Alexander the Great’s Army: Followers and Logistics

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Alexander the Great’s army was well, great. It consisted of more than 48,000 soldiers and at times grew to over 90,000 soldiers. The Macedonian Army under Alexander’s command embarked on the longest military expedition ever undertaken (Engels).The reason for alexander’s success on the longest military expedition was his careful watch over the provisions of his army. Most other armies that went the same way alexander did had many soldiers dying of starvation and dehydration. Because of Alexander, his army and their baggage train were able to stay well fed (Engels).

The actual size of Alexander’s army is hard to estimate because of the amount of followers and animals in addition to the number of troops already following Alexander. According to the ancient historians, Diodorus Siculus, Curtius, and Plutarch, Alexander had bodyguards, seers, soothsayers, physicians, poets, traders, musicians, courtesans and many, many, more followers with them on this large expedition. Because Alexander’s campaigns took him and his army so far away from their native land, the policy adopted by Philip, Alexander’s father and predecessor, to allow soldiers to return home periodically to visit their families, was abandoned. The soldiers were homesick and lonely so later; Alexander allowed his men to take wives of the captive which would keep the soldiers from missing their homeland too much and keep them on campaign. Because of this, the size of Alexander’s army grew adding thousands of followers to his many legions. The size of the army grew with each wife and eventually with each child that was born to the military families (Engels).

Works Cited

Adams, Colin E. P. “Supplying the Roman Army: “Q. Petr.” 245.” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik (1995): 119-124. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/20189638&gt;.

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

Livius.org. Alexander’s Army. n.d. Web. Feb. 2012. <http://www.livius.org/aj-al/alexander/alexander_t02.html&gt;.

Loomis, R.S. “Alexander the Great’s Velestial Journey. I-Eastern Examples.” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 32.181 (1918): 136-140. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/860584&gt;.

Plutarch. Lives, Volume VII: Demosthenes and Cicero, Alexander and Caesar. Ed. Bernadotte Perrin. Trans. Bernadotte Perrin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1919. Web.

Siculus, Diodorus. Library of History. Trans. C. H. Oldfather. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989. Web. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Diod.+15&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0084&gt;.

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