Blood & Gold 2.0

Blood & Gold
A History of the Argead Empire


The Reign of Alexandros Basileus Theos
Part I: The Return to Babylōn
323 B.C. – 322 B.C.
[/FONT]"And so it was that the mighty Lord of Asia did return in sorrow to Babylōn from Ekbatana, his robes dyed black to mourn the fall of his beloved Hēphaistiōn, the great hero who even today is revered as the erōmenos of the God King in some circles..." --Amyntas of Ephesos, The Life of Alexandros.

The year 323 B.C. opens on a dark and near desperate note.

The mighty warlord Alexandros III Megas has ordered that his court remain at Babylōn, in deep mourning for the death of his beloved Hēphaistiōn, who has recently succumbed to fever the previous autumn. King Alexandros himself is in a state of near frantic grief since the death of his companion, and has spent lavishly on a splendid funeral and magnificent funerary games to honor his fallen comrade. Further, the Great King of Asia has petitioned the oracle at Ammōneion for the official recognition and honors of a divine hero to be conferred upon Hēphaistiōn, a request which has been duly proclaimed and granted, initiating the famed cult of the hero Hēphaistiōn, which will soon spread throughout the empire, urged onward by royal support. Alexandros himself orders a great temple erected in Babylōn to house the hero’s ashes and cult.

In Pella, King Alexandros’ mother, Polyxenē Olympias, takes advantage of her son’s recent dark mood to rid herself of her rival for influence in Makedonia, Alexandros’ satrapēs Antipatros. Despite previous rumors of their sexual involvement with each other, by now, the former political partnership between Antipatros and Olympias has turned into a full scale power struggle, one which the queen mother now finds she is losing. Writing to her son in Babylōn, she falsely accuses the aging Antipatros of inciting disloyalty and rebellion in Makedonia, and urges him to dismiss Antipatros from his command.

Alexandros, now increasingly suspicious of those around him due to rumors attributing Hēphaistiōn’s death to poison, summons his former friend to Babylōn to answer for the charges brought against him, relieving him of his command in Pella. In his place, the Great King sends the general Krateros as his new satrapēs in Makedonia, along with over 11,000 of his long serving Macedonian veterans, now finally discharged and allowed to return home. Further, he orders Antipatros to levy new troops in Hellas, Makedonia, and Thrakē, and to lead them into Phrygia to reinforce his position there.

In early June, however, King Alexandros falls ill with fever. For days he lies close to death, and many of his stratēgoi and courtiers begin preparing for the worst. Finally however, on the third night of his illness (1), the Great King’s fever breaks and his health begins to improve. Alexandros’ recovery is seen as miraculous by his contemporaries, and a sure omen of his divinity. A series of public games are held in Babylōn to celebrate, and after six months, public mourning for Hēphaistiōn is finally declared to be at an end.

The recovered Alexandros III is a new and far more invigorated king, having seen his brush with death as further proof the epic destiny in store for him. In thanksgiving for his recovery, the Great King goes so far as to pledge funds from his own royal coffers to the restoration of the Etemenanki
in Babylōn--the ruined ziggurat dedicated to the god Mardokhaios--something he has thus far refused to do, and only finally agreed upon out of superstitious gratitude to the Babylonian priests who have sacrificed for his recovery.

Alexandros immediately returns to his preparations for the long awaited Arabian campaign, having received reports of the great amount of wealth in copper and aromatic resins in the far off lands of Eudaimon Arabia. Further, in the weeks following his return to Babylōn from India, before his illness, in which many foreign despots and rulers have sent emissaries and gifts to the Great King, hoping to pacify the growing might and ambitions of Macedon and establish profitable alliances, delegates from the Arabian kings of the south have been noticeably absent. This Alexandros sees as reason enough to declare war, insisting on their status as lawful vassals by ancient Persian custom—and thus upon his own rightful succession as King of Kings. The Great King begins amassing a fleet in the newly expanded harbors of Babylōn in July, having not only recruited the most skilled of shipbuilders and sailors from Phoinikē and Hellas, but also ordered a great deal of vessels to be dismantled and taken over land to Babylōnia.

The year finally draws to a close with a far more fortuitous omen then with it had begun: in August, King Alexandros’ wife Rōxanē—the daughter of the Sogdian nobleman Oxyartēs—gives birth to a healthy son at the Palace of Naboukhodonosōr in Babylōn. The boy, thus far the king’s first surviving legal son, is named “Alexandros” in honor of his mighty father.

As King Alexandros III Megas amasses his forces in Babylōnia for the coming Arabian campaign, his general Krateros arrives in Makedonia to take up his command, along with his retinue of 11,500 war veterans, who are joyously reunited with their families, after over a decade of separation. While Antipatros attempts to stall in Pella, not wishing to face the wrath of Alexandros III, no matter how trumped up the charges are against him. However, he soon finds himself under increasing pressure from both Olympias and Krateros to embark for Babylōn.

Letters soon arrive in the next few months from Babylōn, ordering Antipatros to depart with all possible haste, though Alexandros III is more concerned at this time with the fresh troops he is bringing for the Arabian campaign then any perceived threats. At first, Antipatros considers rebellion as a possible means to avoid his coming disgrace and possible execution. His son, Kassandros, also newly returned from Babylōn as his father’s personal messenger attempts to force his father’s hand in this direction, covetous of the possible path to power that would lie before him in the instance of victory. However, Antipatros is no fool, and is aware of his son’s destructive ambition; he also sees little success in any such endeavor, when faced not only with over 11,000 loyal veterans of the Persian campaign under Krateros’ command, but also a direct war with Alexandros himself—a prospect the general does not relish.

After three months of stalling, Antipatros departs Pella, accompanied by not only a force of 15,000 soldiers (mostly from the provinces of Makedonia and Thrakē), but also much of his family. Crossing the Propontis, he is joined by another 4,000 troops in Iōnia, mostly levied from the League of Korinthos. He spends some time in Ephesos with his forces, before crossing into the heart of Anatolē. However, it is now apparent that the health of the Antipatros is beginning to fail, the septuagenarian stratēgos no longer being accustomed to long treks across foreign land. Over the next few weeks his health begins to worsen. Finally at Arbēla, Antipatros falls ill and dies suddenly within the space of a few days, probably from natural causes. In his place, his son Kassandros takes command of the reinforcements, leading them into Babylōnia, along with the corpse of his father.

At Babylōn, Alexandros is greatly saddened to hear of the death of his longtime friend, despite the accusations brought against Antipatros. As a result, Alexandros not only issues a posthumous pardon in favor of the faithful stratēgos, but also grants him the full funerary honors of Macedonian nobleman.

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A map of the Argead Empire and its vassals, 323 B.C.


(1) This is a departure from OTL, in which Alexander ignored his doctor’s warnings and the fever continued to worsen. Here, the initial illness is strong enough to force him to his bed, and the fever breaks much sooner.
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[FONT=&quot]The Reign of Alexandros Basileus Theos[/FONT]​
[FONT=&quot]Part II: The Arabian Campaign[/FONT]​
[FONT=&quot] 321 B.C. – 319 B.C.[/FONT]​

“They tell me that in the happy lands of Arabia, the men worship but two gods, Ouranos and Dionysos. Soon they shall, too, bow down before Alexandros—and most fittingly, for have I not surpassed He-of-the-Trees in my conquest of the lands of the East?”
--apocryphal quote attributed to Alexandros Basileus Theos.

In the summer of 321 B.C., King Alexandros gathers his forces and sails south down the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, taking with him an army of 45,000 and a fleet of 300 warships. The Great King and his army first land near the coast of the Qatar Peninsula, where he launches an attack against the regional power in northeastern Arabia, the city-state of Gerra, famed for its wealthy salt mines. The Gerrhaeans are unequipped and unprepared for the massive assault, and King Alexandros easily takes the city proper after a siege of only several weeks. By the fall of 321 B.C., the whole of the kingdom is occupied by Alexandros III and his army.

Wintering in at the city of Gerra and securing the surrounding area, Alexandros and his forces march south in late February, ordering his fleet to accompany by sailing along the coasts. Entering the lands of Maketa, he and his army find the Arab tribes there to be equally unorganized in their defense, and the few existing settlements under-defended in the face of a superior siege engines of the Argead army. While most of his encounters with the tribes of this region take the form of brief skirmishes and quick victories, the Great King finally engages a collective force of allied tribes at the Battle of Mezoun, in which he destroys the last remaining resistance to his conquest of the copper rich region of southeast Arabia—thus reuniting the whole of the eastern coast of the peninsula with Persis, something not seen since the time of King Dareios I.

After his victory at Mezoun, King Alexandros remains in Maketa long enough only to order the construction of several new outposts, leaving a small garrison under the command of Kassandros to govern the new satrapeia from Gerra. The Great King then takes the majority of his forces with him to sea, sailing along the rugged coastline of the southern Arabian Peninsula, establishing several outposts and planning for the future construction of a major roadway to ease communications.

By the late summer of 320 B.C., he and his massive army have reached the fabled lands of Eudaimon Arabia. His invasion into southwestern Arabia itself begins rather fortuitously, when he is met by a force of 15,000 at Samharm in the Kingdom of Hadramūt, led by its king, Samah Watar, and easily manages to overwhelm and defeat the king’s forces, forcing King Samah Watar to retreat into the lands of his ally, the King Zamir Ali Karab of Qataban, leaving the whole of Hadramūt under Argead occupation by September, 320 B.C.

While many of his stratēgoi encourage him to winter in Hadramūt and prepare for a final campaign the following spring, Alexandros III instead decides to invade Qataban and subjugate his Arabic enemies, stating “I will not rest until the whole of this country has bowed to the son of Zeus Amm

His subsequent invasion of Qataban thus catches its King Zamir Ali Karab by surprise, and he barely has enough time to muster his troops. The city of Timna thus falls fairly quickly to Alexandros, with little need for a proper siege to extend beyond a week or two. In the confusion that results from breaching the city's walls, both the King of Qataban and his refugee ally, the King of Hadramūt, are cut down by a force of advancing Greek hoplites. Alexandros III is now master of Qataban, and it is at the city of Timna itself that he decides to spend the winter with his forces in early November.

In the spring of 320 B.C., the Kingdom of Saba fares no better than its neighbors. Like the rest of Arabia, the King Yakrib of Saba (himself the regional power in Eudaimon Arabia) is no match for the vast reserves of manpower and inventive military tactics that King Alexandros and his commanders have to offer. He and his army, numbering some 19,000, are defeated at Najran, ending all remaining resistance in Arabia. Unable to bear the shame of falling into the hands of his enemy, the King Yakrib commits suicide soon after.

Now occupying the whole of Eudaimon Arabia, King Alexandros immediately organizes the wealthy land into a new province, appointing the Macedonian commander Seleukos (at this time a lieutenant to his trusted general Perdikkas), a longtime veteran of both his Persian and Indian campaigns, to serve as its satrapēs, he having distinguished himself during the duration of the Arabian campaign enough to prove his worth as a potential regional governor. Seleukos is left with a force of some 21,000 troops, and soon sets up his capital at Zaphar. King Alexandros III then proceeds north in late July, now lord of all Arabia.

Having achieved his goals in Arabia, the Great King then sails north along the western coastline of the Arabian Peninsula from Aden in the spring of 319 B.C. However, the journey north proves far harsher than expected, and the fleet encounters a great deal of foul weather along the way, and by the time they reach the Gulf of Elat, the Argead army has lost nearly 5,000 men, along with nearly fifty ships.

Desperate for rest and facing possible mutiny for the second time, King Alexandros marches north, into the Kingdom of Nabatēnē, long considered vassals by the Achaemenids. King Harthah of the Nabataeans and his people, however, do not take kindly to this arrogance, be it from Persian or Greek, and when King Alexandros and his forces reach the rock citadel of Petra and demand that its people open the gates to them as returning heroes, they are flatly refused. Furious at such impudence, and in need of fresh supplies and rest, King Alexandros rouses his frustrated soldiers and besieges the city.

After over several months of assault, the city finally falls to King Alexandros and his men on August 19, 319 B.C. The Great King then orders his men to sack and loot the entire citadel, pillaging and raping until they are finally content, and afterward, destroying much of the remaining settlement, murdering King Harthah and his family, and then selling the surviving population of Petra into slavery as punishment to the Nabataeans for their hubris. Satisfied, the conquering warlord and his men then return to Syria in triumph.

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A map of the Argead Empire and its vassals, 319 B.C.
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Yes it's back!

I read both chapters just now, but are there any changes from the first version?

The maps are cool by the way!
I read both chapters just now, but are there any changes from the first version?
Yes, actually. Aside from some stylistic changes, I added some minor details that I've gathered from reading more sources on the last days of Alexander, such as the rebuilding of the Ziggurat of Marduk. Also, I decided to make the Arabian campaign a naval one, as I realized at the time of his death, a fleet was already being assembled in Babylon.

And I'm glad that you like the new map--I think that it's a bit of a step up from the old one.

Also, the quote at the beginning of the second chapter is authentic, if paraphrased. Alexander really was reported--I think by Plutarch, though I may be wrong--to have made a remark along those lines. It was too good to pass up.
Alright...I'm subscribed too...
I'm never finished to reading your original "Blood and Gold", Endymion, but fortunately enough for me, you just started the version 2.0 so I can follow it from the very beginning!
And I must admit that Alexander is one of my most favorite historical commanders, so I just want to say...keep up the good work! :D
Never posted in the first one, but had it subscribed. Excellent work on the last one, and it looks like you might even outdo that in this one. I'm subscribed.
In Magna Graecia, there could be an equivalent of the OTL expedition of Cleonymus to pacify and maybe submit the Lucani, and maybe even the Messapii.
All maps have now been updated to show both vassal kings and autonomous areas (under the rule of vassal chieftains), so check them out.

This source here has been invaluable to me, if you're curious about some background information.
The Reign of Alexandros Basileus Theos
Part III: The First Mauryan War
318 B.C. – 316 B.C.
“In Sandrokottos the Destroyer, they say, the son of Zeus Ōromazdēs did meet his most trying of enemies, as if the barbarians of the east had been sent by the Gracious-Ones themselves.” --author unknown, from the scrolls of Royal Cult at the Alexandreum in Babylōn.

By late January, 318 B.C., Alexandros Megas has already returned to Babylōn—now rapidly becoming the center of royal administration—and moved east to Sousa for the winter. His subjugation of Arabia and the Nabataeans complete, the restless warlord begins plans for an African campaign, wishing to attack the wealthy empire of Karkhēdōn and gain further glory as Lord of the World—which he believes to now be the ultimate destiny in store for him, as the son of the divine Zeus Ammōn.

King Alexandros III begins preparations for the construction of a new fleet off the coast of Syria, near the newly rebuilt city of Tyros, ordering a great deal of ships left over from the Arabian campaign again brought over land from the Gulf of Elat. However, before plans for the proposed flotilla can progress, Chandragupta Maurya, the powerful samrāt of most of the northern Indian subcontinent, invades Macedonian held Indikē (1).

King Chandragupta is ambitious. Having just successfully completed his conquest of the Nanda Empire—the regional power in India and King Alexandros’ former rival in the east—the Mauryan king now has his sights set on the wealthy lands of the Indos Valley. And so, his conquest of the Nanda Empire finally secured in late 319 B.C., King Chandragupta Maurya and his armies invade Indikē that same year. The Mauryan king meets with little resistance in this endeavor, as much of the Indian population is resentful of the new Greek ruling class. By November, 319 B.C., King Puru of Pōros and King Ambhi of Taxilēs, both clients of King Alexandros in the Indos Valley, have betrayed the Argeads and allied themselves with King Chandragupta, seeing the chance to break free of Macedonian hegemony. By the spring, the Mauryans occupy the whole of Sattagydia, and King Alexandros’ satrapai in Arakhōsia and Paropamisos find themselves in an increasingly desperate situation, lacking adequate reinforcements and supplies. While King Alexandros’ father-in-law Oxyartēs is able to at least successfully hold his province of Paropamisos, Peithōn and Sibyrtios, the Great King’s satrapai in the Arakhōsia and Gedrōsia respectively, find themselves outnumbered and in desperate need of support.

Amassing his troops near Sousa, King Alexandros III is compelled to abandon his planned Carthaginian campaign for the time being and march east. With a massive army of 70,000 he departs for Arakhōsia in late June, 318 B.C. By the time of his arrival at Alexandreia Arakhōsia in early February, winter has already set in and the forces of Peithōn are all the more desperate. It is not until the arrival of spring in March, 317 B.C. that King Alexandros III finally crosses the Indos River and invades India for a second time.

After a month-long siege, the Great King and his armies are finally able to retake the city of Patala, securing the southern reaches of the Indos. King Chandragupta Maurya, however, cuts the Argead army off from any further northern advance at Mallōnpolis in the fall, where a long and ultimately indecisive battle ensues between the two forces on September 3, 317 B.C. King Alexandros III refuses to concede defeat, however, and instead endures the loss of thousands of men in order to secure his hold over the Indos Valley. Believing the Great King of Asia to be insane, due to his refusal to retreat when both sides are suffering heavy losses, King Chandragupta finally flees north towards the Hydaspēs River, awaiting reinforcements led by King Puru of Pōros. King Alexandros III has won the battle, but at a heavy, and arguably ridiculous, cost. Meanwhile, in Gandaria, Oxyartēs manages to secure Argead control over that region by defeating an occupying Mauryan force at the Khyber Pass in August, driving them back across the Paropamisos Mountains and the Indos River. Confident in his success, Oxyartēs soon besieges the Mauryans and their ally King Ambhi at Taxila in October of 317 B.C.

Circumventing King Chandragupta in the upper reaches of the Indos Valley, King Alexandros III instead marches northwest, to aid Oxyartēs at Taxila, leaving Perdikkas with a large force at Mallōnpolis to block any further Mauryan advances south. Thus, it is on November 22, 317 B.C. that Taxila finally falls and is retaken by King Alexandros III, who not only brutally sacks and pillages the city, but also captures King Ambhi of Taxilēs himself, and has him flayed alive for his betrayal.

In February, 316 B.C., King Alexandros III and his forces march south to Boukephala, the city named for the Great King’s beloved horse. There, on March 28, after easily taking the mostly unprepared city, King Alexandros and his forces meet King Chandragupta and his army on the battle field. The second battle of the Hydaspēs River thus ensues. At first, it looks as though King Chandragupta has the upper hand, and many begin to doubt the perceived invincibility of Alexandros Megas. However, at the last moment, Perdikkas arrives from the south and pins King Chandragupta against the two armies, spreading him far too thin. The Mauryan king barely escapes with his life, and is forced to retreat further east, pulling out of Indikē indefinitely. On the field that day, King Alexandros also manages to capture the King of Poros, who is likewise punished for his betrayal. Before his assembled troops at the outpost of Alexandreia Hyphasis, King Alexandros Megas has the treacherous vassal brutally torn apart by wild beasts, much too the amusement of his men.

While King Alexandros III wishes to pursue King Chandragupta Maurya to the Ganges River if necessary, he finds himself under pressure from his forces to instead return to Babylōn; history once again repeats itself. King Alexandros is nevertheless able to secure the whole of Indikē to the eastern reaches of the Hyphasis River, before his stratēgoi finally convince him to turn back west, fearing that the entire army will revolt if he refuses. After leaving Perdikkas as satrapēs in troublesome Indikē, along with a significant force to garrison the frontiers of the Far East, King Alexandros III finally marches west for Sousa once more.

Map of the Argead Empire and its vassals, 316 B.C.


(1) For the sake of clarity, the region of Punjab will be referred to by its Greek name, ‘Indikē’ (Ινδικη), while the Indian subcontinent proper will be called the other contemporary Greek term, ‘India’ (Ινδια).
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So far most of the differences 1.0 to 2.0 are small details? I can't spot them. Anyway, good you're forging on.
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Nice update again.
What is the reason Alexander's men want to return home this time?
The first time it was because they had spend two decades in Asia, but in this instance, the army is probably mostly made of new recruits from Persia and Bactria.
Nice update again.
What is the reason Alexander's men want to return home this time?
The first time it was because they had spend two decades in Asia, but in this instance, the army is probably mostly made of new recruits from Persia and Bactria.
India is a vast, and I'm sure the thought of pursuing on through such a foreign land to the ends of the earth is frightening. Besides, neither the Greeks nor the Persians were comfortable with the terrain there. Nevertheless, years of war and campaigns in the east will familiarize them in the future.