The conquer of Egypt

Alexander with the reputation preceeding his army advanced towards Arado, Vivlo and Sidona, while Turos with the largest naval power in Foiniki, was his last target. The ruling of this would mean the end of the Persian dominance of the sea in the Middle East and the refusal of any future movement towards the Greek land.

The siege at Tirou started in January, 332 and ended six months later. Alexander with the help of Foinikon and Kuprion, which had suffered from the dominance of Tirou, and trusting his dream in which he saw Hercules driving him toward Tirou, primarily prevaled the sea and then land. The invasion to the city lasted for a long period of siege. The Macedonians, enraged with anger from the many months of siege from the Tirious, killed with anger. It was punishment from a message towards other cities in case they behaved in the same way towards Alexander and his army.

Surely, the further aim of Alexander’s was the easy way towards Egypt. His journey towards Egypt was distracted at Gaza, the city with the fortress, according to the civil engineers of Alexander’s. It would be occupied by attack. Once again Alexander showed his strategic intelligence. An intelligence that gave the solution many times to incomparable obstacles and to a defence system that seemed unbelievably hard to overleap.

Alexander was about to siege Gaza, gave orders to construct an embarkment as heigh as the city (80m) and ordered attack. During this Alexander was seriously wounded, losing a lot of blood and was cured after a long period of time. It was another victory of the Macedonian king on a symbolic state of courage to the soldiers, since he himself could overcome every injury.

Since Alexander conquered Gaza, he hastily went to Jerusulam. As soon as the high priest Ioddas found out about it, anxiety and fear took over and he did not know how to welcome theMacedonians, since it was obvious that the king was angry due to the negative response the Jews gave to his prepositions. He (the priest) called the people to refer back to the entreaty, offering a sacrifice to the God, he begged him to look after his nation and to save it from the coming dangers. After the sacrifice, he fell asleep, in his dream God appeared and spoke to him with prophecies ordering him to have bravery, to decorate the city , to open the gates to welcome Alexander, the folk wearing white clothing, while you and your priests wearing traditional clothing and not to be scared if anything bad will happen because god will protect you. As soon as he woke up, he felt great happiness, then revealed all the prophecies by God and did everything he was told, waiting for the king’s arrival.

When the head priest learnt that Alexander was reaching the city, with all his priest and the citizens went out to welcome him with religious grandeur, which did not look like a welcoming from the rest of the nations at a place called Saphein. The name translated in Greek means ” Skopos ” in other words observation because from there you could see all of Jerusalem and the temples.

The Foinikes on their side, and the Haldaio that followed them, estimated that the king in his anger, would allow them to plunder in the city and kill the priest disgracefully.

But the opposite happened. As soon as Alexander saw from far away the crowd dressed in white and in front the priest in linen, and the high priest walking in dark purple and gold surplice vestments wearing on his head a sacried kerchief with a gold tablet that wrote God’s name on it, he walked alone worshipped the name and kissed the high priest. Then the Jews greeted Alexander and circled him, the leader of Syria and the rest were stunned by the king’s attitude they thought that he was mad. Only Parmenion approached and asked him for what reason did he worship the high priest of the Jews when everyone worshipped him.

” I am not worshipping him ” Alexander answered ” but God which gave him the priveledge to be the high priest. Because one night, at Dion (sacried city) of Macedonia, I saw him in my dream as he is dressed now, while I was thinking in which way I would subordinate Asia, he told me not to lose time, but to cross over with courage, because he himself would drive my army to Persia and hand the country to me. Because I have never seen anyone in clothing like that, as soon as I saw him, I remembered the dream where he appeared and urged me to start, believing that I took over the campaign with devine guidance, thus I would beat Darius, abolish his country and succeed what I had in mind “.

This is what he said to Parmenion, and as he gave his hand to the high priest, he reached the city with the Jews running by his side. There Alexander climbed to the temple, made a sacrifice to God according to the instruction of the high priest and showed respect to him and the priests when they showed the book of Danilou, were he mentioned that a Greek would abolish the Persian nation, knowing that it was him (Alexander). Thus full of joy scattered the crowd, as the next day he gathered them and called them to ask for anything they wanted. Then the high priest asked him to allow them to keep their customary laws and every seven years for them not to pay taxes, and he agreed. Furthermore, he begged him to allow the Jews of Babylon and Midias to obey their laws and he promised that he would allow it. Afterwards, he adressed the crowd saying that if somebody wants to take part in his campaign, maintaining his patrial habits and living with these, he was ready to take them with him and many were willing to join his army.

December 332 the armies from land and sea approached Egypt. The army invaded Pilousio (Port Side) and the priest and the nation of Egypt accepted Alexander’s army without resistance. The army approached the Nile and after that Alexandreia, whilst the Persian governor surrendered in Memphida Alexander in less than two years created something that seemed impossible, a kingdom that expanded from the Black Sea up to the coast of Egypt.

The Egyptian accepted Alexander with great honour, who visited the temple of Ammon Zeus at oasis Siwa, where the Gods favoured the journey sending rain and two crows to guide them, when they lost their way in the desert. Alexander followed Persea and Hercules which had visited the tomb. For Alexander Ammon Zeus was a Greek God, with a temple at Aphito Halkidikis and worshipped Dodoni. For the Egyptian, Alexander was son of Ra, king of upper and lower Egypt, loved one of Ammon and the elected on of Ra. He was ” son of Zeus ” he was a pharoah, a God.

While Alexander was still in Egypt, Igelochos arrived and announced that the islands of the Aegean, which were still under Persian command, like Tenedos, Chios, Lesvos and Kos were averted. In all the cities the power was governed by the democrates, which arrested the tyrants and they sent them to Alexander. Only in Peloponnese did they continue a rebellious mood against the Macedonian ruling. By conquering Egypt and all the Persian coast, from the straights of the Black Sea up to Egypt were in Alexander’s hands. The powerful Persian fleet had disappeared. Part of the Pontiacon coast were not part of the Persian nation.

The journey towards the oasis of Siwa, where there was an oracle of Ammon, the well-known Ammoneion, was a personal religious, political and military challenge for the Greek leader.

Alexander’s course to the specific oasis, whereas tradition wants to give particular prestige and to return it back to holy inspiration, but it did not have strategic meaning. For the Macedonians whom for the first time walked from Alexandria for more than 600 km a distance which the largest part was desert, thus it was a great achievement. This operation must have been the outcome of the young king’s romanticism and his mystic nature: before pursuing the Great King in inner Asia, Alexander wanted to visit the Holy Altar, where many older and significant generals asked for advice such as Kimon and Lysandro. His visit to Ammoneion had political character, as it enforced his prestige amongs his young citizens equally to the Greeks. When Alexander went into the Altar, the priest greeted him as son of God Ammona. The name was customary to the Pharoahs, but to the Greeks it made a striking impression, that they equalled Ammona with Zeus.


From the oasis Shiva, Alexander returned to Memphida (331B.C.). There he met with counsellers from Greece and a new army strength awaited for him, which Antiparos sent him. At Memphida, Alexander occupied himself with the reorganization of Egypt. The nature of the country needed an adjustment of decentralization to the system. Later on to the same political and strategic system, Ptolemaios based his administration on Egypt. Alexander left from Memphia after organising great celebrations, to the West side of the Nile, where he decided to build a city between the sea and the lake Mareotida. The new city could trench and join the Nile, thus having two parts. On the 20th January 331 Alexander traced the perimeter of the wall with the length of 15 kilometres, up to the centre of the city and placed them (the parts) where he would built temples of Isidas and the Olympian gods. The flour that he used, to form the new city, was eaten by a flock of birds. This sign meant wealth for Alexander, whilst the city was named Alexandreia.

These cities were the most important places for Alexander’s campaign. Besides the enforcements of the cities that were already there, he created new cities such as Aiges and Alexandreia (Egypt), Arethousa (Syria), Pella (Palastine), Gerasa (Jordan), thus creating a network of colonies with huge economical, political and cultural meaning. Furthermore the cities would be able to be a station for ships and a significant centre for trade, the evolution of this would be of great importance as the centre of Greek education and training and also army training according to Greek-Macedonia stereotypes. He created 70 Greek cities with a population of 10.000 in each city.

Alexander stayed in Egypt for four months, where with his army and fleet rested, they left Phoiniki and Syria. There they stayed for three months programming a campaign in Ethiopia.