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Current time:0:00Total duration:12:41

Video transcript

so where we left off in the last video we had Alexander the Great consolidating his power over the Macedonian Empire and in particular he puts down a rebellion in Thebes destroys the city which makes the other city-states of Greece say hey we're not going to mess with this person anymore and then Alexander says I am now going to conquer Asia I'm now going to conquer the Persian Empire do what my father wanted to do before he died and so he puts one of his father's generals now one of his generals in charge of Greece and tippet er and tippet er declares him regent and then leads troops off to what many people say is have the greatest or many historians call the greatest adventure of all time his attempt to conquer the Persian Empire and become the king of Asia so the year is 334 BCE and the first major battle that Alexander and his army encounters is at the Granicus River here in modern-day Turkey now keep in mind that Alexander's force depending on what time we're looking at it numbers between 40 and 50 thousand troops a good number of them infantry infantry some cavalry and most of the battles that we'll see him fight especially the next two against the Persian forces he is hugely outnumbered but at Granicus he actually has an advantage in terms of the number of infantry he has his he's slightly outnumbered in terms of cavalry but he's able to defeat the Persian forces now these Persian forces they are significant they're led by the Persian satraps these are the governors of the of the territories I guess you could say the Persian regions or provinces in this area in Asia Minor and he's able to defeat them but as important as Granicus is he still Alexander still has not come directly against Darius the 3rd Darius the third is the Shan Shah the King of Kings the king of Persia and not to confuse Darius the third with the Darius who 150 years before this attacked Greece so now you have Alexander his first decisive victory against the Persians he makes his way down the Anatolian Coast in his mind liberating many of these cities that used to be Greek cities now if we zoom in a little bit you can see the way this map is set up so let me zoom in a little bit where you see these dotted lines around us around the city this means that Alexander's forces siege the city they surrounded it they didn't let anything go in or out until the city surrendered and so you see this path of Alexander and his forces we then go into 333 BCE outside of the forward movement of Alexander nough Stroup's and their ability to take over all of Asia Minor modern day Turkey in only a matter of a little more than a year what also happens in 333 BC e s and some of you might have been wondering well whatever happens to Sparta Philip of Macedon never took over Sparta do they stay independent forever and the simple answer is no in 33 33 BCE and tippet ur defense defeats the Spartans at the Battle of megalopolis and forces them into what we now call the League of Corinth so let's keep now going back to where Alexander is so antipodal would clearly was competent at maintaining power in Greece and the next major battle that Alexander and his troops face is at Isis and what makes Isis significant is that they are hugely outnumbered historians disagree by how much they're outnumbered remember we said Alexander s forces were around forty or fifty thousand while the Persians at Isis depending on which account you look at were at least 150 thousand probably over a hundred thousand more ancient accounts talked about many hundreds of thousands or even a million troops what also made Isis significant is this is where this is the first time that Darius the third the Cheyenne Shah the king of Persia directly could fronts Alexander well Alexander once again is able to or at least here is able to over overcome unlikely odds and defeat the Persian army sending Darius into retreat and he retreats so fast he even leaves an encampment where his mother his wife and his two daughters are there and Alexander then takes them captive but treats them very nicely and then eventually marries one of the daughters so after that defeat Darius is on the retreat and Alexander or after that defeat for Darius this victory for Alexander Alexander then goes on into the Levant modern-day Syria and Lebanon and Israel and Palestine and you can see he takes siege of the town of the cities of Tyre and Gaza but by the time he gets through that it's now 3:30 - and he makes his way into Egypt and he's relatively unopposed the traps in Egypt to say okay you know what we recognize you they treat him as a liberator and he even takes a pretty large detour to go to the Oracle for the god Amon Ammon and there he is he is reassured that he is the son of Ammon and he already is told by his mother Olympius that he is the son of Zeus and so many people call Alexander or he calls himself now Alexander Zeus Amon the son of Zeus Amon so once again he's trying to really make himself or maybe he believes himself that he is half God that he is a demigod but then he continues on with this I guess you could say grand adventure and I don't want to romanticize it too much because even though he is in some way conquering and/or unifying these large areas there's also a lot of bloodshed a lot of civilians dying this is a very ugly thing that only looks romantic from maybe a distance of many thousands of years but when you think about it it would not have been very pleasant to live to have lived in any of these cities that Alexander and his troops are going through but then he leaves Egypt and the whole time after the defeat of Isis Darius keeps sending him entreaties to say hey maybe we can work this thing out maybe you can just stop to the west of the Euphrates I'll give you this or that but Alexander keeps saying nope not for me I want to be the king of Asia there's only one king of Asia and so they eventually meet again at Gaugamela once again a very significant battle in history where once again Darius is there and it has a significant force advantage over Alexander and this time doesn't make the mistake of meeting him in a relatively narrow area where his force advantage won't really be an advantage but even at Gaugamela Alexander is able to decisively defeat him and Darius has to flee over the mountains to check back batana my apologies because I know I'm probably not pronouncing it perfectly and Alexander and his forces then go on to capture Babylon and Susa and Suzhou was actually one of the capitals of the Achaemenid Empire so this whole way they're able to get all of this treasure and start sending it back to Greece and then we eventually get to and by this point having been defeated at Isis and now Gaugamela and being on the run the Persian Empire is you could say it's already fallen or it's definitely falling but it becomes really official once we get to 330 BCE 330 BC remember this is less than five years since Alexander started and that's short by any timeframe but they're on foot and on horseback this is not modern warfare where they have tanks and trucks and planes and the fact that conquers so much territory and empire is over 200 years old in this short amount of time a frame is is kind of breathtaking but it's in 330 where the forces go to the Achaemenid capital of Persepolis the capital for over 200 years and they sack that town and not only do they sack that town they destroy the town and I'll repeat it again Alexander the Great he's romanticized a lot he's called the great but they destroy that town in a way that you would not make your parents let's just put it that way but at that point he is now king of the Persian Empire Darius is officially on the run and what Alexander now cares about is continuing this adventure continuing it east into what we now consider to be Afghanistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan and and modern-day Pakistan he also wants to get Darius some would argue he wants to kill him himself some would argue that he wants to somehow have Darius declare Alexander is the the rightful Sean Shaw king of Asia and so you can see the path of Alexander and his forces after they destroy Persepolis they then go up they turn northwards and they go through all of these cities up here then in 329 they're on the they're following the trail of darius darius eventually gets captured and killed by one of his traps someone by the name of Bessus and Bessus who was one of the traps of Bactria kills darius and declares himself artaxerxes v he wants to be the Sean Shaw well eventually Alexander catches up with Bessus in 329 he's really angry that Bessus has killed Darius he's also likely angry that Bessus is claiming that he is the Sean Shaw and so he kills Bessus in fairly brutal form and there's different accounts of how the killing happened but all of them are various degrees of brutal but from there Alexander's troops continued on eastward continued on eastward into what we now consider to be Afghanistan and Pakistan and there he has the famous battle with the king of poorest where he encounters these two hundred war elephants but once again he's this great military tactician and he's able to defeat the king and along this whole way it's worth mentioning he sets up all of these towns he sets up 20 Alexandria's and near here even sets up a town named after his horse Bucephalus the town of Bucephalus and Alexander is eager to keep conquering once he defeats the king of pooris he says hey I want to go conquer the rest of India but his troops are far from home and they're tired and there is spread thin and they're getting sick they're not so interested in that so eventually Alexander says all right I'm with y'all let's go back and the troops are really really happy they make their way back you can see the path back after there and you can see it as they follow the Indus River in Pakistan and eventually we get to 323 323 BCE and Alexander is back in Babylon and it's over there in Babylon that Alexander dies at the ripe old age of 32 it's mind-blowing to think about how much happened in the 12 years that he was Emperor of the Macedonians or even the Shah and Shah of Persia he was able to defeat an empire over 200 years old and what's significant about this is that as he conquered he encouraged his troops to assimilate in fact he was criticized for maybe assimilating a little bit too much but he dies in Babylon and it's not clear exactly why he dies he was a major drinker some people say alcohol poisoning some people say it was direct poisoning but needless to say this was one of the the most significant decades in human history this this conquest of Alexander the Great