Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Drangiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Alexander's outpost in the Gulf

Honestly, I raised my eyebrows when I first heard how the Asian conquests of Alexander the Great had left its traces on a rather desert island in the Persian Gulf off the coast of today’s Kuwait.

With the occupation of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein the island of Failaka had not escaped to modern warfare, but maybe this is what made archaeologists aware of an earlier conquest of this sun-baked island by Nearchus, one of Alexander’s generals, in the 4th century BC. Luckily, joint excavations with the Greeks are now on their way, focussing on the remains of a citadel and a cemetery. Before that, the French had discovered the remnants of a Temple of Artemis, together with several Greek coins and statuettes. Well, well, …

In an interview, Michael Wood (In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great) reminds us how after the death of Alexander Hellenistic culture spread from India to Egypt. As an example, he mentions Uruk, near today’s Basra in southern Iraq where, even several hundreds of years after Alexander’s death, inscriptions show the names of local rulers in a mixture of ancient Babylonian and Greek. Alexander’s conquests of Asia have accelerated commerce in this part of the world, “the first globalisation” according to Michael Wood.

Failaka occupied a strategic position at the point where Tigris and Euphrates empty their waters in the Gulf. Michael Wood even expects to find traces of more ancient civilizations that thrived in the Gulf doing business with Mesopotamia as well as with the Indus Valley. It is generally accepted that the name Failaka comes from the Greek “fylaikio”, meaning outpost. We will remember that Alexander in 324 BC while building the Pallacopas canal spotted a good site for a new fortified town to settle some of his Greek mercenaries and old veterans no longer fit for service.

Further excavation work will centre around the ancient city of Icarea and the Greek team will also work on restoring what has already been uncovered earlier. Very promising indeed!

[pictures from news.bbc.co.uk]

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