Battle of Gaugamela

(331 b.c.)
   A huge battle fought between the forces of the twenty-five-year-old Macedonian king Alexander III, later called "the Great," and Persia's King Darius III. Alexander had already defeated Darius at Issus in northern Syria in 333 b.c. After capturing Palestine and Egypt, Alexander marched his army, consisting of some seven thousand cavalry and forty thousand infantry, northeastward into the Mesopotamian plains. Darius was waiting near the village of Gaugamela, about 70 miles (113 km) from Arbil (or Arbela). The size of his army is uncertain, but it was likely at least three or four times larger than Alexander's. The Greeks arrived to find that the Persians had cleared the plain of obstacles to make it easier for chariots and horsemen to maneuver. The Persians were already formed into lines; they remained in them throughout the night for fear the Greeks might attack under the cover of darkness. Alexander wisely refrained from such a risky maneuver and got a good night's sleep.
   The next day, perhaps October 1, Alexander opened the battle by leading the cavalry on his right wing sideways to the right, as if trying to outflank the enemy. Darius and his generals responded by sending troops from their center to deal with the battle forming on their far left (corresponding to Alexander's right). Just as Alexander had anticipated, this eventually caused a large gap to form in the Persian center. And into that opening charged the main force of the Macedonian cavalry, led by Alexander himself. According to his principal ancient biographer, Ar-rian, the young king drove in his wedge [i.e., a wedge-shaped formation] and raising the battle cry pressed forward at the double straight for the point where Darius stood. A close struggle ensued. . . . Alexander himself . . . vigorously pressed the assault, fighting hand to hand. . . . Darius, who now saw nothing but terrors all around him, was the first to turn tail and ride for safety. (Anabasis Alexandri 3.14)
   Many of Darius's troops followed him in flight. Meanwhile, other Persian units made it through the Greek lines and attacked the Greek baggage train. These soldiers were driven back by a reserve unit of Macedonian infantry, and soon the entire Persian army was in full retreat. Alexander chased Darius to Arbil but there found only the king's abandoned chariot and bow. To call Alexander's victory decisive would be an understatement. He lost only a few hundred men, whereas Persian losses numbered forty thousand or more. In a single stroke, Alexander and his men had brought the mighty Persian Empire to its knees and ensured that it could never recover.
   See also: Alexander III ("the Great"); Darius III; Greeks

Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary. . 2015.

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  • Battle of Gaugamela — Infobox Military Conflict caption= The charge of the Persian scythed chariots at the Battle of Gaugamela by Andre Castaigne (1898 1899) conflict=Battle of Gaugamela partof=the Wars of Alexander the Great date=October 1, 331 BC place=Probably Tel… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Issus (disambiguation) — Battle of Issus may refer to: *Battle of Issus (or The Battle at Issus ) (333 BC), a battle in which Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated Darius III of Persia. *Battle of Issus (194), the third major battle fought between Roman Emperor… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Issus — Infobox Military Conflict caption=Alexander battling Darius at the Battle of Issus conflict=Battle of Issus partof=the Wars of Alexander the Great date=November 5, 333 BC place=Issus, Turkey territory=Alexander controls southern Asia Minor.… …   Wikipedia

  • battle — battle1 battler, n. /bat l/, n., v., battled, battling. n. 1. a hostile encounter or engagement between opposing military forces: the battle of Waterloo. 2. participation in such hostile encounters or engagements: wounds received in battle. 3. a… …   Universalium

  • Battle of the Persian Gate — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of the Persian Gate partof=the Wars of Alexander the Great date=January 20, 330 BC place=Persian Gate, near Persepolis result=Macedonian victory. territory=Alexander maintains control of half of Persia.… …   Wikipedia

  • Gaugamela, Battle of — (331 BC) Clash between the forces of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia that brought the fall of the Persian empire. Attempting to stop Alexander s incursions, Darius prepared a battleground on the Plain of Gaugamela in present day Iraq …   Universalium

  • Battle of the Hydaspes — Infobox Military Conflict caption=A painting by Andre Castaigne depicting the phalanx attacking the centre during the Battle of the Hydaspes conflict=Battle of the Hydaspes|partof=the Wars of Alexander the Great date=326 BC place=Near the… …   Wikipedia

  • battle — Synonyms and related words: Actium, Adrianople, Aegates Isles, Aegospotami, Agincourt, Antietam, Anzio, Arbela Gaugamela, Ardennes, Austerlitz, Ayacucho, Balaclava, Bannockburn, Bataan Corregidor, Bismarck Sea, Blenheim, Bosworth Field, Bouvines …   Moby Thesaurus

  • Gaugamela — /gaw geuh mee leuh/, n. an ancient village in Assyria, E of Nineveh: Alexander the Great defeated Darius III here in 331 B.C. The battle is often mistakenly called battle of Arbela. * * * …   Universalium

  • Gaugamela — /gaw geuh mee leuh/, n. an ancient village in Assyria, E of Nineveh: Alexander the Great defeated Darius III here in 331 B.C. The battle is often mistakenly called battle of Arbela …   Useful english dictionary

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