How good was Alexander the Great as a general?

Nov 2010
7,158
Cornwall
#11
I can't understand his logistics. He and his general staff were bunch of geniuses to pull it through those distances. I don't get it how someone pulls 30-40.000 infantry in antiquity through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan left and right, up and down all the way to India. We celebrate Hannibal because of a measely kms from Pirenees to Po valley!

I've read a lot on Alexander n this forum but I still consider Darius as inferior leader while a mediocre opponent would probably stop Alexander before Iran. Persians were having so much better starting point, they only needed to wear Alexander's army down and distances were so big that they were having many chances in doing so.
Yes let's say he probably couldn't do it with today's 'Snowflake Generation'!
 
Nov 2018
157
Wales
#12
Most of Alexander's military successes were because of Philip's generals rather than Alexander.
Alexander had a general staff, his Companions. He was the general.

Alexander conquered the Middle East and Egypt, no other Western power has come close to that achievement. He even made them his willing allies, something that neither the British Empire at its height, nor the USA with all its wealth could do.
 
May 2018
442
Michigan
#13
Generalship in Alexander's day was far different than it was even in the Second Punic War: generals were expected to fight like Hellenic heroes in the front lines as opposed to the "Battle Managers" that were Scipio and Caesar. Further, the extent of Alexander's victories against massive Persian hordes is subject to much historical debate: although Alexander clearly won battles such as Gaugamela, I think it was Delbruck who actually alleges that the Greeks outnumbered the Persians.

It is far easier to evaluate a general like Napoleon or Wellington: we have eyewitness accounts, personal correspondence and even the writings of their opponents with which to piece together the facts. With figures such as Alexander, Scipio, Hannibal and Caesar, we have only broad histories (such as Livy) or self-serving pieces (such as the Commentaries) written by historians who didn't approach historical study the way we do today. Of all the great generals of history, Alexander is among the oldest and potentially most embellished.
 
Aug 2014
3,569
Australia
#15
Alexander had a general staff, his Companions. He was the general.

Alexander conquered the Middle East and Egypt, no other Western power has come close to that achievement. He even made them his willing allies, something that neither the British Empire at its height, nor the USA with all its wealth could do.
Alexander was the head of the army but it was Philip's generals who trained the men, maintained discipline, determined battle plans, and executed them. At the start of the campaign Alexander played very little part in determining battle tactics; he simply agreed with what Philip's far more experienced generals suggested. As time went on he took a greater role.
 
Nov 2018
157
Wales
#16
Alexander was the head of the army but it was Philip's generals who trained the men, maintained discipline, determined battle plans, and executed them. At the start of the campaign Alexander played very little part in determining battle tactics; he simply agreed with what Philip's far more experienced generals suggested. As time went on he took a greater role.
The Diadochi were generals of Alexanders own age, and his Companions. The older Parmenion was the exception, and a major reason Philip was initially successful. While Parmenion was instrumental in some of Alexanders early successes, especially in holding the left flank at Issus, after his assassination, Alexanders victories still continued.
 
Jul 2017
2,191
Australia
#17
The Diadochi were generals of Alexanders own age, and his Companions. The older Parmenion was the exception, and a major reason Philip was initially successful. While Parmenion was instrumental in some of Alexanders early successes, especially in holding the left flank at Issus, after his assassination, Alexanders victories still continued.
No, many of Alexander's officers were veterans under Philip. Antipater, Antigonus, Parmenion, Cleitus etc. to name a few. All extremely capable generals in their own right, and all are considered the "old guard" of the Macedonian officer corps.

In response to the OP, Alexander was a great general, and there's no denying that.
 
Likes: macon
May 2018
442
Michigan
#18
No, many of Alexander's officers were veterans under Philip. Antipater, Antigonus, Parmenion, Cleitus etc. to name a few. All extremely capable generals in their own right, and all are considered the "old guard" of the Macedonian officer corps.

In response to the OP, Alexander was a great general, and there's no denying that.
Yeah, crediting Alexander's existing institutions too much is like crediting the highly-competent Royal Navy for Nelson's victories and selling Nelson short.
 
Aug 2014
3,569
Australia
#19
Yeah, crediting Alexander's existing institutions too much is like crediting the highly-competent Royal Navy for Nelson's victories and selling Nelson short.
It is more like crediting Adolph Hitler for Germany's victories in WWII instead of the people who actually determined the strategy, developed the tactics, and trained the men. Alexander did a lot of this later on, but not when he invaded Persia. Initially he just followed through with the plan that Philip and his generals had already put in place and heavily relied on those men to determine ongoing strategy.
 
Last edited:
Likes: macon
Nov 2018
157
Wales
#20
No, many of Alexander's officers were veterans under Philip. Antipater, Antigonus, Parmenion, Cleitus etc. to name a few. All extremely capable generals in their own right, and all are considered the "old guard" of the Macedonian officer corps.

In response to the OP, Alexander was a great general, and there's no denying that.
Many of Alexanders officers were 'old guard', but the vast majority of the land covered by the Successor States were generally led by those of Alexanders generation, thus proving to be more capable overall.
 

Similar History Discussions