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The brilliant victory of Alexander the Great in Gaugamela: How he smashed the army of Darius

The victory of Alexander the Great took place in the battle of Gaugamela, in 331 BC, led the Persian Empire to end and opened the way to conquer the East until India.  This victory secured the domination and the preservation of the Greek culture the following centuries.

Alexander the Great was the architect of that victory, he developed the strategy of the battle. Usually, during that years, the winner was expected to be the one with the biggest and best-armed Army. On the contrary, Alexander managed to take the victory due to his tactical manoeuvres. Indeed, since he dominated the craftsmanship of the war, he encircled the enemy by coordinating pedestrian and chine attacks. In 334 BC, the Greek army defeated the Persians in the river  ‘Graniko’ and then marched to ‘Issus’, where he achieved a new victory.

In 331 BC, Alexander had in his possession an army of 40,000 pedestrians and 7,000 horsemen and he decided to conquer Persia. He crossed, without resistance, the rivers known as ‘Tigris’ and ‘Euphrates’.  Meanwhile, King Darius III of Persia in order to confront Alexander’s army brought together soldiers from around his Kingdom.  Eventually, by the end of September king, Darius succeeded to create an army of 200.00 pedestrians and horsemen.

Additionally, the army supported by 200 chariots and 15 elephants, to intimidate the Greek army who was not accustomed to these imposing animals. Darius launched his army in a large open area, approximately one hundred kilometres west to ‘Arvilon’. Alexander, eventually, arrived in Gaugamela and took position across the lines of the Persians. According to some sources, the Greek army rested up for few days, while other sources indicated that they were expecting only a few hours before the attack.

The Great Battle

On the 1st of October, Alexander began the attack, because of the position he took he had no other choice but to hit the Persian Centre. To avoid a possible enclosing, he placed the infantry in the centre, the cavalry on the wings and put strong backups behind. Darius, then, responded by assaulting the centre of Greek. The chariots and the elephants due to their altitude located in front of the Greek infantry. The Persian Cavalry crossed the Hellenic front but instead of turn and attack to the unprotected parts of the Hellenic Army, he continued the attack towards the Greek back – line in order to loot supplies and kill the attendants of the camp.

At the same time, Alexander ignored the Persian movement and attacked personally in the void the Persian horsemen left, while he turned back against the defenceless Persian wings. The tactic was superior and a large number of Persian got beat by the Greeks. Indeed, the Persians survived until the moment they saw Alexander cleave their centre and approached Darius. In particular, the personal guard of Darius left him exposed, because he decided to abandon the battlefield.

Darius escaped, but a very large part of his soldiers had been killed. The estimations on the Persian losses vary between 40,000 and 100,000 men. On the contrary, the Greek losses are not surpassed the 500 soldiers. Alexander and his army, soon occupied large Persian cities, while Darius was murdered by a member of his court. Alexander did not stop his attacks against the Persian Empire, instead, he continued to the Caspian Sea and captured all the areas up to North India. Alexander used his victory as a focal point to unite East with West and spread Greek culture across the world.

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The brilliant victory of Alexander the Great in Gaugamela: How he smashed the army of Darius


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