This paper discusses the four most significant battles fought by Alexander the Great: Granicus, Issus, Gaugamela, and Hydaspes. It examines the strategies he employed that made each a success and that have secured his place in history as one of the greatest military leaders of all time.
Philip, king of Macedon, became a father in the summer of 356 B.C. Barely 20 years later, Philip was assassinated, and his son, Alexander, assumed the throne and inherited the kingdom and army of his father. In the twelve years of his reign, until his death in 323 B.C., he used that army to establish a kingdom, utilizing strategies and tactics that gave him the name of Alexander the Great.
Richard A. Gabriel and Donald W. Boose Jr. write, ôThere is little in AlexanderÆs early life that presaged his ability to plan and execute battles with such success . . . Alexander of Macedon turned to the task with a natural giftö (218). He also had the advantage of being given a remarkable army. Doyne Dawson argues that Alexander, like Julius Caesar, ôonly sought decisive battle when they knew they had strong armiesö (156), and the army that Philip had put together was strong, well trained, and well disciplined. Arther Ferrill argues that one of AlexanderÆs important talents was his regard for his men and his ability to fight with as little loss of life on his part as possible. He writes, ôSome of AlexanderÆs success in this area stemmed also from his realization that an army well trained, strictly disciplined and highly motivated was less likely to take needless casualtiesö (216).
As a leader, Alexander was a unique personality. Ferrill writes, ôAlexander was genuinely a rare, inspirational leader of men in battle, and his conception of strategy and tactics was a quantum leap ahead of any of his predecessorsö (187). While it was begun as an extension of PhilipÆs opposition to the Persians as the means of uniting the disparate Greek...