Alexander the great is debated by many to whether or not he was the greatest ancient world military commander. He had a strategic prowess on the battlefield, he always kept morals among his men high, and had a ruthless attitude where he thought of no accomplishment as unattainable. Although he had his flaws, Alexander is the undisputed greatest ancient world military commander.
He had an abnormal upbringing that bred him to be the greatest. Alexander III was born in Pella, Macedonia, in 356 B.C a(“Alexander the Great”). His dad, Philip II, conquered all Greek city states except for Sparta. He was assassinated and his plans to defeat Persia were passed on to his son Alexander (World History). His dad wanted to cultivate and breed a future king. He gave Alexander the best training in fighting and horse riding. He tamed Bucephalus “Untamable” a horse when he was 11 (Mark, Joshua J). He passed the two tests of Macedonian manhood: Kill a wild boar and a human enemy .He did both of these before succeeding the throne. He was also a good hunter (Cartledge). Alexander was thrown into the ring at the young age of 20, not only having to fill his father’s shoes but carry out his plans after Philip was assassinated.
Alexander’s first battle was the battle of Granicus. It was one of the battles in the Persian wars and he crushed the Persians. Although victorious, Alexander had a near death experience after having to fight his way out of being surrounded by enemy forces. He made himself known In 333 B.C., Alexander and his men encountered a massive Persian army led by King Darius III himself near the town of Issus. They faced each other head on. Alexander’s forces were greatly outnumbered in men but not in experience and they all seeked revenge for Persia invading Greece years before (“Alexander the Great”). Alexander saw Darius with his own eyes and charged him. He injured Darius who fled the battle. Alexander’s army had Darius’s on their heels, and were pulling ahead but greatly hurt the Persians after they watched their leader flee. The more even fight turned greatly in the Greeks favor after they all got energized from watching Alexander fight for them and send Darius on a retreat.
The Persian army retreated after him, resulting in another Alexander victory, and now Alex was in Darius’s head. He then laid siege to the heavily-fortified island of Tyre in January 332 B.C., after the Tyrians, who weren’t his enemies, refused him entry. But Alexander had no navy Tyre was surrounded by water (“Alexander the Great”). Alexander instructed his men to build a path over the water to reach Tyre. All went well until they came came close to the island and were within striking distance of the Tyrians. They stopped Alexander’s clever attempt to reach the island and he realized he needed a strong navy to penetrate their defenses(“Alexander the Great”). He amassed a large makeshift fleet right in front of Tyre, and attacked the city’s walls in July 332 B.C. and executed thousands of Tyrians for daring to defy him; many others were sold into slavery. This battle, although not very relevant, is a prime example of Alexander’s quick thinking and ability to adapt. In 331 BCE Alexander met King Darius III on the battlefield at Gaugamela where he once again had a disadvantage of a smaller army (World History).
Alexander only had forty seven thousand who were up against Darius’s one hundred and fifty thousand including war elephants and many armored chariots. Any better in vegas would of put all there money on the Persians unless they looked into it. The massive Persian army was not trained, armored, or disciplined as well as Alexander’s Greek army. They had no chemistry, as much of their soldiers were Indian and Greek mercenaries. Also, the Greeks had the moral on there side as they watched Alexander chase Darius off the field the battle before (World History). The Greeks won the battle and Darius retreated from the battle field again. As Alexander’s armies closed in, Darius’s general murdered him to try and appease Alex and save his skin. Alexander looked down on this action. He had the general executed and felt bad for Darius. Now Alexander went on and captured Perisa. He had the biggest enemy out of the way and fulfilled his dads requests and plans. He now had his eyes set on conquering the entire ancient war. After conquering almost all of the ancient world, he marched to India. There he met the forces of King Porus. They had a stalemate across a river where neither side budged. At night, Alexander sent his cavalry a few miles down the river. They made lots of racquet and noise, and then went back to the camp. Porus then sent his armies down to fight, but they found nothing. With Patience, Alexander pulled this stunt for weeks. Porus’s kept sending his armies after the noise who kept finding nothing. Porus then fell right into the trap and stopped reacting to the noise. One night the cavalry flanked successfully without being met by the Indian armies and Alexander’s forces crossed the river. They crushed the Indians. This battle showed how clever and strategic Alexander is.
Alexander wanted to conquer china when his troops, who had been away from there families for 10 years, refused (Giotto’s). He died sometime later and the cause is still argued about among historians. He died in Babylon at the age of 32 on June 11 323 BCE after ten days of high fever. The historians argue theories concerning the cause of his death which are poisoning, malaria, meningitis and bacterial infection from drinking dirty water (Mark, Joshua J). Some think that a general poisoned him because Alexander would not turn around and end the fighting until he had conquered the entire ancient world (Romm, James). His death created a power vacuum amongst his men because there wasn’t a designated heir to his throne.The generals battled it out and ultimately weakened the massive empire (World History). These areas fell to the Roman empire, who adopted the Greek culture (World History). The empire only stayed strong for about ten years after his death. Even though he died prematurely, he still left behind a great legacy. In Egypt, he founded the great city of Alexandria, which would become a center of Hellenistic culture and a major seaport (World History). Thanks to Alexander, Greek Language, architecture, mythology, and philosophy became widespread.
There was many Greco-Buddhist art in South Asia. Temples all over the ancient world had Greek architecture (World History). The library built in Alexandria. It was the largest library of the ancient world (World History). Alexander is thought of by some as not a great leader. Some of the major points brought up against him include how ruthless and vicious he was. Alexander executed thousands of enemy soldiers and conquered villagers at a time. These mass executions were not necessary. Some say he was over the top, and a brutal savage who showed no empathy for others. This point is not relevant because times have changed along with military rules. Most generals did things back in ancient times that are not allowed today and he did show empathy. Darius fled and was assassinated by his own troops. It’s said Alexander was sad when he found Darius’s body and gave him a royal burial (“Alexander the Great”).
Also he is considered a bad leader because he experienced two mutanies in his career due to his over the top ambition. Alex’s army refused to go on in 324 at Opis when he wished to go on and conquer the Arabs and Carthaginians. Alexander’s men would not take a step more. They refused to go on. Besides pushing his men too hard, he had always kept there morals high. He was leading his troops through a dessert on the way to another battle (World History). Thousands of them plowed through for days without food or water in the blazing heat. Alexander sent some men to try and find water, and they returned with only a helmet full of it (World History). Word spread quickly that Alexander had water. Alexander turned to his crowd of men, and threw the helmet into the sand spilling the water. The army erupted into cheers and they all pushed through the desert. Alexander was different from other leaders who thought of themselves as gods and royalty. They would of taken that water and drank it (World History). He had a way with his army that no other leader had, and that’s why they all beat the odds so many times. They all fought as one and for each other because they knew they had a leader that was looking out for them (World History). Also, Alexander always rode into battle at the head of his army unlike Darius and most other kings.
He is often compared to Hannibal, a Carthaginian general, and Scippio, a Roman general. He surpasses both of them because of many reasons. He was a general that was respected by all of his troops who all wanted to fight for him. He was ambitious, strategic and very wise. Lastly, he is the only general that never lost a battle. In my opinion, if it were not for his premature death, the world as we know it today would be different. If he wouldn’t have met such an early death he would of conquered the entire world. Although he had his flaws and may have been too ambitious, Alexander is the greatest ancient world military commander.
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