Chronology of Alexander’s Life

Sweet Summer Child

In this post, I would like to share a few thoughts based on Alexander’s deeds in the month of July, as outlined in this post.

July is undoubtedly the most important month of the year for anyone interested in the life of Alexander of Macedon as it is the month in which he was born.

The date usually given for Alexander’s birth is 20th/21st July, and for the past few years, I have celebrated it by visiting a Greek restaurant for lunch on one of those dates.

Thanks to the coronavirus I won’t be able to to do so this year – or at least, not this month – but there is no way I am going to let the big day go by without a glass or two of Greek wine. There is a lovely Greek bakery/delicatessen on the corner of Farringdon Road and Topham Street in London so I shall pop in there and buy a suitable bottle of vino tinto and drink to the conqueror.

If you would like to read an account of Alexander’s conception and birth, Plutarch’s Life of Alexander is the book to read.

As it happens, Plutarch is the only one of the principle Alexander historians (Arrian, Curtius, Diodorus, and Justin) to have any interest in Alexander’s life before he became king. All the others, excluding Curtius, begin their narratives in 336 BC when Alexander becomes king. It’s rather like how St. Luke is the only Gospel writer to be very interested in Jesus’ conception and birth. A note on Curtius – perhaps he too wrote an account of Alexander’s birth; unfortunately, the first two books of his history have been lost so we don’t know.

In July 333 BC, Alexander left Gordium in central Asia Minor having either cut or untied the famous knot. What happened with the Gordian Knot is one of those moments in Alexander’s life where you pays your money and makes your choice. Plutarch again tells us that according to ‘most writers’ Alexander cut the knot but that Aristobulos says he untied it.

Which to believe? Aristobulos’ explanation – that Alexander undid the knot by first removing the dowel pin around which it was tied and then the yoke of the cart is elegant and simple. That’s a problem, though: are difficult problems ever so neatly solved? And then there is the issue of Aristobulos’ reputation for always trying to make Alexander look as good as possible.

That Alexander simply cut the knot sounds much more realistic (after all, if the knot could be undone by simply removing the dowel pin and yoke, surely someone would have thought of that before) and like the kind of thing he would do. Like I said, you pays your money and makes your choice.

July is also the month in which Memnon of Rhodes died. Of all Alexander’s enemies, he was probably the most dangerous. Before the Battle of the Granicus River, he proposed the adoption of a scorched earth policy to the Persian satraps, as a way of starving the Macedonian army out of Asia Minor.

The local populations would have suffered grievously but it was surely an excellent strategy for dealing with the Macedonians. Despite this, the satraps turned it down.

Afterward the Granicus, Memnon’s naval campaign in the Aegean Sea could well have forced Alexander, either to return home to protect Macedon and Greece, or send back troops he needed to be successful in his expedition.

Before the campaign could reach its fulfilment, however, Memnon died. The commanders who succeeded him were not able to keep the naval campaign going before Alexander defeated it from the land.

In July 332 BC, the Siege of Tyre finally came to a close when the Macedonian army finally broke into the city. The Tyrians had held Alexander at bay for seven months, and paid the price for it as the Macedonians cut down anyone they came across during their rampage across the city.

Tyre still exists and can be found sticking out into the Mediterranean Sea in the south of Lebanon. It does so because of Alexander’s mole. In the centuries following the siege, silt built up over the mole, creating the land that was needed to join the old and new cities together.

Zipping forward to July 330 BC, we come to the assassination of Darius III in Parthia (along the path of the Silk Road) on or around 17th July.

What would have happened to Darius if Alexander had caught him alive? Would he have let his defeated rival live? I very much doubt it. As long as Darius lived, he represented a threat to Alexander’s Great Kingship. He would surely have been put to death just as Alexander’s rivals to the Macedonian throne were.

I started this post with a beginning and so will end it with an ending.

In July 326 BC, the Macedonian army’s mutiny at the Hyphasis River took place. As I have seen written elsewhere, the army didn’t actually mutiny. That is to say, Alexander didn’t issue an order to cross the river, which the army then refused to carry out. Rather, they arrived at the river, and the army told their king we will not go any further. Alexander tried to talk them out of their refusal but to no avail.

Arrian’s account of the debate between Alexander and Coenus is a dramatic piece of literary theatre (in which light it should be seen rather than as an account of what was said on the day) and it’s interesting that although Coenus died not long afterwards there is no suggestion in the sources, and not much made by modern historians, that Alexander had him eliminated as a kind of revenge (Coenus, after all, was speaking as much for the army as himself). Men were killed by Alexander for much less.

Alexander’s anger and frustration as the army sails down the Indus River is also very notable. Never more so than on the two occasions when he impatiently climbs siege ladders by himself. Fed up of the army’s tardiness – now on their way home, the soldiers’ motivation to risk death had gone – Alexander decides to take on the enemy himself. On the second occasion, he is almost killed as a result. Afterwards, his senior commanders finally tell him off for risking himself too much!

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Alexander: August / Summer Chronology

Alexander’s Chronology

338
2nd August The Battle of Chaeronea. United army of Thebes and Athens is defeated by Philip II (Alexander fights on the left wing) (Michael Wood)

336
Summer Philip II is assassinated. Alexander III succeeds him (Michael Wood)
Summer Artaxerxes IV murdered; Darius III becomes Great King (Livius)
Summer (Late) Alexander confirmed as ‘captain-general of war against Persia by the Corinthian League (Peter Green)

335
Summer Alexander’s Thracian Campaign; Memnon pushes the Macedonian advance guard back in Asia Minor (Livius)

334
August The Siege of Halicarnassus gets underway (Livius)
Summer Alexander takes Sardis, Ephesus, and Miletus (by siege); he disbands his navy; The city of Halicanassus – excluding its citadel – is captured (Landmark Arrian)

333
July – September Pharnabzus continues the Persian naval offensive (Livius)
Summer Alexander crosses central Asia Minor; he cuts/slashes the Gordian Knot (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander falls ill [after bathing in the Cydnus River]; Alexander takes Cilicia; The citadel at Halicarnassus falls; Alexander settles Mallus (Landmark Arrian)

332
Summer
Darius makes a second attempt to negotiate an end to the war [the first was in Autumn 333]. Alexander rejects his offer

331
July – August Alexander arrives at Thapsacus; Darius marches out of Babylon (Peter Green)
August – September
Alexander crosses Mesopotamia (Livius)
Summer Alexander crosses modern day Syria and enters northern Iraq (Michael Wood)

330
July – August Alexander marches on Hyrcania (Peter Green)
August (Late) Alexander marches on Drangiana [i.e. Lake Seistan]; The Philotas Affair; From Arachosia to Parapamisadae (Peter Green)
August – September Alexander campaigns in Hyrcania, Parthia and Aria (Livius)
Summer Alexander orders Darius’ body to be given a royal burial; Alexander defeats Tapourians; Sundry Persians surrender; Mardians surrender; Greek mercenaries surrender; Alexander receives word that Bessus has declared himself king (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Darius III is assassinated; Alexander advances to the Caspian Sea (Michael Wood)

329
Summer (Early) After crossing the Hindu Kush, Alexander makes his way to Balkh [i.e. Bactra/Zariaspa] (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander crosses the Oxus River; captures Bessus; Alexander arrives at Samarkand [i.e. Maracanda]; Alexander reaches the Jaxartes [Tanais] River; founds Alexandria the Furthest [i.e. Eschate] (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexandria the Furthest is founded; a great rebellion [along the Jaxartes] is quelled (Landmark Arrian)

328
Summer The Bactria and Sogdia campaign continues (Livius; Landmark Arrian)
Summer Spitamenes conducts his semi-guerrilla war against Macedonian army (Landmark Arrian)
Summer (Late) Alexander murders Black Cleitus during a drunken row (Michael Wood)

327
Summer (Early) [Second] crossing of the Hindu Kush via Kushan Pass; Beginning of the Indian campaign (Peter Green)
Summer
The Macedonian army reunites in Balkh; the introduction of the practice of proskynesis; Alexander marries Roxane (Livius)
Summer Alexander meets Taxiles in Hindu Kush; Macedonian army divides between Alexander and Hephaestion and Perdiccas. The latter two take their part of the army to Peucelaotis (Landmark Arrian)
Summer (Late) The Pages Plot; Callisthenes’ execution (Livius)
Summer – Early Autumn Alexander spends six months in the Kabul Valley (Michael Wood)

326
Summer Numerous Macedonian ships and boats are damaged by the strong current on the Acesines river; Alexander pursues a renegade king named Porus (not the king of the Hydaspes river); Sangala is destroyed; Macedonian army refuses to go any further east at the Hyphasis river; Abisares appointed satrap (Landmark Arrian)
Summer (Late) The Macedonian army mutinies at the Hyphasis River (Livius)

325
August (Late) Alexander sets out for Carmania (Livius)
Summer Alexander arrives at the delta of the Indus River (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander sends Craterus and part of the army west [via an inland route]; Alexander explores the delta of the Indus river by ship (Landmark Arrian)

324
August The Opis Mutiny (Livius)
Summer Reorganisation of Macedonian army; Opis Mutiny; Craterus [and 10,000] veterans sent home; Craterus is ordered to replace Antipater; Alexander sees the horses of Nysia
Summer
Alexander issues the Exiles’ Decree; Craterus and [the 1o,000] veterans set out for Macedon (Livius)
Summer Mass Weddings at Susa. As part of the ceremony, Alexander marries Stateira II, daughter of Darius [and Parysatis, grand-daughter of Artaxerxes III Ochus] (Michael Wood)

Michael Wood In the Footsteps Of Alexander the Great A Journey from Greece to India (BBC Books 2004)
Livius
Peter Green Alexander of Macedon 356 – 323 B.C. A Historical Biography (University of California Press 1991)
The Landmark Arrian Ed. James Romm (Pantheon Books 2010)

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Alexander: July / Summer Chronology

Alexander’s Chronology

356
20th July Alexander son of Philip is born (Michael Wood)
20th or 26th July Alexander son of Philip is born (Peter Green)

336
Summer Philip II is assassinated; Alexander III succeeds him (Michael Wood)
Summer Artaxerxes IV murdered; Darius III becomes Great King (Livius)
Summer (Late) Alexander calls a meeting of the Hellenic League. He is elected Hegemon (Peter Green)

335
Summer Alexander’s Thracian Campaign; Memnon pushes the Macedonian advance guard back in Asia Minor (Livius)

334
July Alexander captures Miletus (Livius)
Summer Sardis, Ephesus and Miletus fall to Alexander; Alexander disbands navy; Halicarnassus captured (except for citadel) (Landmark Arrian)

333
April – July Alexander in Gordium (Livius)
July Memnon dies (Livius)
July (Late) Alexander leaves Gordium; Darius III leaves Babylon [ultimately for Issus] (Livius)
July – September Pharnabazus resumes the Persian naval offensive (Livius)
Summer Alexander marches through central Asia Minor; Unties/cuts knot at Gordion (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander falls ill suddenly; Alexander victorious in Cilicia; Citadel of Halicarnassus falls; Alexander brings peace to Mallus (Landmark Arrian)

332
January – July The Siege of Tyre (Livius, Michael Wood)
29th July Tyre falls (Peter Green)
July The Fall of Tyre (Livius)
Winter – Summer The Siege of Tyre (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Darius offers peace terms to Alexander who rejects them (Landmark Arrian)

331
July Alexander crosses the Euphrates River (Livius)
July – August Alexander arrives at Thapsacus; Darius leaves Babylon (Peter Green)
Summer Alexander marches through Syria and enters northern Iraq (Michael Wood)

330
17th July Around this time, Darius III is assassinated; Bessus declares himself king [regnal name: Artaxerxes V] (Livius)
July (Later than the 15th) Darius III is found dead; Bessus declares himself Great King (Peter Green)
July – August Alexander marches for Hyrcania (Peter Green)
Summer Darius III is assassinated; Alexander marches to the Caspian Sea (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander orders that Darius III be given a royal burial; Alexander defeats Tapourians and Mardians; Alexander takes surrender of Greek mercenaries; Alexander hears that Bessus has declared himself king (Landmark Arrian)

329
July Alexander founds Alexandria Eschate [Alexandria-the-Furthest]; Sogdian [and Bactrian] revolt; Battle of the Jaxartes; Reorganisation of the cavalry (Livius)
Summer (Early) Alexander arrives in Balkh [i.e. Zariaspa/Bactra]
Summer Crossing of Oxus River; Bessus is captured; Arrival in Maracanda; Arrival at Jaxartes [i.e. Tanais]; founding of Alexandria Eschate (Michael Wood)
Summer Founding of Alexandria Eschate; Uprising quelled (Landmark Arrian)

328
Summer Macedonian campaign in Bactria and Sogdia (Livius)
Summer (Late) Alexander murders Black Cleitus during a drunken row (Michael Wood)
Summer Macedonian army sweeps across Sogdiana [and Bactria] rooting out resistance; In Bactria, Spitamenes conducts semi-guerilla warfare (Landmark Arrian)

327
Summer The Macedonian army reunites at Bactria; The Introduction of the practice of proskynesis; Alexander marries Roxane (Livius)
Summer (Early) Alexander invades India (Peter Green)
Summer (Late) The Pages Plot; Callisthenes’ execution (Livius)
Summer – Early Autumn Alexander spends six months in the Kabul Valley at Begram (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander meets Taxiles in Hindu Kush; Hesphaestion and Perdiccas take a division to the Indus via Peukelaotis (Landmark Arrian)

326
July (Late) Mutiny at the Hyphasis River (Livius)
?July Macedonian mutiny at the Hyphasis River; return to Hydaspes; reinforcements from Greece arrive (Peter Green)
Summer Many Macedonian ships damaged in Akesinos river; Alexander pursues the renegade Porus [not the king of the Hydaspes battle]; Alexander captures Sangala; The Macedonian Army mutinies at the Hyphasis river; Abisares appointed satrap (Landmark Arrian)

325
c.15th July Peithon et al arrive at Patala (Livius)
Summer Alexander arrives at the Indus Delta (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander sends Craterus west by an inland route; Alexander explores the Indus delta and coast (Landmark Arrian)

324
Summer Alexander issues the Exiles’ Decree (Livius)
Summer Mass Weddings in Susa; Alexander himself marries a daughter of Darius [i.e. Stateira II] (Michael Wood)
Summer Mutiny at Opis; Reconciliation banquet; Craterus is sent back to Macedon with discharged veterans; Alexander sees the famous Nysaean horses (Landmark Arrian)

323
Summer Alexander dies after an 11 day fever in Babylon (Landmark Arrian)

Michael Wood In the Footsteps Of Alexander the Great A Journey from Greece to India (BBC Books 2004)
Peter Green Alexander of Macedon 356 – 323 B.C. A Historical Biography (University of California Press 1991)
The Landmark Arrian Ed. James Romm (Pantheon Books 2010)
Livius

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Alexander: June / Summer Chronology

Alexander’s Chronology

336
Summer Philip II is assassinated; Alexander III succeeds him (Michael Wood*)
Summer Artaxerxes IV murdered; Darius III becomes Great King (Livius, Peter Green**)
Summer (Late) Alexander holds a meeting of the League of Corinth and is confirmed as Captain-General of the war against Persia (Peter Green)

335
Summer Alexander’s Thracian Campaign (Livius)
Summer Memnon pushes the Macedonian advance guard back in Asia Minor (Livius)

334
June (Early) Battle of the Granicus River (Livius)
Summer Alexander takes Sardis and Ephesus (Landmark Arrian***)
Summer Alexander takes Miletus; he disbands his navy (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Macedonians take Halicarnassus except for its citadel (Landmark Arrian)

333
March – June Memnon’s naval offensive ends (Livius)
April – July Alexander in Gordium (Livius)
Summer Alexander crosses Asia Minor (Michaal Wood)
Summer Alexander undoes the Gordian Knot (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander falls gravely ill after swimming in the Cydnus River (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Alexander takes Cilicia; the citadel of Halicarnassus falls to the Macedonians (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Alexander brings factional strife to an end in Mallus (Landmark Arrian)

332
January – July The Siege of Tyre continues (Livius, Michael Wood)
?June Alexander rejects Darius’ second written peace offer (Peter Green)
Winter – Summer The Siege of Tyre (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Darius writes to Alexander offering him a large amount of territory (to end the war); Alexander rejects the offer (Landmark Arrian)

331
June Alexander marches through Phoenicia and Syria (Livius)
Summer Alexander crosses Syria and enters northern Iraq (Michael Wood)

330
June Darius leaves Ecbatana for Bactria (Livius)
June (Early) Alexander departs from Persepolis for Ecbatana; Darius heads towards Bactria; at Ecbatana, Alexander dismisses his Greek allies; Alexander leaves Parmenion in Ecbatana with Harpalus as treasurer; pursuit of Darius continues (Peter Green)
Summer Alexander orders the burning of the Persian palace complex at Persepolis (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Pursuit of Darius and his assassination in Media; after finding his body, Alexander orders Darius to be given a royal burial (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Darius is assassinated; Alexander marches to the Caspian Sea (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander defeats Tapourians; more Persians surrender; Mardians defeated; in Hyrcania, Greek mercenaries surrender; Zadracarta: Alexander learns that Bessus has declared himself Great King (Landmark Arrian)

329
1st June Around this time Alexander makes his way to the Oxus River (Livius)
June Alexander captures Bessus (Livius)
June Alexander proceeds to the Jaxartes (Tanais) River (Livius)
June Alexander crosses the Oxus; Macedonian veterans and Thessalian volunteers are dismissed; Bessus surrenders; Alexander marches to Maracanda; Spitamenes revolts; Spitamenes wipes out Macedonian detachment (Peter Green)
Summer (Early) After crossing the Hindu Kush, Alexander proceeds to Balkh (i.e. Bactra/Zariaspa) (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander crosses the Oxus River (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander captures Bessus (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander arrives at Samarkand (i.e. Maracanda) (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander reaches the Jaxartes (Tanais) River (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander founds Alexandria-the-Furthest (i.e. Eschate) (Michael Wood, Landmark Arrian)
Summer Alexander quells an uprising (along the Jaxartes River) (Landmark Arrian)

328
Summer Macedonian campaign in Bactria and Sogdia (Livius, Landmark Arrian)
Summer Spitamenes continues his guerrilla campaign (Landmark Arrian)
Summer (Late) Alexander murders Black Cleitus in a drunken row (Michael Wood)

327
Summer (Early) Alexander crosses Hindu Kush via the Kushan Pass; Indian invasion begins (Peter Green)
Summer
The Macedonian army reunites in Bactra (Livius)
Summer The failed introduction of the practice of proskynesis (Livius)
Summer Alexander marries Roxane (Livius)
Summer Alexander crosses the Hindu Kush again and meets Taxiles (Landmark Arrian)
Summer A division of the army under Hephaestion’s and Perdiccas’ joint-command march to Peucalaotis
Summer (Late) The Pages Plot; Callisthenes’ execution (Livius)
Summer – Early Autumn Alexander spends six months in the Kabul Valley at Begram (Michael Wood)

326
June (Late) Campaigning in the Punjab (Michael Wood)
June (Late) Alexander advances to the Hyphasis (modern day Beas) River (Michael Wood)
26th June Around this time Alexander crosses the Acesines River (Livius)
Summer Many of the Macedonian fleet damaged by strong currents on the Acesines river (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Alexander pursues the rebel Poros (not the king of the Hydaspes battle); Alexander razes Sangala (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Alexander reaches the Hyphasis river where his army refuses to go any further (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Appointment of Abisares as satrap (Landmark Arrian)

325
June Craterus departs from the main army and takes his men by an inland route to Carmania (Livius, Landmark Arrian)
Summer Alexander reaches the Indus delta (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander explores the Indus delta and coastline (Landmark Arrian)

324
Summer Susa: Purge of corrupt satraps; Susa weddings; Alexander remits his soldiers debts; tension within Macedonian army about Alexander’s orientalism grows (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Alexander issues the Exiles’ Decree (Livius)
Summer Mass weddings at Susa (Michael Wood)
Summer Alexander himself marries a daughter of Darius (i.e. Stateira II) (Michael Wood)
Summer Opis: Macedonian army rebels; Alexander reconciles with army and holds a special banquet to celebrate; Craterus given orders to take 10,000 veterans home – he departs (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Alexander visits the famous horses of Nysia (Landmark Arrian)
Summer Alexander explores the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates (Landmark Arrian)

323
10th June Alexander dies in Babylon (Michael Wood, Landmark Arrian)
11th June Alexander dies in Babylon (Livius, Landmark Arrian)
Summer Alexander dies in Babylon following an 11 day illness (fever) (Landmark Arrian)

* Michael Wood In the Footsteps Of Alexander the Great A Journey from Greece to India (BBC Books 2004)
**Peter Green Alexander of Macedon 356 – 323 B.C. A Historical Biography (University of California Press 1991)
*** The Landmark Arrian Ed. James Romm (Pantheon Books 2010)
Livius

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Alexander: April / Spring Chronology

Alexander’s Chronology

337
Spring Alexander is recalled to Pella (Peter Green)
Spring Hellenic League is convened at Corinth (Peter Green)

336
Spring Parmenion takes the vanguard of the Macedonian army into Asia Minor (Livius)

335
Spring (Early) Alexander begins his Thracian/Illyrian campaign (Peter Green)
Spring Balkan Campaign; Alexander destroys Thebes; Greece [except Sparta] submits (Landmark Arrian)

334
Spring Alexander cross the Hellespont and lands in Asia Minor; he travels to Troy (Landmark Arrian)
(March-) April Alexander crosses the Hellespont and lands in Asia Minor (Peter Green)

333
Spring Alexander arrives in Gordion (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Memnon continues his naval campaign; Memnon dies; Alexander [undoes/] cuts the Gordion Knot; Alexander passes through the Cilician Gates having subdued Pisidia and Cappadocia (all the Landmark Arrian)
March – June Memnon’s naval offensive continues (Livius)
Spring (Early) Memnon dies (Peter Green)
April – July Alexander in Gordium (Livius)

332
January – July The Siege of Tyre continues (Michael Wood)
Spring The Persian fleet collapses (Livius)

331
Spring Alexander’s new administration takes over Egypt; Alexander crosses Assyria in his pursuit of Darius (Landmark Arrian)
Spring (Early) Alexander visits the Oracle of Ammon in Siwah (Peter Green)
7th April Foundation of Alexandria (Livius)
NB Peter Green gives the foundation of Alexandria as taking place on the 7th-8th April

330
Spring Alexander has the palace complex at Persepolis burned; Alexander continues his pursuit of Darius and finds him dead (Landmark Arrian)
Jan – May Alexander at Persepolis (Livius)

329
Spring Alexander pursues Bessus; Bessus is betrayed by his allies and given to Alexander; Alexander quells a native revolt (all Landmark Arrian)
April Alexander marches on Gandara (Livius)
April Alexander crosses the Hindu Kush (via Khawak Pass) for the first time (Michael Wood)
NB Peter Green gives the crossing of the Hindu Kush via ‘Khawak’ as taking place in March-April
April-May Alexander advances into Bactria; Bessus flees across the Oxus river (Peter Green)

328
Spring Alexander campaigns in Bactria and Sogdia; he captures the Sogdian Rock (Michael Wood)
Spring Scythian embassies and King Pharasmanes try to make an alliance with Alexander (Landmark Arrian)

327
Spring The Sogdian Rock is captured (Livius, Peter Green, Landmark Arrian)
Spring Alexander marries Roxane (Peter Green, Landmark Arrian, Michael Wood)
Spring Alexander recruits 30,000 Persian soldiers (Peter Green)
Spring Alexander takes Chorienes’ Rock (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Craterus destroys native resistance (Landmark Arrian)
Spring The Pages’ Conspiracy and Callisthenes’ death (Peter Green, Landmark Arrian)
Spring (Early) Alexander marries Roxane, the Pages’ Conspiracy and Callisthenes’ death (Michael Wood)
Spring (Late) Alexander crosses the Hindu Kush (via Bamian) for the second time (Michael Wood)

326
Spring Alexander takes the Aornos Rock; Macedonians cross the Indus on Hephaestion’s and Perdiccas’ bridge; Alexander in Nysa; Alexander receives Taxiles’ gifts; Alexander crosses the Indus; Alexander meets Taxiles; the Battle of the Hydaspes River; death of Bucephalus; foundation of Nicaea and Bucephala; Alexander campaigns against the Glauganikai (Glausae) (Landmark Arrian)
Spring (Early) Siege of the Aornos Rock, the Macedonian army reunites at the Indus River and crosses it on a pontoon, Alexander arrives in Taxila (Michael Wood)
April The Macedonian army reforms at the Indus River and proceeds to Taxila (Livius)

325
Spring The Brahmans are defeates, as are Musicanus and Sambus (Landmark Arrian)
April The Brahmans rebel (Livius)

324
Spring The 30,000 newly trained Persian soldiers arrive in the Macedonian camp (Peter Green)
Spring Mass Wedding in Susa (Peter Green)
Spring Alexander explores the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; Purge of corrupt Satraps; Susa Weddings; Debt relief for Macedonian soldiers; Tension in Macedonian army over integration with Persians; Alexander explores the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Landmark Arrian)

323
Spring The Cossaean campaign; Alexander returns to Babylon (Peter Green)
Spring Ill omens and portents for Alexander’s future; Spoils of war sent to Grece; Alexander prepares for Arabian expedition; Greek envoys call Alexander a god; Alexander orders great honours for Hephaestion; Alexander is struck down by a fever; Alexander dies (Landmark Arrian)
April Alexander arrives in Babylon (Livius, Michael Wood)

*Peter Green Alexander of Macedon 356 – 323 B.C. A Historical Biography (University of California Press 1991)
** The Landmark Arrian Ed. James Romm (Pantheon Books 2010)
***Michael Wood In the Footsteps Of Alexander the Great A Journey from Greece to India (BBC Books 2004)
Livius

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Time-Out

For a while now I have been meaning to breakdown the various sections of Alexander’s expedition to the east to see how long he spent in each city or region.

I finally got round to doing so a few days ago. I won’t post the results here just yet – I used just one source and worked quite quickly, so there was plenty of room for error – but I am confident enough in the accuracy of my work so far to share some of my findings.

Before starting the breakdown, I knew that Alexander spent two years in Bactria-Sogdia, and a-year-and-a-half, or so, in Asia Minor. I hope to return to a study of why he spent so long in the latter. Bactria-Sogdia I can understand as these countries gave him a great deal of difficulty during the expedition but Asia Minor fell to the Macedonians in a fairly straight forward manner; he should have just swept through it – shouldn’t he? (Obviously not, so I hope to find out why).

In addition to the above, I also knew that Alexander stayed nearly two years (in my notes, it is 19 months) in Macedon after becoming king. When I say ‘stayed’ I mean he was based in Macedon for two years. During that time he went abroad to fight the Thracians and Illyrians and recalcitrant Greeks (i.e. Thebans).

Some things I did not appreciate so well, however:-

  • It took Alexander and his men a whole year to march from Issus to Memphis. I should not have been so surprised at this. During that year, for example, the six month Siege of Tyre and two month Siege of Gaza both took place.
  • The journey from Bactria to the Hyphasis River took another year to complete, and the journey from the Hyphasis to the Indian Ocean another 10 months. This still surprises me, but I wonder if it is only because I had not taken the time to truly appreciate the distances that Alexander covered while in the sub-continent and, perhaps, the number of battles he fought along the way.
  • Despite the fact that he was in pursuit of Darius during this period, Alexander ultimately took a year to march/ride from Persepolis to the Hindu Kush. Obviously, he caught up with Darius in Media* so could slow down thereafter but I’m not aware of him taking any long breaks. With that said, short breaks add up in time.

One last thing – according to my notes, Alexander just 4-5 months in Egypt. I’m not sure yet how much of that time he spent travelling (for example, from Memphis to the site of Alexandria and then to Siwah and back to Memphis again – Arrian**) but if it was substantial could that give us a clue as to whether he was received a coronation as pharaoh or not? I am assuming that pharaonic coronations needed a lot of time to plan and execute and if Alexander was travelling hither and thither before leaving to begin the (six month) journey to Gaugamela he simply would not have had time for it. It’s just a thought.

As and when I have time I will finish my breakdown of Alexander’s schedule and post it here. For now, though, I hope the above provides some food for thought.

* I thought it was in Hyrcania or Parthis but Livius says he died ‘in the desert east of modern Tehran (ancient Rhagae)’ and Rhagae was in Media. I shall double check this.
** Or from Memphis to Siwah and then to the site of Alexandria and back to Memphis according to Curtius

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Alexander: May / Spring Chronology

Alexander’s Chronology

337
Spring Alexander is recalled to Pella (Peter Green)

335
Spring Balkan Campaign; Alexander destroys Thebes; Greek cities submit (Landmark Arrian)
Spring (early) Alexander begins his Thracian/Illyrian campaign; Thebes revolts (Peter Green)

334
Spring Alexander cross the Hellespont and lands in Asia Minor; visit Troy (Landmark Arrian)
May Alexander lands in Asia Minor (Livius, Michael Wood)
May The Battle of the Granicus River (Peter Green)

333
Spring Alexander arrives in Gordion (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Memnon continues his naval campaign; Memnon dies; Alexander undoes/cuts the Gordion Knot; Alexander passes through the Cilician Gates having subdued Pisidia and Cappadocia (Landmark Arrian)
Spring (early) Memnon dies (Peter Green)

March-June Memnon’s naval offensive continues (Livius)
April-July Alexander in Gordium (Livius)

332
January – July The Siege of Tyre continues (Michael Wood)
Spring The Persian Fleet collapses (Livius)

331
Spring Alexander’s new administration takes over Egypt; Alexander crosses Assyria in his pursuit of Darius (Landmark Arrian)
Spring (early) Alexander travels to Siwah (Peter Green)

330
Spring Alexander has the palace complex at Persepolis burned; continues his pursuit of Darius and finds him dead (Landmark Arrian)

May Alexander leaves Persepolis (Livius)
May(?) Destruction of Persepolis temples etc (Peter Green)
May Persepolis burned (Michael Wood)

329
Spring Alexander pursues Bessus; Bessus is betrayed by his allies and handed over to Alexander; Alexander quells a native revolt (Landmark Arrian)
Spring [First] crossing of the Hindu Kush via Khawak Pass (Michael Wood)
(April-) May Alexander advances into Bactria; Bessus flees across the Oxus river (Peter Green)

May (late) Alexander crosses the Hindu Kush (Livius)

328
Spring Scythian embassies and King Pharasmanes try to make an alliance with Alexander (Landmark Arrian)

Spring Alexander campaigns in Bactria and Sogdia; Alexander captures the Sogdian Rock (Michael Wood)

327
Spring The Sogdian Rock is captured (Livius)(Peter Green)(Landmark Arrian)
Spring Alexander marries Roxane; Alexander recruits 30,000 Persian soldiers; The Pages’ Conspiracy and Callisthenes’ death (Peter Green)
Spring Pages’ Plot exposed; Conspirators executed; Callisthenes either arrested or executed (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Alexander marries Roxane; Chorienes surrenders (Landmark Arrian)
Spring (early) Alexander marries Roxane; Alexander marries Roxane; Pages’ Plot; Callisthenes executed (Michael Wood)
Spring (late) Alexander crosses the Hindu Kush (via Bamian) for the second time (Michael Wood)

326
Spring Alexander takes the Aornos Rock; Macedonians cross the Indus on Hephaestion’s and Perdiccas’ bridge; Alexander in Nysa; Alexander receives Taxiles’ gifts; Alexander meets Taxiles; the Battle of the Hydaspes River; death of Bucephalus; foundation of Nicaea and Bucephala; Alexander campaigns in India (Landmark Arrian)
Spring (early) Siege of the Aornos Rock; the Macedonian army reunites at the Indus River and crosses it on a pontoon; Alexander arrives in Taxila (Michael Wood)
May The Battle of the Hydaspes River (Livius, Michael Wood)

325
Spring The Brahmans are defeated, as are Musicanus and Sambus (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Alexander sails down the Indus River (Michael Wood)

324
Spring The 30,000 newly trained Persian soldiers arrive in the Macedonian camp; Susa weddings (Peter Green)
Spring Alexander explores the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; Purge of corrupt Satraps; Susa Weddings; Debt relief for Macedonian soldiers; Alexander explores the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Landmark Arrian)

323
Spring Ill omens and portents for Alexander’s future; Spoils of war sent to Grece; Alexander prepares for Arabian expedition; Greek envoys call Alexander a god – he orders Hephaestion to be given great honours; Alexander is struck down by a fever; Alexander dies (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Campaign against Cossaeans (Peter Green)
(April-) May Alexander in Babylon (Livius)
May
Alexander makes preparations for an invasion of Arabia (Livius)
May Alexander falls ill in Babylon (Michael Wood)
29th/30th May Alexander falls ill (dying on 10th/11th June) (Peter Green)

*Peter Green Alexander of Macedon 356 – 323 B.C. A Historical Biography (University of California Press 1991)
** The Landmark Arrian Ed. James Romm (Pantheon Books 2010)
***Michael Wood In the Footsteps Of Alexander the Great A Journey from Greece to India (BBC Books 2004)

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Alexander: March/Spring Chronology

Alexander’s Chronology

337
Spring Philip orders Alexander back to Pella (Peter Green*)

336
Spring Parmenion and Attalus lead the Macedonian advance army into Asia Minor (Livius, Peter Green)

335
Early Spring Alexander campaigns in Thrace and Illyria (Peter Green)
NB The Landmark Arrian** dates this campaign to Spring (as opposed to Early Spring. This applies to all similar references below)

Spring Alexander razes Thebes; Greek cities submit (Landmark Arrian)

334
March – April Alexander crosses into Asia Minor; beginning of his anabasis (Peter Green)
NB
Michael Wood*** dates the crossing of the Hellespont to May
The
Landmark Arrian dates the crossing to Spring

333
March – June Memnon’s naval offensive (Livius)

Early Spring
Memnon dies (Peter Green)

Spring Alexander arrives in Gordion where he undoes the famous knot (Landmark Arrian)

Spring (Possibly late spring?) Alexander passes through the Cilician Gates having taken Pisidia and Cappadocia (Landmark Arrian)

NB With reference to the death of Memnon, referred to above, the Landmark Arrian dates it to ‘Spring’ 333, during the Persian navy’s fight against the Macedonians. Contra Livius (below), it adds that after his death, and in the same year, the ‘Persian naval war falter[ered]’

332
Spring The Persian Fleet disintegrates (Livius)
January – September The Siege of Tyre continues (Michael Wood)

331
March Alexander visits Siwah (Livius)
NB Peter Green dates Alexander’s Siwah visit to ‘Early Spring’

Spring Alexander resumes his march towards Darius (Landmark Arrian)

330
Spring Alexander orders the royal palace in Persepolis to be burnt (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Alexander finds the body of Darius (Landmark Arrian)

329
Spring First crossing of the Hindu Kush (Michael Wood)
NB Peter Green dates the crossing to ‘March – April’

Spring Alexander pursues Bessus across Bactria/Sogdia (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Bessus is betrayed by his officers and handed over to Alexander (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Alexander quells an uprising along the Jaxartes (Tanais) River (Landmark Arrian)

328
Spring Alexander campaigns in Bactria and Sogdia (Michael Wood)
Spring The Sogdian Rock is captured (Michael Wood)

327
Early Spring Alexander marries Roxane (Michael Wood)
NB The Landmark Arrian dates the wedding to Spring

Early Spring The Pages’ Plot (Michael Wood)
NB The Landmark Arrian dates the Pages’ plot (and Callisthenes subsequent arrest/possible death) to Spring

Early Spring Callisthenes is executed (Michael Wood)
Spring Pharasmanes and Scythians seek an alliance with Alexander (Landmark Arrian)
Spring
The Sogdian Rock is captured (Livius, Peter Green, Landmark Arrian)
Spring The Rock of Chorienes is captured (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Craterus eliminates the last rebels (following Spitamenes’ death in the Autumn of 328) (Landmark Arrian)
Late Spring Second crossing of the Hindu Kush (Michael Wood)

326
Early Spring The Aornos Rock is captured (Michael Wood)
NB The Landmark Arrian dates the capture of the Aornos Rock to Spring

Early Spring Alexander meets Hephaestion and Perdiccas at the Indus River, which the reunited army then crosses (Michael Wood)
NB The Landmark Arrian dates the crossing of the Indus to Spring

Early Spring Alexander reaches Taxila (Michael Wood)

NB
The Landmark Arrian lists the sequence of events following Alexander’s capture of the Aornos Rock slightly differently to Michael Wood:
Wood Siege of Aornos > Alexander meets Hephaestion & Perdicas at the Indus > Macedonians cross the Indus > Alexander arrives in Taxila
Landmark Arrian Siege of Aornos Alexander sails down the Indus to Hephaestion’s and Perdiccas’ bridge > Alexander visits Nysa > Alexander receives Taxiles’ (‘son of the Taxiles he met in the Indian Caucasus’ the previous summer) gifts > Alexander crosses the Indus > Alexander meets Taxiles

Spring Battle of the Hydaspes River (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Bucephalus is buried (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Alexander founds Nicaea and Bucephala (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Abisares submits to Alexander (Landmark Arrian)

325
Spring – Summer Journey down the Indus River (Michael Wood)
Spring Alexander defeats the Brahmins, Musicanus, and Sambus (Landmark Arrian)

324
February – March Alexander’s journey to and arrival in Susa (Peter Green)
NB The Landmark Arrian dates Alexander’s arrival to Spring. It adds that after his arrival he purged the corrupt satraps, held the mass wedding ceremonies,and forgave his soldiers’ debts/awarded ‘gold wreaths to officers’; this did not, howeverm stop tensions rising ‘over Alexander’s moves to integrate the army’
March Alexander meets Nearchus in Susa (Livius)
March Susa Marriages (Livius)
March Alexander issues the Exiles’ Decree (Peter Green)
March Alexander issues the Deification Decree (Peter Green)
Spring Alexander explores lower Tigris and Euphrates (Landmark Arrian)
Spring The 30,000 epigoni arrive in Susa (Peter Green)

323
Spring Alexander returns to Babylon after campaigning against the Cossaeans (Peter Green)
Spring Bad omens foreshadow Alexander’s death (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Alexander sends ‘spoils of war to Greece; he is hailed as a god by Greek envoys
Spring Alexander makes preparations for an Arabian campaign (Landmark Arrian)
Spring Alexander orders ‘extravagant’ honours to be given to Hephaestion (Landmark Arrian)

*Peter Green Alexander of Macedon 356 – 323 B.C. A Historical Biography (University of California Press 1991)
** The Landmark Arrian Ed. James Romm (Pantheon Books 2010)
***Michael Wood In the Footsteps Of Alexander the Great A Journey from Greece to India (BBC Books 2004)

Notes

  • This chronology is part of an on-going work. If you see any mistakes or omissions please feel free to let me know!
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Alexander: February / Winter Chronology

Alexander’s Chronology

332
The Siege Tyre continues (January – September)(Michael Wood*)

329
Macedonian armies unite in Arachosia (Livius)
NB
The Landmark Arrian** dates the siege of Tyre to winter 333/2 to summer 332
Peter Green*** dates a. the siege of Tyre to January 332 onwards to 29th July that year and b. the march through Arachosia to late August 330 B.C. onwards

326
Hephaestion marches through Gandara to the Indus River (Livius)
Alexander campaigns in the Swat Valley (Livius)
Alexander seizes the Aornus Rock (Livius)
NB
The Landmark Arrian** states that the seizure of the Aornos Rock took place in Spring
Peter Green dates the capture of the Aornos Rock to (winter) 327/6
Michael Wood dates a. Hephaestion’s passage to the Indus River b. Alexander’s Swat campaign to the winter of 327/6 and c. the capture of the Aornos Rock to early spring 326.

325
Journey down the Indus (Michael Wood)
Macedonian fleet damaged at confluence of Acesines and Indus Rivers (Livius)
NB The Landmark Arrian states that the journey down the Indus River took place in Spring

324
Alexander returns to Pasargadae (Livius)
Calanus dies (Livius)
NB
The Landmark Arrian dates Alexander’s arrival in Pasargadae to the winter of 325/4
Michael Wood dates Alexander’s visit to Pasargadae to January
Peter Green dates Alexander’s visit to Pasargadae to January onwards

* Michael Wood In the Footsteps Of Alexander the Great A Journey from Greece to India (BBC Books 2004)
** The Landmark Arrian Ed. James Romm (Pantheon Books 2010)
*** Peter Green Alexander of Macedon 356 – 323 B.C. A Historical Biography (University of California Press 1991)

***

Notes

  • This chronology is part of an on-going work. If you see any mistakes or omissions please feel free to let me know
  • Re: “325 Macedonian fleet damaged at confluence of Acesines and Indus Rivers (Livius)” Unless I have misidentified it, this entry actually refers to the trouble that Alexander experienced at the confluence of the Hydaspes and Acesines rivers according to Arrian (VI.4-6) and Curtius (IX.4.8-14)
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Alexander: January / Winter Chronology

Alexander’s Chronology

334/333
Winter Alexander conquers Caria, Lycia, Pamphylia and Phrygia (Landmark Arrian*, Livius)
Winter Alexander son of Aeropos arrested (Landmark Arrian)
Winter Alexander subdues Pisidians (Landmark Arrian)

333/332
Winter Alexander asks Tyrians permission to sacrifice to Herakles in Tyre (Landmark Arrian)
332
January (?) Byblos and Sidon submit to Alexander (Peter Green**)
January-July The Siege of Tyre (Livius, Michael Wood***)
NB Landmark Arrian says that the siege took place between winter and summer

332/331
Winter Alexander into Egypt (Landmark Arrian, Wood)
Winter Alexander is informed that the Persian Navy has been defeated in Aegean (Landmark Arrian)
Mid-winter Alexander visits Siwah (Wood)

331
January Alexander in Heliopolis and Memphis (Livius)
January Alexander founds Alexandria (Wood)
NB Landmark Arrian says Alexandria was founded in ‘winter’
331/330
Winter Alexander takes Susa (Landmark Arrian)

330
Winter Macedonian army enters Persia (Wood)
20th January Battle of the Persian Gates (Livius)
30th January Alexander arrives at Persepolis (Livius)
Jan-May Alexander at Persepolis (Livius)
NB Wood agrees that the Battle of the Persian Gates and Alexander’s arrival in Persepolis both took place in January but doesn’t give the specific date of either event; Green places the sack of Persepolis in January but only with a question mark next to the date

330/329
Winter Spitamenes’ second revolt takes place (Landmark Arrian)

329
January Alexander approaches Kabul (Wood)

329/328
Winter Alexander at Zariaspa (Green, Livius, Wood)
Winter Alexander gives orders for Bessos to be mutilated (Landmark Arrian)

328/327
Winter Alexander at Maracanda (Livius)
Winter
Alexander is based at Nautaca (Livius, Wood)
Winter While in Nautaca, Alexander appoints new satraps (Landmark Arrian)
Winter The Rock of Sisimithres is captured (Wood)
Winter After the Rock of Sisimithres falls, Alexander returns to Zariaspa (Wood)
Winter Callisthenes refuses to perform proskynesis to Alexander (Landmark Arrian)

327/326
Winter Alexander stops at Maracanda and Nautaca (Livius)
Winter Hephaestion to the Indus via Khyber Pass (Wood)
Winter Alexander enters the Swat Valley and campaigns there (Wood)
Winter Macedonians at Nysa [where they get drunk en masse] (Wood)
Winter Alexander attacks the Massaga (Wood)

326/325
Winter Alexander campaigns against the Mallians and is badly wounded. His men are unsettled until they see him alive (Landmark Arrian)
Winter Mallians and Oxydrakai submit (Landmark Arrian)

325
January Alexander campaigns against the Mallians and is wounded (Livius)
NB Wood has the Mallian campaign taking place in December
325/324
Winter Alexander reunites Nearchus and Craterus in Carmania (Landmark Arrian)
Winter Alexander Return to Persepolis (where he orders Orsines to be executed (Landmark Arrian)
Winter Alexander visits Pasargadae where he orders Cyrus the Great’s tomb to be restored (Landmark Arrian)

324
January Alexander meets Nearchus in Carmania (Green, Livius)
January Alexander returns to Persia (Wood)
January Alexander’s second visit to Persepolis; also visits Pasargadae (Wood)

324/3
Winter Alexander requests divine honours for Hephaestion (Livius)
Winter Alexander campaigns against Cossaeans (Landmark Arrian, Livius)

* The Landmark Arrian Ed. James Romm (Pantheon Books 2010)
** Green Alexander of Macedon 356 – 323 B.C. A Historical Biography (University of California Press 1991)
*** Wood In the Footsteps Of Alexander the Great A Journey from Greece to India (BBC Books 2004)

***

Notes

  • This chronology is part of an on-going work. If you see any mistakes or omissions please feel free to let me know.
  • As can be seen, I have noted where The Landmark Arrian, Livius, Michael Wood and Peter Green have disagreed on the dates; these notes, however, are not comprehensive. My focus has been on recording what each author has said rather than synthesising the dates.

Alternative/Modern Names
Nautaca – ‘Uzunkir near Shakhrisyabz’ (Wood)
Nysa – Jelalabad
Zariaspa aka Bactra – Balkh

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