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the clash between Darius III of Persia, ruler of the largest empire in the world-- and a young man named Alexander, who ruled a small, semi-backward nation and a collection of Greek states where he had only recently had to suppress rebellion.
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The odds? Best modern estimates put them at something worse than 5-1 against Alexander. His 47,000 troops are fairly well documented. Darius commanded something over 250,000 (although some accounts place the figure much higher).
At times like these, the smaller force generally picks favorable ground for a defensive battle-- except Alexander always liked to attack and this was Darius' chosen battlefield, with room enough to deploy his masses, and ground carefully smoothed to improve the performance of his hundreds of chariots. Alexander's commanders SUGGESTED a night attack, but he refused... which didn't stop Darius from keeping his army in their battle lines all night, expecting the attack that never came.
When Alexander attacked, he personally led the force that broke the enemy line, coming close enough (it was said) to throw a spear at Darius and to challenge him to personal combat. Darius had none of it and fled. His army was doomed, and so was his reign. And the empire of Alexander was begun.
John Keegan tried to give us real perspective on Alexander's achieve- ments. He asks us to imagine Bonnie Prince Charlie not only suc- ceeded in taking back Scotland, but he then conquered the rest of Britain and Ireland, then France and Spain, on across Europe, knocking the Russians out of Poland and Ukraine, and was threatening the Otto- man Sultan when he died...just ten years after the campaign began.
And Arbela is his most important battle.
The Battle of Arbela includes:
Over 80 colorful playing cards
48 full color, large die-cut counters
8 page rulebook
the clash between Darius III of...