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When Alexander learned of the concentration of the Persian forces, he advanced rapidly and encamped opposite the enemy, so that the Granicus flowed between the encampments. [2] The Persians, resting on high ground, made no move, intending to fall upon the foe as he crossed the river, for they supposed they could easily carry the day when the Macedonian phalanx was divided. [3] But Alexander at dawn boldly brought his army across the river and deployed in good order before they could stop him.1 In return, they posted their mass of horsemen all along the front of the Macedonians since they had decided to press the battle with these.2 [4] Memnon of Rhodes and the satrap Arsamenes held the left wing each with his own cavalry; Arsites was stationed next with the horsemen from Paphlagonia; then came Spithrobates satrap of Ionia at the head of the Hyrcanian cavalry. The right wing was held by a thousand Medes and two thousand horse with Rheomithres as well as Bactrians of like number.3 Other national contingents occupied the centre, numerous and picked for their valour. In all, the cavalry amounted to more than ten thousand. [5] The Persian foot soldiers were not fewer than one hundred thousand,4 but they were posted behind the line and did not advance since the cavalry was thought to be sufficient to crush the Macedonians.5 [6]

As the horse of each side joined battle spiritedly, the Thessalian cavalry posted on the left wing under the command of Parmenion gallantly met the attack of the troops posted opposite them; and Alexander, who had the finest of the riders on the right wing with him, personally led the attack upon the Persians and closing with them, began to inflict substantial losses upon them.

1 This account of the battle differs from that of Arrian 1.13 in two respects which cannot be reconciled. There, the attack takes place in the late afternoon and in the lower course of the Granicus, where the river flows through relatively flat country but in a deep and muddy bed. He, as Plutarch also (Plut. Alexander 16), describes the action as taking place between Macedonians trying to cross and Persians holding the river bank. Diodorus, in contrast, places the battle at dawn, and lets the Macedonians cross without difficulty and engage the Persians on the far bank. Probably he located the battle further upstream, in the foothills. According to Plut. Alexander 16.2, the battle would have occurred in the Macedonian month Daesius, but as that was unlucky militarily, Alexander ordered the intercalation of a second Artemisius. See further Book 16.94.3, note.

2 The novelty of this arrangement consisted in the fact that each army placed its cavalry in front at the point of contact. This may not have been specifically planned. Alexander threw his cavalry across the river to gain a bridgehead, and the Persians naturally countered with their cavalry, so that a piecemeal engagement followed.

3 Arsites was the satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia and Spithridates of Lydia and Ionia (Arrian. 1.12.8). Arrian names these Persians and adds Petines and Niphates, but does not give the Persian order of battle. He gives that of the Macedonians, which Diodorus omits, in 1.14.1-3. Arsamenes (Arsames, Curtius 3.4.3; Arrian. 2.4.5) was satrap of Cilicia.

4 Justin 11.6.11 gives the Persian strength as 600,000, Arrian. 1.14.4 as 20,000 foot and 20,000 horse.

5 This comment is a rationalization after the event. The Persian infantry would not move up to meet the Macedonian cavalry.

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