March 28, 2017

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By Samuel Willard Crompton

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Less than 100 miles from the Hellespont, they met a Persian army which had gathered in response to Alexander’s invasion. The Persians and Greeks were close in number, each army having about 40,000 men. The Persians were commanded by the satrap (local ruler) who was responsible to the great King of Kings at the Persian capital. The Persians waited on the east bank of the Granicus River. If they could defeat him here, Alexander’s invasion would come to a very abrupt end. FROM THE HELLESPONT TO ISSUS As he prepared for battle, Alexander knew and trusted in the quality of his men.

So when Darius sent ambassadors to Greece, demanding that the people there show their submission by offering earth and water, the Spartans threw the ambassadors into a well where they died. The war was on. , Darius sent a fleet and army from Asia Minor. The King of Kings was not on the expedition, entrusting command to one of his generals. The Persians landed on a beach called Marathon, about 25 miles northeast of Athens. The Greeks did not have the horse-riding courier system of the Persians. Instead the Greeks relied on swift-footed men who carried messages from one city-state to another.

Seeing this daring attack, Darius lost his nerve, turned, and fled. Dismayed by Darius’ flight, the Persians began to give up in large numbers. Those on the Persian right flank fought stubbornly for some hours before they surrendered. By then, the day belonged to Alexander. Darius fled the field, and galloped east as fast as he could. That night Alexander learned that the tent and belongings of the King of Kings had been found. Alexander and Hephastion went to see Darius’ forsaken lodgings. There they found not only gold, silver, a bathtub, and other luxuries, but a small harem of women, including Darius’ wife Stateira, her son, and Darius’ mother Sisygambis.

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