7. How Would Alexander Have Conquered the West?
Ancient sources disagree on the details. Some contend that Alexander planned to march westwards from Macedonia to Ilyricum, thence into Italy, before continuing on to Gaul and Hispania. Others claim that he had a more ambitious plan to circumnavigate the Mediterranean by land, marching west from Egypt to conquer Libya, Carthage, Numidia, and Mauretania. He then planned to cross the narrows near the Pillars of Hercules to invade Hispania, then Gaul, before turning east to conquer Italy, and finally back to Macedon. Either route, Italy, and the small but rising Roman Republic therein, were on Alexander’s agenda.
If Alexander had invaded Italy, he probably would have won, and in the process perhaps extinguished the Roman Republic when it was still in its cradle. In addition to being one of history’s greatest conquerors, Alexander had in the elite Macedonian phalanx and Companion Cavalry the world’s best infantry and cavalry at the time. Rome back then was simply not in Alexander the Great’s league (see map above).