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  1. The Reach of Rome by Alberto Angela | Penguin Random House Canada
  2. How the Romans conquered Britain
  3. Alexander the Great
  4. A Journey Through the Lands of the Ancient Empire, Following a Coin

The other Greek states were cowed by this severity, and Alexander could afford to treat Athens leniently. Macedonian garrisons were left in Corinth , Chalcis , and the Cadmea the citadel of Thebes. From his accession Alexander had set his mind on the Persian expedition. He had grown up to the idea. Moreover, he needed the wealth of Persia if he was to maintain the army built by Philip and pay off the talents he owed. The exploits of the Ten Thousand, Greek soldiers of fortune, and of Agesilaus of Sparta , in successfully campaigning in Persian territory had revealed the vulnerability of the Persian empire.

With a good cavalry force Alexander could expect to defeat any Persian army. In spring he crossed the Dardanelles , leaving Antipater , who had already faithfully served his father, as his deputy in Europe with over 13, men; he himself commanded about 30, foot and over 5, cavalry, of whom nearly 14, were Macedonians and about 7, allies sent by the Greek League. This army was to prove remarkable for its balanced combination of arms.

Much work fell on the lightarmed Cretan and Macedonian archers, Thracians, and the Agrianian javelin men. But in pitched battle the striking force was the cavalry , and the core of the army, should the issue still remain undecided after the cavalry charge, was the infantry phalanx , 9, strong, armed with foot spears and shields, and the 3, men of the royal battalions, the hypaspists. The army was accompanied by surveyors, engineers, architects, scientists, court officials, and historians; from the outset Alexander seems to have envisaged an unlimited operation.

This victory exposed western Asia Minor to the Macedonians, and most cities hastened to open their gates. The tyrants were expelled and in contrast to Macedonian policy in Greece democracies were installed.

But the cities remained de facto under Alexander, and his appointment of Calas as satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia reflected his claim to succeed the Great King of Persia. In Caria , Halicarnassus resisted and was stormed, but Ada , the widow and sister of the satrap Idrieus, adopted Alexander as her son and, after expelling her brother Pixodarus, Alexander restored her to her satrapy.

Some parts of Caria held out, however, until In winter — Alexander conquered western Asia Minor, subduing the hill tribes of Lycia and Pisidia , and in spring he advanced along the coastal road to Perga , passing the cliffs of Mount Climax, thanks to a fortunate change of wind.

At Gordium in Phrygia , tradition records his cutting of the Gordian knot , which could only be loosed by the man who was to rule Asia; but this story may be apocryphal or at least distorted. At this point Alexander benefitted from the sudden death of Memnon , the competent Greek commander of the Persian fleet. Turning, Alexander found Darius drawn up along the Pinarus River.

In the battle that followed, Alexander won a decisive victory. From Issus Alexander marched south into Syria and Phoenicia , his object being to isolate the Persian fleet from its bases and so to destroy it as an effective fighting force. In reply to a letter from Darius offering peace, Alexander replied arrogantly, recapitulating the historic wrongs of Greece and demanding unconditional surrender to himself as lord of Asia.

He thereupon prepared to use all methods of siegecraft to take it, but the Tyrians resisted, holding out for seven months. In the meantime winter — the Persians had counterattacked by land in Asia Minor—where they were defeated by Antigonus , the satrap of Greater Phrygia—and by sea, recapturing a number of cities and islands.

The Fall of Rome Explained In 13 Minutes

While the siege of Tyre was in progress, Darius sent a new offer: he would pay a huge ransom of 10, talents for his family and cede all his lands west of the Euphrates. Leaving Parmenio in Syria, Alexander advanced south without opposition until he reached Gaza on its high mound; there bitter resistance halted him for two months, and he sustained a serious shoulder wound during a sortie.

The Reach of Rome by Alberto Angela | Penguin Random House Canada

There is no basis for the tradition that he turned aside to visit Jerusalem. In November he reached Egypt. The people welcomed him as their deliverer, and the Persian satrap Mazaces wisely surrendered. At Memphis Alexander sacrificed to Apis , the Greek term for Hapi, the sacred Egyptian bull, and was crowned with the traditional double crown of the pharaohs ; the native priests were placated and their religion encouraged.

He spent the winter organizing Egypt , where he employed Egyptian governors, keeping the army under a separate Macedonian command. He founded the city of Alexandria near the western arm of the Nile on a fine site between the sea and Lake Mareotis, protected by the island of Pharos, and had it laid out by the Rhodian architect Deinocrates.

How the Romans conquered Britain

He is also said to have sent an expedition to discover the causes of the flooding of the Nile. On his reaching the oracle in its oasis , the priest gave him the traditional salutation of a pharaoh , as son of Amon; Alexander consulted the god on the success of his expedition but revealed the reply to no one. His conquest of Egypt had completed his control of the whole eastern Mediterranean coast. In July Alexander was at Thapsacus on the Euphrates.

Instead of taking the direct route down the river to Babylon , he made across northern Mesopotamia toward the Tigris , and Darius, learning of this move from an advance force sent under Mazaeus to the Euphrates crossing, marched up the Tigris to oppose him.

The decisive battle of the war was fought on October 31, on the plain of Gaugamela between Nineveh and Arbela. Alexander pursued the defeated Persian forces for 35 miles to Arbela, but Darius escaped with his Bactrian cavalry and Greek mercenaries into Media. Alexander now occupied Babylon , city and province; Mazaeus, who surrendered it, was confirmed as satrap in conjunction with a Macedonian troop commander, and quite exceptionally was granted the right to coin. As in Egypt, the local priesthood was encouraged.

Crushing the mountain tribe of the Ouxians, he now pressed on over the Zagros range into Persia proper and, successfully turning the Pass of the Persian Gates, held by the satrap Ariobarzanes , he entered Persepolis and Pasargadae. In spring Alexander marched north into Media and occupied its capital.

The Thessalians and Greek allies were sent home; henceforward he was waging a purely personal war. He had come to envisage a joint ruling people consisting of Macedonians and Persians, and this served to augment the misunderstanding that now arose between him and his people. Before continuing his pursuit of Darius, who had retreated into Bactria , he assembled all the Persian treasure and entrusted it to Harpalus , who was to hold it at Ecbatana as chief treasurer. Parmenio was also left behind in Media to control communications; the presence of this older man had perhaps become irksome.


Alexander sent his body for burial with due honours in the royal tombs at Persepolis. His advance eastward was now rapid. Bessus was now in Bactria raising a national revolt in the eastern satrapies with the usurped title of Great King. Crossing the Hindu Kush northward over the Khawak Pass 11, feet [3, metres] , Alexander brought his army, despite food shortages, to Drapsaca sometimes identified with modern Banu [Andarab], probably farther north at Qunduz ; outflanked, Bessus fled beyond the Oxus modern Amu Darya , and Alexander, marching west to Bactra-Zariaspa modern Balkh [ Wazirabad ] in Afghanistan , appointed loyal satraps in Bactria and Aria.

Crossing the Oxus, he sent his general Ptolemy in pursuit of Bessus, who had meanwhile been overthrown by the Sogdian Spitamenes. Bessus was captured, flogged, and sent to Bactra, where he was later mutilated after the Persian manner losing his nose and ears ; in due course he was publicly executed at Ecbatana. From Maracanda modern Samarkand Alexander advanced by way of Cyropolis to the Jaxartes modern Syrdarya , the boundary of the Persian empire. There he broke the opposition of the Scythian nomads by his use of catapults and, after defeating them in a battle on the north bank of the river, pursued them into the interior.

It took Alexander until the autumn of to crush the most determined opponent he encountered in his campaigns.

Later in the same year he attacked Oxyartes and the remaining barons who held out in the hills of Paraetacene modern Tajikistan ; volunteers seized the crag on which Oxyartes had his stronghold, and among the captives was his daughter, Roxana. In reconciliation Alexander married her, and the rest of his opponents were either won over or crushed.

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Alexander the Great

An incident that occurred at Maracanda widened the breach between Alexander and many of his Macedonians. He murdered Cleitus, one of his most-trusted commanders, in a drunken quarrel, but his excessive display of remorse led the army to pass a decree convicting Cleitus posthumously of treason. Even Callisthenes , historian and nephew of Aristotle , whose ostentatious flattery had perhaps encouraged Alexander to see himself in the role of a god, refused to abase himself.

Macedonian laughter caused the experiment to founder, and Alexander abandoned it. Shortly afterward, however, Callisthenes was held to be privy to a conspiracy among the royal pages and was executed or died in prison; accounts vary ; resentment of this action alienated sympathy from Alexander within the Peripatetic school of philosophers, with which Callisthenes had close connections. In early summer Alexander left Bactria with a reinforced army under a reorganized command.

Half the army with the baggage under Hephaestion and Perdiccas , both cavalry commanders, was sent through the Khyber Pass , while he himself led the rest, together with his siege train, through the hills to the north. In June Alexander fought his last great battle on the left bank of the Hydaspes.

In he was commentator in the field in the Italian version of the series of documentaries "Big Cat Diary" devoted to the great African feline, entirely realized in co-production between RAI and BBC and for this program, he stayed in the reserve of Masai Mara, in Kenya. He was the conductor, together with his father, of the program Ulisse, from on Rai Tre, for which he won the Premio Flaiano for television. In he was attacked and robbed by bandits while filming a tv program, in the desert of Niger. Shipping Login Registration Cart 0. Celebrities Biographies Autobiographies Cinema Fashion.

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A Journey Through the Lands of the Ancient Empire, Following a Coin

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