Talk:Alexander's Balkan campaign

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To be expanded![edit]

This article is still under construction. At the moment it is mostly lifted from the article Alexander the Great, but it will be expanded (and the latter article contracted) soon. Please do not delete! MinisterForBadTimes (talk) 15:20, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Info to add into article[edit]

Greek cities like Athens and Thebes, which had been forced to pledge allegiance to Philip, saw in the relatively untested new king an opportunity to regain full independence. Demosthenes, who had opposed Philip, began plotting against him. Meanwhile, King Darius of Persia was convinced that Alexander was preparing for a war against Persia, and so he sent envoys to the various cities in Greece and Asia Minor with large bags of gold for the purpose of bribing any and all who could be bribed. Alexander moved swiftly, however, and Thebes, which was most active against him, submitted immediately as he appeared at its gates. The assembled Greeks at the Isthmus of Corinth, with the exception of the Spartans, elected him Capitan-General of the Hellenes against Persia, a title previously bestowed upon his father. After the meeting, he paid a visit to the famous cynic, Diogenes of Sinope, who lived in a large clay tub. Alexander found Diogenes sunning himself in his tub, naked except for a loin cloth. The philosopher stared, silent. Alexander, unsure of what to say, asked Diogenes if there was anything he could do for him. Diogenes responded, "Yes, stand aside. You're keeping the sun off me". Afterwards, Alexander's troops tried to make a joke of the incident, only to have Alexander respond that if he were not Alexander, he would be Diogenes. Alexander, who wanted to conquer the world, died (at 32) on the same day as did Diogenes (at 90), who wanted nothing to do with it.

The following year (335 BC), Alexander felt free to engage the Thracians and Illyrians in order to secure the Danube as the northern boundary of the Macedonian kingdom. He needed the financial support of Greece until he could secure the huge Persian treasury, so he needed to ensure peace at home. Against the Thracians, Alexander lulled them into a false sense of safety by sending out his slingers and archers, apparently alone. The Thracians, who thought they faced nothing besides rocks and arrows, came out, only to be cut down when Alexander sent out his regular infantry. The remaining Thracians capitulated to Alexander.Against the Illyrians (Dio Cassius, once governor of that country in the 3rd century AD, described it as especially barbarous) Alexander miscalculated, and found himself cut off from the rest of his army. In response, Alexander paraded his troops in front of the enemy, apparently oblivious to them, and in total silence. Like a giant metal porcupine, they moved their long spears in a synchronized formation, up and down, left and right, all while marching in perfect formation, executing a series of intricate maneuvers as though on the parade ground. The Illyrians, who had never seen such a weird ritual, could not believe what they were watching. Alexander, at a precise moment, ordered his cavalry to charge the Illyrians, while the infantry broke out into a deafening noise, hitting their swords against their shields and chanting the Macedonian war cry. This sudden shattering explosion of sound, especially after what had been dead silence, shocked the Illyrians. The fled back to their fortress in complete chaos, as Alexander brought in his siege catapults. They were quickly routed by Alexander. Then, in an echo of the Trojan War, Alexander's troops marched away. The Illyrians thought Alexander would not return, and so when Alexander's scouts came back, they found that the Illyrians had left their camp unguarded. Alexander's army came back, under cover of darkness, and massacred the Illyrians to a man.

While he was triumphantly campaigning north, the Thebans and Athenians rebelled once more. Darius had been channeling bribes into Greece, while the Thebans were planning an uprising with the backing of Demosthenes. The Athenians were unsure whether to maintain support for Alexander, while the Spartans never liked Alexander in the first place. Greece was ready to explode in open warfare at any moment. Alexander realized that he needed to make an abject lesson of someone. Alexander decided that he should make Thebes that lesson. Alexander did not want to waste his time fighting Greeks, so he probably would have met the Thebans half way if they had wished. He asked them to hand over the leaders of the resistance, but they refused, declared that they would fight for their freedom from Macedon, and called Alexander a tyrant for good measure. According to Diodorus, Alexander reacted by destroying the city utterly. The end of Thebes cowed Athens into submission. Though bribes continued to pour in from Darius, Alexander decided that with Greece pacified, the time to attack Persia was now.