The Anabasis of Alexander/3b

From Jatland Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wikified by Laxman Burdak

Go to Index of the Book
«« Go to Book-3a
Go to Book-4a»»

The Anabasis of Alexander

Or, The History of Wars and Conquests of Alexander the Great

Literally translated, with a commentary, from the Greek of Arrian the Nicomedian,

by E. J. Chinnock, M.A., LL.B., London, Rector of Dumfries Academy. 1883.

Ch.16: Escape of Darius into Media.— March of Alexander to Babylon and Susa

Immediately after the battle, Darius marched through the mountains of Armenia towards Media, accompanied in his flight by the Bactrian cavalry, as they had then been posted with him in the battle; also by those Persians who were called the king's kinsmen, and by a few of the men called apple-bearers.[1] About 2,000 of his Grecian mercenaries also accompanied him in his flight, under the command of Paron the Phocian, and Glaucus the Aetolian. He fled towards Media for this reason, because he thought Alexander would take the road to Susa and Babylon immediately after the battle, inasmuch as the whole of that country was inhabited and the road was not difficult for the transit of baggage; and besides Babylon and Susa appeared to be the prizes of the war; whereas the road towards Media was by no means easy for the march of a large army. In this conjecture Darius was mistaken; for when Alexander started from Arbela, he advanced straight towards Babylon; and when he was now not far from that city, he drew up his army in order of battle and marched forward. The Babylonians came out to meet him in mass, with their priests and rulers, each of whom individually brought gifts, and offered to surrender their city, citadel, and money.[2] Entering the city, he commanded the Babylonians to rebuild all the temples which Xerxes had destroyed, and especially that of Belus, whom the Babylonians venerate more than any other god.[3] He then appointed Mazaeus viceroy of the Babylonians, Apollodorus the Amphipolitan general of the soldiers who were left behind with Mazaeus, and Asclepiodorus, son of Philo, collector of the revenue. He also sent Mithrines, who had surrendered to him the citadel of Sardis, down into Armenia to be viceroy there.[4] Here also he met with the Chaldaeans; and whatever they directed in regard to the religious rites of Babylon he performed, and in particular he offered sacrifice to Belus according to their instructions.[5] He then marched away to Susa[6]; and on the way he was met by the son of the viceroy of the Susians,[7] and a man bearing a letter from Philoxenus, whom he had despatched to Susa directly after the battle. In the letter Philoxenus had written that the Susians had surrendered their city to him, and that all the money was safe for Alexander. In twenty days the king arrived at Susa from Babylon; and entering the city he took possession of the money, which amounted to 50,000 talents, as well as the rest of the royal property.[8] Many other things were also captured there, which Xerxes brought with him from Greece, especially the brazen statues of Harmodius and Aristogeiton.[9] These Alexander sent back to the Athenians, and they are now standing at Athens in the Ceramicus, where we go up into the Acropolis,[10] right opposite the temple of Rhea, the mother of the gods, not far from the altar of the Eudanemi. Whoever has been initiated in the mysteries of the two goddesses[11] at Eleusis, knows the altar of Eudanemus which is upon the plain. At Susa Alexander offered sacrifice after the custom of his fathers, and celebrated a torch race and a gymnastic contest; and then, leaving Abulites, a Persian, as viceroy of Susiana, Mazarus, one of his Companions, as commander of the garrison in the citadel of Susa, and Archelaüs, son of Theodorus, as general, he advanced towards the land of the Persians. He also sent Menes down to the sea, as governor of Syria, Phœnicia, and Cilicia, giving him 3,000 talents of silver[12] to convey to the sea, with orders to despatch as many of them to Antipater as he might need to carry on the war against the Lacedaemonians.[13] There also Amyntas, son of Andromenes, reached him with the forces which he was leading from Macedonia[14]; of whom Alexander placed the horsemen in the ranks of the Companion cavalry, and the foot he added to the various regiments of infantry, arranging each according to nationalities. He also established two companies in each squadron of cavalry, whereas before this time companies did not exist in the cavalry; and over them he set as captains those of the Companions who were pre-eminent for merit.

1. As to the kinsmen and apple-bearers, see iii. 11 supra.

2. Diodorus (xvii. 63) and Curtius (v. 6) state that from the treasure captured in Babylon, Alexander distributed to each Macedonian horseman about £24, to each of the Grecian horsemen £20, to each of the Macedonian infantry £8, and to the allied infantry two months' pay.

3. Belus, or Bel, the supreme deity of the Babylonians, was identical with the Syrian Baal. The signification of the name is mighty. Cf. Herodotus (i. 181); Diodorus (ii. 9); Strabo (xvi. 1).

4. See i. 17 supra.

5. The Chaldees appear in Hebrew under the name of Casdim, who seem to have originally dwelt in Carduchia, the northern part of Assyria. The Assyrians transported these rude mountaineers to the plains of Babylonia (Isa. xxiii. 13). The name of Casdim, or Chaldees, was applied to the inhabitants of Mesopotamia (Gen. xi. 28); the inhabitants of the Arabian desert in the vicinity of Edom (Job i. 17); those who dwelt near the river Chaboras (Ezek. i. 3; xi. 24); and the priestly caste who had settled at a very early period in Babylon, as we are informed by Diodorus and Eusebius. Herodotus says that these priests were dedicated to Belus. It is proved by inscriptions that the ancient language was retained as a learned and religious literature. This is probably what is meant in Daniel i. 4 by "the book and tongue of the Casdim." Cf. Diodorus (ii. 29-31); Ptolemy (v. 20, 3); and Cicero (De Divinatione, i. 1). See Fürst's Hebrew Lexicon, sub voce כֶּֽשֶֹד.

6. In the Bible this city is called Shushan. Near it was the fortress of Shushan, called in our Bible the Palace (Neb. i. 2; Esth. ii. 8). Susa was situated on the Choaspes, a river remarkable for the excellence of its water, a fact referred to by Tibullus (iv. 1, 140) and by Milton (Paradise Reg., iii. 288). The name Shushan is derived from the Persian word for lily, which grew abundantly in the vicinity. The ruins of the palace mentioned in Esther i. have recently been explored, and were found to consist of an immense hall, the roof of which was supported by a central group of thirty-six pillars arranged in the form of a square. This was flanked by three porticoes, each containing two rows of six pillars. Cf. Strabo (xv. 7, 28).

7. The name of the viceroy was Abulites (Curtius, v. 8).

8. If these were Attic talents, the amount would be, equivalent to £11,600,000; but if they were Babylonian or Aeginetan talents, they were equal to £19,000,000. Cf. Plutarch (Alex., 36, 37); Justin (xi. 14); and Curtius (v. 8). Diodorus (xvii. 66) tells us that 40,000 talents were of uncoined gold and silver, and 9,000 talents of gold bearing the effigy of Darius.

9. Cf. Arrian (vii. 19); Pausanias (i. 8, 5); Pliny (Nat. Hist., xxxiv. 9); Valerius Maximus (ii. 10, 1). For Harmodius and Aristogeiton see Thucydides, vi. 56-58.

10. Polis meant in early times a particular part of Athens, viz. the citadel, usually called the Acropolis. Cf. Aristophanes (Lysistrata, 245 et passim).

11. Demeter and Persephone.

12.About £730,000.

13. Antipater had been left by Alexander regent of Macedonia. Agis III., king of Sparta, refused to acknowledge Alexander's hegemony, and after a hard struggle was defeated and slain by Antipater at Megalopolis, B.C. 330. See Diodorus, xvii. 63; Curtius, vi. 1 and 2.

14. According to Curtius (v. 6) these forces amounted to nearly 15,000 men. Amyntas also brought with him fifty sons of the chief laen in Macedonia, who wished to serve as royal pages. Cf. Diodorus, xvii. 64.


Ch.17:Subjugation of the Uxians

He now set out from Susa, and, crossing the river Pasitigris,[1] invaded the country of the Uxians. Some of these people who inhabit the plains were under the rule of the viceroy of the Persians, and on this occasion surrendered to Alexander; but those who are called the mountaineers were not in subjection to the Persians, and at this time sent word to Alexander that they would not permit him to march with his forces into Persis, unless they received from him as much as they were in the habit of receiving from the king of the Persians for the passage through their mountains.[2] He sent the messengers back with instructions to come to the defiles, the possession of which made them think that the passage into Persis was in their power, promising them that they should there receive from him the prescribed toll. He then took the royal body-guards, the shield-bearing infantry, and 8,000 men from the rest of his army, and, under the guidance of the Susians, marched by night along a different road from the frequented one. Advancing by a route rough and difficult, on the same day he fell upon the villages of the Uxians, where he captured much booty and killed many of the people while still in their beds; but others escaped into the mountains. He then made a forced march to the defiles, where the Uxians resolved to meet him in mass in order to receive the prescribed toll. But he had already previously despatched Craterus to seize the heights, to which he thought the Uxians would retire if they were repelled by force; and he himself went with great celerity, and got possession of the pass before their arrival. He then drew up his men in battle array, and led them from the higher and more commanding position against the barbarians. They, being alarmed at Alexander's celerity, and finding themselves deprived by stratagem[3] of the position in which they had especially confided, took to flight without ever coming to close combat. Some of them were killed by Alexander's men in their flight, and many lost their lives by falling over the precipices along the road; but most of them fled up into the mountains for refuge, and falling in with Craterus, were destroyed by his men. Having received these gifts of honour[4] from Alexander, they with difficulty, after much entreaty, procured from him the privilege of retaining possession of their own land on condition of paying him an annual tribute. Ptolemy, son of Lagus, says that the mother of Darius,[5] on their behalf, entreated Alexander to grant them the privilege of inhabiting the land. The tribute agreed upon was a hundred horses, five hundred oxen, and 30,000 sheep a year; for the Uxians had no money, nor was their country fit for tillage; but most of them were shepherds and herdsmen.

1. A river flowing through Susiana, formed by the junction of the Eulaeus and Coprates.

2. Cf. Strabo, xv. 3.

3. πλεονεκτούμενοι, with dative, defrauded of. Cf. Demosthenes, 1035, 26.

4. γἐρα. An Homeric expression.

5. Named Sisygambis (Curtius, v. 11).


Ch. 18 Defeat of Ariobarzanes and Capture of Persepolis

After this, Alexander despatched Parmenio with the baggage, the Thessalian cavalry, the Grecian allies, the mercenary auxiliaries, and the rest of the more heavily armed soldiers, to march into Persis along the carriage road leading into that country. He himself took the Macedonian infantry, the Companion cavalry, the light cavalry used for skirmishing, the Agrianians, and the archers, and made a forced march through the mountains. But when he arrived at the Persian Gates, he found that Ariobarzanes, the viceroy of Persis, with 40,000 infantry and 700 cavalry, had built a wall across the pass, and had pitched his camp there near the wall to block Alexander's passage. Then indeed he pitched his camp there; but next day he marshalled his army, and led it up to the wall. When it was evident that it would be difficult to capture it on account of the rugged nature of the ground, and as many of his men were being wounded, the enemy assailing them with missiles from engines of war placed upon higher ground, which gave them an advantage over their assailants, he retreated to his camp. He was informed by the prisoners that they could lead him round by another route, so that he might get to the other end of the pass; but when he ascertained that this road was rough and narrow, he left Craterus there at the camp with his own brigade and that of Meleager, as well as a few archers and 500 cavalry, with orders that when he perceived he had got right round and was approaching the camp of the Persians (which he could easily perceive, because the trumpets would give him the signal), he should then assault the wall. Alexander advanced by night, and travelling about 100 stades, he took the shield-bearing guards, the brigade of Perdiccas, the lightest armed of the archers, the Agrianians, the royal squadron of cavalry Companions, and one regiment of cavalry besides these, containing four companies; and wheeling round with these troops, he marched towards the pass in the direction the prisoners led him. He ordered Amyntas, Philotas, and Coenus to lead the rest of the army towards the plain, and to make a bridge over the river[1] which one must cross to go into Persis. He himself went by a route difficult and rough, along which he nevertheless marched for the most part at full speed. Falling upon the first guard of the barbarians before daylight,[2] he destroyed them, and so he did most of the second; but the majority of the third guard escaped, not indeed by fleeing into the camp of Ariobarzanes, but into the mountains as they were, being seized with a sudden panic. Consequently he fell upon the enemy's camp at the approach of dawn without being observed. At the very time he began to assault the trench, the trumpets gave the signal to Craterus, who at once attacked the advanced fortification. The enemy then, being in a state of confusion from being attacked on all sides, fled without coming to close conflict; but they were hemmed in on all hands, Alexander pressing upon them in one direction and the men of Craterus running up in another. Therefore most of them were compelled to wheel round and flee into the fortifications, which were already in the hands of the Macedonians. For Alexander, expecting the very thing which really occurred, had left Ptolemy there with three thousand infantry; so that most of the barbarians were cut to pieces by the Macedonians at close quarters. Others perished in the terrible flight which ensued, hurling themselves over the precipices; but Ariobarzanes himself, with a few horsemen, escaped into the mountains.[3]

Alexander now marched back with all speed to the river, and finding the bridge already constructed over it, he easily crossed with his army.[4] Thence he again continued his march to Persepolis, so that he arrived before the guards of the city could pillage the treasury.[5] He also captured the money which was at Pasargadae[6] in the treasury of the first Cyrus, and appointed Phrasaortes, son of Rheomithres, viceroy over the Persians. He burnt down the Persian palace, though Parmenio advised him to preserve it, for many reasons, and especially because it was not well to destroy what was now his own property, and because the men of Asia would not by this course of action be induced to come over to him, thinking that he himself had decided not to retain the rule of Asia, but only to conquer it and depart. But Alexander said that he wished to take vengeance on the Persians, in retaliation for their deeds in the invasion of Greece, when they razed Athens to the ground and burnt down the temples. He also desired to punish the Persians for all the other injuries they had done the Greeks. But Alexander does not seem to me to have acted on this occasion with prudence; nor do I think that this was any retributive penalty at all on the ancient Persians.[7]

1. This was the Araxes. See Strabo, xv. 3.

2. Notice the use of the adverb πρίν with the genitive, instead of the preposition πρό. Cf. Pindar (Pythia, iv. 76) πρίν ὤρας

3. Curtius (v. 16) says that Ariobarzanes after a bloody contest got away through the Macedonian lines, with about 40 horsemen and 5,000 foot, and made for Persepolis. Being shut out of that fortress, he was overtaken and slain with all his companions. Cf. Diodorus (xvii. 68).

4. Diodorus (xvii. 69) and Justin (xi. 14) state that on approaching Persepolis, Alexander met 800 Grecian captives, mutilated by loss of arms, legs, eyes, ears, or other members. Curtius (v. 17-19) says there were 4,000 of them. Alexander offered to send these men home, with means of future support; but they preferred to remain in Persis. The king gave them money, clothing, cattle, and land.

5. Diodorus (xvii. 71) and Curtius (v. 20) both state that the amount of treasure captured at Persepolis was 120,000 talents, or £27,600,000. In his own letter Alexander stated that there was sufficient treasure and valuable property to load 10,000 mule carts and 5,000 camels (Plutarch, Alex., 37). Curtius tells us that 6,000 talents were captured at Pasargadae.

6. Pasargadae was the old capital of Persia, founded by Cyrus; but its place was afterwards taken by Persepolis.

7. Diodorus (xvii. 70, 71) and Curtius (v. 20, 22) say that Alexander delivered Persepolis to his soldiers to pillage, and that he ordered a general massacre of the inhabitants. These authors agree with Plutarch (Alex., 38) in asserting that in a drunken revel he was instigated by the courtesan Thais to set fire to the palace, and accompanied her to commence the act of destruction. See Dryden's famous ode. But Arrian's account establishes the fact that the fire was the result of a deliberate plan. As regards the massacre, Plutarch (37) expressly states that Alexander wrote home that he ordered it from motives of policy.


Ch. 19: Darius pursued into Media and Parthia

After bringing these matters to a successful issue, he advanced towards Media; for he ascertained that Darius was there. Now Darius had formed the resolution, if Alexander remained at Susa or Babylon, to stay there among the Medes, in order to see if any change of policy were made by Alexander. But if the latter marched against him, he resolved to proceed into the interior towards Parthia and Hyrcania, as far as Bactria, laying waste all the land and making it impossible for Alexander to advance any further. He therefore sent the women and the rest of the property which he still retained, together with the covered carriages, to what were called the Caspian Gates[1]; but he himself stayed at Ecbatana,[2] with the forces which had been collected from those who were at hand. Hearing this, Alexander advanced towards Media, and invading the land of the Paraetacae,[3] he subdued it, and appointed Oxathres, son of Abulites, the former viceroy of Susa, to rule as viceroy. Being informed on the march that Darius had determined to meet him for battle, and to try the fortune of war again (for the Scythians and Cadusians had come to him as allies), he ordered that the beasts of burden, with their guards and the rest of the baggage, should follow; and taking the rest of his army, he led it in order of battle, and on the twelfth day arrived in Media. There he ascertained that the forces of Darius were not fit for battle, and that his allies, the Cadusians and Scythians, had not arrived; but that he had resolved to flee. He therefore marched on with still greater speed; and when he was only three days' journey from Ecbatana, he was met by Bistanes, son of Ochus, who reigned over the Persians before Darius. This man announced that Darius had fled five days before, taking with him 7,000 talents of money[4] from the Medes, and an army of 3,000 cavalry and 6,000 infantry.

When Alexander reached Ecbatana, he sent the Thessalian cavalry and the other Grecian allies back to the sea, paying them the full hire which had been stipulated, and making them an additional donation from himself of 2,000 talents. He issued an order that if any man of his own accord wished still to continue to serve for hire with him, he should enlist; and those who enlisted in his service were not a few. He then ordered Epocillus, son of Polyeides, to conduct the rest down to the sea, taking other cavalry as a guard for them, since the Thessalians sold their horses there. He also sent word to Menes to take upon himself the duty of seeing that they were conveyed in triremes to Euboea, when they arrived at the sea.[5] He instructed Parmenio to deposit the money which was being conveyed from Persis in the citadel at Ecbatana, and to hand it over to the charge of Harpalus;[6] for he had left this man over the money with a guard of 6,000 Macedonians and a few horsemen and light-armed infantry to take care of it. He told Parmenio himself to take the Grecian mercenaries, the Thracians, and all the other horsemen except the Companion cavalry, and march by the land of the Cadusians into Hyrcania. He also sent word to Clitus, the commander of the royal squadron of cavalry, who had been left behind at Susa ill, that when he arrived at Ecbatana from Susa he should take the Macedonians who had been left there in charge of the money, and go in the direction of Parthia, where also he himself intended soon to arrive.

1. This was the principal pass through the Elburz mountains from Media into Hyrcania and Parthia.

2. This was the capital of Media, called in Chaldee Achmetha (Ezra vi. 2). The present city of Hamadan is on the same site. It is situated at the foot of Mount Orontes, and was used by the Persian and Parthian kings as their summer residence. It was surrounded by seven walls, each overtopping the one before it, from the outer to the inner, crowned with battlements of different colours. Its citadel was used as a royal treasury. Below it stood a splendid palace, with silver tiles, and adorned with wainscotings, capitals, and entablatures of gold and silver. These treasures, to the value of 4,000 talents, were coined into money by Antiochus the Great of Syria. See Herodotus, i. 98; Polybius, x. 27.

3. This tribe lived in the mountains between Media and Persis.

4. £1,700,000.

5. Curtius (v. 23) says that 6,000 Grecian mercenaries under Plato the Athenian met Alexander in Media, having marched up from Cilicia.

6. Diodorus (xvii. 80) says that the amount of treasure deposited at Ecbatana was 180,000 talents or £41,400,000.


Ch. 20: March through the Caspian Gates

Then taking the Companion cavalry, the light cavalry used for skirmishing, the Greek mercenary cavalry, under the command of Erigyius, the Macedonian phalanx, except the men who had been placed in charge of the money, the archers, and the Agrianians, he marched against Darius. In the forced march which he made, many of his soldiers were left behind, worn out with fatigue, and many of the horses died. He nevertheless pressed on, and on the eleventh day arrived at Rhagae.[1] This place is distant from the Caspian Gates one day's journey to one marching as Alexander did. But Darius had already passed through this defile before Alexander came up, though many of those who were his companions in flight deserted him on the way and retired to their own abodes. Many also surrendered to Alexander. The latter now gave up the hope of capturing Darius by close pursuit, and remained there five days to give his troops repose. He appointed Oxodates a Persian, who had the ill fortune to be arrested by Darius and shut up at Susa, to the office of viceroy of Media; for this treatment was an inducement to Alexander to rely on his fidelity. He then marched towards Parthia; and on the first day encamped near the Caspian Gates, which he passed through on the second day as far as the country was inhabited.[2] Hearing that the country further on was desert, he resolved to procure a stock of provisions from the place where he was encamped, and accordingly sent Coenus out on a foraging expedition with the cavalry and a small body of infantry.

1. A large city in the extreme north of Media, mentioned in the Book of Tobit. It was famous in the Middle Ages under the name of Rai. The ruins of Rai lie south-east of Teheran.

2. ἒστε generally means until. In its present use cf. ii. 11 supra, ἒστε μὲν φἀος ῆν.


Ch.21: Darius is Assassinated by Bessus

At this time Bagistanes, one of the Babylonian niobles, came to him from the camp of Darius, accompanied by Antibelus, one of the sons of Mazaeus. These men informed him that Nabarzanes, the commander of the cavalry which accompanied Darius in his flight, Bessus, viceroy of Bactria, and Barsaentes, viceroy of the Arachotians and Drangians,[1] had jointly arrested the king. When Alexander heard this, he marched with still greater speed than ever, taking with him only the Companions and the skirmishing cavalry, as well as some of the foot-soldiers selected as the strongest and lightest men. He did not even wait for Coenus to return from the foraging expedition; but placed Craterus over the men left behind, with instructions to follow in short marches. His own men took with them nothing but their arms and provisions for two days. After marching the whole night and till noon of the next day, he gave his army a short rest, then went on again all night, and when day began to break reached the camp from which Bagistanes had set out to meet him; but he did not catch the enemy. However, in regard to Darius, he ascertained that he had been arrested and was being conveyed in a covered carriage[2]; that Bessus possessed the command instead of Darius, and had been nominated leader by the Bactrian cavalry and all the other barbarians who were companions of Darius in his flight, except Artabazus and his sons, together with the Grecian mercenaries, who still remained faithful to Darius; but they, not being able to prevent what was being done, had turned aside their march from the public thoroughfare and were marching towards the mountains by themselves, refusing to take part with Bessus and his adherents in their enterprise. He also learnt that those who had arrested Darius had come to the decision to surrender him to Alexander, and to procure some advantage for themselves, if they should find that Alexander was pursuing them; but if they should learn that he had gone back again, they had resolved to collect as large an army as they could and to preserve the rule for the commonwealth. He also ascertained that for the present Bessus held the supreme command, both on account of his relationship to Darius and because the war was being carried on in his viceregal province. Hearing this, Alexander thought it was advisable to pursue with all his might; and though his men and horses were already quite fatigued by the incessant severity of their labours, he nevertheless proceeded, and, travelling a long way all through the night and the next day till noon, arrived at a certain village, where those who were leading Darius had encamped the day before. Hearing there that the barbarians had decided to continue their march by night, he inquired of the natives if they knew any shorter road to the fugitives. They said they did know one, but that it ran through a country which was desert through lack of water. He nevertheless ordered them to show him this way, and perceiving that the infantry could not keep up with him if he marched at full speed, he caused 500 of the cavalry to dismount from their horses; and selecting the officers of the infantry and the best of the other foot-soldiers, he ordered them to mount the horses armed just as they were. He also directed Nicanor, the commander of the shield-bearing guards, and Attalus, commander of the Agrianians, to lead their men who were left behind, by the same route which Bessus had taken, having equipped them as lightly as possible; and he ordered that the rest of the infantry should follow in regular marching order. He himself began to march in the afternoon, and led the way with great rapidity.[3] Having travelled 400 stades in the night, he came upon the barbarians just before daybreak, going along without any order and unarmed; so that few of them rushed to defend themselves, but most of them, as soon as they saw Alexander himself, took to flight without even coming to blows. A few of those who turned to resist being killed, the rest of these also took to flight. Up to this time Bessus and his adherents were still conveying Darius with them in a covered carriage; but when Alexander was already close upon their heels Nabarzanes and Barsaëntes wounded him and left him there, and with 600 horsemen took to flight. Darius died from his wounds soon after, before Alexander had seen him.[4]

1. The Drangians lived in a part of Ariana west of Arachosia.

2. Justin (xi. 15) and Curtius (v. 34) state that Darius was bound in chains of gold. The former says that the name of the place was Thara in Parthia, where the king was arrested. Probably these chains were those worn by the king or his nobles, according to the Persian custom. This is the only sentence in Arrian where περὶ suffers anastrophe, coming after the noun.

3. Plutarch (Alex., 42) says that Alexander rode 3,300 stades, or about 400 miles, in eleven days. In the next chapter he says that only sixty of his men were able to keep up with him in the pursuit.

4. Curtius (v. 24-38) gives very ample details of what occurred during the last days of Darius. Cf. Diodorus (xvii. 73); Justin (xi. 15).


Ch.22: Reflections on the Fate of Darius

Alexander sent the body of Darius into Persis, with orders that it should be buried in the royal sepulchre, in the same way as the other Persian kings before him had been buried.[1] He then proclaimed Amminaspes, a Parthian, viceroy over the Parthians and Hyrcanians. This man was one of those who with Mazaces had surrendered Egypt to Alexander. He also appointed Tlepolemus, son of Pythophanes, one of the Companions, to guard his interests in Parthia and Hyrcania. Such was the end of Darius, in the archonship of Aristophon at Athens, in the month Hecatombaion.[2] This king was a man pre-eminently effeminate and lacking in self-reliance in military enterprises; but as to civil matters he never exhibited any disposition to indulge in arbitrary conduct; nor indeed was it in his power to exhibit it. For it happened that he was involved in a war with the Macedonians and Greeks at the very time he succeeded to the regal power[3]; and consequently it was no longer possible for him to act the tyrant towards his subjects, even if he had been so inclined, standing as he did in greater danger than they. As long as he lived, one misfortune after another was accumulated upon him; nor did he experience any cessation of calamity from the time when he first succeeded to the rule. At the beginning of his reign the cavalry defeat was sustained by his viceroys at the Granicus, and forthwith Ionia, Aeolis, both the Phrygias, Lydia, and all Caria[4] except Halicarnassus were occupied by his foe; soon after, Halicarnassus also was captured, as well as all the littoral as far as Cilicia. Then came his own discomfiture at Issus, where he saw his mother, wife, and children taken prisoners. Upon this Phoenicia and the whole of Egypt were lost; and then at Arbela he himself fled disgracefully among the first, and lost a very vast army composed of all the nations of his empire. After this, wandering as an exile from his own dominions, he died after being betrayed by his personal attendants to the worst treatment possible, being at the same time king and a prisoner ignominiously led in chains; and at last he perished through a conspiracy formed of those most intimately acquainted with him. Such were the misfortunes that befell Darius in his life-time; but after his death he received a royal burial; his children received from Alexander a princely rearing and education, just as if their father had still been king; and Alexander himself became his son-in-law.[5] When he died he was about fifty years of age.

1. The Persian kings were buried at Persepolis. See Diodorus, xvii. 71. Plutarch (Alex., 43) says that Alexander sent the corpse of Darius to his mother.

2. In the year B.C. 330, the first of Hecatombaion fell on the first of July.

3. Darius came to the throne B.C. 336.

4. In 2 Kings xi. 4, 19 the word translated captains in our Bible is Carim, the Carians. These men formed the body-guard of the usurper Athaliah, who stood in need of foreign mercenaries. David had a bodyguard of Philistines and Cretans. The Carians served as mercenaries throughout the ancient world, as we learn from Thucydides, i. 8; Herodotus, i. 171; ii. 152; v. 111; Strabo, xiv. 2. The Lydians appear in the Bible under the name of Lud (Isa. lxvi. 19). Herodotus (i. 94) gives an account of the colonization of Umbria by the Lydians, from which sprung the state of the Etruscans. Hence Vergil (Aeneid, ii. 782) speaks of the "Lydius Tybris." See also Aeneid, viii. 479; Horace (Satires, i. 6, 1); Tacitus (Annals, iv. 55); Dionysius (Archaeologia Romana, i. 28).

5. He married Barsine, eldest daughter of Darius (Arrian, vii. 4 infra). She was also called Arsinoe and Stateira.


Ch. 23 Expedition Into Hyrcania

Alexander now took the soldiers who had been left behind in his pursuit and advanced into Hyrcania,[1] which is the country lying on the left of the road leading to Bactra.[2] On one side it is bounded by lofty mountains densely covered with wood, and on the other it is a plain stretching as far as the Great Sea[3] in this part of the world. He led his army by this route, because he ascertained that the Grecian mercenaries serving under Darius had succeeded in escaping by it into the mountains of Tapuria; at the same time he resolved to subdue the Tapurians themselves. Having divided his army into three parts, he himself led the way by the shortest and most difficult route, at the head of the most numerous and at the same time the lightest division of his forces. He despatched Craterus at the head of his own brigade and that of Amyntas, some of the archers, and a few of the cavalry against the Tapurians; and he ordered Erigyius to take the Grecian mercenaries and the rest of the cavalry, and lead the way by the public thoroughfare, though it was longer, conducting the waggons, the baggage, and the crowd of camp-followers. After crossing the first mountains, and encamping there, he took the shield-bearing guards together with the lightest men in the Macedonian phalanx and some of the archers, and went along a road difficult and hard to travel upon, leaving guards for the roads wherever he thought there was any peril, so that the barbarians who held the mountains might not at those points fall upon the men who were following. Having passed through the defiles with his archers, he encamped in the plain near a small river[4]; and while he was here, Nabarzanes, the commander of Darius's cavalry, Phrataphernes, the viceroy of Hyrcania and Parthia, and the other most distinguished of the Persians in attendance on Darius, arrived and surrendered themselves. After waiting four days in the camp, he took up those who had been left behind on the march, all of them advancing in safety except the Agrianians, who, while guarding the rear, were attacked by the barbarian mountaineers. But these soon drew off when they got the worst of it in the skirmish. Starting from this place, he advanced into Hyrcania as far as Zadracarta, the capital of the Hyrcanians. In this place[5] he was rejoined by Craterus, who had not succeeded in falling in with the Grecian mercenaries of Darius; but he had thoroughly traversed the whole country, gaining over part of it by force and the other part by the voluntary capitulation of the inhabitants. Erigyius also arrived here with the baggage and waggons; and soon after Artabazus[6] came to Alexander with three of his sons, Cophen, Ariobarzanes, and Arsames, accompanied by Autophradates, viceroy of Tapuria, and envoys from the Grecian mercenaries in the service of Darius. To Autophradates he restored his viceregal office; but Artabazus and his sons he kept near himself in a position of honour, both on account of their fidelity to Darius and because they were among the first nobles of Persia. To the envoys from the Greeks, begging him to make a truce with them on behalf of the whole mercenary force, he replied that he would not make any agreement with them; because they were acting with great guilt in serving as soldiers on the side of the barbarians against Greece, in contravention of the resolution of the Greeks. He commanded them to come in a body and surrender, leaving it to him to treat them as he pleased, or to preserve themselves as best they could. The envoys said that they yielded both themselves and their comrades to Alexander, and urged him to send some one with them to act as their leader, so that they might be conducted to him with safety. They said they were 1,500 in number. Accordingly he sent Andronicus, son of Agerrhus, and Artabazus to them.

1. According to Curtius (vi. 6-10) the soldiers were very desirous of returning home; but Alexander made an harangue and induced them to advance into Hyrcania.

2. The modern Balkh.

3. The Caspian.

4. Diodorus (xvii. 75) calls this river Stiboetis; Curtius (vi. 10) calls it Ziobetis.

5. Krüger has ἐνταῦθα instead of ἐν τούτῳ.

6. Curtius (vi. 14) says Artabazus had nine sons, one of whom, Pharnabazus, was the admiral of the Persian fleet. See Arrian (ii. 1; ii. 2; iii. 2 supra).


Ch.24: Expedition against the Mardians

He then marched forward against the Mardians[1] taking with him the shield-bearing guards, the archers, the Agrianians, the brigades of Coenus and Amyntas, half of the Companion cavalry, and the horse-lancers; for he had now a troop of horse-lancers. Traversing the greater part of the land of the Mardians, he killed many of them in their flight, some indeed having turned to defend themselves; and many were taken prisoners. No one for a long time had invaded their land in a hostile manner, not only on account of its ruggedness, but also because the people were poor, and besides being poor were warlike. Therefore they never feared that Alexander would attack them, especially as he had already advanced, further than their country. For this reason they were caught more easily off their guard. Many of them, however, escaped into the mountains, which in their land are very lofty and craggy, thinking that Alexander would not penetrate to these at any rate. But when he was approaching them even here, they sent envoys to surrender both the people and their land to him. He pardoned them, and appointed Autophradates, whom he had also recently placed over the Tapurians, viceroy over them. Returning to the camp, from which he had started to invade the country of the Mardians, he found that the Grecian mercenaries of Darius had arrived, accompanied by the envoys from the Lacedaemonians who were on an embassy to king Darius. The names of these men were, Callicratidas, Pausippus, Monimus, Onomas, and Dropides, a man from Athens. These were arrested and kept under guard; but he released the envoys from the Sinopeans,[2] because these people had no share in the commonwealth of the Greeks; and as they were in subjection to the Persians, they did not seem to be doing anything unreasonable in going on an embassy to their own king. He also released the rest of the Greeks who were serving for pay with the Persians before the peace and alliance which had been made by the Greeks with the Macedonians. He likewise released Heraclides, the ambassador from the Chalcedonians[3] to Darius. The rest he ordered to serve in his army for the same pay as they had received from the Persian king, putting them under the command of Andronicus, who had led them, and had evidently been taking prudent measures to save the lives of the men.

1. Cf. Curtius, vi. 16.

2. Sinope was a prosperous colony of Miletus on the Euxine. It is still called Sinoub. It was the birthplace of Diogenes.

3. Chalcedon was a colony of Megara, situated on the Propontis at the entrance of the Bosporus, nearly opposite Byzantium.


Ch.25: March to Bactra.— Bessus aided by Satibarzanes

Having settled these affairs, he marched to Zadracarta, the largest city of Hyrcania, where also was the seat of the Hyrcanian government. Tarrying here fifteen days, he offered sacrifice to the gods according to his custom, and celebrated a gymnastic contest, after which he began his march towards Parthia; thence to the confines of Areia[1] and to Susia, a city in that province, where Satibarzanes, the viceroy of the Areians, came to meet him. To this man he restored his viceregal dignity, and with him sent Anaxippus, one of the Companions, to whom he gave forty horse-lancers so that he might be able to station them as guards of the localities, in order that the Areians might not be injured by the army in its march through their land. At this time came to him some Persians, who informed him that Bessus had assumed the erect tiara[2] and was wearing the Persian dress,[3] calling himself Artaxerxes instead of Bessus, and asserting that he was king of Asia. They said he had in attendance upon him the Persians who had escaped into Bactra and many of the Bactrians themselves; and that he was expecting the Scythians also to come to him as allies. Alexander, having now all his forces together, went towards Bactra, where Philip son of Menelaüs came to him out of Media with the Greek mercenary cavalry which were under his own command, those of the Thessalians who had volunteered to remain, and the men of Andromachus. Nicanor, the son of Parmenio, the commander of the shield-bearing guards, had already died of disease. While Alexander was on his way to Bactra, he was informed that Satibarzanes, viceroy of Areia, had killed Anaxippus and the horse-lancers who were with him, had armed the Areians and collected them in the city of Artacoana, which was the capital of that nation. It was also said that he had resolved, as soon as he ascertained that Alexander had advanced, to leave that place and go with his forces to Bessus, with the intention of joining that prince in an attack upon the Macedonians, wherever a chance might occur. When he received this news, he stopped the march towards Bactra, and taking with him the Companion cavalry, the horse-lancers, the archers, the Agrianians and the regiments of Amyntas and Coenus, and leaving the rest of his forces there under the command of Craterus, he made a forced march against Satibarzanes and the Areians; and having travelled 600 stades in two days came near Artacoana. Satibarzanes, however, no sooner perceived that Alexander was near, than being struck with terror at the quickness of his arrival, he took to flight with a few Areian horsemen. For he was deserted by the majority of his soldiers in his flight, when they also learned that Alexander was at hand. The latter made rapid marches in pursuit of the enemy, killed some of the men whom he discovered to be guilty of the revolt and who at that time had left their villages, fleeing, some one way, some another; and others of them he sold into slavery. He then proclaimed Arsames, a Persian, viceroy over the Areians. Being now joined by the men who had been left behind with Oraterus, he marched into the land of the Zarangaeans,[4] and reached the place where their seat of government was. But Barsaentes, who at that time had possession of the land, being one of those who had fallen upon Darius in his flight, learning that Alexander was approaching, fled to the Indians who live this side of the river Indus. But they arrested him and sent him back to Alexander, by whom he was put to death on account of his guilty conduct towards Darius.

1. Areia occupied what is now the east part of Khorasan, and the west and north-west of Afghanistan. Susia is the modern Tus.

2. Compare the words of Tissaphernes to Clearchus (Xenophon, Anabasis, ii. 6): "Though the king is the only man who can wear the tiara erect upon his head, I shall be able to wear mine erect upon my heart in, full confidence, when you are in my service." Cf. Curtius (iii. 8); Aristophanes (Birds, 487). The cap of the ordinary Persians was low, loose, and clinging about the head in folds; whereas that of the king was high and erect above the head. From Xenophon (Cyropaedia, viii. 3, 13) we learn that the Persian king's, vest was of a purple colour, half mixed with white, and that no one else was allowed to wear this mixture of white. He had loose trousers of a scarlet colour, and a robe entirely purple. Cf. also Strabo (xv. 3), where the tiara is said to be in the shape of a tower; and Seneca (De Beneficiis, vi. 31); Ammianus, xviii. 8, 5.

3. See Xenophon (Anab., i. 2, 27; Cyropaedia, viii. 3); Curtius (iii. 8).

4. These people are also called Drangians. They lived west of Aiaohosia in Diangiana.


Ch.26: Philotas and Parmenio put to Death

Here also Alexander discovered the conspiracy of Philotas, Son of Parmenio. Ptolemy and Aristobulus say that it had already been reported to him before in Egypt[1]; but that it did not appear to him credible, both on account of the long-existing friendship between them, the honour which he publicly conferred upon his father Parmenio, and the confidence he reposed in Philotas himself. Ptolemy, son of Lagus,, says that Philotas was brought before the Macedonians,[2] that Alexander vehemently accused him, and that he defended himself from the charges. He says also that the divulgfers[3] of the plot came forward and convicted him and his accomplices both by other clear proofs and especially because Philotas himself confessed that he had heard of a certain conspiracy which was being formed against Alexander. He was convicted of having said nothing to the king about this plot, though he visited the royal tent twice a day.[4] He and all the others who had taken part with him in the conspiracy were killed by the Macedonians with their javelins;[5] and Polydamas, one of the Companions, was despatched to Parmenio, carrying letters from Alexander to the generals in Media, Oleander, Sitalces, and Menidas, who had been placed over the army commanded by Parmenio. By these men Parmenio was put to death, perhaps because Alexander deemed it incredible that Philotas should conspire against him and Parmenio not participate in his son's plan; or perhaps, he thought that even if he had no share in it, he would now be a dangerous man if he survived, after the king had violently made away with his son. Moreover he was held in very great respect both by Alexander himself and by all the army, having great influence not only among the Macedonian troops but also among the Grecian auxiliaries, whom lie often used to command according to Alexander's order, both in his own turn and out of his turn, with his sovereign's approbation and satisfaction.[6]

1. According to Plutarch (Alex., 48, 49) Alexander suborned Antigone, the mistress oi Philotas, to reveal his secret conversation.

2. Cf. Gurtim, yi. 32.

3. The word ἐπιμηνυτής is found nowhere else in any Greek author.

4. Full details of the conspiracy and trial of Philotas are given hy Curtius (vi. 25-44).

5. Arrian says nothing about Philotas being put to the torture; but this fast is asserted with ample details by Plutarch (Alex., 49); Diodorut (xvii. 80); Curtive (vi. 42, 43); and JusHn (xii. 5).

6. Full particulars of the murder of Parmenio are given by Curtius (vii. 7-9).


Ch.27: Treatment of Amyntas.— The Ariaspians

They also say that about the same time Amyntas, son of Andromenes, was brought to trial, together with his brothers Polemo, Attains, and Simmias, on the charge of being accessory to the conspiracy against Alexander, on account of their trust in Philotas and their intimate friendship with him. The belief in their participation in the plot was strengthened among the mass of men by the fact that when Philotas was arrested, Polemo, one of the brothers of Amyntas, fled to the enemy. But Amyntas with his other two brothers stayed to await the trial, and defended himself so vigorously among the Macedonians that he was declared innocent of the charge. As soon as he was acquitted in the assembly, he demanded that permission should be given him to go to his brother and bring him back to Alexander. To this the Macedonians acceded; so he went away and on the same day brought Polemo back. On this account he now seemed free from guilt much more than before. But soon after, as he was besieging a certain village, he was shot with an arrow and died of the wound; so that he derived no other advantage from his acquittal except that of dying with an unsullied reputation.[1]

Alexander appointed two commanders over the Companion cavalry, Hephaestion, son of Amyntor, and Clitus, son of Dropidas, dividing the brigade of the Companions into two parts, because he did not wish any one of his friends to have the sole command of so many horsemen, especially as they were the best of all his cavalry, both in public estimation and in martial discipline.[2] He now arrived in the land of the people formerly called Ariaspians, but afterwards named Euergetae, because they assisted Cyrus, son of Oambyses, in his invasion of Scythia.[3] Alexander treated these people, whose ancestors had been serviceable to Cyrus, with honour; and when he ascertained that the men not only enjoyed a form of government unlike that of the other barbarians in that part of the world, but laid claim to justice equally with the best of the Greeks, he set them free, and gave them besides as much of the adjacent country as they asked for themselves; but they did not ask for much. Here he offered sacrifice to Apollo, and arrested Demetrius, one of his confidential body-guards, on suspicion of having been implicated with Philotas in the conspiracy. Ptolemy, son of Lagus, was appointed to the post vacated by Demetrius.

1. For the trial of Amyntas, cf. Curtius, vii. 2-6.

2. Alexander also formed a separate cohort of the men who were pronounced sympathisers with Parmenio, and this cohort afterwards greatly distinguished itself. See Diodorus, xvii. 80; Curtius, vii. 10; Justin, xii. 5.

3. The Ariaspians inhabited the south part of Drangiana on the borders of Gadrosia. The river Etymander, now known as the Hilmend, flowed through their territories. Cf. Curtius, vii. 11; Diodorus, xvii. 81.


Ch.28: Alexander crosses the Hindu-Koosh

After the transaction of this business, he advanced against Bactra and Bessus, reducing the Drangians and Gadrosians[1] to subjection on his march. He also reduced the Arachotians to subjection and appointed Menon viceroy over them. He then reached the Indians, who inhabit the land bordering on that of the Arachotians. All these nations he reached marching through deep snow and his soldiers experiencing scarcity of provisions and severe hardship. Learning that the Areians had again revolted, in consequence of Satibarzanes invading their land with 2,000 cavalry, which he had received from Bessus, he despatched against them Artabazus the Persian with Erigyius and Caranus two of the Companions, also ordering Phrataphernea, viceroy of the Parthians, to assist them in attacking the Areians. An obstinately contested battle then took place between the troops of Erigyius and Caranus and those of Satibarzanes; nor did the barbarians give way until Satibarzanes, encountering Erigyius, was struck in the face with a spear and killed. Then the barbarians gave way and fled with headlong speed.

Meantime Alexander was leading his army towards Mount Caucasus,[2] where he founded a city and named it Alexandreia.[3] Having offered sacrifice here to the gods to whom it was his custom to sacrifice, he crossed Mount Caucasus, after appointing Proexes, a Persian, viceroy over the land, and leaving Neiloxenus son of Satyrus, one of the Companions, with an army as superintendent. According to the account of Aristobulus, Mount Caucasus is as lofty as any in Asia, and most of it is bare, at any rate in that part where Alexander crossed it. This range of mountains stretches out so far that they say even that Mount Taurus, which forms the boundary of Cilicia and Pamphylia, springs from it, as do other great ranges which have been distinguished from the Caucasus by various names according to the position of each, Aristobulus says that in this part of the Caucasus nothing grew except terebinth trees and silphium;[4] notwithstanding which, it was inhabited by many people, and many sheep and oxen graze there; because sheep are very fond of silphium. For if a sheep smells it even from a distance, it runs to it and feeds upon the flower. They also dig up the root, which is devoured by the sheep. For this reason in Cyrene,[5] some drive their flocks as far as possible away from the places where their silphium is growing; others even enclose the place with a fence, so that even if the sheep should approach it they would not be able to get within the enclosure. For the silphium is very valuable to the Cyrenaeans.

Bessus, accompanied by the Persians who had taken part with him in the seizure of Darius, and by 7,000 of the Bactrians themselves and the Daans who dwelt on this side the Tanais,[6] was laying waste the country at the foot of Mount Caucasus, in order to prevent Alexander from marching any further, both by the desolation of the land between the enemy and himself and by the lack of provisions. But none the less did Alexander keep up the march, though with difficulty, both on account of the deep snow and from the want of necessaries; but yet he persevered in his journey. When Bessus was informed that Alexander was now not far off, he crossed the river Oxus,[7] and having burnt the boats upon which he had crossed, he withdrew to Nautaca[8] in the land of Sogdiana. He was followed by Spitamenes and Oxyartes, with the cavalry from Sogdiana, as well as by the Daans from the Tanais. But the Bactrian cavalry, perceiving that, Bessus had resolved to take to flight, all dispersed in various directions to their own abodes.

1. Gadrosia was the furthest province of the Persian empire on the south-east It comprised the south-east part of Beloochistan.

2. This was not the range usually so called, but what was known as the Indian Caucasus, the proper name being Paropanisus. It is now called Hindu-Koosh.

3. This city was probably on the site of Beghram, twenty-five miles north-east of Cabul. See Grote's Greece, vol. xii. ch. 94.

4. There are two kinds of silphium of laserpitium, the Cyrenaic, and the Persian. The latter is usually called asafœtida. See Herodotus (iv. 169); Pliny (Historia Naturalis, xix. 15; xxiii. 48); Aelian (Varia Historia, xii. 37); Aristophanes (Plutus, 925); Plautus (Rud., iii. 2, 16); Catullus (vii. laserpitiferis Cyrenis).

5. Cyrene was a colony founded by Battus from Thera, an island colonized by the Spartans. The territory of Cyrenaica is now a part of Tripoli. Cf. Pindar (Pyth., iv. 457); Herodotus (iv. 159-205)

6. This Tanais was usually called Jaxartes, now Sir, flowing into the sea of Aral.

7. The Oxus, now called Jihoun or Amou, flows into the sea of Aral, but formerly flowed into the Caspian.

8. Some think this town stood where Naksheh now is, and others think it was at Kesch.


Ch.29: Conquest of Bactria, and Pursuit of Bessus across the Oxus

Alexander now arrived at Drapsaca, and having there given his army a rest, he marched to Aornus and Bactra, which are the largest cities in the land of the Bactrians. These he took at the first assault; and left a garrison in the citadel of Aornus, over which he placed Archelaüs son of Androcles, one of the Companions. He appointed Artabazus the Persian, viceroy over the rest of the Bactrians, who were easily reduced to submission. Then he marched towards the river Oxus, which flows from mount Caucasus, and is the largest of all the rivers in Asia which Alexander and his army reached, except the Indian rivers; but the Indian rivers are the largest in the world. The Oxus discharges its water into the great sea which is near Hyrcania. When he attempted to cross the river It appeared altogether impassable; for its breadth was about six stades, and its depth was much greater than the proportion of its breadth. The bed of the river was sandy, and the stream so rapid, that stakes fixed deep into the bottom were easily rooted up from the earth by the mere force of the current, inasmuch as they could not be securely fixed in the sand. Besides this, there was a scarcity of timber in the locality, and he thought it would take a long time and cause great delay, if they brought from a distance the materials needful for making a bridge over the river. Therefore he collected the skins which the soldiers used for tent-coverings, and ordered them to be filled with chaff as dry as possible, and tied and stitched tightly together, so that the water might not penetrate into them.[1] When these were filled and stitched together, they were sufficient to convey the army across in five days. But before he crossed the river, he selected the oldest of the Macedonians, who were now unfit for military service, and such of the Thessalians as had volunteered to remain in the army, and sent them back home. He then dispatched Stasanor, one of the Companions, into the land of the Areians, with instructions to arrest Arsames, the viceroy of that people, because he thought him disaffected, and to assume the office of viceroy of Areia himself.

After passing over the river Oxus, he made a forced march to the place where he heard that Bessus was with his forces; but at this time messengers reached him from Spitamenes and Dataphernes, to announce that they would arrest Bessus and hand him over to Alexander if he would send to them a small army and a commander for it; since even at that very time they were holding him under guard, though they had not bound him with fetters. When Alexander heard this, he gave his army rest, and marched more slowly than before. But he despatched Ptolemy, son of Lagus, at the head of three troops of the Companion cavalry and all the horse-lancers, and of the infantry, the brigade of Philotas, one regiment of 1,000 shield-bearing guards, all the Agrianians, and half the archers, with orders to make a forced march to Spitamenes and Dataphernes. Ptolemy went according to his instructions, and completing ten days' march in four days, arrived at the camp where on the preceding day the barbarians under Spitamenes had bivouacked.

1.Cf. Xenophon, Anab., i. 5, 10.


Ch.30: Capture of Bessus.—Exploits in Sogdiana

Here Ptolemy learned that Spitamenes and Dataphernes were not firmly resolved about the betrayal of Bessus. He therefore left the infantry behind with orders to follow him in regular order, and advanced with the cavalry till he arrived at a certain village, where Bessus was with a few soldiers for Spitamenes and his party had already retired from thence, being ashamed to betray Bessus themselves. Ptolemy posted his cavalry right round the village, which was enclosed by a wall supplied with gates. He then issued a proclamation to the barbarians in the village, that they would be allowed to depart uninjured if they surrendered Bessus to him. They accordingly admitted Ptolemy and his men into the village. He then seized Bessus and departed; but sent a messenger on before to ask Alexander how he was to conduct Bessus into his presence. Alexander ordered him to bind the prisoner naked in a wooden collar, and thus to lead him and place him on the right hand side of the road along which he was about to march with the army. Thus did Ptolemy. When Alexander saw Bessus, he caused his chariot to stop, and asked him, for what reason he had in the first place arrested Darius, his own king, who was also his kinsman and benefactor, and then led him as a prisoner in chains, and at last killed him? Bessus said that he was not the only person who had decided to do this, but that it was the joint act of those who were at the time in attendance upon Darius, with the view of procuring safety for themselves from Alexander. For this Alexander ordered that he should be scourged, and that the herald should repeat the very same reproaches which he had himself made to Bessus in his inquiry. After being thus disgracefully tortured, he was sent away to Bactra to be put to death. Such is the account given by Ptolemy in relation to Bessus; but Aristobulus says that Spitamenes and Dataphernes brought Bessus to Ptolemy, and having bound him naked in a wooden collar betrayed him to Alexander.[1]

Alexander supplied his cavalry with horses from that district, for many of his own horses had perished in the passage of the Caucasus and in the march to and from the Oxus. He then led his army to Maracanda,[2] which is the capital of the land of the Sogdianians. Thence he advanced to the river Tanais. This river, which Aristobulus says the neighbouring barbarians call by a different name, Jaxartes, has its source, like the Oxus, in mount Caucasus, and also discharges itself into the Hyrcanian Sea.[3] It must be a different Tanais from that of which Herodotus the historian speaks, saying that it is the eighth of the Scythian rivers, that it flows out of a great lake in which it originates, and discharges itself into a still larger lake, called the Maeotis.[4] There are some who make this Tanais the boundary of Europe and Asia, saying that the Palus Maeotis, issuing from the furthest recess of the Euxine[5] Sea, and this river Tanais, which discharges itself into the Maeotis, separate Asia and Europe,[6] just in the same way as the sea near Gadeira and the Nomad Libyans opposite Gadeira separates Libya and Europe.[7] Libya also is said by these men to be divided from the rest of Asia by the river Nile. In this place (viz. at the river Tanais), some of the Macedonians, being engaged in foraging, were cut to pieces by the barbarians. The perpetrators of this deed escaped to a mountain, which was very rugged and precipitous on all sides. In number they were about 30,000. Alexander took the lightest men in his army and marched against these. Then the Macedonians made many ineffectual assaults upon the mountain. At first they were beaten back by the missiles of the barbarians, and many of them were wounded, including Alexander himself, who was shot right through the leg with an arrow, and the fibula of his leg was broken. Notwithstanding this, he captured the place, and some of the barbarians were cut to pieces there by the Macedonians, while many also cast themselves down from the rocks and perished; so that out of 30,000 not more than 8,000 were preserved.[8]

1. Curtius (vii. 24) follows the account of Aristobulus, and so does Diodorus (xvii. 83) in the main. Cf. Aelian (Varia Historia, xii. 37).

2. The modern Samarcand.

3. Arrian and Strabo are wrong in stating that the Jáxartes rises in the Caucasus, or Hindu-Koosh. It springs from the Comedae Montes, now called Moussour. It does not flow into the Hyrcanian, or [Caspian Sea]] but into the Sea of Aral. It is about 900 miles long.

4. The river Tanais, of which Herodotus speaks (iv. 45, 57), is the Don; and the Lake Maeotis, is the Sea of Azov. Cf. Strabo (vii. cc. 3 and 4).

5. Euxeinos (kind to strangers); called before the Greeks settled upon it Axenos (inhospitable). See Ovid (Tristia, iv.. 4). C£. Ammianus (xxii. 8, 33): " A contrario per oavillationem Pontus Euxinus adpellatur, et euethen Graeoi dieimus stultum, et nootem euphronen et furias Eumenidas."

6. So Gurtivs (vi. 6) makes the Don the boundary of Etirope and Asia. "Tanais Europam et Asiam medius interfuit." Ammianus says: "Tanais inter Caueasias oriens rupes, per sinuosos labitur circumflexus, Asiamque disterminans ab Europa, in stagnis Maeotieis deliteseit." The Eha, or Volga, is first mentioned by Ptolemy in the second century of the Christian era.

7. Gadeira is now called Cadiz. The Greeks called the continent of Africa by the name of Libya. So Polybius (iii. 37) says that the Don is the boundary of Europe, and that Libya is separated from Asia and Europe respectively by the Nile and the Straits of Gibraltar, or, as he calls the latter, " the mouth at the pillars of Hercules." Arrian here, like many ancient authors, considers Libya a part of Asia. Of. Juvenal, x. i.

8. Curtius (vii. 23) gives an account of the massacre by Alexander of the descendants of the Branchidae, who had surrendered to Xerxes the treasures of the temple of Apollo near Miletus, and who, to escape the vengeance of the Greeks, had accompanied Xerxes into the interior. They had been settled in Sogdiana, and their descendants had preserved themselves distinct from the barbarians for 150 years, till the arrival of Alexander. We learn from the table of contents of the 17th book of Diodorus, that that historian also gave an account of this atrocity of Alexander in the part of his history, now lost, which came after the 83rd chapter. Cf. Herodotus (i. 92, 157; v. 36); Strabo (xi. 11; xiv. 1).


Go to Index of the Book
«« Go to Book-3a
Go to Book-4a»»