Alexander the Great launched a campaign into India after conquering what is today Afghanistan. He was a great warrior and a strategist. But it still remains a mystery why he kept advancing towards India. The Macedonian king marched his army through Pakistan and northern India but failed to reach the east coast. This was because the Silver Shields, the honorable veteran Macedonian infantry, refused to advance further. The infantry was created by Alexander’s father Philip ll. Some veterans were in their 50s and 60s but were still a no match on the battlefield, and had absolute loyalty to Alexander.
The Silver Shields surprisingly refused to follow Alexander’s order and gave him the first defeat. If Alexander continued to march despite their rejection, other units would have risen in revolt. Who would not join the revolt if veterans, who had fought under Philip ll and Alexander, refused to advance further? But it was not like the Silver Shields gave up their love and loyalty to Alexander. They loved the king even more than before and pledged their absolute loyalty.
The Silver Shields, however, were deserted by Alexander. The king released soldiers from the infantry, providing them with rewards. He even created a variety of honor and rewards systems for them. The king thanked them for their service and told them to spend the rest of their lives peacefully at home. It was a shocking development to the Silver Shields. They wanted to enjoy wealth and power as king’s guards, but Alexander flatly cut off his ties with them. They were still strong soldiers but were unqualified for conquest wars.
Achievements should be recognized but state cannot compromise with group’s selfish goals. If Alexander had not died early, we would have been able to see the result of Alexander’s decision more clearly. History has proved that Alexander was right in making such a decision. The Silver Shields turned corrupt later and destroyed their generals.