Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great in India
Exerpt from MHQ—The Quarterly Journal o f Military History with the headline: Alexander in India
“In a single decade of fighting, Alexander the Great conquered an enormous empire, as large as the one the Romans later painstakingly accumulated over hundreds of years. While the young Macedonian king was fortunate in at least one of his opponents—Darius, king of Persia, a faint-hearted commander who twice fled the field to avoid confronting him—Alexander personally deserved much of the credit for his victories. A courageous, inspirational leader, he repeatedly exposed himself to great danger in the field, and as a master of strategy and tactics he had no superiors and few equals in all of ancient history.
Alexander’s conquests changed the course of cultural history by producing a fusion of Greek and ancient Middle Eastern civilization that we call the Hellenistic Age; but his romantic foray into India was not, in the long run, politically important. He garrisoned India and brought it administratively into the network of his vast empire, but his successors were unable to hold it for long. Several hundred years later India was almost as mysterious to the Romans as it had been to the Greeks. This fact in no way diminishes the greatness of Alexander’s military achievement. He stands above even Napoleon in the success of his strategy and tactics. The war for the Punjab is a superb illustration of his unparalleled prowess”
Cited Sources and Credits:
This article originally appeared in the Autumn 1988 issue (Vol. 1, No. 1) of MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History with the headline: Alexander in India
ARTHER FERRILL teaches history at the University of Washington. He is the author of The Origins of War and The Fall of the Roman Empire.