One of two 50 m Towers burn set ablaze by oil filled incendiary ships and barges launched against them. It must have been quite an inferno,many were killed. This old print above from an engraved copper plate portrays Alexanders attack on the Fortress City of Tyre. The Old City of Tyre on the manland was totally destroyed and the rubble used in the construction of the great causeway leading into the sea toward the Fortress City which had 46 m high walls. After 7 months Alexander was still being attacked by Phoenician ships ,because Tyre was built upon an island of rock and had a harbour facing out to sea ,so both supplies and ships were not in short supply.
What follows is how the Siege Towers were raised up in my opinion as an Engineer. Prefabricated pieces made flat on their side. Then each and every piece carried up the causeway and assembled gradually raising them up and all fixed in place with wooden pegs ,and soon reaching the height of 50m. One thing you avoid is advertising your true intentions by letting the enemy see your every move. Yes they could see the ongoing causeway work it had been so for over 7 months. These huge siege towers were to say the least quite frightening as they were assembled in quick smart time.More than likely rehearsals had been made giving good first hand experience to the engineers and improving the speed they could construct these huge towers. Problems were avoided by not having to pull or push them the entire length of the causeway. However plans in war seldom are that simple ,because here in this instance reaction to the threat was swift and the huge towers were counter attacked by fireships. Most certainly the causeway was nowhere near complete enough for the towers to unload in a level pegging, battle hardened infantry against those station upon the walls.So therefore these were protective towers constructed to give extra fire support to those doing the work on the causeway ,and those employed in getting the job done. A massive deterrent against raiding Phoenician ships. Alexander ordered more towers to be made and the causeway widened.
Soon artillery machines were moved in to support the archers already deployed,and a steady bombardment of stone and javelin began.However Alexander realised he now needed ships in order to continue the attack on this island fortress. So he called in his favours and obtained over 300 ships from Sidon, his Greek Allies and the King of Cyprus.
One thing was most certain one never said no to Alexander. The haughty King of Tyre had done so and was about to pay the ultimate price for it. All that would happen was caused in part by the Tyrians refusing a Peace Treaty with Alexander.When they killed his envoys and threw their body`s into the sea from the fortress wall the die was cast,it would be war on a scale they never imagined.
With gaining more support in the way of ships and men,now the battle changed and the island fortress was blockaded good and proper nothing was getting into or out of that harbour and as that swift sword of power came into play naval engineers constructed heavy battering rams on their ships and the massive walls crumbled and tumbled downwards,with load cheers a plenty no doubt.
Now it was payback time.
The siege lasted from January to July of 332 BC.
Nothing remains of Tyre,and it is my opinion based upon common sense that the stone was removed and used in the construction of a brand new City Alexandria.
A Turning Point of Power had Begun
Written by BB
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