Alexander’s Conquest of the Persian Empire

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  2. March 24, 2014 5:00 am

Alexander's Conquest of the Persian Empire

Alexander Against The Persians

After consolidating his hold on Hellenic Greece, Alexander naturally turned his eyes across the Aegean Sea to his rich neighbors to the east; the Persian Empire. His army, cavalry, and navy combined were less than 100,000 men, but he had enough ships to transport them across the narrow strait known as the Hellespont and into Asia Minor.

The King of Persia, the man known as Darius, did not take the threat of Alexander’s army seriously at first. He would soon have cause to regret this. In a series of stunning battles Alexander leaped into the heart of the Persian Empire and with three legendary victories he conquered them. The Battle of Granicus River, the liberation of the cities of Asia Minor, and the legendary Siege of Halicarnassus are remembered as the three major steps to Alexander’s destruction of the Persian Empire.

The Battle of Granicus River was actually a series of battles, but the largest one was near the site of ancient Troy. All the battles ranged up and down the muddy banks of the Granicus, where Persian chariots were hobbled and Alexander’s well armored and trained soldiers could dominate. After many Persian nobles and commanders were killed, some by Alexander personally, they retreated and Alexander’s army ranged unhindered across the center of Asia Minor.

Faced with difficulties in the installation of new leadership, Alexander chose the expedient of simply freeing every city he encountered. He did not impose Greek customs or dictators on the towns he liberated, but left them unmolested and continued on his way. This gave him the reputation of hero to the oppressed people of the area.

Finally he reached Halicarnassus, a port on the southwestern coast of modern Turkey, where he overcame and destroyed the Persian contingent and their navy. From there his momentum was unstoppable. Though it was four years from then until his sweep through Tyre, Egypt, and the utter decimation of the Persian Empire, he was already unstoppable. He had already become Alexander the Great.


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