|Siege of Gaza|
|Part of the Wars of Alexander the Great|
Painting of Gaza by David Roberts, in The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, and Nubia
|Commanders and leaders|
Alexander the Great|
|Casualties and losses|
|Unknown, but fewer||11,000|
The siege of Gaza took place in 332 BC, and was part of the Egyptian campaign of Alexander the Great, the ancient Greek king of Macedonia. It ended the Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt, which functioned as a satrapy of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.
During the siege, Alexander succeeded in reaching the walls by utilizing the engines he had employed against Tyre. After three unsuccessful assaults, the stronghold was taken by storm.
Batis, a eunuch and the commander of the fortress of Gaza, expected to hold Egypt in subjection until the Persian king Darius III could raise another army and confront Alexander in a battle from this city. The fortress was located on an eminence, on the edge of a desert from which the surrounding area could be easily controlled. It enabled control over the main road that went from Persian Assyria to Egypt. The city, over 18 metres (60 ft) high, was traditionally employed to control the surrounding area, which even then was a hotbed of dissent. Batis was aware that Alexander was marching down the coast, as he had just been victorious at Tyre. He therefore provisioned Gaza for a long siege. It is likely that he was aware of Alexander's intention of controlling the entire Mediterranean coast before moving to Persia proper.
Upon arriving, Alexander camped near the southern side of the city and deemed the southern walls as the weakest. It is alleged that the mounds were built quickly, despite the engineers' belief they could not be completed due to the nature of Gaza's fortifications.
One day during the siege, the Gazans made a sortie against enemy siege equipment constructed on site, and Alexander led his shield bearing guards into counterattack. Alexander's shoulder was injured in the attempt. According to Arrian, the rest of the mound was completed shortly after, around the whole of Gaza. At some undefined period after this, the siege equipment from Tyre arrived, and was put into use also. It was after this that major sections of the wall were broken by the Macedonians. After three attempts to enter the city, the Macedonians finally entered the city. The Gazans fought bitterly; at one point, an Arab mercenary pretended to surrender and after being taken to the Macedonian camp, attacked Alexander who suffered a minor injury before the Arab was struck down.
Batis refused to surrender to Alexander. When Gaza was taken, the male population was put to the sword and the women and children were sold into slavery.
According to the Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus, Batis was killed by Alexander in imitation of Achilles' treatment of the fallen Hector: A rope was forced through Batis's ankles, probably between the ankle bone and the Achilles tendon, and Batis was dragged alive by chariot beneath the walls of the city until he died. Alexander, who admired courage in his enemies and might have been inclined to show mercy to the brave Persian general, was infuriated at Batis's refusal to kneel and by the enemy commander's haughty silence and contemptuous manner.
As a result of the siege, Alexander was allowed to proceed south into Egypt securely, without his line of communications being threatened from the North by Batis from Gaza.