Alexander the Great x Darius III.

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Persian King Darius III. was a great opponent of Alexander the Great on his campaigns. First they measured their forces in the Battle of Granicus. It was a crushing defeat for Darius III on the bank of this river. Alexander went to Sardis after this battle, won Ephesus without a fight and continued to Carie, where he conquered the city of Miletus.

From Granicus to Issus

Darius III.Persian King Darius III. finally resolved to take action then. Darius was 195 centimetres tall, which was unbelievable at that time. However, he was not a worthy opponent of Alexander, because he was indecisive and soft. After the defeat at Granicus it took Darius more than a year to rally troops and faced Alexander at a battlefield.

The battle of Issus took place, the Persians were mercilessly defeated again and Darius hardly fled. Alexander gained Darius’ royal carriage, clothes and weapons as well. Besides other things the booty also included Darius’ harem with the King’s mother Sisygambis. She became Alexander’s friend as the time went. The Macedonian King treated all Darius’ family very well in general.

After the battle, Alexander did not follow Darius to the centre of the empire, but he went southwards to Phoenicia, Judea and Egypt. Before, Darius had tried to buy his family out for a huge amount of money, but Alexander also wanted the Persian King to be his vassal. So Alexander went to the south.

Parmenion, who led separate army, gained Damascus. The Persian patricians as well as Darius, who drew into a battle, left their money to be „safe“ there. A great treasure fell into Alexander’s hands, much larger than that of Sardis. Sidon city in Phoenicia surrendered without a fight, but it was not the case of Tyre. This massive fort stood on the island and had many ships and people ready to defend the city.

Alexander’s conquering of Tyre

Alexander let build an earthwork to the island, on which Tyre was located. He compiled the fleet of 200 ships (120 from Cyprus, where the Persian domination was brought down recently). The Tyre fleet was closed in the harbour by this amount of ships and Alexander began the biggest siege he had ever done. He used resources from all Phoenicia, Cyprus and Greece as well. He bombed the walls from the ships and the Tyrians skilfully tried to stop them from moving and anchoring.

Finally Alexander got his ships up to the city and the barrage as well began to approach to the walls. Tyrians used incandescent sand at that time against the soldiers, who were dying in terrible pain and so further movement was slowed down. Finally, Tyros was conquered mainly from ships. After the siege 30,000 Tyrians were captured, 6,000 were killed and 2,000 were crucified. Alexander lost 400 men during this siege.

Alexander freed Egypt from the Persians

Darius sent Alexander another message, in which he offered ransom for his family – countries up to Euphrates, a treaty of alliance and hand of his daughter. But Alexander refused and continued to Egypt. The last place of resistance on Alexander’s way was fort Gaza, which was conveniently located. Gaza was captured after two months. However, Alexander was almost killed by a soldier, who had given up and then took a dagger out. Also Alexander’s shoulder injury from a crossbow showed to be serious. The Persian surrendered then and the Egyptians made Alexander their Pharaoh and saviour.

Alexander founded a great city and later centre of the country in Egypt, a harbour named after him, Alexandria. This city stayed the greatest of all numerous cities founded by Alexander the Great. Alexander also came to the Amun’s sanctuary in Siwa Oasis on western Egypt at the end of his Egyptian journey. Then he left the Greece world and set out towards.

Alexander was 25 in 331 BC and set out to the east from Mesopotamia to challenge Persia to a fight. Darius’ troops stood behind Tigris then. Darius sent some forces to stop Alexander by crossing the river, but Alexander deceived them, crossed the river and the Persians retreated without a fight. Alexander crossed Tigris, a very fierce river, without any loss – he stood two rows of cavalrymen into the river. The first row broke the stream and the second one saved the soldiers swept by water. Then Alexander himself crossed the river with infantry.

Soon after there was a lunar eclipse, which was a scary sign for people in ancient times. Alexander knew, how the lunar eclipse arises, however he calmed the soldiers down by soothsayers. Then the great battle of Gaugamela took place, where Alexander also won and beat Darius and his satraps definitively.

Message from the Nile

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    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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