Alexander’s Occupation of Egypt
PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Macedonian forces of Alexander
III the Great vs. Egypt
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Egypt
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Conquest
OUTCOME: Alexander took and occupied Egypt with
virtually no resistance.
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:
TREATIES: None, save for the recognition of the priests of
the Temple of Zeus Ammon
After taking Tyre, Syria, and Palestine, pausing significantly
only at the conquest of Gaza (see ALEXANDER’S
SIEGE OF GAZA), Alexander III the Great entered Egypt. In
the face of his overwhelming power, the Egyptians offered
little opposition, and he quickly occupied the vast country
during December 332 to March 331.
Warfare here was chiefly administrative. He established
strong military garrisons in every major Egyptian
city, then founded one of his own: Alexandria. It was destined
to become the greatest city of the many that bore his
To secure sanction of his conquest of Egypt and hegemony
over it, Alexander made a long and arduous journey
to the Temple of Zeus Amon, at the oasis of Siwa, deep in
the Libyan desert. There he was recognized and hailed by
the priests as nothing less than the son of Zeus Amon.
Further reading: Flavius Arrianus, The Campaigns of
Alexander (New York: Viking, 1976); Peter Green, Alexander
of Macedon, 356–323 B.C.E.: A Historical Biography
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).