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Alexander was a young pupil of Aristotle when he was born, the son of King Philip II. He succeeded his deceased father as king by winning the favor of the Macedonian Army and putting an end to those who opposed him assuming the throne. He is regarded as the best general and military strategist who ever lived, and under his leadership, the Greek Empire grew to become the biggest at the time. This essay accurately analyzes the Persian wars and their effects on the society at the time because Alexander is best known for crushing the Persian Empire. Alexander’s invasion of Persia was motivated by the desire to fulfill his father’s dream of conquering the Persian Empire. In the book Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great by Bosworth (1993), the Persians attacked Hellas in 480/79 B.C, and they held control of some of the Greek cities. By invading Persia, Alexander would be perceived as the savior of Hellenism cementing his political power as well as carrying out revenge on behalf of his father, Philip. The author, Bosworth is a leading historian with many publications on the history of Alexander the Great, and this source can be used to support a historical debate. The purpose is to provide a detailed account of the campaigns of Alexander and focus on the effect of his leadership on world civilization. Of greater significance is that Alexander wanted to extend the boundaries of the Kingdom of Macedon and to control the Persian trade routes in the Mediterranean World was crucial to his vision.
Alexander’s onslaught against Persia started in 334 BC when the army took the Thracian route and crossed the Hellespont. In the Anabasis of Alexander 1:11-16 by Arrian of Nicodemia published in the second AD, Alexander gave Antipater control in Greece and Macedonia and led a troop of a maximum of 35,000 armed and cavalrymen to war. Arrian of Nicodemia was a Greek historian in the 2nd A.D., and The Anabasis provides a detailed account of Alexander’s conquest of the Persian Empire. It is a credible source because it gives a full and reliable account of the chronological history of the Persian war.
Alexander was able to land in Granicus but the issue may historians have asked why the Persians did not stop their landing given their superior army and sea power. From the seventeenth Book of Diodorus written between 60 and 30 BC, the Persians prevented the Crossing of Macedonia because they had gathered all their forces and their plan was to engage in battle at the banks of the Granicus River. Diodorus was a Greek historian who prepared a library of over 40 books on the universal history of Greece between 60 and 30 BC. The XVII book provides a narrative of the history of Alexander the Great, and the account is credible and valid because it draws from the work of many previous authors. An assessment of the situation shows that a Persian army would not have prevented the landing of Alexander because the Persian commanders would have to know the particular location on the beach where the Macedonians would land. In such a situation, the leaders became lax, and the thought of stopping Alexander and his army never crossed their minds.
The Battle of Granicus was the first of many fights that Alexander the great waged against the Persians. According to Arrian’s account, a furious battle ensued with the Macedonian’s striving to drive the Persians away from the bank into the plain while the Persians were trying to ensure that Alexander and his army do not leave the river bank. The Persians suffered a massive defeat with over a thousand cavalrymen dead, 2000 prisoners taken, and the Greek commander Memnon escaping. Diodorus narrative is different because he proposes that Alexander’s army moved during the darkness, deceiving the Persians by leaving their campfires ablaze, and found a suitable hiding ground making the Persians retreat. An analysis of this battle reveals that the experience, strength and superior cornel-wood spears used by the Macedonians were crucial to their victory.
The battle of Granicus had a significant effect on the civilization at that time. Alexander allowed the Greek cities of Asia Minor to become democratic governments and they would become members of the Hellenic League. The Greek influence further spread and along with it, cities were founded, money minted, and Greek art and sciences gained in popularity at the time. Alexander monetary reforms where he abolished the Persian gold standard and introduced silver currency.
The second battle was the battle of Issus which occurred in 333 BC. A significant event before this fight was the passing of the Persian mercenary, Memnon, and the implication is that the enemy was weakened and low in morale. Darius III, the Persian King, was waiting for additional men from Babylon and Alexander awaited him at Issus. Tarn (1948), in his book Alexander the Great: Volume I, Narrative points out that the Persians numbered 600,000 while the Greeks were 30,000. Tarn is ancient historian whose interests lie in the Hellenistic world, and his publications were the first to evoke further research and debate on the life of Alexander the great. The purpose of this book is to provide a compelling account on the major achievements of Alexander. During this battle, Alexander main aim was to capture Darius III, but he escaped leaving the Macedonians to be victorious. The battle was the beginning of the demise of the Persian Empire and their power over the Mediterranean.
The final significant battle was the Battle of Gaugamela, 331 BC. From his two earlier defeats, Darius III sought for more reinforcements, and he had 200,000 frontline cavalrymen compared to 35,000 Macedonians. Green (1992) in work Alexander the Great describes the genius of Alexander to invent a tactical plan like no other to reduce the numerical disadvantage that faced his army. Green is renowned for the clarity of his works on Alexander the Great as well as the history of the Hellenistic age, and he has a numerous number of publications that make him an author who can support a historical debate.
During the battle, Alexander ordered the cavalry to move towards the right to draw the Persians away from the center, and then he would attack the weakened Persian center. The ground was flat favoring the enemy, but by drawing them to the flanks, they ended up on the rocky ground where Macedonians had the upper hand. Darius III after seeing the army had been defeated again, fled while Alexander went into Babylon and his conquest extended into the Far East.
After conquering the Persians, Alexander controlled the greatest empire in ancient world history. Alexander is credited to have formed over seventy cities, and all these were crucial for spreading the influence of Hellenism. The reign of Alexander the Great transformed Greece and the most parts of Asia up to the Mesopotamian Frontier into a classical civilization with new ideas on art, culture and the composition of the government. An analysis of the cities formed reveals Greek art inform of sculptures, pottery, and architectural monuments marveled at all over the world. Alexander the Great made a contribution to the spread of the democratic form of government. Alexander permitted direct democracy in each city conquered, applying the system of the majority vote to rule the citizens. All Greek adult males gained citizenship, a code of laws was introduced, and citizens were free to bring acts of wrongdoing and get justice.
Bosworth, Albert. Conquest And Empire: The Reign Of Alexander The Great. 1st ed. Cambridge University Press, 1993
Briant, Pierre. From Cyrus To Alexander: A History Of The Persian Empire. 1st ed. Eisenbrauns, 2002
Diodorus, Sicukus. BOOK XVII(Beginning). Loeb Classical Library edition, 1963, n.d. Accessed March 7, 2017. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/e/roman/texts/diodorus_siculus/17a*.html
Green, Peter. Alexander The Great. 2nd ed. Alexander the Great, 1993
Tarn, William. Alexander The Great: Volume 1, Narrative. 1st ed. Cambridge, England., 1948
The Anabasis Of Alexander, n.d. Accessed March 7, 2017. http://www.johndclare.net/AncientHistory/Alexander_Sources3.html
Thornton, Larry. Alexander The Great And Hellenization. Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary, 1973. Accessed March 7, 2017. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/cbtj/04-1_025.pdf.
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