The Achaemenid Empire called the First Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, the development of civil services and a large professional army; the empire's successes inspired similar systems in empires. By the 7th century BC, the Persians had settled in the south-western portion of the Iranian Plateau in the region of Persis, which came to be their heartland. From this region, Cyrus the Great advanced to defeat the Medes and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, establishing the Achaemenid Empire.
Alexander the Great, an avid admirer of Cyrus the Great, conquered most of the empire by 330 BC. Upon Alexander's death, most of the empire's former territory came under the rule of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Seleucid Empire, in addition to other minor territories which gained independence at that time; the Iranian elites of the central plateau reclaimed power by the second century BC under the Parthian Empire. The Achaemenid Empire is noted in Western history as the antagonist of the Greek city-states during the Greco-Persian Wars and for the emancipation of the Jewish exiles in Babylon; the historical mark of the empire went far beyond its territorial and military influences and included cultural, social and religious influences as well. Despite the lasting conflict between the two states, many Athenians adopted Achaemenid customs in their daily lives in a reciprocal cultural exchange, some being employed by or allied to the Persian kings; the impact of Cyrus's edict is mentioned in Judeo-Christian texts, the empire was instrumental in the spread of Zoroastrianism as far east as China.
The empire set the tone for the politics and history of Iran. The term Achaemenid means "of the family of the Achaemenis/Achaemenes". Achaemenes was himself a minor seventh-century ruler of the Anshan in southwestern Iran, a vassal of Assyria. Astronomical year numbering Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details The Persian nation contains a number of tribes as listed here....: the Pasargadae and Maspii, upon which all the other tribes are dependent. Of these, the Pasargadae are the most distinguished. Other tribes are the Panthialaei, Germanii, all of which are attached to the soil, the remainder -the Dai, Dropici, being nomadic; the Achaemenid Empire was created by nomadic Persians. The name "Persia" is a Greek and Latin pronunciation of the native word referring to the country of the people originating from Persis; the Persians were an Iranian people who arrived in what is today Iran c. 1000 BC and settled a region including north-western Iran, the Zagros Mountains and Persis alongside the native Elamites.
For a number of centuries they fell under the domination of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, based in northern Mesopotamia. The Persians were nomadic pastoralists in the western Iranian Plateau and by 850 BC were calling themselves the Parsa and their shifting territory Parsua, for the most part localized around Persis; the Achaemenid Empire was not the first Iranian empire, as the Medes, another group of Iranian peoples, established a short-lived empire and played a major role in the overthrow of the Assyrian. The Achaemenids were rulers of the Elamite city of Anshan near the modern city of Marvdasht. There are conflicting accounts of the identities of the earliest Kings of Anshan. According to the Cyrus Cylinder the kings of Anshan were Teispes, Cyrus I, Cambyses I and Cyrus II known as Cyrus the Great, who created the empire. In Herodotus' Histories, he writes that Cyrus the Great was the son of Cambyses I and Mandane of Media, the daughter of Astyages, the king of the Median Empire. Cyrus revolted against the Median Empire in 553 BC, in 550 BC succeeded in defeating the Medes, capturing Astyages and taking the Median capital city of Ecbatana.
Once in control of Ecbatana, Cyrus styled himself as the successor to Astyages and assumed control of the entire empire. By inheriting Astyages' empire, he inherited the territorial conflicts the Medes had had with both Lydia and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. King Croesus of Lydia sought to take advantage of the new international situation by advancing into what had been Median territory in Asia Minor. Cyrus led a counterattack which not only fought off Croesus' armies, but led to the capture of Sardis and the fall of the Lydian Kingdom in 546 BC. Cyrus placed Pactyes in charge of collecting tribute in Lydia and left, but once Cyrus had left Pactyes instigated a rebellion against Cyrus. Cyrus sent the Median general Mazares to deal with the rebellion, Pactyes was captured. Mazares, aft
Cavalry or horsemen are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were the most mobile of the combat arms. An individual soldier in the cavalry is known by a number of designations such as cavalryman, dragoon, or trooper; the designation of cavalry was not given to any military forces that used other animals, such as camels, mules or elephants. Infantry who moved on horseback, but dismounted to fight on foot, were known in the 17th and early 18th centuries as dragoons, a class of mounted infantry which evolved into cavalry proper while retaining their historic title. Cavalry had the advantage of improved mobility, a man fighting from horseback had the advantages of greater height and inertial mass over an opponent on foot. Another element of horse mounted warfare is the psychological impact a mounted soldier can inflict on an opponent; the speed and shock value of the cavalry was appreciated and exploited in armed forces in the Ancient and Middle Ages. In Europe cavalry became armoured, became known for the mounted knights.
During the 17th century cavalry in Europe lost most of its armor, ineffective against the muskets and cannon which were coming into use, by the mid-19th century armor had fallen into disuse, although some regiments retained a small thickened cuirass that offered protection against lances and sabres and some protection against shot. In the period between the World Wars, many cavalry units were converted into motorized infantry and mechanized infantry units, or reformed as tank troops. However, some cavalry still served during World War II, notably in the Red Army, the Mongolian People's Army, the Royal Italian Army, the Romanian Army, the Polish Land Forces, light reconnaissance units within the Waffen SS. Most cavalry units that are horse-mounted in modern armies serve in purely ceremonial roles, or as mounted infantry in difficult terrain such as mountains or forested areas. Modern usage of the term refers to units performing the role of reconnaissance and target acquisition. In many modern armies, the term cavalry is still used to refer to units that are a combat arm of the armed forces which in the past filled the traditional horse-borne land combat light cavalry roles.
These include scouting, skirmishing with enemy reconnaissance elements to deny them knowledge of own disposition of troops, forward security, offensive reconnaissance by combat, defensive screening of friendly forces during retrograde movement, restoration of command and control, battle handover and passage of lines, relief in place, breakout operations, raiding. The shock role, traditionally filled by heavy cavalry, is filled by units with the "armored" designation. Before the Iron Age, the role of cavalry on the battlefield was performed by light chariots; the chariot originated with the Sintashta-Petrovka culture in Central Asia and spread by nomadic or semi-nomadic Indo-Iranians. The chariot was adopted by settled peoples both as a military technology and an object of ceremonial status by the pharaohs of the New Kingdom of Egypt as well as the Assyrian army and Babylonian royalty; the power of mobility given by mounted units was recognized early on, but was offset by the difficulty of raising large forces and by the inability of horses to carry heavy armor.
Cavalry techniques were an innovation of equestrian nomads of the Central Asian and Iranian steppe and pastoralist tribes such as the Iranic Parthians and Sarmatians. The photograph above left shows Assyrian cavalry from reliefs of 865–860 BC. At this time, the men had no spurs, saddle cloths, or stirrups. Fighting from the back of a horse was much more difficult than mere riding; the cavalry acted in pairs. At this early time, cavalry used swords and bows; the sculpture implies two types of cavalry. Images of Assyrian cavalry show saddle cloths as primitive saddles, allowing each archer to control his own horse; as early as 490 BC a breed of large horses was bred in the Nisaean plain in Media to carry men with increasing amounts of armour, but large horses were still exceptional at this time. By the fourth century BC the Chinese during the Warring States period began to use cavalry against rival states, by 331 BC when Alexander the Great defeated the Persians the use of chariots in battle was obsolete in most nations.
The last recorded use of chariots as a shock force in continental Europe was during the Battle of Telamon in 225 BC. However, chariots remained in use for ceremonial purposes such as carrying the victorious general in a Roman triumph, or for racing. Outside of mainland Europe, the southern Britons met Julius Caesar with chariots in 55 and 54 BC, but by the time of the Roman conquest of Britain a century chariots were obsolete in Britannia; the last mention of chariot use in Britain was by the Caledonians at the Mons Graupius, in 84 AD. During the classical Greek period cavalry were limited to those citizens who could afford expensive war-horses. Three types of cavalry became common: light cavalry, whose riders, armed with javelins, could harass and skirmish.
Craterus or Krateros was an ancient Macedonian general under Alexander the Great and one of the Diadochi. Craterus was the son of a Macedonian nobleman named Alexander from Orestis and brother of admiral Amphoterus. Craterus commanded the phalanx and all infantry on the left wing in Battle of Issus in 333 BC. In Hyrcania he was sent on a mission against the Tapurians, his first independent command with the Macedonian army. At the Battle of the Hydaspes in 326 BC, near modern Jhelum, he commanded the rearguard, which stayed on the western bank. At the festivities in Susa, Craterus married princess Amastris, daughter of Oxyathres, the brother of Darius III. Craterus and Polyperchon were appointed to lead 11,500 veteran soldiers back to Macedonia. Craterus was in Cilicia, where he was building the fleet, when Alexander unexpectedly died in Babylon. In 322 Craterus aided Antipater in the Lamian War against Athens, he sailed with his Cilician navy to Greece and led troops at the Battle of Crannon in 322.
When Antigonus rose in rebellion against Perdiccas and Eumenes, Craterus joined him, alongside Antipater and Ptolemy. He married Antipater's daughter Phila, he was killed in battle against Eumenes in Asia Minor when his charging horse fell over him, somewhere near the Hellespont, in 321. Named with the phonetically accurate spelling of Krateros, Craterus is one of the minor characters in the historical novel Roxana Romance by A. J. Cave. Named as Krateros, Craterus is a major character in the two Alexander novels by Mary Renault, The Persian Boy and Fire From Heaven. In the film Alexander, he is played by Scottish actor Rory McCann. Craterus Short biography from livius.org
Battle of the Hydaspes
The Battle of the Hydaspes was fought in 326 BC between Alexander the Great and King Porus of the Paurava kingdom on the banks of the river Jhelum in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. The battle resulted in the surrender of Porus. Large areas of the Punjab between the Hydaspes and Hyphasis rivers were absorbed into the Alexandrian Empire, Porus was reinstated as a subordinate ruler. Alexander's decision to cross the monsoon-swollen river despite close Indian surveillance, in order to catch Porus' army in the flank, has been referred to as one of his "masterpieces". Although victorious, it was the most costly battle fought by the Macedonians; the resistance put up by King Porus and his men won the respect of Alexander, who asked Porus to become one of his satraps. The battle is significant for opening up the Indian subcontinent to Ancient Greek political and cultural influences, which continued to have an impact for many centuries; the battle took place on the east bank of the Hydaspes River in what is now the Punjab Province of Pakistan.
Alexander founded the city of Nicaea on the site. Any attempt to find the ancient battle site is complicated by considerable changes to the landscape over time. For the moment, the most plausible location is just south of the city of Jhelum, where the ancient main road crossed the river and where a Buddhist source mentions a city that may be Nicaea; the identification of the battle site near modern Jalalpur/Haranpur is erroneous, as the river meandered far from these cities. After Alexander defeated the last of the Achaemenid Empire's forces under Bessus and Spitamenes in 328 BC, he began a new campaign to further extend his empire towards India in 327 BC. After fortifying Bactria with 10,000 men, Alexander commenced his invasion of India through the Khyber Pass. Whilst possessing a much larger army, at the battle, an estimated 40,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry crossed the river in time to engage the enemy. During this battle, Alexander suffered heavy losses compared to his earlier victories.
The primary Greek column entered the Khyber Pass, but a smaller force under the personal command of Alexander went through the northern route, taking the fortress of Aornos along the way—a place of mythological significance to the Greeks as, according to legend, Herakles had failed to occupy it when he campaigned in India. Here, the Hindu clans of Hindu Kush gave Alexander's army the toughest opposition they had faced, but Alexander still emerged victorious, despite being outnumbered, depending on the source, somewhere between 3:1 and 5:1. In early spring of the next year, Alexander formed an alliance with the King of Taxila, they combined their forces against Taxiles' neighbour, the King of Hydaspes, King Porus who had chosen to spurn Alexander's command for him to surrender and was preparing for war. Alexander had to subdue King Porus in order to keep marching east. To leave such a strong opponent at his flanks would have endangered any further exploits. Alexander could not afford to show any weakness if he wanted to keep the loyalty of the subdued Indian princes.
Porus chose the perfect spot to check Alexander's advance. Although he lost the battle, he became the most successful recorded opponent of Alexander. According to Peter Green, King Porus' performance in the battle out-classed both Memnon of Rhodes and Spitamenes. Alexander fixed his camp in the vicinity of the town of Jhelum on the right banks of the river. In the spring of 326 BC, Porus drew up on the south bank of the Jhelum River to repel any crossing; the Jhelum River was deep and fast enough that any attempt at a crossing would doom the attacking force. Alexander knew that a direct approach had little chance of success and tried to find alternative fords, he down the river bank each night while Porus shadowed him. Alexander found and used a suitable crossing, about 27 km upstream of his camp; this was where an wood-covered island divided the river. While leading his troops across, he landed on the island, his plan was a classic pincer manoeuvre. He would attack Indian cavalry flanking both sides of Porus' main force from the right.
He left his general, behind with most of the army, to make sure Porus would not find out about his crossing, while he crossed the river upstream with a strong contingent, according to the 2nd century AD Greek historian Arrian, of 6,000 on foot and 5,000 on horseback, though it was larger. Craterus was ordered to either ford the river and attack if Porus faced Alexander with all his troops or to hold his position if Porus faced Alexander with only part of his army; the other forces commanded by Meleager and Gorgias were ordered to cross the river in various places during the manoeuvre. Alexander's crossing of the Hydaspes in the face of Indian forces on the opposite bank was a notable achievement; the complex preparations for the crossing were accomplished with the use of numerous feints and other forms of deception. Porus was kept continuously on the move until he relaxed. On every visit to the site of the crossing, Alexander made a detour inland to maintain the secrecy of the plan, it was reported that there was an Alexander look-alike who held sway in a mock royal tent near the base.
Alexander moved his part of the army upstream and traversed the river in ut
Siege of Cyropolis
Cyropolis was the largest of seven towns in the region that Alexander the Great targeted for conquest in 329 BC. His goal was the conquest of Sogdiana. Alexander first sent Craterus to Cyropolis, the largest of the Sogdianan towns holding out against Alexander's forces. Craterus' instructions were to "take up a position close to the town, surround it with a ditch and stockade, assemble such siege engines as might suit his purpose....". The idea was to keep the inhabitants focused on their own defences and to prevent them from sending assistance out to the other towns. Starting from Gazza, Alexander went on to conquer the other surrounding towns. Five of the seven towns were taken in two days. Many of the inhabitants were killed. Alexander arrived at Cyropolis, the best fortified of the towns and had the largest population, it had reputedly the best fighters of the region. Alexander battered Cyropolis' defences with the siege engines. While the bombardment went on, Alexander ordered certain of his troops to sneak through a dried-up water course that went under the town's wall.
Alexander joined this mission and once inside his troops opened the town's gate to admit his attacking force. Once the natives saw that the town was taken, they fell violently upon the attackers. Alexander received a violent blow from a stone that landed upon his neck. Craterus was wounded by an arrow. Arrian puts the defender's force at about 15,000 fighting men and claims that 8,000 of them were killed in the first phase of the operation; the rest sought refuge inside the town's central fortress, but surrendered after one day for lack of water. Accounts of how the battle went differ among authors. Arrian cites Ptolemy as saying Cyropolis surrendered from the start, Arrian states that according to Aristobulus the place was stormed and the town's inhabitants were massacred
Menes of Pella
Menes of Pella, son of Dionysius, was one of the officers of Alexander the Great. In 331 BC, after Alexander had occupied Susa, he sent Menes down to the Mediterranean to take the government of Syria and Cilicia, entrusting him at the same time with 3000 talents, a portion of which he was to transmit to Antipater for his war with the Lacedaemonians, he was a Hyparch, in this position, he may have been responsible for overseeing the existing administration as far as Cilicia. Apollodorus of Amphipolis was joined with him in this command, he issued coinage bearing his initial "M". His successor is unknown, his position may have only been temporary, to managed conquered territory in the west while Alexander was campaiging further east; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed.. "Menes of Pella". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
Battle of the Persian Gate
The Battle of the Persian Gate was a military conflict between Achaemenid Persian army, commanded by the satrap of Persis and the invading Hellenic League, commanded by Alexander the Great. In the winter of 330 BC, Ariobarzanes led a last stand of the outnumbered Persian forces at the Persian Gates near Persepolis, holding the Macedonian army for a month. Alexander found a path to the rear of the Persians from the captured prisoners of war or a local shepherd capturing Persepolis; the Persian Empire suffered a series of defeats against the Macedonian forces at Granicus and Gaugamela, by the end of 331 BC Alexander had advanced to Babylon and Susa. A Royal Road connected Susa with the more eastern capitals of Persepolis and Pasargadae in Persis, was the natural venue for Alexander's continued campaign. Meanwhile, King Darius III was building a new army at Ecbatana. Ariobarzanes was charged with preventing the Macedonian advance into Persis, to this effect he relied on the terrain Alexander needed to pass through.
There were only a few possible routes through the Zagros Mountains, all of which were made more hazardous by winter's onset. After the conquest of Susa, Alexander split the Macedonian army into two parts. Alexander's general, took one half along the Royal Road, Alexander himself took the route towards Persis. Passing into Persis required traversing the Persian Gates, a narrow mountain pass that lent itself to ambush. During his advance, Alexander subdued the Uxians, a local hill-tribe which had demanded the same tribute from him they used to receive from the Persian kings for safe passage; as he passed into the Persian Gates he met with no resistance. Believing that he would not encounter any more enemy forces during his march, Alexander neglected to send scouts ahead of his vanguard, thus walked into Ariobarzanes' ambush; the valley preceding the Persian Gate, called the Tang'e Meyran, is very wide, allowing the Macedonian army to enter the mountains at full march. Ariobarzanes occupied a position near the modern-day village of Cheshmeh Chenar.
The road curves to the southeast and narrows at that point, making the terrain treacherous. According to historian Arrian, Ariobarzanes had a force of 40,000 infantry and 700 cavalry who faced a Macedonian force of over 10,000. However, some modern historians have claimed these figures for the Achaemenid force to be grossly exaggerated and implausible. Encyclopædia Iranica suggests a number of defenders of just 700 men based on the maximum number of troops at Ariobarzanes' disposal, but it notes that most modern historians follow Arrian and Diodorus unreservedly; the Persian Gate was only a couple of meters wide at the point of ambush. Once the Macedonian army had advanced sufficiently into the narrow pass, the Persians rained down boulders on them from the northern slopes. From the southern slope, Persian archers launched their projectiles. Alexander's army suffered heavy casualties, losing entire platoons at a time; the Macedonians attempted to withdraw, but the terrain and their still-advancing rear guard made an orderly retreat impossible.
Alexander was forced to leave his dead behind to save the rest of his army—a great mark of disgrace to the Macedonians and to other Greeks who valued the recovery and proper burial of their fallen. Ariobarzanes had some reason to believe. Preventing Alexander's passage through the Persian Gates would force the Macedonian army to use other routes to invade Persia proper, all of which would allow Darius more time to field another army, stop the Macedonian invasion altogether. Ariobarzanes held the pass for a month, but Alexander succeeded in encircling the Persians in a pincer attack with Philotas and broke through the Persian defenses. Alexander and his elite contingent attacked the force of Ariobarzanes from above in a surprise attack until the Persians could no longer block the pass. Accounts of how he did so vary widely. Curtius and Arrian both report that prisoners of war led Alexander through the mountains to the rear of the Persian position, while a token force remained in the Macedonian camp under the command of Craterus.
"... Fought a memorable fight... Unarmed as they were, they seized the armed men in their embrace, dragging them down to the ground... Stabbed most of them with their own weapons."Diodorus and Plutarch concur with this assessment, although their numbers vary widely. Modern historians W. Heckel and Stein lend credence to this argument. Although precise figures are unavailable, some historians say that this engagement cost Alexander his greatest losses during his campaign to conquer Persia. Youtab, the sister of Ariobarzanes, fought alongside her brother in the battle. According to some accounts and his surviving companions were trapped, but rather than surrender, they charged straight into the Macedonian lines. One account states that Ariobarzanes was killed in the last charge while another version by Arrian reports that Ariobarzanes escaped to the north where he surrendered to Alexander with his companions. Modern Historian J. Prevas maintains that Ariobarzanes and his forces retreated to Persepolis, where they found the city gates closed by Tiridates, a Persian noble and guardian of the royal treasury under Darius III, in secret contact with Alexander the Great.
Tiridates realized the futility of trying to resist Alexander's forces, so allowed Alexander to m