You are Alexander the Great, the new king of the Macedonian Empire. After your father's recent assassination, you are thrust into the role of ruler of a kingdom loyal to your father. During his lifetime, you had a rough relationship with him, and the people know that. Before his untimely death, your father’s goal was to conquer the Persian Empire, led by King Darius III, and to reap its many riches for Macedonia. Many prominent leaders and people in the empire think you to be nothing more than a young upstart who will never fill the shoes of his father. Even though you have already proven your ability in battle during your father's lifetime, the people still doubt you. Their skepticism only fuels your wish to show the people you are just as powerful, if not more so, than your father. Thus, you are faced with a difficult choice. Do you stay in the empire and demonstrate your abilities right in front of your subject’s eyes, or do you venture into the Persian Empire to complete the one thing your father never did?
[[Stay in Macedonia to establish your power->Stay in Macedonia]]
[[Enter the Persian Empire->The Persian Conquest Begins]]You stay in Macedonia to strengthen your control and power in the empire. From a young age, you were taught to be an unstoppable and powerful soldier. You were trained in endurance, battle, and horseback riding. One of your father's greatest achievements during his reign was his restructuring of the Macedonian army. He eliminated the crude hoplite army and grew it into a three part army; foot soldiers who formed a phalanx, the companion cavalary, and the shield-bearers (hypaspists). He established a standing army rather than a randomly assembled militia composed of untrained civilians and prepared them for battle. He eliminated unnecessary costs, and made soldiers carry their own rations, forcing them to only take the bare necessities on their long treks across land. With all of these additions, your father revolutionized the Macedonian army and turned it into a force to be reckoned with. As you try to think of how you can build on his legacy to prove to the people that you are just as capable as he, you realize that in order to prove your worth, you must prove to the people that you can fight. You must prove that you can utilise his army to do great things for the empire. However, you are still nervous about the people's support, and you worry that leaving the country so soon after the beginning of your reign may shake your power.
[[Leave Macedonia to prove your worth through battle->The Persian Conquest Begins]]
[[Remain in Macedonia->The Empire revolts]]The year is 334 B.C.
Your goal: Conquer Persia and the known world.
After crossing into the Persian Empire, you almost immediately face a small Persian force at the River Granicus and defeat them with ease. With Asia Minor opened up, you lead your army down the Mediterranean Coast, defeating the King of the Persian Empire, King Darius III, at the Battle of Issus. When the battle begins to turn in your favor, the Persian king runs away, leaving behind his wife and daughter. This defeat left King Darius embarrassed and determined to not lose to you again. Desperate, he offers you all of the land west of the Euphrates River and his daughter's hand in marriage in exchange for peace. Your generals advise you to accept this generous offer. They see it as an easy win for Macedonia. However, your life goal is to conquer to known world. On the other hand, you cannot deny that the offer has its benefits...You would still amass an abundance of land for your empire and you might gain some support from the people.
[[Decline the offer. You can defeat him in battle, easily->Battle of Gaugamela]]
[[Accept the offer.->Return to Macedonia]]After declining Darius' absurd offer of peace, you continue down the Mediterranean coast and conquer Egypt. The Persian governor surrenders the city in 332 B.C. and you are named Pharoah. During your time in Egypt, you found the city of Alexandria. You are filled with a sense of achievement, knowing that you are extremely close to completing your goal. Aware that a final battle is near, you leave Egypt with your troops in 331 B.C. and find Darius waiting for you in Mesopotamia with an enormous army, consisting of 33,000 cavalrymen and 90,000 foot soldiers, as well as 15 war elephants. You desperately want to complete your conquest and become King of Asia, but with your 7,000 cavalry and 40,000 foot soldiers, you are greatly outnumbered. Your generals once again urge for caution. They beg you to either retreat or wait to attack under the cover of night. But you value fair warfare, and you do not want to cheat to gain the most important victory of your life.
[[Retreat to Egypt and build your army->Return to Egypt]]
[[Wait to stage a night attack on the Persian troops->Night Attack]]
[[Await morning and fight a fair battle against Persia->Begin the Battle]]You claim the new portion of the Persian Empire and take your new bride back to Macedonia with you. While some of the Macedonian people are pleased, others are upset with your "cowardly" choice to back down and accept peace. They believe that you should have never given up, and either tried to beat him or died trying. There are small rebellions, but you put them down easily with you army. However, you have amassed an abundance of land and wealth for your people and greatly strengthened Macedonia, easing the tension. For many years, your dreams of conquering the known world through warfare haunt you. You continue to conquer other countries, but you know that you will never be the "King of Asia". Your people eventually give you their support, as you prove your military prowess both in defending Macedonia and conquering new lands. You wish that you would have stayed and fought King Darius, as now you will never be able to take Persia without acting dishonorably.
[[Next->Bibliography]]You race back to Egypt and immediately begin to assemble a bigger army. Just as your father did, you hire foreign mercenaries to boost your army's numbers and strength. You train your troops for new, more complicated maneuvers in an attempt to take the edge off of Persia's advantage. Two months later, you recieve word that Darius and the Persian army are edging closer to Egypt, and that Darius is ready to face you in battle. However, you have considered another possibility. Rather than face Darius in battle now, you could continue down the Mediterranean coast and conquer larger Persian cities that your army has not yet reached. The only disadvantage would be giving Darius more time to prepare and taking you army on long treks into large battles rather than fighting Darius now while they are prepared.
[[Go to meet Darius for the final battle->The Final Battle]]
[[Conquer down the Mediterranean Coast->A missed opportunity]]You decide to follow your general's advice and assemble your troops for a night attack. You still feel it is dishonorable, but you understand how great your disadvantage is against the Persians. Desperate to win and prove your worth, you put your reservations aside. Creeping through the night, you are aware that the Persians are waiting up and expecting you to attack. Seized by a last minute hesitiation, you wonder if it is better for you to turn around now and wait until morning for the battle. You need every advantage you can take, and fighting in the dark with limited visibility is like adding another disadvantage. You are only a mile from the Persian camp, so you must make your decision now. If you choose to pursue the night attack, you will divide your troops into three parts and attack from three different points in the camp. Your Companion cavalry will stay with you and target the King, your infantry will target the left side, and your shield-bearers and mercenaries will target the right side of the camp. You are renowned for your cunning plans and maneuvers, and you feel like this plan is weak in comparison. This decision could be life or death, victory or defeat. There is no time to deliberate. You must choose now.
[[Stick with the night attack->DEFEAT]]
[[Turn back->Safety]]Ignoring your advisors pleas for a different route, you stay true to your beliefs and plan to fight the battle with honor in the morning.
Aware that your troops are daunted by the size of the Persian army, you speak to them about how the lunar eclipse occuring that night is a sign of victory for Macedonia. You allow your army to eat well and to get a good night's sleep to prepare for the battle the next day. In the Persian camp, Darius demanded that the Persian troops stay up all night awaiting a night attack from you that never came, and are exhausted. Although you instilled some sense of surety in your troops, you know that the only chance you have of winning the battle is through a well-crafted and courageous plan.
You have two options in mind:
1. In order to combat the massive number of the Persian troops, you could spread all of your troops out on either side of you as far as they could go in an attempt to combat their clear advantage. As you know the Persian troops have commonly fallen first on the left side, you place your strongest fighters there. You plan to be in the center surrounded by your Companion cavalry.
2. You could angle your troops back at 45 degree angles from the center, in hopes that the the Persians will be forced to advance to the flanks with their cavalry and form a gap in an exposed center of the battlefield. If that gap forms, you and your elite Companion Cavalry would strike straight at the King of Persia himself. However, this entire idea hinges on the chance that Darius takes the bait and sends him cavalry to advance on your angled flanks.
[[Plan 2->In the midst of the battle...]]
Your plan fails. When you approach the battle with your troops in the planned formation, you immediately know you are in trouble. You underestimated the Persian's advantage in terms of numbers, and the Persian lines overlapped yours by a mile on each flank. Their army advances and begins to overwhelm your troops. You and your Companion cavalry try everything to weaken their advance, but the soldiers just keep coming. Although you and your army fight valiantly, the Persians numbers and your caution work against you. In the end, your army is defeated. Darius kills you on the battlefield in front of your troops to establish that he is now their leader, and he takes Macedonia for himself. The people of Macedonia talk among themselves of how you were nothing compared to your father, and you die just before reaching your goal of conquering Persia.
[[Next->Bibliography]]You choose the second, more risky of the two plans and...it works! With your troops angled back at both sides, Darius falls for your trick and sends his troops forward. The gap forms just as you predicted and you are able to charge straight at Darius and his personal bodyguard. With this attack and the help of your skilled Companion Cavalry, you reset the balance of the battle, and suprise Darius. You bet on your plan's ability to trick the Persian king, and it payed off. You only forgot one thing...at the Battle of Issus, Darius ran away when it was clear he would lose. Upon you sudden suprise attack, Darius once again abandons his troops and flees the battlefield. You want to chase the coward and face him once and for all, but you glance to the left flank and see your trusted general Parmenion struggling and losing ground.
[[Chase Darius->The Battle Crumbles]]
[[Stay at the battle and go to help Parmenion->Suprise Attack]]You turn your horse and rush off the battlefield after Darius. However, he is skilled at running away, and he starts to edge further and further ahead of you. While you are driven by a passion to show him that you have won, you know that the Persian army is still strong without him and your troops and generals need help on the battlefield. You turn your horse around and return to the battlefield, but by the time you arrive the battle has dissolved into chaos. When both kings deserted the battlefield, many soldiers from both sides simply left, while others kept fighting. When the battle finally fizzles out, there is no determinate winner. You and your troops retreat to your camp, and tend to the wounded. Your army is upset that you left, and angry that this important battle ended without a winner. You worry there will never be a chance to face Darius in battle again to win the Persian Empire from him. Weeks later, you recieve word that Darius has been killed by his own soldiers. You know you have to do something to ensure that Persia knows you are in charge. However, your army is angry and tired.
[[Conquer important Persian Cities to establish your power->You are the King of Asia]]
[[Return home in defeat->Death]]You turn away from the runaway king and rush to Parmenion's aid. On the way there, you run into a Persian and Indian cavalry force that has just finished looting your camp. A battle ensues, and 60 of your elite force fall. Eventually, you make it over to Parmenion, but by then the Persian forces have been crippled by their king's desertion. The abandoned Persian troops leave the battlefield to follow Darius. You have won the battle, but you want to face Darius yourself and ensure that he knows you have won. You worry that with the uncertain end of this battle, the people of Persia will not accept you as king. However, you also need to tend to your fallen troops and speak to your men.
[[Stay with your troops->King of Asia]]
[[Pursue Darius->Mountain Paths]]
You let the former King of Persia run without pursuing him. Instead, you focus on tending to your wounded troops. Even though you won the battle, the Persian army left behind many casualties. Once you army is ready, you set out to conquer the important cities of the Persian Empire, including Babylon, Susa, and Persepolis. After taking these cities under your control, you thought that your place of King of Asia would be established. However, there is another Persian who says he has a claim to the throne. Furious, you refuse to let the claim stand. You chase him and his troops, until eventually he is captured and handed over to one of your generals. In captivity, your general tortures him and then kills him, securing your rightful place as King of Asia. Later, you hear that Darius' own troops killed him for his desertion. You are overjoyed that you have completed what you set out to do, and start the journey home to Macedonia, conquering other places along the way. However, on the way there, you fall ill and die. However, your legacy lives on. You are remembered as a cunning military leader who conquered most of the known world and amassed great riches and power for the Macedonian Empire.
Congratulations!You take off from the battlefield, chasing Darius all night, 70 miles to the town of Arbela. As the afternoon turns into night, the paths become darker and harder to follow. Eventually, the elusive king turns onto the more difficult mountain paths. You know that you will almost assuredly lose him if you continue pursuit, but you want to make clear that he is no longer the King of Persia. On the other hand, you know that in order to establish your power over your new empire, you must begin with the important cities. In the end, you decide to stop chasing him, and you return to help your army recover from the brutal Persian forces. Although you won, you still suffered many casualties. Once you army has recovered, you set out to establish your power over the rest of the Persian Empire.
[[Turn back and conquer important cities->The King of Asia]]After turning away from the impossible chase, you reconvene with your troops. Although you won the battle, your side suffered many casualties, and there are many wounded who need to be tended to. Once the army recuperates, you leave to conquer the cities of Babylon, Susa, and Persepolis. Once these cities are conquered, your rule is established.In light of the Battle of Gaugamela, you declare yourself the sole King of Asia. However, there is a challenger for the throne. You refuse to let it stand. Pursuing the man and his troops, you eventually capture him. Your generals torture and then kill him. Later, you hear that Darius' own troops have killed him for his cowardice. After this, you make you way home to Macedonia, conquering other places along the way to add to your power. During your reign, you conquered the land from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River. However, on the long trek home, you fall ill and die. Although you never make it home, the world remembers you as a cunning and powerful military genius who conquered most of the known world. You have conquered the Persian empire, something your father never attained, and proved that you could achieve more than him!
Your caution has backfired. The people are furious, thinking that you are too afraid to enter the battlefield and fight. They think that all you do is either defend the border or sit in your palace. You try to think of ways to show your ability, but all they see is laziness. They revert back to the idea that you are just a pale replacement for your father, and small rebellions occur throughout the empire. You worry that your advisors are not loyal to you, and you address the people, telling them that you are in fact a demigod, son of Zeus. Your mother has told you this since birth, and your resentment of your father boils over in front of the people. As most of the citizens were loyal to Philip, you offend many and spark a full scale civil war. The country splits and enters a civil war. You fight back with the full force of your army, but many of the soldiers desert you after your defamation of Philip. One night, while you are planning in your castle, you are killed by a rebel who posed as one of your soldiers.
[[Next->Bibliography]]You face Darius at a different battlefield near Egypt. You find that although he still has an advantage in numbers, some of his war elephants have died and many of his Indian Mercenaries have deserted him. You have been secretive about your actions in Egypt, and so Darius has no idea that your army has grown in both size and ability. He is cocky, and worries little about the outcome of the battle. You, however, do not let your guard down for a moment. After consulting with your generals, you decide that you will place the infantry on the left flank and the sheild-bearers on the right. You and your elite Companion Cavalry will be in the center, ready to charge directly at Darius and his bodyguard. At the last moment, inspiration strikes and you come up with an alternative plan. Rather than align your army straight across the feild, you consider angling the flanks back at an angle from the front of the battle in an attempt to form a gap in the center. However, this is risky, because the plan's success hinges on Darius falling for the trick and sending his troops forward to your flanks. While your generals are not as nervous as they were before, they still do not want to take many risks. They advise you to stick with the plan you originally developed.
[[Stick with the original plan->Defeat]]
[[Take a risk with the new plan->In the midst of the battle...]]Although you successfully conquer several important Persian cities down the Mediterranean coast, it is another year before you face King Darius in battle again. During that year, your soldiers became tired and you used up many supplies. Also, you know that the Macedonians are angry with you for spending so much time away and wasting so many resources. When you face Darius in battle, you craft a daring plan to use Darius's advantage in numbers against him, and it succeeds. You defeat the Persian force, and name yourself King of Asia. Once the battle is over, you begin the journey back home. You plan to conquer other nations along the way. However, the trek is a long one, and you fall ill on the way home. Due to lack of food and supplies after your elongated conquest, you die after a month, just after achieving your life goal of conquering the known world. During your lifetime, you amassed a great deal of land for the Macedonian Empire, from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River. You are comforted knowing that you leave so much land and wealth to your people.You brush away your concerns and edge closer to the Persian camp. You divide your troops and ready for battle. Once everyone is in place, you give the signal and charge the camp. But the Persians are ready for you, and in the dark their numbers are a great advantage to them. You and your Companion cavalary rush to Darius' tent, only to find he has already deserted the battlefield. You rush back to aid your soldiers, but the Persians are clearly winning. They fight viciously, and even though your soldiers and generals fight equally hard, the Persian numbers soon overwhelm you. You try desperately to turn the tide, plunging into battle. However, you are one man against many, and you are stabbed when your back is turned. You touch the spot where the weapon entered, and your hand comes back wet and crimson with blood. You fall off your house and hit the ground. Your last thought is regret. You could not prove that you were superior to your father within your lifetime. Your death shakes your troops, and soon the Persians end the battle. During the army, many of your generals and soldiers were killed, and the Macedonian empire is greatly weakened. Eventually, Darius makes his way to Macedonia and claims it for his empire. You are remembered as the king who undid the greatness that his father established.
[[Next->Bibliography]]You communicate quickly with your generals, and turn your troops around. As you make the trek back to camp, you catch a glimpse of the Persian camp from a hill. You see how all the soldiers are awake and waiting for your attack, an attack that will never come. You are confident that you made the right choice. When you reach the camp, you tell your troops to eat well and get a good night's sleep. That is something the Persian troops will not have, and you must seize every possible advantage.
[[Continue->Begin the Battle]]You return home with your army, and head straight to Macedonia. On your way there, you hear news of uncertainty in Persia as to who is the king. You decide that once you are home for a while, you will return to Persia and answer that question. Your troops are tired, having been away from their country and their families for almost three years. On the journey home, you fall ill. The army stops to allow you to heal, but you eventually die from the sickness. You are never able to return to Macedonia to show the people what you had accomplished for them, and you are never able to return to Persia to establish control. However, you are still remembered as a brilliant military genius. You die with regret, knowing the fragility of your accomplishments.
[[Next->Bibliography]]You continue with your troops to the cities of Susa, Babylon, and Persepolis, and establish your power and control. You hope that by doing so, the rest of the Persian Empire gets your message. You recieve knew of a challenger to the throne, a man named Bessus who claims you did not win a battle. You send your troops after him, and when he is captured, your generals torture and kill him. After all of your work, you refuse to let anything or anyone stand in your way. You continue to conquer other countries, and eventually begin to head home to Macedonia. However, on the long trek home, you fall ill and die. During your reign, you conquered the land from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River. Although you never make it home, the world remembers you as a cunning and powerful military genius who conquered most of the known world. You died having conquered the Persian empire, something your father never attained, and proved that you could achieve more than him!
[[Next->Bibliography]]Filled with bravery and passion, you turn your trusty steed toward the treacherous mountain paths. Darius starts to get further and further ahead of you, and you can feel your horse beginning to tire. Regardless, you push on and attempt to keep the cowardly king in your eyesight. As night sets in, the temperature begins to fall, and when the snow begins visibility goes from little to none. However, you can still see prints in front of you, and you follow those. Ice begins to form, and your horse starts slipping with every step. This does not stop you. You push on, but when your steed's hoof catches on an icy branch, you tumble down and hit your head on a rock. You are dead instantly, and everything you accomplished as King is retaken by Darius. Your troops never find your body, and the people of Macedonia never know what happened to their king.
A&E Television Networks. "Alexander the Great." History Channel. Accessed January 28, 2018. http://www.history.com/topics/ancient- history/alexander-the-great.
Mark, Joshua J. "Alexander the Great." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified November 14, 2003. Accessed January 28, 2018. https://www.ancient.eu/Alexander_the_Great/.
McCall, Jeremiah. Swords and Cinema: Hollywood vs the Reality of Ancient Warfare. Barnsley, UK.: Pen and Sword Books, 2014.
Sacks, David, Oswyn Murray, and Margaret Bunson. "Battle of Guagamela." In Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World. 3rd ed. New York: Facts on File, 2015. Accessed February 2, 2018. http://online.infobase.com/HRC/Search/Details/369759? q=Battle%20of%20Arbela.
Sacks, David. "Alexander the Great." In Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World, by Oswyn Murray and Margaret Benson. 3rd ed. New York: Facts on File, 2015. Accessed January 26, 2018. http://online.infobase.com/HRC/Search/Details/224479?q=alexander%20the%20great.
———. "Battle of Gaugamela." In Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World, by Margaret Benson and Oswyn Murray. 3rd ed. New York: Facts on File, 2015. http://online.infobase.com/HRC/Search/Details/369759?q=Battle%20of%20Arbela.
Wasson, Donald L. "Battle of Gaugamela." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified February 27, 2012. Accessed February 4, 2018. https://www.ancient.eu/Battle_of_Gaugamela/.
<strong>Alexander the Great: <em>The Persian Conquest</em></strong>
Are you ready to begin your journey? Or would you like to see the proof behind this exciting story?
[[Begin the story->Introduction]]
[[See the Evidence->Bibliography]]