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Plutarch's Lives

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retaining the Grecians in subjection by force of arms, and rather
to apply himself to win back by gentle means the allegiance of the
tribes who were designing revolt, and try the effect of indulgence
in arresting the first motions towards revolution. But he
rejected this counsel as weak and timorous, and looked upon it to
be more prudence to secure himself by resolution and magnanimity,
than, by seeming to buckle to any, to encourage all to trample on
him. In pursuit of this opinion, he reduced the barbarians to
tranquility, and put an end to all fear of war from them, by a
rapid expedition into their country as far as the river Danube,
where he gave Syrmus, king of the Triballians, an entire
overthrow. And hearing the Thebans were in revolt, and the
Athenians in correspondence with them, he immediately marched
through the pass of Thermopylae, saying that to Demosthenes who
had called him a child while he was in Illyria and in the country
of the Triballians, and a youth when he was in Thessaly, he would
appear a man before the walls of Athens.

When he came to Thebes, to show how willing he was to accept of
their repentance for what was past, he only demanded of them
Phoenix and Prothytes, the authors of the rebellion, and
proclaimed a general pardon to those who would come over to him.
But when the Thebans merely retorted by demanding Philotas and
Antipater to be delivered into their hands, and by a proclamation
on their part, invited all who would assert the liberty of Greece
to come over to them, he presently applied himself to make them
feel the last extremities of war. The Thebans indeed defended
themselves with a zeal and courage beyond their strength, being
much outnumbered by their enemies. But when the Macedonian garrison
sallied out upon them from the citadel, they were so hemmed in on
all sides, that the greater part of them fell in the battle; the
city itself being taken by storm, was sacked and razed,
Alexander's hope being that so severe an example might terrify the
rest of Greece into obedience, and also in order to gratify the
hostility of his confederates, the Phocians and Plataeans. So
that, except the priests, and some few who had heretofore been the
friends and connections of the Macedonians, the family of the poet
Pindar, and those who were known to have opposed the public vote
for the war, all the rest, to the number of thirty thousand, were
publicly sold for slaves; and it is computed that upwards of six
thousand were put to the sword. Among the other calamities that
befell the city, it happened that some Thracian soldiers having
broken into the house of a matron of high character and repute,
named Timoclea, their captain, after he had used violence with
her, to satisfy his avarice as well as lust, asked her, if she
knew of any money concealed; to which she readily answered she
did, and bade him follow her into a garden, where she showed him a
well, into which, she told him, upon the taking of the city she
had thrown what she had of most value. The greedy Thracian
presently stooping down to view the place where he thought the
treasure lay, she came behind him, and pushed him into the well,
and then flung great stones in upon him, till she had killed him.
After which, when the soldiers led her away bound to Alexander,
her very mien and gait showed her to be a woman of dignity, and of
a mind no less elevated, not betraying the least sign of fear or
astonishment. And when the king asked her who she was, "I am,"
said she, "the sister of Theagenes, who fought the battle of
Chaeronea with your father Philip, and fell there in command for
the liberty of Greece." Alexander was so surprised, both at what
she had done, and what she said, that he could not choose but give
her and her children their freedom to go whither they pleased.

After this he received the Athenians into favor, although they had
shown themselves so much concerned at the calamity of Thebes that
out of sorrow they omitted the celebration of the Mysteries, and
entertained those who escaped with all possible humanity. Whether
it were, like the lion, that his passion was now satisfied, or
that after an example of extreme cruelty, he had a mind to appear
merciful, it happened well for the Athenians; for he not only
forgave them all past offenses, but bade them to look to their
affairs with vigilance, remembering that if he should miscarry,
they were likely to be the arbiters of Greece. Certain it is,
too, that in after-time he often repented of his severity to the
Thebans, and his remorse had such influence on his temper as to
make him ever after less rigorous to all others. He imputed also
the murder of Clitus, which he committed in his wine, and the
unwillingness of the Macedonians to follow him against the
Indians, by which his enterprise and glory was left imperfect, to
the wrath and vengeance of Bacchus, the protector of Thebes. And
it was observed that whatsoever any Theban, who had the good
fortune to survive this victory, asked of him, he was sure to
grant without the least difficulty.

Soon after, the Grecians, being assembled at the Isthmus, declared
their resolution of joining with Alexander in the war against the
Persians, and proclaimed him their general. While he stayed here,
many public ministers and philosophers came from all parts to
visit him, and congratulated him on his election, but contrary to
his expectation, Diogenes of Sinope, who then was living at
Corinth, thought so little of him, that instead of coming to
compliment him, he never so much as stirred out of the suburb
called the Cranium, where Alexander found him lying along in the
sun. When he saw so much company near him, he raised himself a
little, and vouchsafed to look upon Alexander; and when he kindly
asked him whether he wanted anything, "Yes," said he, "I would
have you stand from between me and the sun." Alexander was so
struck at this answer, and surprised at the greatness of the man,
who had taken so little notice of him, that as he went away, he
told his followers who were laughing at the moroseness of the
philosopher, that if he were not Alexander, he would choose to be

Then he went to Delphi, to consult Apollo concerning the success
of the war he had undertaken, and happening to come on one of the
forbidden days, when it was esteemed improper to give any answers
from the oracle, he sent messengers to desire the priestess to do
her office; and when she refused, on the plea of a law to the
contrary, he went up himself, and began to draw her by force into
the temple, until tired and overcome with his importunity, "My
son," said she, "thou art invincible." Alexander taking hold of
what she spoke, declared he had received such an answer as he
wished for, and that it was needless to consult the god any
further. Among other prodigies that attended the departure of his
army, the image of Orpheus at Libethra, made of cypress-wood, was
seen to sweat in great abundance, to the discouragement of many.
But Aristander told him, that far from presaging any ill to him,
it signified he should perform acts so important and glorious as
would make the poets and musicians of future ages labor and sweat
to describe and celebrate them.

His army, by their computation who make the smallest amount,
consisted of thirty thousand foot, and four thousand horse; and
those who make the most of it, speak but of forty-three thousand
foot, and three thousand horse. Aristobulus says, he had not a
fund of above seventy talents for their pay, nor had he more than
thirty days' provision, if we may believe Duris; Onesicritus tells
us, he was two hundred talents in debt. However narrow and
disproportionable the beginnings of so vast an undertaking might
seem to be, yet he would not embark his army until he had informed
himself particularly what means his friends had to enable them to
follow him, and supplied what they wanted, by giving good farms to
some, a village to one, and the revenue of some hamlet or harbor
town to another. So that at last he had portioned out or engaged
almost all the royal property; which giving Perdiccas an occasion
to ask him what he would leave himself, he replied, his hopes.
"Your soldiers," replied Perdiccas, "will be your partners in
those," and refused to accept of the estate he had assigned him.
Some others of his friends did the like, but to those who
willingly received, or desired assistance of him, he liberally
granted it, as far as his patrimony in Macedonia would reach, the
most part of which was spent in these donations.

With such vigorous resolutions, and his mind thus disposed, he
passed the Hellespont, and at Troy sacrificed to Minerva, and
honored the memory of the heroes who were buried there, with
solemn libations; especially Achilles, whose gravestone he
anointed, and with his friends, as the ancient custom is, ran
naked about his sepulchre, and crowned it with garlands, declaring
how happy he esteemed him, in having while he lived so faithful a
friend, and when he was dead, so famous a poet to proclaim his
actions. While he was viewing the rest of the antiquities and
curiosities of the place, being told he might see Paris's harp, if
he pleased, he said, he thought it not worth looking on, but he
should be glad to see that of Achilles, to which he used to sing
the glories and great actions of brave men.

In the meantime Darius's captains having collected large forces,
were encamped on the further bank of the river Granicus, and it
was necessary to fight, as it were, in the gate of Asia for an
entrance into it. The depth of the river, with the unevenness and
difficult ascent of the opposite bank, which was to be gained by
main force, was apprehended by most, and some pronounced it an
improper time to engage, because it was unusual for the kings of
Macedonia to march with their forces in the month called Daesius.
But Alexander broke through these scruples, telling; them they
should call it a second Artemisius. And when Parmenio advised him
not to attempt anything that day, because it was late, he told
him that he should disgrace the Hellespont, should he fear the
Granicus. And so without more saying, he immediately took the
river with thirteen troops of horse, and advanced against whole
showers of darts thrown from the steep opposite side, which was
covered with armed multitudes of the enemy's horse and foot,
notwithstanding the disadvantage of the ground and the rapidity of
the stream; so that the action seemed to have more of frenzy and
desperation in it, than of prudent conduct. However, he persisted
obstinately to gain the passage, and at last with much ado making
his way up the banks, which were extremely muddy and slippery, he
had instantly to join in a mere confused hand-to-hand combat with
the enemy, before he could draw up his men, who were still passing
over, into any order. For the enemy pressed upon him with loud
and warlike outcries; and charging horse against horse, with their
lances, after they had broken and spent these, they fell to it
with their swords. And Alexander, being easily known by his
buckler, and a large plume of white feathers on each side of his
helmet, was attacked on all sides, yet escaped wounding, though
his cuirass was pierced by a javelin in one of the joinings. And
Rhoesaces and Spithridates, two Persian commanders, falling upon
him at once, he avoided one of them, and struck at Rhoesaces, who
had a good cuirass on, with such force, that his spear breaking in
his hand, he was glad to betake himself to his dagger. While they
were thus engaged, Spithridates came up on one side of him, and
raising himself upon his horse, gave him such a blow with his
battle-axe on the helmet, that he cut off the crest of it, with
one of his plumes, and the helmet was only just so far strong
enough to save him, that the edge of the weapon touched the hair
of his head. But as he was about to repeat his stroke, Clitus,
called the black Clitus, prevented him, by running him through the
body with his spear. At the same time Alexander dispatched
Rhoesaces with his sword. While the horse were thus dangerously
engaged, the Macedonian phalanx passed the river, and the foot on
each side advanced to fight. But the enemy hardly sustaining the
first onset, soon gave ground and fled, all but the mercenary
Greeks, who, making a stand upon a rising ground, desired quarter,
which Alexander, guided rather by passion than judgment, refused
to grant, and charging them himself first, had his horse (not
Bucephalas, but another) killed under him. And this obstinacy of
his to cut off these experienced desperate men, cost him the lives
of more of his own soldiers than all the battle before, besides
those who were wounded. The Persians lost in this battle twenty
thousand foot, and two thousand five hundred horse. On
Alexander's side, Aristobulus says there were not wanting above
four and thirty, of whom nine were foot-soldiers; and in memory of
them he caused so many statues of brass, of Lysippus's making, to
be erected. And that the Grecians might participate the honor of
his victory, he sent a portion of the spoils home to them,
particularly to the Athenians three hundred bucklers, and upon all
the rest he ordered this inscription to be set: "Alexander the
son of Philip, and the Grecians, except the Lacedaemonians, won
these from the barbarians who inhabit Asia." All the plate and
purple garments, and other things of the same kind that he took
from the Persians, except a very small quantity which he reserved
for himself, he sent as a present to his mother.

This battle presently made a great change of affairs to
Alexander's advantage. For Sardis itself, the chief seat of the
barbarian's power in the maritime provinces, and many other
considerable places were surrendered to him; only Halicarnassus
and Miletus stood out, which he took by force, together with the
territory about them. After which he was a little unsettled in
his opinion how to proceed. Sometimes he thought it best to find
out Darius as soon as he could, and put all to the hazard of a
battle; another while he looked upon it as a more prudent course
to make an entire reduction of the sea-coast, and not to seek the
enemy till he had first exercised his power here and made himself
secure of the resources of these provinces. While he was thus
deliberating what to do, it happened that a spring of water near
the city of Xanthus in Lycia, of its own accord swelled over its
banks, and threw up a copper plate upon the margin, in which was
engraven in ancient characters, that the time would come, when the
Persian empire should be destroyed by the Grecians. Encouraged by
this accident, he proceeded to reduce the maritime parts of
Cilicia and Phoenicia, and passed his army along the sea-coasts of
Pamphylia with such expedition that many historians have described
and extolled it with that height of admiration, as if it were no
less than a miracle, and an extraordinary effect of divine favor,
that the waves which usually come rolling in violently from the
main, and hardly ever leave so much as a narrow beach under the
steep, broken cliffs at any time uncovered, should on a sudden
retire to afford him passage. Menander, in one of his comedies,
alludes to this marvel when he says,

Was Alexander ever favored more?
Each man I wish for meets me at my door,
And should I ask for passage through the sea,
The sea I doubt not would retire for me.

But Alexander himself in his epistles mentions nothing unusual in
this at all, but says he went from Phaselis, and passed through
what they call the Ladders. At Phaselis he stayed some time, and
finding the statue of Theodectes, who was a native of this town
and was now dead, erected in the marketplace, after he had supped,
having drunk pretty plentifully, he went and danced about it, and
crowned it with garlands, honoring not ungracefully in his sport,
the memory of a philosopher whose conversation he had formerly
enjoyed, when he was Aristotle's scholar.

Then he subdued the Pisidians who made head against him, and
conquered the Phrygians, at whose chief city Gordium, which is
said to be the seat of the ancient Midas, he saw the famous
chariot fastened with cords made of the rind of the corner-tree,
which whosoever should untie, the inhabitants had a tradition,
that for him was reserved the empire of the world. Most authors
tell the story that Alexander, finding himself unable to untie the
knot, the ends of which were secretly twisted round and folded up
within it, cut it asunder with his sword. But Aristobulus tells
us it was easy for him to undo it, by only pulling the pin out of
the pole, to which the yoke was tied, and afterwards drawing off
the yoke itself from below. From hence he advanced into
Paphlagonia and Cappadocia, both which countries he soon reduced
to obedience, and then hearing of the death of Memnon, the best
commander Darius had upon the sea-coasts, who, if he had lived,
might, it was supposed, have put many impediments and difficulties
in the way of the progress of his arms, he was the rather
encouraged to carry the war into the upper provinces of Asia.

Darius was by this time upon his march from Susa, very confident,
not only in the number of his men, which amounted to six hundred
thousand, but likewise in a dream, which the Persian soothsayers
interpreted rather in flattery to him, than according to the
natural probability. He dreamed that he saw the Macedonian
phalanx all on fire, and Alexander waiting on him, clad in the
same dress which he himself had been used to wear when he was
courier to the late king; after which, going into the temple of
Belus, he vanished out of his sight. The dream would appear to
have supernaturally signified to him the illustrious actions the
Macedonians were to perform, and that as he from a courier's place
had risen to the throne, so Alexander should come to be master of
Asia, and not long surviving his conquests, conclude his life with
glory. Darius's confidence increased the more, because Alexander
spent so much time in Cilicia, which he imputed to his cowardice.
But it was sickness that detained him there, which some say he
contracted from his fatigues, others from bathing in the river
Cydnus, whose waters were exceedingly cold. However it happened,
none of his physicians would venture to give him any remedies,
they thought his case so desperate, and were so afraid of the
suspicions and ill-will of the Macedonians if they should fail in
the cure; till Philip, the Acarnanian, seeing how critical his
case was, but relying on his own well-known friendship for him,
resolved to try the last efforts of his art, and rather hazard his
own credit and life, than suffer him to perish for want of physic,
which he confidently administered to him, encouraging him to take
it boldly, if he desired a speedy recovery, in order to prosecute
the war. At this very time, Parmenio wrote to Alexander from the
camp, bidding him have a care of Philip, as one who was bribed by
Darius to kill him, with great sums of money, and a promise of his
daughter in marriage. When he had perused the letter, he put it
under his pillow, without showing it so much as to any of his most
intimate friends, and when Philip came in with the potion, he took
it with great cheerfulness and assurance, giving him meantime the
letter to read. This was a spectacle well worth being present at,
to see Alexander take the draught, and Philip read the letter at
the same time, and then turn and look upon one another, but with
different sentiments; for Alexander's looks were cheerful and
open, to show his kindness to and confidence in his physician,
while the other was full of surprise and alarm at the accusation,
appealing to the gods to witness his innocence, sometimes lifting
up his hands to heaven, and then throwing himself down by the
bedside, and beseeching Alexander to lay aside all fear, and
follow his directions without apprehension. For the medicine at
first worked so strongly as to drive, so to say, the vital forces
into the interior; he lost his speech, and falling into a swoon,
had scarce any sense or pulse left. However, in no long time, by
Philip's means, his health and strength returned, and he showed
himself in public to the Macedonians, who were in continual fear
and dejection until they saw him abroad again.

There was at this time in Darius's army a Macedonian refugee,
named Amyntas, one who was pretty well acquainted with Alexander's
character. This man, when he saw Darius intended to fall upon the
enemy in the passes and defiles, advised him earnestly to keep
where he was, in the open and extensive plains, it being the
advantage of a numerous army to have field-room enough when it
engages with a lesser force. Darius, instead of taking his
counsel, told him he was afraid the enemy would endeavor to run
away, and so Alexander would escape out of his hands. "That
fear," replied Amyntas, "is needless, for assure yourself that far
from avoiding, you, he will make all the speed he can to meet you,
and is now most likely on his march towards you." But Amyntas's
counsel was to no purpose, for Darius immediately decamping,
marched into Cilicia, at the same time that Alexander advanced
into Syria to meet him; and missing one another in the night, they
both turned back again. Alexander, greatly pleased with the
event, made all the haste he could to fight in the defiles, and
Darius to recover his former ground, and draw his army out of so
disadvantageous a place. For now he began to perceive his error
in engaging himself too far in a country in which the sea, the
mountains, and the river Pinarus running through the midst of it,
would necessitate him to divide his forces, render his horse
almost unserviceable, and only cover and support the weakness of
the enemy. Fortune was not kinder to Alexander in the choice of
the ground, than he was careful to improve it to his advantage.
For being much inferior in numbers, so far from allowing himself
to be outflanked, he stretched his right wing much further out
than the left wing of his enemies, and fighting there himself in
the very foremost ranks, put the barbarians to flight. In this
battle he was wounded in the thigh, Chares says by Darius, with
whom he fought hand to hand. But in the account which he gave
Antipater of the battle though indeed he owns he was wounded in
the thigh with sword, though not dangerously, yet he takes no
notice who it was that wounded him.

Nothing was wanting to complete this victory, in which he
overthrew above a hundred and ten thousand of his enemies, but
the taking the person of Darius, who escaped very narrowly by
flight. However, having taken his chariot and his bow, he
returned from pursuing him, and found his own men busy in
pillaging the barbarians' camp, which (though to disburden
themselves, they had left most of their baggage at Damascus) was
exceedingly rich. But Darius's tent, which was full of splendid
furniture, and quantities of gold and silver, they reserved for
Alexander himself, who after he had put off his arms, went to
bathe himself, saying, "Let us now cleanse ourselves from the
toils of war in the bath of Darius." "Not so," replied one of his
followers, "but in Alexander's rather; for the property of the
conquered is, and should be called the conqueror's." Here, when
he beheld the bathing vessels, the water-pots, the pans, and the
ointment boxes, all of gold, curiously wrought, and smelt the
fragrant odors with which the whole place was exquisitely
perfumed, and from thence passed into a pavilion of great size and
height, where the couches and tables and preparations for an
entertainment were perfectly magnificent, he turned to those about
him and said, "This, it seems, is royalty."

But as he was going to supper, word was brought him that Darius's
mother and wife and two unmarried daughters, being taken among the
rest of the prisoners, upon the sight of his chariot and bow were
all in mourning and sorrow, imagining him to be dead. After a
little pause, more livelily affected with their affliction than
with his own success he sent Leonnatus to them to let them know
Darius was not dead, and that they need not fear any harm from
Alexander, who made war upon him only for dominion; they should
themselves be provided with everything they had been used to
receive from Darius. This kind message could not but be very
welcome to the captive ladies, especially being made good by
actions no less humane and generous. For he gave them leave to
bury whom they pleased of the Persians, and to make use for this
purpose of what garments and furniture they thought fit out of the
booty. He diminished nothing of their equipage, or of the
attentions and respect formerly paid them, and allowed larger
pensions for their maintenance than they had before. But the
noblest and most royal part of their usage was, that he treated
these illustrious prisoners according to their virtue and
character, not suffering them to hear, or receive, or so much as
to apprehend anything that was unbecoming. So that they seemed
rather lodged in some temple, or some holy virgin chambers, where
they enjoyed their privacy sacred and uninterrupted, than in the
camp of an enemy. Nevertheless Darius's wife was accounted the
most beautiful princess then living, as her husband the tallest
and handsomest man of his time, and the daughters were not
unworthy of their parents. But Alexander, esteeming it more
kingly to govern himself than to conquer his enemies, sought no
intimacy with any one of them, nor indeed with any other woman
before marriage, except Barsine, Memnon's widow, who was taken
prisoner at Damascus. She had been instructed in the Grecian
learning, was of a gentle temper, and, by her father Artabazus,
royally descended, which good qualities, added to the
solicitations and encouragement of Parmenio, as Aristobulus tells
us, made him the more willing to attach himself to so agreeable
and illustrious a woman. Of the rest of the female captives
though remarkably handsome and well proportioned, he took no
further notice than to say jestingly, that Persian women were
terrible eye-sores. And he himself, retaliating, as it were, by
the display of the beauty of his own temperance and self-control,
bade them be removed, as he would have done so many lifeless
images. When Philoxenus, his lieutenant on the sea-coast, wrote
to him to know if he would buy two young boys, of great beauty,
whom one Theodorus, a Tarentine, had to sell, he was so offended,
that he often expostulated with his friends, what baseness
Philoxenus had ever observed in him, that he should presume to
make him such a reproachful offer. And he immediately wrote him a
very sharp letter, telling him Theodorus and his merchandise might
go with his good-will to destruction. Nor was he less severe to
Hagnon, who sent him word he would buy a Corinthian youth named
Crobylus, as a present for him. And hearing that Damon and
Timotheus, two of Parmenio's Macedonian soldiers, had abused the
wives of some strangers who were in his pay, he wrote to Parmenio,
charging him strictly, if he found them guilty, to put them to
death, as wild beasts that were only made for the mischief of
mankind. In the same letter he added, that he had not so much as
seen or desired to see the wife of Darius, no, nor suffered
anybody to speak of her beauty before him. He was wont to say,
that sleep and the act of generation chiefly made him sensible
that he was mortal; as much as to say, that weariness and pleasure
proceed both from the same frailty and imbecility of human nature.

In his diet, also, he was most temperate, as appears, omitting
many other circumstances, by what he said to Ada, whom he adopted,
with the title of mother, and afterwards created queen of Caria.
For when she out of kindness sent him every day many curious
dishes, and sweetmeats, and would have furnished him with some
cooks and pastry-men, who were thought to have great skill, he
told her he wanted none of them, his preceptor, Leonidas, having
already given him the best, which were a night march to prepare
for breakfast, and a moderate breakfast to create an appetite for
supper. Leonidas also, he added, used to open and search the
furniture of his chamber, and his wardrobe, to see if his mother
had left him anything that was delicate or superfluous. He was
much less addicted to wine than was generally believed; that which
gave people occasion to think so of him was, that when he had
nothing else to do, he loved to sit long and talk, rather than
drink, and over every cup hold a long conversation. For when his
affairs called upon him, he would not be detained, as other
generals often were, either by wine, or sleep, nuptial
solemnities, spectacles, or any other diversion whatsoever; a
convincing argument of which is, that in the short time he lived,
he accomplished so many and so great actions. When he was free
from employment, after he was up, and had sacrificed to the gods,
he used to sit down to breakfast, and then spend the rest of the
day in hunting, or writing memoirs, giving decisions on some
military questions, or reading. In marches that required no great
haste, he would practice shooting as he went along, or to mount a
chariot, and alight from it in full speed. Sometimes, for sport's
sake, as his journals tell us, he would hunt foxes and go fowling.
When he came in for the evening, after he had bathed and was
anointed, he would call for his bakers and chief cooks, to know if
they had his dinner ready. He never cared to dine till it was
pretty late and beginning to be dark, and was wonderfully
circumspect at meals that everyone who sat with him should be
served alike and with proper attention; and his love of talking,
as was said before, made him delight to sit long at his wine. And
then, though otherwise no prince's conversation was ever so
agreeable, he would fall into a temper of ostentation and soldierly
boasting, which gave his flatterers a great advantage to ride him,
and made his better friends very uneasy. For though they thought
it too base to strive who should flatter him most, yet they found
it hazardous not to do it; so that between the shame and the
danger, they were in a great strait how to behave themselves.
After such an entertainment, he was wont to bathe, and then
perhaps he would sleep till noon, and sometimes all day long. He
was so very temperate in his eating, that when any rare fish or
fruits were sent him, he would distribute them among his friends,
and often reserve nothing for himself. His table, however, was
always magnificent, the expense of it still increasing with his
good fortune, till it amounted to ten thousand drachmas a day, to
which sum he limited it, and beyond this he would suffer none to
lay out in any entertainment where he himself was the guest.

After the battle of Issus, he sent to Damascus to seize upon the
money and baggage, the wives and children of the Persians, of
which spoil the Thessalian horsemen had the greatest share; for
he had taken particular notice of their gallantry in the fight,
and sent them thither on purpose to make their reward suitable to
their courage. Not but that the rest of the army had so
considerable a part of the booty as was sufficient to enrich them
all. This first gave the Macedonians such a taste of the Persian
wealth and women and barbaric splendor of living, that they were
ready to pursue and follow upon it with all the eagerness of
hounds upon a scent. But Alexander, before he proceeded any
further, thought it necessary to assure himself of the sea-coast.
Those who governed in Cyprus, put that island into his possession,
and Phoenicia, Tyre only excepted, was surrendered to him. During
the siege of this city, which with mounds of earth cast up, and
battering engines, and two hundred galleys by sea, was carried on
for seven months together, he dreamt that he saw Hercules upon the
walls, reaching, out his hand, and calling to him. And many of
the Tyrians in their sleep, fancied that Apollo told them he was
displeased with their actions, and was about to leave them and go
over to Alexander. Upon which, as if the god had been a deserting
soldier, they seized him, so to say, in the act, tied down the
statue with ropes, and nailed it to the pedestal, reproaching him,
that he was a favorer of Alexander. Another time, Alexander
dreamed he saw a Satyr mocking him at a distance, and when he
endeavored to catch him, he still escaped from him, till at last
with much perseverance, and running about after him, he got him
into his power. The soothsayers making two words of Satyrus,
assured him, that Tyre should he his own. The inhabitants at this
time show a spring of water, near which they say Alexander slept,
when he fancied the Satyr appeared to him.

While the body of the army lay before Tyre, he made an excursion
against the Arabians who inhabit the Mount Antilibanus, in which
he hazarded his life extremely to bring off his master Lysimachus,
who would needs go along with him, declaring he was neither older
nor inferior in courage to Phoenix, Achilles's guardian. For
when, quitting their horses, they began to march up the hills on
foot, the rest of the soldiers outwent them a great deal, so that
night drawing on, and the enemy near, Alexander was fain to stay
behind so long, to encourage and help up the lagging and tired old
man, that before he was aware, he was left behind, a great way
from his soldiers, with a slender attendance, and forced to pass
an extremely cold night in the dark, and in a very inconvenient
place; till seeing a great many scattered fires of the enemy at
some distance, and trusting to his agility of body, and as he was
always wont by undergoing toils and labors himself to cheer and
support the Macedonians in any distress, he ran straight to one of
the nearest fires, and with his dagger dispatching two of the
barbarians that sat by it, snatched up a lighted brand, and
returned with it to his own men. They immediately made a great
fire, which so alarmed the enemy that most of them fled, and those
that assaulted them were soon routed, and thus they rested
securely the remainder of the night. Thus Chares writes.

But to return to the siege, it had this issue. Alexander, that he
might refresh his army, harassed with many former encounters, had
led only a small party towards the walls, rather to keep the enemy
busy, than with any prospect of much advantage. It happened at
this time that Aristander, the soothsayer, after he had
sacrificed, upon view of the entrails, affirmed confidently to
those who stood by, that the city should be certainly taken that
very month, upon which there was a laugh and some mockery among
the soldiers, as this was the last day of it. The king seeing him
in perplexity, and always anxious to support the credit of the
predictions, gave order that they should not count it as the
thirtieth, but as the twenty-third of the month, and ordering the
trumpets to sound, attacked the walls more seriously than he at
first intended. The sharpness of the assault so inflamed the rest
of his forces who were left in the camp, that they could not hold
from advancing to second it, which they performed with so much
vigor, that the Tyrians retired, and the town was carried that
very day. The next place he sat down before was Gaza, one of the
largest cities of Syria, where this accident befell him. A large
bird flying over him, let a clod of earth fall upon his shoulder,
and then settling upon one of the battering engines, was suddenly
entangled and caught in the nets composed of sinews, which
protected the ropes with which the machine was managed. This fell
out exactly according to Aristander's prediction, which was, that
Alexander should be wounded, and the city reduced.

From hence he sent great part of the spoils to Olympias,
Cleopatra, and the rest of his friends, not omitting his preceptor
Leonidas, on whom he bestowed five hundred talents weight of
frankincense, and a hundred of myrrh, in remembrance of the hopes
he had once expressed of him when he was but a child. For
Leonidas, it seems, standing by him one day while he was
sacrificing, and seeing him take both his hands full of incense to
throw into the fire, told him it became him to be more sparing in
his offerings, and not be so profuse till he was master of the
countries which those sweet gums and spices came from. So
Alexander now wrote to him, saying, "We have sent you abundance of
myrrh and frankincense, that for the future you may not be stingy
to the gods." Among the treasures and other booty that was taken
from Darius, there was a very precious casket, which being brought
to Alexander for a great rarity, he asked those about him what
they thought fittest to be laid up in it; and when they had
delivered their various opinions, he told them he should keep
Homer's Iliad in it. This is attested by many credible authors,
and if what those of Alexandria tell us, relying upon the
authority of Heraclides, be true, Homer was neither an idle, nor
an unprofitable companion to him in his expedition. For when he
was master of Egypt, designing to settle a colony of Grecians
there, he resolved to build a large and populous city, and give
it his own name. In order to which, after he had measured and
staked out the ground with the advice of the best architects, he
chanced one night in his sleep to see a wonderful vision; a
grey-headed old man, of a venerable aspect, appeared to stand by
him, and pronounce these verses:--

An island lies, where loud the billows roar,
Pharos they call it, on the Egyptian shore.

Alexander upon this immediately rose up and went to Pharos, which,
at that time, was an island lying a little above the Canobic mouth
of the river Nile, though it has now been joined to the main land
by a mole. As soon as he saw the commodious situation of the
place, it being a long neck of land, stretching like an isthmus
between large lagoons and shallow waters on one side, and the sea
on the other, the latter at the end of it making a spacious
harbor, he said, Homer, besides his other excellences, was a very
good architect, and ordered the plan of a city to be drawn out
answerable to the place. To do which, for want of chalk, the soil
being black, they laid out their lines with flour, taking in a
pretty large compass of ground in a semicircular figure, and
drawing into the inside of the circumference equal straight lines
from each end, thus giving it something of the form of a cloak or
cape. While he was pleasing himself with his design, on a sudden
an infinite number of great birds of several kinds, rising like a
black cloud out of the river and the lake, devoured every morsel
of the flour that had been used in setting out the lines; at which
omen even Alexander himself was troubled, till the augurs restored
his confidence again by telling him, it was a sign the city he was
about to build would not only abound in all things within itself,
but also be the nurse and feeder of many nations. He commanded
the workmen to proceed, while he went to visit the temple of

This was a long and painful, and, in two respects, a dangerous
journey; first, if they should lose their provision of water, as
for several days none could be obtained; and, secondly, if a
violent south wind should rise upon them, while they were
traveling through the wide extent of deep sands, as it is said to
have done when Cambyses led his army that way, blowing the sand
together in heaps, and raising, as it were, the whole desert like
a sea upon them, till fifty thousand were swallowed up and
destroyed by it. All these difficulties were weighed and
represented to him; but Alexander was not easily to be diverted
from anything he was bent upon. For fortune having hitherto
seconded him in his designs, made him resolute and firm in his
opinions, and the boldness of his temper raised a sort of passion
in him for surmounting difficulties; as if it were not enough to
be always victorious in the field, unless places and seasons and
nature herself submitted to him. In this journey, the relief and
assistance the gods afforded him in his distresses, were more
remarkable, and obtained greater belief than the oracles he
received afterwards, which, however, were valued and credited the
more on account of those occurrences. For first, plentiful rains
that fell, preserved them from any fear of perishing by drought,
and, allaying the extreme dryness of the sand, which now became
moist and firm to travel on, cleared and purified the air.
Besides this, when they were out of their way, and were wandering
up and down, because the marks which were wont to direct the
guides were disordered and lost, they were set right again by some
ravens, which flew before them when on their march, and waited for
them when they lingered and fell behind; and the greatest miracle,
as Callisthenes tells us, was that if any of the company went
astray in the night, they never ceased croaking and making a
noise, till by that means they had brought them into the right way
again. Having passed through the wilderness, they came to the
place; where the high-priest at the first salutation bade
Alexander welcome from his father Ammon. And being asked by him
whether any of his father's murderers had escaped punishment, he
charged him to speak with more respect, since his was not a mortal
father. Then Alexander, changing his expression, desired to know
of him if any of those who murdered Philip were yet unpunished,
and further concerning dominion, whether the empire of the world
was reserved for him? This, the god answered, he should obtain,
and that Philip's death was fully revenged, which gave him so much
satisfaction, that he made splendid offerings to Jupiter, and gave
the priests very rich presents. This is what most authors write
concerning the oracles. But Alexander, in a letter to his mother,
tells her there were some secret answers, which at his return he
would communicate to her only. Others say that the priest,
desirous as a piece of courtesy to address him in Greek, "O
Paidion," by a slip in pronunciation ended with the s instead of
the n, and said, "O Paidios," which mistake Alexander was well
enough pleased with, and it went for current that the oracle had
called him so.

Among the sayings of one Psammon, a philosopher, whom he heard in
Egypt, he most approved of this, that all men are governed by God,
because in everything, that which is chief and commands, is
divine. But what he pronounced himself upon this subject, was
even more like a philosopher, for he said, God was the common
father of us all, but more particularly of the best of us. To the
barbarians he carried himself very haughtily, as if he were fully
persuaded of his divine birth and parentage; but to the Grecians
more moderately, and with less affectation of divinity, except it
were once in writing to the Athenians about Samos, when he tells
them that he should not himself have bestowed upon them that free
and glorious city; "You received it," he says, "from the bounty of
him who at that time was called my lord and father," meaning
Philip. However, afterwards being wounded with an arrow, and
feeling much pain, he turned to those about him, and told them,
"This, my friends, is real flowing blood, not Ichor,

'Such as immortal gods are wont to shed.'"

And another time, when it thundered so much that everybody was
afraid, and Anaxarchus, the sophist, asked him if he who was
Jupiter's son could do anything like this, "Nay," said Alexander,
laughing, "I have no desire to be formidable to my friends, as you
would have me, who despised my table for being furnished with
fish, and not with the heads of governors of provinces." For in
fact it is related as true, that Anaxarchus seeing a present of
small fishes, which the king sent to Hephaestion, had used this
expression, in a sort of irony, and disparagement of those who
undergo vast labors and encounter great hazards in pursuit of
magnificent objects, which after all bring them little more
pleasure or enjoyment than what others have. From what I have
said upon this subject, it is apparent that Alexander in himself
was not foolishly affected, or had the vanity to think himself
really a god, but merely used his claims to divinity as a means of
maintaining among other people the sense of his superiority.

At his return out of Egypt into Phoenicia, he sacrificed and made
solemn processions, to which were added shows of lyric dances and
tragedies, remarkable not merely for the splendor of the equipage
and decorations, but for the competition among those who exhibited
them. For the kings of Cyprus were here the exhibitors, just in
the same manner as at Athens those who are chosen by lot out of
the tribes. And, indeed, they showed the greatest emulation to
outvie each other; especially Nicocreon, king of Salamis, and
Pasicrates of Soli, who furnished the chorus, and defrayed the
expenses of the two most celebrated actors, Athenodorus and
Thessalus, the former performing for Pasicrates, and the latter
for Nicocreon. Thessalus was most favored by Alexander, though it
did not appear till Athenodorus was declared victor by the
plurality of votes. For then at his going away, he said the
judges deserved to be commended for what they had done, but that
he would willingly have lost part of his kingdom, rather than to
have seen Thessalus overcome. However, when he understood
Athenodorus was fined by the Athenians for being absent at the
festivals of Bacchus, though he refused his request that he would
write a letter in his behalf, he gave him a sufficient sum to
satisfy the penalty. Another time, when Lycon of Scarphia
happened to act with great applause in the theater, and in a verse
which he introduced into the comic part which he was acting,
begged for a present of ten talents, he laughed and gave him the

Darius wrote him a letter, and sent friends to intercede with him,
requesting him to accept as a ransom of his captives the sum of a
thousand talents, and offering him in exchange for his amity and
alliance, all the countries on this side the river Euphrates,
together with one of his daughters in marriage. These propositions
he communicated to his friends, and when Parmenio told him, that
for his part, if he were Alexander, he should readily embrace
them, "So would I," said Alexander, "if I were Parmenio."
Accordingly, his answer to Darius was, that if he would come and
yield himself up into his power, he would treat him with all
possible kindness; if not, he was resolved immediately to go
himself and seek him. But the death of Darius's wife in
childbirth made him soon after regret one part of this answer, and
he showed evident marks of grief, at being thus deprived of a
further opportunity of exercising his clemency and good nature,
which he manifested, however, as far as he could, by giving her a
most sumptuous funeral.

Among the eunuchs who waited in the queen's chamber, and were
taken prisoners with the women, there was one Tireus, who getting
out of the camp, fled away on horseback to Darius, to inform him
of his wife's death. He, when he heard it, beating his head, and
bursting into tears and lamentations, said, "Alas! how great is
the calamity of the Persians! Was it not enough that their king's
consort and sister was a prisoner in her lifetime, but she must,
now she is dead also, be but meanly and obscurely buried?" "Oh
king," replied the eunuch, "as to her funeral rites, or any
respect or honor that should have been shown in them, you have not
the least reason to accuse the ill-fortune of your country; for to
my knowledge neither your queen Statira when alive, nor your
mother, nor children, wanted anything of their former happy
condition, unless it were the light of your countenance, which I
doubt not but the lord Oromasdes will yet restore to its former
glory. And after her decease, I assure you, she had not only all
due funeral ornaments, but was honored also with the tears of your
very enemies; for Alexander is as gentle after victory, as he is
terrible in the field." At the hearing of these words, such was
the grief and emotion of Darius's mind, that they carried him into
extravagant suspicions; and taking Tireus aside into a more
private part of his tent, "Unless thou likewise," said he to him,
"hast deserted me, together with the good fortune of Persia, and
art become a Macedonian in thy heart; if thou yet ownest me for
thy master Darius, tell me, I charge thee, by the veneration thou
payest the light of Mithras, and this right hand of thy king, do I
not lament the least of Statira's misfortunes in her captivity and
death? Have I not suffered something more injurious and
deplorable in her lifetime? And had I not been miserable with
less dishonor, if I had met with a more severe and inhuman enemy?
For how is it possible a young man as he is, should treat the wife
of his opponent with so much distinction, were it not from some
motive that does me disgrace?" Whilst he was yet speaking, Tireus
threw himself at his feet, and besought him neither to wrong
Alexander so much, nor his dead wife and sister, as to give
utterance to any such thoughts, which deprived him of the greatest
consolation left him in his adversity, the belief that he was
overcome by a man whose virtues raised him above human nature;
that he ought to look upon Alexander with love and admiration, who
had given no less proofs of his continence towards the Persian
women, than of his valor among the men. The eunuch confirmed all
he said with solemn and dreadful oaths, and was further enlarging
upon Alexander's moderation and magnanimity on other occasions,
when Darius, breaking away from him into the other division of the
tent, where his friends and courtiers were, lifted up his hands to
heaven, and uttered this prayer, "Ye gods," said he, "of my
family, and of my kingdom, if it be possible, I beseech you to
restore the declining affairs of Persia, that I may leave them in
as flourishing a condition as I found them, and have it in my
power to make a grateful return to Alexander for the kindness
which in my adversity he has shown to those who are dearest to me.
But if, indeed, the fatal time be come, which is to give a period
to the Persian monarchy, if our ruin be a debt that must be paid
to the divine jealousy and the vicissitude of things, then I
beseech you grant that no other man but Alexander may sit upon the
throne of Cyrus." Such is the narrative given by the greater
number of the historians.

But to return to Alexander. After he had reduced all Asia on this
side the Euphrates, he advanced towards Darius, who was coming
down against him with a million of men. In his march, a very
ridiculous passage happened. The servants who followed the camp,
for sport's sake divided themselves into two parties, and named
the commander of one of them Alexander, and of the other Darius.
At first they only pelted one another with clods of earth, but
presently took to their fists, and at last, heated with the
contention, they fought in good earnest with stones and clubs, so
that they had much ado to part them; till Alexander, upon hearing
of it, ordered the two captains to decide the quarrel by single
combat, and armed him who bore his name himself, while Philotas
did the same to him who represented Darius. The whole army were
spectators of this encounter, willing from the event of it to
derive an omen of their own future success. After they had fought
stoutly a pretty long while, at last he who was called Alexander
had the better, and for a reward of his prowess, had twelve
villages given him, with leave to wear the Persian dress. So we
are told by Eratosthenes.

But the great battle of all that was fought with Darius, was not,
as most writers tell us, at Arbela, but at Gaugamela, which, in
their language, signifies the camel's house, forasmuch as one of
their ancient kings having escaped the pursuit of his enemies on a
swift camel, in gratitude to his beast, settled him at this place,
with an allowance of certain villages and rents for his
maintenance. It came to pass that in the month Boedromion, about
the beginning of the feast of Mysteries at Athens, there was an
eclipse of the moon, the eleventh night after which, the two
armies being now in view of one another, Darius kept his men in
arms, and by torchlight took a general review of them. But
Alexander, while his soldiers slept, spent the night before his
tent with his diviner Aristander, performing certain mysterious
ceremonies, and sacrificing to the god Fear. In the meanwhile
the oldest of his commanders, and chiefly Parmenio, when they
beheld all the plain between Niphates and the Gordyaean mountains
shining with the lights and fires which were made by the
barbarians, and heard the uncertain and confused sound of voices
out of their camp, like the distant roaring of a vast ocean, were
so amazed at the thoughts of such a multitude, that after some
conference among themselves, they concluded it an enterprise too
difficult and hazardous for them to engage so numerous an enemy in
the day, and therefore meeting the king as he came from
sacrificing, besought him to attack Darius by night, that the
darkness might conceal the danger of the ensuing battle. To this
he gave them the celebrated answer, "I will not steal a victory,"
which though some at the time thought a boyish and inconsiderate
speech, as if he played with danger, others, however, regarded as
an evidence that he confided in his present condition, and acted
on a true judgment of the future, not wishing to leave Darius, in
case he were worsted, the pretext of trying his fortune again,
which he might suppose himself to have, if he could impute his
overthrow to the disadvantage of the night, as he did before to
the mountains, the narrow passages, and the sea. For while he had
such numerous forces and large dominions still remaining, it was
not any want of men or arms that could induce him to give up the
war, but only the loss of all courage and hope upon the conviction
of an undeniable and manifest defeat.

After they were gone from him with this answer, he laid himself
down in his tent and slept the rest of the night more soundly than
was usual with him, to the astonishment of the commanders, who
came to him early in the morning, and were fain themselves to give
order that the soldiers should breakfast. But at last, time not
giving them leave to wait any longer, Parmenio went to his
bedside, and called him twice or thrice by his name, till he waked
him, and then asked him how it was possible, when he was to fight
the most important battle of all, he could sleep as soundly as if
he were already victorious. "And are we not so, indeed," replied
Alexander, smiling, "since we are at last relieved from the
trouble of wandering in pursuit of Darius through a wide and
wasted country, hoping in vain that he would fight us?" And not
only before the battle, but in the height of the danger, he showed
himself great, and manifested the self-possession of a just
foresight and confidence. For the battle for some time fluctuated
and was dubious. The left wing, where Parmenio commanded, was so
impetuously charged by the Bactrian horse that it was disordered
and forced to give ground, at the same time that Mazaeus had sent
a detachment round about to fall upon those who guarded the
baggage, which so disturbed Parmenio, that he sent messengers to
acquaint Alexander that the camp and baggage would be all lost
unless he immediately believed the rear by a considerable
reinforcement drawn out of the front. This message being brought
him just as he was giving the signal to those about him for the
onset, he bade them tell Parmenio that he must have surely lost
the use of his reason, and had forgotten, in his alarm, that
soldiers, if victorious, become masters of their enemies' baggage;
and if defeated, instead of taking care of their wealth or their
slaves, have nothing more to do but to fight gallantly and die
with honor. When he had said this, he put on his helmet, having
the rest of his arms on before he came out of his tent, which were
coat of the Sicilian make, girt close about him, and over that a
breastpiece of thickly quilted linen, which was taken among other
booty at the battle of Issus. The helmet, which was made by
Theophilus, though of iron, was so well wrought and polished, that
it was as bright as the most refined silver. To this was fitted a
gorget of the same metal, set with precious stones. His sword,
which was the weapon he most used in fight, was given him by the
king of the Citieans, and was of an admirable temper and
lightness. The belt which he also wore in all engagements, was of
much richer workmanship than the rest of his armor. It was a work
of the ancient Helicon, and had been presented to him by the
Rhodians, as mark of their respect to him. So long as he was
engaged in drawing up his men, or riding about to give orders or
directions, or to view them, he spared Bucephalas, who was now
growing old, and made use of another horse; but when he was
actually to fight, he sent for him again, and as soon as he was
mounted, commenced the attack.

He made the longest address that day to the Thessalians and other
Greeks, who answered him with loud shouts, desiring him to lead
them on against the barbarians, upon which he shifted his javelin
into his left hand, and with his right lifted up towards heaven,
besought the gods, as Callisthenes tells us, that if he was of a
truth the son of Jupiter, they would he pleased to assist and
strengthen the Grecians. At the same time the augur Aristander,
who had a white mantle about him, and a crown of gold on his head,
rode by and showed them an eagle that soared just over Alexander,
and directed his Right towards the enemy; which so animated the
beholders, that after mutual encouragements and exhortations, the
horse charged at full speed, and were followed in a mass by the
whole phalanx of the foot. But before they could well come to
blows with the first ranks, the barbarians shrunk back, and were
hotly pursued by Alexander, who drove those that fled before him
into the middle of the battle, where Darius himself was in person,
whom he saw from a distance over the foremost ranks, conspicuous
in the midst of his life-guard, a tall and fine-looking man, drawn
in a lofty chariot, defended by an abundance of the best horse,
who stood close in order about it, ready to receive the enemy.
But Alexander's approach was so terrible, forcing those who gave
back upon those who yet maintained their ground, that he beat down
and dispersed them almost all. Only a few of the bravest and
valiantest opposed the pursuit, who were slain in their king's
presence, falling in heaps upon one another, and in the very pangs
of death striving to catch hold of the horses. Darius now seeing
all was lost, that those who were placed in front to defend him
were broken and beat back upon him, that he could not turn or
disengage his chariot without great difficulty, the wheels being
clogged and entangled among the dead bodies, which lay in such
heaps as not only stopped, but almost covered the horses, and made
them rear and grow so unruly, that the frighted charioteer could
govern them no longer, in this extremity was glad to quit his
chariot and his arms, and mounting, it is said, upon a mare that
had been taken from her foal, betook himself to flight. But he
had not escaped so either, if Parmenio had not sent fresh
messengers to Alexander, to desire him to return and assist him
against a considerable body of the enemy which yet stood together,
and would not give ground. For, indeed, Parmenio is on all hands
accused of having been sluggish and unserviceable in this battle,
whether age had impaired his courage, or that, as Callisthenes
says, he secretly disliked and envied Alexander's growing
greatness. Alexander, though he was not a little vexed to be so
recalled and hindered from pursuing his victory, yet concealed the
true reason from his men, and causing a retreat to be sounded, as
if it were too late to continue the execution any longer, marched
back towards the place of danger, and by the way met with the news
of the enemy's total overthrow and flight.

This battle being thus over, seemed to put a period to the Persian
empire; and Alexander, who was now proclaimed king of Asia,
returned thanks to the gods in magnificent sacrifices, and
rewarded his friends and followers with great sums of money, and
places, and governments of provinces. And eager to gain honor
with the Grecians, he wrote to them that he would have all
tyrannies abolished, that they might live free according to their
own laws, and specially to the Plataeans, that their city should
be rebuilt, because their ancestors had permitted their countrymen
of old to make their territory the seat of the war, when they
fought with the barbarians for their common liberty. He sent also
part of the spoils into Italy, to the Crotoniats, to honor the
zeal and courage of their citizen Phayllus, the wrestler, who, in
the Median war, when the other Grecian colonies in Italy disowned
Greece, that he might have a share in the danger, joined the fleet
at Salamis, with a vessel set forth at his own charge. So
affectionate was Alexander to all kind of virtue, and so desirous
to preserve the memory of laudable actions.

From hence he marched through the province of Babylon, which
immediately submitted to him, and in Ecbatana was much surprised
at the sight of the place where fire issues in a continuous
stream, like a spring of water, out of a cleft in the earth, and
the stream of naphtha, which, not far from this spot, flows out so
abundantly as to form a sort of lake. This naphtha, in other
respects resembling bitumen, is so subject to take fire, that
before it touches the flame, it will kindle at the very light that
surrounds it, and often inflame the intermediate air also. The
barbarians, to show the power and nature of it, sprinkled the
street that led to the king's lodgings with little drops of it,
and when it was almost night, stood at the further end with
torches, which being applied to the moistened places, the first at
once taking fire, instantly, as quick as a man could think of it,
it caught from one end to another, in such a manner that the whole
street was one continued flame. Among those who used to wait on
the king and find occasion to amuse him when he anointed and
washed himself, there was one Athenophanes, an Athenian, who
desired him to make an experiment of the naphtha upon Stephanus,
who stood by in the bathing place, a youth with a ridiculously
ugly face, whose talent was singing well, "For," said he, "if it
take hold of him and is not put out, it must undeniably be allowed
to be of the most invincible strength." The youth, as it
happened, readily consented to undergo the trial, and as soon as
he was anointed and rubbed with it, his whole body broke out into
such a flame, and was so seized by the fire, that Alexander was
in the greatest perplexity and alarm for him, and not without
reason; for nothing could have prevented his being consumed by it,
if by good chance there had not been people at hand with a great
many vessels of water for the service of the bath, with all which
they had much ado to extinguish the fire; and his body was so
burned all over, that he was not cured of it a good while after.
And thus it is not without some plausibility that they endeavor to
reconcile the fable to truth, who say this was the drug in the
tragedies with which Medea anointed the crown and veil which she
gave to Creon's daughter. For neither the things themselves, nor
the fire could kindle of its own accord, but being prepared for it
by the naphtha, they imperceptibly attracted and caught a flame
which happened to be brought near them. For the rays and
emanations of fire at a distance have no other effect upon some
bodies than bare light and heat, but in others, where they meet
with airy dryness, and also sufficient rich moisture, they collect
themselves and soon kindle and create a transformation. The
manner, however, of the production of naphtha admits of a
diversity of opinion on whether this liquid substance that
feeds the flame does not rather proceed from a soil that is
unctuous and productive of fire, as that of the province of
Babylon is, where the ground is so very hot, that oftentimes the
grains of barley leap up, and are thrown out, as if the violent
inflammation had made the earth throb; and in the extreme heats
the inhabitants are wont to sleep upon skins filled with water.
Harpalus, who was left governor of this country, and was desirous
to adorn the palace gardens and walks with Grecian plants,
succeeded in raising all but ivy, which the earth would not bear,
but constantly killed. For being a plant that loves a cold soil,
the temper of this hot and fiery earth was improper for it. But
such digressions as these the impatient reader will be more
willing to pardon, if they are kept within a moderate compass.

At the taking of Susa, Alexander found in the palace forty
thousand talents in money ready coined, besides an unspeakable
quantity of other furniture and treasure; amongst which was five
thousand talents' worth of Hermionian purple, that had been laid
up there a hundred and ninety years, and yet kept its color as
fresh and lively as at first. The reason of which, they say, is
that in dyeing the purple they made use of honey, and of white oil
in the white tincture, both which after the like space of time
preserve the clearness and brightness of their luster. Dinon also
relates that the Persian kings had water fetched from the Nile and
the Danube, which they laid up in their treasuries as a sort of
testimony of the greatness of their power and universal empire.

The entrance into Persia was through a most difficult country,
and was guarded by the noblest of the Persians, Darius himself
having escaped further. Alexander, however, chanced to find a
guide in exact correspondence with what the Pythia had foretold
when he was a child, that a lycus should conduct him into Persia.
For by such an one, whose father was a Lycian, and his mother a
Persian, and who spoke both languages, he was now led into the
country, by a way something about, yet without fetching any
considerable compass. Here a great many of the prisoners were put
to the sword, of which himself gives this account, that he
commanded them to be killed in the belief that it would be for his
advantage. Nor was the money found here less, he says, than at
Susa, besides other movables and treasure, as much as ten thousand
pair of mules and five thousand camels could well carry away.
Amongst other things he happened to observe a large statue of
Xerxes thrown carelessly down to the ground in the confusion made
by the multitude of soldiers pressing; into the palace. He stood
still, and accosting it as if it had been alive, "Shall we," said
he, "neglectfully pass thee by, now thou art prostrate on the
ground, because thou once invadedst Greece, or shall we erect thee
again in consideration of the greatness of thy mind and thy other
virtues?" But at last, after he had paused some time, and
silently considered with himself, he went on without taking any
further notice of it. In this place he took up his winter
quarters, and stayed four months to refresh his soldiers. It is
related that the first time he sat on the royal throne of Persia,
under the canopy of gold, Demaratus, the Corinthian, who was much
attached to him and had been one of his father's friends, wept, in
an old man's manner, and deplored the misfortune of those Creeks
whom death had deprived of the satisfaction of seeing Alexander
seated on the throne of Darius.

From hence designing to march against Darius, before he set out,
he diverted himself with his officers at an entertainment of
drinking and other pastimes, and indulged so far as to let every
one's mistress sit by and drink with them. The most celebrated of
them was Thais, an Athenian, mistress of Ptolemy, who was
afterwards king of Egypt. She, partly as a sort of well-turned
compliment to Alexander, partly out of sport, as the drinking went
on, at last was carried so far as to utter a saying, not
misbecoming her native country's character, though somewhat too
lofty for her own condition. She said it was indeed some
recompense for the toils she had undergone in following the camp
all over Asia, that she was that day treated in, and could insult
over, the stately palace of the Persian monarchs. But, she added,
it would please her much better, if while the king looked on, she
might in sport, with her own hands, set fire to the court of that
Xerxes who reduced the city of Athens to ashes, that it might be
recorded to posterity, that the women who followed Alexander had
taken a severer revenge on the Persians for the sufferings and
affronts of Greece, than all the famed commanders had been able to
do by sea or land. What she said was received with such universal
liking and murmurs of applause, and so seconded by the
encouragement and eagerness of the company, that the king himself,
persuaded to be of the party, started from his seat, and with a
chaplet of flowers on his head, and a lighted torch in his hand,
led them the way, while they went after him in a riotous manner,
dancing and making loud cries about the place; which when the rest
of the Macedonians perceived, they also in great delight ran
thither with torches; for they hoped the burning and destruction
of the royal palace was an argument that he looked homeward, and
had no design to reside among the barbarians. Thus some writers
give their account of this action, while others say it was done
deliberately; however, all agree that he soon repented of it, and
gave order to put out the fire.

Alexander was naturally most munificent, and grew more so as his
fortune increased, accompanying what he gave with that courtesy
and freedom, which, to speak truth, is necessary to make a benefit
really obliging. I will give a few instances of this kind.
Ariston, the captain of the Paeonians, having killed an enemy,
brought his head to show him, and told him that in his country,
such a present was recompensed with a cup of gold. "With an empty
one," said Alexander, smiling, "but I drink to you in this, which
I give you full of wine." Another time, as one of the common
soldier was driving a mule laden with some of the king's treasure,
the beast grew tired, and the soldier took it upon his own back,
and began to march with it, till Alexander seeing the man so
overcharged, asked what was the matter; and when he was informed,
just as he was ready to lay down his burden for weariness, "Do not
faint now," said he to him, "but finish the journey, and carry
what you have there to your own tent for yourself." He was always
more displeased with those who would not accept of what he gave
than with those who begged of him. And therefore he wrote to
Phocion, that he would not own him for his friend any longer, if
he refused his presents. He had never given anything to Serapion,
one of the youths that played at ball with him, because he did not
ask of him, till one day, it coming to Serapion's turn to play, he
still threw the ball to others, and when the king asked him why he
did not direct it to him, "Because you do not ask for it," said
he; which answer pleased him so, that he was very liberal to him
afterwards. One Proteas, a pleasant, jesting, drinking fellow,
having incurred his displeasure, got his friends to intercede for
him, and begged his pardon himself with tears, which at last
prevailed, and Alexander declared he was friends with him. "I
cannot believe it," said Proteas, "unless you first give me some
pledge of it." The king understood his meaning, and presently
ordered five talents to be given him. How magnificent he was in
enriching his friends, and those who attended on his person,
appears by a letter which Olympias wrote to him, where she tells
him he should reward and honor those about him in a more moderate
way, For now," said she, "you make them all equal to kings, you
give them power and opportunity of making many friends of their
own, and in the meantime you leave yourself destitute." She
often wrote to him to this purpose, and he never communicated her
letters to anybody, unless it were one which he opened when
Hephaestion was by, whom he permitted, as his custom was, to read
it along with him; but then as soon as he had done, he took off
his ring, and set the seal upon Hephaestion's lips. Mazaeus, who
was the most considerable man in Darius's court, had a son who was
already governor of a province. Alexander bestowed another upon
him that was better; he, however, modestly refused, and told him,
instead of one Darius, he went the way to make many Alexanders.
To Parmenio he gave Bagoas's house, in which he found a wardrobe
of apparel worth more than a thousand talents. He wrote to
Antipater, commanding him to keep a life-guard about him for the
security of his person against conspiracies. To his mother he
sent many presents, but would never suffer her to meddle with
matters of state or war, not indulging her busy temper, and when
she fell out with him upon this account, he bore her ill-humor
very patiently. Nay more, when he read a long letter from
Antipater, full of accusations against her, "Antipater," he said,
"does not know that one tear of a mother effaces a thousand such
letters as these."

But when he perceived his favorites grow so luxurious and
extravagant in their way of living and expenses, that Hagnon, the
Teian, wore silver nails in his shoes, that Leonnatus employed
several camels, only to bring him powder out of Egypt to use when
he wrestled, and that Philotas had hunting nets a hundred furlongs
in length, that more used precious ointment than plain oil when
they went to bathe, and that they carried about servants
everywhere with them to rub them and wait upon them in their
chambers, he reproved them in gentle and reasonable terms, telling
them he wondered that they who had been engaged in so many signal
battles did not know by experience, that those who labor sleep
more sweetly and soundly than those who are labored for, and could
fail to see by comparing the Persians' manner of living with their
own, that it was the most abject and slavish condition to be
voluptuous, but the most noble arid royal to undergo pain and
labor. He argued with them further, how it was possible for anyone
who pretended to be a soldier, either to look well after his
horse, or to keep his armor bright and in good order, who thought
it much to let his hands be serviceable to what was nearest to
him, his own body. "Are you still to learn," said he, "that the
end and perfection of our victories is to avoid the vices and
infirmities of those whom we subdue?" And to strengthen his
precepts by example, he applied himself now more vigorously than
ever to hunting and warlike expeditions, embracing all
opportunities of hardship and danger, insomuch that a
Lacedaemonian, who was there on an embassy to him, and chanced to
be by when he encountered with and mastered a huge lion, told him
he had fought gallantly with the beast, which of the two should be
king. Craterus caused a representation to be made of this
adventure, consisting of the lion and the dogs, of the king
engaged with the lion, and himself coming in to his assistance,
all expressed in figures of brass, some of which were by Lysippus,
and the rest by Leochares; and had it dedicated in the temple of
Apollo at Delphi. Alexander exposed his person to danger in this
manner, with the object both of inuring himself, and inciting
others to the performance of brave and virtuous actions.

But his followers, who were grown rich, and consequently proud,
longed to indulge themselves in pleasure and idleness, and were
weary of marches and expeditions, and at last went on so far as to
censure and speak ill of him. All which at first he bore very
patiently, saying, it became a king well to do good to others, and
be evil spoken of. Meantime, on the smallest occasions that
called for a show of kindness to his friends, there was every
indication on his part of tenderness and respect. Hearing
Peucestes was bitten by a bear, he wrote to him, that he took it
unkindly he should send others notice of it, and not make him
acquainted with it; "But now," said he, "since it is so, let me
know how you do, and whether any of your companions forsook you
when you were in danger, that I may punish them." He sent
Hephaestion, who was absent about some business, word how while
they were fighting for their diversion with an ichneumon, Craterus
was by chance run through both thighs with Perdiccas's javelin.
And upon Peucestes's recovery from a fit of sickness, he sent a
letter of thanks to his physician Alexippus. When Craterus was
ill, he saw a vision in his sleep, after which he offered
sacrifices for his health, and bade him to do so likewise. He
wrote also to Pausanias, the physician, who was about to purge
Craterus with hellebore, partly out of an anxious concern for him,
and partly to give him a caution how he used that medicine. He
was so tender of his friends' reputation that he imprisoned
Ephialtes and Cissus, who brought him the first news of Harpalus's
flight and withdrawal from his service, as if they had falsely
accused him. When he sent the old and infirm soldiers home,
Eurylochus, a citizen of Aegae, got his name enrolled among the
sick, though he ailed nothing, which being discovered, he
confessed he was in love with a young woman named Telesippa, and
wanted to go along with her to the seaside. Alexander inquired to
whom the woman belonged, and being told she was a free courtesan,
"I will assist you," said he to Eurylochus, "in your amour, if
your mistress be to be gained either by presents or persuasions;
but we must use no other means, because she is free-born."

It is surprising to consider upon what slight occasions he would
write letters to serve his friends. As when he wrote one in which
he gave order to search for a youth that belonged to Seleucus, who
was run away into Cilicia; and in another, thanked and commended
Peucestes for apprehending Nicon, a servant of Craterus; and in
one to Megabyzus, concerning a slave that had taken sanctuary in a
temple, gave direction that he should not meddle with him while he
was there, but if he could entice him out by fair means, then he
gave him leave to seize him. It is reported of him that when he
first sat in judgment upon capital causes, he would lay his hand
upon one of his ears while the accuser spoke, to keep it free and
unprejudiced in behalf of the party accused. But afterwards such
a multitude of accusations were brought before him, and so many
proved true, that he lost his tenderness of heart, and gave credit
to those also that were false; and especially when anybody spoke
ill of him, he would be transported out of his reason, and show
himself cruel and inexorable, valuing his glory and reputation
beyond his life or kingdom.

He now, as we said, set forth to seek Darius, expecting he should
be put to the hazard of another battle, but heard he was taken and
secured by Bessus, upon which news he sent home the Thessalians,
and gave them a largess of two thousand talents over and above the
pay that was due to them. This long and painful pursuit of
Darius, for in eleven days he marched thirty-three hundred
furlongs, harassed his soldiers so that most of them were ready to
give it up, chiefly for want of water. While they were in this
distress, it happened that some Macedonians who had fetched water
in skins upon their mules from a river they had found out, came
about noon to the place where Alexander was, and seeing him almost
choked with thirst, presently filled a helmet and offered it him.
He asked them to whom they were carrying the water; they told him
to their children, adding, that if his life were but saved, it was
no matter for them, they should be able well enough to repair that
loss, though they all perished. Then he took the helmet into his
hands, and looking round about, when he saw all those who were
near him stretching their heads out and looking, earnestly after
the drink, he returned it again with thanks without tasting a drop
of it, "For," said he, "if I alone should drink, the rest will be
out of heart." The soldiers no sooner took notice of his
temperance and magnanimity upon this occasion, but they one and
all cried out to him to lead them forward boldly, and began
whipping on their horses. For whilst they had such a king, they
said they defied both weariness and thirst, and looked upon
themselves to be little less than immortal. But though they were
all equally cheerful and willing, yet not above threescore horse
were able, it is said, to keep up, and to fall in with Alexander
upon the enemy's camp, where they rode over abundance of gold and
silver that lay scattered about, and passing by a great many
chariots full of women that wandered here and there for want of
drivers, they endeavored to overtake the first of those that fled,
in hopes to meet with Darius among them. And at last, after much
trouble, they found him lying in a chariot, wounded all over with
darts, just at the point of death. However, he desired they would
give him some drink, and when he had drunk a little cold water, he
told Polystratus, who gave it him, that it had become the last
extremity of his ill fortune, to receive benefits and not be able
to return them. "But Alexander," said he, "whose kindness to my
mother, my wife, and my children I hope the gods will recompense,
will doubtless thank you for your humanity to me. Tell him,
therefore, in token of my acknowledgment, I give him this right
hand," with which words he took hold of Polystratus's hand and
died. When Alexander came up to them, he showed manifest tokens
of sorrow, and taking off his own cloak, threw it upon the body to
cover it. And sometime afterwards, when Bessus was taken, he
ordered him to be torn in pieces in this manner. They fastened
him to a couple of trees which were bound down so as to meet, and
then being let loose, with a great force returned to their places,
each of them carrying that part of the body along with it that was
tied to it. Darius's body was laid in state, and sent to his
mother with pomp suitable to his quality. His brother Exathres,
Alexander received into the number of his intimate friends.

And now with the flower of his army he marched into Hyrcania,
where he saw a large bay of an open sea, apparently not much less
than the Euxine, with water, however, sweeter than that of other
seas, but could learn nothing of certainty concerning it, further
than that in all probability it seemed to him to be an arm
issuing from the lake of Maeotis. However, the naturalists were
better informed of the truth, and had given an account of it many
years before Alexander's expedition; that of four gulfs which out
of the main sea enter into the continent, this, known
indifferently as the Caspian and as the Hyrcanian sea, is the most
northern. Here the barbarians, unexpectedly meeting with those
who led Bucephalas, took them prisoners, and carried the horse
away with them, at which Alexander was so much vexed, that he sent
a herald to let them know he would put them all to the sword,
men, women, and children, without mercy, if they did not restore
him. But on their doing so, and at the same time surrendering
their cities into his hands, he not only treated them kindly, but
also paid a ramsom for his horse to those who took him.

From hence he marched into Parthia, where not having much to do,
he first put on the barbaric dress, perhaps with the view of
making the work of civilizing them the easier, as nothing gains
more upon men than a conformity to their fashions and customs. Or
it may have been as a first trial, whether the Macedonians might
be brought to adore him, as the Persians did their kings, by
accustoming them by little and little to bear with the alteration
of his rule and course of life in other things. However, he
followed not the Median fashion, which was altogether foreign and
uncouth, and adopted neither the trousers nor the sleeved vest,
nor the tiara for the head, but taking a middle way between the
Persian mode and the Macedonian, so contrived his habit that it
was not so flaunting as the one, and yet more pompous and
magnificent than the other. At first he wore this habit only when
he conversed with the barbarians, or within doors, among his
intimate friends and companions, but afterwards he appeared in it
abroad, when he rode out, and at public audiences, a sight which
the Macedonians beheld with grief; but they so respected his other
virtues and good qualities, that they felt it reasonable in some
things to gratify his fancies and his passion of glory, in pursuit
of which he hazarded himself so far, that, besides his other
adventures, he had but lately been wounded in the leg by an arrow,
which had so shattered the shank-bone that splinters were taken
out. And on another occasion he received a violent blow with a
stone upon the nape of the neck, which dimmed his sight for a good
while afterwards. And yet all this could not hinder him from
exposing himself freely to any dangers, insomuch that he passed
the river Orexartes, which he took to be the Tanais, and putting
the Scythians to flight, followed them above a hundred furlongs,
though suffering all the time from a diarrhea.

Here many affirm that the Amazon came to give him a visit. So
Clitarchus, Polyclitus, Onesicritus, Antigenes, and Ister, tell
us. But Aristobulus and Chares, who held the office of reporter
of requests, Ptolemy and Anticlides, Philon the Theban, Philip of
Theangela, Hecataeus the Eretrian, Philip the Chalcidian, and
Duris the Samian, say it is wholly a fiction. And truly Alexander
himself seems to confirm the latter statement, for in a letter in
which he gives Antipater an account of all that happened, he tells
him that the king of Scythia offered him his daughter in marriage,
but makes no mention at all of the Amazon. And many years after,
when Onesicritus read this story in his fourth book to Lysimachus,
who then reigned, the king laughed quietly and asked, "Where could
I have been at that time?"

But it signifies little to Alexander whether this be credited or
no. Certain it is, that apprehending the Macedonians would be
weary of pursuing the war, he left the greater part of them in
their quarters; and having with him in Hyrcania the choice of his
men only, amounting to twenty thousand foot, and three thousand
horse, he spoke to them to this effect: That hitherto the
barbarians had seen them no otherwise than as it were in a dream,
and if they should think of returning when they had only alarmed
Asia, and not conquered it, their enemies would set upon them as
upon so many women. However, he told them he would keep none of
them with him against their will, they might go if they pleased;
he should merely enter his protest, that when on his way to make
the Macedonians the masters of the world, he was left alone with a
few friends and volunteers. This is almost word for word, as he
wrote in a letter to Antipater, where he adds, that when he had
thus spoken to them, they all cried out, they would go along with
him whithersoever it was his pleasure to lead them. After
succeeding with these, it was no hard matter for him to bring over
the multitude, which easily followed the example of their betters.
Now, also, he more and more accommodated himself in his way of
living to that of the natives, and tried to bring them, also, as
near as he could to the Macedonian customs, wisely considering
that whilst he was engaged in an expedition which would carry him
far from thence, it would be wiser to depend upon the goodwill
which might arise from intermixture and association as a means of
maintaining tranquillity, than upon force and compulsion. In
order to this, he chose out thirty thousand boys, whom he put
under masters to teach them the Greek tongue, and to train them up
to arms in the Macedonian discipline. As for his marriage with
Roxana, whose youthfulness and beauty had charmed him at a
drinking entertainment, where he first happened to see her, taking
part in a dance, it was, indeed, a love affair, yet it seemed at
the same time to be conducive to the object he had in hand. For
it gratified the conquered people to see him choose a wife from
among themselves, and it made them feel the most lively affection
for him, to find that in the only passion which he, the most
temperate of men, was overcome by, he yet forbore till he could
obtain her in a lawful and honorable way.

Noticing, also, that among his chief friends and favorites,
Hephaestion most approved all that he did, and complied with and
imitated him in his change of habits, while Craterus continued
strict in the observation of the customs and fashions of his own
country, he made it his practice to employ the first in all
transactions with the Persians, and the latter when he had to do
with the Greeks or Macedonians. And in general he showed more
affection for Hephaestion, and more respect for Craterus;
Hephaestion, as he used to say, being Alexander's, and Craterus
the king's friend. And so these two friends always bore in secret
a grudge to each other, and at times quarreled openly, so much so,
that once in India they drew upon one another, and were proceeding
in good earnest, with their friends on each side to second them,
when Alexander rode up and publicly reproved Hephaestion, calling
him fool and madman, not to be sensible that without his favor he
was nothing. He rebuked Craterus, also, in private, severely, and
then causing them both to come into his presence, he reconciled
them, at the same time swearing by Ammon and the rest of the gods,
that he loved them two above all other men, but if ever he
perceived them fall out again he would be sure to put both of them
to death, or at least the aggressor. After which they neither
ever did or said anything, so much as in jest, to offend one

There was scarcely anyone who had greater repute among the
Macedonians than Philotas, the son of Parmenio. For besides that
he was valiant and able to endure any fatigue of war, he was also
next to Alexander himself the most munificent, and the greatest
lover of his friends, one of whom asking him for some money, he
commanded his steward to give it him; and when he told him he had
not wherewith, "Have you not any plate then," said he, "or any
clothes of mine to sell?" But he carried his arrogance and his
pride of wealth and his habits of display and luxury to a degree
of assumption unbecoming a private man, and affecting all the
loftiness without succeeding in showing any of the grace or
gentleness of true greatness, by this mistaken and spurious
majesty he gained so much envy and ill-will, that Parmenio would
sometimes tell him, "My son, to be not quite so great would be
better." For he had long before been complained of, and accused
to Alexander. Particularly when Darius was defeated in Cilicia,
and an immense booty was taken at Damascus, among the rest of the
prisoners who were brought into the camp, there was one Antigone
of Pydna, a very handsome woman, who fell to Philotas's share.
The young man one day in his cups, in the vaunting, outspoken,
soldier's manner, declared to his mistress, that all the great
actions were performed by him and his father, the glory and
benefit of which, he said, together with the title of king, the
boy Alexander reaped and enjoyed by their means. She could not
hold, but discovered what he had said to one of her acquaintance,
and he, as is usual in such cases, to another, till at last the
story came to the ears of Craterus, who brought the woman secretly
to the king. When Alexander had heard what she had to say, he
commanded her to continue her intrigue with Philotas, and give him
an account from time to time of all that should fall from him to
this purpose. He thus unwittingly caught in a snare, to gratify
some times a fit of anger, sometimes a mere love of vainglory, let
himself utter numerous foolish, indiscreet speeches against the
king in Antigone's hearing, of which though Alexander was informed
and convinced by strong evidence, yet he would take no notice of
it at present, whether it was that he confided in Parmenio's
affection and loyalty, or that he apprehended their authority and
interest in the army. But about this time one Limnus, a
Macedonian of Chalastra, conspired against Alexander's life, and
communicated his design to a youth whom he was fond of, named
Nicomachus, inviting him to be of the party. But he not relishing
the thing, revealed it to his brother Balinus, who immediately
addressed himself to Philotas, requiring him to introduce them
both to Alexander, to whom they had something of great moment to
impart which very nearly concerned him. But he, for what reason
is uncertain, went not with them, professing that the king was
engaged with affairs of more importance. And when they had urged
him a second time, and were still slighted by him, they applied
themselves to another, by whose means being admitted into
Alexander's presence, they first told about Limnus's conspiracy,
and by the way let Philotas's negligence appear, who had twice
disregarded their application to him. Alexander was greatly
incensed, and on finding that Limnus had defended himself, and had
been killed by the soldier who was sent to seize him, he was still
more discomposed, thinking he had thus lost the means of detecting
the plot. As soon as his displeasure against Philotas began to
appear, presently all his old enemies showed themselves, and said
openly, the king was too easily imposed on, to imagine that one so
inconsiderable as Limnus, a Chalastrian, should of his own head
undertake such an enterprise; that in all likelihood he was but
subservient to the design, an instrument that was moved by some
greater spring; that those ought to be more strictly examined
about the matter whose interest it was so much to conceal it.
When they had once gained the king's ear for insinuations of this
sort, they went on to show a thousand grounds of suspicion against
Philotas, till at last they prevailed to have him seized and put
to the torture, which was done in the presence of the principal
officers, Alexander himself being placed behind some tapestry to
understand what passed. Where, when he heard in what a miserable
tone, and with what abject submissions Philotas applied himself to
Hephaestion, he broke out, it is said, in this manner: "Are you
so mean-spirited and effeminate, Philotas, and yet can engage in
so desperate a design?" After his death, he presently sent into
Media, and put also Parmenio, his father, to death, who had done
brave service under Philip, and was the only man, of his older
friends and counselors, who had encouraged Alexander to invade
Asia. Of three sons whom he had had in the army, he had already
lost two, and now was himself put to death with the third. These
actions rendered Alexander an object of terror to many of his
friends, and chiefly to Antipater, who, to strengthen himself,
sent messengers privately to treat for an alliance with the
Aetolians, who stood in fear of Alexander, because they had
destroyed the town of the Oeniadae; on being informed of which,
Alexander had said the children of the Oeniadae need not revenge
their fathers' quarrel, for he would himself take care to punish
the Aetolians.

Not long after this happened the deplorable end of Clitus, which
to those who barely hear the matter-of-fact, may seem more inhuman
than that of Philotas; but if we consider the story with its
circumstance of time, and weigh the cause, we shall find it to
have occurred rather through a sort of mischance of the king's,
whose anger and over-drinking offered an occasion to the evil
genius of Clitus. The king had a present of Grecian fruit brought
him from the sea-coast, which was so fresh and beautiful, that he
was surprised at it, and called Clitus to him to see it, and to
give him a share of it. Clitus was then sacrificing, but he
immediately left off and came, followed by three sheep, on whom
the drink-offering had been already poured preparatory to
sacrificing them. Alexander, being informed of this, told his
diviners, Aristander and Cleomantis the Lacedaemonian, and asked
them what it meant; on whose assuring him, it was an ill omen, he
commanded them in all haste to offer sacrifices for Clitus's
safety, forasmuch as three days before he himself had seen a
strange vision in his sleep, of Clitus all in mourning, sitting by
Parmenio's sons who were dead. Clitus, however, stayed not to
finish his devotions, but came straight to supper with the king,
who had sacrificed to Castor and Pollux. And when they had drunk
pretty hard, some of the company fell a singing the verses of one
Pranichus, or as others say of Pierion, which were made upon those
captains who had been lately worsted by the barbarians, on purpose
to disgrace and turn them to ridicule. This gave offense to the
older men who were there, and they upbraided both the author and
the singer of the verses, though Alexander and the younger men
about him were much amused to hear them, and encouraged them to go
on, till at last Clitus, who had drunk too much, and was besides
of a froward and willful temper, was so nettled that he could hold
no longer, saying, it was not well done to expose the Macedonians
so before the barbarians and their enemies, since though it was
their unhappiness to be overcome, yet they were much better men
than those who laughed at them. And when Alexander remarked, that
Clitus was pleading his own cause, giving cowardice the name of
misfortune, Clitus started up; "This cowardice, as you are pleased
to term it," said he to him, "saved the life of a son of the gods,
when in flight from Spithridates's sword; and it is by the expense
of Macedonian blood, and by these wounds, that you are now raised
to such a height, as to be able to disown your father Philip, and
call yourself the Son of Ammon." "Thou base fellow," said
Alexander, who was now thoroughly exasperated, "dost thou think to
utter these things everywhere of me, and stir up the Macedonians
to sedition, and not be punished for it?" "We are sufficiently
punished already," answered Clitus, "if this be the recompense of
our toils, and we must esteem theirs a happy lot, who have not
lived to see their countrymen scourged with Median rods, and
forced to sue to the Persians to have access to their king."
While he talked thus at random, and those near Alexander got up
from their seats and began to revile him in turn, the elder men
did what they could to compose the disorder. Alexander, in the
meantime turning about to Xenodochus, the Cardian, and Artemius,
the Colophonian, asked them if they were not of opinion that the
Greeks, in comparison with the Macedonians, behaved themselves
like so many demi-gods among wild beasts. But Clitus for all this
would not give over, desiring Alexander to speak out if he had
anything more to say, or else why did he invite men who were
freeborn and accustomed to speak their minds openly without
restraint, to sup with him. He had better live and converse with
barbarians and slaves who would not scruple to bow the knee to his
Persian girdle and his white tunic. Which words so provoked
Alexander, that not able to suppress his anger any longer, he threw
one of the apples that lay upon the table at him, and hit him, and
then looked about for his sword. But Aristophanes, one of his
life-guard, had hid that out of the way, and others came about him
and besought him, but in vain. For breaking from them, he called
out aloud to his guards in the Macedonian language, which was a
certain sign of some great disturbance in him, and commanded a
trumpeter to sound, giving him a blow with his clenched fist for
not instantly obeying him; though afterwards the same man was
commended for disobeying an order which would have put the whole
army into tumult and confusion. Clitus still refusing to yield,
was with much trouble forced by his friends out of the room. But
he came in again immediately at another door, very irreverently
and confidently singing the verses out of Euripides's Andromache, --

In Greece, alas! how ill things ordered are!

Upon this, at last, Alexander, snatching a spear from one of the
soldiers, met Clitus as he was coming forward and was putting by
the curtain that hung before the door, and ran him through the
body. He fell at once with a cry and a groan. Upon which the
king's anger immediately vanishing, he came perfectly to himself,
and when he saw his friends about him all in a profound silence,
he pulled the spear out of the dead body, and would have thrust it
into his own throat, if the guards had not held his hands, and by
main force carried him away into his chamber, where all that night
and the next day he wept bitterly, till being quite spent with
lamenting and exclaiming, he lay as it were speechless, only
fetching deep sighs. His friends apprehending some harm from his
silence, broke into the room, but he took no notice of what any of
them said, till Aristander putting him in mind of the vision he
had seen concerning Clitus, and the prodigy that followed, as if
all had come to pass by an unavoidable fatality, he then seemed to
moderate his grief. They now brought Callisthenes, the
philosopher, who was the near friend of Aristotle, and Anaxarchus
of Abdera, to him. Callisthenes used moral language, and gentle
and soothing means, hoping to find access for words of reason, and
get a hold upon the passion. But Anaxarchus, who had always taken
a course of his own in philosophy, and had a name for despising
and slighting his contemporaries, as soon as he came in, cried out
aloud, "Is this the Alexander whom the whole world looks to, lying
here weeping like a slave, for fear of the censure and reproach of
men, to whom he himself ought to be a law and measure of equity,
if he would use the right his conquests have given him as supreme
lord and governor of all, and not be the victim of a vain and idle
opinion? Do not you know," said he, "that Jupiter is represented
to have Justice and Law on each hand of him, to signify that all
the actions of a conqueror are lawful and just?" With these and
the like speeches, Anaxarchus indeed allayed the king's grief, but
withal corrupted his character, rendering him more audacious and
lawless than he had been. Nor did he fail by these means to
insinuate himself into his favor, and to make Callisthenes's
company, which at all times, because of his austerity, was not
very acceptable, more uneasy and disagreeable to him.

It happened that these two philosophers meeting at an
entertainment, where conversation turned on the subject of climate
and the temperature of the air, Callisthenes joined with their
opinion, who held that those countries were colder, and the winter
sharper there than in Greece. Anaxarchus would by no means allow
this, but argued against it with some heat. "Surely," said
Callisthenes, "you cannot but admit this country to be colder than
Greece, for there you used to have but one threadbare cloak to
keep out the coldest winter, and here you have three good warm
mantles one over another." This piece of raillery irritated
Anaxarchus and the other pretenders to learning, and the crowd of
flatterers in general could not endure to see Callisthenes so much
admired and followed by the youth, and no less esteemed by the
older men for his orderly life, and his gravity, and for being
contented with his condition; all confirming what he had professed
about the object he had in his journey to Alexander, that it was
only to get his countrymen recalled from banishment, and to
rebuild and repeople his native town. Besides the envy which his
great reputation raised, he also, by his own deportment, gave
those who wished him ill, opportunity to do him mischief. For
when he was invited to public entertainments, he would most times
refuse to come, or if he were present at any, he put a constraint
upon the company by his austerity and silence, which seemed to
intimate his disapproval of what he saw. So that Alexander
himself said in application to him,

That vain pretense to wisdom I detest,
Where a man's blind to his own interest.

Being with many more invited to sup with the king, he was called
upon when the cup came to him, to make an oration extempore in
praise of the Macedonians; and he did it with such a flow of
eloquence, that all who heard it rose from their seats to clap and
applaud him, and threw their garland upon him; only Alexander told
him out of Euripides,

I wonder not that you have spoke so well,
'Tis easy on good subjects to excel.

"Therefore," said he, "if you will show the force of your
eloquence, tell my Macedonians their faults, and dispraise them,
that by hearing their errors they may learn to he better for the
future." Callisthenes presently obeyed him, retracting all he had
said before, and, inveighing against the Macedonians with great
freedom, added, that Philip thrived and grew powerful, chiefly by
the discord of the Grecians, applying this verse to him:--

In civil strife e'en villains rise to fame;

which so offended the Macedonians, that he was odious to them ever
after. And Alexander said, that instead of his eloquence, he had
only made his ill-will appear in what he had spoken. Hermippus
assures us, that one Stroebus, a servant whom Callisthenes kept to
read to him, gave this account of these passages afterwards to
Aristotle; and that when he perceived the king grow more and more
averse to him, two or three times, as he was going away, he
repeated the verses, --

Death seiz'd at last on great Patroclus too,
Though he in virtue far exceeded you.

Not without reason, therefore, did Aristotle give this character
of Callisthenes, that he was, indeed, a powerful speaker, but had
no judgment. He acted certainly a true philosopher's part in
positively refusing, as he did, to pay adoration; and by speaking
out openly against that which the best and gravest of the
Macedonians only repined at in secret, he delivered the Grecians
and Alexander himself from a great disgrace, when the practice was
given up. But he ruined himself by it, because he went too
roughly to work, as if he would have forced the king to that which
he should have effected by reason and persuasion. Chares of
Mitylene writes, that at a banquet, Alexander, after he had drunk,
reached the cup to one of his friends, who, on receiving it, rose
up towards the domestic altar, and when he had drunk, first
adored, and then kissed Alexander, and afterwards laid himself
down at the table with the rest. Which they all did one after
another, till it came to Callisthenes's turn, who took the cup and
drank, while the king who was engaged in conversation with
Hephaestion was not observing, and then came and offered to kiss
him. But Demetrius, surnamed Phidon, interposed, saying, "Sir, by
no means let him kiss you, for he only of us all has refused to
adore you;" upon which the king declined it, and all the concern
Callisthenes showed was, that he said aloud, "Then I go away with
a kiss less than the rest." The displeasure he incurred by this
action procured credit for Hephaestion's declaration that he had
broken his word to him in not paying the king the same veneration
that others did, as he had faithfully promised to do. And to
finish his disgrace, a number of such men as Lysimachus and Hagnon
now came in with their asseverations that the sophist went about
everywhere boasting of his resistance to arbitrary power, and that
the young men all ran after him, and honored him as the only man
among so many thousands who had the courage to preserve his
liberty. Therefore when Hermolaus's conspiracy came to be
discovered, the charges which his enemies brought against him were
the more easily believed, particularly that when the young man
asked him what he should do to be the most illustrious person on
earth, he told him the readiest way was to kill him who was
already so; and that to incite him to commit the deed, he bade him
not be awed by the golden couch, but remember Alexander was a man
equally infirm and vulnerable as another. However, none of
Hermolaus's accomplices, in the utmost extremity, made any mention
of Callisthenes's being engaged in the design. Nay, Alexander
himself, in the letters which he wrote soon after to Craterus,
Attalus, and Alcetas, tells them that the young men who were put
to the torture, declared they had entered into the conspiracy of
themselves, without any others being privy to, or guilty of it.
But yet afterwards, in a letter to Antipater, he accuses
Callisthenes. "The young men," he says, "were stoned to death by
the Macedonians, but for the sophist," (meaning Callisthenes,) "I
will take care to punish him with them too who sent him to me, and
who harbor those in their cities who conspire against my life," an
unequivocal declaration against Aristotle, in whose house
Callisthenes, for his relationship's sake, being his niece Hero's
son, had been educated. His death is variously related. Some say
he was hanged by Alexander's orders; others, that he died of
sickness in prison; but Chares writes he was kept in chains seven
months after he was apprehended, on purpose that he might be
proceeded against in full council, when Aristotle should be
present; and that growing very fat, and contracting a disease of
vermin, he there died, about the time that Alexander was wounded
in India, in the country of the Malli Oxydracae, all which came
to pass afterwards.

For to go on in order, Demaratus of Corinth, now quite an old man,
had made a great effort, about this time, to pay Alexander a
visit; and when he had seen him, said he pitied the misfortune of
those Grecians, who were so unhappy as to die before they had
beheld Alexander seated on the throne of Darius. But he did not
long enjoy the benefit of the king's kindness for him, any
otherwise than that soon after falling sick and dying, he had a
magnificent funeral, and the army raised him a monument of earth,
fourscore cubits high, and of a vast circumference. His ashes
were conveyed in a very rich chariot, drawn by four horses, to the

Alexander now intent upon his expedition into India, took notice
that his soldiers were so charged with booty that it hindered
their marching. Therefore, at break of day, as soon as the
baggage wagons were laden, first he set fire to his own, and to
those of his friends, and then commanded those to be burnt which
belonged to the rest of the army. An act which in the
deliberation of it had seemed more dangerous and difficult than it
proved in the execution, with which few were dissatisfied; for
most of the soldiers, as if they had been inspired, uttering loud
outcries and warlike shoutings, supplied one another with what was
absolutely necessary, and burnt and destroyed all that was
superfluous, the sight of which redoubled Alexander's zeal and
eagerness for his design. And, indeed, he was now grown very
severe and inexorable in punishing those who committed any fault.
For he put Menander, one of his friends, to death, for deserting a
fortress where he had placed him in garrison, and shot Orsodates,
one of the barbarians who revolted from him, with his own hand.

At this time a sheep happened to yean a lamb, with the perfect
shape and color of a tiara upon the head, and testicles on each
side; which portent Alexander regarded with such dislike, that he
immediately caused his Babylonian priests, whom he usually carried
about with him for such purposes, to purify him, and told his
friends he was not so much concerned for his own sake as for
theirs, out of an apprehension that after his death the divine
power might suffer his empire to fall into the hands of some
degenerate, impotent person. But this fear was soon removed by a
wonderful thing that happened not long after, and was thought to
presage better. For Proxenus, a Macedonian, who was the chief of
those who looked to the king's furniture, as he was breaking up
the ground near the river Oxus, to set up the royal pavilion,
discovered a spring of a fat, oily liquor, which after the top was
taken off, ran pure, clear oil, without any difference either of
taste or smell, having exactly the same smoothness and brightness,
and that, too, in a country where no olives grew. The water,
indeed, of the river Oxus, is said to be the smoothest to the
feeling of all waters, and to leave a gloss on the skins of those
who bathe themselves in it. Whatever might be the cause, certain
it is that Alexander was wonderfully pleased with it, as appears
by his letters to Antipater, where he speaks of it as one of the
most remarkable presages that God had ever favored him with. The
diviners told him it signified his expedition would be glorious in
the event, but very painful, and attended with many difficulties;
for oil, they said, was bestowed on mankind by God as a
refreshment of their labors.

Nor did they judge amiss, for he exposed himself to many hazards
in the battles which he fought, and received very severe wounds,
but the greatest loss in his army was occasioned through the
unwholesomeness of the air, and the want of necessary provisions.
But he still applied himself to overcome fortune and whatever
opposed him, by resolution and virtue, and thought nothing
impossible to true intrepidity, and on the other hand nothing
secure or strong for cowardice. It is told of him that when he
besieged Sisimithres, who held an inaccessible, impregnable rock
against him, and his soldiers began to despair of taking it, he
asked Oxyartes whether Sisimithres was a man of courage, who
assuring him he was the greatest coward alive, "Then you tell me,"
said he, "that the place may easily be taken, since what is in
command of it is weak." And in a little time he so terrified
Sisimithres, that he took it without any difficulty. At an attack
which he made upon such another precipitous place with some of his
Macedonian soldiers, he called to one whose name was Alexander,
and told him, he at any rate must fight bravely, if it were but
for his name's sake. The youth fought gallantly and was killed in
the action, at which he was sensibly afflicted. Another time,
seeing his men march slowly and unwillingly to the siege of the
place called Nysa, because of a deep river between them and the
town, he advanced before them, and standing upon the bank, "What a
miserable man," said he, "am I, that I have not learned to swim!"
and then was hardly dissuaded from endeavoring to pass it upon his
shield. Here, after the assault was over, the ambassadors who
from several towns which he had blocked up, came to submit to him
and make their peace, were surprised to find him still in his
armor, without anyone in waiting or attendance upon him, and when
at last some one brought him a cushion, he made the eldest of
them, named Acuphis, take it and sit down upon it. The old man,
marveling at his magnanimity and courtesy, asked him what his
countrymen should do to merit his friendship. "I would have
them," said Alexander, "choose you to govern them, and send one
hundred of the most worthy men among them to remain with me as
hostages." Acuphis laughed and answered, "I shall govern them
with more ease, Sir, if I send you so many of the worst, rather
than the best of my subjects."

The extent of king Taxiles's dominions in India was thought to be
as large as Egypt, abounding in good pastures, and producing
beautiful fruits. The king himself had the reputation of a wise
man, and at his first interview with Alexander, he spoke to him
in these terms: "To what purpose," said he, "should we make war
upon one another, if the design of your coming into these parts be
not to rob us of our water or our necessary food, which are the
only things that wise men are indispensably obliged to fight for?
As for other riches and possessions, as they are accounted in the
eye of the world, if I am better provided of them than you, I am
ready to let you share with me; but if fortune has been more
liberal to you than me, I have no objection to be obliged to you."
This discourse pleased Alexander so much, that embracing him, "Do
you think," said he to him, "your kind words and courteous
behavior will bring you off in this interview without a contest?
No, you shall not escape so. I shall contend and do battle with
you so far, that how obliging soever you are, you shall not have
the better of me." Then receiving some presents from him, he
returned him others of greater value, and to complete his bounty,
gave him in money ready coined one thousand talents; at which his
old friends were much displeased, but it gained him the hearts of
many of the barbarians. But the best soldiers of the Indians now
entering into the pay of several of the cities, undertook to
defend them, and did it so bravely, that they put Alexander to a
great deal of trouble, till at last, after a capitulation, upon
the surrender of the place, he fell upon them as they were
marching away, and put them all to the sword. This one breach of
his word remains as a blemish upon his achievements in war, which
he otherwise had performed throughout with that justice and honor
that became a king. Nor was he less incommoded by the Indian
philosophers, who inveighed against those princes who joined his
party, and solicited the free nations to oppose him. He took
several of these also, and caused them to be hanged.

Alexander, in his own letters, has given us an account of his war
with Porus. He says the two armies were separated by the river
Hydaspes, on whose opposite bank Porus continually kept his
elephants in order of battle, with their heads towards their
enemies, to guard the passage; that he, on the other hand, made
every day a great noise and clamor in his camp, to dissipate the
apprehensions of the barbarians; that one stormy dark night he
passed the river, at a distance from the place where the enemy
lay, into a little island, with part of his foot, and the best of
his horse. Here there fell a most violent storm of rain,
accompanied with lightning and whirlwinds, and seeing some of his
men burnt and dying with the lightning, he nevertheless quitted
the island and made over to the other side. The Hydaspes, he
says, now after the storm, was so swollen and grown so rapid, as
to have made a breach in the bank, and a part of the river was now
pouring in here, so that when he came across, it was with
difficulty he got a footing on the land, which was slippery and
unsteady, and exposed to the force of the currents on both sides.
This is the occasion when he is related to have said, "O ye
Athenians, will ye believe what dangers I incur to merit your
praise?" This, however, is Onesicritus's story. Alexander says,
here the men left their boats, and passed the breach in their
armor, up to the breast in water, and that then he advanced with
his horse about twenty furlongs before his foot, concluding that
if the enemy charged him with their cavalry, he should be too
strong for them; if with their foot, his own would come up time
enough to his assistance. Nor did he judge amiss; for being
charged by a thousand horse, and sixty armed chariots, which
advanced before their main body, he took all the chariots, and
killed four hundred horse upon the place. Porus, by this time
guessing that Alexander himself had crossed over, came on with his
whole army, except a party which he left behind, to hold the rest
of the Macedonians in play, if they should attempt to pass the
river. But he, apprehending the multitude of the enemy, and to
avoid the shock of their elephants, dividing his forces, attacked
their left wing himself, and commanded Coenus to fall upon the
right, which was performed with good success. For by this means
both wings being broken, the enemies fell back in their retreat
upon the center, and crowded in upon their elephants. There
rallying, they fought a hand to hand battle, and it was the eighth
hour of the day before they were entirely defeated. This
description the conqueror himself has left us in his own epistles.

Almost all the historians agree in relating that Porus was four
cubits and a span high, and that when he was upon his elephant,
which was of the largest size, his stature and bulk were so
answerable, that he appeared to be proportionably mounted, as a
horseman on his horse. This elephant, during the whole battle,
gave many singular proofs of sagacity and of particular care of
the king, whom as long as he was strong and in a condition to
fight, he defended with great courage, repelling those who set
upon him; and as soon as he perceived him overpowered with his
numerous wounds and the multitude of darts that were thrown at
him, to prevent his falling off, he softly knelt down and began to
draw out the darts with his proboscis. When Porus was taken
prisoner; and Alexander asked him how he expected to be used, he
answered, "As a king." For that expression, he said, when the
same question was put to him a second time, comprehended
everything. And Alexander, accordingly, not only suffered him to
govern his own kingdom as satrap under himself, but gave him also
the additional territory of various independent tribes whom he

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