After the winter, Alexander sets out again to the south and in 331 before JC
he his faced with Persian army, commanded by Darius himself, the king of the
Persians, at the site of Isos, the current Syria.
Persian contingents are amazing : 300 000 men according to Quint-Curse, and
other ones pretend they may be 600 000. But Persians can not deploy so efficiently
in the narrow plain of Cilicie and Macedonian soldiers get upper hands really
fast. Darius had to beat the retreat and gave up royal insignas such as his
coat, his bow and his tank, his mother Sisygambis, his wife Stateira and three
of his children.
This scene is illustrated by a famous mosaic located at Pompeii, in the Faun’s
home where Darius, on the right, is fleeing.
The way to Phoenicia is clear for Alexander. Sidon opens his gates without
fighting but, on the contrary, Tyre refuses to rally to the Macedonian.
A long siege of seven months begins in front of the island city at the
beginning of the year 332 before 332 before JC and heavy losses would
be necessary to make it possible for Alexander’s troops to go through
the rampart of the Phoenician city.
The arrival in Egypt
After his victory against Gaza, Alexander arrives in Egypt at the autumn
332 . At this place, he is put up none resistance and takes up straight
away at the capitale, Memphis, which is glad to get rid of the Persian
tyrant. Later, he fouds in the Nile delta the town Alexandria which will
become the capitale of the country. He then goes on a pilgrimage to the
Sivab’ oasis, straight into the desert to consult Amon’s oracle
who promises him « the Empire of the World ».
the way to Babylon
On the spring 331, Alexander’s troops set off to Babylon. Darius took
refuge there and raised a huge army of a million of soldiers according to some
authors, what may be exaggerated. This army was setting in a big plain, near
the village Gaugamèles and it hopes he could make best use of their famous
cavaliers coming from Scythian and Bactrian. On the first October, the confrontation
occured : Alexander’s army crossed the Tigris and got upper an achemide
Once again, Darius fled and gave up a fabulous treasure of 100 tonnes of silver
and let Babylon completely open for Alexander. This last one enters in triumph
in the Persian city. For the first time and contrary to the other towns, a Greek
citizen does not seize power : Mazée, a former satrap of Darius, is given
the responsibility . At the end of December, Suse surrenders in the same conditions
and it is up to a Persian to become satrap of the city. Once again, the treasure
is prodigious : between 40 and 50 000 talents that is to say between 100 and
1250 tonnes of gold.