Vitellius 69 The Roman Empire "officially" begins by tradition in 27 BC when Octavian receives the title "Augustus" -- which then becomes the name by which we know him.
The Granicus is also worthy of note because it is one of the earliest battles on record that was decided largely by cavalry strength, though coordinated with infantry support. Nevertheless, by carefully reviewing those literary sources, a highly probable picture of the battle emerges.
After the death of his father, King Philip II, in BC, Alexander III won the allegiance of the army and ascended to the throne of Macedon at age 20, only to find himself at the head of a rebellious kingdom. The sudden death of his father had encouraged the barbarians to the north and west—and several Greek cities to the south—to revolt against Macedonian rule.
Within two years, Alexander had suppressed all internal opposition, crushed the barbarian revolts in decisive campaigns and subdued the Greek insurrection. Once he had consolidated his power at home, Alexander enthusiastically took on the project his father had planned but never carried out—an invasion of the Persian empire.
In the spring of BC, Alexander led a combined Macedonian, Greek and Balkan historically referred to as Macedonian army of 32, infantry and 5, cavalry on a day march from Macedon to the Hellespont today called the Dardanelles. A council of war—to which Memnon, a high-ranking Greek mercenary in Persian service, was admitted—was held to discuss strategy.
Knowing that the Macedonian army would be a formidable adversary, Memnon advised the Persians to burn crops, farms and villages in the country through which Alexander would have to pass, thereby depriving him of provisions, while the Persian army withdrew eastward and avoided battle.
The satraps, however, distrusted Memnon because he was a Greek, and they were reluctant to see their territories destroyed. Consequently, they rejected his sound advice and decided to stay to defend their provinces. The Persian nobles believed themselves superior to the barbaric invaders and counted on a full array of western satraps, a numerically superior cavalry which for generations was reputed to be the finest in existencea formidable contingent of Greek mercenary infantry and a sound plan to stop the invasion at the onset.
They seem to have had two major objectives. First, they would strategically force Alexander toward a carefully chosen position before he could move farther inland; if he did not move toward that position, he would leave his rear unprotected and possibly lose his logistical support and lines of communication with the Hellespont.
Second, the Persians hoped to find a strong defensive position that would not only compel Alexander to attack but also minimize his more than 2-to-1 advantage in infantry, while capitalizing on their 2-to-1 advantage in cavalry. In keeping with their plan, the Persians advanced from Zelea to the nearby Granicus River today called the Kocabas Cay.
The Persians established a strong defensive position on the eastern bank and placed all their cavalry in the front line, creating as wide a front as possible—approximately 7, feet, or 1.
Diodorus is the only ancient author who provides even a partial Persian order of battle: Memnon of Rhodes, with a cavalry unit of unknown size and nationality, held the extreme left of the Persian forward line.
To his right was Arsamenes, also with cavalry of unknown size and nationality; then Arsites, with Paphlagonian cavalry of unknown size; and Spithridates, with Hyrcanian cavalry of unknown size.
The extreme right of the Persian forward line was held by 1, Median cavalry and 2, cavalry of unknown nationality, both under the command of Rheomithres, and by 2, Bactrian cavalry.
The center was held by cavalry units of unknown size and nationality, probably under the joint command of Mithridates and Rhoesaces, and no doubt others not mentioned in ancient texts. Greek mercenaries, under Omares, made up the mass of the infantry and were placed at the rear of the cavalry on higher ground.
Some military historians have interpreted the Persian battle array as a tactical blunder.
They argue that, by placing the cavalry so close to the steep riverbank, the Persians deprived it of the opportunity to charge; and the infantry, in the rear of the cavalry, became mere observers of a struggle in which they could offer little assistance.
While the Macedonian army was completing its crossing into Asia Minor, Alexander, accompanied by a portion of his royal guards, sailed ahead, steering south to visit the ruins of the nearby ancient city of Troy.
Upon rejoining his main army, Alexander received intelligence that the Persian forces were some 50 miles to the northeast. He realized that his first objective could no longer be to move south to liberate the Greek cities under Persian control, since that would leave a substantial enemy force in his rear.
Instead, he marched northeastward along the shore of the Hellespont and the Propontis the present-day Sea of Marmara with just more than 18, of his finest troops 13, infantry and 5, cavalryready to challenge the Persians to a pitched battle.
In midafternoon on the third day of marching, Alexander was not far from the Granicus when his scouts reported that the Persian army was drawn up on the east bank of the river.
As the Macedonian army marched toward the river through open country, Alexander placed his heavy infantry in the center in two tandem columns, heavy cavalry on each flank and the baggage train in the rear; he then advanced in semideployment behind a heavy screen of light cavalry and infantry.
He disagreed with Alexander about the battle plan, pointing out the difficulties in the river crossing and warning that an immediate attack invited disaster.CORNELIUS NEPOS. LIVES OF EMINENT COMMANDERS.
PREFACE. I do not doubt that there will be many, 1 Atticus, who will think this kind of writing 2 trifling in its nature, and not sufficiently adapted to the characters of eminent men, when they shall find it related who taught Epaminondas music, or see it numbered among his accomplishments, that he danced gracefully, and played.
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ALEXANDER THE GREAT JULY 20, B.C. - JUNE 13, B.C. ALSO Will reappear in the future Tribulation, WHOM JESUS WILL DEFEAT AT ARMAGEDDON, AND THROW ALIVE INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE FOR ALL ETERNITY.
AMEN. Special appreciation to a brother named David who provided the enhanced picture (above, right) of Alexander, making it as lifelike as possible.
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