Alexander – the Great Tactician?


  • Christopher A. Matthew


There is little doubt that Alexander the Great was a very successful battlefield commander. Yet what was this success based upon? Many scholars attribute Alexander’s success (at least in part) to tactical innovation. But how correct is such a conclusion? An examination of the four major set-piece battles that Alexander fought as part of his Eastern campaign provides the details of his implementation of tactics. By comparing these details to a set of criteria that many modern military theorists use to gauge tactical competency, the level of Alexander’s ability as a battlefield commander can be determined. The results of this comparison show that, while in some areas Alexander’s tactical ability was nothing original nor inventive, his use of variation within the construct of a base tactical plan was what ensured victory and made him one of the greatest military leaders of the ancient world.

Author Biography

Christopher A. Matthew

Lecturer in Ancient History, Australian Catholic University, Sydney




How to Cite

Matthew, C. (2014). Alexander – the Great Tactician?. Macedonian Studies Journal, 1(2). Retrieved from