Alexander the Great: Siege of Tyre

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Alexander the Great: Siege of Tyre
Oliver Bolin

In January of 332 B.C. Alexander the Great of Macedonia moved in to seize control of Tyre, a Phoenician city, while on his was to eventually move against Egypt. The city of Tyre was located on an island in the Mediterranean Sea, 0.5 miles from the mainland, and was a key port for Egypt. Alexander and the Tyrians had approximately 40,000 troops each; however, the Tyrian Naval forces were much more powerful than what Alexander had with him.
Alexander initially attempted to get into the city by stating he wished to offer a sacrifice at the city’s Temple of Melkart. The Tyrians refused Alexander and told him that he could perform the sacrifice at the old city temple on the mainland. Alexander did not accept the refusal and sent messengers, called Heralds, to order the city of Tyre to either surrender or be conquered. In a defiant response the Tyrians killed the Heralds and threw their bodies over the city wall.
Alexander was then faced with the difficult challenge of having to attack and conquer an island city that had never been conquered, despite numerous attempts. He knew that he would not be able to take the city with ships as his fleet was small in size when compared to the Tyrian fleet. Another challenge he faced was that the city wall facing the mainland was 150 feet high.
Alexander consulted his Generals, looking for alternate methods of attack, and quickly found out that the water between the mainland and the island was rather shallow until just before the city. Using this information, he ordered a 200 feet causeway be built so that his men could get across. This approach worked well for Alexander as the Tyrian forces could not reach his forces from the city, due to the distance away, allowing for the Macedonians to continue their work unhindered.
Eventually the Tyrians were able to reach the…...

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