Monday, May 11, 2020

The Granicus

Alexander's Conquest of Persia

Late May, 334 BCE

Macedonians under Alexander III of Macedon,  approx. 18,100 (5,100 cavalry, 13,000 infantry)
Persians under Arsites, Satrap of Phrygia, approx. 30,000 (16,000 cavalry, 14,000 infantry) 


First Light: 05:30  Sunrise: 05:56  Sunset: 20:19  End of Twilight: 20:42
(approximate times calculated from U.S. Naval  Observatory based on location. However as the calculator does not figure for dates prior to 1700, this was based mid May for this year. It may have been a few minutes off.

Location: 40° 13’ N    27° 14’ E  Just northwest of the Turkish town of Gümüşçay on what is now called the Çan Çayı.


Arrian, James Romm (ed) The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander,  2012, Anchor Books, ISBN 978-1-4000-7967-4

Connolly, Peter, Greece and Rome at War, 1998, Greenhill Books, ISBN 1-85367-303-X

Fuller, J.F.C, The Generalship of Alexander the Great, 1960, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-81330-0

Green, Peter, Alexander of Macedon 356-323 BC, 2013, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-27586-7

17 comments:

  1. Fantastic as always, many thanks for all the hard work, really fascinating.
    Dave.

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    1. Thank you so much, Dave. Took awhile but it was fun to do this one. I learned so much myself.

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  2. Too bad Alexander didn't have elephants at this point. Great read as always.

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    1. Alexander never had elephants. And when he first had to confront them, at the Hydaspes, he quickly found a way to neutralize them. Elephants, while dramatic in a battle line, always proved to be far more trouble to the side with them than they were worth. By the time Hannibal, who is most identified with elephants, got into Italy, he had almost none left.

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  3. Seeing your updated blog on my RSS feed lighten up my day. So happy to see that you are still keeping us entertained with these studies. Thanks so much for the years of entertainment!

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    1. Well, thank you, too, for being a loyal fan. Obviously I do these to entertain myself, but it is so gratifying that I entertain discerning enthusiasts like you as well.

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  4. GREAT GREAT work ... I have no other words to explain your post. Thanks to share all these info

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    1. And I have no other words to express my appreciation for you compliments, Marco, other than thank you for following my blog.

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  5. Great to see you back! I check this every month and sure enough today I see a new post!

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    1. Sorry this one took so long. I have no excuse...well, other than the research took longer this time. But I'm so glad to have you in my fan club, Michael.

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    2. Well worth the wait and really enjoyed your post! I have been researching the battle of Teugn-Hausen for 1809 and wanted to create a battle map. What programs do you use? I found a very detailed map from 1800 and wanted to create a correct map. I look forward to your next post!

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    3. I use Photoshop for the base map (the digital "sand table") and Adobe InDesign for the deployment overlays and labeling. I found that InDesign makes an excellent platform for fighting a wargame in lieu of miniatures.

      These were both digital tools I've used for years in my career as a creative person in advertising. And one day I thought, hmmmm, I wonder if I could repurpose them to make maps and troops.

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  6. I've been hoping for you to do a post on an ancient battle... you never disappoint with the variety of subject matter. Adding my voice to the chorus of admiration... another stellar post.

    Bil

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    1. Thank you, Bil. I enjoyed venturing out of the age of black powder for once. Just started working on another old battle, Stamford Bridge, 1066 (Harold's victory over the Vikings before Hastings). Don't know how long this will take. The research and writing has taken months on some of these. And the sources are not nearly so definitive (do I trust the Anglo Saxon Chronicles?) so I find myself making more WAGs (Wild Ass Guesses).

      But I appreciate your readership.

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  7. I always enjoy your battle accounts. Good work! Keep them coming!

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  8. Really interesting supposition Jeff. Always thought it was odd that the Persian Cavalry lined the bank of the river (Robin Lane Fox read when I was about 14) and the Macedonians charged them. Never really made any sense, your idea makes much more sense and is a plausible explanation as to why the best Infantry the Persians had (Greek Mercenaries) were not in the frontline in place of the Cavalry.
    Excellent, thought provoking read again. Thank you for all your efforts.

    John

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    1. I had also had that "hey, wait a minute" reaction the first time I read about this battle (at apparently about the same age as you). My and Peter Green's and Diordorus's analysis of what probably happened isn't necessarily right either; they are just more plausible. That's what I love about history; most of it is just interpretation through a more or less biased lens.

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