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Encyclopedia > Battle of Issus
Battle of Issus
Part of the Wars of Alexander the Great

Alexander battling Darius at the Battle of Issus
Date November, 333 BC
Location Issus
Result Macedonian victory
Combatants
Macedon,
Greek allies
Achaemenid Persia
Commanders
Alexander the Great Darius III
Strength
13,000 peltasts,[1]
22,000 hoplites,[2]
5,850 cavalry[2]
600,000
(Modern Consensus)[3]
(See below)
Casualties
7,000[4] 50,000

The Battle of Issus (or more commonly The Battle at Issus) occurred in southern Anatolia, on November 333 BC. The invading troops led by the young Alexander of Macedonia, outnumbered more than 2:1, defeated the army personally led by Darius III of Achaemenid Persia in the second great battle for primacy in Asia. After Alexander's forces successfully forced a crossing of the Hellespont (the Dardanelles) and defeated a favored Persian general in a prior encounter, the Battle of the Granicus, Darius took personal charge of his army, gathered a large army from the depths of the empire, and maneuvered to cut the Greek line of supply, requiring Alexander to countermarch his forces, setting the stage for the battle near the mouth of the Pinarus River and south of the village of Issus. Battle of Issus may refer to: Battle of Issus (or The Battle at Issus) (333 BC), a battle in which Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated Darius III of Persia. ... Bust of Alexander the Great in the British Museum. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1160x630, 743 KB) Alexander the Great battling Darius at the Battle of Issus. ... Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 380s BC 370s BC 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC - 330s BC - 320s BC 310s BC 300s BC 290s BC 280s BC 338 BC 337 BC 336 BC 335 BC 334 BC - 333 BC - 332 BC 331 BC 330... Issus a town most notable for being the place of the Battle of Issus where Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated Darius III of Persia, close to present-day Iskenderum, Turkey, on both sides of a small river called Pinarus. ... Ancient Macedons regions and towns Macedon or Macedonia (Greek ) was the name of an ancient kingdom in the northern-most part of ancient Greece, bordered by the kingdom of Epirus to the west and the region of Thrace to the east. ... Founder of empires: Cyrus, The Great is still revered in modern Iran as he was in all the successor Persian Empires. ... The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the old Persian homeland, and beyond in Western Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. ... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... Darius III or Codomannus (c. ... A peltast was a type of light infantry in Ancient Greece who often served as skirmishers. ... The hoplite was a heavy infantryman that was the central focus of warfare in Ancient Greece. ... Not to be confused with Golgotha, which was called Calvary. ... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... Combatants Macedon Athens, Thebes Commanders Philip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great Chares of Athens, Lysicles of Athens, Theagenes of Boeotia Strength 32,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry 35,000 Casualties Unknown 1,000 Athenians killed, 254 Boeotians killed, 2,000 captured The Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), fought near... Combatants Macedon, Greek allies Persia, Greek mercenaries Commanders Alexander the Great, Parmenion, Clitus the Black Spithridates, Mithridates, Memnon of Rhodes Strength 20,000 peltasts[1] 22,000 hoplites[2] 5,000 cavalry[2] 9,500 peltasts[2] 5,000 Greek hoplites[3] 10,000 cavalry[3] Casualties 350 killed 4... In 332 BC, Alexander the Great set out to conquer Tyre, a strategic coastal base in the war between the Greeks and the Persians. ... Combatants Macedon Achaemenid Persia Commanders Alexander the Great Darius III Strength 9,000 peltasts,[1] 31,000 hoplites,[1][2] 7,000 cavalry[2] 1,000,000 total (See Size of Persian army) Casualties 4,000 40,000[3] The Battle of Gaugamela (IPA: ) took place in 331 BC between... Combatants Macedonian Empire Persia Commanders Alexander the Great Ariobarzan † Strength 17,000[1][2] 700[1] Casualties Thousands[1] 700[1] The Battle of the Persian Gate was fought northeast of todays Yasuj in Iran between a group of Persian patriots led by Ariobarzan against the large invading Macedonian... Sogdiana, ca. ... Combatants Macedonian Empire Greek allies Persian allies Indian allies Paurava (Punjabi Indian kingdom) Commanders Alexander the Great, Craterus King Porus Strength 34,000 infantry,[2][3][4] 7,000 cavalry[5][6] 20,000 infantry,[7] 2,000 cavalry,[7] 85 war elephants,[8][9] 60 chariots[10] Casualties 4... Anatolia and Europe Anatolia (Turkish: from Greek: Ανατολία - Anatolia) is a peninsula of Western Asia which forms the greater part of the Asian portion of Turkey, as opposed to the European portion (Thrace, or traditionally Rumelia). ... Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 380s BC 370s BC 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC - 330s BC - 320s BC 310s BC 300s BC 290s BC 280s BC 338 BC 337 BC 336 BC 335 BC 334 BC - 333 BC - 332 BC 331 BC 330... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... Darius III or Codomannus (c. ... Founder of empires: Cyrus, The Great is still revered in modern Iran as he was in all the successor Persian Empires. ... The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the old Persian homeland, and beyond in Western Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. ... The Helespont/Dardanelles, a long narrow strait dividing the Balkans (Europe) along the Gallipoli peninsula from Asia Anatolia (Asia Minor). ... Map of the Dardanelles The Dardanelles (Turkish: Çanakkale Boğazı, Greek: Δαρδανέλλια, Dardanellia), formerly known as the Hellespont (Greek: Eλλήσποντος, Hellespontos), is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. ... Combatants Macedon, Greek allies Persia, Greek mercenaries Commanders Alexander the Great, Parmenion, Clitus the Black Spithridates, Mithridates, Memnon of Rhodes Strength 20,000 peltasts[1] 22,000 hoplites[2] 5,000 cavalry[2] 9,500 peltasts[2] 5,000 Greek hoplites[3] 10,000 cavalry[3] Casualties 350 killed 4... The Pinarus river is a small mountain spring fed stream famous in antiquity as the site of the First Battle of Issus, near a small coastal village or town which was reported to straddle the stream which by similar sources, was said to run red with blood after Alexander the... Issus can refer to the: Battle of Issus, fought by Alexander the Great in 333 BC, which took place near Issus (town), along the Issus (river) This is a disambiguation page, a list of pages that otherwise might share the same title. ...


Eventual accounts tell of bodies piled within the waters high enough to dam its flow and that the river ran red with blood. So while Alexander is known to have repeatedly emphasized the importance of maintaining contact with the beach to his sub-commander on the left (seaward) flank, it is safe to assume a lot of action that day along all the water course in its 2.5 km travel through the small narrow rough hilly coastal plain that prevented the Persians, with their greater numbers, from outflanking the attacking Greeks. KM, Km, or km may stand for: Khmer language (ISO 639 alpha-2, km) Kilometre Kinemantra Meditation Knowledge management KM programming language KM Culture, Korean Movie Maker. ...


Initially, Alexander chose what was apparently unfavorable ground to an attack across (rough, briar choked, uphill) which was in fact a feint meant to pin and hold the Persian forces. This surprised Darius who mistakenly elected to hold position while Alexander then led the true attack personally on the right while instructing the Macedonian phalanx trained infantry, his main body, to make contact and just hold the main Persian army in check; thus in essence he advanced to take up a defensive posture. Meanwhile Alexander personally led the more elite Greek Companion Cavalry against the Persian left up against the hills, and cut up the enemy on the less encumbering terrain generating a quick rout. After achieving a breakthrough, Alexander demonstrated he could do the difficult and held the cavalry successfully in check after it broke the Persian right. Alexander regrouped, then turned the body into the right flank of the Persian center, butchering Darius' body guard and under generals, provoking a panic and flight by that emperor himself, and causing a general rout. Any subsequent pursuit of Darius was delayed and generally impeded by the fleeing Persian troops and camp followers, although he managed to follow Darius' chariot until after dark some 24 to 25 km before giving up the chase. The Macedonian phalanx is an infantry formation developed by Philip II and used by his son Alexander the Great to conquer the Persian Empire and other armies. ... Infantry of the Royal Irish Rifles during the Battle of the Somme in World War I. Infantry are soldiers who fight primarily on foot with small arms in organized military units, though they may be transported to the battlefield by horses, ships, automobiles, skis, bicycles, or other means. ... Not to be confused with Golgotha, which was called Calvary. ... KM, Km, or km may stand for: Khmer language (ISO 639 alpha-2, km) Kilometre Kinemantra Meditation Knowledge management KM programming language KM Culture, Korean Movie Maker. ...

Contents

Location

The battle took place south of the ancient town Issus, which is close to present-day Iskenderun (a Turkish equivalent of "Alexandria"), Turkey (which was actually founded by Alexander to commemorate his victory), on either side of a small river called Pinarus. At that location the distance from the gulf of Issus to the surrounding mountains is only 2.6 km, a place where Darius could not take advantage of his superiority in numbers. Speculation on the location of the Pinarus has taken place for over 80 years. Older historians believed it to be the Deli Tchai river, but historians N.G.L. Hammond and A.M. Devine have made convincing claims that the Pinarus is actually the Payas River, the latter using eye-witness examination of the river, which may not have drastically changed since antiquity.

Their evidence is based on Callisthenes' accounts of the measurements of the battlefield and distances marched by both armies in the prelude to the battle and distance given by Diodorus after the battle. Issus a town most notable for being the place of the Battle of Issus where Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated Darius III of Persia, close to present-day Iskenderum, Turkey, on both sides of a small river called Pinarus. ... İskenderun, formerly known in the west as Alexandretta or previously as Scanderoon (Arabic الإسكندرون al-ʼIskandarūn), is a city in the Turkish province of Hatay. ... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... The Deli Çay river (English: Crazy River), in southern Anatolia near todays Turkey—Syria border, was thought during earlier modern times to be the famous Pinarus river, where Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in the First Battle of Issus, and the likely site of the second... The Payas river, in southern Anatolia near todays Turkey—Syria border, is thought during recent modern times to be the famous Pinarus river of antiquity, where Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in the First Battle of Issus, and the likely site of the second and third... Callisthenes, or Kallisthenes, ( in Greek) of Olynthus (c. ... Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian, born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira, in the province of Enna). ...

  • see above reference

Prelude

Movements to the battlefield.

Alexander set out into Asia in 334 BC and defeated the local Persian satraps at the Battle of the Granicus. He then proceeded to occupy all of Asia Minor. Image File history File links Battle_issus_movements. ... Image File history File links Battle_issus_movements. ... Events Alexander the Great crosses the Bosporus, invading Persia. ... Look up satrap in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Combatants Macedon, Greek allies Persia, Greek mercenaries Commanders Alexander the Great, Parmenion, Clitus the Black Spithridates, Mithridates, Memnon of Rhodes Strength 20,000 peltasts[1] 22,000 hoplites[2] 5,000 cavalry[2] 9,500 peltasts[2] 5,000 Greek hoplites[3] 10,000 cavalry[3] Casualties 350 killed 4...


While Alexander was in Tarsus he heard of Darius massing a great army in Babylon. If Darius were to reach the Gulf of Issus he could use the support from the Persian fleet under Pharnabazus still operating in the Mediterranean Sea, thus easing his supply and possibly landing troops behind the enemy. Alexander kept his main army at Tarsus but sent Parmenion ahead to occupy the coast around Issus. In November, Alexander received reports that the great Persian army had advanced into Syria, to a town named Sochi. Alexander decided to mass his scattered army and advance south from Issus through the Pass of Jonah. Tarsus is a city in present day Turkey, on the mouth of the Tarsus Cay (Cydnus) into the Mediterranean. ... For other uses, see Babylon (disambiguation). ... Pharnabazus (in Greek Φαρναβαζος; lived 4th century BC) was a Persian general, son of Artabazus. ... Composite satellite image of the Mediterranean Sea. ... Parmenion (also Parmenio) (in Greek Παρμενίων, c. ...


Darius knew that Parmenion held the Pass of Jonah and thus chose a northern route of advance. The Persians captured Issus without opposition, and cut off the hands of all the sick and wounded that Alexander had left behind. Now Darius found out he had placed his army behind the Macedonians and had cut their supply lines. He then advanced to the south and got no further than the river Pinarus before his Scouts spotted Alexander marching North. Darius had to set up camp on this narrow coastal plain.


The Motives

Initial dispositions of Persian and Macedonian forces.

There is much debate as to the motives of Alexander and Darius preluding Issus. A strong and convincing modern perspective, based on Curtius, is that Darius was forced to move camp to terrain that favored Alexander because Alexander was fighting defensively due to a recommendation by his war council and Parmenion. Darius' large army could not be supported in the field during winter and his cities in Phoenicia were already in unrest at the arrival of Alexander. Darius was forced to move his large army to a small battlefield, which overwhelmingly favored Alexander's smaller force. Image File history File links Battle_issus_initial. ... Image File history File links Battle_issus_initial. ... Curtius is a Roman nomen shared by several notables. ... Parmenion (also Parmenio) (in Greek Παρμενίων, c. ... Phoenicia (or Phenicia ,[1] from Biblical Phenice [1]) was an ancient civilization centered in the north of ancient Canaan, with its heartland along the coast of modern day Lebanon and Syria. ...


Alexander was waiting for Darius to come south around the Amanus Mountain range because the pass Darius would have used, the Belen Pass, was much closer to Sochi and offered the quickest access to the area Alexander defended. Alexander was waiting 10 miles to the west of the Belen Pass at Myriandrus to spring a trap on Darius as he crossed through the Belen Pass or through the Pillar of Jonah if he moved north, where Darius' army would be disorganized and disjointed in the narrow crossing. Darius instead moved north from Sochi and around the mountains, emerging behind Alexander's position and on his supply and communication lines. Thus Alexander was forced to march to Darius, who had caught him off guard in a large flanking maneuver. This gives the illusion that Darius was the one acting defensively, since Alexander was forced to march to him. Myriandrus (or Myriandros) was an ancient Phoenician town and seaport located near the modern city of Ä°skenderun, Turkey. ...


Combatants

Persian army

Units Numbers
Peltasts 530,000
Persian Immortals 10,000
Greek hoplites 10,000
Cavalry 50,000
Total 600,000[3]

Modern Historians find Arrian's count of six hundred thousand men unsatisfactory and estimate Persian numbers under Darius III at around 100,000, including 11,000 cavalry,[2] 10,000 Persian Immortals, and 10,000 Greek mercenaries.[5][3] A peltast was a type of light infantry in Ancient Greece who often served as skirmishers. ... The Achaemenid Persian Immortals, also known as the Persian Immortals or The Immortals were an elite force of soldiers which performed the dual roles of both Imperial Guard and standing army during the Greco-Persian Wars. ... The hoplite was a heavy infantryman that was the central focus of warfare in Ancient Greece. ... Not to be confused with Golgotha, which was called Calvary. ... Alexander the Great Lucius Flavius Arrianus Xenophon (c. ... The Achaemenid Persian Immortals, also known as the Persian Immortals or The Immortals were an elite force of soldiers which performed the dual roles of both Imperial Guard and standing army during the Greco-Persian Wars. ...


In ancient sources, Arrian and Plutarch estimated 600,000[2] Persian soldiers in total, while Diodorus and Justin estimated 400,000, and Curtius Rufus estimated 250,000.


Macedonian army

The size of the Macedonian army may not have exceeded 40,000 men including their Greek allies led by Alexander. Alexander's army may have consisted of about 22,000 hoplites, 13,000 peltasts, and 5,850 cavalry.[2] The hoplite was a heavy infantryman that was the central focus of warfare in Ancient Greece. ... A peltast was a type of light infantry in Ancient Greece who often served as skirmishers. ... Not to be confused with Golgotha, which was called Calvary. ...


The Battle

The Macedonians advanced through the Pillar of Jonah. Alexander led his Companion cavalry on the right flank and he set his Thessalian Greek allied cavalry on the left of the Macedonian phalanx with Parmenion in command. The Companions (Greek Εταίροι) were Alexander the Greats elite cavalry, the main offensive arm of his army, and also his elite guard. ... The Macedonian phalanx is an infantry formation developed by Philip II and used by his son Alexander the Great to conquer the Persian Empire and other armies. ... Parmenion (also Parmenio) (in Greek Παρμενίων, c. ...


Darius formed his line with his heavy cavalry concentrated next to the coast on his right, followed by the Greek mercenary phalanx (historian A.M Devine places them at a strength of 12,000, comparable to the Macedonian phalanx). Next to the Greek phalanx Darius spread his Persian infantry, the Cardaces, along the river and into the foothills, where they wrapped around to the other bank and threatened Alexander's right flank (the formation resembled gamma, Γ). Arrian gives an inflated figure of 20,000 to these troops. Darius positioned himself in the centre with his best infantry, the Greek mercenaries, and his royal cavalry guard. According to some historians, like P. Stratikis, he was trying to replicate the Hellenic battle formation of the Battle of the Granicus. Alexander the Great Lucius Flavius Arrianus Xenophon (c. ... Combatants Macedon, Greek allies Persia, Greek mercenaries Commanders Alexander the Great, Parmenion, Clitus the Black Spithridates, Mithridates, Memnon of Rhodes Strength 20,000 peltasts[1] 22,000 hoplites[2] 5,000 cavalry[2] 9,500 peltasts[2] 5,000 Greek hoplites[3] 10,000 cavalry[3] Casualties 350 killed 4...

Alexander's decisive attack.

The Persian cavalry first charged Parmenion and the allied cavalry, crossing the river to open battle. Alexander's left wing once again became the crux of the battle, as at Gaugamela two years later, where Parmenion held the wing long enough against superior Persian numbers for Alexander to make his calculated cavalry strike against Darius and break the Persian army. The Hypaspists led by Alexander, on foot, delivered an assault during this time across the riverbed on the Cardaces and managed to punch a hole through the Persian line. Image File history File links Battle_issus_decisive. ... Image File history File links Battle_issus_decisive. ... In the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated Darius III of Persia. ... Hypaspistai, or hypaspists, were elite foot guardsmen as used by Alexander the Greats Macedonian army. ...


Alexander then mounted a horse at the head of his Companion Cavalry and led a direct assault against Darius who fled from the battlefield. Alexander then saw his left flank and center in trouble, let Darius flee, and crashed into the rear of the Greek mercenaries. The Greek mercenaries broke up. The Persians then saw their Great King gone, the battle being lost, and abandoned their positions in full rout. The Macedonian cavalry pursued the fleeing Persians for as long as there was light. As with most ancient battles, significant carnage occurred after the battle as pursuing Macedonians slaughtered their crowded, disorganized foe. Arrian notes Ptolemy's I mention that, while pursuing Darius, Alexander and his bodyguards came upon a gap which they effortlessly crossed on the bodies of dead Persians. Alexander the Great Lucius Flavius Arrianus Xenophon (c. ...


Aftermath

The Battle of Issus was a decisive Macedonian victory and it marked the beginning of the end of Persian power. It was the first time the Persian army had been defeated with the King (Darius III at the time) present. Darius III or Codomannus (c. ...


Depictions of the battle

The Alexander Mosaic, dating from approx. ... The Battle of Alexander (1529) Wood, 158,4 x 120,3 cm Alte Pinakothek, Munich Albrecht Altdorfer (c. ... The Battle of Alexander at Issus is arguably Albrecht Altdorfers (c. ... William Oliver Stone (born September 15, 1946), known simply as Oliver Stone, is a three-time Academy Award-winning American film director and screenwriter. ... Alexander is a 2004 epic motion picture film, based on the life of Alexander the Great. ... Combatants Macedon Achaemenid Persia Commanders Alexander the Great Darius III Strength 9,000 peltasts,[1] 31,000 hoplites,[1][2] 7,000 cavalry[2] 1,000,000 total (See Size of Persian army) Casualties 4,000 40,000[3] The Battle of Gaugamela (IPA: ) took place in 331 BC between... Combatants Macedonian Empire Greek allies Persian allies Indian allies Paurava (Punjabi Indian kingdom) Commanders Alexander the Great, Craterus King Porus Strength 34,000 infantry,[2][3][4] 7,000 cavalry[5][6] 20,000 infantry,[7] 2,000 cavalry,[7] 85 war elephants,[8][9] 60 chariots[10] Casualties 4...

Notes

  1. ^ Warry (1998) estimates Alexander's army to be 31,000 in total.
  2. ^ a b c d e Moerbeek (1997).
  3. ^ a b c Engels (1920) and Green (1990) estimate the total size of Darius' army to be no larger than 100,000 at Issus due to the logistics of fielding more than 100,000 soldiers in battle being extremely difficult at the time. Delbrück (1978) gives an estimate as small as 25,000.
  4. ^ Welman estimates over 16% of the Macedonian army were killed.
  5. ^ Welman.

Look up Logistics in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Sources

Ancient

Diodorus Siculus (c. ... Quintus Curtius Rufus was a Roman historical writer in the first or second century AD, generally thought to have written under the reign of Claudius. ... Mestrius Plutarchus (Greek: Πλούταρχος; 46 - 127), better known in English as Plutarch, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Plutarch in Greek Plutarchs Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans is a series of biographies of famous men, arranged in tandem to illuminate their common moral virtues or failings. ... Alexander the Great Lucius Flavius Arrianus Xenophon (c. ... Anabasis Alexandri, the Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian is the most important source on Alexander the Great. ... Justin or Marcus Junianus Justinus or Justinus Frontinus, 3rd century Roman historian. ...

Modern

  • Delbrück, Hans (1920). History of the Art of War. University of Nebraska Press. Reprint edition, 1990. Translated by Walter, J. Renfroe. 4 Volumes.
  • Engels, Donald W. (1978). Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London.
  • Fuller, John F. C. (1960). The Generalship of Alexander the Great. New Jersey: De Capo Press.
  • Green, Peter (1974). Alexander of Macedon: A Historical Biography.
  • Moerbeek, Martijn (1997). The battle of Issus, 333 BC. Universiteit Twente.
  • Rogers, Guy (2004). Alexander: The Ambiguity of Greatness. New York: Random House.
  • Warry, J. (1998), Warfare in the Classical World. ISBN 1-84065-004-4.
  • Nick Welman. Army. Fontys University.

J.F.C. Fuller (September 1, 1878 – February 10, 1966), full name John Frederick Charles Fuller, was a British Major General, military historian and strategist, notable as an early theorist of modern armoured warfare, including categorising principles of warfare. ... Peter Green (born 1924) is a British classical scholar noted for his Alexander to Actium, a general account of the Hellenistic Age, and other works. ... Art on the campus University Twente is a university located in Enschede, Netherlands. ... Fontys is one operator of Universities of Applied Science in the Netherlands. ...

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Battle of Issus (518 words)
In the Battle of Issus in 333 BC Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated Darius III of Persia.
The battle took place south of the ancient town Issus[?], which is close to present-day Iskenderum[?], Turkey, on both sides of a small river called Pinarus.
The battle of Issus was a decisive Macedonian victory and it marked the beginning of the end of Persian power.
Battle of Issus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1241 words)
Alexander battling Darius at the Battle of Issus
The battle took place south of the ancient town Issus, which is close to present-day Iskenderum, Turkey, on either side of a small river called Pinarus.
The battle of Issus was illustrated (according to the Roman writer Pliny) by a Greek painter, Philoxenus of Eretria, in the late fourth century BC.
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