Alexander The Great Essay

726 words - 3 pages

After Alexander the Great’s father was killed, Alexander was forced to assume his role as king of Macedonia. Enemies of his empire thought this would be a perfect time to strike the Macedonian Empire but Alexander was prepared, taught by great military minds he was able to create one of the largest empires of the ancient world.

Phillip II, Alexander’s father had developed the Macedonian phalanx, evolving it from the hoplite phalanx. It was an 8 to 36 men deep rectangular mass formation made for heavy infantry soldiers. The simple Greek formation had been made more adaptable by Phillip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. The primary unit of Alexander’s phalanx was the syntagma that was usually 16 men deep. Each of these soldiers was armed with the sarrissa, which was a 13-21-foot spear. In formation, the first five of these ranks held their sarissas horizontally facing the advancing enemy, with each of these five ranks being squished together, practically on each others heels. The residual 11 ranks either rested their spears on the shoulders of the men in front of them or they held their sarissas vertically. Due to the unfamiliarity with this formation, opposing soldiers were left intimidated by it.

The phalanx drove individuals to endeavour to break through the line, retreat or to flank the syntagma. To protect his flank, Alexander utilized his most powerful force to protect them, his heavy cavalry. Armed with sword and javelins, these units whilst defending flanks, worked with the syntagma to envelop the enemy force. In addition, there were light infantry units such as slingers, javelin men and archers who would provide cover fire and were also very mobile. Alexander also had an elite bodyguard force, consisting of pezhetairoi. There were also regiments of light cavalry used for reconnaissance and skirmishing.

Alexander’s force was very mobile and travelled much faster than most armies of his time, His phalanx strategy allowed for this quick travel. His forces moved swiftly (sometimes appearing in places thought to be impossible to reach) in addition with their fierce reputation they could and often dishearten or frighten the opposition into...

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