Alexander III, or Alexander the Great, born in Pella in 356 BC, King of Macedon, tutored by Aristotle till the age of sixteen, is known as one of the most successful military commandants of all time. His empire, at its height, stretched from the Ionian Sea to The Himalayas.
After Philip II was assassinated by the captain of his bodyguard, his son Alexander was proclaimed King. The death of Philip II led to many rebellions in the state which were quickly doused by Alexander.
He did this as it was necessary for him to safeguard his kingdom before setting out on his journey to conquer the world. For the same reason, before crossing to Asia, in the spring of 335 BC he quenched another revolt which was led by the Illyrians and Triballi.
Alexander ultimately defeated by force, Cleitus, King of Illyria, and King Glaukias of the Taulanti, both of whom revolted openly against him. This victory now made Alexander’s northern boundaries secure.
At the same time, the Thebans and Athenians rose once again against Alexander, resulting in Thebes being razed to the ground in a bloody battle, and the territory divided among other Boeotian cities.
In the same year, Alexander crossed Hellespont into Asia, and then fought with the army of Darius in the Battle of The Granicus River in the May of 334 BC. This army was led by Memnon of Rhodes, a Greek Mercenary, who aligned himself with the Persians. This battle was won by Alexander using clever military tactics.
Persian chariots, known to be deadly in war, were overcome easily as Alexander drew the battle to the river bank where the chariots became useless.
Once the threat of the Persian Army was overcome, Alexander moved towards the Persian Navy, which was a constant threat to him.
This was followed by the Siege of Halicarnassus, where it is said that Alexander met the former Queen of Halicarnassus; Ada of Caria, and formed an emotional bond with her, wherein he considered her to be more of a mother than his biological mother Olympias.
To win this Battle Alexander had sent spies into the walled city, and after almost losing the battle he managed to get in the city. Memnon, after realisisng that the city could not be salvaged, set fire to it, and withdrew his army. Ada now adopted Alexander, thus ensuring that after her death the kingdom would be under Alexander.
After this was the Battle of Syria, the victory of which found its way through the recklessness of Darius; when he ordered the execution of his only competent General, Karademas, over an argument.
Karedamas wanted to lead Darius’s army instead of Darius, because he thought it was too dangerous for Darius and because he believed himself to be superior owing to his Greek blood.
After reaching Mount Taurus, by crossing a narrow defile, which wasn’t guarded well by the Persians, Alexander jumped into a river, as he and his army hadn’t seen water for over one hundred and thirty kilometres.
The water was so cold that Alexander suffered a cramp and was pulled out of the water almost dead, and later developed pneumonia, which none on his physicians agreed to treat, fearing they’d be held responsible if he died. He was finally treated by a physician Philip.
After this, Darius decided to take matters in his own hands and cut off the line of supply to the Greek Army. But foolishly, Darius staged the battle near the mouth of the Pinarus River, losing the numerical advantage he had over Alexander’s army.
After some initial difficulties for the Greek army due to Alexander choosing difficult ground, Alexander mounted his beloved horse Bucephalus and led the army in a direct assault against Darius.
Darius’s horses were injured after which he fled and the Battle of Issus was won by Alexander in Anatolia, in the November of 333 BC. This was the first time the Persian Army was defeated under the leadership of its king.
Scared for his life, Darius sent a diplomatic letter to Alexander, to which Alexander replied by blaming Darius for the death of this father, and claiming that he would pursue Darius and kill him if he disputed Alexander’s claim to the Empire. It was at this point that Alexander revealed for the first time his intentions to conquer the entire Persian Empire.
Tyre, located on the Mediterranean Coast, was the only remaining strategic coastal base of the Persian Empire. After Alexander was refused to offer sacrifices to the God Melqart, God of the people of Tyre, he offered a peace treaty one last time, which was taken as a sign of weakness by the Tyrians, who then killed his envoys.
A plan of Alexander to build a kilometre long causeway to the island of Tyre, previously rejected, was now taken up and completed, once again showcasing Alexander’s brilliant knowledge of warfare and engineering.
Unfortunately though, this causeway was burnt down by the Tyrians. But as fate would have it, eighty Persian ships, who returned to find their states aligned to Alexander and one hundred and twenty Cyprian ships(they had heard of his victory and wanted to join him), came under Alexander’s command, leading to his victory in the Siege of Tyre. It is also said that Alexander took thirty thousand Tyrians as slaves.
Batis, a fearsome warrior, was the commander of the fortress of Gaza, who defended it thrice against Alexander. The fourth time Alexander won the assault, but not before receiving a serious shoulder wound.
According to a Roman historian, Alexander treated Batis the same way as Achilles had treated Hector, by forcing a rope through Batis’s ankles, and dragging him alive by a chariot.
After the Siege of Gaza, Alexander was welcomed by the Egyptians, by being offered the throne and being called the reincarnation of Ra and Osiris (Egyptian Gods). He left the construction of Alexandria under the Egyptians, who had always hated the Persians.
In the meanwhile Darius was amassing a large army to defeat Alexander, and had the advantage of much feared war elephants, and numbers, though his average man could not equal any of Alexander’s troops in warfare.
In 331 BC, in what is now northern Iraq, the Battle of Gaugamela happened. Alexander once again put forth his best warfare techniques and defeated the much larger army of Darius. This is considered as perhaps the best of Alexander’s victories.
Darius, who had fled east hoping to raise another army from his eastern provinces, was finally found by one of Alexander’s scouts, dying, as he had been stabbed. He was then buried, on Alexander’s orders, next to his Achaemenid predecessors in a full military funeral.
Now, Persepolis was the last state to be conquered, and before it lay the easily ambushed pass, called the Persian Gate. Not expecting much of a fight after his last victory, Alexander led a part of his army to the Persian Gate, and once they had covered quite some distance, they fell into an ambush.
Alexander lost entire platoons at this point, but after a month he managed to circle the Persian Army and thus defeat them. Four months after the Battle of Persian Gates, Alexander ordered loot of Persepolis, and the city caught fire, possibly as an act of revenge for burning of Athens during the Second Greco-Persian war.
In 327 BC, Alexander started a series of invasions against various Indian Kings, as he wanted to conquer the whole world, which in his days, ended on the eastern shores of India. This paved way for
The Siege of The Sogdian Rock, located north of Bactria. This fortress held the wife and daughters of Oxyartes of Bactria, and was eventually impregnated by men hired to climb to the fortress.
It is said that Alexander instantly fell in love with Roxana, a daughter of Oxyartes, and married her. After this Alexander turned towards the India Sub continent and asked all chieftains of Gandhara to submit to him.
While Ambhi (Omphis), the ruler of a kingdom from Indus to Jhelum, submitted to Alexander, the Asvakas clans did not. As a result, Alexander led a conquest against these clans in the winter of 327/326 BC.
This conquest was a bloody one, wherein Alexander was once seriously injured in the shoulder and once in the ankle. At last he conquered the fortress of Aornos, in what is today called Swat.
It said that here in battle with these Indian tribes, Alexander had at last found the challenge he was looking for. After this he crossed the Indus and fought the famous Battle of The Hydaspes, against King Puru (Porus) of Hindu Paurava Kingdom.
This was the costliest battle for the Macedonians and Alexander was so impressed by Porus that he offered to make an alliance with him and appoint him as satrap.
This was the last battle that Alexander fought, as his army was too scared to meet the massive and ferocious armies of the Nanda Empire and the Gangaridai Empire waiting for them across the river Ganga.
Alexander tried hard to convince his army to fight bit all in vain. In 321 BC Chandragupta Maurya, under the advice and training of Chanakya, founded the Maurya Empire, and overthrew the remaining Greek satraps.
Not much later, in 323 BC, on his way back, Alexander died at a young age of thirty two, in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon.