PROJECT by John J. Popovic
the 3rd edition
This project is dedicated to the most charismatic and heroic king of all times.

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Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (Alexander the Great, Alexander III of Macedon) (356-323 B.C.), king of Macedonia, born in late July 356 BC in Pella, Macedonia, one of the greatest military genius in history. 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.

Arrian describes Alexander: the strong, handsome commander with one eye dark as a night and one blue as a sky, always leading his army on his faithful Bucephalo, accompanied by the best military formation of the time, the Macedonian Phalanx which was armed with sarisses, the fearful five and half meter long spears. He was the first great conqueror which has reached, Greece, Egypt , Asia Minor, and Asia till the river Ind in India. He was famous for having created ethnic syncretism between the Macedonians and the conquered populations, especially the aggressive Persians. Alexander brought Greek ideas, culture and mentality to the conquered countries and assured expansion and domination of the Hellenistic Culture which together with the Roman Civilization and Christianity presents the fundaments of what is now called Western Civilization.

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Alexander's Origins

July 357
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 the late July of 356 BC, on the same day as the famous Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was burned. His father was Philip II of Macedon, who was brilliant ruler and strategist, while his mother was Olympias, princess of Epirus, daughter of King Neoptolemus of Epirus. Olympias practiced dyonisiastic rituals. She was jealous, vindictive and very protective of Alexander.  Alexander was even more ambitious than his father; he was desperate when he heard of Philip's conquests and said:

My father will get ahead of me in everything, and will leave nothing great for me to do.

His mother Olympias' ancestor was Achilles, and his father Philip II of Macedon, descends from Hercules.

Related articles on the net:
Adrian on Alexander
Alexander's Origins , Plutarch
Alexander's Birth, Plutarch



PERSEUS PROJECT, son of Philip , an Epirot and Aeacid by mother's side: Paus. 1.9.8
PERSEUS PROJECT,reputed son of Ammon: Paus. 4.14.8

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Alexander's Youth


Even as a young boy Alexander was fearless and strong. He, in the age of 12 years, tamed the beautiful and spirited Bucephalus, a horse that no one else could ride. Philip was so proud of Alexander's horsemanship that he said:

O my son, seek out a kingdom worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.

Later, this famous stallion carried him as far as India till Hydaspes river, where it died. There Alexander had built the city of Bucephala, in memory of his beloved horse.

Alexander knew by heart the Iliad. He loved Homer, and always slept with a copy of the Iliad under his pillow.

Plutarch writes : The care of his education, as it might be presumed, was committed to a great many attendants, preceptors, and teachers, over the whole of whom Leonidas, a near kinsman of Olympias, a man of an austere temper, presided, who did not indeed himself decline the name of what in reality is a noble and honorable office, but in general his dignity, and his near relationship, obtained him from other people the title of Alexander's foster-father and governor. But he who took upon him the actual place and style of his pedagogue was Lysimachus the Acarnanian, who, though he had nothing to recommend him, but his lucky fancy of calling himself Phoenix, Alexander Achilles and Philip Peleus, was therefore well enough esteemed, and ranked in the next degree after Leonidas.

From age 13 to 16 Alexander, at Mieza, together with the other boys belonging to the Macedonian aristocracy was taught by Aristotle, who introduced him to the world of arts and sciences.

During Philip's expedition against the Byzantium in 340, he left Alexander, then sixteen years old was left in Macedonia in the charge of his seal; Alexander in the mean time was not idle, he reduced the rebellious Maedi, a Thracian people to obedience. He took their capital town by storm, drove out the barbarous inhabitants, and created a colony of several nations in their room, called the town after his own name, Alexandropolis.

Philip's politics was not appreciated by the Athenians, and Demosthenes considered him semi-barbarian. Obviously the Macedonian hegemony presented the threat for their independent politics.

Related articles on the net:
PERSEUS PROJECT,wives and sons: Paus. 9.7.2
PERSEUS PROJECT,passionate nature: Paus. 6.18.2
PERSEUS PROJECT, good fortune: Paus. 4.35.4, Paus. 7.10.3
PERSEUS PROJECT,Aristotle's influence with him: Paus. 6.4.8
PERSEUS PROJECT,house at Megalopolis: Paus. 8.32.1
PERSEUS PROJECT,makes Chaeron tyrant of Pellene: Paus. 7.27.7

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Alexander and Philip

September 338

At the battle of Chaeronea Philip defeated the allied Greek states of the Sacred Band of Thebes in September 338 BC. at the time Alexander was only 18, when he commanded the left wing of Philip's cavalry, and demonstrated personal courage in breaking the Sacred Band of Thebes. It is said he has been the first man that charged the Thebans' sacred band. Although Philip's army was greatly outnumbered by the Athenian and Theban troops, the Macedonian phalanxes triumphed over the Athenians and Thebans. Athens and Thebes became Philip's subjects. Sparta remained the only Greek state not under Macedonian control. This early bravery made Philip so proud of Alexander, that nothing pleased him more than to hear his subjects call himself their general and Alexander their king.


At the Council at Corinth, Philip imposed his politic system to the Greek states (with exception of Sparta); Philip gave freedom and autonomy to all the political parties in each state, establishing a bureaucratic 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 later, they were reconciled and Alexander returned; but his 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. Before Philip himself went to Asia to begin the conquest, he was assassinated.



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King is dead, Long live the King.
Spring - Autumn 336 BC
Philip on his way to the theater during the wedding celebration of his daughter with the Olympias' brother, Alexander of Epirus, in July 336, was assassinated by the macedonian officer Pausanias at Ege, antique capital of Macedonia. Alexander was immediately presented to the army as new king. Alexander was 20 when he became king of Macedonia. He at once executed at Lyncestis (region of northern Macedonia), all alleged to be behind Philip's murder along with all possible rivals and the whole fraction opposed to him. He executed Philip's nephew Aminita, while Olyimpias has eliminated Cleopatra's new born sun.

Related articles on the net:



The Murder of Philip II

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Consolidation of Kingdom and European Campaigns

He then marched south, stabilised Thessaly, and at an assembly of the Greek League at Corinth was appointed the strategos autocrator ( supreme commander ) of all Greeks for the expected invasion of Persian Empire, previously planned and initiated by Philip. On his return to Macedonia by way of Delphi, the Pythian priestess acclaimed him invincible.

335 BC

He started with blitz campaigns against the Triballi and Ilyrians, which took him across the Danube. He marched into Thrace in spring 335 and, after forcing the Shipka Pass and crushing the Triballi, crossed the Danube to reduce to obedience Getae and Celtic tribes; turning west, he then defeated and shattered a coalition of Ilyrians who had invaded Macedonia.

The Greek states had grown restless under Macedonian hegemony. In the meantime a rumor of Alexander's death in Illyria had caused a revolt of Thebans, favored by the Athenians and other Greek states. He reached Thessaly in seven days and as in Boeotia five days later. So only in 14 days Alexander marched 380 km from Pelion in Illyria to Thebes. When the Thebans refused to surrender, he made an entry and razed their city to the ground, sparing only temples and poet Pindar's house; 6,000 were killed and 30,000 survivors sold into slavery.
Related articles:



PERSEUS PROJECT, destroys Thebes: Paus. 4.27.10, Paus. 7.6.9, Paus. 7.17.2, Paus. 9.6.5 ff., Paus. 9.7.1, Paus. 9.23.5, Paus. 9.25.10

PERSEUS PROJECT, Greeks suffer at his hands: Paus. 1.4.1
PERSEUS PROJECT, the danger over the Thebans, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.10.1
The destruction of Thebe



The other Greek states were frightened by this cruelty, and Alexander could afford himself to treat Athens diplomatically, while Macedonian garrisons were left in Corinth, Chalcis, and the Cadmea.

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Beginnings of the Alexander invasion of Persia

Alexander had matured the idea of the Persian expedition. He also needed the Persian wealth to maintain the army built by his father and pay off the 500 talents he owed to the ten thousand, Greek professional troops, and of Agesilaus of Sparta. Alexander's army in successful campaign in Persian territory had demonstrated the weaknesses of the Persian Empire. With a good cavalry he could expect the victory over any Persian army. The reason of  invasion of Asia was to liberate the Greek cities taken by the Persians some years before. In spring 334 he crossed the Dardanelles, Hellespont leaving Antipater, the general and friend of his father, as his deputy in Europe with over 13,000 soldiers. Alexander himself commanded about 30,000 foot and over 5,000 cavalry, of whom nearly 14,000 were Macedonians and about 7,000 allies of Greek League. This army had excellent mixture of arms; the light armed Cretan and Macedonian archers, Thracians, and the Agrianian javelin men; the striking force was the cavalry, and the core of the army was the infantry phalanx, 9,000 strong, armed with shields and 5 and half meter long spears, sarise, and the 3,000 men of the royal troops, the hypaspists. Alexander's second in command was Parmenio, who had secured a foothold in Asia Minor during Philip's lifetime; many of his family and supporters were entrenched in responsible positions. The army was accompanied by explorers, engineers, architects, scientists, court officials, and historians.



PERSEUS PROJECT, makes war on Darius: Paus. 6.17.5


The Battle of Granicus
Spring 334
On the way he stopped at Troy and after visiting Ilium , at the Granicus River, near the Sea of Marmara (May/June 334).he confronted his first Persian army which was led by three satraps.

The Persian plan to tempt Alexander across the river and kill him in the melee almost succeeded; but the Persian line broke, and Alexander's victory was complete. This victory opened western Asia Minor to the Macedonians, and most cities opened their gates. The tyrants were expelled, and in contrast to Macedonian policy in Europe, in Asia were installed democracies. Alexander confirmed his Panhellenic policy, symbolized in the sending of 300 panoplies, i.e. armor sets, taken at the Granicus as an offering dedicated to Athena at Athens by "Alexander the son of Philip, and the Grecians, except the Lacedaemonians (Spartans), won these from the barbarians who inhabit Asia." The cities remained de facto under Alexander, and his nomination Calas as satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia confirmed his intention to succeed the Great King of Persia.
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The Battle of Granicus
PERSEUS PROJECT, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.20.1

PERSEUS PROJECT, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.21.1

The conquest of Persian empire had become more realistic than in 346: Artaxerxes III had died in 338, and the new king was the much weaker Darius II (he succeeded in 336, after the brief reign of Arses, whom the trilingual inscription found at Xanthus in 1973 shows that he has borne with the title Artaxerxes IV).

When city of Miletus opposed, encouraged by the closeness of the Persian fleet, Alexander took it by assault; without a maritime battle: he disbanded his expensive navy and decided to defeat the Persian fleet on land, by occupying the coastal cities. In Caria, Halicarnassus resisted and was destroyed; but Ada, the widow and sister of the satrap Idrieus, adopted Alexander as her son and Alexander appointed her as a satrap of Caria. However, until 332 some parts of Caria held out. On his way toward Babylon, Alexander won several important battles

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Sarcophagus, Constantinople, Archeology museum1
Sarcophagus, Constantinople, Archeology museum2
Sarcophagus, Constantinople, Archeology museum3
Sarcophagus, Constantinople, Archeology museum4



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Asia Minor the Battle of Issus

333 BC
Alexander conquered western part of Asia Minor in winter 334-333, reducing to obedience the hill tribes of Lycia and Pisidia; and in spring 333 he advanced along the coastal road to Perga. At Gordium in Phrygia, tradition records his cutting of the Gordian knot, which could only be loosed by the man who was to rule Asia. At this point Alexander benefited from the sudden death of Memnon, the competent Greek commander of the Persian fleet. From Gordium he moved to Ancyra and then south through Cappadocia and the Cilician Gates. In the meantime, Darius with his Grand Army had advanced northward on the eastern side of Mt. Amanus.

Intelligence on both sides was imprecise, and the two armies had in fact been advancing randomly. Alexander was already encamped by Myriandrus (near modern Iskenderun, Turkey) when he find out that Darius was astride his line of communications at Issus, north of Alexander's position (autumn 333). Alexander came head to head with King Darius during the Battle of Issus on the north-east Mediterranean coast. Although Alexander was advancing south he was surprised to find Darius approaching from his North! Turning, Alexander found Darius drawn up along the Pinarus River. In the battle that followed, Alexander won a decisive victory, and Darius fled, leaving his family in Alexander's hands.

Alexander was outnumbered many times (perhaps even 10:1). Even so, he held back a reserve force, for the first time in the military history.

After the battle when he had entered in the Darius's tent in all its luxury, golden bath, silk carpets ..., while Alexander was known for living in modest spartan conditions by comparison and is said to have commented:

The other famous event that gives us an idea about Alexander's and Hephaestion's friendship, when Alexander had captured Darius's throne tent with treasure of 3000 talents of gold ( US$ 1.2 billion, 1 TALENT = 27 kg Au), with complete imperial escortent; including Darius's mother, Sisygambis; his wife, Stateira; his harem. and other princesses.

When Alexander and Hephaestion went to meet Sisygambis, she prostrated herself at the feet of the most kingly figure she saw, she chose by the mistake the taller Hephaestion! Alexander is said to have responded rather friendly:

"Don't worry mother, he is Alexander too."

Alexander treated all the women with great respect "due to their station". An interesting fact is that later when Sisygambis had an opportunity to return to Persians, she had refused.

Related articles and paintings on the net:
Paolo Veronese: The Family of Darius before Alexander
Alexander's Generosity, Plutarch



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Conquest of Syria, Phoenicia and Egypt
332 BC
With the intention to isolate the Persian fleet from its maritime bases and so to destroy it as an effective fighting force, from Issus Alexander marched south into Syria and Phoenicia. The Phoenician cities Marathus and Aradus came over with no resistance. In reply to a letter from Darius offering peace, Alexander replied with arrogance, demanding unconditional surrender to himself as lord of Asia.

After taking Byblos and Sidon , he met resistance at Tyre, where he was refused entry into the island city. The Tyrians walled themselves in their island fortress. Alexander couldn't leave them to attack his rear and he could not attack by sea so he decided to build a land bridge, which still exists. He suceeded finally only after seven month not by land but in a very brutal naval battle; the Tyrians fired red hot sand at Alexander's fleet. The storming of Tyre in July 332 was Alexander's greatest military achievement; it was attended with great massacre and the sale of the women and children into slavery.

In the meantime (winter 333-332) the Persians had counterattacked by land in Asia Minor, but they were defeated by Antigonus, the satrap of Greater Phrygia; But by sea, Persians succeeded to recapture various cities and islands.

During the siege of Tyre, Darius sent a letter with his offer: he wanted to pay ransom of 10,000 talents for his family and cede all his lands west of the Euphrates. On that occasion Alexander's general Parmenio advised him to accept.

"I would accept, were I Alexander." Parmenio said ;
"I too, were I Parmenio!" was Alexander's famous retort;



Leaving Parmenio in Syria, Alexander advanced south without opposition until he reached Gaza on its high mound; there bitter resistance halted him for two months, and he sustained a serious shoulder wound during a sortie.
PERSEUS PROJECT, at Tyre, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.41.1

Alexander in Egypt

In November 332 he reached Egypt, and the Egyptians welcomed him as their liberator. The Persian satrap Mazaces surrendered with no resistance. At Memphis Alexander was sacrificed to Apis,(Hapi) , and was crowned with the traditional double crown of the pharaohs of Egypt; the egyptian priests were placated and their religion encouraged.

Alexander organized Egypt employing Egyptian governors, while keeping the army under a separate Macedonian command. He founded the city of Alexandria near the western arm of the Nile between the sea and Lake Mareotis, protected by the island of Pharos, and had it projected by the famous Rhodian architect Deinocrates. From Alexandria he marched along the coast to Paraetonium and from there inland to visit the celebrated oracle of the god Amon at Siwah. Alexander reaching the oracle in its oasis, the priest gave him the traditional salutation of a pharaoh, as son of Amon; Alexander consulted the oracle, which reviled him that he was the son of Amon (Zeus).

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Alexander in Egypt

PERSEUS PROJECT, founds later city of Smyrna: Paus. 7.5.1 ff.
PERSEUS PROJECT, founds Alexandria: Paus. 5.21.9, Paus. 8.33.3
PERSEUS PROJECT, Ammon-Zeus, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.51.1

Alexander in Mesopotamia
In spring 331 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.

PERSEUS PROJECT,in Babylon Diodorus, Historical Library 17.31.1

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. Darius III succeeded to escape with his Bactrian cavalry and Greek mercenaries into Media before the battle was over. 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. The capital city Susa, also surrendered, releasing huge amounts of silver and gold which corresponds to 120.000 talents, when the gold was estimated in terms of silver. Reducing to obedience the mountain tribe of the Ouxians, he now continued over the Zagros range into Persia, and successfully took the Pass the Persian Gates, held by the satrap Ariobarzanes, Alexander entered in the capital of Persia, Persepolis and Pasargadae.
Related articles:
PERSEUS PROJECT, The battle of Arbela, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.60.1
PERSEUS PROJECT, at Susa and Persepolis, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.71.1

As a symbol that the Panhellenic war was terminated, Alexander ceremonially burned down the palace of Xerxes; dyonisiastic 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. 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.
In July 330 Bessus, the satrap of Bactria, had betrayed and imprisoned Darius, after a the Caspian Gates at Skirmish (near modern Shahrud), the usurper Bessus finally had stabbed Darius III and left him to die in agony.

Alexander found him dead or dying. Alexander organized an imperial funeral with all honors for the last Persian emperor.

Images of Ancient Iran

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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 Caspian, he seized Zadracarta in Hyrcania and received the submission of a group of satraps and Persian notables. He crashed resistance of the Mardi, a mountain people who inhabited the Elburz Mountains. Darius' Greek mercenaries were surrenders as well. His advance eastward was fast. In Aria he reduced to obedience Satibarzanes. He founded yet another Alexandria of the Aryans (modern Herat).

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 .

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. In the meantime Bessus in Bactria was organizing a revolt in the eastern satrapies with the usurped title of Great King. 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 ). Then he moves westward to Bactra-Zariaspa (modern Balkh/Wazirabad in Afghanistan), appointed loyal satraps in Bactria and Aria. Crossing the Oxus, he sent his general Ptolemy in pursuit of Bessus, who had meanwhile been overthrown by the Sogdian Spitamenes. Bessus was captured, flogged, and sent to Bactra, 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.
PERSEUS PROJECT, among Arimaspians and Gedrosians, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.81.1

329- 328

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. 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.

Spring 327

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 90% 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.

Shortly afterward, at Bactra, he tried to impose the Persian court ceremonial, the prostration (proskynesis, genuflexsion) on the Greeks and Macedonians too. This habit which was normal for Persians entering the king's presence, to them was intolerable and unacceptable. Even Callisthenes, historian and nephew of Aristotle refused to abase himself. Several weeks later Callisthenes was held to be involved in conspiracy among the royal pages and was arrested (he was executed or died in prison according some authors).

Related articles:
PERSEUS PROJECT, his danger among Oxydracians: Paus. 1.6.2

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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. Half the army with the luggage under Hephaestion and Perdiccas, both cavalry commanders, was sent through the Khyber Pass. Alexander led the rest through the mountains to the north.

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. In June 326 BC. Alexander fought his last great battle on the left bank of the Hydaspes against Porus, one of the most powerful Indian kings. Alexander's army crossed the heavily defended river in dramatic manner during a violent tempest to meet Porus' forces. The Indians were defeated in a brutal battle, although they fought with elephants. 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, which died there); and Porus became his friend and ally.

Related articles:
PERSEUS PROJECT, in India, Porus, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.89.1

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 he had advanced to the Hyphasis his army exhausted in body and spirit denied to go farther in the tropical rain. 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, Haphesteion 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.

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. The Macedonian officers rescued him in a narrow escape from the village.

Alexander and his army reached the mouth of the Indus in July 325 B.C.

Summer 325

In the summer of 325 BC, Alexander on reaching Patala, situated at the top of the Indus delta, built a harbor and explored both arms of the Indus, which then ran into the Rann of Kutch. He intended to lead part of his forces back by land, across the dangerous Gedrosian Desert. 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.

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.

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Consolidation of the empire

The empire was weakened by years of absence and rumors of his death. 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. The issue came to a head at Opis (324 BC.), 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 the winter 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.

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Mysterious Death and Apotheosis

Suddenly, in Babylon, while busy with plans to improve the irrigation of the Euphrates and to settle the coast of the Persian Gulf, Alexander was taken ill after a prolonged banquet and drinking bout; 10 days later, on June 13, 323, he died in his 33rd year; he had reigned for 12 years and eight months. His body, diverted to Egypt by Ptolemey, the later king of Egypt, was eventually placed in a golden coffin in Alexandria. Both in Egypt and elsewhere in the Greek cities he received divine honors.
Alexander's golden sarcophagus was melted down for coinage by the Ptolomius XI and replaced with one of alabaster. The tomb disappeared some time in the 4th century A.D.
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.

Related articles:
PERSEUS PROJECT, death, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.117.1
PERSEUS PROJECT, death: Paus. 1.25.3
PERSEUS PROJECT, said to have been poisoned by water of Styx: Paus. 8.18.6
PERSEUS PROJECT, buried at Memphis: Paus. 1.6.3, Paus. 1.7.1
PERSEUS PROJECT, ranked as general below Pyrrhus by Procles: Paus. 4.35.4

Hellenistic Era

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 Roxana, Alexander IV, as kings, sharing out the satrapies among themselves, after much negotiation. Some years later, both kings were murdered, Arrhidaeus in 317 and Alexander in 309. The parts of former Alexander's empire became independent monarchies, and the generals, following Antigonus' lead in 306, took the title of monarch. Alexander generals known as Diadochs had established their own kingdoms on the rests of the Alexander's empire:

Related articles:
PERSEUS PROJECT, his family extirpated by Cassander: Paus. 9.7.2
 PERSEUS PROJECT, post Alexander era, Diodorus, Historical Library 17.118.1

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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 psyhologically 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.

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Related articles:
PERSEUS PROJECT, epic poem on him: Paus. 6.18.6
PERSEUS PROJECT, statues: Paus. 1.9.4, Paus. 5.20.10, Paus. 5.25.1, Paus. 6.11.1

PERSEUS PROJECT, overreached by Anaximenes: Paus. 6.18.2-4
PERSEUS PROJECT, joins Clazomenae to mainland: Paus. 7.3.9
PERSEUS PROJECT, wishes to dig through promontory of Mimas: Paus. 2.1.5
PERSEUS PROJECT, sets up no trophies: Paus. 9.40.9
PERSEUS PROJECT, dedicates cuirass and spear to Aesculapius: Paus. 8.28.1

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