Friday, 22 June 2012
Gaugamela - Afterword
After Gaugamela Clive expressed the view that perhaps the additional combat dice given to the Companions with Alexander attached weighted things too heavily in their favour. It is a point worth considering.
On balance I disagree. At The Granicus the same bonuses applied yet Alexander came perilously close to disaster and almost died on three occasions.
Leaving aside the difference in the balance of the Persian army and it's extended lines, the main disparity between the Persian performance at The Granicus and Gaugamela lay in the dice throwing - good at the former, disastrously poor at the latter. As Stephen noted in his account of the action, Alexander's Royal Companions suffered not a single casualty at Gaugamela despite fighting numerous melees, proof of the poorness of Persian luck. To have held up the Macedonian cavalry for even a single move, might have tilted the balance in Darius favour, allowing the left flank Persians to close to combat.
In the summary of the action at Granicus I noted how the combination of dice and cards appeared perfectly to mimic Alexander's mix of elan, dynamism and good fortune. At Gaugamela something similar, if negative, appeared to be going on with Darius.
In the earlier battle the Persian nobles were fresh, confident and full of fight. By the time Gaugamela rolled around however they must have know the game was up, the vacilating Darius a busted flush, Alexander ascendant. The poor dice throwing seemed to reflect that mood.
Now, of course, I know that dice rolls are random, but sometimes they do seem to offer up a very plausible narrative. Although the result of Gaugamela was anti-climactic, I believe this was what happened here.
(Below - Alexander leads the charge of Companions that won the battle)
Posted by camsell59 at 00:54