Indian campaign of Alexander the Great
|Alexander's Indian campaign|
|Part of Wars of Alexander the Great|
Campaigns and landmarks of Alexander's invasion of Southern Asia
|Commanders and leaders|
|Alexander the Great||various|
The Indian campaign of Alexander the Great began in 326 BC. Alexander was born September 20, 356 B.C. in Pella, in the Kingdom of Macedonia. During his leadership, he united the Greek city-states and led the Corinthian League. He also became the king of Persia, Babylon and Asia, and created Macedonian colonies in Iran. After conquering the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, the Macedonian king (and now high king of the Persian Empire) Alexander launched a campaign in what is now Pakistan.
The rationale for this campaign is usually said to be Alexander's desire to conquer the entire known world, which the Greeks thought ended in north-western Indian subcontinent. While considering the conquests of Carthage and Rome, Alexander died in Babylon on June 13, 323 BC In 321 BC, two years after Alexander's death, Chandragupta Maurya of Magadha, founded the Maurya Empire in India.
After the death of Spitamenes and his marriage to Roxana (Roshanak in Bactrian) to cement his relations with his new Central Asian satrapies, in 326 BC Alexander was finally free to turn his attention to the Indian subcontinent. Alexander invited all the chieftains of the former satrapy of Gandhara, in the north of what is now Pakistan, to come to him and submit to his authority. Ambhi (Greek: Omphis), ruler of Taxila, whose kingdom extended from the Indus to the Jhelum (Greek:Hydaspes), complied. But the chieftains of some hill clans including the Aspasioi and Assakenoi sections of the Kambojas (classical names), known in Indian texts as Ashvayanas and Ashvakayanas (names referring to the equestrian nature of their society from the Sanskrit root word Ashva meaning horse), refused to submit.
The Kambojas 
Alexander personally took command of the shield-bearing guards, foot-companions, archers, Agrianians and horse-javelin-men and led them against the clans—the Aspasioi of Kunar valleys, the Guraeans of the Guraeus (Panjkora) valley, and the Assakenoi of the Swat and Buner valleys. Writes one modern historian: "They were brave people and it was hard work for Alexander to take their strongholds, of which Massaga and Aornus need special mention." A fierce contest ensued with the Aspasioi in which Alexander himself was wounded in the shoulder by a dart but eventually the Aspasioi lost the fight; 40,000 of them were enslaved. The Assakenoi faced Alexander with an army of 30,000 cavalry, 38,000 infantry and 30 elephants. They had fought bravely and offered stubborn resistance to the invader in many of their strongholds like cities of Ora[disambiguation needed], Bazira and Massaga. The fort of Massaga could only be reduced after several days of bloody fighting in which Alexander himself was wounded seriously in the ankle. When the Chieftain of Massaga fell in the battle, the supreme command of the army went to his old mother Cleophis (q.v.) who also stood determined to defend her motherland to the last extremity. The example of Cleophis assuming the supreme command of the military also brought the entire women of the locality into the fighting. Alexander could only reduce Massaga by resorting to political strategem and actions of betrayal. According to Curtius: "Not only did Alexander slaughter the entire population of Massaga, but also did he reduce its buildings to rubbles"  A similar slaughter then followed at Ora, another stronghold of the Assakenoi.
Siege of Aornos 
In the aftermath of general slaughter and arson committed by Alexander at Massaga and Ora, numerous Assakenians people fled to a high fortress called Aornos (the modern city of Swat, Pakistan). Alexander followed them close behind their heels and besieged the strategic hill-fort. The Siege of Aornos was Alexander's last siege, "the climax to Alexander's career as the greatest besieger in history" according to Alexander's biographer Robin Lane Fox (Fox 1973 p343). The siege took place in the winter of 327–326 BC. It offered the last threat to Alexander's supply line, which stretched, dangerously vulnerable, over the Hindu Kush back to Balkh, though Arrian credits Alexander's heroic desire to outdo his kinsman Heracles, who allegedly had proved unable to take the place Pir-Sar, which the Greeks called Aornis. The site lies north of Attock in Punjab, Pakistan on a strongly reinforced mountain spur above the narrow gorges in a bend of the upper Indus. Neighboring tribesmen who surrendered to Alexander offered to lead him to the best point of access.
At the vulnerable north side leading to the fort, Alexander and his catapults were stopped by a deep ravine. To bring the siege engines within reach, an earthwork mound was constructed to bridge the ravine. A low hill connected to the nearest tip of Pir-Sar was soon within reach and taken. Alexander's troops were at first repelled by boulders rolled down from above. Three days of drumbeats marked the defenders' celebration of the initial repulse, followed by a surprise retreat. Alexander hauled himself up the last rockface on a rope. Alexander cleared the summit, slaying some fugitives (Fox) —inflated by Arrian to a massacre—and erected altars to Athena Nike, Athena of Victory, traces of which were identified by Stein (Fox 1973, Arrian). Sisikottos, or Sashigupta who had helped Alexander in this campaign, was made the governor of Aornos.
After reducing Aornos, Alexander crossed the Indus to begin campaigning in the Punjab region.
Battle of the Hydaspes River 
The Battle of the Hydaspes River was fought by Alexander in May 326 BC against king Raja Puru (Poros) a Kshatriya on the Hydaspes River (Jhelum River) in the Punjab of Pakistan, near Bhera. The Hydaspes was the last major battle fought by Alexander. The main train went into modern day Pakistan through the Khyber Pass, but a smaller force under the personal command of Alexander went through the northern route, resulting in the Siege of Aornos along the way. In early spring of the next year, he combined his forces and allied with Taxiles (also Ambhi), the King of Taxila, against his neighbor, the King of Hydaspes.
Porus drew up on the south bank of the Jhelum River, and was set to repel any crossings. The Jhelum River was deep and fast enough that any opposed crossing would probably doom the entire attacking force. Alexander knew that a direct crossing would fail, so he found a suitable crossing, about 27 km (17 mi) upstream of his camp. Alexander left his general Craterus behind with most of the army while he crossed the river upstream with a strong part of his army. Porus sent a small cavalry and chariot force under his son to the crossing. The force was easily routed, and Porus' son was killed. Porus now saw that the crossing force was larger, and decided to face it with the bulk of his army. Porus's army were poised with cavalry on both flanks, the war elephants in front, and infantry behind the elephants. These war elephants presented an especially difficult situation for Alexander, as they scared the Macedonian horses.
Alexander started the battle by sending horse archers to shower the Porus's left cavalry wing, and then used his cavalry to destroy the Puru's cavalry. Meanwhile, the Macedonian phalanxes had advanced to engage the charge of the war elephants. The Macedonians eventually surrounded Porus's force, which amounted to a mass surrender. Porus was one of many local kings who impressed Alexander. Wounded in his shoulder, standing over 2 m (7 feet) tall, but still on his feet, he was asked by Alexander how he wished to be treated. "Treat me, Alexander, the way a King treats another King" Porus responded. The bravery and war skills of Porus impressed Alexander. Alexander spared the life of Porus, although he had been defeated, and let him rule Hydaspes in Alexander's name. Afterwards, Alexander founded Alexandria Nikaia (Victory), located at the battle site, to commemorate his triumph. He also founded Alexandria Bucephalus on the opposite bank of the river. Alexander did this in memory of his much cherished horse, Bucephalus.
Alexander then named one of the two new cities that he founded, Bucephala, in honor of the horse who had brought it to the Indian subcontinent, which had died during the Battle of Hydaspes. Alexander continued on to conquer all the headwaters of the Indus River.
Revolt of the army 
East of Porus's kingdom, near the Ganges River (the Hellenic version of the Indian name Ganga), was the powerful Nanda Empire of Magadha and Gangaridai Empire of Bengal. Fearing the prospects of facing other powerful Indian armies and exhausted by years of campaigning, his army mutinied at the Hyphasis River (the modern Beas River) refusing to march further east.
As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India. For having had all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants. For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand fighting elephants.
Gangaridai, a nation which possesses a vast force of the largest-sized elephants. Owing to this, their country has never been conquered by any foreign king: for all other nations dread the overwhelming number and strength of these animals. Thus Alexander the Macedonian, after conquering all Asia, did not make war upon the Gangaridai, as he did on all others; for when he had arrived with all his troops at the river Ganges, he abandoned as hopeless an invasion of the Gangaridai when he learned that they possessed four thousand elephants well trained and equipped for war.
Alexander, using the incorrect maps of the Greeks, thought that the world ended a mere 1,000 km ( away), at the edge of India. He therefore spoke to his army and tried to persuade them to march further into India but Coenus pleaded with him to change his opinion and return, the men, he said, "longed to again see their parents, their wives and children, their homeland". Alexander, seeing the unwillingness of his men agreed and turned south.
Campaign against the Malli 
Along the way his army conquered the Malli clans (in modern day Multan). During a siege, Alexander jumped into the fortified city with only two of his bodyguards and was wounded seriously by a Mallian arrow. His forces, believing their king dead, took the citadel and unleashed their fury on the Malli who had taken refuge within it, perpetrating a massacre, sparing no man, woman or child. However, due to the efforts of his surgeon, Kritodemos of Kos, Alexander survived the injury. Following this, the surviving Malli surrendered to Alexander's forces, and his beleaguered army moved on, conquering more Indian tribes along the way.
Alexander sent much of his army to Carmania (modern southern Iran) with his general Craterus, and commissioned a fleet to explore the Persian Gulf shore under his admiral Nearchus, while he led the rest of his forces back to Persia by the southern route through the Gedrosian Desert (now part of southern Iran) and Makran (now part of Pakistan). In crossing the desert, Alexander's army took enormous casualties from hunger and thirst, but fought no human enemy. They encountered the "Fish Eaters", or Ichthyophagi, primitive people who led a miserable existence on the Indian Ocean shore, who had matted hair, no fire, no metal, no clothes, lived in huts made of whale bones, and ate raw seafood obtained by beachcombing. During the crossing, Alexander refused as much water as possible, to share the sufferings of his men.
In the territory of the Indus, Alexander nominated his officer Peithon as a satrap, a position he would hold for the next ten years until 316 BC, and in the Punjab, Pakistan he left Eudemus in charge of the army, at the side of the satrap Porus and Taxiles. Eudemus became ruler of a part of the Punjab after their death. Both rulers returned to the West in 316 BC with their armies. In 321 BC, Chandragupta Maurya of Magadha, founded the Maurya Empire in India and conquered the Macedonian satrapies during the Seleucid–Mauryan war (305-303 BC).
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