Battle of Gaugamela: Re-Assessing the Military Factors and Numbers

Jason Poirier Lavoie Essays Leave a Comment

By Conor Murphy

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Abstract

Gaugamela was the final battle of an epic war. The Macedonians had led an invasion force down the eastern Mediterranean, liberating the Greek city-states of Asia-Minor and conquering “by the spear” everything that lay in their path. The vast and mighty Persian Empire, of whom they were taking territories, was not able to stop their southward march and when the Macedonians were greeted as liberators in Egypt, there was only one direction for them to turn: towards the Persian heartland. The Macedonian-Greeks invaded with Homeric vigor and with the ideal that they could disseminate their superior Greek culture to the ends of the earth. However before they could accomplish this they would have to defeat the Persian army in a decisive battle, Gaugamela was that battle. For the Persians it was the axial event in which their ancient cultural dynasties finally fell to foreign conquerors and it dawned a long era of foreign imperialism. For the Macedonian-Greeks it confirmed their superiority and made them masters of half the (known) world. The ramifications of Gaugamela are profound; in brief, it was pivotal in the ascent of modern civilization. Gaugamela can therefore be regarded as one of the most important battles in history and this essay sets out to uncover the military strategies that were employed there.