Skip to comments.How Alexander The Great Used 'Mother Nature'
Posted on 05/15/2007 4:39:17 PM PDT by blam
How Alexander the Great used 'Mother Nature'
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 1:45am BST 15/05/2007
Alexander the Great had ''Mother Nature'' on his side when he conquered the island fortress of Tyre in 332 BC, says a study published today.
A bust of Alexander the Great
Tyre, in present day Lebanon, was then a strategic coastal base in the war between the Greeks and the Persians. Now archeologists have at last worked out how Alexander's engineers managed to build a causeway to enable his army to conquer what had become a bastion of resistance. All previous settlements on Alexander's journey from Macedonia had capitulated with little trouble.
The fact that Tyre was an island presented the Greek military commander with a serious headache: how was he to launch an effective attack?
Unable to storm the city, he had blockaded Tyre for seven months, but the defenders stood firm.
Archaeologists have known for some time that Alexander used the debris of the abandoned mainland city to build a causeway 3,000 yards long and up to 180 yards across. Once within reach of the city walls, he used siege engines to batter and finally breach the fortifications.
Over the centuries the silting up of a sandbridge has turned the island of Tyre into an isthmus
But building a causeway in deep water would have meant raising the level of the sea floor considerably - an impossible feat in such a short space of time. However, researchers in France who analysed the coastal sediment record for the past 10,000 years have discovered how Alexander's engineers exploited a natural underwater "sandbridge".
The ''sandbridges'' are formed when sediment is deposited rapidly at a spot behind an island.
The findings, which are reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, show Alexander used "Mother Nature" to seize the island, said Dr Nick Marriner, of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Aix-en-provence, France. "Of course today engineers have a whole suite of tools available to them in construction, including steel, high-strength concrete and so on," he told The Daily Telegraph. "This was simply not the case during the Iron Age and engineers exploited Tyre's natural environment to serve as the foundations for the sea bridge.
''The causeway would have been built of timber - for which Phoenicia was renowned throughout the ancient world - stone and rubble." The team was able to work out how Tyre was first formed as an island, when sea levels rose around 8,000 years ago. After 6,000 BC, a slowing down of the rises in sea-level and the dissipation of wave energy by Tyre led to the natural growth of a spit of sediment linking the island to the coastline.
Over the centuries the causeway has silted up, transforming the island into an isthmus.
As reported in Nature Magazine
Did the great one take advantage of an existing sand bridge or did he cause one to be formed?
Isn’t this the city where Alexander built TWO causeways in order to take by siege. The first got destroyed by the defenders and then he had a 2nd larger one built?
Note, Alexander was so p.o.ed about how long it took to take the city, he ordered it plundered. Something he had not done when capturing cities before Tyre.
They had a pretty good show on this on the History channel. They showed how the Tyrians rammed a ship loaded with explosives into the first causeway and destroyed it with fire. Alexandar almost gave up at that point but then became even more resolved to take the island. The second causeway was built at an angle from the mainland to the island and protected by a fleet which Alexandar put together in order to checkmate the Tyrian fleet.
Cycles? In nature? What could cause such a thing??
He razed Thebes to the ground years before this.
aka a Tyre_Rant! Where was Bechtel when you need them!!!
Where was Bechtel when you need them!!!
If we had a general like Alexander the entire Mideast would be a colony of America. At peace.
In ancient times, the Great ones knew it wasn’t nice to fool Mother Nature...
He was Macedonian.
His Father was Philip of Macedonia.
But incompetent Roger Highfield writes for The Telegraph (UK) :
The fact that Tyre was an island presented the Greek military commander with a serious headache
Any editor should have caught that.
Alexander the Great (356-323 BC), the king of Macedonia who conquered the Persian empire and annexed it to Macedonia, is considered one of the greatest military geniuses of all times.
Yes, he was Macedonian. He died in Egypt of, some believe, West Nile Virus.
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Thanks for going through the trouble of posting the detailed maps etc..
Don’t tell that to the Greeks, they get irate.
A new twist on the old story.
I think he died in Babylon.
They showed how the Tyrians rammed a ship loaded with explosives into the first causeway and destroyed it with fire.There were various flammable materials, used for Greek fire, but AFAIK there were *no* explosives available at that time.
sometimes still referred to as artillery, the catapault was the original artillery; centuries after Alexander, Roman General (and later emperor) Vespasian used such artillery to rapidly reduce the oppida in Britain.
“Man, Moment, Machine: Alexander the Great and the Devastating Catapult DVD
“Alexander the Great and the Devastating Catapult DVD
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“It was a devastating tool of war, the Atomic bomb of its age. Discover how Alexander the Great put it to overwhelming effect against the doggedly resistant stronghold of Tyre.”
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