, Alexander's official historian,
was also implicated in the conspiracy He

was thrown in prison, where he later died

That summer, in 327 – according to legend
– Alexander became captivated by the beauty

of Roxana, daughter of a Bactrian lord

Their marriage was also a sound political
move, helping to end local revolt against

his rule – and allowing him to continue
his advance into modern Pakistan, and India

Alexander now prepared to subdue the Persian
Empire's most eastern provinces, which had

yet to recognise his kingship

To do so he would first have to cross the
Hindu Kush mountains and reach the Indus river

valley

Advancing in two columns, his army won a series
of skirmishes against the Aspasii and Assaceni,

as they fought their way into what's now the
Swat Valley of northern Pakistan

After a fierce siege, Alexander took the Assacenian
capital of Massaga

According to legend it was ruled by a beautiful
queen, Cleophis, who bore Alexander a son,

and was allowed to keep her throne

The ruler of Taxila, near modern Islamabad,
had formed an alliance with Alexander

Together they marched to face Porus, king
of Pauravas, at the Battle of the Hydaspes

It was Alexander's costliest battle, as Porus's
war elephants inflicted terrible casualties

amongst the Greeks

But despite Porus's fearless leadership, the
battle ended in a decisive victory for Alexander,

winning him control of the Punjab

Alexander wanted to push on into India, to
reach the great river which ancient Greek

geographers said formed the edge of the world

But at the River Hyphasis, known today as
the Beas, his army mutinied

His men had marched thousands of miles, fought
countless battles, and not seen their homes

in 8 years They'd heard rumours of gigantic
armies waiting for them in India

They refused to go any further

Alexander was furious, but had to turn the
army around

He followed the rivers of the Punjab to the
sea – a journey that took 10 months On

the way, he defeated the Mahlians, but while
leading the assault on their capital, was

wounded in the chest and nearly killed

On reaching the coast, part of the army, under
Nearchus, boarded ships, and returned to Persia

by sea sailing through the Straits of
Hormuz and entering the Persian Gulf

It was one of the great ancient voyages of
exploration, as these waters had been previously

unknown to Greeks

Meanwhile Alexander led the rest of the army
back by land through the Gedrosian desert,

today in southern Pakistan But extreme heat
and shortages of food and water led to terrible

suffering, and many deaths among his army

On his return to Persia, Alexander executed
several of his viceroys and governors – men

accused of ruling unjustly, and robbing temples
and tombs, during his long absence in the

east

At Susa, he arranged a magnificent mass-marriage
of Macedonian officers to 80 Persian noblewomen,

to strengthen bonds between his two kingdoms

Alexander himself married two Persian princesses

He also paid all his soldiers debts, and ordered
30,000 youths from across the empire to be

trained in the Macedonian art of war

But at Opis, his Macedonian troops mutinied
They were offended by Alexander's apparent

preference for Persian advisors and Persian
ways Alexander had the ringleaders executed,

and made a speech to the men, reminding them
of the glories they'd won together, and leading

eventually to an emotional reconciliation

At Ecbatana, Alexander's closest and most
trusted friend, Hephaestion, died of fever

The king was grief stricken, went days without
eating, and ordered a period of public mourning

across the empire

Alexander waged a successful campaign against
the mountain raiders of Cossaea, who not even

the Persian kings had been able to subdue

Returning to Babylon, he was met by embassies
from distant peoples, come to recognise his

greatness – Aethiopians, Libyans, European
Scythians, Lucanians, Etruscans, Gauls and

Iberians

Alexander's Bactrian wife Roxana was now pregnant

But as he planned his next campaign, to Arabia
and beyond, he developed a sudden fever, and

died days later, aged just 32

The cause of Alexander's death has never been
established It may have been malaria, cholera,

typhus or poison

Alexander died undefeated in battle His reputation
as a brilliant, fearless and daring military

commander remains undimmed

His decade long campaign created one of the
largest empires ever known, stretching from

Greece to Pakistan

But it was vast and unstable, held together
only by his own brilliance and name

Alexander left no plans for his succession,
and his generals soon began fighting among

themselves to carve out their own empires

In the Wars of the Successors, Alexander's
widow Roxana and his young son were murdered

His own gold sarcophagus, en route to Macedonia
for burial was hijacked, and ended up in Alexandria,

in Egypt

Today, it's location remains one of the world's
great unsolved mysteries

Few men have ever had such an impact on the
course of history as Alexander the Great

The breath-taking achievements of his short
life ushered in the Hellenistic Age, as Greek

ideas spread across the territory of his former
empire, fusing with local traditions to trigger

new developments in art, science, government
and language

Some of the successor kingdoms to his great
empire were short-lived – others endured

for centuries but all, in turn, would fall
to new forces and in the west, to the rising

power of Rome

Research and artwork for this video comes
from Osprey Publishing's extensive range of

books on ancient history
Every Osprey book examines a particular battle,

campaign or combat unit in authoritative,
meticulous detail

And with more than 3,000 titles, they cover
everything from ancient warfare to modern

conflict
Visit their website to see their online catalogue

Thank you to all the Patreon supporters who
made this video possible, and to the channel

‘Invicta’ – find out more about key
moments from the past in their ‘Moments

in History’ series

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