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Just how could Persia lose to Greece?

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  Quote Turenne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Just how could Persia lose to Greece?
    Posted: 02-Oct-2008 at 14:47

To my mind, it was all a matter of superior military doctrin for the greeks, and the inner decay of the Persian empire.



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  Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Oct-2008 at 15:29
Originally posted by Turenne

To my mind, it was all a matter of superior military doctrin for the greeks, and the inner decay of the Persian empire.



The Greeks did not have a superior way of going about military matters.
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  Quote Asawar Hazaraspa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Oct-2008 at 19:20

Actually from the military point of view it is true that Macedonian army of Alexander was a formidable force but one shouldn't forget that military prowess expected from the Persians was not the same as the early Achamenians. But this militray prowess rendered unsuccssful when the powerful Greek kingdom of Bactria despite of resistence ceased to exist in front battle style of the Iranian and Yuezi horsemen.

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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Oct-2008 at 19:47
True, let's not forget that the main Greek fighting force (at least in the early stages) that of the heavy infantry (hoplites) was a result of social-economic development and suitable for the rugged Greek terrain. Not for the steppes of central Asia.
 
Alexander (and of course his father Philip) developed a combined arms doctrine, using light infantry (lessons learned from Iphicrates), psiloi, light and heavy cavalry and of course their famous Macedonian phalanx. This worked much better and was more flexible than the traditional Greek phalanx.
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  Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2008 at 00:26
Originally posted by Asawar Hazaraspa

Actually from the military point of view it is true that Macedonian army of Alexander was a formidable force but one shouldn't forget that military prowess expected from the Persians was not the same as the early Achamenians. But this militray prowess rendered unsuccssful when the powerful Greek kingdom of Bactria despite of resistence ceased to exist in front battle style of the Iranian and Yuezi horsemen.



Xerxes did not use unconventional warfare. He wanted to glorify himself as a great king of the Achaemenids. Cyrus the Great excelled at using unconventional tactics when fighting against other Middle Eastern Kingdoms. A swift cavalry raid through mainland Greece could have won the war. But there is no glory in doing so. Instead Xerxes used numbers as his force multiplier. Each way of doing warfare is different but not "better" by any means.
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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2008 at 08:03
Originally posted by Darius of Parsa

A swift cavalry raid through mainland Greece could have won the war. 
 
There's absolutely no way for cavalry to operate effectively in Greece. Please check a geographical atlas of Greece and note the terrain.
 
 
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  Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2008 at 15:16
The raiding party would not partake in any battles. They would just burn crops and set aflame farms. It is entirely possible for a raiding battalion of horsemen to win the war by just doing so. 
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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2008 at 18:51
Darius, your analysis is very inadequate. One cannot conquer without securing bases of resupply, that is cities and ports. Cavalry cannot breach city walls. Cavalry cannot simply live of the land. They need supplies, food, weapons, clothes etc. to sustain themselves.
In any case, cavalry is not an option without infantry and navy. Otherwise they will be destroyed once they encounter heavy infantry and -trust me- at some point they would.
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  Quote capcartoonist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2008 at 08:49
The factors contributing to Alexander's success would be:
 
1.  Possession of the best heavy infantry available (Macedonian hoplites)
2.  Combined arms tactics
3.  Darius' yellow streak
 
Gaugamela was a close thing -- the Persians were trashing the Macedonian left wing, but Alexander pressed home his attack on the right.  As soon as the Macedonians got close to Darius, the Great King turned and fled.  And what's good for the king is good for the rest of the army.  If Darius had pulled back a short distance and thrown his ten thousand Immortals around his position he might have won the day.
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  Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2008 at 15:45
The greeks had no problem with the immortals


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  Quote Nickmard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Apr-2009 at 14:28
It looks like people have not added to this thread for some time...
 
I'm going to throw in my 2 cents worth..
I have Persian heritage, but also respect and admire the Greeks as they both respected each other. At the time of Alexander the respect between these two great Civilizations was emense and the recent tit for tat between these two parties is a result of modern Politics.
The whole concept of the wonderful western greek democratic freedom fighters defeating the evil eastern slave mongering despots is 100% rubbish.
 
In my opinion the Persian Empire was defeated by Alexander because of these two main reasons:
1. The Macedonians had a superior professional army with competant able Commanders
2. The Persian empire was in decay and had a weak King/Emperor (Darius III)
 
When studying and discussing History we need to be un-biased and professional. The Persians were beaten, fair and square (anybody who debates this is delusional) . But it was not the end of the story for the Persians, they came back again and again.
 
The Greek influence on the Post Achemenid Iranian dyansties has to be noted. The Parthians and Sassanians owed alot to the greeks.
 
P.S . Can people stop refering to the Achaemenids as slave mongers, as they had no slaves. Workers were paid for work and soldiers also. Please dont forget that Greece was built on slavery, not the other way around.
 
Respect to Hellas, respect to Persia.
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  Quote Darius K of Kings Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2009 at 13:14
Well said Nickmard.
 
It goes like this -
To be sure. Truth can never be hidden nor could be overthrown by any form of luid thoughts or books or ides. Neither it can have any Convoluted ideas to hide the essence of Truth. The fact is that "A True History can never be obliterated by ignorance or by insanity of any type whatsoever".
 
Partiality can be practised at home but (every home is not my home). Your home can be limited to some degree or domains, but for Persians - Our Home is this whole Universe. (Freedom to Reality, Freedom to Truth, Freedom to people, Freedom of Speech, etc, etc and the list goes on) Last but not the least:- Freedom of Choice. This is the True History of Iran and with documented facts. History of Iran can never be deleated by any Phillip , nor Alexander nor any XYZ... It has been written and will be there for genrations and generations. No one with sain mind can deny to it either. (Its a saying - some bugs like to be poisoned or stunged,  its not our type to shoo them. Ants come down under our feet unintentionnally, but then guess what; that is there destiny).
An Iranians Desity is there "True spiritual belief in themselves". The pillars build on Truth are much stronger then the Pillars build after any battles won. False freedom practises and false History can and always heve been written by these western medians, which has been witnessed by the True work of many Historians and historical data.  
  
To be sure of: No vainly edited historical books presented by many present day historians can destroy any form of Truth from the already written Ancient History of the Worlds. If looked upon with opne eyes. 
History itself can reveal the True essence of the "Once Great Empire of the Worlds" ruled under the supervision of  "The Great Persian Emperors of all Times" provided if its looked by a True and a biased mind."  Unfortunately for many; Truth is something every one is intrigued to know about, but does not have the courage to abdicate and try to convience themselves by there contrived and languishing ideas which in reality is; a delusion to themselves. They thrive to scorn from others and want others to belive in them.    
 
And to understand these words "Once Superpowered The Graet Persian Empire", one has to overcome its own ego first, one has to fight his own evil within himself first in order to overcome himself and achieve his true enlighnment later.  But only with Elite and Pure minds.
 
Long Live the Truth.
Long Live The True History Of The Persian Empire.
Long Live the King of Kings.
Long Live the True Freedom Fighters in the Human history (documented).
 
Love to all. Freedom for all.
 
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  Quote darkhorse08817 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2010 at 05:29
New to the forum, and realize this is an old topic, but hopefully enough time has passed since this thread has lain dormant that enough new members are interested in reviving, or old members interested in rehashing, it.

My take:

1.  The Macedonians had the better general - Alexander was by and large a genius, and had daring to match to match his intellect.  Nothing to indicate that Darius III or his generals were in the same league.

2.  Alexander had better tools to work with.  The Macedonians had a well trained, cohesive, and professional army with very high esprit de corps.  You stick professionals against amateurs/ forced levies or a force composed largely of amateurs/ levies, put them in a pitched battle, and you can assume the professionals will win (with rare exceptions that prove the rule).

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  Quote Shield-of-Dardania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Mar-2010 at 00:14
Originally posted by Khan

The story of Alexander seems to be something out of a western hollywood movie and i still find it hard to believe how a Macedonian-Greek boy (in his 20s?) could not only challenge but also conquer, defeat0 and control the might of the Persian Empire!

Can someone present the main reasons why the Persians where unable to crush the Greeks, despite having conquered the rest of the known world?

Why Alexander was able to defeat them so decievely despite being at a obvious disadvantage, in terms of troops and resources etc ?

please list them if you can

i would like to hear the Persian side, surely such a catastrophe in nations (or peoples) history must be remembered in every persian house - so how do they tell the story to their children etc? I really want to know the Persian side.
Just my 2 dirham's worth:
 
I am not a Persian. Not even an Iranian. But I'd like to offer an explanation, based on what I've come across in various diverse material.
 
Alexander, unlike what's usually portrayed in Hollywood movies, wasn't such an outstanding man, physically. An Achilles he was not, definitely, even if Alexander was said to have sometimes claimed descent from Achilles.
 
But he had an extraordinary level of motivation, energy, enthusiasm and leadership. As well as a limitless, insatiable hunger for success and glory. In that sense, on the other hand, he might have been a lot like Achilles.
 
Alexander was a young king helming a rapidly ascending young kingdom with enormous promise. Darius III Codommanus was an old king, a reluctant one at that, who had to succeed Artaxerxes III Occhus for the sake of administrative continuity, heading an old, worn out empire nearing the tail end of its shelf life.
 
Add to that the enormous advantage of a hitherto un-counterable new battle strategy, the blood curdling, gut busting, horse stabbing phalanx.
 
Which man wins? Which realm prevails over the other? I think the answer would be obvious.
 
It's happened numerous times previously, before the time of Alexander and Darius III Codommanus.
 
It's happened again numerous times after them. Seljuks conquering the Abbasids, then defeating the Byzantines at Manzikert. Ottomans delivering the death knell to Byzantium at Constantinople.
 
Etc., etc., etc.


Edited by Shield-of-Dardania - 30-Mar-2010 at 00:56
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  Quote Shield-of-Dardania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Mar-2010 at 00:43
Having said that, it wasn't exactly just a walk in the park for Alexander either.
 
There was someone called Memnon, a Greek mercenary from Rhodes who eventually rose to the rank of supreme commander of the Persian army, after Darius III realised his military genius, albeit a bit late.
 
Memnon had first proposed to use the Persian navy to attack the Macedonians at home, and to avoid battle in Asia, where they ought to destroy all crops, horse feed and towns. This would force Alexander, who was short of supplies, to return. That was before he managed to work his way far enough up the ranks. Memnon's proposal was probably the best idea, but the other senior commanders agreed that it was better to fight a full-frontal fight.
 
Darius III, however, much later, understood that Memnon had been right about his strategy. He ordered the Persian navy to move to the Aegean sea; it had to come from Egypt, Phoenicia and Cyprus, and it arrived three days too late to prevent the capture of Miletus. However, Memnon, now appointed supreme commander, managed to keep the Persian naval base Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum) for a long time and was able to evacuate the town without unacceptable losses. In fact, Halicarnassus was the last Persian victory: after the siege, Alexander needed reinforcements, and it gave the Persians the opportunity to regroup.
 
Now, Memnon planned to reconquer the Aegean islands with his Phoenician, Cypriot and Egyptian warships; moreover, he contacted the Spartan king Agis, who was willing to organise an expedition to liberate Greece from Macedonian hegemony. Their ultimate aim was to cut off Alexander's line of supply at the Hellespont. Alexander's expedition was now in great danger, and he was unable to march eastward, because he could not run the risk of loosing the entire Greece. Unfortunately for the Persians, but fortunately for Alexander, Memnon died during the siege of Mytilene in August 333.
 
Darius III subsequently appointed Memnon's brother-in-law Pharnabazus (son of Artabazus and brother of Barsine) as Memnon's successor. He was to be very successful, but Alexander was able to move to the east, where he defeated Darius in the battle of Issus and captured the Phoenician towns. This meant the end of the Persian naval offensive, and, in fact, the end of the Achaemenid empire.

Memnon's wife Barsine became the mistress of Alexander; in 327, they had a child named Heracles.



Edited by Shield-of-Dardania - 30-Mar-2010 at 00:46
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  Quote Miller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2010 at 13:09
Originally posted by Shield-of-Dardania

 But he had an extraordinary level of motivation, energy, enthusiasm 

If you go by common sense that probably would have been the biggest factor. Most of the gold in world at that time was in the Persian treasury. That would have been a very big motivating factor not just for Alexander The Great himself but also for all military warriors he recruited, including the Greek soldier and commanders that he added to his military after he defeated Greek city states. Fighting in military was a job for people of that era and the potential payoff would have made very motivated soldiers. 

The question in topic seems to be incorrect. Persian did not lose to Greece, both Persian and Greece lost to Macedonia, Greece was defeated first and Alexander used the military resource of the Greece to defeat Persia. This has been a very common practice through the history and it was how empires expanded and built upon their resources. 

Most likely they did not intend or thought it would possible to conquer the whole empire and their idea was more an like attack on Anatolia but after the easy victories they kept on going and their confidence built up.


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  Quote Miller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2010 at 13:10
Originally posted by Shield-of-Dardania




Edited by Miller - 31-Mar-2010 at 13:14
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  Quote Shield-of-Dardania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2010 at 20:57

Another factor, one that perhaps hasn't been mentioned. Greek soldiers were well-versed with the battle tactics and strategies of the Persians. Many of them, or their friends, or their relatives had fought as mercenaries in the Persian army. You could even say that many of them were Memnon-wannabes. They knew by heart the expected behaviour of their opponents, they knew on the back of their hand how and where the Persians would move.

As Sun Tzu said, "Know thy enemy, know thyself. One hundred battles, one hundred victories."
 
Alexander simply had to exploit the advantages at his disposal to the maximum, and the then imploding Achaemenid empire was his for the taking.
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  Quote Miller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2010 at 12:17
That is another good point. Outside agriculture military was the biggest employer of that time period. Mercenaries did not care which side they fought for as long as payoff was attractive, and if they did care it still did not matter since they had to make a living to survive. Peasants did the work then either paid taxes to the empire for protection and cost of military or they were owned outright as slaves of the militant class like in Greece/Sparta 


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  Quote SonOfIran Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2010 at 18:26
Originally posted by Shield-of-Dardania

Another factor, one that perhaps hasn't been mentioned. Greek soldiers were well-versed with the battle tactics and strategies of the Persians. Many of them, or their friends, or their relatives had fought as mercenaries in the Persian army. You could even say that many of them were Memnon-wannabes. They knew by heart the expected behaviour of their opponents, they knew on the back of their hand how and where the Persians would move.

As Sun Tzu said, "Know thy enemy, know thyself. One hundred battles, one hundred victories."
 
Alexander simply had to exploit the advantages at his disposal to the maximum, and the then imploding Achaemenid empire was his for the taking.
 
Your claims run contradictory to what happened prior to the Battle of Gaugamela.
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