ALEXANDER THE GREAT
In 334 B.C., with an army of 35,000 men, Alexander the Great crossed into Asia Minor. In addition to soldiers, the former student of Aristotle brought along scientists to study plant and animal life and to chart the terrain. After capturing the coast of Asia Minor, Alexander the Great marched into Syria and defeated the Persian army at the battle of Issus. Rather than pursuing the fleeing Persian king, Darius III, Alexander the Great stayed with his master plan, which included the capture of coastal ports in order to crush the Persian navy. He captured Tyre, thought to be an impregnable city, and advanced into Egypt. Grateful to Alexander the Great for having liberated them from Persian rule, the Egyptians made him pharaoh.
Alexander appointed officials to administer the country and founded a new city, Alexandria. Having destroyed or captured the Persian fleet, Alexander moved into Mesopotamia in pursuit of Darius in 331 B.C. The Macedonians defeated the numerically superior Persians at Gaugamela, just east of the Tigris River, but Darius escaped. After stopovers at Babylon and at Persepolis, which he burned in revenge for Xerxes’ destruction of Athens more than 150 years earlier, Alexander resumed the chase.
When he finally caught up with Darius, the Persian king was already dead, killed by Persian conspirators. Alexander relentlessly pushed deeper into Asia, crossing from Afghanistan into north India, where he defeated the king of Pontus in a costly battle. When Alexander announced plans to push deeper into India, his troops, exhausted and far from home in a strange land, resisted.
Yielding to their wishes, Alexander returned to Babylon in 324 B.C. In these campaigns, Alexander proved himself to be a superb strategist and leader of men. Winning every battle, Alexander’s army had carved an empire that stretched from Greece to India. Future conquerors, including Caesar and Napoleon, would read of Alexander’s career with fascination and longing.
C. Mark the statements as True (T) or False (F).
1. Alexander brought Aristotle to Asia Minor.
2. Alexander’s master plan was to destroy the Persian army first.
3. The Persians had invaded Egypt before Alexander did.
4. Alexandria’s name was changed by Alexander.
5. The Persian army had more soldiers than Alexander’s army.
6. Alexander didn’t forgive even the oldest enemies of his country.
7. The Macedonians finally captured Darius and killed him.
8. The whole of India was invaded by Alexander’s army.
9. It took only ten years for Alexander to expand his empire from Greece to India.
10. Caesar and Napoleon admired Alexander’s achievements.