Alexander the Great of Macedonia wanted to conquer the whole world and in his campaign he defeated Syria, Egypt, Persia and came all the way to India. In India he defeated a few small tribes, but then he had to face the first mighty king of India in Porus. He fought a hard battle and eventually defeated Porus, but he did not go much further into India. His campaign ended near the river Indus which he made the eastern edge of his empire and returned home. There are many reasons and theories about why he did not pursue his conquest into India. Here are the main reasons why he decided to call it quits after fighting with Porus.
1. His Army was Tired of Fighting:
Imagine being in the army of Alexander the Great. He was a great warrior and military tactician and you win many great wars and keep moving forward to fight more wars. How long can you go on? Eventually you’ll be tired of all the fighting and blood and death. That’s exactly how his army felt. They just refused to go on fighting and demanded to go back home.
2. His Troops Resented Him for Mixing with His Defeated Enemies:
His troops had also started to resent him for being kind to the defeated people and mixing with them. He married Roxanna in Persia and started dressing like them. When someone told him not to do so, he had them killed. Alexander wanted to mix all the people in his conquered kingdom to create unity but the Greeks did not like this.
3. The Battle with Porus was Terrifying:
The battle with Porus at the edge of the river Jhelum was terrifying to say the least. This was the first time the Greeks had fought against an army of elephants. The battle cries of the elephants scared the Greek horses. Porus and his army fought valiantly and although Alexander won, he lost many men and horses. Such a hard battle was the tipping point for his army who were already tired and dissatisfied.
4. The Stories of Other Indian Empires with Large Armies Scared his Army:
When they heard the stories of the great empires of India at the River Ganges and further inland, they were scared of fighting more vicious battles. They realized that the other kings would also have large and ferocious armies and they didn’t want to face them.
5. His Army was Sick of the Indian Hot Weather and Torrential Rains:
On top of everything they were not used to the hot tropical climate of India. They had to march and fight under the hot sun and torrential monsoon rains. This was another factor that sapped the morale of the Greek army.
6. His Army was Homesick:
Also his army was probably very homesick. They had been away from their homes for more than a decade. After a while, even winning isn’t enough to keep someone away from their home for so long.
7. His Favorite Horse Died:
The Greeks were very superstitious and believed in omens. When his favorite horse, Bucephalus died in the battle with Porus, it is possible that Alexander took it as an omen that his conquest was over.
8. He was probably injured:
There are also theories about him getting severely injured in the battle with Porus. Other accounts say that he got injured in a later small campaign on his way back home down the Indus River in Multan. A serious injury could have been responsible for his decision to turn back.
9. The Greeks Thought the World Ended Just a Few Kilometers Ahead of Where They Were:
Another reason could have been the flawed maps of the world that the Greeks had at that time. According to those maps they were just a 1000 km away from the edge of the world. That could have made the Greeks feel that they had already conquered the whole world.