On This Day In History: Alexander The Great Defeats Darius III Of Persia In The Battle Of The Granicus On May 22, 334 B.C.

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AncientPages.com - On May 22, 334 B.C. the Macedonian army of Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in the Battle of the Granicus.

The battle took place in Northwestern Asia Minor, near the site of Troy and was the first of three major battles fought between Alexander the Great and the Persian Empire.

It was a battle in which Alexander the Great came close to failure and death.

Alexander was stunned by an axe-blow from a Persian nobleman named Rhoisakes. A second Persian nobleman named Spithridates attempted to attack Alexander from behind while he was still reeling, but he was himself killed by Cleitus the Black, who severed his outstretched arm. Alexander quickly recovered.

The Battle of the Granicus River

The Battle of the Granicus River

Following the assassination of his father, King Philip II, in 336 BC Alexander the Great won the allegiance of the army and ascended to the throne of Macedon at age 20. He quickly noticed he was the head of a rebellious kingdom. The sudden death of his father had encouraged the barbarians to the north and west–and several Greek cities to the south–to revolt against Macedonian rule.

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Within two years, Alexander had suppressed all internal opposition, crushed the barbarian revolts in decisive campaigns and subdued the Greek insurrection. Once he had consolidated his power at home, Alexander enthusiastically took on the project his father had planned but never carried out–an invasion of the Persian Empire.

In the spring of 334 B.C, Alexander took 2,600 cavalry and went on a 20-day march from Macedon to Hellespont, to join Parmenion in Asia.

The encounter with the forces of Darius III of Persia resulted in total casualties in between 300 and 400 for the Greeks. The Persians had roughly 1,000 cavalry and 3,000 infantry killed, mostly in the rout.

Towards the end of this battle, Alexander buried the Persian commanders and the Greek mercenaries who were killed fighting on the side of the enemy.