Blood & Gold: A History of the Argead Empire

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Blood & Gold
A History of the Argead Empire
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The following is a revision of my earlier timeline, which can be found here.

Note
:I have used unanglicized, original Greek (and in some cases Persian) names (albeit in the Latin alphabet) wherever and whenever possible for both names and locations. I feel it is the most appropriate thing to do, to maintain realism and accuracy—after all, the Great King of Asia was never "Alexander" to his contemporaries, always "Alexandros".

Prologue: The King lies at Babylōn
Year 13 of Alexandros Basileus Theos.
(323 B.C.)

"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, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Great King of Asia, King of Makedonia, Mēdia, and Persis, Pharaoh of Aigyptos, Hēgemōn of the League of Korinthos, 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, 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, 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. He immediately begins preparations for his 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. He begins amassing an army on the banks of the Euphratēs, levying troops from throughout his vast empire.

The year finally draws to a close with a far more fortuitous omen then it had originally begun with: in August, King Alexandros’ wife Rōxanē (Persian: Rokhsāna)—the daughter of the Persian nobleman Oxyartēs (Persian: Vaxšuvadarva), the king’s satrapēs in Baktrianē—gives birth to a healthy son at the Palace of Naboukhodonosōr in Babylōn. The boy is named “Alexandros”, in honor of his mighty father.

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Above: The empire of Alexandros III and its dependent allies in 323 B.C.

 
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The Downfall of Antipatros
Year 14 of Alexandros Basileus Theos.
(322 B.C.)
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"Ambitious but loyal, cunning but shortsighted, proud but foolish." --apocryphal quote attributed to King Alexandros III on the subject of Antipatros.

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, 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 (having previously served as a page at the royal court), 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, including his son Kassandros. 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, where he lends some of his soldiers to his former comrade Antigonos, Alexandros’ satrapēs in Phrygia.

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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The Arabian Campaign
Years 14 to 17 of Alexandros Basileus Theos.
(322 B.C. – 319 B.C.)

“Though the conquest of Arabia Felix and the crossing of the Arabian desert that followed were nothing short of epic feats in their own right, later historians would later embellish the campaigns of King Alexandros III of Asia in that country to such a degree that it is impossible to separate fact from myth. The wars fought there are now the stuff of legend, and have gone down as the triumph of a living god.”
–- M. Antonius, Platonic Commentaries

In the late summer of 322 B.C., King Alexandros gathers his forces and marches south down the coast of the Persian Gulf, invading the lands held by the regional power in northeast Arabia, the Kingdom of Gerra, famed for its wealthy salt mines, taking with him an army of 45,000. The Gerrhaeans are unequipped and unprepared for the massive assault, and King Alexandros easily takes the city itself after a siege of only several weeks. By the fall of 322 B.C., the whole of the kingdom is occupied by Alexandros III and his army.

Wintering in at the city of Gerra, Alexandros and his forces march south in late February, 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 Maketa—itself a former Achaemenid province during the reign of King Dāriū
š 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 satrapy from Gerra. The Great King then marches west with the majority of his forces, 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, he and his massive army have reached the fabled lands of Eudaimon Arabia, known to be rich in incense and aromatic resins. 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 Hadram
ūt, led by its king, and easily manages to overwhelm and defeat the king’s forces, forcing him to retreat into the lands of his ally, the King of Qataban, leaving the whole of Hadramūt under Argead occupation by September, 321 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 Ammon.”

His subsequent invasion of Qataban thus catches its king 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 Zafar (Greek: Nikaia). King Alexandros III then proceeds north in late July, now lord of all Arabia.

As Alexandros and his army march north, along the desert coastline of the Red Sea, he sets about founding a series of cities and forts, most named in honor of either himself, or a particular general enjoying his favor. The trek north, however, is far more harsh than expected, and the unforgiving climate of the Arabian coastline soon begins to claim the lives of his men. By the time the Great King and his exhausted forces the Gulf of Elat, they have buried over 5,000 of their comrades.

Desperate for rest and facing possible mutiny for the second time, King Alexandros marches north, into the Kingdom of Nabat
ēnē, long considered vassals by the Achaemenids. The 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 three months of assault, the city finally falls to King Alexandros and his superior siege weaponry on June 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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Above: the empire of Alexandros in 319 B.C., after the conquest of Arabia.
 
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India Revisited: The First Mauryan War
Years 18 to 20 of Alexandros Basileus Theos
(318 B.C. – 316 B.C.)
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“In Sandrokottos the Destroyer, they say, the son of Zeus Ammon did meet his most trying of enemies, as if the barbarians of the east had been sent by the Gracious Ones themselves.”[/FONT]
-- author unknown, from the scrolls of royal cult at the Alexandreum in Babylōn.

By late January, 318 B.C., King Alexandros III Megas has already returned to Babylōn, now rapidly becoming the center of royal administration, though he has 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 Ammon.

King Alexandros III begins preparations for the construction of a fleet off the coast of Syria, near the newly rebuilt city of Tyros. However, before plans for the proposed flotilla can progress, King Chandragupta Maurya (Greek: Sandrokyptos), the powerful lord of most of the northern Indian subcontinent, invades Macedonian held Indikē().

King Chandragupta is ambitious. Having just successfully completed his conquest of the Nanda Empire, until this time the regional power in India (and King Alexandros’ former rival for power in the east), the Mauryan king now has his sights set on the wealthy lands of the Indos Valley, all the more tempting now due to their status as Greek provinces. 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., both King Poros and King Taxilēs, both clients of King Alexandros III in the region of Gandaria, 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’ satrapēs in Arakhōsia and Baktrianē 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 Baktrianē, Peithōn and Sibyrtios, the Great King’s satrapēs in the Arakhōsia and Gedrōsia respectively, find themselves outnumbered and in desperate need of support.

Amassing his troops near Sousa, King Alexandros III finds himself 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 Poros. King Alexandros III has won the battle, but at a heavy and almost 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 Taxilēs 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 sacks the city, but also captures King Taxilēs himself, and has him burned alive for his betrayal.

In February, 316 B.C., King Alexandros III and his forces march south to Boukephala, the city named long ago 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 King Alexandros. 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 traitor King Poros, who is likewise punished for his betrayal, being torn apart by wild beasts at the outpost of Alexandreia Hyphasis.

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.

() For the sake of clarity, the region of Punjab will be referred to by its Greek name, ‘Indikē’ (Ινδικη), while the lands of the Indian subcontinent proper will be called the other contemporary Greek term, ‘India’ (Ινδια).
 
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The Submission of Syrakousai
Years 21 to 22 of Alexandros Basileus Theos
(315 B.C. – 314 B.C.)

“…and unto you, son of Zeus, I loyally deliver and submit my breath, my speech, my heart, and my body to your most august person. May Zeus Ammon, Ahuramazda, Melqart, and all the nymphs of the river Styx witness my oath and bind me ever thus to you, King of Kings.”
--from the text of the oath of fealty sworn by the personal bodyguards of King Alexandros Megas.

On his return west from the Indian frontier, King Alexandros III stops at the ruined city of Persepolis, sacked and pillaged by he and his armies over fifteen years before. The former capital of the ancient Achaemenid Empire, the city holds a great deal of personal significance to the Persian people. In order to increase his popularity in Persis, the Great King thus orders that the city be restored and rebuilt, a move that is well received by his oriental subjects (the city itself will not be completed until late 295 B.C.). While he considers undergoing the traditional coronation ritual there for the Persian kings, he finally decides against it when he is warned that it may offend the Persian aristocracy, despite their recognition of him as their king and his shared mythical ancestry from Perseus, also the legendary ancestor of the famed Persian king Kyros the Great (whose tomb King Alexandros III makes a point of visiting and sacrificing at for the third time in his reign).

King Alexandros III and his forces do not reach Sousa until the late fall of 315 B.C. Upon his return, the Great King of Asia orders a period of public rejoicing in honor of his recent triumph over King Chandragupta Maurya, inaugurating the set of competitions which shall later be known as the Sousa games, which to this day are celebrated every fifth month of Hyperberetaios().

It is in early February, 314 B.C. that a group of emissaries arrive from Syrakousai, the dominant Greek power in the region of Megalē Hellas. Agathoklēs, tyrant (Greek: tyrannos) of the city-state of Syrakousai, is at this time at war with the longstanding enemy of the Greek city-states of the west: the Empire of Karkhēdōn. The Republic of Karkhēdōn seeks to expand its influence in Sikilia and has already overrun much of the island’s western half, though Agathoklēs has thus far been able to hold his position in the east, reinforced by his allies in Italia. With the fall of the Greek city of Tyndaris in June, 315 B.C. to advancing Carthaginian forces, however, Agathoklēs’ situation is now becoming all the more desperate. Accordingly, he dispatches his ambassadors to Sousa soon after, seeking the aid and protection of the Great King of Asia, in exchange for a profitable alliance.

The timing of Agathoklēs’ embassy is impeccable, as, unbeknownst to the Tyrant of Syracuse, King Alexandros III has long been considering mounting a campaign against Karkhēdōn, as he sees their defeat as a sort of final victory against the Phoenicians, along with a way to further satiate his growing thirst for conquest.

Alexandros III receives the tyrant’s emissaries in Babylōn. There, the Greek ambassadors are met with a setting of unimaginable splendor, from the magnificent interiors and gardens of the Palace of Naboukhodonosōr, to the city’s newly constructed Greek quarter, with its array of vast temples and city residences for the Macedonian nobility. Further, the incalculable wealth and luxury that the Great King now commands at his disposal is remarkable to the Sicilian Greeks.

However, the men are still unnerved by the degree to which many of the Macedonian and Greek elite have adopted oriental customs, having been raised on tales of the decadence and effeminate weakness of the former Achaemenid Persian Empire, and its long time rivalry with the Greeks. Indeed, the fact that many of the generals and commanders of Alexandros have now taken Persian wives is enough in and of itself, but the insistence of some of them on blackening their eyes with kohl and wearing exotic silks and bejeweled costumes is almost too much. Further, the fact that King Alexandros III Megas, a Greek ruler himself, now insists on prostration in his presence and thinks himself to be a living god is taken as a sign that he and his stratēgoi have, in effect, ‘gone native’—though this is of course ignorant of the fact that the Macedonians have also kept many of their own customs, and brought a great deal of the finer points of Hellenic culture to the east.

King Alexandros agrees to ally himself with the city-states of Megalē Hellas and come to their aid. However, in exchange, he insists that they join the League of Korinthos, his client confederation of Greek states under Argead hegemony. This last issue is a great point of contention for Agathoklēs, who fears the total loss of his autonomy, along with his dominance over the other Greek states in Sikilia. In a series of letters exchanged between Babylōn and Syrakousai, King Alexandros III assures the tyrant that his dominance in Sikilia over much of his neighboring city-states is an asset if nothing else, as it will ease any transition into the League of Korinthos by both he and his allies. And, in exchange for supplying tribute and troops to the Great King, as well as swearing to loyally obey his will, the tyrant will be largely left alone, and the constitutions of the cities of Megalē Hellas left otherwise intact, just as in the cities of Hellas itself.

Under pressure on all sides, from his allies, subjects and enemies, Agathoklēs finally agrees to the terms of Alexandros’ intervention in August, 314 B.C. At Messana, the following November, Agathoklēs and the leaders of a majority of the remaining Greek city-states of Sikilia and southern Italia formally make their submission to King Alexandros III as hēgemōn, stratēgos, and autokratōr of the League of Korinthos. That same day, the first colonial delegates to the representative assembly of the League, are appointed by the tyrants of Sikilia and Megalē Hellas. They depart for Hellas the following month.

Meanwhile, at Tyros, King Alexandros III begins amassing the fleet which has been in preparation for the last few years since his original return to Babylōn in 324 B.C.—his dream of subduing the Carthaginians now a reality. He dispatches his loyal general Ptolemaios to Aigyptos soon after, appointing him his new satrap there and ordering Ptolemaios to begin building a second fleet at Kyrēnē, while also encouraging him to levy further troops from amongst the population and amass a reserve army in Alexandreia Aigyptos for the coming land campaign in Aphrik
ē. Krateros also raises further troops in Makedonia and Thrakē, sending over 7,000 men to Syria in January, 313 B.C., while the League of Korinthos, in accordance with King Alexandros’ new demands, sends a force of 4,000 fresh troops that same month to accompany the army Krateros has raised. Krateros’ most trusted lieutenant and comrade, the aging commander Polyperxōn, is sent to lead the combined Argead force to Tyros.

() The final month of the Argead Calendar (based primarily on the Babylonian Calendar), marked by the first moon of the fall season.
 
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I like this TL. It's very detailed. Be sure to keep it up.

I wonder when Alexander and/or the Argead Empire will finally face someone capable of beating him? It doesn't seem to be in his own lifetime, since the books indicate it was the Mauryans--who did not win--who gave him the most trouble.
 
The Sicilian Campaign.
Year 23 of Alexandros Basileus Theos.
(313 B.C.)

“Despite the mixed legacy of his descendants on the island, King Alexandros Megas has always enjoyed popularity amongst the Greek speaking peoples of Sicilia, who even today see him in the light of a folk hero (“Alexandros Eleutherios”), who liberated them from the invading Punic barbarians.”
--M. Claudius Marcellus, Magna Graecia, a History.

In the summer of 313 B.C., King Alexandros III launches his massive fleet of 300 ships from Tyros and embarks for Sikilia, taking with him a force of some 45,000 men, mostly consisting of Persians and Macedonians, along with many Arabians, Greeks, Indians, Mesopotamians, Phrygians, and Thracians. After a voyage of over three weeks, he finally lands at Syrakousai. The city’s population is awestruck by both the size of the Great King’s fleet and the great ethnic diversity of his vast armies.

Joined by a force of 10,000 from the allied states of Megalē Hellas, he immediately marches west, soon encountering the Carthaginians at Thermai, led by the seasoned military commander King Hamelqart II of Karkhēdōn (Greek: Hamilkaros). King Hamelqart, who has heard of the might of King Alexandros, now finds himself in utter amazement at the actual reality. He immediately realizes that his army of 25,000, mostly consisting of mercenaries hired from neighboring African tribes, will be no match for the Great King of Asia’s combined strength. He wisely retreats east to his main base of operations at Eryx after only a brief skirmish, suffering only minimal casualties in the process. While King Alexandros pursues him west, King Hamelqart instead sends only small bands of soldiers to briefly skirmish with his enemy, buying time for the majority of his forces to take ship and abandon Sikilia—the Carthaginians preferring to amass a force more up to the task of facing King Alexandros III in Aphrikē. The tactical retreat takes place on October 19 at Selinous.

Upon reaching Selinous, King Alexandros is reportedly furious, realizing King Hamelqart has avoided facing him openly and instead fled south. While this has the effect of leaving King Alexandros as lord of Sicily, the Great King is nevertheless displeased by the loss of a chance to openly defeat the famed Carthaginian king and general. He immediately orders his fleet to be readied at Naxos, and preparing for an African campaign the following spring.

The absence of King Alexandros and the concentration of his forces in the west is just the chance that King Chandragupta Maurya has been waiting for in the east. Over the last three years, the Mauryan king has slowly been regrouping his forces in the Ganges River Valley, awaiting the chance for a second invasion of Indikē, his pride greatly damaged by the inconclusive nature of his previous conflict with King Alexandros and its essential lack of any sort strategic victory, despite the heavy casualties suffered on both sides. Marching west from his citadel at Mathurā, the Mauryan king relishes the prospect of finally settling his score with the Argeads.

Perdikkas is caught by surprise, having not expected King Chandragupta to have been capable yet of mounting such a sizable invasion—though this is mostly due to the unreliable reports gathered from his scouts and spies, all of whom are unfamiliar with the Indian subcontinent’s terrain, as the satrapēs has always preferred fellow Macedonians to hold positions of trust on his personal staff. With only 25,000 soldiers at his disposal, Perdikkas attempts to block King Chandragupta’s advance at Alexandreia Hyphasis in August, 313 B.C. Though Perdikkas’ men fight valiantly to defend the empire, they are no match for the Mauryan army, now numbering 60,000. Overwhelmed and suffering heavy casualties, Perdikkas retreats south with what remains of his men, hoping to hold Patala for the winter against the onslaught.
 
The African Campaign.
Years 24 to 26 of Alexandros Basileus Theos.
(312 B.C. – 310 B.C.)

“…did you think you could skulk from my land without one word?" -- apocryphal words attributed to the semi-mythical Queen Dido of Karkhēdōn.

King Alexandros III does not learn of King Chandragupta’s invasion of Indikē until early March. By this time, he is far too advanced in his preparations for his coming African campaign to turn back. While his stratēgoi attempt to encourage him to do so anyway, especially Lysimakhos and Peukestas. However, King Alexandros refuses to listen to their suggestions. By this point, he has invested too much and waited far too long to be able to finally face King Hamelqart in Karkhēdōn. On March 19, 312 B.C. he and his fleet depart from Naxos en route to Aphrikē.

Meanwhile, in early spring, King Chandragupta Maurya and his forces soon occupy the southern reaches of the Indos River Valley, and are besieging Perdikkas and his army at Patala by April 4, 312 B.C. Perdikkas’ situation is now becoming all the more hopeless. Though he has already sent word to his fellow satrapai and requested aid, the vast distances that any army must cover to reach him and the poor quality of the empire’s networks of communication in the east are enough to ensure his realization that any help will not arrive in time to save his position. After three months of holding out, the half-starved, desperate Perdikkas and his remaining army of some 17,000 finally abandon the city of Patala and retreat west in July. The east bank of the Indos is now open to King Chandragupta for the taking.

King Alexandros and his fleet land at Thakapē after over two weeks at sea, on April 4—the same day as King Chandragupta’s arrival at Patala—with a force of some 45,000, along with over 10,000 allied troops under the command of Agathoklēs. By this time, King Hamelqart is ready for him, meeting King Alexandros’ advance at Sufetula with a force of over 40,000. It is here that King Hamelqart rises to the occasion, and for the first time since his war with King Chandragupta in India, Alexandros III is facing a worthy foe—and unlike his previous campaign, his luck will not hold so well this time. April 20, 312 B.C. becomes a day forever remembered as one of ill omen by the Argeads, as it is on that day that King Alexandros III and his armies are defeated by King Hamelqart II. Though King Alexandros’ army suffers minimal losses (only about 4,000 men), he is nevertheless unable to break past the Carthaginian lines with his phalanx, and is forced to concede at least temporary defeat, retreating east to Thenai.

King Hamelqart’s victory has come at a heavy cost: over 9,000 of his soldiers. He knows that King Alexandros already is aware of this, and thus, in order to gather his full strength for the next battle and conserve what forces he has, Hamelqart II does not march south to pursue Alexandros III, but instead goes north to Maktar to bide his time and await reinforcements. While this essentially leaves much of the strip of African coastline south of Akholla under Argead occupation, it is only a temporary calm before the storm. For the time being, any northern advance by King Alexandros towards Karkhēdōn will be blocked.

In late September, reinforcements finally arrive from Syria and Anatolē, bringing the total number of Perdikkas’ forces in Arakhōsia to 30,000. Marching north, he joins with his fellow satrap Oxyartēs in December, at the foot of the Paropamisos Mountains near Ortospana, swelling the Argead troop count in India to well over 45,000, though the Argeads are still outnumbered when compared to the army of 65,000 at King Chandragupta’s disposal—the Mauryan king having received reinforcements of his own.

In Aphrikē, Alexandros marches north with his army, this time determined to best King Hamelqart on the battlefield. Hamelqart, however, is ready for the Great King of Asia, and the two armies soon meet near Maktar on July 15. The battle that ensues is one of the most bloody in antiquity, with neither general willing to concede defeat, despite the heavy losses incurred on both sides. It is the Macedonian phalanx this time, however, which triumphs over the Carthaginian mercenary force, breaking through King Hamelqart’s lines and dealing a massive blow to his infantry—though this comes at the cost of thousands of Persian and Macedonian lives. In the end it is King Alexandros’ abnormally strong will and little else which wins the day, as King Hamelqart is no longer willing to suffer further reductions to his numbers. Over 18,000 soldiers now lie dead on both sides.

Refusing to allow Hamelqart to regroup, King Alexandros III openly ignores the advice of his stratēgoi to retreat south for the winter, and instead orders his forces to march north in pursuit of the Carthaginians, besieging King Hamelqart at Tunis in November.

Despite his losses in Aphrikē, King Alexandros knows that he still can win the war with his remaining troops. Further, the reports that finally reach him from Indikē over the course of the winter siege disturb the king greatly, as he now realizes the full extent of the situation. All at once, the great warlord is facing the very real possibility of losing his Indian possessions. From Tunis, he immediately orders Ptolemaios to abandon his preparations in Alexandreia Aigyptos for a second African invasion from Kyrēnē, and instead ready his troops and march east. Ptolemaios dutifully obeys.

Tunis finally falls to King Alexandros after five months of siege, in the spring of 311 B.C. Realizing the risk of taking the war too close to home, Hamelqart wisely abandons the city and instead takes his army north. The two armies finally meet at Utica on June 12, 311 B.C. By now, King Alexandros and his generals are determined to defeat the Carthaginians at whatever cost, tired of the last few months seemingly constant light skirmishes with the Carthaginians, followed by hasty retreats. There, King Alexandros finally manages to regain his former glory and completely destroy the armies of Karkhēdōn, at the tremendous cost of over 8,000 of his men. Among the casualties that litter the field of battle are King Hamelqart himself and the tyrant Agathoklēs. While the remains of the armies of Karkhēdōn are now totally destroyed by the advance of the mighty phalanx, King Alexandros himself has also suffered greatly: only a little over 31,000 of his original force is now left in Aphrikē. Many lives have now been sacrificed upon the altar of the mighty son of Zeus’ personal grandeur.

Fearing the fate of their mother city of Tyros, the Kingdom of Karkhēdon’s powerful royal council (which has systematically limited the powers of the kingdom’s monarchs for the past century) realizes they have little options left now but to surrender, with or without royal orders to do so. Further, with much of their political elite now dead in battle, there is little voice of opposition left in favor of continuing the war and preparing for siege. It is thus on August 22 that Karkhēdōn opens its gates to King Alexandros and his forces, who enter the city in triumph. Despite this act of unilateral surrender, King Alexandros III is not content. While he spares much of the city itself, he nevertheless gives his soldiers leave to sack Karkhēdōn and freely loot and pillage—the conqueror seeing little choice now, and fearing a mutiny by his troops if they do not fully satisfy their desire for vengeance for the deaths of their comrades. However, the inhabitants of Karkhēdōn themselves are spared from further violence, and are neither sold into slavery nor massacred.

Leaving his stratēgos Lysimakhos in Aphrikē as satrapēs with a force of some 16,000 as satrap, with the promise of future reinforcements, Alexandros III departs with the remainder of his men in November, landing in Syrakousai several weeks later. There he restores the city’s former oligarchy and previous constitution in his role as hēgemōn of the League of Korinthos, in order to little future unrest in Magna Graecia and a smooth transition in power due to Agathoklēs’ death. Finally, in February, 310 B.C., he takes ship for Syria.

The situation on the eastern frontier has seen little improvement over the last year. Determined to at least gain some form of upper hand in defense, Perdikkas attempts to block King Chandragupta’s advance at Peukela in the summer of 311 B.C. The attempt is a total failure, and results in a humiliating Argead defeat that costs many of the general’s men their lives, including that of the satrapēs Oxyartēs himself. The fall of Aornus the following month cements the loss of Gandaria.

The tides of battle do not see improvement until the late fall of 311 B.C., when an outnumbered and desperate Perdikkas finally manages to block King Chandragupta’s advance in the Paropamisos Mountains by holding the Khyber pass and forcing the Mauryans to admit an uneasy defeat. Realizing the futility of further war with Chandragupta, Perdikkas instead abandons India entirely and sends emissaries the king’s camp to negotiate a peace settlement.

Under the terms of the agreement—unauthorized by King Alexandros—King Chandragupta promises to halt his advance past the Indos River, and in return demands that Perdikkas abandon any further claim to the lands he now occupies. The agreement will later cost the general his life.

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Above: empire of Alexandros III in 310 B.C.
 
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The Second Mauryan War.
Years 27 to 35 of Alexandros Basileus Theos.
(309 B.C. – 301 B.C.)

“And thus he returned to Thēbai, having subdued the whole of India and sowed the seeds of his worship there.” -- Amyntas of Byzantion, The Travels of Dionysos.

By the time of his return to Babylōn in mid May, 310 B.C., King Alexandros III has one objective only: reconquest of India and defeat of King Chandragupta. The Great King has taken the loss of his Indian possessions personally, and when word reaches him of Perdikkas’ desperate truce reached with the Mauryans and his cession of all land beyond in the Indos River Valley to King Chandragupta Maurya he is furious. King Alexandros sees the acts of Perdikkas as not only illegal, but treasonous. Further, the death of Oxyartēs the previous year is also taken as a deep affront by Alexandros III, as the satrapēs had been his father-in-law via his marriage to Rōxanē.

King Alexandros III immediately orders Krateros to levy fresh troops in Makedonia and Thrakē, and commands the League of Korinthos to also send him more soldiers for the planned Indian campaign. This comes as an unwelcome order to the Greeks, as they are already just recovering from the losses of the Carthaginian expedition, and have little desire to be bled even further for a war that does not concern them. It is only through the immense force of King Alexandros Megas’ unbreakable will that they finally relent and send a meager force of 5,000 hoplites, claiming they can levy no further troops at this time. The Macedonians and Thracians prove far more compliant, and Krateros is able to muster not only 12,000 soldiers there, but also a further 7,000 allied soldiers from Ēpeiros, along with an auxiliary army of 3,000 Illyrian mercenaries. A further 6,000 heavy infantry are sent from Seleukos in Arabia, along with a useful gift of 2,000 famed Arab horses. In addition, 18,000 Anatolians are levied in Phrygia and Kilikia, along with a further 35,000 Persians, Mesopotamians, and Syrians. By the time his new army is assembled at Sousa in early spring, 309 B.C., King Alexandros is pleased to hear that a force of 10,000 mercenaries is now on its way from Aphrikē, levied at the order of his satrapēs Lysimakhos.

In April, King Alexandros and his army depart, marching east into India.

In October, 309 B.C., the new army of Alexander III reaches Poura, joining with Ptolemaios and his forces who are camped there—Ptolemaios being the only real power left in the east to defend the empire’s borders against the Mauryans. The Lord of Asia’s forces now swell to some 90,000 men. The army winters at Poura, and only in March, 308 B.C. does it march north to Nikaia, the strongest remaining border citadel on the eastern border. Due to the army’s massive size, it is not easily achieved, and King Alexandros will not reach the city until August, 308 B.C. It is there that he joins with what remains of Perdikkas’ forces in Baktrianē. The Perdikkas that King Alexandros finds there is a sad, defeated man, demoralized and disgraced for his actions in India, who has been guarding the northeastern borders like a dog waiting of the return of his master.

A furious King Alexandros orders the stratēgos to be strangled soon after in retribution for his treason and failure. Immediately after, he and his army crosses over the Paropamisos Mountains, in what will be remembered as a near epic trek, given the number of his troops, and invades India.

By this time, King Chandragupta has heard of King Alexandros’ planned invasion and the forces that he has been raising there. Deeply offended by what he sees as a dishonorable act and broken oath on the part of the Argeads, the Mauryan king decides to seek personal revenge for the slight. With a force of 88,000 he marches west from the Ganges river valley, preparing to finally face his longtime enemy and rival for power in India.

King Alexandros reaches Taxila by November, besieging the city through the winter months. He manages to finally retake the city by February, 307 B.C., though this time he spares it from being sacked and looted by his troops. Continuing east, he takes Boukephala by April, and from there continues south to Sagala, where he finally encounters King Chandragupta and his equally impressive forces in June. The battle that ensues is one of the finest examples of the skills of both men as tacticians. It is there that King Alexandros defeats his enemy on the field, redeeming his former glory and forcing Chandragupta and his army to retreat south. For the first time in over half a decade, Indikē and the north of the Indos River Valley are again occupied by Alexandros’ forces. The fortune of the Argead forces in India has finally been reversed.

Taking Alexandreia Hyphasis in the fall, King Alexandros III winters there with his massive forces, nearly raping the region of all resources in the process, due to his army’s massive size. Marching south the next spring, King Alexandros again faces King Chandragupta, this time near Patala, where, after a long and bloody battle, he manages to defeat the Mauryan king and drive him east. Besieging the city proper, he retakes it within weeks.

By summer, 306 B.C. that King Alexandros once again is master of the whole of his former Indian possessions, having managed to thus far outmaneuver King Chandragupta. But the Mauryan king is no fool. He knows that Alexandros III Megas has used both his numbers and his superior phalanx against him to great effect. Further, the Mauryan king has only been defeated twice, and both times were but tactical retreats with minimal losses. The only decisive success that King Alexandros has gained is renewed control of the Indos River, and little else. He still has King Chandragupta to face in the east, and any declaration of victory now would be premature with the Mauryan army still menacing the empire’s borders. This time there will be no turning back at the Hydaspēs River; the Great King will have to pursue the Mauryans into India—and thus by Greek reckoning, to the very ends of the earth.

In late January, 305 B.C., King Alexandros leaves Ptolemaios in India as satrapēs and marches northeast, ready to pursue King Chandragupta and finally subdue the peoples of Indikē, once and for all. The Great King is now on the verge of a possible second chance at his old goal: conquest of the whole of the old Nanda
Empire, and the resulting extension of his domains to the edge of the encircling seas.

But King Alexandros is facing a mysterious enemy in a foreign land, and King Chandragupta has the upper hand. This cruel fact is demonstrated when the two forces once again encounter one another at Barygaza in the summer. There King Chandragupta Maurya manages to finally hold his ground against King Alexandros’ advancing phalanx, and, using the terrifying might of his force of war elephants (larger than Alexandros’ own troop), deal a crushing defeat to King Alexandros III, who try as he might is unable to break through the king’s own lines. Their advanced blocked, the Argead army is forced to retreat to the safety of the west.

Returning to Patala, King Alexandros is beaten, but not defeated. He has managed to at least escape with much of his army intact, though his pride is greatly damaged by King Chandragupta’s victory. Realizing that his current strategy is ineffective, the king instead decides to switch his route of conquest, and instead marches north to Sagala, deciding to launch his invasion from there.

In the spring of 304 B.C., he thus invades India a second time, this time managing to catch King Chandragupta by surprise. The Mauryan king has miscalculated, and believed Alexandros III would not dare to strike directly at his forces in the north, but instead attempt to take Barygaza again, to avenge his previous defeat, and then march northeast to the Ganges from there. Instead, Alexandros defeats several small Mauryan forces that year in a series of light skirmishes, and, before Chandragupta can reach him in the north, manages to take Indraprastha after a four month long siege in the fall of 304 B.C. Once again, fickle fortune has betrayed her man, and Alexandros III finds himself now holding a strong and defensible position in the north. Further, the Great King now has the prize that he has long waited for and been cheated of: an empire that stretches to the western banks of the Ganges.

Advancing east across the Ganges River towards the end of winter, 303 B.C., he besieges Mathurā. However, by this time, Chandragupta Maurya and the full force of his Indian army have reached the southern reaches of the Ganges River Valley. Chandragupta arrives to lift the siege of Mathurā on April 14, and, summoning up the full force of a defending army, not only blocks Alexandros’ further advance east of the Ganges, but also manages to inflict the heaviest defeat ever felt by Alexandros III in his entire career as a general, the likes of which that have not been seen since Sufetula in 312 B.C. King Chandragupta has risen to the occasion and not been found wanting, and the message delivered to King Alexandros III is now clear: any further advance east will be disastrous for his forces.

There will be no further Argead advance past the Ganges River. This is further ensured by the refusal of his soldiers to attempt a second advance, as by now, even most of King Alexandros’ stratēgoi realize that the mighty kings Chandragupta and Alexandros are evenly matched. The message is now clear: a stalemate, while less honorable than a victory, is less disastrous than a defeat.

Remaining in Indikē for the next year, King Alexandros III personally oversees the fortification of his occupied lands in India. It is not until the spring of 301 B.C. that he finally departs for Babylōn, leaving Ptolemaios as satrapēs in Sagala, with a great force of 50,000 under his command to defend the long stretches of the Mauryan border.

While Alexandros III sees his inability to defeat King Chandragupta as a personal failure, the uneasy peace in India is seen by many of his subjects as positive for the empire, as it has resulted in the annexation of a great deal of northern India and its population, and at least has been far more successful in its achievement than any past Indian campaign since that of 326 B.C. Indeed, the expansion of King Alexandros’ Indian domains is even seen as a great victory by his subjects in Persis, as their own previous ruler, the famed warlord King Kyros the Great, was himself unable to achieve any success in the Indian subcontinent. For his efforts, King Alexandros III Megas earns the victory surname “Neos Dionysos”, in reference to the mythical conquest of India by the Greek deity Dionysos, himself also a legendary son of Zeus.

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Above: the empire of Alexandros in 301 B.C. with the conquest of India.
 
The Empire of King Alexandros III.
Year 36 of Alexandros Basileus Theos.
(300 B.C.)

The empire over which King Alexandros III Megas Neos Dionysos rules is one greater and more powerful than any ever seen before or since. Stretching from the Ganges river in the east to the shores of Tunis and the island of Sikilia in the west, from the fragrant land of Eudaimon Arabia in the south to the Istros River and the rocky steppes of Sogdianē in the north, it encompasses most of the known world. Indeed, aside from his legendary might, the great fortune and success enjoyed by King Alexandros III is enough for many of his subjects to accept that he truly is a living god—and not just as his predecessors in Persis before him, but the son of Zeus begotten on a mortal woman. The great hero Hēraklēs or mysterious god Dionysos of his age.

Government and Society.

By this time, Babylōn has become the new royal capital and seat of power, replacing the old Macedonian city of Pella and the ancient Persian Persepolis (though in practice, Sousa was used as the de facto royal seat in the latter days of the Achaemenid Empire). There, at the magnificent Palace of Naboukhodonod
ōr, its famed gardens one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Great King of Asia rules his vast territories. While the government mints and official seat of the royal administration are located at Babylōn, the Great King spends only the fall and winter there, migrating to Sousa for the spring and Ekbatana for the summer with his court, setting a pattern for his future successors.

The ruling class of the empire is mostly composed of the great families of Makedonia and Persis respectively, though the local landowning nobilities have been left in place, for the most part, in most conquered realms, such as in Arabia, Aigyptos, and Indikē. Due to increased pressure from King Alexandros and his policies of a new order of integration (such as at the famed mass wedding celebration at Sousa in 324 B.C.), a great deal of the aristocratic houses of the Achaemenid Empire have now intermarried with those of Makedonia, and the ruling class is on its way to slowly evolving into a homogenous, endogamous entity. Thus it is due mainly to King Alexandros’ own aggressive insistence that a distinct form of Hellenic and Oriental syncretism is on the way to forming, instead of one conquering group dominating the other. Indeed, both Greeks and Asians have both begun to adopt and assimilate a great deal of cultural trends and practices from each other.

The Great King governs the empire as absolute lord and autocrat, having the sole power to legislate and command his armies. Further, he is also a religious figure, treated as a near-living god according to the native rites and traditions of most of his subjects, especially in Asia, for a variety of reasons: in Aigyptos, he is the pharaoh, son and high priest of the great god Amun Ra and living incarnation of the sky god Horus; in Persis and Mesopotamia he is worthy of veneration, as the office of King of Kings is a sacred one by its very nature, with the king being seen as the living representative of the great god Ahuramazda and his chief priest on earth, with he and the royal family being represented by the holy fires burned in the temples; in Syria he is the descendant of the gods themselves, and their living image on earth. And, most recently, by the royal sponsored propaganda of King Alexandros III himself, he is the son of great lord Zeus Amm
ōn as revealed at Ammōneion, sired upon the Queen Olympias in the form of a snake (or thunderbolt, depending on the tale), a living god, and the father of a new dynasty of divine descent.

Royal income is derived not just from taxation and tribute, but also from vast landed estates owned by the Great King throughout the empire, duties collected in ports of trade, his complete legal monopoly over all the empire’s gold and silver mines, and finally, the special monopoly over all timber harvested and sold in Makedonia, Syria, and Thrakē.

The Great King is assisted in his duties by a chief vizier known as the khiliarkhos, who serves as his primary adviser and administrator, as well as his personal military lieutenant in command. Further, the royal council advises the Great King and oversees the governing of the empire. The council, known as the synedrion, consists of the khiliarkhos, the seven personal bodyguards of the Great King (Greek: sōmatophylakēs) the king’s generals (Greek: strategoi), and lastly the king’s companions (Greek: philoi), personally selected from the greatest and most noble houses of the Persian and Macedonian nobility and organized into two distinct grades: first companions (Greek: proto philoi) and honored companions (Greek: timomenoi philoi). The sons of first companions alone had the special right to serve the Great King as his royal pages.

The Argead Empire is divided into a series of provinces, each of which is governed by a trusted satrapēs appointed to represent the king there, and assisted by a state appointed secretary. Though they serve at the pleasure of the king in their office, they are often transferred or recalled after several years, as according to the needs of the king. Satrapai have the power to act in the place of the king, within set limits, and are also sometimes in command of a garrisoning army, in border provinces (these being the most powerful and sought after satrapies). Aside from this, most local governments remain relatively intact, with some modifications, as this is this allows for a smooth administration. Cities retain their special constitutions, being ruled either by royal officials, or local assemblies, as in some areas of Syria and Asia Minor. Other forms of peculiar local administration, such as in rural areas, are retained, though they are directly appointed by the king, or more commonly by the provincial satrapēs on his behalf.

Further, a series of client kingdoms are also subject to the Great King, ruled by their local kings as vassals to Babylōn, with their own separate internal systems of administration. These kingdoms are only required to remain loyal to empire, pay an annual tribute, and supply soldiers, and otherwise are left unmolested.

One such client state is the League of Korinthos, a confederation of the Greek city-states of the Iōnia, Hellas, and Sikilia. It is governed by the Great King as ruling hēgemōn, who serves as its chief statesman and military leader. While each of the city states is allowed to maintain its own local constitution and customs, they are required to send delegates to the body’s federal council, which acts as its primary policy forming and administrative assembly, meeting in various locations, such as Athēnai, Korinthos, Delphoi, and Sparta. The League is required to pay a special tribute to the Great King and supply him with a set amount of troops, depending on the local population of the city state in question.

Other client kingdoms include at this time Bithynia,
Ēpeiros, Kypros, and Pontos.

Economy and Trade.
The size of the empire necessitates a developed network of communications that includes a wide ranging system of roads and messengers. While King Alexandros has inherited much of this already in the conquered lands of the Achaemenid Empire and Hellas, the rest of the empire is in dire need of reform in this department, especially in India and Arabia, and it is this expansion of major roadways that will plague the royal administration well into the third millennia B.C., only slowly taking place in the more remote areas of the empire.

Nevertheless, this lack of proper communications systems has not affected trade within the borders of King Alexandros’ realm by any means. Spanning all major trade routes in both the east and the west, the empire that the Great King rules over from Babylōn is the richest ever seen. Vast amounts of wealth change hands amongst its merchants, and the state levies a great deal of money in taxes and tribute from its subjects and vassals every year. Daily, traders import silks and spices from the far east and furs and slaves from the north and west. But the empire’s greatest strength lies in its own self sufficiency, and the fact that it already possess a great deal of wealth from internal sources, boosting both domestic commerce and trade with foreign lands.

Aigyptos, Aphrikē, and Mesopotamia all act as bread baskets for the empire, producing more than enough grain to feed the population twice over. Eudaimon Arabia provides such commodities as salt and aromatic resins for the lucrative incense trade. The cotton and spices produced in India are in great demand as luxury goods throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Syria is rich in timber and glass, and produces the rare and expensive pigments which are used in purple dyes, while Anatolē is famed for its silver mines. Even the Greeks of the League of Korinthos supply a great deal of wine and olive oil to the subjects of the empire.

Military.

The empire of Alexandros III is not only rich in trade goods and commerce; it is also home to a vast amount of human resources, numbering around 80 to 90 million subjects in total(), the largest population ever before ruled over by a single man. The old form of the Macedonian army supported by a great number of auxiliary forces remained virtually intact until the reforms of 324 B.C., and even after that little changed until 300 B.C. It is in that year that a great deal of reforms were introduced by King Alexandros III concerning the new army of his realm. According to the new system introduced by the Great King, troops were to be recruited from all provinces by their respective satrapai, and in each client kingdom by their respective kings. Further, if additional troops were needed in times of emergency, the Great King could order them as he saw fit.

The empire’s cavalry mainly consisted of men of the upper classes, as all its members were required to supply their own horse. The most prestigious were the 3,000 horsemen who served as the king’s permanent Royal Guard of Companions, all of whom were required to be of noble birth. Cavalry troops were divided into squadrons of 200 men, and armed with heavy armor and lances in the Asiatic style, though there were some existing troops of light oriental cavalry (mostly mounted archers from Bactria) and scouts.

The infantry was mostly made up of lightly armed foot soldiers who wielded pikes in a phalanx formation, though there was also an elite force of Greek hoplites levied from the League of Korinthos. Further, foot soldiers equipped with swords in the Oriental manner and Cretan archers were also employed. The two most prestigious forces of the infantry were the hyaspistai, a force of 10,000 Macedonian spearmen armed as hoplites, and the Immortals, a force of 10,000 Persian and Median heavy infantry resurrected by King Alexandros before his Carthaginian campaign in 315 B.C. Both these units served as a standing army in times of peace.

The royal army also had special divisions, including a siege weapon and artillery unit. Further, since his first return to Babylōn from India in 324 B.C., King Alexandros III had assembled a force of war elephants to be used in battle, which consisted of both Indian and African elephants, trained and used to devastating effect during his African and Indian campaigns, each being coupled with mounted archers and handlers, and sometimes even miniature fortress towers to shield its riders.

Culture.
The syncretism of Hellenic and Oriental culture has deeper implications then ethnic intermarriage. Greek has fast become the lingua franca of the empire, replacing all local languages as the primary tongue of trade and administration, even in such places of Aigyptos and Persis. The results of this are far reaching, with an explosion of Greek literature and theater, along with the translation of many Egyptian, Persian, and Indian works into Greek and the local native tongues. Many Hellenic customs, such as athletic games and musical and theatrical competitions, have become widespread, adopted locally to the varying traditions in place. Greek architecture has also influenced the many public works found throughout Alexandros’ realm, although traditional Persian and Babylonian styles are also becoming just as widespread, for many of the same reasons.

Further, many Greeks and Macedonians living in east, along with many others beyond the old Achaemenid sphere of influence, begin to adopt a great deal of Persian culture and customs, mystified by the exotic pomp, and foreign mystery. For the first time, Persian music, personal adornments (such as jewelry and clothing styles), and furnishings become widespread, with the Macedonian upper classes almost completely abandoning their restrained Greek ways in favor of a more Persian lifestyle of Asiatic luxury and orientalism, albeit one with heavy Greek influences in the spheres of language and worldview. Macedonian and Persian noblemen alike now in their spare time indulge in Persian style hunting and symposiums with heavy oriental themes (in such areas such as music and dancing), and sometimes even take multiple wives and keep a troop of eunuch servants.

Religious and philosophical diversity explodes, with new ideas being brought from the east and west, and slowly merged to form unique schools of thought. In cosmopolitan cities such as Alexandreia Aigyptos, Babylōn, Ekbatana, Ephesos, Persepolis, Sardeis, Sousa, Taxila, and Tyros (newly rebuilt by Alexandros himself), one can find any number of gods being worshipped, including Ahuramazda, Athēnē, Ba’al, Kybēlē, Hēraklēs, Indra, Ishtar, Isis, Melqart, Vishnu, and Zeus. Mystery cults abound, such as the rites of Eleusis and the mysteries of Dionysos. And, the oracles at Ammōneion and Delphoi soon begin to achieve a great deal of respect and fame.

King Alexandros III also sponsors a new, royal cult, including many aspects of native Persian religion and Hellenic religion. The new cult serves mainly as a set of state rites, and is mainly used in combination with local traditions. The cult worships King Alexandros III Megas as son of Zeus, though in various aspects, from the Hēraklēs of the present age, to the Neos Dionysos. Other important figures include Olympias, the queen mother, and the sub-cult of the hero Hēphaistiōn, who bears the special epithet “Beloved-of-the-Son-of-Zeus”. Rites include sacrifices on the birthday of King Alexandros III and other members of the royal family, sacred fires burned in their honor, and annual games held in honor of the divine son of Zeus.

Philosophically, the empire also experiences a revolution. For the first time, Hellenic and Indian philosophical movements encounter one another. Over the next century, these two schools of thought, east and west, will play off of one another, until schisms necessitate new movements and schools of syncretism. Alexandreia Aigyptos, Athēnai, Kyrēnē, and Ephesos, and all become centers of Greek learning, with academies being established there, and such Hellenic schools as Platonism, Pythagorism, and Stoicism all spread east and west, their literature now widely available. At the same time, the six famed Vedic schools of philosophy arrive from the east, with such schools as Yoga and Vedanta attracting widespread followings in intellectual circles. Further, non-Hindu movements, such as Jainism and Buddhism also soon become present. While Jainism never fully gains a following west of the Paropamisos Mountains, Buddhism over time will becomes quite popular in such cities as Ekbatana and Alexandreia Aigyptos, though it will never be viewed as more than a philosophical school by the Greeks and Persians.

The result of this great deal of cultural exchange and fusion are unique, new schools of philosophy, never before dreamed possible. Great advances are made in the field of logic, when Dikaiarxos, a student of Aristotle, reject his epistemological system and adopts that of the Vedic Nyaya school, while at the same time being influenced heavily by Aristotelian theories on causation. The result is an entirely new school of logic that is formed, to compete with the two older schools of Aristotle and Nyaya for some time to come—and indeed, to eventually splinter into further opposing schools of thought. Vaisheshika ideas on empiricism also heavily influence the Greek philosophers, while the effect of Platonism on the Vedanta school of thought in India is extraordinary. The fusion of Epicureanism with Carvaka materialism is also worthy of note, as it results in the school of Nastika-Epicurean movement in 230 B.C.

() This being a rough estimate taken from figures approximated for Hellenistic Aigyptos, Karkhēdōn, Hellas, Persis, and northern India at this time.
 
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Hecatee

Donor
splendid alt-Alexander, keeps as close as possible to what could be realistic. I'll be following :)
 
This TL is awesome. I don't know enough about the subject to know how authentic particular details might be, but it *feels* right and in any case is very cool. Two thumbs up!
 
The Death of King Alexandros III.
Years 36 to 46 of Alexandros Basileus Theos.
(300 B.C. – 290 B.C.)

“All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine.” -- Sōkratēs.

Despite all the triumphal celebrations and games held at Sousa and Babylōn in honor of his recent conquest of India, King Alexandros III is a broken man upon his return, his inability to personally achieve a final victory of King Chandragupta Maurya something he can never overcome. Further, the Great King’s health has suffered greatly over the years, due to a lifestyle of constant military campaigning and hard living. Once again, the black moods and suspicious tendencies that marked the years following Hēphaistiōn’s death resurface. King Alexandros III abandons himself to a life of luxury and pleasure, spending his time hunting, drinking, and indulging in debauched orgies with the boys and concubines of his harem.

Nevertheless, the empire is still in need of direct attention and King Alexandros is able to free himself enough to fulfill his duties, at least minimally. With Krateros’ death in 303 B.C., the satrapy of Makedonia now lies vacant, having been administered by the aging Olympias in Alexandros’ absence in India. When she warns the returning King Alexandros III of the discontent amongst the Macedonians and Greeks at the growing oriental tendencies of the ruling elite, and that she fears they will rebel sooner than accept one of his sons as the king’s successor, whom they see as far too Asiatic, King Alexandros decides to send his eldest son and namesake, the prince Alexandros, to serve as satrapēs in Pella, hoping that he will gain the trust and support he needs in that capacity. The Great King of Asia also sends the prince’s mother, his Persian wife, Queen Rōxanē, to Pella with the prince, hoping to gain further acceptance of his marriage with the Greeks.

The royal prince Alexandros is now twenty-three years old. The only surviving son of the Great King and Rōxanē, he is now considered by many to be the preferred heir to the throne. Despite his youth, he has already distinguished himself as an able military commander, leading some 8,000 Macedonian and Thracian reinforcements to his father in India in 307 B.C. During the Indian campaign, he received his first taste of combat at his father’s side, and managed, mostly at his mother’s insistence, to gain King Alexandros’ favor there.

The absence of Queen Rōxanē and her son causes a great power vacuum at court. However, the year 298 B.C. brings with it a series of new developments that will restructure the royal court for the duration of the reign of King Alexandros III Megas. First, Ptolemaios is summoned back to Babylōn and Kassandros is removed from his command in Maketa and dispatched to Sagan to replace Ptolemaios as satrapēs, the king having admired his demonstration of loyalty and governing skill there. This is mainly due to the news of the abdication and death of King Chandragupta Maurya that same year, and the accession of his son, Bindusara, as ruler of the Mauryan empire. With the death of his powerful old rival, Alexandros III feels that the risk of further conflict with the Mauryans is at least decreased. Further, he desperately needs Ptolemaios at his side in Babylōn, feeling that there are few other men he can rely on.

Upon his return to Babylōn in the fall of 297 B.C., Ptolemaios is appointed to the vacant post of khiliarkhos, making him the second most powerful man in the empire. That same year, news of Queen Olympias’ death reaches King Alexandros. The Great King of Asia is so devastated that he orders a year of public morning, orchestrating magnificent funeral games in her honor (an honor never before bestowed upon an Argead queen), having the Olympias embalmed, and entombing her remains in the newly completed royal mausoleum at Sousa—a wondrous affair of marble and granite, constructed in Hellenic style with Persian influences, and now called ‘the eighth wonder of the world’, by some.

While the queen mother has probably died of old age (being past seventy-eight at the time of her death), many rumors still abound that her death was the direct result of Queen Rōxanē poisoning her rival in Pella. These rumors are probably the work of King Alexandros’ Persian wife Queen Stateira and her sister Drypetis, the widow of Hēphaistiōn, both of whom are the daughters of the late King Dāriūš III of Persia, the Great King’s defeated enemy and predecessor in the east. Queen Stateira has long been rivals with Queen Rōxanē, seeing her as a dangerous rival in power for their husband’s affections. Further, Stateira also has a son by King Alexandros III, the fifteen year old prince Philippos, and she fears for his future in the event of the accession of his half-brother the prince Alexandros.

From 296 B.C. onwards, King Alexandros III Megas is almost entirely under the influence of a small court faction, known as the Persian Cabal. It consists of Queen Stateira, Drypetis, and the Great King’s former lover, the aging eunuch Bogoas. The small group essentially controls all access to the king through their monopoly over royal patronage and influence with much of the palace servants, playing upon the Great King’s suspicious tendencies. Even the khiliarkhos Ptolemaios finds himself under increasing pressure, forced to compromise with the wishes of Cabal in order to effectively administer the empire—a task now left almost entirely to him and the synedrion. The aging king finds himself further isolated from the rest of the court, which Queen Stateira insists is for his benefit, as it is unseemly for a living god to be bothered by the affairs of mortals. She reintroduces the more obscure rituals of Achaemenid court etiquette to Babylōn, such as the custom of the Great King conducting all business behind a veiled throne, shielding him from the profane eyes of mortals. The Cabal also, in an effort to increase its own power, encourages the king in his drinking and debauchery.

Queen Stateira, however, in her thirst for absolute power, makes a fatal error. Her exclusivity effectively shuts the khiliarkhos Ptolemaios out of power, making an easy enemy of him. Further, the much of the court, both Macedonian and Persian, finds itself alienated by the queen’s actions, and the entire Cabal finds itself unpopular and in a dangerous position by 294 B.C. That same year, Ptolemaios turns against Stateira, and allies himself with Queen Rōxanē and her son in Pella, corresponding with the pair frequently. Playing on King Alexandros’ long held trust and their childhood friendship, Ptolemaios is able to convince the king of the necessity of recalling his son from Pella. Despite Queen Stateira’s attempts to dissuade him, the Great King agrees, and orders his wife and heir to return to Babylōn.

The royal prince and his mother arrive in 292 B.C. By now, King Alexandros’ health is in visible decline, both physically and mentally, his demise urged onwards by the hedonistic lifestyle he has been encouraged in by his queen. Ptolemaios, however, is now instrumental in brokering peace between the two queens, despite his personal alliance with Rōxanē. While Stateira and her party still command much of the Great King’s influence, Ptolemaios has the loyalty of the army and the royal guard, and in the event of the king’s death, could easily use this to whatever candidate’s advantage he saw fit. It is the aging general who thus, ironically, masterminds the so-called “Lady’s Peace of 292 B.C.” Under the terms of the private agreement, Philippos will refrain from making a bid for the throne, and in compensation, will receive Aphrikē and Kyrēnaïkē upon his father’s death. The royal prince Alexandros will succeed his father, but in return, to seal the peace agreement, agrees to wed his half-sister, Queen Stateira’s daughter the princess Kleopatra, in the old eastern fashion—the bride’s mother herself being the product of a union between half-siblings.

It is thus in 291 B.C. that King Alexandros III Neos Dionysos, through the influence of Ptolemaios, and without contest from Stateira, names the prince Alexandros as his co-ruler in order to encourage a smoother transition of power. The thirty-two year old prince is enthroned at Babylōn under the reign name of “Alexandros IV Philopatōr, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Great King of Asia, King of Persis and M
ēdia, King of Makedonia, Pharaoh of Aigyptos.” The following month at Sousa, he weds his half-sister, the sixteen year old princess Kleopatra.

Six months later, on January 4, 290 B.C., King Alexandros III Megas Neos Dionysos dies at Ekbatana of natural causes, aged sixty-five—the king, knowing his death was close, having desired to travel north to die in the same palace where his beloved Hēphaistiōn had perished before him. It is said that on his deathbed, during his final hours, he calls for his beloved comrade repeatedly in delirium.
 
The Wars of Succession: Funeral Games.
Year 1 of Alexandros Sōtēr Theos.
(290 B.C.)

“He is an able administrator and a worthy king, yes, but also a wrathful tyrant who is too often prone to bouts of cruelty.” -- Dayāl of Indraprastha on King Alexandros IV, from the letters of the Mauryan embassy to Babylōn, 274 B.C.

King Alexandros IV Philopatōr is at Sousa when news of his father’s death reaches he and his mother from khiliarkhos Ptolemaios in Ekbatana. The new king immediately acts to protect his interests, probably on the advice of Queen Rōxanē herself, though certainly with the support of Ptolemaios. King Alexandros IV betrays his half-brother and has the prince and his mother, the unpopular Queen Stateira, quietly strangled several days later and entombed in the royal necropolis. Over the next few days, he brutally purges the royal court having a great many of Queen Stateira’s allies also put to death, including the eunuch Bogoas. Fearing the influence of the popular Drypetis, he spares the widow of Hēphaistiōn and mercifully exiles her to the remote Greek island of Syros—only later ordering her to commit suicide in 287 B.C.

Despite his ruthless start, the new Great King of Asia is no monster. Indeed, he is far from it, acting only on the advice of his supporters to strengthen his own hold on the throne. In order to ensure unity in the royal family, he even remains married to his half-sister, Queen Kleopatra, seeing little reason to repudiate her, despite the shift in court alliances. The king considers such a match as positive as it not only strengthens his support amongst the Persians, but also can be useful in perpetrating the myth of the god king Alexandros—after all, as the son of a living god, he is obliged to sire divine children and keep the bloodline pure. This does not stop him, however, from agreeing to take a second wife, Ptolemaios’ twenty-six year old widowed daughter, Arsinoē. Queen Arsinoē soon proves herself an able match for the Great King, making herself useful to him as a political advisor and partner. The Great King will have no issue with his second wife, though he and his half-sister will produce three surviving children: a son, Philippos (b. 289 B.C.), and two daughters Laodikē (b. 287 B.C.) and Barsinē (b. 283 B.C.).

A year of public mourning is declared for the dead king, the royal fires are extinguished, and he is properly honored with the most splendid funeral and magnificent funerary games ever seen, either before or since. The king’s body is preserved in honey, and he is laid to rest in a magnificent tomb within the royal mausoleum at Sousa. Afterward, his cult is expanded, and King Alexandros III is declared to have been a living god, now ascended to be with his father, Zeus Ammon on Mount Olympos. A great temple is erected for him in Babylōn (the Alexandreum) to house the king’s cult and he is deified under the name Alexandros Basileus Theos.

Nevertheless, all is not well. In the west, Lysimakhos rebels in Aphrikē, while Kassandros, having bided his time, seizes the chance and rebels against the new king as well, allying himself with King Bindusara in India. Finally, the worst news of all: the Greeks of the League of Korinthos, led by the unlikely alliance of Athēnai and Sparta, have refused to acknowledge King Alexandros IV as their h
ēgemōn, and instead are in open rebellion against Makedonia, alienated and offended by the king’s adoption of so many of the trappings of an oriental monarch. Indeed, the League now declares its rebellion justified, and no more treasonous than any previous war with Persis, seeing Macedonian rule as akin to that now.

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Above: the Argead Empire and its clients at the death of King Alexandros III in 290 B.C., with those provinces in revolt shown in red.
 
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The Wars of Succession: The Hellenic War.
Years 2 to 5 of Alexandros Sōtēr Theos.
(289 B.C. – 285 B.C.)

“Let it be remembered always that I, Alexandros, son of the Basileus Theos, called the Savior and the Father-Loving, King of Kings and Lord of the World, of divine descent, in the third year of my reign, smote all those that dared to question my divine right to rule on this very spot, as did my divine father before me.” -- inscription from a rock relief commissioned by King Alexandros IV at Khairōneia.

Realizing that everything is now at stake, and that the time has finally come to prove himself the true son of the God King, King Alexandros IV immediately begins mustering an army at Ninevē. After some deliberation, the Great King decides to personally lead the coming Balkan campaign against the League of Korinthos, mostly in memory of his father’s own previous campaign against the rebellious Greeks in 335 B.C. Choosing to ignore Lysimakhos in Aphrikē for the time being, he instead decides to first deal with the imminent threat of Kassandros on a two front war.

In late summer, 289 B.C., the king sends his childhood friend and companion (and rumored former lover), Antiokhos (son of the Arabian satrapēs Seleukos by his noble Persian wife Apama) to combat the traitor Kassandros and King Bindusara in India. He sets off from Ekbatana with an army of 55,000 on July 22. Several months later, in October, King Alexandros IV himself sets off for Hellas with 40,000 men, appointing his mother Queen Rōxanē as his regent in Babylōn, and retaining his experienced father-in-law Ptolemaios as khiliarkhos and primary adviser to the queen there.

By this time, the entire League of Korinthos is in open revolt under the provisional leadership of Athēnai, Sparta, and now also Argos and Delphoi. Further, the news of a coming invasion by King Alexandros has only served to heighten morale, with many of the League’s forces now invoking the battles of Marathōnos and Thermopylai as precedents of hope for a unilateral Greek victory. The city-states of Hellas want one thing: full independence from all oriental kings and tyrants. While the unrest in Makedonia is not much better, it has been mainly thanks to the efforts of its satrapēs, the loyal Dēmētrios, son of the deceased general Antigonos, that the province has been kept under the control of Babylōn via his large force of Thracian troops. The king’s own cousin and ally, King Pyrros of Ēpeiros has also been of some use, sending many Illyrian mercenaries to his brother-monarch to put down any potential troubles in Makedonia.

Retaking the under supplied Iōnian rebel cities of Smyrna and Ephesos by late February, 288 B.C., King Alexandros spares the city of Ephesos and its inhabitants any destruction or looting after its surrender, out of respect for the famed temple and cult of the Ephesian Artemis, though he is not so merciful to great city of Smyrna, which he orders to be raised to the ground in retribution. Marching north, he does not cross into Thrakē at the Hellēspontos, but instead invades his former ally and vassal, King Zipoitēs of Bithynia, who has now turned traitor and allied with rebellious Greeks, eager to throw of the yoke of Macedonian suzerainty. Defeating the Bithynians at Zipoition in the spring, he then brutally sacks the city of Hērakleia in June, selling most of its inhabitants into slavery and having King Zipoitēs flayed alive for his treachery.

Crossing the Bosporos into loyal Byzantion in July, he joins with a force of 25,000 Thracians and Illyrian mercenaries, under the leadership of Dēmētrios. It is there that he learns of the defeat and destruction of the armies of King Pyrros and his auxiliary forces against the League near Thermos, several weeks beforehand. This only spurs on the determined King Alexandros IV, who marches south with his massive army of 60,000. At Larissa in November, in League occupied Thessalia, he encounters the army of the League, lead by King Archidamos III of Sparta, and numbering 35,000. It is there that he manages to finally make a name for himself as a competent military commander, simultaneously gaining a decisive victory and inflicting the greatest defeat against the Spartans since Leuktra, in 371 B.C.

The League’s forces now essentially destroyed in Greece, the coalition leadership finds itself unable to muster enough strength to retaliate after Larissa, suffering further defeats in March, 287 B.C. at both the battle of Khalkis, and after at the famed second battle of Khairōneia, in which King Alexandros IV and his stratēgos Dēmētrios manage to execute a two pronged attack, cutting off the retreat of the Greeks, resulting in a bloodbath of over 6,000. His victory now complete, King Alexandros IV Philopatōr goes about on a rampage of destruction in the Peloponnēsos peninsula, determined to punish the Greeks for their betrayal and ensure their future obedience. The Great King of Asia brutally sacks the cities of Athēnai, Korinthos, Megara, and Sparta, massacring many of the inhabitants and selling the survivors into slavery. Later that year at Delphoi in October, 287 B.C., he formally dissolves the League of Korinthos and annexes the whole of Hellas directly, suspending the local constitutions of what remains of the city-states, and instead appointing a careful selection of tyrannoi to rule as his own strongmen. Wisely, however, the king decides against leaving a Persian satrap in charge of the Greeks, and instead appoints Ptolemaios’ son, the stratēgos Keraunos, to govern the new province of Hellas from Argos that winter.

King Alexandros now wishes to crush the final remains of the rebel army in Megalē Hellas, where the tyrant Iketas of Syrakousai has managed to rise up in revolt, taking advantage of the unrest in Hellas to formally withdraw from the League of Korinthos, along with his allies in Sikilia and Italia, reestablishing Syrakousai’s hegemony there. Confiscating much of the Athenian and Corinthian fleets, he begins building a flotilla at Ambrakia, aided by his allies in Ēpeiros.

In the February, 285 B.C., the Great King’s new fleet of 200 warships is launched from Ambrakia, ready to crush the famed navy of Syrakousai in the Adriatic Sea. However, King Alexandros IV, for all his skill as a military tactician, is both inexperienced and inept as a naval commander. Further, his authoritarian tendencies ensure that he refuses to heed much of the advice of his more seasoned military advisers. Thus, despite the strength in numbers of the Macedonians, the superior skill and experience of the Syracusian navy make for more than an even match.

Using this to his advantage, Iketas and his allies manage to score a decisive victory against the Macedonian navy at Anaktorion in March, 285 B.C., in a battle that will forever be remembered as having destroyed the myth of Macedonian invincibility. King Alexandros IV barely escapes with his life, after watching over 90 of his ships sunk by the Greeks. Syrakousai has won the day, and manages to at least secure its dominance of the waves.

His fleet destroyed, King Alexandros agrees to abandon his claims to southern Italy for the time being, sailing for Byblos in the summer.
 
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The Wars of Succession: The Third Mauryan War.
Years 3 to 7 of Alexandros Sōtēr Theos.
(287 B.C. – 283 B.C.)

“The Indian frontiers would burden the early Argead kings with countless troubles. Even today, many whisper that they we are forever cursed with the ambition of our divine ancestor, Alexandros Basileus Theos, who could not bear to give up his dreams of eastern expansion, save only in the face of mutiny.”
-- author unknown, from the recently discovered compilation “Letters of an Argead Princess to an Eastern Satrap”, c. 100 B.C.

Antiokhos, though a skilled tactician and general in his own right, meets with mixed success in India. Arriving in Baktrianē with a force of 55,000 in the late summer of 287 B.C., Antiokhos joins with the garrison of the province’s satrapēs, swelling his army to 70,000 men and 300 war elephants. Wintering at Nikaia, he then finally marches east into India in spring, 286 B.C., ready to confront Kassandros.

The stratēgos’ campaign at first proceeds rather smoothly. He manages to retake the city of Taxila without much resistance in late May, and proceeds to defeat Kassandros near Boukephala in August. Besieging Sagala in the fall, he takes the city soon after and winters there, having pursued Kassandros and his forces east to little avail, save for a handful of light skirmishes. Antiokhos now plans to pursue his rival into the Ganges River Valley, having received intelligence that the rebellious satrapēs has now retreated there to regroup.
On May 3, 285 B.C., Antiokhos finally attacks Kassandros at Trigarta, on the banks of the Hyphasis River, hoping to drive him further east. However, try as he might, the stratēgos finds himself unable to penetrate Kassandros’ sturdy lines of defense and take the riverbank. The situation is complicated further by the arrival of reinforcements from the satrapēs’ Indian allies at the eleventh hour. Defeated and unable to advance any further, Antiokhos orders his forces to retreat south, hoping to reach the Macedonian occupied upper reaches of the Indos Valley.

Despite having now secured his control of Panchala and the Ganges, Kassandros instead allows his greed to get the better of him and pursues the retreating Antiokhos, hoping to route his forces and occupy the west bank of the Indos. His soldiers, unprepared for a march so far west, are thus caught off guard when, instead of continuing his retreat, Antiokhos instead accepts the prospects of a rematch and halts his retreat at Alexandreia Hyphasis in August. Meeting Kassandros’ advancing forces near the city the following week, he manages to use the element of defense that is on his side to a devastating degree, blocking a further advance by Kassandros and defeating his forces on the banks of the Indos River. Kassandros is captured as he attempts to flee, leaving his armies divided and leaderless. Antiokhos enacts brutal revenge, having Kassandros violently raped and tortured by his own captured soldiers. Then, after pouring molten lead and gold down the satrapēs’ throat, Antiokhos has Kassandros’ body dismembered and thrown into the Hydaspēs, keeping his head to send back to the King Alexandros IV in Babylōn as a trophy of his success.

However, despite the victory achieved over Kassandros, the war is not yet over. Kassandros’ ally, King Bindusara, immediately annexes much of the Indian territories east of the Indos formerly held by the satrapēs, as per the terms of an earlier agreement. He then besieges the Argead held city of Patala in the south in the late fall. The city, however, manages to hold out against the Mauryan king, and the siege is soon relieved on February 13, 284 B.C., when Antiokhos defeats King Bindusara outside the city’s very gates, forcing him to retreat into the east.

While Antiokhos has managed to secure Gandaria, Indikē, and Sattagydia for the Argeads, on the orders of King Alexandros IV, and against the general’s better judgment, he continues east, invading Mauryan held Sudra in an attempt to recover the Great King’s lost Indian possessions, which before the death of Alexandros III Megas had stretched all the way to the Ganges’ western banks. King Bindusara, however, has already received word of the planned continuation of the Indian campaign. Mustering further reinforcements and allies, he faces Antiokhos with the full might of his empire, over 80,000 troops. Having lost a great deal of his men the earlier phases of his campaign, and used many more to effectively fortify his recent reconquests, Antiokhos is outnumbered with less than 50,000 troops currently at his command.

It is thus no surprise that the Argead forces suffer a heavy defeat at Vinasana in September, 284 B.C. The battle is a disaster for the Argead Empire and results in over 22,000 casualties, the worst Argead defeat in India since Perdikkas’ blunder at Mathurā in 313 B.C. Antiokhos himself barely escapes with his life, leading the retreat west into Sattagydia.

The long term importance of the battle cannot be underestimated in the history of the Argead Empire, as it essentially halts future Argead expansion into India beyond the reaches of Indikē and the Indus Valley. Further, it establishes a set eastern frontier for the empire and secures Mauryan dominance on the Indian subcontinent.

Not wishing to repeat the earlier mistakes of the infamous Perdikkas, Antiokhos writes to King Alexandros IV in Babylōn, who is now in the midst of preparations for his African campaign. Trusting his childhood friend, and recognizing Antiokhos’ success in securing Argead control of Indikē, the Great King relents and agrees to empower Antiokhos to negotiate a peace settlement with King Bindusara, so long as the empire suffers no further losses to its frontiers. Further, he officially appoints him his temporary viceroy (Greek: Hyparkhos) in India. By this time, the king is far too concerned with regaining the rich provinces of Aphrikē and the wealthy trading city of Karkh
ēdōn to care for the troublesome east.

In January, 283 B.C. King Antiokhos formally sues for peace. The peace settlement agreed upon at Indraprastha several months later is surprisingly generous, mostly owing to King Bindusara’s devotion to the egalitarian Vedic school of Ajivika, which stresses mercy and honor, even in victory. According to the terms of the treaty, King Alexandros IV agrees to abandon much of his Indian possessions east of the Indos and Hyphasis River Valleys, and in exchange, will be allowed to retain Gandaria, Indikē and the Sattagydia. Both parties agree to make peace with the other and maintain good relations in the future. To seal the peace agreement, both Antiokhos and King Alexandros wed Mauryan princesses, King Bindusara’s daughters the princesses Devaki and Padmāvatī respectively.
 
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Wow. These guys were brutal--flaying, raping, etc.

Keep up the good work.

If I were the Syracusians, I'd ally with the Carthaginians. If Carthage is reclaimed by the Great King, that's another axis of attack into Sicily.
 
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