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 Ariana (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in the Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (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 Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 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)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Field Campaigns of Alexander the Great by Stephen English

The absolute merit of this book, The Field Campaigns of Alexander ( ISBN184884066-7) is the excellent set of plates that illustrate each of Alexander’s major campaigns.

This third book of Stephen English’s trilogy (The Army of Alexander the Great and The Sieges of Alexander the Great) handles Alexander’s great battlefields: at the Granicus River (334 BC), at Issus (333 BC), at Gaugamela (331 BC) and finally at the Hydaspes River (326 BC).

 Like in his The Sieges of Alexander the Great, English tries to analyze Alexander’s movements, tactics, and logistics based on the histories written in antiquity together with the studies, critics and opinions of modern authors. His most favourite sources are Arrian and Diodorus through which he filters out the final plans and battlefields. However, I once again miss clear maps to follow the steps of Alexander, a tool that would have been especially helpful to pinpoint his campaigns all along the route – more so, because English often spends much time discussing and questioning the exact locations. Most frustrating, in my eyes, were those pages where he questions the location of Issus, that of the Pinarus River and the passes over the Amanus Mountains used by Alexander and Darius respectively. English does include a map, but it only shows a general maneuver and a handful of names none of which are used in his argumentation (while the ones he discusses are not on the map). What’s the point, I wonder, to go through so many details when you don’t show your readers where to find them!

Yet the sets of plates drawn up for each battlefield are among the best one can find to help envision the successive phases of Alexanders attacks and to prove (if need may be) the genius of his attack. As far as I’m concerned, this is the first time I discover the masterly set-up of his army at the Hydaspes and I would even say that I found it far superior to that at the Battle of Gaugamela. We should not forget that by this time Alexander had to do without Parmenion leading his left flank, without Philotas at the head of the cavalry and without faithful Cleitos leading his centre – still the discipline of the Macedonia army is astonishing!
Truly worth reading.

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