Campaigns in Bactria & Sogdia

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Campaigns in Bactria & Sogdia

Campaigns in Bactria & Sogdia


Alexander’s route


A New Campaign• Alexander now had a very different aim:- Conquest – to establish his own empire inAsia.• The Greeks who had accompanied theexpedition as members of the League ofCorinth were now given a choice:- Return to Greece- Continue to fight for Alexander asmercenaries


Main events of this period of thecampaign• The murder of Darius by Bessus• Pursuit of the murderers• Subjugation off rebel Satraps in Bactria &Sogdiana.• Reorganisation of the army to cope withthe new style of warfare.• Capture of Sogdian Rock & Rock ofAornus.• Conflict between Alexander and hisMacedonians.


The Murder of Darius• From Persepolis, Alexander pursuedDarius northwards• Darius had been arrested by Bessus, hisformer Satrap of Bactria.• Read about what happened in Arrian Pg184. Arrian’s summing up of Darius Pg185 – 186.• Alexander buried Darius with the honoursbefitting a king. He saw himself assuccessor to the position of Great King.


The pursuit of Bessus• Alexander continued the pursuit of Bessusinto Mardia & Bactria.• Bessus had changed his name toArtaxerxes and was calling himself King ofAsia.• More Persian commanders & Greekmercenaries were surrendering toAlexander.


Crossing the Hindu Kush• Alexander had noidea just how severethe winter could be inthe north.• Curtius (Pg 154)describes thehardships of crossingthe Khawak Pass, inthe Hindu Kushmountain range, intoBactria.


Bessus seeks support• While being pursued, Bessusboasted about raising an armyto defeat Alexander.• However, the Bactrians wereunwilling to support him, manydefecting to Alexander.• Bessus fled across the OxusRiver into neighbouringSogdiana.• He scorched the earth & burntall available boats at the Oxusas he fled.- What problems would thiscause Alexander?


The march into Sogdia• From Bactria, Alexandercontinued to pursueBessus into the hot,desert country ofSogdiana.• Read Curtius’ (Pg 157 –158) description of thisjourney.• Read Arrian’s accountof the crossing of theOxus.


The capture of Bessus• Spitamenes &Dataphernes offered tobetray Bessus.• Read Arrian Pg 197 –198 for his account ofwhat happened.• Arrian (Pg 212 – 213)& Curtius (Pg 161) giveaccounts of Bessus’mutilation & execution.


The revolt in Sogdiana• Spitamenes led an uprisingof the Scythians inSogdiana.• Read the reasons for therebellion in Fox Pg 302 .• The new style of warfareconfronting Alexander(guerilla warfare)demanded a reorganisationof Alexander’s army.


A new style of warfare• The Macedonians wereno longer fightingpitched battles againstlarge opponents.• The Scythian tribesmenwere excellent mountedarchers.• They fought guerilla stylein small groups.


Macedonian army reorganised• The Macedonian Companion cavalry wasunequal and phalanx unsuitable.• Alexander made use of Bactrian horsemenunder Artabazus, Satrap of Bactria.• The army was divided into five separatetask forces that could act independently.• These set about the subjugation ofSogdiana.


The campaign against theScythians• The Scythians in both Sogdiana & Bactriacreated many problems for the Macedonians.• The fighting was harsh.• New cities were founded and settled withvarious groups & Alexander’s veterans.• Eventually Spitamenes was killed. ReadCurtius Pg 183.


The Sogdian Rock• The Bactrian Lord Oxyartestook refuge in this hilltopfort.- It was sheer on all sides.- Had food & water towithstand a lengthy siege.• Read differing accounts ofthis famous engagement inArrian (Pg 232 – 234) &Curtius (Pg 172 - 175.A clever & cunning solutionto a difficult problem.


Marriage to Roxane• One of the prisoners taken at theSogdian Rock was Roxane,daughter of Oxyartes.• She became Alexander’s firstwife.- Alexander already had one son(Heracles) with his mistress,Barsine, daughter of Artabazus.• Read Curtius’ account, ofAlexander’s marriage to her, onPg 186.


The Rock of Chorienes• A second precipitous mountain fortress inBactria.• Read differing accounts of thisengagement in:- Curtius (Pg 181 – 182) &- Arrian (Pg 236 – 238)After Chorienes, Alexander’s armycrossed the Hindu Kush again & movedtowards India.

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