What if Alexander the Great's conquest of the Achaemenid Empire never happened? What would have happened to the great empire itself? What would've come of the Hellenistic culture that stretched from the Indus River to the deserts of Egypt following the conquests of Alexander? With no conquest of the Achaemenid Empire, history as we know it would quickly become unrecognizable, if not completely different. Welcome to Alexandros—A timeline written by JoshTheRoman.
Point of Divergence
In 337 B.C., after the Battle of Chaeronea, King Philip II reigns supreme over most of the Greece as the hegemon of the League of Corinth; a federation of city-states created by Philip to aid in his anticipated invasion of the vast Achaemenid Empire to the east. However, Philip's ambitions came to an abrupt stop when he was assassinated by Pausanias of Orestis, a member of his own personal bodyguard. Philip was succeeded by his son, Alexander III, who began his reign his reign by eliminating potential claimants to the throne and pacifying unrest caused by Philip's death. After proving himself at the Battle of Thebes, the young Alexander III sought to carry out his father's plans before his untimely death. Prior to leaving Macedon, Alexander appointed one of his father's experienced general, Antipater, as regent in his absence, leaving him with roughly 10,000 men to maintain control over Macedon's holdings in Europe. In the spring of 334 B.C., Alexander took 2,600 cavalry and went forth on a 20-day march from Macedon to the Hellespont in order to join Parmenion in Anatolia, who had been awaiting the main invasion force.
Little of Alexander was known to the Persians and Emperor Darius III felt no inclination to meet a seemingly unworthy opponent in battle. Instead, Memnon of Rhodes, a Greek mercenary commander, and the local satraps were to confront the young king. Regardless, Darius himself was occupied with a rebellion in Egypt at the time of Alexander's invasion, and wouldn't have been able to reach Anatolia in time. After assembling a force of 15,000 men with the local satraps, Memnon chose where he would confront Alexander: on the banks of a turbulent river known as the Granicus. After receiving word from his scouts of the Persians' location at the Granicus, Alexander advanced towards the river; he had come to realize that he must defeat the Persians in order to liberate the Greek cities of Ionia and continue on his quest of conquering the Achaemenid Empire. As the Macedonian forces neared the river, Parmenion advised Alexander to wait until next morning before starting the battle, as it was nearly evening. Nonetheless, Alexander dismissed Parmenion's plea and commenced the attack.
Amid the sound of trumpets, Alexander and his cavalry plunged into the waters of the Granicus. As Alexander arrived on the opposite bank of the river, he noticed Mithridates, Darius' son-in-law, riding with a contingent of cavalry, detached from the main Persian force. Alexander charged, killing Mithridates with his lance. Rhoesaces, another Persian noble, noticed the attack upon Mithridates and swung his sword at Alexander, slicing off his plume and splitting his helmet. While Alexander quickly killed Rhoesaces, Spithridates, the satrap of Lydia, rose his weapon to avenge his brother. Alexander, stil reeling from Rhoesaces' strike, was defenseless. Cleitus the Black, a Macedonian officer, saw this and attempted to save Alexander; but alas, he was too late, and Alexander was slain by the satrap. The cavalry Alexander was commanding, unable to carry on with the battle as their king lay dead on the banks of the Granicus, routed, with the rest of the Macedonian army following suit; thus ending Alexander's dream of a world ruled by the righteous—a world ruled by the Greeks. The early death of Alexander III at the Battle of the Granicus would greatly alter the history of ancient Greece and much of the ancient world along with it; changing the course of history forever.