The first mature
historian of Greece in Germany was J. G. Droysen, who had enough of the
poet in him for the task - his Aristophanes is as masterly as his
Alexander. [...] Anyone writing on the Hellenistic age treads where
Droysen first trod. Droysen showed great boldness in building up his
history of a period of which no continuous narrative has come down to
us, though it represents the zenith of Greek power. So far no one has
been able to reverse his assessment of the great conqueror, and
documents by the hundred have confirmed his bold combinations more often
than could humanly have been expected.
Wilamowitz History of Classical Scholarship
Having thus put the affairs of Greece on a satisfactory footing, Alexander marched for the Hellespont in the spring of B.C. 334, leaving Antipater regent of Macedonia in his absence, with a force of 12,000 foot and 1500 horse. Alexander's own army consisted of only about 50,000 foot and 5000 horse. Of the infantry about 12,000 were Macedonians, and these composed the pith of the celebrated Macedonian phalanx. Such was the force with which he proposed to attack the immense but ill-cemented empire of Persia, which, like the empires of Turkey or Austria in modern times, consisted of various nations and races with different religions and manners, and speaking different languages; the only bond of union being the dominant military power of the ruling nation, which itself formed only a small numerical portion of the empire. The remote provinces, like those of Asia Minor, were administered by satraps and military governors who enjoyed an almost independent authority. Before Alexander departed he distributed most of the crown property among his friends, and when Perdiccas asked him what he had reserved for himself he replied, "My hopes."
A march of sixteen days brought Alexander to Sestos, where a large fleet and a number of transports had been collected for the embarkation of his army. He steered with his own hand the vessel in which he sailed towards the very spot where the Achaeans were said to have landed when proceeding to the Trojan war. He was, as we have said, a great admirer of Homer,
a copy of whose works he always carried with him; and on landing on the Asiatic coast he made it his first business to visit the plain of Troy. He then proceeded to Sigeum, where he crowned with a garland the pillar said to mark the tumulus of his mythical ancestor Achilles, and, according to custom, ran round it naked with his friends.