Alexander advanced gradually and conquered territory by territory until Darius, the Great King of Persia, was forced to come out himself to face Alexander. Alexander was victorious in the two key battles at Issus and Gaugamela, and Darius was murdered by conspirators soon afterward. In the meantime, Alexander also conquered Phoenicia, Egypt, and Babylon, all of which proved to be valuable acquisitions. Upon hearing of Darius's death, the Macedonian army assumed that the expedition was over and the war won, but Alexander insisted on pushing farther east. Here he faced a formidable opponent in Spitamenes, who possessed a smaller army but continued harassing Alexander and even slaughtered a Macedonian unit after Alexander underestimated him. Spitamenes was ultimately defeated, the rebellion fell apart, and Alexander went on to conquer the Paraetacene territory. In the Far East, Alexander
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