Do not shield the Sun
In the summer of 336 BC. e. Philip of Macedon was slain by the hand of the murderer in the midst of the festivities on the occasion of his daughter’s wedding. In the involvement in this atrocity, according to the Greek historian Arrian, Alexander subsequently accused the Persian king Darius:
“My father died at the hands of the conspirators, whom you rallied, and you brag about all in your letters.”
This fact, most likely, is plausible. The protection of Greek freedom from Macedonia was generously paid for by the Persians. Persian participation in the affairs of Hellas was traditionally expressed in the financing of the necessary political projects. All freedom-loving Greece, to the hero of his “anti-Macedonian party” Demosthenes inclusive, rang in his pockets with Persian silver.
Historians of antiquity and our days equally high put King Philip. Comparing father and son, the Roman author Pompey Trogh finds these words:
“Ways to win from both of them were different. Alexander waged the war openly. Philip used military tricks. He rejoiced if he managed to deceive the enemies. Alexander – if they could break them in open battle … Thanks to these traits of nature, the father laid the foundations of a world power, and the son finished the case. ”
The death of Philip seemed to reveal the fragility of the political structure he erected. But already in the first months of the reign, the young Macedonian king Alexander quickly and cruelly suppressed the resistance of the Greeks and the Macedonian-controlled Thracian and Illyrian tribes, which broke out with renewed force.
The shock for Greece was the news of the capture and destruction of the mighty Thebes in 335 BC. The population of the city was sold into slavery. Alexander made a remarkable exception for the descendants of the poet Pindar.
The rest – untouched – the lesson was enough for a time: for example, the men terrified by the fate of Thebes begged forgiveness for themselves. Such military actions of Alexander were only preparation for the great campaign that was planned against the Persian kingdom.
By this time, belongs to the famous scene with Diogenes, retold numerous times by many writers. After the vigorous military measures of the Macedonian king, who restored his influence in Greece and revived the plans of the war in Asia, many famous people hastened to pay their respects to him.
Being near to Corinth, Alexander of Macedon assumed that the philosopher Diogenes would do the same. But, not waiting for signs of attention, the king himself went to the philosopher. Diogenes lay and basked in the sun. After greeting, the king asked Diogenes if he had any request. “Step aside,” he replied, “do not block the sun.”
The beginning of the triumphal procession
Speaking about the reasons for Alexander’s campaign against the Persians, the historian Arrian quotes Alexander’s letter to the Persian king Darius: “Your ancestors invaded Macedonia and the rest of Hellas and did us a lot of evil, although they saw no offense from us. I, the leader of the Hellenes, entered Asia, wanting to punish the Persians. ” Strictly speaking, most of the Greek king of Macedonia did not ask for this.
In the spring of 334 BC. e. on the bridge, drawn from the compiled boards to the side of ships and rafts, Alexander, at the head of the forty-thousandth army, crossed the Hellespont (now the Dardanelles Strait) to Asia. First of all, he hurried to Troy, with which so much was connected for the Greek world. Here he brought a sacrifice to Athena, and also honored the tomb of Achilles.
Having mulled the body, he competed with friends in the run around the monument. As Arrian and Plutarch write, laying a wreath at the tomb of Achilles, Alexander proclaimed him happy, because of his glory, the poet Homer announced to future times.
The symbolism of this gesture is quite understandable. Alexander the Great gave his honor to his legendary ancestor, who clearly was also his model for imitation. But that meant something else.
The Macedonian king turned to the historical memory of the Greeks, using the Homeric epic of the Trojan War as an example of the unity of the forces of the Greek world for the war in Asia. The military forces of Greek cities, it seems, were not of great help to Alexander. He expected from the Greeks that at least they would not support the Persians.
In May 334 BC. e. On the river Granik Alexander met with the Persian army, who came to stop him. The victory of the Macedonians was complete. After Granica, the Macedonian king sent 300 sets of Persian military equipment to Athens and dedicated them to Athena Pallada. The inscription instructed him to do this: “Alexander, the son of Philip, and all the Greeks, except the Spartans, took from the barbarians living in Asia.”
In fact, at Granic and in the ensuing battles, the Greek mercenaries were the best part of the Persian infantry. The Athenian embassy in vain asked Tsar Alexander to release the Athenians taken prisoner at Graniki. Merced enemy Macedonian king expected to rot in the mines.
During the following year of military operations, the Macedonian army captured the western and southern coasts of Asia Minor (modern territory of Turkey) and fortified itself at important strategic points in the depths of the peninsula.
The next big battle, this time with the main and best forces of the Persians, led by the Persian king Darius himself, took place on the border of Cilicia and Syria near the city of Issa in November 333 BC. e. The Persian army, which was clustered in a close valley, was unable to use its numerical superiority.
The second battle is the second victory. King Darius fled to Mesopotamia, leaving his army, treasures, mother, wife and children. This defeat of the Persians had a huge political and moral resonance. Nevertheless, the martial law of the Macedonians was not brilliant either in Greece, where the Persian fleet and Persian money won the lost, not in Asia Minor, where a significant part of the Persians retreated after Issa.
Not caring about the Persians successfully operating in their rear, after the Battle of Issus, Alexander chose to turn his army south, wishing to subdue the rich trading cities of Phenicia. It was a horse’s move. The Phoenician fleet was the strongest in the entire Eastern Mediterranean, and it was the Phoenician ships that formed the basis of the irresistible force of the Persians at sea.
The military success in Phenicia was to deprive the Persians of the fleet. Most of its cities submitted to the Macedonians at their first request.
The largest and best fortified Phoenician city of Tire (now Sur) has given Tsar Alexander the most desperate and lasting resistance. The authorities of Tire also initially agreed to obey. But their condition was that Alexander the Great would not enter the city walls.
On the mountain of the inhabitants of the city the king took for Hercules the local deity of Melkart, whose sanctuary was located in the city center. He could not back out of what he considered his ancestor, and not take Tire by force. According to Arrian and Plutarch, during the siege Alexander saw in a dream how Hercules stretches out his hand from the walls and calls him to him.
However, on another occasion Alexander’s dream was, rather, an erotic property. He dreamed of a satyr who flirted with him from afar, but dodged and ran away when the king tried to grab him, and let himself be caught only after a long chase and persuasion.
The inhabitants of Tire suspected of not treachery of Melkart-Hercules: “At the same time, many residents of Tire dreamed,” Plutarch writes further, “that Apollo said that he would go to Alexander, since he does not like what is happening in the city”.
Then, like a man caught red-handed in an attempt to run over to the enemy, the Tyrians entangled the huge statue of the god with ropes and nailed it to the socle, calling Apollo “alexandrist”.
The island position made the city invulnerable. The Macedonian king had to fall asleep the sea, connecting the island with the mainland. Residents of the storm taken by Tire, as before the Thebes, were sold into slavery.