ALEXANDER III the GREAT 325BC Shield of Macedonia Helmet Greek Coin i55489

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Seller: Top-Rated Seller highrating_lowprice (20,590) 100%, Location: Rego Park, New York, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 231944764185 Item: i55489 Authentic Ancient Greek Coin of Macedonian Kingdom Alexander III the Great - King of Macedonia 336-323 B.C. Bronze 1/2 Unit 15mm (4.64 grams) Uncertain mint in Macedon. Struck circa 325-310 B.C. Reference: Price 416 Macedonian shield; around, five double crescents with five pellets between each; in centre, thunderbolt. B - A on either side of crested Macedonian helmet, thunderbolt below. You are bidding on the exact item pictured, provided with a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity. Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great from the Greek alexo "to defend, help" + aner "man"), was a king of Macedon , a state in northern ancient Greece . Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16. By the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world , stretching from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas .He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history's most successful commanders. Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II of Macedon , to the throne in 336 BC after Philip was assassinated. Upon Philip's death, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. He was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father's military expansion plans. In 334 BC, he invaded Persian -ruled Asia Minor and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela . He subsequently overthrew the Persian King Darius III and conquered the entirety of the Persian Empire . At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River . Seeking to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea", he invaded India in 326 BC, but was eventually forced to turn back at the demand of his troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia . In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in several states ruled by the Diadochi , Alexander's surviving generals and heirs. Alexander's legacy includes the cultural diffusion his conquests engendered. He founded some twenty cities that bore his name , most notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization , aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles , and he features prominently in the history and myth of Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves, and military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics. Early life Lineage and childhood Alexander was born on the 6th day of the ancient Greek month of Hekatombaion , in Pella , the capital of the Ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedon .He was the son of the king of Macedon, Philip II , and his fourth wife, Olympias , the daughter of Neoptolemus I , king of Epirus . Although Philip had seven or eight wives, Olympias was his principal wife for some time, likely a result of giving birth to Alexander. Philip II of Macedon , Alexander's father. On the day that Alexander was born, Philip was preparing a siege on the city of Potidea on the peninsula of Chalcidice . That same day, Philip received news that his general Parmenion had defeated the combined Illyrian and Paeonian armies, and that his horses had won at the Olympic Games . It was also said that on this day, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus , one of the Seven Wonders of the World , burnt down. This led Hegesias of Magnesia to say that it had burnt down because Artemis was away, attending the birth of Alexander. Bust of a young Alexander the Great from the Hellenistic era, British Museum In his early years, Alexander was raised by a nurse, Lanike , sister of Alexander's future general Cleitus the Black . Later in his childhood, Alexander was tutored by the strict Leonidas , a relative of his mother, and by Philip's general Lysimachus . Alexander was raised in the manner of noble Macedonian youths, learning to read, play the lyre, ride, fight, and hunt. When Alexander was ten years old, a trader from Thessaly brought Philip a horse, which he offered to sell for thirteen talents . The horse refused to be mounted and Philip ordered it away. Alexander however, detecting the horse's fear of its own shadow, asked to tame the horse, which he eventually managed. Philip, overjoyed at this display of courage and ambition, kissed his son tearfully, declaring: "My boy, you must find a kingdom big enough for your ambitions. Macedon is too small for you", and bought the horse for him.Alexander named it Bucephalas , meaning "ox-head". Bucephalas carried Alexander as far as Pakistan . When the animal died at age thirty, Alexander named a city after him, Bucephala . When Alexander was 13, Philip began to search for a tutor , chose Aristotle and provided the Temple of the Nymphs at Mieza as a classroom. In return for teaching Alexander, Philip agreed to rebuild Aristotle's hometown of Stageira , which Philip had razed, and to repopulate it by buying and freeing the ex-citizens who were slaves, or pardoning those who were in exile. Mieza was like a boarding school for Alexander and the children of Macedonian nobles, such as Ptolemy , Hephaistion , and Cassander . Many of these students would become his friends and future generals, and are often known as the 'Companions'. Aristotle taught Alexander and his companions about medicine, philosophy, morals, religion, logic, and art. Under Aristotle's tutelage, Alexander developed a passion for the works of Homer , and in particular the Iliad ; Aristotle gave him an annotated copy, which Alexander later carried on his campaigns. At age 16, Alexander's education under Aristotle ended. Philip waged war against Byzantion , leaving Alexander in charge as regent and heir apparent . During Philip's absence, the Thracian Maedi revolted against Macedonia. Alexander responded quickly, driving them from their territory. He colonized it with Greeks, and founded a city named Alexandropolis . Upon Philip's return, he dispatched Alexander with a small force to subdue revolts in southern Thrace . Campaigning against the Greek city of Perinthus , Alexander is reported to have saved his father's life. Meanwhile, the city of Amphissa began to work lands that were sacred to Apollo near Delphi , a sacrilege that gave Philip the opportunity to further intervene in Greek affairs. Still occupied in Thrace, he ordered Alexander to muster an army for a campaign in Greece. Concerned that other Greek states might intervene, Alexander made it look as though he was preparing to attack Illyria instead. During this turmoil, the Illyrians invaded Macedonia, only to be repelled by Alexander. Philip and his army joined his son in 338 BC, and they marched south through Thermopylae , taking it after stubborn resistance from its Theban garrison. They went on to occupy the city of Elatea , only a few days' march from both Athens and Thebes. The Athenians, led by Demosthenes , voted to seek alliance with Thebes against Macedonia. Both Athens and Philip sent embassies to win Thebes' favor, but Athens won the contest.Philip marched on Amphissa (ostensibly acting on the request of the Amphictyonic League ), capturing the mercenaries sent there by Demosthenes and accepting the city's surrender. Philip then returned to Elatea, sending a final offer of peace to Athens and Thebes, who both rejected it. As Philip marched south, his opponents blocked him near Chaeronea , Boeotia . During the ensuing Battle of Chaeronea , Philip commanded the right wing and Alexander the left, accompanied by a group of Philip's trusted generals. According to the ancient sources, the two sides fought bitterly for some time. Philip deliberately commanded his troops to retreat, counting on the untested Athenian hoplites to follow, thus breaking their line. Alexander was the first to break the Theban lines, followed by Philip's generals. Having damaged the enemy's cohesion, Philip ordered his troops to press forward and quickly routed them. With the Athenians lost, the Thebans were surrounded. Left to fight alone, they were defeated. After the victory at Chaeronea, Philip and Alexander marched unopposed into the Peloponnese, welcomed by all cities; however, when they reached Sparta , they were refused, but did not resort to war.At Corinth , Philip established a "Hellenic Alliance" (modeled on the old anti-Persian alliance of the Greco-Persian Wars ), which included most Greek city-states except Sparta. Philip was then named Hegemon (often translated as "Supreme Commander") of this league (known by modern scholars as the League of Corinth ), and announced his plans to attack the Persian Empire . When Philip returned to Pella, he fell in love with and married Cleopatra Eurydice , the niece of his general Attalus . The marriage made Alexander's position as heir less secure, since any son of Cleopatra Eurydice would be a fully Macedonian heir, while Alexander was only half-Macedonian. Alexander fled Macedon with his mother, dropping her off with her brother, King Alexander I of Epirus in Dodona , capital of the Molossians .He continued to Illyria, where he sought refuge with the Illyrian King and was treated as a guest, despite having defeated them in battle a few years before. However, it appears Philip never intended to disown his politically and militarily trained son. Accordingly, Alexander returned to Macedon after six months due to the efforts of a family friend, Demaratus , who mediated between the two parties. In 336 BC, while at Aegae attending the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra to Olympias's brother, Alexander I of Epirus , Philip was assassinated by the captain of his bodyguards , Pausanias . As Pausanias tried to escape, he tripped over a vine and was killed by his pursuers, including two of Alexander's companions, Perdiccas and Leonnatus . Alexander was proclaimed king by the nobles and army at the age of 20. Alexander began his reign by eliminating potential rivals to the throne. He had his cousin, the former Amyntas IV , executed. He also had two Macedonian princes from the region of Lyncestis killed, but spared a third, Alexander Lyncestes . Olympias had Cleopatra Eurydice and Europa, her daughter by Philip, burned alive. When Alexander learned about this, he was furious. Alexander also ordered the murder of Attalus, who was in command of the advance guard of the army in Asia Minor and Cleopatra's uncle. News of Philip's death roused many states into revolt, including Thebes, Athens, Thessaly, and the Thracian tribes north of Macedon. When news of the revolts reached Alexander, he responded quickly. Though advised to use diplomacy, Alexander mustered the Macedonian cavalry of 3,000 and rode south towards Thessaly. He found the Thessalian army occupying the pass between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa , and ordered his men to ride over Mount Ossa. When the Thessalians awoke the next day, they found Alexander in their rear and promptly surrendered, adding their cavalry to Alexander's force. He then continued south towards the Peloponnese . Alexander stopped at Thermopylae, where he was recognized as the leader of the Amphictyonic League before heading south to Corinth . Athens sued for peace and Alexander pardoned the rebels. The famous encounter between Alexander and Diogenes the Cynic occurred during Alexander's stay in Corinth. When Alexander asked Diogenes what he could do for him, the philosopher disdainfully asked Alexander to stand a little to the side, as he was blocking the sunlight. This reply apparently delighted Alexander, who is reported to have said "But verily, if I were not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes." At Corinth Alexander took the title of Hegemon ("leader"), and like Philip, was appointed commander for the coming war against Persia. He also received news of a Thracian uprising. Alexander's army crossed the Hellespont in 334 BC with approximately 48,100 soldiers, 6,100 cavalry and a fleet of 120 ships with crews numbering 38,000,drawn from Macedon and various Greek city-states, mercenaries, and feudally raised soldiers from Thrace , Paionia , and Illyria . He showed his intent to conquer the entirety of the Persian Empire by throwing a spear into Asian soil and saying he accepted Asia as a gift from the gods. This also showed Alexander's eagerness to fight, in contrast to his father's preference for diplomacy. After an initial victory against Persian forces at the Battle of the Granicus , Alexander accepted the surrender of the Persian provincial capital and treasury of Sardis ; he then proceeded along the Ionian coast. Though Alexander believed in his divine right to expend the lives of men in battle, he did experience sorrow, as those who died were rewarded generously. He did not directly influence the culture of the Persians they did not feel the need to begin a rebellion as their men and rulers were treated with proper respect. The Levant and Syria Alexander journeyed south but was met by Darius’ significantly larger army which he easily defeated, causing Darius to panic. Although he was chased by some troops ‘Alexander treated them (his family) with the respect out of consideration’ which demonstrated his continued generosity and kindness towards those he conquered.Darius fled the battle, causing his army to collapse, and left behind his wife, his two daughters, his mother Sisygambis , and a fabulous treasure.He offered a peace treaty that included the lands he had already lost, and a ransom of 10,000 talents for his family. Alexander replied that since he was now king of Asia, it was he alone who decided territorial divisions. Alexander proceeded to take possession of Syria , and most of the coast of the Levant . In the following year, 332 BC, he was forced to attack Tyre , which he captured after a long and difficult siege .Alexander massacred the men of military age and sold the women and children into slavery . Egypt When Alexander destroyed Tyre, most of the towns on the route to Egypt quickly capitulated, with the exception of Gaza. The stronghold at Gaza was heavily fortified and built on a hill, requiring a siege. Alexander came upon the city only to be met with a surprising resistance and fortification. When ‘his engineers pointed out to him that because of the height of the mound it would be impossible… this encouraged Alexander all the more to make the attempt’ . The divine right that Alexander believed he had gave him confidence of a miracle occurring. After three unsuccessful assaults, the stronghold fell, but not before Alexander had received a serious shoulder wound. As in Tyre, men of military age were put to the sword and the women and children sold into slavery. Jerusalem instead opened its gates in surrender, and according to Josephus , Alexander was shown the Book of Daniel 's prophecy, presumably chapter 8, which described a mighty Greek king who would conquer the Persian Empire. He spared Jerusalem and pushed south into Egypt. Alexander advanced on Egypt in later 332 BC, where he was regarded as a liberator. He was pronounced the new "master of the Universe" and son of the deity of Amun at the Oracle of Siwa Oasis in the Libyan desert.Henceforth, Alexander often referred to Zeus-Ammon as his true father, and subsequent currency depicted him adorned with rams horn as a symbol of his divinity. During his stay in Egypt, he founded Alexandria-by-Egypt , which would become the prosperous capital of the Ptolemaic Kingdom after his death. Bust of Alexander the Great as Helios (Musei Capitolini) Assyria and Babylonia Leaving Egypt in 331 BC, Alexander marched eastward into Mesopotamia (now northern Iraq) and again defeated Darius, at the Battle of Gaugamela . Darius once more fled the field, and Alexander chased him as far as Arbela . Gaugamela would be the final and decisive encounter between the two. Darius fled over the mountains to Ecbatana (modern Hamedan ), while Alexander captured Babylon . Persia From Babylon, Alexander went to Susa, one of the Achaemenid capitals, and captured its legendary treasury. He sent the bulk of his army to the Persian ceremonial capital of Persepolis via the Royal Road . Alexander himself took selected troops on the direct route to the city. He had to storm the pass of the Persian Gates (in the modern Zagros Mountains ) which had been blocked by a Persian army under Ariobarzanes and then hurried to Persepolis before its garrison could loot the treasury. Alexander fighting the Persian king Darius III . From Alexander Mosaic , Naples National Archaeological Museum On entering Persepolis, Alexander allowed his troops to loot the city for several days.Alexander stayed in Persepolis for five months. During his stay a fire broke out in the eastern palace of Xerxes and spread to the rest of the city. Possible causes include a drunken accident or deliberate revenge for the burning of the Acropolis of Athens during the Second Persian War . Fall of the Empire and the East Alexander then chased Darius, first into Media, and then Parthia.The Persian king no longer controlled his own destiny, and was taken prisoner by Bessus , his Bactrian satrap and kinsman.As Alexander approached, Bessus had his men fatally stab the Great King and then declared himself Darius' successor as Artaxerxes V, before retreating into Central Asia to launch a guerrilla campaign against Alexander. Alexander buried Darius' remains next to his Achaemenid predecessors in a regal funeral.He claimed that, while dying, Darius had named him as his successor to the Achaemenid throne. The Achaemenid Empire is normally considered to have fallen with Darius. Alexander viewed Bessus as a usurper and set out to defeat him. This campaign, initially against Bessus, turned into a grand tour of central Asia. Alexander founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and Alexandria Eschate ("The Furthest") in modern Tajikistan . The campaign took Alexander through Media , Parthia , Aria (West Afghanistan), Drangiana , Arachosia (South and Central Afghanistan), Bactria (North and Central Afghanistan), and Scythia . Spitamenes , who held an undefined position in the satrapy of Sogdiana, in 329 BC betrayed Bessus to Ptolemy , one of Alexander's trusted companions, and Bessus was executed. However, when, at some point later, Alexander was on the Jaxartes dealing with an incursion by a horse nomad army, Spitamenes raised Sogdiana in revolt. Alexander personally defeated the Scythians at the Battle of Jaxartes and immediately launched a campaign against Spitamenes, defeating him in the Battle of Gabai. After the defeat, Spitamenes was killed by his own men, who then sued for peace.The empire began falling as military leaders and eventually Alexander died. Problems and plots During this time, Alexander took the Persian title "King of Kings" (Shahanshah) and adopted some elements of Persian dress and customs at his court, notably the custom of proskynesis , either a symbolic kissing of the hand, or prostration on the ground, that Persians showed to their social superiors. The Greeks regarded the gesture as the province of deities and believed that Alexander meant to deify himself by requiring it. This cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen, and he eventually abandoned it. A plot against his life was revealed, and one of his officers, Philotas , was executed for failing to alert Alexander. The death of the son necessitated the death of the father, and thus Parmenion , who had been charged with guarding the treasury at Ecbatana , was assassinated at Alexander's command, to prevent attempts at vengeance. Most infamously, Alexander personally killed the man who had saved his life at Granicus, Cleitus the Black , during a violent drunken altercation at Maracanda (modern day Samarkand in Uzbekistan ), in which Cleitus accused Alexander of several judgemental mistakes and most especially, of having forgot the Macedonian ways in favour of a corrupt oriental lifestyle. Macedon in Alexander's absence When Alexander set out for Asia, he left his general Antipater , an experienced military and political leader and part of Philip II's "Old Guard", in charge of Macedon. Alexander's sacking of Thebes ensured that Greece remained quiet during his absence. The one exception was a call to arms by Spartan king Agis III in 331 BC, whom Antipater defeated and killed in battle at Megalopolis the following year. Antipater referred the Spartans' punishment to the League of Corinth, which then deferred to Alexander, who chose to pardon them. There was also considerable friction between Antipater and Olympias, and each complained to Alexander about the other. In general, Greece enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity during Alexander's campaign in Asia. Alexander sent back vast sums from his conquest, which stimulated the economy and increased trade across his empire.However, Alexander's constant demands for troops and the migration of Macedonians throughout his empire depleted Macedon's manpower, greatly weakening it in the years after Alexander, and ultimately led to its subjugation by Rome. Indian campaign After the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana (Roshanak in Bactrian ) to cement relations with his new satrapies, Alexander turned to the Indian subcontinent . He invited the chieftains of the former satrapy of Gandhara , in the north of what is now Pakistan , to come to him and submit to his authority. Omphis , ruler of Taxila , whose kingdom extended from the Indus to the Hydaspes , complied, but the chieftains of some hill clans, including the Aspasioi and Assakenoi sections of the Kambojas (known in Indian texts also as Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas), refused to submit.In the winter of 327/326 BC, Alexander personally led a campaign against these clans; the Aspasioi of Kunar valleys , the Guraeans of the Guraeus valley, and the Assakenoi of the Swat and Buner valleys.A fierce contest ensued with the Aspasioi in which Alexander was wounded in the shoulder by a dart, but eventually the Aspasioi lost. Alexander then faced the Assakenoi, who fought in the strongholds of Massaga, Ora and Aornos .The fort of Massaga was reduced only after days of bloody fighting, in which Alexander was wounded seriously in the ankle. After Aornos, Alexander crossed the Indus and fought and won an epic battle against King Porus , who ruled a region in the Punjab , in the Battle of the Hydaspes in 326 BC. Alexander was impressed by Porus's bravery, and made him an ally. He appointed Porus as satrap, and added to Porus' territory land that he did not previously own. Choosing a local helped him control these lands so distant from Greece.Alexander founded two cities on opposite sides of the Hydaspes river, naming one Bucephala , in honor of his horse, who died around this time.The other was Nicaea (Victory) located at the site of modern day Mong, Punjab . Revolt of the army East of Porus' kingdom, near the Ganges River , were the Nanda Empire of Magadha and further east the Gangaridai Empire of Bengal . Fearing the prospect of facing other large armies and exhausted by years of campaigning, Alexander's army mutinied at the Hyphasis River , refusing to march farther east. This river thus marks the easternmost extent of Alexander's conquests. Alexander tried to persuade his soldiers to march farther, but his general Coenus pleaded with him to change his opinion and return; the men, he said, "longed to again see their parents, their wives and children, their homeland". Alexander eventually agreed and turned south, marching along the Indus . Along the way his army conquered the Malli clans (in modern day Multan ) and other Indian tribes. Alexander sent much of his army to Carmania (modern southern Iran) with general Craterus , and commissioned a fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus , while he led the rest back to Persia through the more difficult southern route along the Gedrosian Desert and Makran (now part of southern Iran and Pakistan).Alexander reached Susa in 324 BC, but not before losing many men to the harsh desert. Last years in Persia Discovering that many of his satraps and military governors had misbehaved in his absence, Alexander executed several of them as examples on his way to Susa. As a gesture of thanks, he paid off the debts of his soldiers, and announced that he would send over-aged and disabled veterans back to Macedon, led by Craterus. His troops misunderstood his intention and mutinied at the town of Opis . They refused to be sent away and criticized his adoption of Persian customs and dress and the introduction of Persian officers and soldiers into Macedonian units. Death and succession On either 10 or 11 June 323 BC, Alexander died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II , in Babylon , at age 32. Details of the death differ slightly – Plutarch 's account is that roughly 14 days before his death, Alexander entertained admiral Nearchus , and spent the night and next day drinking with Medius of Larissa .He developed a fever, which worsened until he was unable to speak. Diodorus, Plutarch, Arrian and Justin all mentioned the theory that Alexander was poisoned. The strongest argument against the poison theory is the fact that twelve days passed between the start of his illness and his death; such long-acting poisons were probably not available. In 2010, however, a new theory proposed that the circumstances of his death were compatible with poisoning by water of the river Styx (Mavroneri) that contained calicheamicin , a dangerous compound produced by bacteria . Several natural causes (diseases) have been suggested, including malaria and typhoid fever . After death Alexander's body was laid in a gold anthropoid sarcophagus that was filled with honey, which was in turn placed in a gold casket. While Alexander's funeral cortege was on its way to Macedon, Ptolemy stole it and took it to Memphis. His successor, Ptolemy II Philadelphus , transferred the sarcophagus to Alexandria, where it remained until at least late Antiquity . Ptolemy IX Lathyros , one of Ptolemy's final successors, replaced Alexander's sarcophagus with a glass one so he could convert the original to coinage. Pompey , Julius Caesar and Augustus all visited the tomb in Alexandria. Caligula was said to have taken Alexander's breastplate from the tomb for his own use. In c. AD 200, Emperor Septimius Severus closed Alexander's tomb to the public. His son and successor, Caracalla , a great admirer, visited the tomb during his own reign. After this, details on the fate of the tomb are hazy. Division of the empire Alexander's death was so sudden that when reports of his death reached Greece, they were not immediately believed.Alexander had no obvious or legitimate heir, his son Alexander IV by Roxane being born after Alexander's death.According to Diodorus, Alexander's companions asked him on his deathbed to whom he bequeathed his kingdom; his laconic reply was "tôi kratistôi"—"to the strongest". In 321 BC, Macedonian unity collapsed, and 40 years of war between "The Successors" (Diadochi) ensued before the Hellenistic world settled into four stable power blocks: the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, the Seleucid Empire in the east, the Kingdom of Pergamon in Asia Minor, and Macedon. In the process, both Alexander IV and Philip III were murdered. Character Alexander earned the epithet "the Great" due to his unparalleled success as a military commander. He never lost a battle, despite typically being outnumbered.This was due to use of terrain, phalanx and cavalry tactics, bold strategy, and the fierce loyalty of his troops.The Macedonian phalanx , armed with the sarissa , a spear 6 metres (20 ft) long, had been developed and perfected by Philip II through rigorous training, and Alexander used its speed and maneuverability to great effect against larger but more disparate Persian forces.Alexander also recognized the potential for disunity among his diverse army, which employed various languages and weapons. He overcame this by being personally involved in battle,in the manner of a Macedonian king. When faced with opponents who used unfamiliar fighting techniques, such as in Central Asia and India, Alexander adapted his forces to his opponents' style. Thus, in Bactria and Sogdiana , Alexander successfully used his javelin throwers and archers to prevent outflanking movements, while massing his cavalry at the center. In India, confronted by Porus' elephant corps, the Macedonians opened their ranks to envelop the elephants and used their sarissas to strike upwards and dislodge the elephants' handlers. Physical appearance: Greek historian Arrian described Alexander as: The strong, handsome commander with one eye dark as the night and one blue as the sky. Alexander suffered from heterochromia iridum : that one eye was dark and the other light. Personality Some of Alexander's strongest personality traits formed in response to his parents.His mother had huge ambitions, and encouraged him to believe it was his destiny to conquer the Persian Empire. Olympias' influence instilled a sense of destiny in him, and Plutarch tells us that his ambition "kept his spirit serious and lofty in advance of his years". However, his father Philip was Alexander's most immediate and influential role model, as the young Alexander watched him campaign practically every year, winning victory after victory while ignoring severe wounds.Alexander's relationship with his father forged the competitive side of his personality; he had a need to out-do his father, illustrated by his reckless behavior in battle. While Alexander worried that his father would leave him "no great or brilliant achievement to be displayed to the world", he also downplayed his father's achievements to his companions. According to Plutarch, among Alexander's traits were a violent temper and rash, impulsive nature, which undoubtedly contributed to some of his decisions. Although Alexander was stubborn and did not respond well to orders from his father, he was open to reasoned debate. He had a calmer side—perceptive, logical, and calculating. He had a great desire for knowledge, a love for philosophy, and was an avid reader.This was no doubt in part due to Aristotle's tutelage; Alexander was intelligent and quick to learn. His intelligent and rational side was amply demonstrated by his ability and success as a general. Alexander was erudite and patronized both arts and sciences.However, he had little interest in sports or the Olympic games (unlike his father), seeking only the Homeric ideals of honor (timê) and glory (kudos). He had great charisma and force of personality, characteristics which made him a great leader. His unique abilities were further demonstrated by the inability of any of his generals to unite Macedonia and retain the Empire after his death – only Alexander had the ability to do so. During his final years, and especially after the death of Hephaestion, Alexander began to exhibit signs of megalomania and paranoia .His extraordinary achievements, coupled with his own ineffable sense of destiny and the flattery of his companions, may have combined to produce this effect. He appears to have believed himself a deity, or at least sought to deify himself. Olympias always insisted to him that he was the son of Zeus,a theory apparently confirmed to him by the oracle of Amun at Siwa . He began to identify himself as the son of Zeus-Ammon.Alexander adopted elements of Persian dress and customs at court, notably proskynesis , a practice that Macedonians disapproved, and were loath to perform. This behavior cost him the sympathies of many of his countrymen.However, Alexander also was a pragmatic ruler who understood the difficulties of ruling culturally disparate peoples, many of whom lived in kingdoms where the king was divine.Thus, rather than megalomania, his behavior may simply have been a practical attempt at strengthening his rule and keeping his empire together. Personal relationships Alexander, left, and Hephaestion , right The central personal relationship of Alexander's life was with his friend, general, and bodyguard Hephaestion , the son of a Macedonian noble.Hephaestion's death devastated Alexander.This event may have contributed to Alexander's failing health and detached mental state during his final months. Alexander married twice: Roxana , daughter of the Bactrian nobleman Oxyartes , out of love; and Stateira II , a Persian princess and daughter of Darius III of Persia, for political reasons. He apparently had two sons, Alexander IV of Macedon of Roxana and, possibly, Heracles of Macedon from his mistress Barsine. He lost another child when Roxana miscarried at Babylon. Alexander's sexuality has been the subject of speculation and controversy. No ancient sources stated that Alexander had homosexual relationships, or that Alexander's relationship with Hephaestion was sexual. Aelian, however, writes of Alexander's visit to Troy where "Alexander garlanded the tomb of Achilles and Hephaestion that of Patroclus , the latter riddling that he was a beloved of Alexander, in just the same way as Patroclus was of Achilles". Noting that the word eromenos (ancient Greek for beloved) does not necessarily bear sexual meaning, Alexander may have been bisexual, which in his time was not controversial. Influence on Rome Alexander and his exploits were admired by many Romans, especially generals, who wanted to associate themselves with his achievements. Pompey the Great adopted the epithet "Magnus" and even Alexander's anatole-type haircut, and searched the conquered lands of the east for Alexander's 260-year-old cloak, which he then wore as a sign of greatness. Julius Caesar dedicated a Lysippean equestrian bronze statue but replaced Alexander's head with his own, while Octavian visited Alexander's tomb in Alexandria and temporarily changed his seal from a sphinx to Alexander's profile. The emperor Trajan also admired Alexander, as did Nero and Caracalla .The Macriani, a Roman family that in the person of Macrinus briefly ascended to the imperial throne, kept images of Alexander on their persons, either on jewelry, or embroidered into their clothes. Alexander the Great's accomplishments and legacy have been depicted in many cultures. Alexander has figured in both high and popular culture beginning in his own era to the present day. The Alexander Romance, in particular, has had a significant impact on portrayals of Alexander in later cultures, from Persian to medieval European to modern Greek. The army of the Kingdom of Macedonia was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. It became formidable under King Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great . The latest innovations in weapons and tactics, along with unique combination of military elements introduced by Philip II, came together into the army that won an intercontinental empire. By introducing military service as a full-time occupation, Philip was able to drill his men regularly, ensuring unity and cohesion in his ranks. In a remarkably short time, this led to one of the finest military machines that Asia or Greece had ever seen. Tactical innovations included adaptations of the latest tactics applied to the traditional Greek phalanx by men such as Epaminondas of Thebes (who twice defeated the Spartans), as well as coordinated attacks (early combined arms tactics) with the various arms of his army — the phalanx, cavalry, missile troops and, under Alexander III, siege engines . A novel weapon was introduced, the sarissa , a type of counter-weighted (like all Greek spears) pike , which gave its wielder many advantages both offensively and defensively. For the first time in Greek warfare, cavalry became a decisive arm in battle. The new Macedonian army was an amalgamation of different forces. Macedonians and other Greeks (especially Thessalian cavalry) and a wide range of mercenaries from across the Aegean and Balkans were employed by Phillip. By 338 BC, more than a half of the army for his planned invasion of Persia came from outside the borders of Macedon — from all over the Greek world and the nearby barbarian tribes. Unfortunately, the primary historical sources for this period have been lost. As a consequence, scholarship is largely reliant on the writings of Diodorus Siculus and Arrian , both of whom lived centuries later than the events they describe. Origins Philip II of Macedon - silver tetradrachm coin. If Philip II had not been the father of Alexander the Great, he would be more widely known as a first-rate military innovator, tactician and strategist, and as a consummate politician. The conquests of Alexander would have been impossible without the army his father created. Considered semi-barbarous by the metropolitan Greeks, the Macedonians were a martial people; they drank deeply of unwatered wine (the very mark of a barbarian) and no youth was considered to be fit to sit with the men at table until he had killed, on foot with a spear, a wild boar.[2] When Philip took over control of Macedon, it was a backward state on the fringes of the Greek world and was beset by its traditional enemies: Illyrians, Paeonians and Thracians. Macedon itself was not unified, it consisted of a heartland inhabited by the Macedonians proper and many highland 'baronies' peopled by tribesmen ruled by semi-hellenised chieftains who recognised the power of the king only when it was in their interest. Previous kings of Macedon had raised armies including good quality cavalry, a small number of hoplite infantry and fairly numerous light infantry; however, these forces were not rigorously trained or organised and were only just capable of keeping Macedon intact — the kingdom often being raided or invaded by the surrounding barbarian peoples. Philip's first achievement was to unify Macedon through his army. He raised troops and made his army the single fount of wealth, honour and power in the land; the unruly chieftains of Macedonia became the officers and elite cavalrymen of the army, the highland peasants became the footsoldiers. Philip took pains to keep them always under arms and either fighting or drilling. Manoeuvres and drills were made into competitive events, and the truculent Macedonians vied with each other to excel.[3] As a political counterbalance to the native-born Macedonian nobility, Philip invited military families from throughout Greece to settle on lands he had conquered or confiscated from his enemies, these 'personal clients' then also served in the Companion cavalry. After taking control of the gold-rich mines of Mount Pangaeus, and the city of Amphipolis that dominated the region, he obtained the wealth to support a large army, moreover it was a professional army imbued with a national spirit. By the time of his death, Philip's army had pushed the Macedonian frontier into southern Illyria, conquered the Paeonians and Thracians, destroyed the power of Phocis and defeated and humbled Athens and Thebes . All the states of Greece, with the exception of Sparta, Epirus and Crete, had become subservient allies of Macedon (League of Corinth) and Philip was laying the foundations of an invasion of the Persian Empire, an invasion that his son would successfully undertake.[4] One important military innovation of Philip II is often overlooked, he banned the use of wheeled transport and limited the number of camp servants to one to every ten infantrymen and one each for the cavalry. This reform made the baggage train of the army very small for its size and improved its speed of march.[5] Troop types and unit organisation Ancient depiction of a Macedonian cavalryman (left). This shows Alexander the Great as a cavalryman. He wears a helmet in the form of the lion-scalp of Herakles. Detail of the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus , excavated at Sidon. Heavy Cavalry The Companion Cavalry The Companion cavalry, or Hetairoi (Ἑταῖροι), were the elite arm of the Macedonian army, and have been regarded as the best cavalry[6] in the ancient world . Along with Thessalian cavalry contingents, the Companions—raised from landed nobility—made up the bulk of the Macedonian heavy cavalry. Central Macedonia was good horse-rearing country and cavalry was prominent in Macedonian armies from early times. However, it was the reforms in organisation, drill and tactics introduced by Philip II that transformed the Companion cavalry into a battle-winning force. The term hetairos became an aulic title in the Diadochi period, and the hetairoi were divided into squadrons called ilai (singular: ilē), each 200 men strong, except for the Royal Squadron, which numbered 300. The Royal Squadron was also known as the Agema - "that which leads." Each squadron was commanded by an ilarchēs (ilarch) and appears to have been raised from a particular area of Macedon. Arrian for instance described squadrons from Bottiaea, Amphipolis, Apollonia and Anthemus.[7] It is probable that Alexander took 8 squadrons with him on his invasion of Asia totalling 1,800 men, leaving 7 ilai behind in Macedon (the 1,500 cavalrymen mentioned by Diodorus).[8] Between 330 BC and 328 BC the Companions were reformed into regiments (hipparchies) of 2-3 squadrons. In conjunction with this each squadron was divided into two lochoi. This was probably undertaken to allow for the increase in size of each squadron, as reinforcements and amalgamations meant the Companion cavalry grew in size. At this time, Alexander abandoned the regional organisation of the ilai, choosing their officers regardless of their origins.[9] The individual Companion cavalry squadron was usually deployed in a wedge formation, which facilitated both manoeuvrability and the shock of the charge. The advantage of the wedge was that it offered a narrow point for piercing enemy formations and concentrated the leaders at the front. It was easier to turn than a square formation because everyone followed the leader at the apex, "like a flight of cranes." Philip II introduced the formation, probably in emulation of Thracian and Scythian cavalry, though the example of the rhomboid formation adopted by Macedon's southern neighbours, the Thessalians, must also have had some effect.[10] The primary weapon of the Macedonian cavalry was the xyston , a double ended lance, with a sword as a secondary weapon. From descriptions of combat, it would appear that once in melee the Companion cavalryman used his lance to thrust at the chests and faces of the enemy. It is possible that the lance was aimed at the upper body of an opposing cavalryman in the expectation that a blow which did not wound or kill might have sufficient leverage to unseat. If the lance broke, the Companion could reverse it and use the other end, or draw his sword. Cleitus , an officer of the Companions, saved Alexander the Great's life at the Granicus by cutting off an enemy horseman's arm with his sword.[11] Companion cavalrymen would normally have worn armour and a helmet in battle. Although the Companion cavalry is largely regarded as the first real shock cavalry of Antiquity, it seems that Alexander was very wary of using it against well-formed infantry, as attested by Arrian in his account of the battle against the Malli, an Indian tribe he faced after Hydaspes. There, Alexander did not dare assault the dense infantry formation with his cavalry, but rather waited for his infantry to arrive, while he and his cavalry harassed their flanks. It is a common mistake to portray the Companion cavalry as a force able to burst through compact infantry lines. Alexander usually launched the Companions at the enemy after a gap had opened up between their units or disorder had already disrupted their ranks. The Companions that accompanied Alexander to Asia numbered 1,800 men. This number steadily grew as the campaign progressed, with 300 reinforcements arrving from Macedon after the first year of campaigning. They were usually arrayed on the right flank (this being the position of honour in Hellenic armies, where the best troops would be positioned), and typically carried out the decisive maneuver/assault of the battle under Alexander's direct leadership.[12] Thessalian Cavalry A heavy cavalryman of Alexander the Great's army, possibly a Thessalian. He wears a cuirass (probably a linothorax) and a Boeotian helmet, and is equipped with a scabbarded xiphos straight-bladed sword. Alexander Sarcophagus. Following the defeat of Lycophron of Pherae and Onomarchos of Phocis , Philip II of Macedon was appointed Archon of the Thessalian League ; his death induced the Thessalians to attempt to throw off Macedonian hegemony, but a short bloodless campaign by Alexander restored them to allegiance. The Thessalians were considered the finest cavalry of Greece. The Thessalian heavy cavalry accompanied Alexander during the first half of his Asian campaign and was at times employed by the Macedonians as allies throughout the later years until Macedon 's final demise under the Roman gladius. Its organization and weaponry were similar to the Companion Cavalry. However, shorter spears and javelins were wielded in addition to the xyston . The Thessalian cavalry was famed for its use of rhomboid formations , said to have been developed by the Thessalian Tagos (head of the Thessalian League) Jason of Pherae . This formation was very efficient for manoeuvring, as it allowed the squadron to change direction at speed while still retaining cohesion.[13] The numbers given for Alexander's invasion of the Persian Empire included 1,800 such men. This number would have risen no higher than 2,000. They were typically entrusted with the defensive role of guarding the left flank from enemy cavalry, allowing the decisive attack to be launched on the right. They often faced tremendous opposition when in this role. At Issus and Gaugamela , the Thessalians withstood the attack of Persian cavalry forces, though greatly outnumbered. At Ecbatana, the Thessalians with Alexander's army were mustered out and sent home. Some remained with the army as mercenaries yet these too were sent home a year later when the army reached the Oxus River . Other Greek cavalry The Hellenic states allied to, or more accurately under the hegemony of, Macedon provided contingents of heavy cavalry and the Macedonian kings hired mercenaries of the same origins. Alexander had 600 Greek cavalrymen at the start of his campaign against Persia, probably organised into 5 ilai. These cavalrymen would have been equipped very similarly to the Thessalians and Companions, but they deployed in a square formation eight deep and sixteen abreast.[8] The Greek cavalry was not considered as effective or versatile as the Thessalian and Macedonian cavalry. Light Cavalry Light cavalry, such as the Prodromoi, secured the wings of the army during battle and went on reconnaissance missions. Apart from the Prodromoi, other horsemen from subject or allied nations, raised from a variety of places, filling various tactical roles and wielding different weapons, rounded out the cavalry. By the time Alexander campaigned in India and subsequently, the cavalry had been drastically reformed and included thousands of horse-archers from Iranian peoples such as the Dahae (prominent at the Battle of Hydaspes ), other mounted missile troops, plus Asiatic heavy cavalry. Prodromoi The Prodromoi were Macedonians, they are sometimes referred to as Sarissophoroi, or "lancers", which leads to the conclusion that they sometimes were armed with an uncommonly long xyston (believed to be 14 ft long), though certainly not an infantry pike. They acted as scouts reconnoitering in front of the army when it was on the march. In battle, they were used in a shock role to protect the right flank of the Companion cavalry. Their abilities as scouts would seem to have been mediocre because when Persian light cavalry were recruited into the Macedonian army following Gaugamela they took over these duties, with the Prodromoi assuming a purely battlefield role as shock cavalry. Four ilai, each 150 strong, of Prodromoi operated with Alexander's army in Asia.[14] Paeonian cavalry These light cavalry were recruited from Paeonia , a tribal region to the north of Macedonia. The Paeones had been reduced to tributary status by Philip II. Led by their own chieftains, the Paeonian cavalry was usually brigaded with the Prodromoi and often operated alongside them in battle. They appear to have been armed with javelins and swords. Initially only one squadron strong, they received 500 reinforcements in Egypt and a further 600 at Susa.[15] Thracian cavalry Javelin-armed Thracian horseman - hunting wild boar. Largely recruited from the Odrysian tribe, the Thracian cavalry also acted as scouts on the march. In battle, they performed much the same function as the Prodromoi and Paeonians, except they guarded the flank of the Thessalian cavalry on the left wing of the army. The Thracians deployed in their ancestral wedge formations and were armed with javelins and swords. At Gaugamela, the Thracians fielded 4 ilai and were about 500 strong.[15] Horse Archers In 329 BC, Alexander, while in Sogdiana , created a 1,000 strong unit of horse archers that was recruited from various Iranian peoples. They were very effective at scouting and in screening the rest of the army from the enemy. Firing their bows whilst mounted, they offered highly mobile missile fire on the battlefield. At the Battle of Hydaspes, the massed fire of the horse archers was effective at disordering the Indian cavalry and helped to neutralise the Indian chariots.[16] Infantry The Foot Companions The Macedonian foot soldiers were formed into an infantry formation developed by Philip II and used by his son Alexander the Great to conquer the Persian Empire and other enemies. These infantrymen were called Pezhetairoi — the Foot Companions — and made up the dreaded Macedonian phalanx. Philip II spent much of his youth as a hostage at Thebes , where he studied under the renowned general Epaminondas , whose reforms were the basis for a good part of Philip's tactics. However, the introduction of the sarissa pike, heavier armour and a smaller shield seem to have been innovations devised by Philip himself. Diodorus claimed that Philip was inspired to make changes in the organisation of his Macedonian infantry from reading a passage in the writings of Homer describing a close-packed formation.[17] Foot Companions were levied from the peasantry of Macedon. Once levied they became professional soldiers. Discharge could only be granted by the King. Under Philip the Foot Companions received no regular pay. This seems to have changed by Alexander's time as during the mutiny at Opis in 324 BC the men were chastised by Alexander for having run up debts despite earning "good pay".[18] Through extensive drilling and training, the Foot Companions were able to execute complex manoeuvres well beyond the reach of most contemporary armies. The sound of myriads of pikes moving though the air in unison, as they were deployed, was said to be most impressive, and very demoralising to the ears of enemy troops. A drawing of a Macedonian phalanx. The shields depicted are smaller and lighter than those employed in a traditional hoplite phalanx, the sarissa is twice as long as the hoplite spear and fully enclosed helmets weren't as widespread as this drawing suggests.) The size of the phalanx fielded by Macedon and its various successor states varied greatly. Alexander the Great, for example, fielded 9,000 Foot Companions throughout much of his campaign. These were divided into 1,500-man battalions, each raised from a separate district of Macedon. Philip V fielded 16,000 phalangites at the Battle of Cynoscephalae , and Perseus reputedly fielded over 20,000 at Pydna . These soldiers fought in close-ranked rectangular or square formations, of which the smallest tactical unit was the 256 men strong syntagma or speira. This formation typically fought eight or sixteen men deep and in a frontage of thirty-two or sixteen men accordingly. Each file of 16 men, a lochos . was commanded by a lochagos who was in the front rank. Junior officers, one at the rear and one in the centre, were in place to steady the ranks and maintain the cohesion of the formation, similar to modern-day NCOs . The commander of the syntagma theoretically fought at the head of the extreme far-right file. According to Aelian , a syntagma was accompanied by five additional individuals to the rear: a herald (to act as a messenger), a trumpeter (to sound out commands), an ensign (to hold the unit's standard), an additional officer (called ouragos), and a servant. This array of both audial and visual communication methods helped to make sure that even in the dust and din of battle orders could still be received and given. Six syntagmata formed a taxis of 1,500 men commanded by a strategos, six taxeis formed a phalanx under a phalangiarch.[19] Each phalangite carried as his primary weapon a sarissa, which was a type of pike . The length of these pikes was such that they had to be wielded with two hands in battle. The traditional Greek hoplite used his spear single-handed, as the large hoplon shield needed to be gripped by the left hand, therefore the Macedonian phalangite gained in both weapon reach and in the added force of a two handed thrust. At close range, such large weapons were of little use, but an intact phalanx could easily keep its enemies at a distance; the weapons of the first five rows of men all projected beyond the front of the formation, so that there were more spearpoints than available targets at any given time. The men of the rear ranks raised their sarissas so as to provide protection from aerial missiles. A phalangite also carried a sword as a secondary weapon for close quarter fighting should the phalanx disintegrate. The phalanx, however, was extremely vulnerable in the flanks and rear.[20] Alexander did not actually use the phalanx as the decisive arm of his battles, but instead used it to pin and demoralize the enemy while his heavy cavalry would charge selected opponents or exposed enemy unit flanks, most usually after driving the enemy horse from the field. An example of this is the Battle of Gaugamela , where, after maneuvering to the right to prevent a double envelopment from the Persian army and making Darius command his cavalry on his left flank to check the oblique movement of the Greeks by attacking their cavalry, Companion cavalry charged the weakened enemy center where Darius was posted and were followed by the hypaspists and the phalanx proper. The phalanx carried with it a fairly minimal baggage train, with only one servant for every ten men. This gave it a marching speed that contemporary armies could not hope to match — on occasion forces surrendered to Alexander simply because they were not expecting him to show up for several more days. This was made possible thanks to the training Philip instilled in his army, which included regular forced marches. The Macedonian phalanx itself was thus not very different from the hoplite phalanx of other Greek states as a formation. As an evolution of the hoplite phalanx, it featured improved equipment, training, and tactics. In Philip's and Alexander's time, the Macedonian phalanx had clear technical superiority. Ancient depiction of a Macedonian infantryman (right). He is equipped with a hoplon (Argive) shield, so probably is a Hypaspist. He also wears a linothorax cuirass and a Thracian helmet . Alexander Sarcophagus . Hypaspists The Hypaspists (Hypaspistai) were the elite arm of the Macedonian infantry. The word 'hypaspists' translates into English as 'shield-bearers'. During a pitched battle, such as Gaugamela , they acted as guard for the right flank of the phalanx and as a flexible link between the phalanx and the Companion cavalry. They were used for a variety of irregular missions by Alexander, often in conjunction with the Agrianians (elite skirmishers), the Companions and select units of phalangites. They were prominent in accounts of Alexander's siege assaults in close proximity to Alexander himself. The Hypaspists were of privileged Macedonian blood and their senior chiliarchy formed the Agema[21] foot bodyguard of Alexander III.[22] The Hypaspist regiment was divided into three battalions (chiliarchies) of 1,000 men, which were then further sub-divided in a manner similar to the Foot Companions. Each battalion would be commanded by a chiliarch, with the regiment as a whole under the command of an archihypaspist. In terms of weaponry, they were probably equipped in the style of a traditional Greek hoplite with a thrusting spear or doru (shorter and less unwieldy than the sarissa) and a large round shield (hoplon).[23] As well as this, they would have carried a sword, either a xiphos or a kopis . This would have made them far better suited to engagements where formations and cohesion had broken down, making them well suited to siege assaults and special missions. Their armour appears to have varied depending on the type of mission they were conducting. When taking part in rapid forced marches or combat in broken terrain, so common in the eastern Persian Empire , it appears that they wore little more than a helmet and a cloak (exomis) so as to enhance their stamina and mobility. However, when engaging in heavy hand to hand fighting, for instance during a siege or pitched battle, they would have worn body armour of either linen or bronze. This variety of armaments made them an extremely versatile force. Their numbers were kept at full strength, despite casualties, by continual replenishment through the transfer of veteran soldiers chosen from the phalanx.[24] In the last years of Alexander's reign, the Hypaspists may have been renamed to become the Argyraspides , or Silver Shields. However, some scholars believe that the Argyraspides were formed from veterans selected from the whole phalanx. Other Infantry Philip's control over the mines of northern Greece gave him access to unprecedented (for his part of the world) wealth in gold and silver , and enabled him to build his famous army. Philip and Alexander employed troops from the confederated Greek states and hired thousands of mercenaries from various nations to round-out their armies. Diodorus Siculus , a Greek historian , records troops as varied as allied and mercenary hoplites from various Greek states, light infantry adept at skirmish tactics, such as peltasts , recruited from various northern Balkan peoples and from Greece, Cretan archers , and artillerists . Spearmen from Pontus and Phrygia were also employed.[25] These mixed troops provided added strength and flexibility throughout Alexander's conquests. Concentrated missile fire from light infantry was used by Alexander to counter both scythed chariots and war elephants. Greek hoplites The army led by Alexander the Great into the Persian Empire included Greek heavy infantry in the form of allied contingents provided by the League of Corinth and hired mercenaries. These infantrymen would have been equipped as hoplites with the traditional hoplite panoply consisting of a thrusting spear (doru), bronze-faced hoplon shield and body armour. In appearance, they would have been almost identical to the hypaspists. In battle, the Greek hoplites had a less active role than the Macedonian phalangites and hypaspists. At Gaugamela, the Greek infantry formed the defensive rear of the box formation Alexander arranged his army into, while the Macedonians formed its front face. Nevertheless, they performed a valuable function in facing down attempts by the Persian cavalry to surround the Macedonian army and helped deal with the breakthrough of some Persian horsemen who went on to attack the baggage. Peltasts Agrianian peltast - modern illustration The peltasts raised from the Agrianes , a Paeonian tribe, were the elite light infantry of the Macedonian army. They were often used to cover the right flank of the army in battle, being posted to the right of the Companion cavalry, a position of considerable honour. They were almost invariably part of any force on detached duty, especially missions requiring speed of movement.[26] Other nationalities also provided peltasts for the Macedonian army. Especially numerous were the Thracians; the Thracian peltasts performed the same function in battle as the Agrianians, but for the left wing of the army. Peltasts were armed with a number of javelins and a sword, carried a light shield but wore no armour, though they sometimes had helmets; they were adept at skirmishing and were often used to guard the flanks of more heavily equipped infantry. They usually adopted an open order when facing enemy heavy infantry. They could throw their javelins at will at the enemy and, unencumbered by armour or heavy shields, easily evade any counter-charges made by heavily equipped hoplites. They were, however, quite vulnerable to shock-capable cavalry and often operated to particular advantage on broken ground where cavalry was useless and heavy infantry found it difficult to maintain formation.[27][28] Archers In most Greek states, archery was not greatly esteemed, nor practiced by native soldiery, and foreign archers were often employed, such as the Scythians prominent in Athenian employ. However, Crete was notable for its very effective archers, whose services as mercenaries were in great demand throughout the Greek World. Cretan archers were famed for their powerful bows, firing arrows with large, heavy heads of cast bronze. They carried their arrows in a quiver with a protective flap over its opening. Cretan archers were unusual in carrying a shield, which was relatively small and faced in bronze. The carrying of shields indicates that the Cretans also had some ability in hand to hand fighting, an additional factor in their popularity as mercenaries.[29] Archers were also raised from Macedonia and various Balkan peoples. Arms and Armour Weapons The hunter on the right is wielding a kopis cutting sword, the hunter on the left holds a scabbarded xiphos straight sword. Both types of sword were used by Macedonian cavalry and infantry. Lion Hunt mosaic from the Macedonian capital Pella. Most troops would have carried a type of sword as a secondary weapon. The straight-bladed shortsword known as the xiphos (ξίφος) is depicted in works of art, and two types of single-edged cutting swords, the kopis and machaira , are shown in images and are mentioned in texts. The cutting swords are particularly associated with cavalry use, especially by Xenophon , but representations would suggest that all three sword types were used by cavalry and infantry without obvious distinction.[30] Each Companion cavalryman was equipped with a 3 metre double ended spear/lance with a cornel wood shaft called the xyston . The double end meant that should the xyston break during a battle the rider need only turn his xyston around to re-arm himself. The Thessalian and Greek cavalry would have been armed similarly to the Companions, though the Thessalians also used javelins. The xyston was used to thrust either overarm or underarm with the elbow flexed.[31] This is usefully illustrated in the Alexander Mosaic, King Alexander is shown thrusting with his xyston underarm, whilst immediately behind him a cavalryman is employing the overarm thrust. The shaft of the xyston was tapered allowing the point of balance, and therefore the hand grip, to be approximately two thirds of the length of the spear away from the point. During the reign of Alexander the Great cavalrymen did not carry shields. However, the Companion cavalry of the Antigonid dynasty did carry large, round bossed shields of Thracian origin. The armament of the Phalangites is described in the Military Decree of Amphipolis . It lists the fines imposed upon the soldiers who fail to maintain their armament or produce it upon demand. Offensive weapons were a pike (sarissa), and a short sword (machaira). The sarissa was over 6 m (18 ft) in length, with a counterweight and spiked end at the rear called a sauroter; it seems to have had an iron sleeve in the middle which may mean that it was in two pieces for the march with the sleeve joining the two sections before use. It should be stressed that the archaeological discoveries show that the phalangites also used the two-edged sword (xiphos) as well as the traditional Greek hoplite spear (doru/δόρυ), which was much shorter than the sarissa. The sources also indicate that the phalangites were on occasion armed with javelins. The sarissa would have been useless in siege warfare and other combat situations requiring a less cumbersome weapon.[32] Hypaspists and allied and mercenary Greek heavy infantry were equipped as classic hoplites and would have employed the hoplite spear and a sword. Light troops were provided by a number of subject and allied peoples. Various Balkan peoples such as Agrianes, Paeonians and Thracians provided either light infantry or cavalry or indeed both. Typical light infantry peltasts would be armed with a number of javelins. The individual javelin would have a throwing thong attached to the shaft at or near its point of balance. The thong was wound around the shaft and hooked over one or two fingers. The thong made the javelin spin in flight, which improved accuracy, and the extra leverage increased the range achievable. Foot archers, notably mercenary Cretans, were also employed; Cretans were noted for the heavy, large-headed arrows they used. Light cavalry could use lighter types of lance, javelins and, in the case of Iranian horse archers, compact composite bows. Helmets A simple conical helmet (pilos) of a type worn by some Macedonian infantrymen. A Thracian helmet . It lacks its cheek pieces. Virtually all helmets in use in the Greek world of the period were constructed of bronze. One helmet prominent in contemporary images was in the form of a Phrygian cap , that is it had a high and forward-projecting apex, this type of helmet, also known as a "Thracian helmet", had a projecting peak above the eyes and usually had large cheek pieces which were often decorated with stylised beards in embossing. Late versions of the Chalcidian helmet were still in use; this helmet was a lightened form developed from the Corinthian helmet , it had a nasal protection and modest-sized cheek pieces. Other, more simple, helmets of the conical 'konos' or 'Pilos type', without cheek pieces, were also employed. These helmets were worn by the heavy infantry.[33] The Thracian helmet was worn by Macedonian cavalry in King Philip's day, but his son Alexander is said to have preferred the open-faced Boeotian helmet for his cavalry, as recommended by Xenophon .[34] The royal burial in the Vergina Tomb contained a helmet which was a variation on the Thracian/Phrygian type, exceptionally made of iron, this would support its use by cavalry.[35] The Boeotian helmet, though it did not have cheek pieces, had a flaring rim which was folded into a complex shape offering considerable protection to the face. The Alexander Mosaic suggests that officers of the heavy cavalry had rank badges in the form of laurel wreaths (perhaps painted or of metallic construction) on their helmets.[36] The Alexander Sarcophagus shows Alexander the Great wearing an elaborate helmet in the form of the lion scalp of Herakles . Alexander's cousin Pyrrhus of Epirus is described as wearing a helmet with cheek pieces in the shape of ram's heads. Many examples of helmets from the period have crest or plume-holders attached, so that a high degree of martial finery could be achieved by the wearing of imposing headpieces.[37] Body Armour Alexander the Great in battle. The king wears a composite cuirass which copies the shape of the linothorax. The shoulder elements and upper chest are of plate iron, whilst the waist is composed of scale armour for ease of movement. There are pteruges of leather or stiffened linen at the shoulders and hips. The king wears a xiphos sword. Detail of the Alexander Mosaic (A Roman copy of a Hellenistic painting). Body armour in the Macedonian army was derived from a repertiore found throughout the Greek-speaking world. The most common form of armour was the linothorax , which was a cuirass of stiff linen built up of glued layers of textile. It was composed of the 'girdle' a tubular section, often of four vertical panels, that enclosed the torso. A shoulder-piece was attached to the upper rear section of the girdle, this element was split into two wings which were pulled forward over the top of each shoulder and laced to the chest-section of the girdle. Pteruges, strips of linen or leather, protected the upper arms and hips of the wearer. The linothorax could be reinforced with plate bronze or bronze scale elements. Defences of a similar appearance composed of quilted textile are also described.[38] Less common, due to its expense, was the muscle cuirass . This was a defence made entirely of plate bronze consisting of a breast and backplate, usually with shoulder pieces, modelled in relief on the form a muscular male torso. This was often given pteruges to extend the area of the body covered.[39] A complete cuirass of plate iron, decorated with gold and modelled on the form of the linothorax, was discovered in the Macedonian royal burial at Vergina. This, alongside the evidence of the depiction of Alexander the Great in the Alexander Mosaic, shows that the technology to make plate armour in iron existed at this time.[40] It is to be doubted that this type of armour was worn by persons other than of royal or very exalted rank. All of the above forms of armour could be described as thorakes (plural of thorax). Other forms of armour are mentioned in original sources, such as the kotthybos and a type of "half-armour" the hemithorakion (ἡμιθωράκιον); the precise nature of these defences is not known but it would be reasonable to conclude that they were lighter and perhaps afforded less protection than the thorax.[41] Archaeological remains exist for only one type of limb armour: bronze greaves , which protected he lower leg. Greaves could be worn by both heavy infantry and heavy cavalry, but they are not in great evidence in contemporary depictions. However, greaves are mentioned in the Military Decree of Amphipolis and a pair of greaves, one shorter than the other, were found in the Vergina Tomb. Xenophon mentions a type of armour called "the hand" to protect the left, bridle, arm of heavy cavalrymen, though there is no supporting evidence for its widespread use. It may have resembled the later manica armour used by Roman gladiators and cataphract cavalry.[42] Macedonian shields Concerning shield dimensions, there are different interpretations by scholars.[43] The most common decorative motifs depicted on shields (from coins, ceramics, reliefs and other sculptural monuments) are variations on solar symbols. Some scholars have noted that Asclepiodotus defined the Macedonian shield as being different from other Greek shields, in dimensions and construction. According to descriptions in Antique sources, relief depictions, and from several archaeological findings, it is known that the diameter of the Macedonian shield varied from 62 cm up to 74 cm. Ancient shields of this type (which were not restricted to the Macedonians, they were also used by the Illyrians) have been recently excavated near the village of Bonche, Prilep in the Republic of Macedonia, not far from a vaulted stone tomb of 'Macedonian' type which is dated to the late 4th century B.C. [44] The Macedonian phalangite shield was circular and displayed a slight convexity; its outer surface was faced by thin bronze sheet. The inner face of the shield was of wood or a multilayered leather construction, with a band for the forearm fixed to the centre of the shield. Plutarch noted that the phalangites (phalanx soldiers) carried a small shield on their shoulder. This probably meant that, as both hands were needed to hold the sarissa, the shield was worn suspended by a shoulder strap and steadied by the left forearm passing through the armband. The left hand would project beyond the rim of the shield to grip the sarissa. Recent reconstructions of the sarissa and phalangite shield showed that the shoulder strap supporting the shield effectively helps to transfer some of the weight of the sarissa from the left arm to the shoulders when the sarissa is held horizontally in its fighting position.[45] The lefthand figure shows the armband and grip on the inside of a hoplon or Argive shield - painted Corinthian krater c. 560BC. From pictorial sources, it is probable that the Hypaspists, elite members of the infantry , including the Agema of the King's personal foot guard, employed a shield of larger dimensions, the traditional Greek hoplite shield called the hoplon or aspis (ἀσπίς), it is also referred to as the 'Argive shield'. This shield, also circular, was larger than the phalangite shield, it had sheet-bronze facing over a wooden base; it was held with the left forearm passing through a central armband with a hand-grip set just inside the rim. This shield was more much convex than the phalangite shield and had a projecting rim, both features precluding its use with a double handed pike. The style of shield used by cavalry , if any, is less clear; the heavy cavalry of Alexander's time did not employ shields.[43] Light infantry javelineers would have used a version of the pelte (Ancient Greek: πέλτη) shield, from whence their name, peltast, derived. This was a light shield made of leather-faced wicker. The shield was of Thracian origin and was originally shaped like a crescent, however, by the time of Macedonian greatness many depictions of peltai show them as being oval or round. Siege warfare The Macedonians had developed their siege tactics under Philip. They had for the first time conducted successful sieges against strongly held and fortified positions. This was a dramatic shift from earlier warfare, where Greek armies had lacked the ability to conduct an effective assault. For instance, during the Peloponnesian War , the Spartans were never able to take Athens despite easily conquering her surrounding territory. Artillery A modern reconstruction of the gastraphetes The dramatic change in the abilities of Greeks to operate against fortifications owed much to the development of effective artillery. This had begun around 400 BC in Syracuse under Dionysius I . By Alexander’s time, torsion-powered artillery was in use. Torsion machines used skeins of sinew or hair rope, which were wound around a frame and twisted so as to power two bow arms; these could develop much greater force than earlier forms (such as the gastraphetes ) reliant on the elastic properties of a bow-stave. Two forms of such ballista were used by the Macedonians: a smaller bolt-shooting type called the oxybeles and a larger stone-throwing machine called the lithobolos . The largest lithoboloi could fire stones up to 80 kg in weight. Such machines could shower the defenders of a city with missiles and create a breach in the walls themselves.[46] Alexander the Great appears to have been the first general to use artillery on the open field of battle, rather than in a siege. He used massed artillery to fire across a river at a Scythian army, causing it to vacate the opposite river bank, thus allowing the Macedonian troops to cross and form a bridgehead.[47] Other siege engines In conjunction with this, the Macedonians possessed the ability to build an effective array of siege towers. These allowed men to approach and assault the enemy walls without being exposed to potentially withering missile fire. Equally, they meant that more men could be put on the walls in a shorter period of time, as simple ladders constrained the men attacking to moving up in single file thus making the task of defending the walls far easier. Battle Tactics The Macedonian army was one of the first military forces to use 'combined arms tactics', using a variety of specialised troops to fulfill specific battlefield roles in order to form a greater whole. The tactics used by the Macedonian army throughout the various campaigns it fought were, of course, varied; usually in response to the nature of the enemy forces and their dispositions, and to the physical nature of the battlefield . However, there were a number of features of the tactics employed by the Macedonians in pitched battles which can be identified as being typical. These features were evident in the first major battle the army, newly trained up by Philip, fought in 358 BC and could still be discerned at Gaugamela in 331 BC. The battle fought in 358 BC near Lake Ohrid was intended to free Macedon of the threat from Illyria and recover some western areas of Macedon from Illyrian control. The Illyrians, led by King Bardylis , were at a similar strength to the Macedonians at about 10-11 thousands. Philip had 600 cavalry, the Illyrians were concerned about being outflanked by the Macedonian cavalry and formed up in a hollow square. Philip massed his cavalry on his right flank and arranged his army in echelon with the left refused. As had been anticipated, the Illyrians stretched their formation in order to bring the Macedonian left wing into action. Philip waited until the inevitable gap appeared in the left of the Illyrian square, he then threw his cavalry at this gap. The cavalry forced their way into the Illyrian ranks followed by elements of the phalanx. The Illyrians broke after a fierce struggle, and three-quarters of Bardylis' army were slaughtered. The oblique advance with the left refused, the careful manoeuvring to create disruption in the enemy formation and the knock out charge of the strong right wing, spearheaded by the Companion cavalry, became standard Macedonian practice.[48] Decline The armies of the Diadochi period were equipped and fought mainly in the same style as Alexander's. Towards the end, however, there was a general slide away from the combined arms approach, and the phalanx once more became the arm of decision, much like in the days of the earlier hoplites. So long as everyone was using the same tactics, these weaknesses were not immediately apparent, but against a varied force and complex tactics, the Hellenistic-era phalanx fell prey to its foes. The Phalanx finally met its end in the Ancient world when the more flexible Roman manipular tactics contributed to the end of Macedon in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. 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