Essay on None Provided12

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None Provided12

Alexander the Great in Conquest of Gaugemel

In the early summer of 331, Alexander the Great took his whole army northeast through
Syria, reaching Euphrates, not earlier than July 10. Darius, the great king of the
Persian empire, knew very well that Babylon itself was Alexander’s next objective.
Babylon, the great city on the Lower Euphrates, was the economic center of the empire.

Alexander the Great struck hard, fast, and with maximum economy. It was therfore that he
would come straight down the east bank of the Euphrates, just as the Cyrus had done in
401, to meet disastrous defeat at Cunaxa. It was quite noticeable that Darius had studied
the battle of Cunaxa with some care, and hoped to repeat it in detail. The plain at
Cunaxa, some sixty miles north-west of Babylon, was ideal for calvary maneuvers-and the
Great King now had some 34,000 armed horsemen at his disposal. After a quick change in
strategy the Great King decided to try and hold Alexander at the Tigris. It was a bold
and risky plan since no one could be sure where he might pop up. The Macedonians reached
Abu Wajnam on September 18 and encountered no opposition. A few frightened scouts fled
the area with the news to the Great King who was across the Greater Zab and approaching
Mosul. Darius was forced to change his plans again. He no longer had the Tigris Between
them. His best chance to locate another open plain suitable for cavalry and chariot
maneuvers and to bring Alexander to battle there. His


scouts found Gaugamel, a village between the Khazir river and the ruins of Nineveh.
Darius brought up his troops, saw the plain and sent sapper to clear it. What he
unfortunately did not do was to occupy the low hills some 3 miles to northwest. Where
Alexander’s own scouts were able to observe everything he did. (Microsoft Encarta)

After crossing the Tigris, Alexander made contact with a regiment of Mazaeus’
calvary. The mounted soldiers of Paeoniar where then sent to deal with this problem.
The Persians fled; Ariston speared their colonel and presented his head to the King. The
Macedonians then got 48 hours of rest. Four days later Aristons calvary was sighted
again. This could indicate the entire army. A quick calvary raid led by Alexander took a
few prisoners. The prisoners then told him what he wanted to know. Darius now lay eight
miles beyond the hills. His ground leading operations indicated that he didn’t plan
on moving anytime soon. Alexander then gave his troops another four days rest. The heat
was grueling and Alexander wanted his men fresh for the coming battle.

During this time Darius agents tried to smuggle in letters saying that Alexander’s
men should kill him. These were intercepted and destroyed. The camp was also protected
by a ditch and a palisade. It was now that Darius for a third time attempted to settle
things with Alexander peacefully. This time he offered all territories west bound of the
Euphrates, and 3000 talons ransom for his mother and daughter as well. He also offered
the hand of one daughter in marriage, as well as the retentions of Ochus as a permanent
hostage. Alexander’s war council thought he should accept the idea.


Darius had 34,000 armed calvary to Alexander’s 7,250 calvary and not strategy could
get round that basic fact (Mcbride and Sekunda 27). Alexander was going to be outflanked
and knew it. There were no mountains or seas to protect his flanks here as in previous
battles. Darius’ left flank line overlapped Alexander’s by a mile. So while
Alexander’s basic order of battle remained unchanged, he took special tasks to
protect his rear and also make his calvary line look weaker than it was. He stationed a
powerful force of mercenaries on his right wing carefully masking them with calvary
squadrons. He pulled both flanks back 45 degrees from his main battle line. Finally he
placed the lead infantry and the rest of the Greek mercenaries to cover his rear.

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