In the battles of Alexander the Great, son of Philip II, he would personally lead the charge at the head of the royal squadron of Companion cavalry, usually in a wedge formation. In a pitched battle, the Companions usually fought on the right wing of the Macedonian army, next to the shield bearing guard, the Hypaspists, normally positioning the phalanx in the center. The various cavalry troops would protect the flanks of the Macedonian line during battle. As heavy cavalry, the Companions were Alexander's decisive arm in battle.
The Companions were organized into territorial squadrons, made of 200 to 300 soldiers. In Alexander's campaign into Persia, there were eight squadrons, commanded by Philotas, with one being the royal squadron. Philip II of Macedon enlarged the size of the unit to around 2000 soldiers, as opposed to the 600 used as a mounted bodyguard for the king in battle.
They would ride the best horses, and receive the best weaponry available. In Alexander's day, each carried a xyston (a lance), and wore a bronze or iron breastplate and helmet. A kopis (curved slashing sword) was also carried for melee combat, should the xyston break. Their horses had a large amount of thick felt draped over their sides like cataphracts' scale, while they probably had partial breast and head plating for protection against spears, missiles etc.
Great Expectations; Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann is gearing up to film a $160m epic based on the life of Alexander the Great, so expect heroism, hedonism and homosexuality. Trevor Royle explores a hidden side of history
Dec 15, 2002; WITH a mystic priestess for a mother and a rough, womanising soldier for a father, Alexander of Macedon was never going to have...