Therefore, he made Babylon his capital and introduced the oriental court ceremonial, which caused great tensions with his Macedonian and Greek officers. They took its capital Babylon, fought their way through the Zagros mountains, captured the Persian capital Persepolis, hunted down Achaemenid king Darius III Codomannus, rooted out resistance in eastern Iran and Uzbekistan, and conquered the Punjab.
After their victory at Gaugamela, on 1 October 331 B. Alexander wanted to advance to the delta of the Ganges, but his soldiers refused and the Macedonians returned to the west, to Persia and Babylonia.
In 331, they had accurately predicted Alexander's invasion of Mesopotamia and his victory at Gaugamela, and ever since, the Macedonian king attached great value to their predictions.
Accepting Bêl-apla-iddin's advice, he decided not to go to Babylon and agreed to make a remarkable sacrifice to the gods: he would rebuild the Etemenanki, the temple-tower (ziggurat) of Babylon.
This pyramid, 90 meters high, was believed to be the foundation of heaven on earth, and was among the most important sanctuaries in the ancient world.
Once this project was completed, the supreme god of Babylonia, Marduk, could not remain angry and would no doubt bless the king. Greek philosophers at his court had reproached him for his credulity and convinced him that the Babylonian astronomers had scared him in order to obtain money for their temple.
Like so many ancient nations, the Babylonians believed that the gods used heavenly signs to make their wishes known to mankind.
In the second half of his reign, he had to find a way to rule his newly conquered countries.Never had a conqueror been so successful, and many people -Alexander included- thought that the king of Macedonia was more than an ordinary human being.He was regarded as the son of at least three supreme gods (the Greek Zeus, the Egyptian Ra, the Libyan Ammon), was believed to be protected by the sun god, and had been hailed as an avatar of Vishnu.His message was sincere and simple: Alexander was in mortal danger and should avoid Babylon. The Babylonian astronomers, or Chaldaeans, were specialists in the celestial omens.On many occasions they had warned kings of approaching calamities, had proposed certain sacrifices, and had been able to avert disasters.Alexander, who was a member of a family that claimed protection from the sun (more...), accepted their advice and tried to approach the city from the west, but ground conditions forced him to use the forbidden gate.Arrian also claims to know the real motive of the Chaldaeans.That this accusation has been repeated by several scholars of the twentieth century comes as no surprise.Arrian is usually a reliable author and besides, for a very long time, ancient historians believed that compared to the Greeks, the Babylonians were culturally inferior.During his first visit, Alexander had already ordered repairs to the Etemenanki, and the astronomers had misappropriated the funds.Therefore, they wanted to keep him away from the city.