In part 1 I mentioned Alexander’s father, Philip. Philip, circa 336 BC, was stabbed by one of his not so loyal bodyguards at a wedding feast. Although some scholars believe that Alexander was involved in the murdering of his father, he wasted no time removing any possible rivals. Alexander even ordered his mother, Olympias, to execute Philip’s last wife’s baby son. For two years Alexander spent most of his time fighting rebellions in the lands his father had conquered. Thebes revolted on the false rumor that Alexander himself was dead. Alexander mercilessly slaughtered or sold into slavery 30,000 inhabitants before razing the city to the ground. After the example of Thebes there were little to no significant uprisings in Greece during Alexander’s 12-year Asia campaign.
Alexander’s father had developed a formation know as the phalanx. This tight formation, usually a 16 by 16 group of soldiers using shields and sarissas, which were 13 to 20 foot long spears made of cornel wood. The front row held their spears toward the front and the back-rows held theirs upright. This formation proved unbeatable. Thanks to his father, Alexander’s army was a very well stocked one. Containing light auxiliaries, archers, a siege train, and a cavalry and, due to a high salary Alexander’s army could afforded to be full time soldiers. Hence they were better trained and more prepared than their adversaries.
- Why is Alexander the Great so Great? (part 1.)
- Great song on Ecosystems