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Alexander the Great

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Essay title: Alexander the Great

Alexander The Great is very important because he was made a king at the age of twenty. He was a great leader as well, and had conquered most of the known world in only a thirteen year span. During 355 B.C. to 323 B.C. Alexander lived a good life, he was able to construct great battle plans so he could win a battle even if he was greatly out numbered. Three of his most memorable battles where at Granicus, Issus, and Gaugamela.

Alexander’s first battle was at Granicus. The Prtsian satrap’s, Arsites and Mithridates ignored Memnon’s plan and met the Alexander and the Greeks at the Granicus River. The water was deep and the current was fast because it was spring. When they met on other sides of the river Alexander had his troops in a strategic formation. He had the Agrianian assault troops, the Macedonian and the Paeonian cavalry on the right wing which he personally commanded. On the left wing that was commanded by Parmenion. Their was the Thessalian cavalry and the Greek cavalry. He had placed the phalanx and the shield bearers in the middle of both the other wings. By having his troops positioned this way it made his army have a larger front line than the Persians, which has set up there troops with more of their heavier cavalry which where about two thousand heavy armed men that where separated by the different satrapies that where behind them at the time. Stationed on top of a rocky ledge over looking the river was a mixture of Greek mercenaries and hoplites. Alexander wanted to make a diversion to give his troops more time to cross the river. He had his royal cavalry led be Socrates crossing the river and attacking the Persian army. Meanwhile Alexander made a hidden crossing across the river with the help of the Agrianians and most of the cavalry that he had at the time. His plan worked with great success. The Persian army was too overwhelmed by the attack by the royal cavalry, and also counterattacking on Parmenions side of the field. Alexander then did a surprise attacking the strongest point of the Persian ranks. Although his battle plan did work Alexander nearly died when he was attacked by the satraps as soon as they saw him. Using his lance he unhorsed Mithridates, he was then surrounded by enemy forces. He now had no lance and his helmet had been broken by a sword. Spithridates was going to kill Alexander with his sword, but then his arm was cut off by the leader of the royal squadron, Cleitus. By now the phalanxes had crossed the river in formation and had started to attack what was left of the Persian cavalry. With their entire line broken the remaining cavalry retreated and fled the battle. After the cavalry was no longer a problem Alexander ordered his men to attack the mercenaries that had remained on the rocky ledge. This proved to be very difficult because they had stayed in formation. Alexander however did not give up, before the battle he had said “The Greek solders that have betrayed their home and name. I give no quarter.” Alexander then had just won his very first battle on Persian soil. He had only lost twenty-five companions of the Macedonian cavalry, some dozen infantry and cavalry from other divisions. The Persians on the other hand had casualties in the thousands.

Issus was much like Grancius because the terrain was very similar. They both had rivers that where overflowing, rocky ledges and the Persians had taken up a defense along one side of the river. This time the Persians where far greater in numbers, and was commanded by the king himself. When Alexander arrived at the river from the south, he quickly told his men to stop so that he would have more time to study the Persians position. In the middle of his army Darius put his Greek Mercenaries and Cardace infantry. He had positioned most of his cavalry on the right side near the water. Other troops where placed on the heights intimidating the Greeks right wing. Alexander then seeing that the Persian advance guards appeared on the battle field arranged his troops so that he has an immense front line that ran from the seacoast to the hills. He then gave Parmenion who was commanding the right wing to stop the progress of the Persian cavalry that had started to attack. Alexander on the other hand, with the help of the cavalry and the Agrianians, attacked the right wing of the Persian army. This drove the troops from their positions on the hills and fighting in the way of the Persian formation. The cavalry was fighting in the middle of the river. The infantry then went along into fighting in the middle. The phalanx had a great risk of being surrounded by the Greek mercenaries after they had gone all the way through the Cardace infantry. Once both belongings sides had meet and the fighting rages on, both Alexander and Darius confronted each other on the battle field. Some accounts tell of the two exchanged blows with a lance and Alexander

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