Alexander’s Invasion of Persia Part 3
They positioned themselves on the right side of the Greek rightwing. They were to hit the Greek cavalry from the rear if it dared to cross the river. Alexander the Great had a slightly different formation of his Greek army. Although his army was very small in number, he deployed infantry in the center. While the cavalry made up his right and left wings. He himself was leading the cavalry on the right side. In front of Alexander the Great’s position, the enemy archers were deployed.
The Iranian archers. While on his far right, the Iranian cavalry who had crossed the river were stationed. Now the battle began. Iranian cavalry crossed the river and attacked the Greek cavalry. While the Greek infantry crossed the river to attack the Iranian center. They swam through the river and launched a bitter attack on the Iranians. Both infantries clashed in the center. It was a chaotic battle.
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But Alexander the Great did not cross the river because there were archers standing on that side. It meant that the enemy did not want to cross the river from that side.It was a defensive position. So Alexander the Greek, unconcerned about this flank, turned his horse towards the Iranian cavalry. These horsemen were there to attack the Greeks from the rear. Alexander pushed these horsemen away from the rest of their forces.
Now these horsemen were unable to help their main force. Meanwhile, the Iranian archers remained in position across the river. Because the archers could not advance and attack. If the horsemen were here, the situation might have been different. The Iranian emperor had made a big mistake by deploying only archers here. Taking advantage of this mistake, Alexander the Great turned back.
He crossed the river with his cavalry and some foot soldiers. He fell upon the archers. The Iranians showered them with arrows. But the Greeks stopped them with their shields. Thus they reached the archers with few losses and wiped them out. The remaining archers ran and broke into the ranks of the foot soldiers standing behind them. Alexanders’ cavalry also reached those foot soldiers. And they broke through their lines too.
The Iranian archers and foot soldiers were defeated and started running around. With their defeat, the enemy’s left arm was broken. Now Alexander the Great could reach the emperor. Who was surrounded by his guards. Alexander advanced with lightning speed and attacked Shah’s guards. At one point he came very close to Darius III. Legend has it that the Iranian emperor stabbed his Greek rival with a dagger.
The dagger slightly injured his leg. Meanwhile, seeing the battle near them, the horses of the royal chariot spooked. Panicking, they were about to enter the enemy ranks. But some of the emperor’s guards hurriedly got the emperor into a new chariot. At that time, the Greek soldiers had come so close that the Iranian emperor feared for his life. Instead of continuing to fight, he fled the battlefield in his new chariot.
He was in such a hurry that he left his camp and the women of the harem behind. Alexander pursued him with some cavalry. The distance between the two was only half a mile. however, somehow the Iranian emperor managed to escape to Babylon. Alexander gave up the pursuit and returned. He was now in possession of the royal chariot, the royal insignia and a bow. As the news of Darius’s escape spread, the rest of the Iranian cavalry and infantry fled too.
They were not interested in the battle any more. The victorious Greek army captured the Iranian camp and looted all its possessions. Darius III’s royal tent, mother, wife and two daughters were also captives of the Greeks. Alexander the Great entered the royal tent. He saw gold and silver vessels and other wealth. He said, “It seems that this is what it means to be a king.” This meant that the one who has so much wealth was the king.
Alexander the Great allowed his soldiers to plunder. However, he treated the women of Emperor Darius’s harem well. These women were crying in the camp believing that the Iranian emperor had been killed. But Alexander the Great assured them that the Emperor was alive. He told them that they would be treated well. It is said that the wife and daughters of the Iranian emperor were very beautiful. But Alexander the Great kept them away from him.
He even forbade his courtiers not to mention the beauty of these women in his presence. The tents of these women were also installed away from common soldiers. Even the soldiers couldn’t hear their voices. Probably, Alexander didn’t want to fall for the beauty of a woman. He hated any distraction from his military goals. He himself used to say that sleep and sexual pleasure reminded him of a bitter truth. That he was a mortal. Perhaps he hated being a mortal.
That’s why he kept Iranian women away from him. Because he wanted to become immortal. He married Darius’ daughter Stateira after a few years though. My Curious Fellows After the victory at Issus,Alexander the Great re-entered Syria. Many coastal cities of Syria and present-day Lebanon immediately surrendered after hearing of the emperor’s defeat. Even the island of Cyprus surrendered. But the Lebanese city of Tyre (Soor) refused to surrender.