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"Alexander's conquest was a Greek conquest"
Greek claim 4 


One of the main obstacles to Alexander's Macedonian conquest of the Asian continent were actually the ancient Greeks. Alexander's conquest of Asia was undertaken for the wealth of Persia and for the greatness of Macedonia. There are but a few "eras" in history that have suffered from inaccurate presentation and have gone uncorrected for a long period of time. It is, simply, quite puzzling to see an era in which the dominant protagonist, the one who dictates respect and elicits awe, the one whose actions and accomplishments will forever grace the pages of history, and serve as a measuring devise for others, is overlooked and forgotten, and his place in history is assigned to an impostor. From the mid fourth century B.C., until the first century A.D, a span of four hundred years history revolved around the kingdom of Macedon. It was the legendary kings of Macedon that shaped and turned the events of the time. The news was created and delivered by the Macedonians. And yet, this period of time is termed "Hellenistic".

Why? What fate will this epoch suffer if it is named after its main contributor? Or, to put this question in a different form, what would this epoch be known for if the name of the Macedonians and their kingdom of Macedon is removed from it? Wouldn't it be left inconclusive, empty and desolate without its leader? Isn't it more fitting and appropriate to call this epoch Macedonian epoch? And the 'Hellenistic Kingdoms' changed to Macedonistic Kingdoms? After all, there was nothing hellenic with the ancient Macedonians. It looks like a marathon runner who dominates the race for 26 miles and the crown of victory is given to a side-road water supplier. Alexander wuld have turned in his grave had he known that today his conquest is labeled as Greek by some propagandists and unqualified ‘historians’ (like Hammond, Martis, and Daskalakis above).

Most of the ancient authors offer meaningful insights from which a significant body of knowledge emerges for us to create, comparatively speaking, a framework of referenced material. This, in turn, will enable us to weed out fallacies and irrelevant narration, and find infallible criterion of truth or at least a source/narrations which is universally preferable to all others.

Let us now shift through the writings of the ancients and see if the modern Greek claim that "Alexander's conquest was a Greek conquest", can withstand the test:

[1] Arrian's The Campaigns of Alexander "The cavalry action which ensued was desperate enough, and the Persians broke only when they knew that the Greek mercenaries were being cut and destroyed by the Macedonian infantry." [p.119-20]

[ancient Greeks fighting against ancient Macedonians and the modern Greeks called Alexander's conquest Greek? Something doesn't add up here.]

[2] Arrian "The Campaigns of Alexander" "When received the report that Alexander was moving forward to the attack, he sent some 30,000 mounted troops and 20,000 light infantry across the river Pinarus, to give himself a chance of getting the main body of his army into position without molestation. His dispositions were as follows: in the van of his heavy infantry were his 30,000 Greek mercenaries, facing the Macedonian infantry, with some 60,000 Persian heavy infantry- known as Kardakes." [p.114]

[Paradoxical juncture: Alexander's conquest can not be called Greek conquest while 30,000 Greeks are actually fighting against Alexander and his Macedonians, while far less, (7,000) were part of the Macedonian army.]

[3] Quintus Rufus "The History of Alexander" Patron, the Greek commander, speaks with Darius:

"Your Majesty", said Patron, "we few are all that remain of 50,000 Greeks. We were all with you in your more fortunate days, and in your present situation we remain as we were when you were prospering, ready to make for and to accept as our country and our home any lands you choose. We and you have been drawn together both by your prosperity and your adversity. By this inviolable loyalty of ours I beg and beseech you: pitch your tent in our area of the camp and let us be your bodyguards. We have left Greece behind; for us there is no Bactria; our hopes rest entirely in you - I wish that were true of the others also! Further talk serves no purpose. As a foreigner born of another race I should not be asking for the responsibility of guarding your person if I thought anyone else could do it." [p.112-13]

[50,000 Greeks serving with Darius’ army and fighting Alexander's Macedonians. A legitimate and a very obvious question: If Alexander’s army was in fact a ‘Greek army’, as the modern Greeks claim, then how is it possible for a ‘Greek king’- Alexander, to hire mercenaries - Greeks, from his 'own' country? 50,000 strong Greeks were with Darius fighting the Macedonians, while Alexander took only 7,000 Greeks next to his Macedonians which served him as "hostages" and "were potential trouble makers" (Green), which he got rid of only when he learned that the rebellion in Greece against the Macedonian occupation forces there was suppressed (Green, Badian, Borza). The fact that 50,000 Greeks were fighting Alexander’s Macedonians shows clearly that their loyalty and their numerical superiority lies with Darius and his Persians, not with Alexander and his Macedonians. As Peter Green puts it: "if this was a Greek conquest where were the Greek troops?" Alexander’s conquest can not therefore be at all a Greek conquest, but simply a Macedonian conquest.]

[4] "The turning point in the evolution of Alexander's army appears to have been the year 330. Until then the Macedonian component was progressively reinforced, reaching peaks before Issus and after the arrival of Amyntas' great contingent late in 331. Alexander then thought it safe to divest himself of non Macedonian troops. The forces from the Corinthean League, infantry and cavalry, were demobilized from Ecbetana in the spring of 330;

[Arr. III.19.6-7; Plut. Al. 42.5; Diod. XVII.74.3-4; Curt. VI.2.17] even the Thessalian cavalry who re-enlisted were dismissed at the Oxus last than a year later (Arr. III.29.5) Alexander now relied on the Macedonian nucleus for front-line work and the mercenaries for support function." Bosworth, Conquest and Empire. [p.271]

Points of interest: a) (Greek) non-Macedonian troops and b) The forces from the Corinthian League were demobilized in 330. [These forces were with Alexander less than four years] Those that re-enlisted as mercenaries were used sparingly and in secondary missions.

[5] "The infantry from the allied Greek states is more problematic. They formed a contingent numerically strong, 7,000 of them crossing the Hellespont in 334, and they were predominantly heavy-armed hoplites. But once in Asia they are mainly notable for their absence. There is no explicit record of them in any of the major battles. At Guagamela we may infer that they provided most of the men for the reserve phalanx (Arr. III.12.1), but in the other engagements there is no room for them. They are only mentioned as participants in subsidiary campaigns, usually under Parmenio's command (in the Troad, at the Amanid Gates, in Phrygia, and in the march on Persis), and they never appear in the entourage of Alexander." Bosworth, Conquest and Empire [p.264]

[6] "It is likely that Philip saw Asia as a source of wealth and new lands in which to settle the many exiles and dispossessed people who were at this time a general threat to both Greece and Macedonia, given that there were states with sufficient wealth to hire them as mercenaries." Isocrates was trying to sell to Philip II his idea of unified front against Persia. "Philip, however, saw his enterprise in a much more obviously Macedonian context than Isocrates had envisaged." F.W. Walbank "The Hellenistic World" [p.30-1]

[7] Pierre Jouguet "Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World" [On the Macedonian conquest]

"It was quite certain that Alexander would not be content. He had called himself the avenger of Greece, and had begun the war in the capacity of Strategos of all the Hellenes, but he meant the war chiefly to serve the greatness of Macedonia. That is why there were so few Greeks in the army, which was mainly Macedonian; the Macedonians alone were sufficiently attached to the royal house of their country to follow Alexander in an undertaking for which Asia Minor was already too small a prize." [p.20]

[8] This one is taken from A.B.Bosworth's "Alexander and the East", p.6-8.

"The coins seem to emphasize the fighting potential of Porus' army, and there must be conscious propaganda at work. Alexander was underscoring his victory. In a manner unique in ancient coinage he was sending message to people who could never hope to witness an Indian army in the flesh. These were the outlandish and formidable forces which he had faced in battle and crushed. Five years might have elapsed since the Persian grand army was humiliated at Guagamela, but his army had lost none of its frightful efficiency. The victory over Porus was the proof, and the coinage ensured that its implications were not lost. In the context of the troubles in Greece which followed the Exiles' Decree it would constitute a blunt warning. Beware the consequences of revolt. The army which crushed Porus will easily crush you."

All quotes below are from Professor Peter Green's Alexander of Macedon:

[9] "Darius reversed his earlier policy of non-intervention, and began to channel gold into Greece wherever he thought it would do most good. He did not, as yet, commit himself to anything more definite: clearly he hoped that the Greek revolt would solve his problem for him. But the mere thought of a Greek-Persian coalition must have turned Alexander’s blood cold." [p.138]

[10] "This was the Panhellenic crusade preached by Isocrates, and as such the king’s propaganda section continued - for the time being - to present it. No one, so far as we know, was tactless enough to ask the obvious question: if this was a Panhellenic crusade, where were the Greek troops? [p. 157]

[11] "Indeed, despite the league’s official veto, far more Greeks fought for the Great King - and remained loyal to the bitter end - than were ever conscripted by Alexander." [p.157]

[12] "What is more, the league’s troops were never used in crucial battles (another significant pointer) but kept on garrison and line-of-communication duties. The sole reason for their presence, apart from propaganda purposes, was to serve as hostages for the good behavior of their friends and relatives in Greece. Alexander found them more of an embarrassment than an asset, and the moment he was in a position to do so, he got rid of them." [p.158]

[13] "Alexander lost no time in getting rid of the league’s forces which accompanied him - another ironic gloss on his role as a leader of a Panhellenic crusade." [p.183]

[14] On the subject of "liberating the Greek cities in Asia: "But the euphemism of a ‘contribution’ did not carry the same unpleasant associations; and the whole scheme, with its implication of a united Greek front, must have made splendid propaganda for home consumption." [p. 188]

[15] On the league’s crews: "Their own crews, he pointed out, were still half-trained (the cities of the league must have been scraping the bottom of the barrel when they chose them); and - a revealing admission - a defeat at this point might well trigger off a general revolt of the Greek states. So much for the Panhellenic crusade. Alexander’s main fear, we need scarcely doubt, was that the league’s fleet might actually desert him if the chance presented itself." [p.190]

[16] "The truth of the matter seems to have been that Alexander distrusted his Greek allies so profoundly - and with good reason - that he preferred to risk the collapse of his campaign in a spate of rebellion rather than entrust its safety to a Greek fleet." [p.192]

[17] "The case of Aspendus exposes, with harsh clarity, Alexander’s fundamental objectives in Asia Minor. So long as he received willing cooperation, the pretence of a Panhellenic crusade could be kept up. But any resistance, the least opposition to his will, met with instant and savage reprisals." [p.208]

[18] "The burning of Persepolis had written finish to the Hellenic crusade as such, and he used this excuse to pay off all his league’s troops, Parmenio’s Thessalians included. The crisis in Greece was over: he no longer needed these potential trouble makers as hostages." [p. 322]

Alexander's conquest was for the greatness of Macedonia. The Greeks served Alexander only as mercenaries and were assigned low garrison duties after 330. The 7000 Greek 'hostages' that Alexander took with himself, were commanded by Macedonian officers, and had insignificant role in the Macedonian victorious battles. Therefore, Alexander’s conquest was a Macedonian conquest, not Greek, and his empire can only be Macedonian (as it was), not Greek.


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