Alexander The Great

336-323BC (13)

Alexander III ( 20.7. 356 BC Pella - 10.6. 323 BC Babylon), The Great (actually a man of 1.60 m to 1.65 m according to Plutarch). Some suppose that he died in Babylon from Malaria, coming from the words “Mala Aria” or bad air as the Romans described the cause of this disease. Other say he died from encephalitis by the West Nile virus. The Macedonians were considered a kind of semi-barbarians by the other Greeks, but finally Alexander helped to expand the Greek civilization that was already weak after so many wars.

All mortals should live like one, united, and peacefully working towards the common good. You should regard the whole world as your country, a country where the best govern, with common laws, and no racial distinctions. I do not separate people, as many narrow-minded others do. I am not interested in the origin or race of citizens; I only distinguish them on the basis of their virtue. For my part, I consider all, whether they be white or black, equal. Alexander The Great.

Darius leaves with horror the battlefield. He cannot believe that his huge army cannot resist the small army of the young Alexander. What is less known is that Alexander had to fight against Greek mercenaries fighting for Darius. From a Lecture: “The battle opened with Alexander leading the heavy cavalry over the river and charging the left wing of the enemy. This furious assault caved in that section of the Persian line and caused them to waver. Alexander received a deep thigh wound in the process. Meanwhile, other parts of the Macedonian line were not doing as well. The phalanx entered the river under a hail of spears, and upon reaching the opposite bank it was assailed from above by the Greek mercenaries of the Persian center. But Alexander’s assault had carried with it the right portion of the phalanx and when the Macedonian center could not make contact, the phalanx broke in two. The Greek mercenaries pushed forward in the furious fighting and forced the Macedonians back into the river. The outcome of the battle was momentarily in doubt until Alexander was able to clear the left and wheel his cavalry to strike the Greek mercenaries in flank and rout them.“ Many Athenians, Thebans, or Greek mercenaries of the Persian army who were againsts Alexander the Great died. The most famous was Demosthenes.

Surprisingly his death probably was helpful in that his idea of a Universal Culture would reduce the influence of Greek culture. Philip II Macedon asked Aristotle when he was 39 years old to be the teacher of Alexander. Aristotle was not only one of the greatest scientists ever, he had also a great influence indirectly on Alexander; even if Alexander was 13 years old when Aristotle started his work as his teacher. I believe that in the 3 years which Aristotle remained in Macedonia he was able to influence his student before he returned back to Athens where he established his own Academy, the Lyceum. Alexander understood that science and knowledge is not only important for the strength of his army. Alexander therefore included in his army also scientists, engineers and historians. According to Plutarch Alexander had a violent thirst and passion for learning, which increased as time went on…He was a lover of all kinds of reading and knowledge, and it was his delight, after a day of marching or fighting, to sit up half the night conversing with scholars and scientists. Alexander provided financial support (and protection) for Aristotle's Lyceum that he opened returning back in Athens. Did Aristotle tell Alexander that the Persian Empire was so weak because it was only necessary to kill Darius, the Persian Emperor, to conquer Persia?

With the advent of World War II, yet another transformation took place. The scientist, who had before only concerned himself with the development of advanced equipment, then started to involve himself in operational matters, advising soldiers on how operational problems should be handled. This was the beginning of what came to be called operational research, or operational analysis, which grew in such a tremendous fashion since the development of the electronic computer which allowed the mathematical testing of virtually any complex situation, real or unreal, provided it can be set out in qualitative terms. This concept seems, however, to be another one of those ancient ideas which have disappeared from view. There are some that consider the philosophers who accompanied Alexander the Great in his conquests to be the precursors of today's operational analysts. Ulysses R. Gotera Impacts of Science and Technology on War

Alexander the Great at an age of 20 started 334 BC the war against Persia. 35000 Macedonian and Greek “professional” soldiers in battles at the Granikus, Issus defeated the Persian armed forces of Darius III. Alexander stormed the fortified city port of Tyre in modern Lebanon, seizing the city after a siege of seven months (Alexander had a dream that Heracles invited him into Tyre and Aristander's interpretation was that to take Tyre it requires a Herculean effort). The punishment of the population was terrible: 8000 men killed (2000 crucified on the beach and left to decompose) 30000 women and children taken as slaves.

Darius offered Alexander 10000 talents and territory to Alexander to stop the war. Parmenion a friend of Alexander said “I would accept if I were Alexander”. Alexander's reply: “So would I, were I Parmenion”. Alexander captured Gaza and in quick succession occupied Egypt.

Cyrene, the capital of the ancient North African kingdom of Cyrenaica, submitted to Alexander soon afterwards, extending his dominion to the lands of the city of Carthage, where his troops set up a ruling aristocracy (and from whom ultimately the great General Hannibal would emerge to test the Roman Empire some 200 years later)

Alexander drew up reinforcements and with an army of 40000 infantrymen and 7000 cavalry, marched on Babylon. Crossing the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, he met the Persian King Darius once again, who had drawn up a new army outnumbering Alexander's forces.

At the Battle of Gaugamela, on 1 October, 331 BC, Alexander once again beat Darius, who fled and was killed by two of his own generals. The city of Babylon then surrendered and Alexander occupied the Persian capital city of Persepolis. Within three years, Alexander had occupied a huge stretch of land, and all resistance crumbled before his ruthless Nordic army. His empire extended along and beyond the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, including modern Afghanistan and northward into central Asia.

The basic unit, or speira, in Alexander's army. The 256 men are ranked in close order, 16 deep. In a charge, the spears, “sarisa”, of the first five ranks projected forward to break the enemy ranks - the rest of the men held their spears skywards to deflect arrows or other projectiles. Image from P. Connolly, The Greek armies, 1978 Alexander also used a cavalry of 2000 men divided in groups of 250, each heavily armed. The commander of this army was Black Cleitus. It was reported that small army's move faster and the army of Alexander the Great did over forty miles a day during the pursuit of Darius in 330 BC. Armies as large as Arrian records - assuming they could survive at all - would have been incredibly slow. King Darius marched from Babylon to his base camp near in Issus within three months - a distance of 1200 kilometers or 750 miles at least. It seems that Napoleon somehow succeeded to move his army so fast that this was one of the most important reasons for his military success. A Greek soldiers carried 60-70 pounds on his back. With soldiers carrying one-third the load that would be normally hauled by animals, an army of 50000 men required 6000 fewer pack animals than it would have needed, along with 240 fewer animals to haul the feed for the other animals. By requiring the soldier to carry his own equipment and food, Alexander created the lightest, most mobile, and fastest army the world had ever seen. In eleven years Alexander's army covered 11000 miles.

In order to complete his conquest of the remnants of the Persian Empire, which had once included part of western India, Alexander crossed the Indus River in 326 BC, and invaded the Punjab region, following the footsteps of the Indo-Arians of some 1200 years previously.

Alexander's army rebelled and refused to go any further, seeing no point in marching endlessly on, getting further and further away from their homes without any respite in sight. Sensing that he had to get his men home quickly, Alexander then pulled off another incredible feat. He constructed a fleet of ships then and there and sailed down the Indus river, reaching its mouth in September 325 BC. He then sailed with his army to the Persian Gulf and returned overland across the desert, arriving in Babylon in 323 BC.

On this return journey Alexander contracted fever and died in Babylon.

Alexander probably was responsible that also his generals did support science. Before in 332 BC Alexander founded a new city in Egypt - which he called Alexandria. This city would later became the literary, scientific, and commercial center of the Greek world. After the Macedonian conquest the center of learning shifted from Greece to Alexandria. There, where Middle Eastern and Greek culture overlapped, Babylonian astronomy and Greek philosophy interacted to produce the sophisticated science of the Hellenistic Age. (Alexander in Egypt)

And out of the remarkable Panhellenic campaign,
victorious, brilliant in every way,
celebrated far and wide, glorious
as no other had ever been, glorified,
the incomparable: we are born;
a vast new Greek World, a great new Greek world.
We, the Alexandrians, the Antiocheans,
the Seleucians, and the innumerable
rest of the Greeks of Egypt and of Syria,
and of Media, and Persia, and the many others,
with our extensive empire,
with the varied action of our thoughtful adaptations,
and our common Greek, our spoken Language,
we carried it into the heart of Bactria, to the Indians.
Konstantin Kavafis

In 146 BC, Macedonia and Greece became direct Roman provinces after a short-lived rebellion by the Macedonians, and in 64 BC, the Seleucid empire was conquered by the Roman general Pompey and became a Roman province.
Alexander was responsible that the Greek language become a common language (koine). The Bible was first written in Greek and this probably helped in the expansion of the Christian religion.

343/2 Macedonia Aristotle teacher of Alexander.
338 Battle of Chaeroneia Philip and his son victorious against the army of Thebes and Athens
336 Assassination of Philip II .
334 Expedition of Alexander to Asia Battle of Granicus
333 Cilicia Battle of Issus, Defeat of King Darius III
332 Siege of Tyre Alexander is the new Pharaoh of Egypt
331 ? Alexandria / Egypt Foundation of the city Alexandria (there are at least 31 more cities with the same name founded)
331 Tel Gomel (Gaugamela) near Mosul Battle of Gaugamela (Darius uses War Elephants from India)
330 Persia Sack of Persepolis. Death of Darius III
329 Samarkand Murder of Clitus
327 . Alexander marries Roxane. Execution of the nephew of Aristotle, the historian Callisthenes
326 Pakistan, India Campaign against the Indian Army of Porus, Battle of the Hydaspes River , The Indo-Greek Kingdom , Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
325 . March through the Gedrosian desert after an army revolt.
324 Persia Alexander at Susa:, wants to be considered as a god.
Death of his friend Hephaestion
323 Babylon Alexander after 10 days with fever dies
Philip III Arrhidaios and Alexander's son declared his followers
323 Greece Mainland Greeks revolt against the Macedonian Regent Antipater,
322 Greece Battle of Krannon: Demosthenes and Aristotle die after leaving Athens;
321 . Perdiccas is killed, Ptolemy I the new regent of Egypt
317 Macedonia Philip III Arrhidaios is killed by Olympias.
310 Macedonia Alexander IV Aegus of Macedon and Roxane are killed by Cassander.
301 Cilicia Battle at Ipsus. Death of Antigonus and the end of the power of Demetrius Poliorcetes.
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