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Lecture

Alexander the Great

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Department
History
Course
History 2173
Professor
Barbara Murison
Semester
Fall

Description
Oct, 25, 2012 Alexander the Great Consolidation: -There was a lot of recent turmoil in the royal family and Philip’s assassin was found to be one of his body guards and even though there was no doubt to the identity of the killer but people were suspicious that Alexander and his mother may have had something to do with it and Philip’s death triggered a revolt from Thrace and the city states -Alexander asserted his right to the League of Corinth and as leader of the forces that would travel to Asia Minor as his father had organized (he needed to prove he was a great soldier too even though he had, had success earlier) -He used the campaigns to put down revolts as scale tactical practice before the large invasion of Persia -Rumours began while he was away in the north that he was dead and this caused Thebes to revolt again but Alexander acted quickly and breached Thebes’ walls and he destroyed the city while making any survivors slaves -He used terror tactics to his advantage and the other Greeks were shocked and this intensified their hate for him and Greek mercenaries were working for Persia to help take him down -On his way back to Macedonia he stopped to see the oracle at Delphi and the priestess told him that he could not be overcome and this started the legend of the invincible Alexander and with his problems now dealt with he turned his attention to preparing to invade Persia but his advisors told him that because the mission was so dangerous he should marry before he leaves and have a heir in case of his death but instead he left without listening to them The Army and Expeditionary Force – 334 BC: -He had 50,000 land forces made up of 40,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry and the four main types of people that composed his army were native Macedonians (12,000), allies from the Corinthian League (7,000), Greek mercenaries, and Balkans and other groups that were subjects or allies of Macedonia -Core of their army was the phalanx and the sarissa was the cavalry’s primary weapon and it was made of a long shaft of wood with an iron point attached to a socket with a large butt spike for balancing -Hydaspes were organized into groups of 1000 men and they were subdivided into groups of 500 and they occupied the centre order-of-battle flanked by cavalry who were trained to cooperate in large scale movements -The cavalry would punch a hole in the enemy line then the phalanx would exploit it while covering the cavalry’s flank and rear and they used grand tactical wedges that were used by Alexander against the Illyrians at Pelion in 335 and this was used at Gaugamela Asia Minor to the Granicus: -The cavalry was used as they entered into Asia Minor and the battle of Granicus started when Alexander entered Asia Minor via the Hellespont in 334 where he was confronted by a mixed group of Greek soldiers -The Persians had a force of 10,000 cavalry backed by more mercenaries and Alexander advanced immediately (without his Greek allies because he questioned their loyalty) and he had many men and this is why he took the risk of facing them head on instead of manoeuvring to their flanks -His goal was to destroy the only Persian field force in Asia Minor in one confrontation and he began by trying to lead the flanking cavalry out of line and his use of longer sarissas allowed them to kill many disorganized Persians -The Persian cavalry retreated and only the Greek mercenaries were left and they were soon surrounded and eventually only 2000 of the 5000 mercenaries survived and this shows Alexander’s great ability to think and strategize on the spot and victory allowed him to move to other areas without much resistance (ex: Sardis) From the Granicus to Issus: -At the battle of Issus Alexander again had to face the Persians whose main strength was the cavalry and their tactic of double envelopment while the main strength of the Macedonians were their heavy infantry and tactics of central penetration so he sent out his heavy infantry first many ranks deep so the rest of his forces could work without the harassment of the Persian cavalry while his cavalry brought up the rear -The line of contact was the River Pinarus with only certain sections allowing crossing and Alexander’s infantry was kept up against the shore and the cavalry would have to move on to find another place to cross -The Persians again were using Greek mercenaries and Alexander’s main problem was how to achieve a central Oct, 25, 2012 penetration without exposing his flanks to envelopment but on the left the solution was straight forward and the phalanx deployed as it advanced with the flank and as the ground opened up he brought the cavalry in -Neither side had taken into full account the terrain and after realizing the cavalry on the Persian right would over power his left he order more cavalry to secretly move to reinforce them and he brought more archers to his right -Light infantry on the left moved forward to cover the left flank as it moved to the right to engage the Persians and to avoid envelopment he extended his right -He was prepared to have to fight cavalry on both sides but he realized that the landscape wouldn’t allow for this and he moved to have a greater cavalry force and they were able to keep the Persians at bay and once they were weakened the cavalry went out to finish their left and this sealed the Persian’s fate and they fled the field -There were gaps in the phalanxes because of the landscape so Alexander repositioned t
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