Section Banner Images

The Middle East as Seen Through Foreign Eyes

Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century

Image Resource Bank

Image Gallery | Back Button On 2 of 15 Next Button On

Battle of Gaugamela (Batalla de Gaugamela)

Battle of Gaugamela (Batalla de Gaugamela)

The last great pitched battle between the forces of Alexander the Great and the massed army of the Achaemenid Persian emperor Darius III took place at Gaugamela, in northern Mesopotamia, in 331 BCE. Alexander’s victory gave him control of Babylonia and opened the way for his conquest of the eastern territories of the Persian Empire as far as western India.

This eighteenth-century ivory carving interprets the event as a representative of conflicts between East and West, with many historical allusions. Some of the figures are in classical attire, arms, and poses, but others wear nearly contemporary armor. Some of the defeated Persians are depicted in the guise of the Parthians and Sasanians who battled the Roman emperors centuries after Alexander, and others are even shown in the guise of Ottomans, who battled European emperors in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The background shows the siege of a walled city, meant to evoke, as Alexander himself did, the siege of Troy, the archetypal conflict of Europe and Asia.

Next Button Off Battle of Tours (Battle of Poitiers), 732 CE

© 2010 The Oriental Institute, The University of Chicago  |  Page updated: 12/29/2010

Contact Information  |  Rights & Permissions