Alexander The Great Reign in Egypt
Alexander III of Macedon (356-323 BC), sometimes known as ‘Alexander the Great,’. He arrived in Egypt 332 BC and he established one of the most beautiful cities on the Mediterranean north coast of Egypt, Alexandria city. He spent a few months in Egypt as a portion of his ongoing struggle against Darius III’s powerful Persian Empire. The Great Alexander headed south into Egypt, where he stayed for six months after defeating Persia’s naval ports all along the coast of Asia Minor and Syria-Palestine. Alexander’s Egyptian excursion was crucial to his future intentions, despite the fact that it was widely considered as little more than an unusual diversion.
For both strategic and commercial reasons, he required a strong coastal stronghold from which he could not only negotiate across the Mediterranean but also oversee the lucrative sea-borne trade route he sought to divert from Phoenicia. With naval reinforcements behind him down the coast, his Macedonian army traversed the treacherous 130-mile journey in less than a week, arriving in Pelusium, a highly defended coastal town, in late October 332 bc.
Alexander The Great Journey to Egypt
In 332 BC Alexander the Great marched to Egypt after overthrowing the Persian ruler Darius for dominance of Syria and the Levant. Egypt was a part of the Persian Empire at the time, remained loosely under Persian rule from the end of the 7th century BC, when the Ancient Egyptian Empire collapsed. Alexander and his Greek army traveled west to the Desert where the Oracle of Amun at Siwa Oasis proclaimed him the new “lord of the universe” and a descendant of the god Amun.
Alexander was greeted by Egypt’s Persian governor Mazaces, whose fame preceded him. Mazaces merely gave up the treasury’s 800 talents and “all the imperial furniture” to the vanquished Darius, who had no military forces and was unlikely to receive any aid following the defeated Darius’ hasty return east to Persia.
In exchange, he was retained as a member of the new administration, alongside the new governor Cleomenes, who was given responsibility for finance and established the royal mint in 331 BC. Cleomenes was a hard-nosed, unscrupulous businessman who built an 8,000-talent personal wealth during his tenure as governor. Nonetheless, he remained loyal to Alexander, with whom he maintained frequent communication, giving him delicacies such as thousands of smoked quail. After establishing a fortress at Pelusium, Alexander directed his fleet to sail southward up the Nile to Memphis (Ineb-hedj), the old capital at the apex of the Delta, in which he would arrive on the grggground at the head of his troops.
Welcoming The Greek Rulers in Egypt
Egypt made a great impression on both the Macedonian soldiers and their 24-year-old leader when they passed past the ancient sacred site of Heliopolis (Iunu) with its magnificent white temples and obelisks. So steeped in ceremony, where priests wielded great power inside temples not constructed to human scale, having been brought up on his fearsome mother Olympias’ tales of Egyptian gods. He arrived in Memphis with a truly euphoric welcome, passing by the enormous pyramids of Giza, still glittering in their bright white limestone.
Greeks and Egypt
For years, Greeks had been visiting Egypt, many of them establishing commercial colonies or working as mercenaries. Others, such as Herodotus, the historian, and Plato, the philosopher, chose to study a culture they revered as the source of civilisation, and their knowledge was almost definitely part of Alexander’s education. Yet, for nearly 200 years, Egypt had been controlled by Persia, which had integrated it into its expanding empire, and the Persian king had reigned in Egypt through a satrap, exploiting the country’s rich grain supplies and taxing its people. The Persians were immensely disliked because they showed little respect for ancient traditions, and the Egyptians had resisted so frequently that portions of the country remained effectively independent.
Alexander The Great Military History
Alexander the Great has a famous record of unbeaten wars, first against the Achaemenid Persians under Darius III, then against local rulers and lords as far east as Punjab, India, making him one of history’s most effective military commanders. Despite his military triumphs, Alexander was unable to offer a viable alternative to the Achaemenid Empire. Following his death, the vast kingdoms he had conquered devolved into civil conflict.
After the death of his father, Philip II, who consolidated most of mainland Greece’s city-states under the Macedonian-led Hellenic League, Alexander assumed the throne of Macedonia. Following his father’s death, he united Macedonia’s city-states. Alexander moved out east to attack and overthrow the Achaemenid Persian Empire, which was led by Darius II, the “King of Kings.” Anatolia, Syria, Gaza, Egypt, and Persia were among his conquests, and he expanded his kingdom to reach Punjab, India.
Alexander the Great, a renowned military commander, had planned military conquests into the Arabian Peninsula before his death. Nevertheless, Alexander’s diadochi abandoned these ambitions after his death. Then they began fighting between themselves, splitting the empire amongst themselves and waging 40 years of battles.