Honors Blog 2
27 February 2014
Alexander III of Macedon, also known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Greek kingdom of Macedon. Alexander spent most of his ruling years on a military campaign, going through Asia and Africa. He soon, later in his ruling, created one of the largest empires in the ancient world. Alexander was undefeated in battle and is still considered to be one of history’s most successful commanders.
Creating the largest empire in the world, leads to the question as to how Alexander the Great accomplished this. In 327, Alexander decided to march on India. He began doing this by getting his army into shape. First Alexander got rid of the baggage train of the Persian loot. He also sent a number of veterans home, while bringing in new fresh troops. He also added Persian Calvary and infantry to his army.
Alexander also had great engineers who were able to build strong, large ships. The trireme was the heaviest type of warship used during this time. This heavy ship was propelled by three banks of oars, with one oarsman on each. Far less is known with certainty about the actual construction and appearance of these ships. But many were equipped with cannons that they built.
Wanting more, Alexander continued down towards the Ganges River, but many of his men rebelled Alexander took a smaller group on an alternate route which arrived in the Indus Valley upriver from Peshawar. They reached the mouth of Indus, where some problems arose during this route, due to the high mountainous ranges. Alexander the Great used native guides which allowed him to occupy a nearby mountain. His engineers built mound, and soon the fortress was taken.
As to how these ships and tactics worked, Alexander had his men build great ships, and this was defiantly needed once they reached India. Also, there was an additional fleet of ships and boats which traveled down the Indus River as well. None of the Greeks had ever encountered anything to prepare them for India. The terrain, the monsoons, and the fierce tribes are some of the problems that they encountered.
When the army did move down the Indus River Valley, they did so in a unique way, dividing into three branches. The ships and boats sailed along. Alexander joined this branch. Another branch traveled on the east side of the river, and the third branch on the west side. Of course there was much fighting, as Alexander insisted on destroying any opposition along the way which might be a threat to his future rule of the Indus region.
This great ruler was fierce and did not let anything get in his way. Whatever the terrain, from tropical to bitter cold, scorching desert to waterlogged marshland, Alexander met every challenge he was set and overcame every difficulty he encountered. While Alexander’s siege towers breached the most impregnable of strongholds, their bridge-building skills were equally outstanding and allowed them to cross ravines and rivers alike, along with his great ships.
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Macedonian ships traveling traveling down Hydaspes and Indus rivers. History of Macedon. University of California, Oxford. Retrieved March 2, 2014, from http://www.historyofmacedonia.org/
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