Monthly Archives: February 2012

Logistics of Alexander the Great: Fleet as Troop-Transport

The coastline of the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf from the Indus River (far right) to Susa (top left). The markers indicate known or possible areas noted by Nearchus. Image copied from “Nearchus” page at

When Alexander the Great’s troops refused to continue on the Indian campaign, Alexander ordered a fleet built on the Indus river and appointed Nearchus as its admiral. The voyage of the fleet began in September 326 BC (Lendering) and ended at Susa in early 324 (Wikipedia contributors). Along the way, they fought various “barbarian” tribes living along the coast (Arrian, Indica).

The fleet consisted of 800 ships, consisting of “ships of war, merchantmen and horse transports, besides others carrying provisions as well as troops” (Arrian, Indica, 363). Nearchus’ fleet ferried about 1/6th of Alexander’s soldiers: 17,000 – 20,000 men total (Lendering).

They had to sail very close to the coast in order to find fresh water and food, sometimes stolen from the barbarians they fought, sometimes left for them by Alexander and his troops marching inland (Arrian, Campaigns, 256). Before Nearchus set out, Alexander took some ships down both arms of the Indus river to see which would be easier to sail down. He set down garrisons of grain and supplies and dug wells along the Eastern fork, though according to J. R. Hamilton, Nearchus most likely ended up going down the Western branch (perhaps forced by the barbarian attacks) (503).

Some of the fleet was lost to the summer monsoons, a few more ships lost to squalls as they were travelling, and sometimes men were lost in the fights with the coastal barbarians. Though there were a few losses, most of the fleet arrived safely in Susa, where they met with Alexander and the surviving troops and the navy had a great celebration (Arrian, Indica, 429).


Works Cited


Arrian. Arrian II: Anabasis of Alexander, Books V-VII. Indica. Trans. P.A. Brunt. Ed. G.P. Goold. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983. Print.

Arrian. The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander. Trans. Pamela Mensch. Ed. James Romm. New York: Pantheon Books, 2010. Print.

Hamilton, J.R. “The Start of Nearchus’ Voyage.” Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 43.4 (1994): 501-504.

Lendering, Jona. “Nearchus.” Livius. Livius.Org, 2009. Rev. 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 9 Feb. 2012. <;

Wikipedia contributors. “Nearchus.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Jan. 2012. Web. 9 Feb. 2012.

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Alexander the Great: Organization and Leadership of the Macedonian Army

As leader of the Macedonian army, Alexander the Great showed by example what he wished his soldiers to be. He dressed like his soldiers and interacted with them in camp, which gave his troops a feeling of love and concern from their commander and won great affection (Straker). Coupled with his determination and courage, he was able to win the loyalty of his men that endured even in the most desperate of times (Straker). He would most commonly be found at the front of a charge in clear view of  his men and as an obvious target for his enemy. It is likely that he was wounded in battle more frequently than any of his men (Burn, 140).  He built their morale up from the beginning, instilling in them a sense of moral superiority and the belief that under his command nothing was impossible (Burn, 140).

Alexander kept a relatively small army, never numbering more than 40,000 total cavalry and infantry, giving them the advantage of speed and mobility (Straker).


Hetairoi or companion cavalry was the most prestigious of the mounted troops. During the reign of Phillip II, these soldiers were selected only from Macedonian nobility. Under Alexander, the number increased from 600 horsemen to 3000 troopers. The hetairoi were organized in ilai or “wings” of 200 men, with the exception of the basilike ile (royal squadron) which consisted of 300 to 400 cavalrymen (van Dorst). During battle, these soldiers generally rode in a wedge formation and depending on the circumstances could be heavily or lightly armed. Cavalry men generally always wore metal helmets and body armor (consisting of linen or leather corselets with metal scales, or breastplates made from iron or bronze) and were equipped with heavy thrusting spears, javelins and always carried a sword as a secondary weapon. Shields were reserved for dismounted actions. Prodromoi, the light cavalrymen and scouts of the Macedonian army, were equipped with javelins when on a reconnaissance mission but could be redressed and serve as heavy cavalry (or sarissophori) in battle (van Dorst).It is believed that Alexander’s cavalry forces were an important part of his success in battle, and they were “unmatched on their own ground” (Burn, 141).


Infantry men were recruited territorially. Each Macedonian province provided a single taxis or regiment of pezhetairoi or foot companions, and each regiment consisted of approximately 1500 soldiers (van Dorst). Command of these regiments was usually given to nobles originating from the same province as the men they commanded. The phalanx infantry was much more flexible than the Greek hoplites—equipment and tactics were adjusted to suit different battle situations. Each was equipped with a hoplite shield and normal length spear, which could be traded for light  javelins or a a long pike requiring both hands and a sarissa, or rimpless shield hanging from the shoulder (van Dorst).

Phalanx with Pikes (Wikipedia contributors)

Another very important part of the infantry was the hypaspistai or shield bearers, comprised of 3000 men organized into subunits of 1000 soldiers. The elite formation of shield bearers was the argyraspides or “silvershileds.” Membership in this unit was based entirely upon merit as a soldier in one of the taxes, rather than upon status and nobility (van Dorst). These soldiers were frequently used on special duties and were more likely to carry lighter arms and equipment. In engagements, the shield bearers were generally deployed in the dangerous place of honor—the right flank of the heavy infantry line (van Dorst).


Alexander generally aimed to force his enemy into rapid decisions that would confuse and lower morale. Success depended largely on undermining the confidence of the enemy, and attacking them at weak moments—particularly when the enemy forces were tired after long marches or lack of sleep (van Dorst). He also used tactics such as a fierce cavalry charge on a small portion of the enemy’s forces to break morale and cause panic among the units not yet engaged in the battle (van Dorst).

Works Cited:

Burn. A. R.. “The Generalship of Alexander.” Greece & Rome, Second Series. Vol. 12, No. 2. The Classical Association, Cambridge University Press. 1965. JSTOR. 7 Feb. 2012.

Straker, David. “Alexander the Great.” Changing Minds. Changing Minds. Web. 9 Feb. 2012.

van Dorst, Sander. The Army of Alexander the Great. Ancient Warfare. 2000. Web. 7 Feb 2012.

Wikipedia contributors. “Macedonian army.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 17 Apr. 2009. Web. 9 Feb. 2012.


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Alexander and the Animal Train

In one of Alexander’s early campaigns, he traveled through Asia Minor in an attempt to conquer the Persian Empire. Alexander wanted to fight the Persians to silence them, in contrast to his father who wanted to form peace treaties with the Persians while he was on the throne. The conquest of Alexander began in the year 334 BC with 48,100 soldiers, 6,100 cavalry, and a fleet of 120 ships. (Rosiman. 2010) Accompanying his army was a baggage train which carried supplies for the soldiers.

The animals in the baggage train were an important component to the army; they frequently carried large loads of food and other necessary items such as siege equipment or cookware for the soldiers. Baggage trains consisted of anywhere from 520 to 1500 animals. (Shean. 171) Typically horses, mules, and camels were used due to their ability to carry large loads, but still keep a rapid pace. Horses and mules could carry about 200 pounds and camels were able to carry around 300 pounds. Oxen and donkeys were not utilized because they weren’t as quick and, therefore, slowed down the progress of Alexander’s conquest. Animals were generally superior to man in their ability to carry large loads, but their downfall was in the recovery process. After multiple days of hard work, the animals were not able to promptly recover with a little nourishment and rest like man. For this reason, a careful watch was kept over the animals, “the transport animals of an army shall be regarded as worth their weight in gold, no care or supervision can be too great or too strict.” (Engels. 1980)

Alexander’s army encountered harsh conditions along the way that took an extra toll on the animals. The greatest difficulty for the animals was traveling through the desert. The extreme heat, lack of water, and sandy terrain drained their energy. Marching through the sand was complicated; the uneven soil caused them to stumble frequently and the sand didn’t support their weight like solid ground (Arrian. 2010). Instead, their feet seemed to sink through the sand rather than walk in it.


The camel in the photograph above is the type of pack animal that Alexander would have used for his campaign. Although camels are well known for their ability to store water, they need to drink as much as other pack animals, but are able to go for longer periods of time without taking a drink.


Works Cited

Arrian. (2010). The landmark arrian : the campaigns of alexander. (J. Romm, R. Strassler Eds.). (P. Mensch Trans.). New York: Pantheon Books. (Original work published 2005)

Engels, D. (1980). Alexander the great and the logistics of the macedonian army. (pp. 126-130). Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (2010). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. John Wiley and Sons.

Shean, J. (1996). Hannibal’s mules: The logistical limitations of hannibal’s army and the battle of canne. 216 b.c. Historia: Zeitschrift fur Alte Geschichte, 45(2), 170-174.

warsame90. (2008). Camel pack animal transporting nomadic materials. In Retrieved from


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The Women and Changes of Alexander the Great

From the moment that Alexander III of Macedonia was born, he was born into a world that was for his taking. After the death of his father, Philip, Alexander started his rein to take over the world in 336 BCE and would keep going until his death in the summer of 323 BCE. Alexander had to “reaffirm Macedonian power in Greece, Alexander defeated Persian forces in a first battle at the River Grancius in northern Asia minor.” (Brosius, 31)

The problem that Alexander faced, that may have been even more difficult than trying to rule the world, was that Alexander had to win over the countries he had invaded. Alexander took prisoners of war such as noble men and women, and made them a part of his court in order to understand the culture of the Persians. One of whom was Barsine. “Alexander, esteeming it more kingly to govern himself than to conquer his enemies, sought no intimacy with any one of them, nor indeed with any other women before marriage, except Barsine, Memnon’s widow, who was taken prisoner at Damascus.” (Plutarch, Life of Alexander, 21.7-9) Alexander knew that he had to get married in order to win the heart of the Persians and to better communicate with them, but Barsine did not cut it. She was too “Greek” and European, and not Persian enough. Though being a noblewoman, he could not take the risk. The picture below is of what the Persian noblewoman looked like. (Livius)

This had led to Alexander falling in love with Roxane (Roshanak). She was a prisoner of war at the young age of sixteen and Arrian wrote “Alexander fell in love with her at sight; but, captive though she was, he refused, for all his passion, to force her to his will, and condescended to marry her.” Ultimately, Roxane was Alexander’s first official wife even though he had a child with Barsine.

With falling in love with Roxane, Alexander fell in love with Persian culture. The most prestigious interesting thing that the Persians did that the members of Alexander’s court from Macedonia loathed was “Proskynesis.” “When the Persians meet one another in the roads, you can see whether those who meet are of equal rank. For instead of greeting by words, they kiss each other on the mouth; but if one of them is inferior to the other, they kiss one another on the cheeks, and if one is of much less noble rank than the other, he falls down before him and worships him.” [Herodotus, Histories 1.134] Alexander started to use proskynesis and his followers did not believe that he was losing his heritage, as pride was a huge issue for the Macedonians. However, Alexander believed that to rule over the Persians, he had to change himself and his people and have a good medium. He thus forced many of his soliders to marry Persian woman after he had concurred another part of the Persian empire.



Works Citied:

Brosius, Maria. The Persians: An introduction. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Primary Source: Herdotus, Arrian, Pulrach

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Feeding the 5,000 (A Dozen Times Over)

How Alexander Perfected his Supply Chain

Plutarch credits Alexander The Great with “greatness of soul, keen intelligence, self-restraint, and manly courage.” All excellent traits, but are they enough to keep an army fed and watered as he “shower[ed] the blessings of Greek justice and peace over every nation” he could reach for over a decade?

Alexander, son of Philip II,  led what some have called “the most formidable military expedition ever to leave Greece,” heading an army of approximately “43,000 infantry and 5,500 cavalry,” plus camp followers and animals on an “eleven year” campaign from Macedonia all the way to “the Indus Valley.” (Hemingway)

Engels estimated that the “65,000 personnel” alone of Alexander’s convoy would have consumed 195,000 pounds of food and 32,500 gallons of water each day. Each man could only carry about ten days’ worth of rations (3lbs a day) and water ( ½ gallon, 5lbs a day) at a given time.  Pack animals could ease the burden a little and carry some extra supplies, but each animal needs its own ration (20lbs grain and 20lbs forage a day) and water (80lbs a day) in addition to that of the men, the baggage animals, and the cavalry horses. So how did Alexander manage to supply an army that needed 511,000 pounds of food and 158,900 gallons of water every day?

First, he planned his route carefully. As the map shows, he didn’t try to blaze straight across deserts; he followed water when he could, keeping to lush, green riverbanks with ample fresh water and easy naval access. Equal care was given to the timing of each stage of the campaign. “In addition to synchronizing his troops’ actions with harvest cycles …He timed his departure so the 30-day supply of rations, carried by sea transport, would last until 10 days after harvest at the first destination city. This provided a seamless supply of food and water for his men.” (Van Mieghem) Each conquered city was used wisely as a base or for its farm land. Of course, some cities didn’t need to be conquered; some surrendered, and willingly offered alliances and supplies, to avoid being crushed by Alexander’s army.

He also “maximized swiftness of action and flexibility of the army by eliminating the usual [camp followers]…” and by “order[ing] forced, or double-time, marches to conserve supplies in difficult circumstances.”

Alexander’s knowledge of logistics proved to be one of his most effective tools in extending his reach across so much of the known world, and carving his name into the history of our culture.



Following water and skirting around deserts to ease the way



Works Cited


Engels, D. W. (1978). Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army. Berkely: University of California Press

Hemingway, Colette, and Seán Hemingway. “The Rise of Macedonia and the Conquests of Alexander the Great”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–.

Plutarch. (1936). De Fortuna Alexandri. IV, Loeb Classical Library edition. Retrieved February 08, 2012, from*/1.html

Van Mieghem, Timothy. “Logistics Lessons From.” Quality Progress. Jan 1998: n. page. Web. 9 Feb. 2012.


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Seers and Omens in Time of Alexander the Great


Even before Alexander is born to his father King Phillip and his mother Olympia, Aristander played a part in the story of the man who came to be known as Alexander the Great.  King Phillip dreams of sealing up the womb of Olympia with a seal which bore the likeness of a lion device. The soothsayers were suspicious about the dream because they believed that it meant that the King should keep better track of his wife.  Seer, Aristander interprets it to mean that the unborn child will be lion-like and brave (Aristander).

The Greeks were known for their belief in seers and soothsayers.  Alexander the Great was no exception.  He relied on many seers that traveled with him during his campaign in Asia. Aristander has been called the seer extraordinary of Alexander the Great. In one instance he was called upon to explain the strange flight of birds, and on another occasion he was asked what a spring of oil meant by a river (Robinson).  These are just a couple of examples of how Alexander the Great relied on seers to help him interpret what he believed constituted signs about the future.

Aristander performed three main functions in his service to Alexander.  He assisted with the daily sacrifices of animals by determining their status. He interpreted omens and provided prophecies.  The third function was to interpret dreams (Powler).

Another thing that Alexander believed in was oracles.  During his conquest he visited the Oracle of Amon on his quest for confirmation that he was the son of Zeus, the Grecian God.  It was Alexander’s wish to be buried at Siwa.  This is a photo of the entrance to the temple complex as it appears in modern times.

Entrance to the Temple site at Siwa

The Inside Wall of the Temple

Alexander was in the city of Gordium, Turkey after the battle of Grancius.  Some of the Spartans had been persuaded not to support Alexander. This caused Alexander to hesitate to move forward with his campaign to conquer Asia due to the mixed support of the Greeks.  Gordium was the location of the Gordian knot and it what prophesized that the man who could untie the knot would rule Asia.  Alexander untied the knot buy slashing it with a sword  Alexander took this instance as an omen that he should continue his campaign to conquer Asia (Gill).



The Gordian Knot



Works Cited

Aristander. n.d. 7 Feb 2012. <http//>.

Gill, N.S. Gordian Knot-Alexandelr Solves the Gordian Knot. 2012. 9 Feb 2012. <;.

Powler, Thomas-William. All About Alexander the Great. 1994. 7 Feb 2012. <;.

Robinson, Jr. C.A. “The Seer Aristander.” American Journal of Philology 1929: 195-197. 7 Feb 2012. <;.



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Alexander the Great: Siege of Gaza

The siege of Gaza occurred in 332 B.C.E. at the city of Gaza. Gaza is a coastal city on the Aegean coast (Fig. 1). Gaza posed a significant challenge because it is located on a plateau that rises up to 60 feet over the surrounding areas. The siege was between Alexander and his 45,000 strong force of Greeks against Batis, King of Gaza and his 49,000 soldiers of the Achaemenid Empire.


Around October of 332 B.C.E. Alexander the Great was on his march south to Egypt in order to secure his flank before marching across the Middle East on his mission of World Conquest. Alexander wanted to shore up his rear In order to avoid having issues behind him so that all of his focus would be in front of him. One of the cities on his path was Gaza, which was ruled by Batis, who was loyal to Egypt.

Alexander arrived at Gaza and quickly spotted the southern walls as the weakest point in the city. Thus he set his siege sights on that part of the city. He quickly built up mounds from which siege weapons would begin to batter the walls. Batis knew that Alexander was coming for Gaza and had therefore provisioned his city in order to withstand a long siege, hoping for the arrival of the Egyptian army to meet Alexander in open battle.

It took 3 unsuccessful attempts to capture the city before Alexanders forces stormed the city and was able to finally bring the city to its knees. When the city fell the men were “put to the sword” and the women and children sold into slavery.

This was the last major obstacle on the Aegean coast for Alexander. After the city fell Alexander was able to successfully claim Egypt and begin his march across the known world.


Bosworth, A.B. Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Web.

Wikipedia. Siege of Gaza. February 2012.


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Alexander the Great – The epitome of siege Equipment in the battle of Tyre and a little boasting.

Perhaps the most notorious siege of Alexander the Great was that of Tyre in 332 BC. The potential for siege machinery was perhaps first understood by Alexander’s father King Philip, but Alexander likewise saw the benefit for the equipment and better epitomized its use during his campaign against Persia. The use of machinery to besiege cities was made relatively shorter compared to the past where a city was circumscribed by an opposing attacker. (Potter 127).

Brief History and Account of the Siege of Tyre given by Arrian.

After Alexander the Great was denied permission to enter the city of Tyre and sacrifice to the god Herakles, he considered the consequences to his empire if Tyre was left to their own devices. Therefore, Alexander convinced the generals of the need to capture the threatening Tyre, despite the apparent naval and defensive advantages Tyre held. Tyre had a much larger navy (being a port city) and also was a great defensive stronghold (being an island surrounded by a large wall). (2.18.2-4). Arrian mentions the size of the wall to be “150 feet high and proportionately thick” (2.21.4).


Aerial view of Tyre taken in aprox. 1934

Despite these detriments, Alexander was not deterred and found it in his best interest to build a mole or causeway from the Phoenician inland shore to the Island (Arrian, 2.18.2-4).  As the construction of the mole became closer to the city, it also drew deeper into the water and eventually the mole and its workers became vulnerable to the ranged ballistic attacks from the wall and the triremes in the Tyrian military. This temporarily halted the construction of the mole as Alexander then ordered his engineers and workers to build two siege towers on the edge of the mole, which would hold equipment designed to counter-fire against the Tyrians. Further, Alexander’s engineers draped the towers with skins as to better shield the workers and provide cover so they could resume their work on the mole (2.18.5-6).

In retaliation the Tyrians boarded vessels filled with flammable materials which they deployed against the towers and then set fire to them; thus, destroying the towers and much of the progress of the mole (2.19.1-5).

Alexander comprehended that the siege would be futile as long as the Tyrians held the upper hand, therefore, he instructed his engineers to widen the mole and to construct more siege equipment.  Alexander then left for the surrounding Phoenician regions to procure reinforcements by claiming dues owed from kings and granting amnesty towards others (2.19.6-2.20.1-8).

Alexander amassed a large navy, infantry, and engineers and again returned to the siege of Tyre in approximately 11 days. In a defensive maneuver the Tyrian navy took position in their two harbors one facing Sidon and the other facing Egypt (2.20.7-8). While the Tyrian navy was held at bay, war engines were built and assembled on the mole, horse-transports, and slow sailing triremes. Alexander then had the war machines bought across the mole and started bombardment against the wall. Ships holding siege machinery was halted until large stones could be hauled from the water as they could not get in range for their weapons. (2.21-1-3).

Taking countermeasures, the Tyrians attempted to cut the anchors cords away from the triremes moving the stones but were thwarted by the Macedonians who used chains. In a last attempt, the Tyrian navy attacked some empty moored ship destroying a few. However, in return Alexander set up a blockade preventing other Tyrian vessels to make it out of the harbor and the set out to defeating the vessels which had attacked the moored ships (2.21.4-7-22.1-5).

The siege equipment at the site of the wall proved to be unsuccessful; therefore, Alexander took the ships holding siege equipment around the island bombarding various points along the wall eventually breaking through. Initially, Alexander attempted to enter the city but was fought back (2.22.6-7).

Alexander, waiting two days later, is determined to enter the city. He instructed the siege equipment to fire at the wall for a considerable length of time and then prepared and eventually landed on the island capturing Tyre (2.23.1-6).

The End – of the brief history lesson.

Some discussion and boasting in Alexander’s behalf…

As stated earlier the battle of Tyre is perhaps one of the most famous sieges of Alexander’s campaign. It is at this battle when we see siege machinery used to break down a wall which surrounds a city as well as the use of battering-rams at sea (Nossov, 40-41). Likewise, this example displays a diverse array of siege equipment including: torsion projectors which fired arrows (katapetai) and stones (litoboloi or petroboloi), as well as battering-rams, and towers in diverse offensive and defensive methods.

Diodorus (17.43.1 and 17.45.1-4) goes into more detail regarding the technological innovations introduced by both sides during this siege. Alexander’s engineers devised catapults large enough to hurl stones capable of smashing the Tyrian walls, apparently the first time artillery weapons had been used against fortifications rather than personnel. The Tyrians for their part made cushions out of hides stuffed with seaweed to absorb the impact of the stones, and further warded them off with some sort of wheel-like device that deflected missile fire as it spun around. Phoenicians were famous in antiquity and their engineering skill, so it is not surprising that Alexander recruited much of the local talent into his army or that both sides in the conflict made rapid advances in military technology over the course of the seven-month siege (qtd. in Arian by Mensch, 88).

During Alexander’s campaign he included engineers in his baggage train throughout his expedition, as Potter puts it: “Alexander brought experts in siege warfare, katapeltaphetai, with him, and their extraordinary accomplishment at places such as Tyre show that they could construct massive weapons on the spot and improve their technology as the years passed” (Potter, 127). Engles pointed out that in Areia it was clear that the use of carts would be used to transport siege machinery but also engineers would carry tools and supplies required to build equipment (15-17). The ability to build rather than transport siege equipment allowed the army to move swiftly and efficiently, while most likely allowing the equipment to be more reliable and adaptable depending on the situations Alexander and his army found themselves in. Stark examples of this can be obtained through recall of Arrian provides us.

* I found some good examples (in my opinion) of some of the siege equipment that would have been used during Alexander’s campaign at and some nice images of the battle at I have contacted them for permission to use some images but have yet to hear a reply. Professor Payne, maybe if you get a chance to look at these you could tell me if any of them are out of copyright if fall under fair-use. In the interim I hope the class enjoys!

Works Cited:

Arian. The Landmark Arrian: the campaigns of Alexander a new translation. Trans. Pamela Mensch. Ed. James Romm and Robert B. Strassler. New York: Pantheon Books-Random House, 2010.

Engels, Donald W. Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.

Image GEOEYE , Google Earth, and ORIONN-ME. 2012 Map. “Harbor of Tyre, Lebanon.” Data Sio, NOAA, U.S. NAVY, NGA, GEBCO.  9 Feb. 2012.


Potter, David. “Alexander the Great and Hellenistic Warfare.” The Ancient World at War. Ed. Philip de Souza. New York, NY: Thames & Hudson, 2008. 119-38.

Nossov, Konstanin. Ancient and Medieval Siege Weapons: A Fully Illustrated Guide to Siege Weapons and Tactics. Guilford: The Lyons Press-The Globe Pequot press, 2005.

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Due date change for Alexander

Your Alexander blog is now due on Thursday, Feb. 9 by midnight MST.

Email me if you’ve got any questions.

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In-Class Assignment: How did Hannibal Get Elephants over the Alps?*

  1. Hannibal’s army was directed by guides.
  2. He had the animals walk carefully through narrow places.
  3. He had his men clear vegetation.
  4. He had his men build roads.
  5. He had his men follow the contours in the mountains.
  6. He hit detours at cliffs and was misled by guides from time to time.
  7. He had his men clear away snow and ice.
  8. He had his men cut through rock to create paths by quickly heating frozen rock, using sour wine as a corrosive, and then using picks.
  9. He had his men create a zig-zag track to minimize the slope of the road during the group’s descent.
  10. The elephants took longer to move over the top of the mountains than the men and horses because they had to widen the path.
  11. The animals had to eat local vegetation along the way, so the animals almost starved while they were stuck at the peak.
  12. The Italian side of the Alps has ample vegetation, so once Hannibal got the army over the top of the mountain, the party was able to feed the animals and rest.

*Notes based on information from

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