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 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)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Alexander marching beyond the Hydaspes

After the Battle of the Hydaspes, Alexander made the customary offerings and sacrifices to thank the gods. The dead were given the usual burial ceremony with all the splendor and pomp that this occasion required. The king organized games and competitions and in order to crown his victory, he built two new cities. Nicaea (Alexandria Nicaea), named after Nike, the goddess of Victory emerged on the battlefield itself while Bucephala (Alexandria Bucephala) was erected at the point where he started the river crossing and was meant to honor his faithful charger that died at this time (most probably not on the battlefield but rather of old age).

Once this was taken care of, he instructed Craterus to supervise the fortification of the newly founded settlements and to maintain his communication line. Alexander pursued his march further east and took 37 towns, the smallest of which had more than 5,000 inhabitants according to Arrian, some were even double that size. A multitude of well-populated villages surrendered as well and all these settlements were handed over to Porus.

Alexander then headed for the Acesines River, which was nearly 3,000 meters wide at the point where he chose to cross it. It has been speculated that he deliberately opted for the widest point to take advantage of the slower current. Once gain, he used boats and floats which had to maneuver around large jagged rocks in the fast-flowing water. The floats managed pretty well but a number of boats hit the rocks and fell apart, drowning many men in the process. Here he left Coenus to supervise the remainder of the troops that followed with the grain and other supplies taken from the just conquered territories. Porus was sent back to his realm with instructions to collect more men and elephants and join up with Alexander further down the road.

Then, there was the other Porus, generally known as the bad-Porus, a nephew of King Porus. He ruled over Gandaris, the lands between the Acesines River (modern Chenab) and the Hydraotes River (modern Ravi). He had sent Alexander repeated offers to surrender simply because he hated his uncle, but when his namesake was granted with many new territories by Alexander, he fled his country taking with him as many fighting men as he possibly could. It seems this bad Porus fled to the east beyond the Hydraotes River and Alexander followed on his tail. This meant that he had to cross this major river as well. It was swollen by the melting snows from the Himalayas and was as wide as the Acesines but not as swift. It is quite amazing how all these river crossings are treated as a matter of course by our historians while each and every one was a challenge in its own right.
Before engaging in the river crossing, Alexander as always made sure to safeguard his rear. This was especially important at this point since he was advancing in enemy territory. Arrian recognizes the significance of these measures and he particularly mentions how Alexander left troops at every strategic point throughout the territory west of the Hydraotes, allowing both Craterus and Coenus to move around with a minimum of risk during their foraging expeditions. At this point, Hephaistion was sent back with Demetrius to catch the renegade Porus and take any independent Indian tribe he might encounter on the way and hand them over to the “good” Porus.

As soon as Alexander landed on the other bank of the Hydraotes most of the Indian tribes surrendered without resistance and those who did not, were, of course, subdued by force. An exception was the stand made at Sangala, but that is another story that deserves to be treated separately. 

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