Academic Master


Alexander’s campaign in Persia (334 – 330 BCE)

For the forthcoming reasoning, it would be a great mistake not to take into account the potential possibility of resistance to the Achaemenid Empire and the dignity of its ruler. In 334 BC. E. the Persians had a serious numerical superiority over the enemy. Against 30,000 foot soldiers and 5,000 equestrian warriors, commanded by Alexander, the Achaemenid empire could set up a powerful army, if, of course, the surviving figures are true.

Equally boundless were the financial possibilities of the Great Tsar, who had treasures in Susa, Ecbatana, Persepolis and Babylon. Contrary to popular belief, the Achaemenid Empire of the fourth century has not yet entered a phase of rapid decline. There are no signs of either an economic crisis or general discontent. The great king could count on the dedication of the Persian aristocracy, as well as on cooperation with the highest strata of society on the ground. In addition, the various stages of the Macedonian conquest show that on the march Alexander met not only the resistance of the tsar’s army, but sometimes of whole nations, and of individual cities.

On the other hand, it is also true that the Macedonian-led army superior to the enemy technically and, undoubtedly, possessed greater maneuverability. Alexander received from Philip an inheritance army, trained in the art of battle in close combat order. Alexander, for his part, was an unsurpassed tactician, who first had a talent for finding the best solution in a particular situation very quickly. If compared with the royal army of Darius, which mobilized only in extreme circumstances, the Macedonian army acquired the qualities of an army of almost professional level. Nevertheless, the Achaemenid army included a much better trained contingent, and Darius managed to bring technical innovations into it. In addition, he possessed a superior fleet, which in 334 BC. E., in essence, provided him with control over the Aegean Sea.

However, a comparison of the number of troops of the fighting sides and methods of conducting combat still does not give an idea of the course of operations. In the strategic plan, it should be specially noted that in May 334 BC. e. Alexander’s position was not as reliable as it might seem. If, contrary to the view taken in ancient times, he had sufficient financial resources, he should not allow a single miss. He clearly realized that any failure would inspire “revanchists” in Greek policies. In addition, this means that Alexander was sentenced to victory.

Another objective advantage of Darius – as Alexander deepened into the territory of the empire, without having previously dealt with the Achaemenid opposition, he saw that the strategic position was becoming increasingly critical. The Macedonian army, “the island advancing along enemy territory” (E. Badin), nearly backed off the counter-offensive by the Persians, which they undertook on the rear after the battle of Granik (May 334 BCE) and after the battle at Issus (November 333 BCE).

No matter how significant the results of the Battle of Granik (Alexander was not thrown back to the sea), it still did not give the Macedonians hope for the unimpeded conquest of Asia Minor. A large part of the Persian army managed to leave the battlefield and gather near the walls of Miletus, where Memnon led it, and then, after the fall of Miletus – at Halikarvas, All these troops united a great will to resist. In particular, the ill-treatment of Alexander after the battle with the captured Greek mercenaries repelled them all the desire to leave the ranks of Darius.

Memnon and Orontobat besieged Halicarnassus. The first Darius instructed to conquer the islands and the coast. For Alexander, defeated by the defenders of Halicarnassus (summer 334 BC), this represented a significant danger. He himself chose the place of battle with his back to the sea. In Miletus (July-August), he really decided to disband the fleet, consisting of a Greek contingent – He believed that this fleet has no chance to win against the Phoenician fleet, which had a large numerical and qualitative superiority. On the other hand, the king feared the uprising of the Greek crews. Finally, he did not have the necessary financial resources to support these naval forces. So at least Arrian explains the decision of Alexander, in connection with which there are still a number of issues. Nevertheless, the king decided to fight on land and resist Persian superiority at sea, establishing dominance over all the territories from which Darius withdrew his fleet with crews, that is, over the Lycian-Pamphylian, Cilician and Syrian-Phoenician coasts.

However, such a strategy was a serious danger. He found himself between two fires: between Darius, who had mass mobilized, and Memnon, who achieved considerable success in recapturing the Anatolian coast and whose actions gave rise to great hopes (which, incidentally, were illusory) in European Greek policies. Despite the particular importance that a number of ancient authors attach to the death of Memnon under Ethylene, on Lesbos (in the summer of 333 BC), it did not lead to a drastic change in the situation. Farnabaz and Avtofradat who came to replace him did not weaken the resistance. Their strategy became even more offensive: they seized a number of islands, on which the Persian domination was restored on the principles that were proposed in 386 BC. E. Artaxerxes II.

So when about July 333 BC. e. Alexander sailed from the Phrygian Gordion; his position could not yet be called reliable. Shortly before the Battle of Issus, the enemies were almost unified: the king of Sparta, Agis III, was already ready to join the forces of Avtofradat and Pharnabaz on the island of Sifnos. The victory at Issa saved Alexander from the threat of defeat and allowed him to shift his attention to the Phoenician cities, especially Tire, which by that time had become his main target. Nevertheless, in Cohen’s statement that “the victor has never been so free in his actions as Alexander after the Battle of Issus,” there is a serious contradiction. On the contrary, it was then that one of the most difficult stages of the campaign began (autumn 333 – spring 332 BC).

After the defeat at Issus, thousands of Persian equestrians moved north under the leadership of outstanding generals. Retreating in orderly numbers, they moved along the Tsar’s way and settled in territories de facto remaining outside the Macedonian authorities, particularly in Cappadocia and Paphlagonia. Here, the Persian commanders conducted recruitment to the troops, and soon under their command were significant forces (late 333 – early 332 BC). The coinage in Sinope of coins with the names of Mifrfast, Orontobat and Guidarn is undoubtedly connected with the activity of the Persians. They sought to win all of Asia Minor above Galis.

Therefore, at that moment Darius began to collect new troops in Mesopotamia, the Phoenician fleet constantly controlled the sea. In Europe, albeit alone, Agis III conducted preparatory activities. Alexander for a few months was stuck under Tyr. The inhabitants of Tire were determined to resist for as long as possible in order to give the Great King the opportunity to complete his preparatory activities. On the other hand, Alexander could not lift the siege, as it could disrupt his plan to conquer the Phoenician coast, on which the course of the entire campaign depended. Therefore, the situation was not easy and there was a danger of getting into the mites.

In this tense situation, Alexander appointed Antigone the One-Eyed, the satrap of Great Phrygia, the commander-in-chief of all the combined armies of Asia Minor. An outstanding military leader, Antigonus, with the support of other satraps (Kalas, Nearh, and Balakros) managed in the spring of 332 BC. Reflect the Persian counteroffensive. Of course, these victories markedly improved the position of Alexander at the very moment when the Phoenician, Cypriot and Cilician squadrons stood under his banner. The fall of Tire (in the summer of 332 BC) enabled him now to implement the program, scheduled for the summer of 333 BC, to destroy the coastal bases of the Achaemenid fleet. However, this part of the plan was not realized: after recovering from shocking news from Issa and being weakened, Pharnabaz continued to operate until the fall of 332 BC. e. Alexander hardly managed to seize the fortified city of Gaza, whose protection was superbly led by his ruler Batis. In the meantime, Darius collected and prepared a new army,

At the same time, Greece did not remain passive. Having conquered Asia Minor in May 334 BC. E., Alexander was perfectly aware of this danger. He ordered Antipater to observe Greek policies and for this, he left under his command an army of 15,000-foot soldiers and 1500 equestrians. An open riot came from Sparta, not part of the Corinthian Union, and consequently – did not provide Alexander with its contingent. In other words, in Agis III, who became king in 338 BC? e., were untied hands for the preparation of the Spartan troops. He was going to act in union with the Great King. In 333 BC. E. he finally decides to speak on the side of the Persians and goes to Sifnos to join the fleet commanders Avtredradat and Farnabazu. To his misfortune, at that moment came the news of the defeat of Darius under Issa, which destroyed his hope to conduct concerted action in Asia and in Europe?

In 331 BC. E. an uprising broke out in Thrace. Apparently, the governor of Alexander in Thrace Memnon set out to become independent. Whether this uprising was connected with the revolt of Agis, one cannot say for sure. Again, at the same time did the offensive actions of Agis begin? Dedicated to the Thracian front, Antipater sent Corral’s strategist to the Peloponnese. Corral was defeated and fell in this battle. Reading Oscine’s speech “Against Ctesiphon” (165), one can imagine the consequences of this first defeat of the Macedonian army: “The Lacedaemonians and the mercenary troops won the battle and destroyed the Corrag army.” They were joined by the Eleans and the Achaeans, except for Megalopolis. In addition, he was besieged, and day after day, it was expected that he would fall. “Alexander overcame the pole and was almost at the border of the world.” Antipater slowly collected his army, and the future was uncertain. ”

Alexander followed with alarm the events in the Peloponnese and prepared to fight with Agis. In the spring of 331 BC. At Tire, wishing to congratulate Athens and encourage them for non-interference, he finally agreed to give freedom to the Athenian mercenaries captured in the Battle of Granica. Soon Navarch Amphoter was sent “to help those Peloponnesians who, from the beginning of the Persian War, showed independence and did not obey the Lacedaemonians” (Arrian, III, 6, 3). Finally, before heading to the Euphrates, he orders Antipater to conclude (for a short time) a truce with Memnon and direct his actions against Agis. Antipater conducted recruitment of contingent from the Corinthian Union. The battle took place in October 331 BC. E. at the walls of Megalopolis. The Spartans were defeated; the king Agis fell in battle. Yet Alexander did not get rid of anxiety: we see that for several months (the end of 331 – the beginning of 330 BC) he makes generous gestures towards the European Greeks. Without playing a decisive role in the outcome of the military campaign, the revolt of Agis undoubtedly caused Alexander to worry about the reliability of the European bases.


Sykes, Percy. “A History of Persia.” A History of Persia, vol. 1, 2013, doi:10.4324/9780203715147.

This is a facsimile of a classic history first published by Macmillan in 1915 and issued in two further editions by Routledge and Kegan Paul. Sir Percy Sykes was an explorer, consul, soldier and a spy who lived and travelled in Persia over a period of twenty-five years. This two-volume collection provides a comprehensive history of Persia from Alexander the Great, through British, French and Russian colonialism, to the early twentieth century oil industry.\nWith a new introduction by Sykes’ biographer, Antony Wynn, this comprehensive history provides essential background reading to students and academics of Persia.

Anson, Edward M. “Alexander’s Heirs: The Age of the Successors.” Alexander’s Heirs: The Age of the Successors, 2014, doi:10.1002/9781118862421.

Alexander’s Heirs offers a narrative account of the approximately forty years following the death of Alexander the Great, during which his generals vied for control of his vast empire, and through their conflicts and politics ultimately created the Hellenistic Age. Offers an account of the power struggles between Alexander’s rival generals in the forty  year period following his death Discusses how Alexander’s vast empire ultimately became the Hellenistic World Makes full use of primary and secondary sources Accessible to a broad audience of students, university scholars, and the educated general reader Explores important scholarly debates on the Diadochi

Tattersall, Ian. “The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE.” The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE, 2008, doi:10.1353/jwh.0.0022.

To be human is to be curious. And one of the things we are most curious about is how we came to be who we are–how we evolved over millions of years to become creatures capable of inquiring into our own evolution. In this lively and readable introduction, renowned anthropologist Ian Tattersall thoroughly examines both fossil and archaeological records to trace human evolution from the earliest beginnings of our zoological family, Hominidae, through the appearance of Homo sapiens to the Agricultural Revolution. He begins with an accessible overview of evolutionary theory and then explores the major turning points in human evolution: the emergence of the genus Homo, the advantages of bipedalism, the birth of the big brain and symbolic thinking, Paleolithic and Neolithic tool making, and finally the enormously consequential shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies 10,000 years ago.

Focusing particularly on the pattern of events and innovations in human biological and cultural evolution, Tattersall offers illuminating commentary on a wide range of topics, including the earliest known artistic expressions, ancient burial rites, the beginnings of language, the likely causes of Neanderthal extinction, the relationship between agriculture and Christianity, and the still unsolved mysteries of human consciousness. Complemented by a wealth of illustrations and written with the grace and accessibility for which Tattersall is widely admire, The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE invites us to take a closer look at the strange and distant beings who, over the course of millions of years, would become us.



Calculate Your Order

Standard price





Pop-up Message