• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Alexander the Great: Battle of Gaugamela

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Katherine Jones King Alexander at only 25 years old, his reputation already one of greatness had led his men into Asia. To his soldiers, their invasion of Persia was to fight back after half a century of devastation brought onto Greece during the Persian wars between 499 and 448 BC. Alexander's private desire, however, was to cast a shadow on the large Persian empire by winning all its lands and bringing it under his rule. Gaugamela, named after the village it was fought by, was the decisive battle in the struggle between Alexander III and Darius II for the Persian Empire. The battle occurred in 331 BC, this battle was one of importance as it shows a significant amount of Alexander's tactical and military genius while including examples of his great leadership skills with his men. Mesopotamia was an abundant region between the rivers, Euphrates and Tigris, dominated by Darius more than a century earlier. The major city in this region was Babylon and was located south where Darius anticipated Alexander would lead his troops. Instead Alexander headed north in the direction of the Tigris River basically there was more food for the horses, the heat was less intense and it would also tempt Darius away from the widespread plains surrounding Babylon. Darius needed vast, flat, obstacle free areas for his chariots and cavalry to be allowed to fight effectively. ...read more.

Middle

The battle turned out better than it possibly could have for Alexander, as we can see his well thought out plan coincided with the actual events of the battle and all went as he had pre-determined. Alexander initially ordered his right wing cavalry to advance on an angle, as always, to the right. Consequently forcing the Persian cavalry further left to pursue them, thus moving away from the specially cleared area Darius had so carefully arranged for them. To counteract these actions Darius ordered his men to stop moving to the left and head directly forward to attack Alexander's right wing as intended. This arrangement worked well for Alexander as he postponed a rather dominant attack to his right wing and would have confused Darius' cavalry who needed to aim to break through Alexander's right wing and get behind his troops as to fight them from the back. Darius then launched the elephants and chariots against the phalanx but Alexander had foreseen this problem and all his men followed their detailed instructions. The Agrianians stopped the majority of the chariots and elephants before they even reached the phalanx. The rest caused many of the infantry to panic but because of their training and discipline they followed Alexander's orders and broke ranks at precisely the right moment allowing the elephants and chariots to pass through corridors made for them so the attack failed miserably as it caused very minimal damage. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Arrian states 'When the king received this information, he refrained from further pursuit' and Alexander alongside his companions quickly headed to help his left wing. But, on the way, they bumped into the Persian right wing, who in turn were trying to escape from the Macedonian camp. Here there was a terrible fight and many companions' lives were lost but nevertheless Alexander prevailed and rushed to the aid of Parmenio. Though, by this time, Parmenio and the left wing did not need his help any more. Mazaeus, after hearing of Darius' flight, hastily led his men away from the battle and was pursued by the Thessalians. Alexander showed remarkable leadership skills in this stage of the battle as he put aside his own wants for the needs of his men. Alexander considered the victory at Gaugamela to be one of significance in the fight over the Persian Empire, as Darius' army was crushed, Alexander now had control of the heart of Asia and so he proclaimed himself 'king of Asia'. This statement, before the whole Macedonian army, would have had huge propaganda worth to Alexander making him appear very impressive to his people. Throughout the battle Alexander proved himself to be worthy of his title; Alexander the Great. This particular battle illuminated Alexander's tactical brilliance, strength and genius because he won purely through intellectual strategies. Considering the size of Darius' army and the outcome of the battle Alexander shows that there is some truth to the saying that brains beat brawn. Katherine Jones ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Classics essays

  1. Citizenship coursework - Planning

    Group and Individual November 2006 Put together ideas about healthy packed lunch suggestions to be sent off through the post to parents as to give a hand in taking our issue into the public of our local community. Elma Choudhury November 2006 The breakfast menu was invented keeping in mind

  2. Understand how customer services is provided in business.

    What kind of services would it provide for me? Sky helpline: If you buy the Sky digital box it will provide you with Sky talk, Sky TV and Sky broadband, a combination that's just right for you. Customer: Ok, could you tell me all of the options that I can choose from please?

  1. Gladiatorial games and what made them so exciting

    However St Augustine saw the opposite. He quotes 'When I saw the blood, I could not turn away but I kept my eyes on it. I was delighted by the cruelty and frenzy; I was almost drunk with pleasure of seeing blood split.

  2. Medea - Euripides lived during the Golden Age of Athens, the city where he ...

    Pointing out that the grudge she bears is directed against Jason, rather than Creon and his daughter, Medea pleads with the king to allow her to remain in Corinth, where she will endure her sufferings without protest. Creon is distrustful and unyielding, but ultimately agrees to provide Medea with one

  1. Who made the greatest contribution to the Athenian Constitution?

    Each deme (139 in total) had its own council, with an assembly, officers, treasurers and an annually elected leader, the demarch. From 508 BC onwards, each Athenian had to register in his local deme, and thereafter, membership of a deme became passed down from father to son, and even if a man moved to another

  2. Research into businesses involving food, clothes or hairdressing.

    Main purpose This business purpose is to improve their goods and services in order to satisfy their customers. They try to improve their store and make customers happy by giving them what they want. They have services as well, they have a website where their customers can buy their goods and the company can deliver it to their homes.

  1. Was Britain Worth The Romans Invading?

    Strabo also mentions that it is of no interest to Rome to place garrisons on Britain. However, later on in the Roman rule of Britain, the Romans did put garrisons on Britain, and taxed the Britons with taxes called Tributes.

  2. Pericles and Athens in the 5th century BC

    The increased control over Euboea increased Pericles military power and influence. Pericles? military power and influence was so great throughout the Mediterranean that in 440 BC he was able to usurp Samos? right to go to war with another state.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work