Bitka kod Issa

Bitka kod Issa


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Bitka za Issus, 5. studenoga 333. prije Krista, bila je druga bitka Aleksandra Velikog protiv perzijske vojske i prvi izravni angažman s kraljem Darijem III, u blizini sela Issus na jugu današnje Turske. Bila je to velika pobjeda za Aleksandra, pobijedivši Ahemenidsko carstvo i natjeravši Darija III da pobjegne s bojišta.

Uvod

Nakon očeve smrti i uzašašća na makedonsko prijestolje, Aleksandrov prvi posao bio je slijediti očev san, osvajanje Perzijskog Carstva. Koristeći se izgovorom da se želi osvetiti za invaziju Darija I. i Kserksa na Grčku, Aleksandar je prešao Helespont u Malu Aziju. Dok se kretao prema jugu, pobijedio je perzijske snage kod Granika i Halikarnasa. Njegov sljedeći veliki sukob bit će na Isu u studenom 333. pr. Ova bitka bit će prvi od dva susreta između Aleksandra Velikog i perzijskog kralja Darija; oboje bi završilo porazom perzijskih snaga.

Kad je Aleksandar saznao za Darijevu prisutnost u poljoprivrednom zemljištu koje okružuje Issus, brzo se preselio na jug od Gordiuma kroz Kilikijska vrata do lučkog grada Issa. Iako bi sama bitka bila južnije na uskoj ravnici između Sredozemnog mora i Amanuskog gorja, luka je služila kao bazni logor za Aleksandrove snage. Tamo je ostavio brojne ranjene i bolesne da se oporave. Kasnije, dok je Darius marširao svojim trupama u susret Aleksandru kod rijeke Penarus, perzijski kralj se zaustavio u grčkom baznom logoru gdje je mučio i pogubio oporavljene makedonske vojnike, odsjekavši desnu ruku onima kojima je bilo dopušteno živjeti. Taj će čin Aleksandrovoj vojsci poslužiti kao daljnji poticaj za poraz Perzijanaca.

Dvije su se vojske srele kod rijeke Penarus; vrijeme je bilo kišno i hladno.

Usredotočujući se na sastanak s Aleksandrom, Darije se preselio sjeverno od Babilona u područje istočno od rijeke Issus. Temeljeći svoje procjene na drevnim izvorima, povjesničarka Ruth Sheppard ima Darija s procijenjenom vojskom između 300.000 i 600.000, kao i 30.000 grčkih plaćenika, dok su moderniji brojevi od 25.000 do 100.000 sa samo 10.000 grčkih plaćenika. Iako je razmišljao ondje čekajući Aleksandra, Darius se predomislio nadajući se da će Aleksandra odvojiti od baze u Isu i tako ga izolirati. Aleksandar je marširao južno od Issa prema Siriji, ali nakon što je potvrdio prisutnost Darija na Isu, okrenuo se natrag prema sjeveru. Darius se preselio južnije u uski pojas zemlje zapadno od Amanusa, stavljajući svoje snage u nepovoljan položaj. Dvije su se vojske srele kod rijeke Penarus; vrijeme je bilo kišno i hladno. To je područje, međutim, Aleksandru dalo izrazitu prednost jer je Dariju ne samo smanjilo mobilnost, već je moglo i rasporediti vlastite trupe.

Plutarh, u svom Život Aleksandra Velikog, govorio je o ovoj prednosti i pobjedi koju će uskoro donijeti kada je rekao:

Fortuna nije bila ljubaznija prema Aleksandru u izboru terena, nego je pazio da to poboljša u svoju korist. Budući da je bio mnogo inferiorniji u broju, daleko od toga da je dopustio da ga nadmudre, svoje je desno krilo ispružio mnogo dalje od lijevog krila svojih neprijatelja, i sam se boreći u najistaknutijim redovima, natjerao barbare u bijeg.

Bitka

Na Darijevu nesreću, zanemario je savjet Charidamusa, jednog od njegovih pouzdanih grčkih generala, koji je rekao Dariju da podijeli svoje snage i dopusti mu (Charidamus) da se sam bori protiv Aleksandra. Darius je zanemario ovaj prijedlog zbog onoga što neki smatraju pitanjem ega i prestiža. Nije mogao izgubiti od ovog mladog Grka. Nakon što je ignoriran, Charidamus je pogriješio u nekoliko loše odabranih komentara o Perzijancima. Darius, koji je govorio grčki i savršeno je razumio komentare, bio je uvrijeđen i odmah je dao pogubiti svog generala - nešto što mnogi smatraju nerazumnim jer je Charidamus bio viđen u jednom od Darijevih najsposobnijih generala.

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Cijela bitka nije uspjela za Darija. Unatoč brojčanoj prednosti, on i njegovi ljudi ubrzo su krenuli u obranu, nesposobni za manevriranje kako bi htjeli. Darijevo lijevo krilo otežavala je dolina rijeke, planine s njegove lijeve strane i more s desne strane.

S druge strane, Alexander je mogao upotrijebiti svoju pouzdanu formaciju falange. Desni bok protezao se do planina, a lijevi do mora. Imao je tri bataljuna zdesna i četiri slijeva s teškim pješaštvom u sredini. Nakon što je pregledao Aleksandrovu formaciju, Darius je pokrenuo svoju konjicu kako bi napao Aleksandrovu desnu stranu u nadi da će probiti njegov desni bok. Iako su otežani obalom rijeke i zastojima koje je Darius podigao, Aleksandar i njegova konjička družina brzo su se kretali Darijevim lijevim bokom. Pokušaji da se Aleksandra odveze natrag preko Pinara nisu uspjeli. Povjesničar Arrian u svom Aleksandrove kampanje rekao je:

Darijevi su se Grci borili da Makedonce vrate u vodu i sačuvaju dan za njihovo lijevo krilo, koje je, s Aleksandrovim trijumfalnim planom pred očima, odlučno izjednačilo njegov uspjeh i neće izgubiti ponosnu titulu nepobjedivog, dosad univerzalno darovana im.

Aleksandar i njegove snage okrenuli su se prema perzijskom središtu gdje je ugledao Darija. Iako je Darijev brat Oxathres pokušao blokirati Aleksandrovu optužbu, nije uspio. Darius je pobjegao iz bitke isprva na svojim kolima, a zatim na konju. Unatoč ozbiljnoj rani na bedru, Alexander bi ga gonio do mraka, ali se vratio praznih ruku. U međuvremenu je Aleksandrov lijevi bok, pod vodstvom Parmeniona, imao problema s Darijevom desnicom. Međutim, kad su perzijske snage vidjele kako njihov vođa bježi, i oni su pobjegli; mnogi su zgaženi do masovnog izlaza. Perzijanci su izgubili 100.000 pješaka i 10.000 konjanika, dok je Aleksandar izgubio samo 1.200. Ti su brojevi, kao i prije, grčke procjene. Suvremene procjene razumnije su jer je Darius izgubio oko 20.000, a Alexander 7.000. Perzijanci su otišli tako žurno da je Aleksandra i njegove ljude čekala velika pljačka. Plutarh je rekao:

... Darijev šator, koji je bio prepun sjajnog namještaja i kvaliteta zlata i srebra, oni (njegovi vojnici) rezervirali su za samog Aleksandra, koji se, nakon što je skinuo ruke, otišao okupati se govoreći: 'Hajdemo se sada očistiti od muke rata u Darijevoj kupelji.

Međutim, ostalo je više od zlata i srebra - Darijeva majka, njegova supruga i dvije kćeri pronađene su u Darijevu šatoru, ali Aleksandar im je obećao da im neće nauditi. Plutarh je napisao:

… (Aleksandar) im je dao do znanja da Darije nije mrtav i da se ne trebaju bojati nikakvog zla od Aleksandra, koji je protiv njega ratovao samo za vlast; trebali bi sami dobiti sve što su navikli primati od Darija.

Iako je Darius tražio povratak svoje obitelji, obećavajući Aleksandru pola svog kraljevstva, Aleksandar je to odbio. Umjesto toga, Aleksandar ga je izazvao da stane i bori se, a oni će se drugi put sastati kod Gaugamele gdje će Darius opet pobjeći, ali ovaj put će svoju smrt dočekati jedan od njegovih - Bessus.


Od 340. godine prije Krista sukob Makedonije i Perzijskog Carstva bio je neizbježan. Te je godine makedonski kralj Filip opsjedao Perinthus, prijeteći vitalnim interesima Grčke i Perzije (jasan tranzit kroz Bospor i Helespont). Perzijanci su odgovorili slanjem trupa u Europu. bilješka [Diodor, Svjetska povijest 16.75.2.] Prvi put od Kserksa Perzijanci su intervenirali na zapadu, a Makedonci su to smatrali neoprostivim činom agresije. Filip je prvo osigurao svoju pozadinu izazivajući Četvrti sveti rat, pobijedio je Grke kod Chaeronee (338) i natjerao ih u Korintsku ligu. Sada je bio spreman udariti na istok.

Otprilike u isto vrijeme umro je perzijski kralj Artakserks III Ochus, ostavivši Perzijsko Carstvo bez snažnog nasljednika. Njegov sin Artakserks IV. Asice morao se nositi s pobunama u Babiloniji (Nidin-Bel), Egiptu (Chababash) i Armeniji (Artašata). Za Makedonce je sada sve bilo spremno za napad - osim što je kralj Filip ubijen 336. (više), više ili manje suvremeno sa smrću Assa i pristupanjem Artašate, koji je postao poznat kao Darius III Codomannus.

334. godine Filipov sin i nasljednik Aleksandar napao je Aziju, koja je još uvijek bila slabo obranjena zbog perzijskog građanskog rata. Pobijedio je lokalne namete kod Granicusa, što mu je omogućilo osvajanje Anadolije. Jedina perzijska sila koja je pružila otpor bila je mornarica, kojom su zapovijedali Memnon i Pharnabazus, a koju su činili fenički brodovi. Kako bi porazili mornaricu, Makedonci su odlučili napasti feničke luke. U jesen 333. godine prije Krista ušli su u Kilikiju kroz Kilikijska vrata.


Sadržaj

Aleksandar III Makedonski (356–323. Pr. Kr.), Najpoznatiji kao Aleksandar Veliki, bio je antički kralj Makedonije koji je vladao od 336. godine prije Krista do svoje smrti. On se naširoko smatra jednim od najvećih vojnih taktičara i stratega u povijesti, [1] te se smatra neporaženim u bitkama. [2] [3] Poznat po svom vojnom vodstvu i karizmi, uvijek je osobno vodio svoju vojsku i odlazio u prve redove bitke. [4] [5] Osvajanjem Perzijskog Carstva i ujedinjavanjem Grčke, Egipta i Babilona, ​​on je stvorio najveće carstvo antičkog svijeta [6] i učinio širenje helenizma po Europi i sjevernoj Africi. [7]

Aleksandar je krenuo u svoju ekspediciju za osvajanje Perzijskog Carstva u proljeće 334. godine prije Krista [8], nakon što je smirio zaraćene grčke države i učvrstio svoju vojnu moć. [9] Tijekom prvih mjeseci makedonskog prolaska u perzijsku Malu Aziju, Darije III - kralj Perzije - uvelike je ignorirao prisutnost Aleksandrovih 40.000 ljudi. Bitka kod Granicusa, vođena u svibnju, [8] bila je prvi veliki pokušaj Perzije da se suprotstavi osvajačima, ali je rezultirao lakom pobjedom Aleksandra. Tijekom sljedeće godine Aleksandar je zauzeo veći dio zapadne i obalne Male Azije prisiljavajući kapitulaciju satrapija na svom putu. [10] Nastavio je prema unutrašnjosti, putujući sjeveroistočno kroz Frigiju prije nego što je skrenuo na jugoistok prema Kilikiji. Nakon što je u listopadu prošao Kilikijska vrata, Aleksandra je u Tarsusu odgodila groznica. [11] Darius je u međuvremenu okupio vojsku do 100.000 (neki drevni izvori postavljaju pretjerane brojke od preko 600.000) [12] i osobno ju je usmjerio preko istočnih padina planina Amanus. Početkom studenog, dok se Aleksandar kretao oko Issuskog zaljeva od Mallusa preko Issa, dvije su vojske nenamjerno prolazile jedna preko druge na suprotnim stranama planina. [13] To je Dariju bilo očito u korist: sada u Aleksandrovoj pozadini uspio je spriječiti povlačenje i blokirati opskrbne vodove koje je Aleksandar uspostavio na Isu. [14] Tek kad se Aleksandar utaborio u Myriandrusu, luci na jugoistočnoj obali zaljeva Iskenderun, doznao je za položaj Perzijanaca. Odmah je krenuo rutom do rijeke Pinarus, južno od Isusa, kako bi pronašao Darijevu snagu okupljenu uz sjevernu obalu. [13] Uslijedila je bitka kod Issa.

Darijev prvi odgovor bio je obrambeni: odmah je zasuo obalu rijeke kolcima kako bi spriječio neprijateljski prijelaz. Osnovna avangarda izdajničkih grčkih plaćenika i perzijske kraljevske straže uspostavljena je kao što je to bilo uobičajeno za perzijske kraljeve, Darius se postavio u središte ove avangarde, kako bi mogao učinkovito poslati zapovijedi bilo kojem dijelu svoje velike vojske. [15] Grupa perzijskog lakog pješaštva ubrzo je poslana u podnožje, jer se sumnjalo da će Aleksandar pristupiti s desne strane, dalje od obale. Masa konjanika kojom je zapovijedao Nabarsanes zauzela je perzijsku desnicu. [16]

Aleksandar je oprezno i ​​sporo napredovao, namjeravajući svoju strategiju temeljiti na strukturi perzijskih snaga. Predvodio je bok svoje konjičke ashabe s desne strane, dok je tesalska konjica poslana slijeva, kao kontra protiv Nabarsanesove jedinice. [17] Svjestan važnosti podnožja s njegove desne strane, Aleksandar je poslao grupu lakog pješaštva, strijelaca i konjice kako bi zamijenili obranu koju je Darius tamo postavio. Poduzeće je bilo uspješno - oni Perzijanci koji nisu ubijeni bili su prisiljeni potražiti utočište više u planinama. [17] [18]

Kad se nalazio u neprijateljskom raketnom dometu, Aleksandar je izdao naredbu za napad. [17] [19] Predvodio je napad svoje teško naoružane konjičke ashabice, koja je brzo napravila duboke rezove u lijevi bok Perzijanaca. Makedonsko lijevo krilo, kojim je zapovijedao Parmenion, [18] u međuvremenu je potisnuto Nabarsanesovom velikom konjicom. Središnja falanga Makedonaca prešla je rijeku i sukobila se s odmetnutim grčkim plaćenicima koji su bili ispred Darijeve avangarde. Dok se konjaništvo ashaba guralo dalje u perzijsku ljevicu, pojavila se opasnost da će Darije iskoristiti jaz koji je nastao između Aleksandra i ostatka njegove vojske. Kad se uvjerio da je lijevo krilo osakaćeno i da više ne predstavlja prijetnju, Aleksandar je popravio situaciju premjestivši ashabe u napad na perzijsko središte s boka. Kako se nije mogla nositi s dodatnim pritiskom, perzijska avangarda bila je prisiljena povući se s obale rijeke, dopuštajući makedonskoj falangi da nastavi napredovanje i podižući pritisak na Parmenionovo lijevo krilo. [19]

Nakon što su shvatili da je nasrtaj konjice Aleksandrova pratioca nezaustavljiv, Darije i njegova vojska pobjegli su. Mnogi su ubijeni u žurbi, zgaženi od onih koji su pobjegli s njima ili se srušili s konjima. [20] Neki su pobjegli u udaljene regije poput Egipta, a drugi su se ponovno ujedinili s Darijem na sjeveru. [21] Početak mraka okončao je potjeru nakon otprilike 20 km (12 mi). Alexander se tada prisjetio svoje vojske i krenuo u pokop mrtvih. Darijeva obitelj ostavljena je u perzijskom taboru, izvještava se da se Aleksandar prema njima dobro ponašao i uvjeravao ih u Darijevu sigurnost. [21] [22] Darijeva kraljevska kola pronađena su odbačena u jarku, kao i njegov luk i štit. [21]

Drevni izvori predstavljaju različite brojke žrtava bitke kod Isa. Plutarh i Diodorus Sikulus približno su 100.000 perzijskih, za razliku od 450 makedonskih smrti koje je prijavio Kvint Kurcije Ruf. [23] U svakom slučaju, vjerojatno je više bjegunaca poginulo više Perzijanaca nego u bitci [24] Ptolomej I, koji je služio s Aleksandrom tijekom bitke, prepričava kako su Makedonci prešli klisuru na tijelima svojih neprijatelja tijekom potjera. [23] [25]

Makedonsko osvajanje Perzije nastavilo se sve do 330. godine prije Krista, kada je Darije ubijen, a Aleksandar mu je uzeo titulu kralja. [26] Aleksandar je umro 323. godine prije Krista, nakon što se nedavno vratio iz kampanje na indijskom potkontinentu. Uzrok smrti ostaje predmet rasprave. [27] [28]

Prethodno djelo Uređivanje

Albrecht Altdorfer smatra se jednim od utemeljitelja zapadne krajobrazne umjetnosti. [29] Bio je slikar, bakropis, arhitekt i graver, te vođa dunavske škole njemačke umjetnosti. Kao što svjedoče takve slike kao Sveti Juraj i zmaj (1510.) i Alegorija (1531), veliki dio Altdorferovog djela karakterizira vezanost za prostrane krajolike koji zamagljuju figure unutar njih [30] Aleksandrova bitka na Isu utjelovljuje ovaj aspekt njegova stila. Pozivajući se na Sveti Juraj i zmaj posebice, povjesničar umjetnosti Mark W. Roskill komentira da se "pomoćni materijal krajolika [u Altdorferovom djelu] igra i ukrasno razrađuje tako da odjekuje osjećajem izoliranog i negostoljubivog okoliša". [31] Nadahnut svojim putovanjima po austrijskim Alpama i rijeci Dunav, [32] Altdorfer je naslikao brojne krajolike koji uopće ne sadrže figure, uključujući Pejzaž s pješačkim mostom (oko 1516.) i Dunavski krajolik u blizini Regensburga (oko 1522–25). To su bili prvi "čisti" krajolici od antike. [33] Većina Altdorferovih pejzaža napravljena je okomitim formatom, za razliku od moderne koncepcije žanra. Horizontalni krajolik bio je inovacija Altdorferovog flamanskog suvremenika Joachima Patinira i njegovih sljedbenika. [34]

Altdorfer je također proizveo mnogo vjerskih umjetničkih djela, kao odraz njegovog pobožnog katoličanstva. Njegovi najčešći subjekti bili su Djevica Marija te Kristov život i raspeće. Kao u Aleksandrova bitka na Isu, ove slike često prikazuju postavke velikog veličanstva i koriste nebo za prenošenje simboličkog značenja. Ovo značenje nije jednoliko u Altdorferovom korpusu - na primjer, izgled zalazećeg sunca označava gubitak i tragediju u Agonija u vrtu, ali služi kao "amblem moći i slave" u Aleksandrova bitka na Isu. [35]

Larry Silver iz Umjetnički glasnik to objašnjava Aleksandrova bitka na Isu sličan je i u izravnoj je suprotnosti s prethodnim Altdorferovim djelom: "Umjesto mirnog krajolika povlačenja za kršćanske događaje ili svete likove, ovaj panel nudi upravo suprotno: bojno polje za jedan od glavnih epohalnih susreta drevne povijesti. Ipak, unatoč njegove globalne ili kozmičke dimenzije, Bitka kod Issa još izgleda kao Altdorferovi raniji, kontemplativni liminalni pejzaži povlačenja, zajedno s krševitim vrhovima, vodenim tijelima i udaljenim dvorcima. "[36]

iako Aleksandrova bitka je netipičan za Altdorfera po svojoj veličini i po tome što prikazuje rat, njegov Trijumfalna povorka - osvijetljeni rukopis iz 1512. -1616., Koji je naručio Maksimilijan I. iz Svetog Rimskog Carstva - opisan je kao konceptualni prethodnik. [37] The Procesija proizveden je paralelno s Maksimilijanov trijumf, niz od 137 drvoreza koje su zajedno izveli Altdorfer, Hans Springinklee, Albrecht Dürer, Leonhard Beck i Hans Schäufelein. [38]

Utjecaji i provizija Uredi

Najznačajniji suvremeni utjecaj Altdorfera bio je Matthias Grünewald (oko 1470–1528). Povjesničar umjetnosti Horst W. Janson primijetio je da njihove slike "pokazuju istu 'neposlušnu' maštu". [39] Elementi Aleksandrova bitka na Isu - osobito nebo - uspoređeni su s Grünewaldovim Nebeska vojska iznad Djevice i Djeteta, koje čini dio njegovog remek -djela, oltarskog djela Isenheim. Lucas Cranach Stariji (1472–1553), također povezan s dunavskom školom, bio je još jedan važan utjecaj na Altdorfera. Prema Roskillu, djela Cranacha iz oko 1500. "daju istaknutu ulogu krajobraznim postavkama, koristeći ih kao pozadinu za poboljšanje raspoloženja za portrete, i za slike pustinjaka i svetaca vizionara", i čini se da igraju "pripremnu ulogu" za početak čistog krajolika. [40] Altdorfer duguje veliki dio svog stila, osobito u svojim vjerskim umjetničkim djelima, Albrechtu Düreru (1471–1528) [41] Larry Silver piše da je Altdorferova „upotreba uvjerljivih njemačkih krajolika u kombinaciji s nebeskim fenomenima za njegovu vjersku priču“ čvrsto vezan "za tradiciju" po uzoru na Albrechta Dürera. " [42]

Vilim IV., Vojvoda od Bavarske po narudžbi Aleksandrova bitka na Isu 1528. [43] Altdorfer je tada imao otprilike 50 godina i živio je u Slobodnom carskom gradu Regensburgu. [44] Kao rezultat više od desetljeća angažmana u gradskom vijeću Regensburga, Altdorferu je 18. rujna 1528. ponuđeno mjesto burgomastera. On je odbio vijećničke anale koji su iznijeli njegovo obrazloženje: "On jako želi izvršiti poseban posao u Bavarskoj za moje vedro visočanstvo i milostivi Gospodin, vojvoda [William]. " [44] William je vjerojatno želio sliku za svoje novoizgrađeno ljeto Lusthaus ("kuća užitka") u krugu njegove palače u Münchenu, otprilike 97 kilometara južno od Regensburga. [43] [44] [45] Tamo je trebalo visjeti uz sedam drugih slika sličnog formata i teme, uključujući Ludwiga Refingera Mučeništvo Marka Kurcija, Melchiora Feselena Opsada Alesije od Cezara, i slikanje Bitka kod Canne Hansa Burgkmaira (1473–1531). [46] [47] Još osam, od kojih svaka prikazuje slavnu ženu iz povijesti, kasnije je dodano na set, vjerojatno po nalogu vojvodine supruge, Jacobaea iz Badena. [47] Altdorferova Susanna i starješine (1526) bio je među njima. [48]

Raniji prikazi Uredi

Malo je ranijih prikaza bitke kod Isa. Bitka kod Issa, freska Filoksena iz Eretrije, vjerojatno je prva takva. Naslikana je oko 310. godine prije Krista za Kasandra (oko 350. - 297. pr. Kr.), Koji je bio jedan od nasljednika Aleksandra Velikog. [49] Aleksandar i Darije - svaki u dužini koplja jedan od drugog - prikazani su među divljom borbom uzjašenih i oborenih vojnika. Dok Aleksandar zadržava auru nepokolebljivog samopouzdanja, Dariju se urezao strah u lice, a njegov kočijaš već se okrenuo da obuzda konje i pobjegne. [49] Rimski autor i prirodni filozof Plinije Stariji tvrdio je da je Filoksenov prikaz bitke "inferioran nikome". [49] Neki moderni kritičari to smatraju Bitka kod Issa možda nije bilo djelo Filoksena, već Helene Egipatske. Jedna od rijetkih imenovanih žena slikarica koje su mogle raditi u staroj Grčkoj, [50] [51] slovila je za sliku bitke na Isu koja je visjela u Hramu mira za vrijeme Vespazijana. [52]

Aleksandrov mozaik, podni mozaik iz c. 100. pr. Kr., Vjeruje se da je "razumno vjerna" kopija Bitka kod Issa, [49] iako postoji alternativno gledište, umjesto toga to bi mogla biti kopija djela koje je naslikao Apelles Kos, [53] koji je izradio nekoliko portreta Aleksandra Velikog. [54] Dimenzije su 5,82 m × 3,13 m (19 ft 1 in × 10 ft 3 in), a sastoje se od približno 1,5 milijuna tessera (obojenih pločica), svaka oko 3 mm (0,12 in) u kvadratu. Mozaik je nepoznat. Budući da je mozaik ponovno otkriven tek 1831. godine, tijekom iskopavanja Pompejske kuće Fauna, [55] Altdorfer ga nikada nije mogao vidjeti. Kasnije je premješten u Napuljski nacionalni arheološki muzej u Napulju u Italiji, gdje se trenutno nalazi.

Opis Uređivanje

Aleksandrova bitka na Isu naslikana je na vapnenoj ploči dimenzija 158,4 cm × 120,3 cm (62,4 x 47,4 inča), [56] i prikazuje trenutak pobjede Aleksandra Velikog. Vertikalni format bio je diktiran raspoloživim prostorom u prostoriji za koju je slika naručena - svaki u Williamovom kompletu od osam napravljen je iste veličine. Nepoznatog datuma ploča je posječena sa svih strana, osobito na vrhu, pa je nebo izvorno bilo veće, a Mjesec dalje od ugla scene. [57] Sceni se pristupa s nemoguće točke gledišta - isprva samo nekoliko stopa od sukoba, perspektiva se postupno uspinje kako bi obuhvatila mora i kontinente u pozadini, a na kraju i zakrivljenost same Zemlje. [58] [59]

Tisuće vojnika konja i pješaka uronjenih u more koplja i koplja naseljavaju prednji plan. Dvije se vojske odlikuju odjećom, iako anakronom: dok su Aleksandrovi ljudi oblačili sebe i svoje konje u puna odijela teškog oklopa, mnogi Darijevi nose turbane i jašu goli. [60] Tijela mnogih poginulih vojnika leže pod nogama. Prednji dio makedonskih ratnika u središtu gura se protiv raspadajuće neprijateljske sile koja bježi s bojišta krajnje lijevo. Perzijski kralj pridružuje se svojoj vojsci na svojim kolima od tri konja, a usko ga prate Aleksandar i njegova jednolično odjevena pratnja konjica. [47] Put vojnika nastavlja se niz blago nagnuto bojno polje do kampa i gradskog krajolika uz vodu, gravitirajući prema planinskom uzvišenju u središtu scene.

Iza je Sredozemno more i otok Cipar. [61] Ovdje se vrši prijelaz u nijansama, od smeđe boje koja prevladava u donjoj polovici slike do akvasa koji zasićuju gornju polovicu. Rijeka Nil vijuga u dalekoj daljini, ispuštajući svojih sedam rukavaca u Mediteran u delti Nila. [61] Južno od Cipra nalazi se Sinajski poluotok koji čini kopneni most između Afrike i jugozapadne Azije. Crveno more leži s onu stranu, [61] na kraju se spajajući - kao što to čine planinski lanci lijevo i desno - s zakrivljenim horizontom.

Žestoko nebo uhvaćeno u podvojenosti između zalazećeg sunca i polumjeseca dominira na više od trećine slike. [57] Oblaci s velikom kišom koji se zloslutno kovitlaju oko svakog nebeskog entiteta odvojeni su zaljevom smirenosti, pojačavajući kontrast i ulijevajući nebesa u nezemaljski sjaj. [62] Svjetlost s neba izlijeva se na krajolik: dok su zapadni kontinent i Nil okupani sunčevom svjetlošću, istok i babilonska kula prekriveni su sjenom.

Tema slike objašnjena je u ploči suspendiranoj s neba. Formulacija, koju je vjerojatno dao Williamov dvorski povjesničar Johannes Aventinus, [63] izvorno je bila na njemačkom jeziku, ali je kasnije zamijenjena latinskim natpisom. Prevodi:

Aleksandar Veliki pobijedio je posljednjeg Darija, nakon što je 100.000 pješaka i više od 10.000 konjanika ubijeno među redovima Perzijanaca. Dok je kralj Darije uspio pobjeći s najviše 1.000 konjanika, njegova majka, žena i djeca bili su zarobljeni.

Uz brojeve žrtava nije naveden datum bitke. U donjem lijevom kutu nalazi se Altdorferov monogram-'A' unutar 'A'-a donji rub tablete ispisan je s "ALBRECHT ALTORFER ZU REGENSPVRG FECIT"(" Albrecht Altdorfer iz Regensburga napravio je [ovo] "). Sitni natpisi na njihovim kolima i pojasevima identificiraju Darija i Aleksandra. [64] Svaka vojska nosi zastavu koja izvješćuje i o ukupnoj snazi ​​i o budućim žrtvama. [43] [60]

Analiza i tumačenje Uredi

Anakronizam je glavna komponenta Aleksandrova bitka na Isu. Obukavši Aleksandrove ljude u čelične oklope iz 16. stoljeća i Darijeve ljude u tursku bojnu odjeću, Altdorfer povlači namjerne paralele između makedonske kampanje i suvremenog europsko-osmanskog sukoba. [44] [59] [64] Godine 1529. - u godini kada je slika puštena u rad - osmanske su snage pod vodstvom Sulejmana Veličanstvenog opsjedale austrijski grad Beč, [64] tada i prijestolnicu Svetog Rimskog Carstva i nazvanog ' zlatna jabuka 'sultana. Iako brojčano inferiorniji, austrijski, njemački, češki i španjolski vojnici marširani za obranu Beča uspjeli su natjerati neprijatelja na povlačenje i zaustaviti osmansko napredovanje u srednjoj Europi. Vjerojatno je temeljna alegorija slike inspirirana opsadom Beča, s obzirom na njenu sličnost s Aleksandrovom pobjedom na Isu. Neki kritičari idu dalje, sugerirajući da je uključivanje anakronizma moglo biti element Altdorferove komisije. [47] [59]

U njegovom Prošlost budućnosti: O semantici povijesnog vremena, povjesničar Reinhart Koselleck raspravlja o Altdorferovom predstavljanju vremena u filozofskom svjetlu. Nakon što je napravio razliku između površnog anakronizma koji se nalazi u brojkama stradalih na zastavama vojske i dubljeg anakronizma ukorijenjenog u suvremeni kontekst slike, on postavlja da je ovaj potonji tip manje superponiranje jednog povijesnog događaja nad drugim, a više priznanje rekurzivne prirode povijesti. Pozivajući se na Koselleck, Kathleen Davis tvrdi: ". [Za [Altdorfera], Perzijanci iz 4. stoljeća izgledaju kao Turci iz 16. stoljeća ne zato što ne zna razliku, već zato što razlika nije bitna. Alexanderschlachtdrugim riječima, primjer je predmoderne, netemperaliziran osjećaj vremena i nedostatak povijesne svijesti. Altdorferovi povijesni slojevi pokazuju eshatološku viziju povijesti, dokaz da je 16. stoljeće (a postupno i sedamnaesto i osamnaesto stoljeće) ostalo zatvoreno u statičnoj, stalnoj privremenosti koja progresivno zasićuje budućnost kao uvijek ponavljanje iste. U takvom sustavu ne može biti događaj kao takvi: iščekivanje i dolazak zajedno su usisani u crnu rupu svete povijesti, koja nije vremenska jer je njezino vrijeme u biti nediferencirano. "[65]

Istaknuta uz anakronizam u Aleksandrova bitka na Isu je istinski nedostatak povijesnosti. Altdorfer pokazuje minimalno oklijevanje zanemarujući povijesni integritet slike radi njezina herojskog stila, unatoč naporima koje je uložio u istraživanje bitke. Nije jasno da je perzijska vojska bila dvostruko veća od makedonske vojske, nije jasno, a zanemaren je ni relativni položaj vojnika prema izvještajima iz starih izvora. Prema umjetničkoj kritičarki Rose-Marie Hagen, "Umjetnik je bio vjeran povijesnoj istini samo onda kada mu je to odgovaralo, kada su povijesne činjenice bile kompatibilne sa zahtjevima njegove kompozicije." [60] Hagen također bilježi smještaj žena na bojnom polju, pripisujući to Altdorferovoj "strasti prema izumu", [60] budući da su Dariusova supruga, njegova majka i njegove kćeri čekale Dariusa natrag u logoru, a ne u gusta bitka. [66] Istina, međutim, Altdorfer je učinio da su aristokratske dame "izgledale poput njemačkih dvorskih dama, odjevene za lovačku zabavu" u pernatim tokama: [60]

Altdorferova primarna referentna točka u njegovom istraživanju vjerojatno je bila Hartmannova Schedela Nirnberška kronika (Schedelsche Weltchronik), ilustrirana svjetska povijest objavljena u Nürnbergu 1493. Schedel je bio liječnik, humanist, povjesničar i kartograf, a njegov Kronika bila je jedna od prvih knjiga proizvedenih u tiskari. Uz snažno oslanjanje na Bibliju, ona prepričava sedam doba ljudske povijesti, [67] od Stvaranja do rođenja Krista i završava s Apokalipsom. [68] Altdorferova statistika za bitku na Isu odražava statistiku Schedela. Nadalje, pogreške u Schedelovim kartama Mediterana i sjeverne Afrike prisutne su i u Aleksandrova bitka na Isu: otok Cipar osjetno je prevelik, a i planinski uspon u središtu slike i raspon uz Nil ne postoje. [61] Od godine Kronika opisuje Aleksandrovu pobjedu nad Perzijancima u smislu njegove blizine Tarsusu i izostavlja spominjanje Issa, vjerojatno je namjera gradskog krajolika uz more biti prvi grad, a ne potonji. Issus u 16. stoljeću bio je manji i relativno nepoznat, dok je Tarsus bio poznat po tome što je u rimsko doba bio veliki centar učenja i filozofije. Za Tarsus se također govorilo da je rodno mjesto apostola Pavla, što može objasniti prisutnost crkvenih tornjeva u Altdorferovom prikazu. [61] Drugi izvor možda su bili spisi Kvinta Kurcija Rufa, rimskog povjesničara iz 1. stoljeća koji iznosi napuhane brojke o broju ubijenih i zarobljenih i veličini vojske. [60]

Nebo ima otvoreno metaforičko značenje i središte je simbolike slike. Alexander, identified by the Egyptians and others as a god of the sun, finds his victory in the sun's rays and the Persians are routed into the darkness beneath the crescent moon, a symbol of the Near East. [69] Considered in terms of the painting's contemporary context, the sun's triumph over the moon represents Christendom's victory over the Islamism of the Ottomans. [35] Eschatological meaning, probably inspired by prophecies in the Book of Daniel, is imbued in the heavenly setting. In particular, Daniel 7 predicts the rise and fall of four kingdoms before the Second Coming these were thought to be Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome at the time of the painting's creation. Altdorfer saw the Battle of Issus as a principal indicator of the transition of power from Persia to Greece, and thus as an event of cosmic significance. [35] [57] The battle also marked a progression toward the end of the world – an important theological concern in the 16th century, given that the last traces of Rome were diminishing with the papacy. As a member of the Regensburg council and a practising Catholic, Altdorfer frequently interacted with the Church and was surely aware of this trend of eschatological thought. Schedel, too, had calculated that the final age of the seven he identified was nigh. [67] It may therefore be inferred that the sky's expression of the momentous event at Issus was intended to be of contemporary relevance as well. [57]

The Battle of Alexander at Issus remained part of the royal collection of the Dukes of Bavaria for centuries. By the late 18th century, it was regularly featured in public galleries at the Schleissheim Palace. The painting was one of 72 taken to Paris in 1800 by the invading armies of Napoleon I (1769–1821), [70] who was a noted admirer of Alexander the Great. [60] [71] The Louvre held it until 1804, when Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France and took it for his own use. When the Prussians captured the Château de Saint-Cloud in 1814 as part of the War of the Sixth Coalition, they supposedly found the painting hanging in Napoleon's bathroom. [72]

The Battle of Alexander at Issus and 26 others taken in the 1800 invasion were subsequently restored to the King of Bavaria in 1815. [70] Five of the paintings in William IV's original set of eight – including The Battle of Alexander at Issus – later passed from the royal collection to the Alte Pinakothek art museum in Munich, Germany, where they remain the other three are in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm, having been looted by the Swedish army in the Thirty Years War of 1618–1648. [73] Susannah and the Elders is the only other work by Altdorfer in the Alte Pinakothek.

Contextually, the painting forms part of the Northern Renaissance, a resurgence of classical humanism and culture in northern Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Renaissance induced a new kind of social individualism which Altdorfer expressed through the heroic emphasis on Alexander and Darius, and which is reflected in the specifics of the painting's commission and by the subjects of its companion pieces: "During the Renaissance people no longer saw themselves solely as members of a social group, as the citizens of a town, or as sinners before God in whose eyes all were equal. They had become aware of the unique qualities that distinguished one person from another. Unlike the Middle Ages, the Renaissance celebrated the individual. Altdorfer may have painted row after row of apparently identical warriors, but the spectators themselves would identify with Alexander and Darius, figures who had names, whose significance was indicated by the cord which hung down from the tablet above them." [47]

Altdorfer was not only a pioneer of landscape, but also a practitioner of early incarnations of the Romanticism and expressionism which impacted the arts so greatly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Kenneth Clark writes of Altdorfer and contemporaries Grünewald and Bosch, "They are what we now call 'expressionist' artists, a term which is not as worthless as it sounds, because, in fact, the symbols of expressionism are remarkably consistent, and we find in the work of these early 16th-century landscape painters not only the same spirit but the same shapes and iconographical motives which recur in the work of such recent expressionists as van Gogh, Max Ernst, Graham Sutherland and Walt Disney." [74] According to art critic Pia F. Cuneo, "Altdorfer's construction of landscape on a cosmic scale" in the Battle of Alexander at Issus, and his "spiritual and aesthetic affinities with Romanticism and Modern art (in particular, German Expressionism)", "have been especially singled out for praise". [75]

The Battle of Alexander at Issus is typically considered to be Altdorfer's masterpiece. Cuneo states that the painting is usually "considered in splendid isolation from its fifteen other companion pieces, based on the assumption that it either metonymically stands in for the entire cycle, or that its perceived aesthetic predominance merits exclusive focus." [75] German writer Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel (1772–1829) was one of many who saw the painting in the Louvre and marvelled, calling it a "small painted Iliad". [72] Reinhart Koselleck comments that Altdorfer's depiction of the thousands of soldiers was executed with "a mastery previously unknown", [65] and Kathleen Davis describes the painting as "epochal in every sense". [65]


The Grand Master: Alexander’s Genius in the Battle of Issus

King Darius planned on fighting Alexander on the wide Syrian plains.This tactic would have allowed Darius the opportunity of surrounding Alexander’s greatly outnumbered army.

Darius decided to rest his troops at the Pinarus river during his pursuit of Alexander. Alexander learned of Darius’s location and immediately executed his strategy of fighting Darius on the plains of the Pinarus, which was shut in by the mountains and sea.

Statue of Alexander the Great. By Carole Raddato / CC BY-SA 3.0

This tactical move prevented Darius from surrounding the Macedonian’s outnumbered army and Alexander’s eventual probable defeat.

Battle of Issus

The Battle of Issus happened in 333 B.C was Alexander the Great’s second battle against the Persian army and his first direct engagement against King Darius III, King of Persia. The battle transpired near the village of Issus wherein Alexander defeated the Persian Army thereby causing Darius III to flee the battlefield. In history, the Battle of Issus has gone down as one of the most pivotal battles to occur.

Battle of Issus. Darius III portrayed (in the middle) in battle against Alexander in a Greek depiction. By Berthold Werner / CC BY-SA 3.0

Upon hearing that Darius III along with his Persian army was approaching the agricultural rich land surrounding Issus, Alexander the Great immediately called together his team of advisors to discuss strategy and tactic. The agreement was to advance to meet the Persians in battle – but not immediately.

Battle of Issus Movements – Persians in Red & Macedonians in Blue.

Because of the delay in action, Darius advisors’ assumed that Alexander did not intend to continue further into Asia. Darius was convinced by his advisors that his troop could easily take over the Macedonian forces. Unfortunately, the Persians were entirely wrong. Darius’s location in a flat and wide open field was the perfect position for his massive cavalry. Had Darius and his troop remained in their original position and not pressed forward, he may have won the battle.

Darius III of Persia

Macedonian soldiers who were injured and ill were left in the port which served as recovery camp. As Darius’s troop advanced forward to meet Alexander at the River Penarus, he stopped at the camp and tortured and slaughtered the recuperating Macedonian soldiers. Word of the massacre reached Alexander, probing him to send the Hetaeri, the elite Macedonian cavalry, to investigate what truly happened.

The Hetaeri returned to Alexander confirming the reports about the slaughter as well as with information about Darius’s current location at Issus. Alexander the Great immediately took action and began rallying his forces – leading his invincible army out to meet Darius III.

Hetaeri – A heavy cavalryman of Alexander the Great’s army, By Marsyas / CC BY-SA 3.0

At Issus, Darius sent 30,000 cavalry with 20,000 light infantry across the Pinarus River. He sent another 20,000 Persians to corner Alexander on the rear. Meanwhile, Alexander brought the Hetaeri along with the cavalry of Thessalians and Macedonians in his own command to the right. The Peloponnesians, under the command of Parmenio, veered to the left.

Darius moved his cavalry to the right pushing the Macedonian left to the seaward side of the battlefield. Alexander responded by moving his Thessalian troop to meet the Persians. He moved slowly and precisely as if he had all the time in the world while waiting for his army to conduct a strike in the distance.

The other Macedonian troops quickly engaged in battle as soon as the Persian forces were within range leaving the Persians helpless against the Macedonian’s full cavalry force. Alexander then moved his men to the center to prevent the Persians from breaking through the line.

From afar, Darius III watched as his forces slowly crumble against the Macedonian force. The Persians, led by Darius retreated.

King Darius Learned From the Battle of Granicus

Battle of the Granicus.

The Pinarus had steep banks in its upper and middle course. The Persians used this as an obstacle to defend their front in the same manner that they did at the Granicus.

The mistake that Darius made at the Battle of Granicus was not repeated at the Battle of Issus. Darius’s best troops, the Greek Mercenaries, were positioned in front of the center of the battle. The cavalry was on the right of the Greek mercenaries at the lower part of the Pinarus river.

Initial Positions of Forces.

At Granicus, Darius mistakenly placed his cavalry in front next to the steep bank of the river Granicus which prohibited his cavalry from charging Alexander’s army.

The banks of the Pinarus river were flat and the stream did not form an obstacle. The ground was level enough for a cavalry approach. Darius’s remaining troops were placed behind this front. Darius positioned himself in his impressive chariot in the center in back of his Greek mercenaries.

Alexander Demonstrates His Military Genius

The Macedonian Phalanx in a perfect position. it would never have looked like this in battle, and Alexander showed that in an interesting and engaging way.

Ulrich Wilken points out in his book, Alexander the Great, that the Pinarus was one of Alexander’s most memorable battles. Alexander began the battle, using the oblique formation, by charging with his heavy cavalry over the Pinarus and attacking the left wing of the enemy.

The Persians began to weaken from the terrific impact Alexander made with his heavy cavalry. However, Alexander’s phalangites were thrown back while they attempted to climb the steep bank of the river. The Greek mercenaries immediately recognized this weakness and threw themselves fiercely into the battle at the edge of the river.

Alexander s Attack.

Subsequently, both the Macedonians and Greek mercenaries fought each other fiercely, demonstrating their ethnic prejudices towards each other. Fortunately for the Macedonians, assistance was provided them from the nearby phalangites and Alexander himself.

Apparently after overcoming the left wing of the Persians, Alexander had executed the decisive turn and was successfully attacking the Persian center. This decided the battle of Issus. Darius, recognized Alexander’s successful defeating of his main force and retreated northwards in a frantic escape.

Painting of the battle of Issus by Jan Brueghel the Elder

Darius’s Escape Caused Great Disaster to His Army

The Persian cavalry continued to fight steadfastly until they learned of Darius’s escape from the battlefield. Then they turned around and commenced a frantic run for their lives. Alexander’s army pursued the fleeing Persians with a vengeance.

The historian, Ptolemy, who rode beside Alexander, recorded that in their pursuit they passed by a ravine, which was filled to the top with the dead bodies of the enemies.

Alexander the Great proved to the world his superior military mind in defeating Darius’s vastly numbered army. He did this by deciding to fight Darius on the plains of the Pinarus which prevented Alexander from being surrounded by King Darius’s heavily numbered army.

The victory at Issus marked the realization of Alexander’s dream of Persian domination.


MyIndiamyGlory

Alexander, having won all the kingdoms west of Greece up to Bacteria (Persia), proceeded to India, defeated many kings and finally met his foe Porus in Punjab. Alexander entered into a pact with Ambhi, a sworn enemy of Porus with whom he attended Taxila as a student.

Alexander defeated Porus and in appreciation of his valor, Alexander gave the kingdom back to Porus and left Selecus Nicator as his representative in India. This is utter lie. Facts lie below.

Strabo, the Greek historian wrote: “Generally speaking, the men who have written on the affairs of India were a set of liars…Of this we became the more convinced whilst writing the history of Alexander.”

“After Alexander’s failure to gain a position in India and the defeat of Seleucus Nicator, relationships between the Indians and the Greeks and the Romans later, was mainly through trade and diplomacy. The Greeks and other ancient peoples didn’t see themselves as in any way superior, only different.”

This statement by Russia’s Marshal Gregory Zhukov on the Macedonian invasion of India in 326 BCE is significant because unlike the prejudiced colonial and Western historians, the Greeks and later Romans viewed Indians differently.

For instance, Arrian writes in Alexander Anabasis that the Indians were the noblest among all Asians. In fact, Arrian and other Greeks say the Indians were relentless in their attacks on the invaders.

They say if the people of Punjab and Sindh were fierce, then in the eastern part of India “the men were superior in stature and courage”. All this is glossed over by Western historians, in whose view the one victory over king Porus amounted to the “conquest of India”.

But the Greeks made no such claim. Greek contemporary writers describe the Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum) as the hardest fought of all Alexander’s battles.

Frank Lee Holt, a prof of ancient history at the University of Houston,writes in his book, Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions: “The only reference in Arrian’s history to a victory celebration by Alexander’s army was after the battle with Porus.”

Alexander’s army did not indulge in celebrations after the Battle of Gaugamela where they defeated 200,000 Persians. No wild festivities were announced after the Battle of Issus where they defeated a mixed force of Persian cavalry and Greek mercenaries.

The fact they celebrated after the Battle of Hydaspes suggests they considered themselves extremely lucky to survive after the clash with the Hindu army, with its elephant corps.

According to the Greeks, Alexander was apparently so impressed by Porus that he gave back his kingdom plus the territories of king Ambhi of Taxila who had fought alongside the Macedonians.

This is counterintuitive. Ambhi had become Alexander’s ally on the condition he would be given Porus’ kingdom. So why reward the enemy, whose army had just mauled the Macedonians?

The only possible answer is at the Battle of Hydaspes, the Macedonians realised they were dealing with an enemy of uncommon valour. Sensing defeat they called for a truce, which Porus accepted.

The Indian king struck a bargain in return for Ambhi’s territories, which would secure his frontiers, Porus would assist the Macedonians in leaving India safely. Alexander’s post-Hydaspes charitable behaviour, as per Greek accounts, is uncharacteristic and unlikely.

For, in battles before and after, he massacred everyone in the cities he subdued. Description of the War: The Greek force, after having lost several thousand soldiers fighting much smaller Indian mountain cities, were terrified at the prospect of fighting the Paurava army.

They had also heard about the havoc that Indian war elephants were supposed to create among enemy ranks. The modern equivalent of battle tanks, the war elephants also scared the wits out of the horses in the Greek cavalry.

According to the Roman historian Marcus Justinus, the battle was savagely fought. Puru challenged Alexander, who charged him on horseback.

In the ensuing duel, Alexander fell off his horse and was at the mercy of the Indian king’s spear (and this is where legend meets history) when Puru perhaps remembered his promise to his rakhi sister (probably a Trojan horse sent in by the Greeks).

He spared the Macedonian’s life, and Alexander’s bodyguards quickly carried off their king. The Greeks may claim victory but if Alexander’s troops were so badly mauled by the petty regional fiefdoms, how could they have crushed the comparatively stronger army of Puru?

An unbiased re-examination suggests the Greeks had lost the battle. In his epic, The Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great, a series of translations of the Ethiopic histories of Alexander, E.A.W. Budge, Egyptologist, orientalist and philologist,has given a vivid account of same.

According to Budge, in the Battle of Hydaspes, the Indians destroyed the majority of Alexander’s cavalry. Realising that if he were to continue fighting he would be completely ruined, the Macedonian requested Puru to stop fighting.

True to Hindu traditions, the magnanimous Indian king spared the life of the surrendered enemy. A peace treaty was signed and Alexander helped Puru in annexing other territories to his kingdom.

Featured image courtesy: Quora.

Note: The above article is an exact (with very minor changes) reproduction of a twitter thread on Puru and Alexander by Aabhas Maldahiyar.


History Minds

The Battle of Issus in 333 B.C. was one of the greatest for Alexander the Great. As told from the Macedonian point of view it was a victorious, though violent, battle from which the Macedonians continued to carry their title of invincible. In history it has certainly gone down as one of the pivotal battles of antiquity.

As soon as news arrived that Darius of Persia was approaching the Macedonian forces, Alexander the Great immediately called together his advisors to discuss their options. The consensus was to advance to meet them in battle, though not immediately. Ever the strategist, Alexander was not quick to action.

Darius’s advisors claimed that the Macedonian slow response to their advance signaled that Alexander did not intend to continue further into Asia. They convinced him that the Persians could easily overtake the Macedonian forces the Persians should press forward, his advisors claimed. Had Darius remained in his original position, which was a flat and wide open battlefield, perfect for his numerous cavalry, he may have won the battle. Based on this advice, Darius advanced to Issus where he found Alexander’s rear detachment.

The Hetaeri returned to Alexander confirming that reports of the slaughter were true. The cavalry unit also reported that Darius was presently occupying Issus. Alexander immediately sprang to action and began to rally his troops. In typical fashion, Alexander cited other battles in which the Macedonians had been victorious. He compared the luxury-loving Persians who fought as slaves, to the free Macedonians who fought with their hearts dedicated to the battle – endowing them with a pre-nation patriotism that stood out against the forced conscription of the Persians. After his men ate a hearty meal, Alexander led the army out to meet Darius.

At Issus, Darius sent 30,000 cavalry and 20, 000 light infantry across the Pinarus River. He dispatched another 20,000 men went to Alexander’s rear. Meanwhile, Alexander brought the cavalry, composed of the Thessalians, Macedonians and the Hetaeri, on the right under his own command. The Peloponnesian troops made up the Macedonian left, under the command of Parmenio, a trusted advisor and general from the days of King Philip, Alexander’s father.

Darius then moved his cavalry to his right, threatening the Macedonian left on the seaward side of the battlefield. Darius continued to move his men around throughout the battle, though it seemed to his detriment. Alexander quickly responded by moving the Thessalian troops to meet the Persians. He led his forces slowly, but precisely, in order to give the appearance that he had all the time in the world, until the armies came within striking distance.

The Macedonians quickly fell into battle with the Persians as soon as they were within range. Their swift pace decreased casualties and left the Persians helpless. The Persian left fell almost immediately against the Macedonian cavalry forces. Alexander then moved his men to the Macedonian center to maintain stability and keep the Persians from breaking through the line. Alexander’s swift success encouraged the troops in the weakening center, and they began to fight harder.

Darius watched his forces from afar, preferring to remain outside of the battle. When the Macedonian cavalry became too much for them, the Persians retreated with Darius leading the way.

Alexander pursued Darius until the sun died that day. Although he did not capture him, Alexander and the Macedonian forces had decimated the Persian army at the battle of Issus.

Arrianus, Flavius. “The Battle of Issus.” The Art of War in World History: from Antiquity to the Nuclear Age. Ed. Gerard Chaliand. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.


Battle of Issus - History

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The Battle of Issus shown on the Alexander Mosaic (c 100 BC) in the House of the Faun in Pompeii (Wikimedia Commons). It is believed to be a copy of a painting by Alexander&rsquos contemporary Apelles of Kos. Alexander is shown on the left on his horse Bucephalus. The mosaic representing the battle of Alexander the Great against Darius III, perhaps after an earlier Greek painting of Philoxenus of Eretria. This mosaic is now in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Naples).


The Battle of Issus (or the Battle at Issus) occurred in southern Anatolia, in November 333 BC. The invading troops, led by the young Alexander of Macedonia, defeated the army personally led by Darius III of Achaemenid Persia in the second great battle for primacy in Asia. After Alexander's forces successfully forced a crossing of the Hellespont (the Dardanelles) and defeated the Persian satraps in a prior encounter, the Battle of the Granicus, Darius took personal charge of his army, gathered a large army from the depths of the empire, and maneuvered to cut the Greek line of supply, requiring Alexander to countermarch his forces, setting the stage for the battle near the mouth of the Pinarus River and south of the village of Issus.

Eventual accounts tell of bodies piled within the waters high enough to dam its flow and that the river ran red with blood. So while Alexander is known to have repeatedly emphasized the importance of maintaining contact with the beach to his sub-commander on the left (seaward) flank, it is safe to assume a lot of action that day along all the water course in its 2.5 km travel through the small narrow rough hilly coastal plain that prevented the Persians, with their greater numbers, from outflanking the attacking Greeks.

Initially, Alexander chose what was apparently unfavorable ground to an attack across (rough, briar choked, uphill) which was in fact a feint meant to pin and hold the Persian forces. This surprised Darius who mistakenly elected to hold position while Alexander then led the true attack personally on the right while instructing the Macedonian phalanx trained infantry, his main body, to make contact and just hold the main Persian army in check thus in essence he advanced to take up a defensive posture. Meanwhile Alexander personally led the more elite Greek Companion cavalry against the Persian left up against the hills, and cut up the enemy on the less encumbering terrain generating a quick rout. After achieving a breakthrough, Alexander demonstrated he could do the difficult and held the cavalry successfully in check after it broke the Persian right. Alexander regrouped, then turned the body into the right flank of the Persian center, butchering Darius' body guard and under generals, provoking a panic and flight by that emperor himself, and causing a general rout. Any subsequent pursuit of Darius was delayed and generally impeded by the fleeing Persian troops and camp followers, although he managed to follow Darius' chariot until after dark some 24 to 25 km before giving up the chase.

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Topic: Macedonia (800s BC-146 BC)


Bitka

Alexander ordered a general advance. The tight formation of the Macedonian infantry phalanx lost cohesion moving forward over rough ground and crossing the stream. Darius's infantry were able to penetrate gaps in the bristling barrier of spears and to cut and stab at men in the exposed core of the phalanx. But on the left the Thessalian horsemen performed well against the strongest concentration of Darius's cavalry, while on the right, Alexander led a charge of the companion cavalry that swept all before it. Wheeling in from the flank, Alexander's horsemen bore down upon the rear of the enemy infantry who were driven onto the anvil of the Macedonian phalanx. Darius and his entourage fledthe battlefield to avoid capture. Much of the infantry was trapped and cut down where it stood, while large numbers of fleeing cavalry and skirmishers were pursued and massacred. 


Cavalry fight on the beach

On the Persian right wing, victory had already been achieved. Alexander's cavalry, which consisted of horsemen from the Greek allies and the Thessalian riders, had crossed the shallow delta of the Pinarus, but had had been blocked by the Persian horsemen, which were superior in numbers and were commanded by Darius' chiliarch, Nabarzanes.

They had now come within javelin-range when the Persian cavalry made a furious charge on the left wing of their enemy for Darius wanted the issue decided in a cavalry engagement since he presumed that the phalanx was the main strength of the Macedonian army. note [Curtius Rufus, History of Alexander of Macedonia, 3.11.1 tr. J. Yardley.]

Within a few minutes, one of the Thessalian squadrons had been annihilated. The Persians started to push back the other Thessalian riders and the Greek allies, into and across the river. Parmenion ordered them to regroup, but the enemies came across the river in great numbers, and were already winging to the left to attack the Macedonian phalanx in the rear. The regrouped Thessalians and Greek allies had to prevent the destruction of the infantry, and could count on the support of the small reserve that Alexander had, with this purpose in mind, placed behind his lines. However, it was a matter of time until the Persian cavalry would surround the reserve and reach the phalanx, which was already forced back by the Greek hoplites.


Experience and Execution

Alexander’s success came down to experience and execution.

Both commanders had sound plans. Alexander, however, had more expertise in the field and so did his men. They were able to execute their maneuvers more effectively.

Once the battle got going, Alexander was able to seize the opportunities he needed. He adapted to Darius’ moves, countering each one.

Issus was a close call for Alexander. His enemy got behind him, and his left flank almost collapsed. He pulled victory out of desperate circumstances, once more proving why he was the Great.

General Sir John Hackett, ed. (1989), Warfare in the Ancient World.


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