Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Fall of Olynthus - Macedonia forged by Philip II - 8

The Fall of Olynthus (348 BC)
After his march through Thrace in 351 BC, Philip had given the Olynthians a serious warning, avoiding a direct attack, maybe because they had granted asylum to his half-brothers, Menelaus and Arrhidaeus, and to Machatas, the exiled brother of Phila, Philip’s first wife. But now it seems that even ten years after being crowned king of Macedonia, Philip still felt the need to eliminate possible pretenders to the throne when Olynthus, at the head of a league of about 32 cities, refused bluntly to surrender the possible pretenders to the throne and a full-scale Macedonian invasion was launched in the summer of 349 BC.

Marching in from the north, Philip’s strategy was to isolate Olynthus and to that purpose he attacked the cities around it, picking one after another. He besieged and razed Stagira  to the ground as a main warning. Other towns like Stratonicia, Acanthus, Apollonia and Arethusa got the message and surrendered immediately but not Olynthus, which called in Athens’ help. It took Athens a while to make up its mind and when it did, Philip had taken his army away on a short campaign to settle matters with rebellious Pherae in Thessaly. But he returned to Chalcidice a few months later and a new Athenian force was sent to Olynthus’ rescue; it failed. Philip took Apollonia, then Torone and shortly thereafter Mecyberna, the port of Olynthus. Now that reinforcements couldn’t reach Olynthus from the sea anymore, Philip was in a position to sack the city. A last support attempt was made by Athens, sending a huge fleet that was seriously hampered by the Etesian Winds (which blow between May and September) and arrived too late. Olynthus had been taken and leveled entirely, not without putting up a serious fight as proven by the bolt-heads from catapults that were found carrying Philip’s name. His two half-brothers were executed and the Athenians present in the city were taken to Pella as prisoners to be negotiated over later on. After Olynthus fell, Philip went to Dion to celebrate the festival in honor of Zeus Olympus with lavish sacrifices, extensive symposia as only he could organized and spectacular competitions.

It is interesting to see how the sack of Olynthus by Philip because of their sheltering pretenders to the throne can be compared to Alexander when razing Thebes to the ground about a decade later for the same reason since they harbored Amyntas, the legal heir in 359 BC – as suggested by some inscriptional evidence. Alexander has walked further in his father’s footsteps than we may think at first sight.

This meant the end of the Chalcidian League and with it Athens’ chances to recover Amphipolis. Philip now had full control over the peninsula’s rich timber and minerals (gold and silver), and he replaced the local coins by Macedonian coinage, especially the silver tetradrachme and later the gold staters that eventually circulated all over the ancient world.

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