Ancient Greek History

Conquests of Alexander the Great

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In 336 B.C., King Philip II of Macedon was assassinated, leaving his son, Alexander, to take over. A brilliant military strategist, Kind Philip began to expand Macedon’s empire while he was alive. Ultimately, Philip’s actions led him to create the League of Corinth, which brought Macedon into alliance with a good portion of Ancient Greece.

When his life was  cut short by the assassination, Alexander continued his father’s work by expanding the Kingdom of Macedon. With much of Greece either under the control of the Macedonians or in alliance with them, Alexander began to dream of expanding his influence even further. Here’s a look at his major conquests:

Balkans

In 335 B.C., just one year after he became king after his father’s death, Alexander successfully conquered the Balkans. This was a strategic move on his part because he knew he wanted to push his military campaign into Asia. He needed the Balkans to be under his control in order to secure the northern borders. There was a revolt in Thrace, so his campaign began there. Eventually, he secured territory in the Balkans all the way up to the Danube River.

Persian Empire

Alexander knew he wanted to conquer the Persian Empire all along, and securing the Balkans was part of his ultimate campaign. He gathered his soldiers, as well as soldiers from his alliance, to form a large enough army to take on the empire. He crossed into Asia Minor in 334 B.C. At first, Darius of Persia didn’t take Alexander seriously, believing the Persian Empire was strong enough to withstand his attacks. However, as Alexander pushed onward into Persian lands, Darius finally took Alexander serious enough to gather an army.

The Battle of Granicus occurred in 334 B.C., not long after Alexander entered Persia and Darius gathered his army. The end result of this battle was a strong victory for Alexander. Although Persia had constructed a solid battle plan, Alexander’s strategy ended up resulting in his victory. Alexander’s army had a much stronger infantry than the Persian army, and that proved to be the deciding favor in the battle.

Eventually, Alexander would conquer the rest of the Persian Empire, but he had to through Asia Minor, Syria, Gaza, and Egypt before he would finish his campaign to conquer Persia.

Asia Minor

The Battle of Granicus ended decisively in Alexander’s favor and as a result, the rest of Asia Minor fell under his control, too. As word of the victory spread, towns and villages were quick to surrender as Alexander’s army approached. In this way, Alexander was able to add to his empire without having to fight actual battles.

Syria

With Persia and Asia Minor under Alexander’s rule, it was time to move on to Syria. During this campaign, Alexander fell ill with pneumonia during this campaign, but he eventually recovered. He then went on to fight the Battle of Issus, which also resulted in a strong victory for the Greeks. Darius, the emperor of Persia, also ruled Syria. This is another battle where Alexander’s elite cavalry bested Darius’s subpar cavalry, which resulted in the Greeks winning the battle and eventually, winning control of Syria. Alexander also won the Siege of Tyre.

Egypt (Gaza)

With Syria taken, it was time to add Gaza to his list of conquests on his campaign to push towards Egypt. In 332 B.C., Alexander, backed by multiple reinforcements, marched to Egypt, but first he had to take over Gaza, which was a formidable stronghold. He and his army put Gaza under siege, and this eventually led to Gaza becoming part of Alexander’s conquests. With Gaza taken, this would pave the way for Egypt to eventually fall under Alexander’s control.

India

Alexander’s final conquest took place in India. Rather than entrust this campaign to one of his generals, Alexander led his troops into India. He arrived there in 327 B.C. and However, Alexander was only able to partially conquer India. His territory stopped at the Ganges River. It was thought that the army beyond the river was larger and more skilled than Alexander’s, which was much depleted, and Alexander was persuaded to march home.

The march back to Greece wasn’t an easy one, and it is thought that Alexander lost many troops because of the harsh climate of the dessert and also the soldiers’ depleted state. Alexander fell ill in 323 B.C. and eventually lost his life.

Sources:

Biography.com – King Philip of Macedon

Wikipedia – League of Corinth

Wikipedia – Alexander the Great

Wikipedia – Wars of Alexander the Great

Wikipedia – Battle of Granicus

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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