Monday, February 29, 2016

Alexander's Empire

Peloponnesian War → weakened Greek city-states (decline in military and economic power)
King Philip II (Macedonia) wanted to take control of Greece and then moved against Persia to seize wealthy

Philip Builds Macedonian Power
The kingdom of Macedonia → north of Greece
Had rough terrain and cold climate
Macedonians lived in mountain villages
Macedonian nobles → Greeks; Greeks thought them→ uncivilized foreigners

Philip's Army
In 359 BC Philip became the king of Macedonia
Peasants → well-trained army
Phalanxes (16x16) armed with 18-foot pikes
Tactics: phalanx break through enemy lines then cavalry crush the opponents

Conquest of Greece
Demosthenes tried to unite all city-states against Philip → failed
In 338 BC Athens and Thebes joined but too late
Macedonians defeated Greeks at the battle of Chaeronea → ended Greek independence
Self-government in local affairs but firmly under the control of a succession of foreign power
Philip died on his daughter's weeding in 336 BC
His son proclaimed himself king of Macedonia → Alexander the Great

Alexander Defeats Persia
Became the king at the age of twenty
Taught by Aristotle
Enjoyed Homer's description of heroic deed (Iliad)
Started military training when he was young
Destroyed 6000 Theban rebels → frightened other city-states

Invasion of Persia
In 334 BC Alexander invaded Persia
Two forces met at the Granicus River (35,000 Macedonian soldiers and 40,000 Persian defenders)
Alexander ordered his cavalry to attack first
Then Darius III raised a huge army (50,000-75,000) to crush the invaders but failed
Alexander broke through a weak point in Persian line and the army charged straight at Darius
This victory gave Alexander control over Anatolia

Conquering the Persian Empire
Darius tried to negotiate a peace settlement (the lands west of Euphrates River)
Alexander rejected → conquer the entire Persian Empire
In 332 BC Alexander marched to a Persian territory, Egypt
Egyptians welcomed him as the liberator → crowned him pharaoh
Founded the city of Alexandria at the mouth of Nile
Two armies met at Gaugamela (250,000 Persian soldiers)
Alexander: phalanx and cavalry → his victory ended Persia's power
Occupied many wealthy cities and burned Persia's royal capital

Alexander's Other Conquests
Alexander → ruler of southwest Asia
Followed Darius to a deserted spot south of the Caspian Sea → Darius already died
Continued east → his army fought across the desert wastes and mountains of Central Asua

Alexander in India
In 326 BC reached Indus Valley → Indian army blocked the path
The morale of Alexander's army was low → agreed to turn back
In 323 BC reached Babylon → wanted to construct cities and conquer Arabia
Did not carry out → became ill and died a few days later (32 years old)

Alexander's Legacy
After he died generals fought for the control of the empire
Three leaders who won out:
1) Antigonus: Macedonian king (Greek city-states)
2) Ptolemy: Pharaoh (Egypt) → established a dynasty
3) Seleucus: most of the old Persian Empire (Seleucid kingdom)
Impact of Alexander's conquests
- he adopted Persian dress and customs
- married a Persian women
- included people from Persian and other islands in his army
New culture emerged from the blend of Greek and Eastern customs

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