By: Mir M.Hosseini
The battle of Granicus took place near the Hellespontine at the crossing of the Granicus River between forces of invading Macedonian Alexander and the Persian Satrapy of Phrygia General Arsames. The Iranian generals did not take the attack seriously and confronted the Macedonian army with 15000 cavalries, 14000 infantry units and 5000 Greek mercenaries. Alexander's army was superior in number. The use of 5 meter long spears and phalanx was another advantage for the Macedonian conqueror. The Iranian generals also did not take an old advice from Dariush the great not to use foreigners in a defensive battle; Greek mercenaries led by Memnon of Rhodes quickly defected and thus Arsames lost the battle which marked the beginning of the end for the Achaemenid Empire.
The Battle of the Granicus was the first of three major battles fought between Macedonian Alexander and the Persian Empire. The engagement took place on May, 23, 334 B.C. in Northwestern Asia Minor, near the site of Troy.
The Macedonians crossed the river during the night in an uncontested location, and fought the battle at dawn arrayed with the heavy Phalanxes in the middle, and cavalry on either side. Alexander was with the Companions on the right flank. The Persians charged with a squadron of gallant nobles on horse to take Alexander down and strangle the war at birth. It was a tactical mistake as several high-ranking Persian generals were killed by Alexander himself or his bodyguards, although Alexander was stunned by an axe-blow from a Persian nobleman named Spithridates. Before the noble could deal a death-blow, however, he was himself killed by Cleitus the Black. Alexander quickly recovered, with many of their leaders already dead, both flanks of the Persian cavalry retreated and the center of the Persian army collapsed.
Mithridates, Rhoesaces, Spithridates and several other Persian leaders were killed, while Arsites was killed shortly after. Despite his incompetence,
In 480 BC the Persian Xerxes I had crossed the same strait to invade Greece and Alexander's official motive was to take revenge and liberate Greek cities. In this context relying on Greek mercenaries was a grave mistake. Dariush 3rd left Memnon at the top of the navy and did not engage with Alexander until the Battle of Issus in 333 B.C. After this battle cities fell one by one; Parmenion captured Dascylium without struggle. The capture of Sardes enabled Alexander to pay his men. Alexander's first gold coins showed an eagle, the omen Alexander received during the siege of Miletus, which followed a month later.