The Anabasis of Alexander/4b

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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.15: Alliance with the Scythians and Chorasmians

Another embassy from the European Scythians came to Alexander with the envoys whom he had despatched to those people; for the king who was reigning over them at the time when he sent these envoys, happened to die, and his brother was reigning in his stead. The object of the embassy was to state that the Scythians were willing to do whatsoever Alexander commanded. They were also bringing to him from their king the gifts which among them are deemed most valuable. They said their monarch was willing to give his daughter to Alexander in marriage, in order to confirm the friendship and alliance with him; but if Alexander himself deigned not to marry the princess of the Scythians, then he was willing at any rate to give the daughters of the viceroys of the Scythian territory and of the other mighty men throughout the country of Scythia to the most faithful of Alexander's officers. He also sent word that he would come in person if bidden, in order to hear from Alexander's own mouth what his orders were. At this time also came Pharasmanes, king of the Chorasmians,[1] to Alexander with 1,500 horsemen, who affirmed that he dwelt on the confines of the nations of the Colchians and the women called Amazons,[2] and promised, if Alexander was willing to march against these nations in order to subjugate the races in this district whose territories extended to the Euxine Sea, to act as his guide through the mountains and to supply his army with provisions. Alexander then gave a courteous reply to the men who had come from the Scythians, and one that was adapted to the exigencies of that particular time; but said that he had no need of a Scythian wedding. He also commended Pharasmanes and concluded a friendship and alliance with him, saying that at present it was not convenient for him to march towards the Euxine Sea. After introducing Pharasmanes as a friend to Artabazus the Persian, to whom he had intrusted the government of the Bactrians,[3] and to all the other viceroys who were his neighbours, he sent him back to his own abode. He said that his mind at that time was engrossed by the desire of conquering the Indians; for when he had subdued them, he should possess the whole of Asia. He added that when Asia was in his power he would return to Greece, and thence make an expedition with all his naval and military forces to the eastern extremity of the Euxine Sea through the Hellespont and Propontis.[4] He desired Pharasmanes to reserve the fulfilment of his present promises until then. Alexander then returned to the river Oxus, with the intention of advancing into Sogdiana, because news was brought that many of the Sogdianians had fled for refuge into their strongholds and refused to submit to the viceroy whom he had placed over them. While he was encamping near the river Oxus, a spring of water and near it another of oil rose from the ground not far from Alexander's own tent. When this prodigy was announced to Ptolemy, son of Lagus, the confidential body-guard, he told Alexander, who offered the sacrifices which the prophets directed on account of the phenomenon. Aristander affirmed that the spring of oil was the sign of labours; but it also signified that after the labours there would be victory.

1. The Chorasmians were a people who inhabited the country near the lower part of the river Oxus, between the Caspian and Aral Seas.

2. This mythical race of warlike females is said to have come from the Caucasus and to have settled near the modern Trebizond, their original abode being in Colchis. Cf. Arrian (vii. 13); Strabo(xi. 5); Diod. (xvii. 77); Curt. (vi. 19); Justin (xii· 3); Homer; (Iliad, iii. 189); Aeschylus (Eumenides, 655); Herod (iv. 110-116; ix. 27).

3. See iii. 29 supra.

4. Propontis means the sea before the Pontus. Compare Ovid (Tristia, i. 10, 31):— "Quaque tenent Ponti Byzantia littora fauces."


Ch.16: Subjugation of Sogdiana.— Revolt of Spitamenes

He therefore crossed the river with a part of his army and entered Sogdiana, leaving Polysperchon, Attalus, Gorgias, and Meleager there among the Bactrians, with instructions to guard the land, to prevent the barbarians of that region from making any revolutionary change, and to reduce those who had already rebelled. He divided the army which he had with him into five parts; the first of which he put under the command of Hephaestion, the second under that of Ptolemy, son of Lagus, the confidential body-guard; over the third he put Perdiccas; Ooenus and Artabazus commanded the fourth brigade for him, while he himself took the fifth division and penetrated into the land towards Maracanda.[1] The others also advanced as each found it practicable, reducing by force some of those who had fled for refuge into the strongholds, and capturing others who surrendered to them on terms of capitulation. When all his forces reached Maracanda, after traversing the greater part of the land of the Sogdianians, he sent Hephaestion away to plant colonies in the cities of Sogdiana. He also sent Coenus and Artabazus into Scythia, because he was informed that Spitamenes had fled for refuge thither; but he himself with the rest of his army traversed Sogdiana and easily reduced all the places still held by the rebels. While Alexander was thus engaged, Spitamenes, accompanied by some of the Sogdianian exiles, fled into the land of the Scythians called Massagetians,[2] and having collected 600 horsemen from this nation, he came to one of the forts in Bactriana. Falling upon the commander of this fort, who was not expecting any hostile demonstration, and upon those who were keeping guard with him, he destroyed the soldiers, and capturing the commander, kept him in custody. Being emboldened by the capture of this fort, a few days after he approached Zariaspa; but resolving not to attack the city, he marched away after collecting a great quantity of booty. But at Zariaspa a few of the Companion cavalry had been left behind on the score of illness, and with them Peithon, son of Sosicles,[3] who had been placed over the royal household of attendants at Zariaspa, and Aristonicus the harper. These men, hearing of the incursion of the Scythians, and having now recovered from their illness, took their arms and mounted their horses. Then collecting eighty mercenary Grecian horsemen, who had been left behind to guard Zariaspa, and some of the royal pages, they sallied forth against the Massagetians. Falling upon the Scythians, who had no suspicion of such an event, they deprived them of all the booty at the first onset, and killed many of those who were driving it off. But as no one was in command, they returned without any regard to order: and being drawn into an ambush by Spitamenes and other Scythians, they lost seven of the Companions and sixty of the mercenary cavalry. Aristonicus the harper was also slain there, having proved himself a brave man, beyond what might have been expected of a harper. Peithon, being wounded, was taken prisoner by the Scythians.[4]

1.We learn, from Curtius (viii. 3), that it was at this place that Clitus was murdered.

2. These were a people dwelling to the north-east of the Caspian, who were chiefly remarkable for having defeated and killed Cyrus the Great. See Herodotus, i. 201-216.

3. There were two other generals named Peithon; one the son of Agenor, and the other the son of Crateas. See Arrian, vi. 15, 28, etc.

4.Curtius (viii. 1) says that the name of the defeated general was Attinas.


Ch.17: Defeat and Death of Spitamenes

When this news was brought to Craterus, he made a forced march against the Massagetians, who, when they heard that he was marching against them, fled as fast as they could towards the desert. Following them up closely, he overtook those very men and more than 1,000 other Massagetian horsemen, not far from the desert. A fierce battle ensued, in which the Macedonians were victorious. Of the Scythians, 150 horsemen were slain; but the rest of them easily escaped into the desert, for it was impossible for the Macedonians to pursue them any further. At this time, Alexander relieved Artabazus of the viceroyalty of the Bactrians, at his own request, on the ground of his advanced age; and Amyntas, son of Nicolaus, was appointed viceroy in his stead.[1] Coenus was left with his own brigade and that of Meleager, 400 of the Companion cavalry, and all the horsearchers, besides the Bactrians, Sogdianians and others who were under the command of Amyntas. They were all under strict injunctions to obey Coenus and to winter there in Sogdiana, in order to protect the country and to arrest Spitamenes, if anyhow they might be able to draw him into an ambush, as he was wandering about during the winter. But when Spitamenes saw that every place was occupied by the Macedonians for a garrison, and that there would soon be no way of flight left open to him, he turned round against Coenus and the army with him, thinking that he would be better able to fight in this way. Coming to Bagae, a fortified place in Sogdiana, situated on the confines of the countries of the Sogdianians and the Massagetian Scythians, he easily persuaded 3,000 Scythian horsemen to join him in an invasion of Sogdiana. It is an easy matter to induce these Scythians to engage in one war after another, because they are pinched by poverty, and at the same time have no cities or settled abodes, to give them cause for anxiety about what is most dear to them. When Coenus ascertained that Spitamenes was advancing with his cavalry, he went to meet him with his army. A sharp contest ensued, in which the Macedonians were victorious, so that of the barbarian cavalry over 800 fell in the battle, while Coenus lost 25 horsemen and twelve foot-soldiers. The consequence was, that the Sogdianians who were still left with Spitamenes, as well as most of the Bactrians, deserted him in the flight, and came to Coenus to surrender. The Massagetian Scythians having met with ill-success in the battle, plundered the baggage of the Bactrians and Sogdianians who were serving in the same army as themselves, and then fled into the desert in company with Spitamenes. But when they were informed that Alexander was already on the start to march into the desert, they cut off the head of Spitamenes and sent it to him, with the hope by this deed of diverting him from pursuing them.[2]

1. Artabazus was in his 95th year when he joined Alexander with the Grecian troops of Darius in B.C. 330. See Curtius, vi. 14. His viceroyalty was destined for Clitus; but on the death of that general it was conferred on Amyntas. See Curtius, viii. 3.

2. Curtius (viii. 11 and 12) says that the wife of Spitamenes murdered him and carried his head to Alexander.


Ch.18: Oxyartes Besieged in the Sogdian Rock 327 B.C.

Meantime Coenus returned to Alexander at Nautaca, as also did Craterus, Phrataphernes the viceroy of the Parthians, and Stasanor the viceroy of the Areians, after executing all the orders which Alexander had given them. The king then caused his army to rest around Nautaca, because it was now mid-winter; but he despatched Phrataphernes into the land of the Mardians and Tapurians to fetch Autophradates the viceroy, because, though he had often been sent for, he did not obey the summons. He also sent Stasanor into the land of the Drangians, and Atropates into Media,[1] with the appointment of viceroy over the Medes, because Oxodates seemed disaffected to him. Stamenes also he despatched to Babylon, because news came to him that Mazaeus the Babylonian governor was dead. Sopolis, Epocillus, and Menidas he sent away to Macedonia, to bring him the army up from that country. At the first appearance of spring,[2] he advanced towards the rock in Sogdiana, to which he was informed many of the Sogdianians had fled for refuge; among whom were said to be the wife and daughters of Oxyartes the Bactrian, who had deposited them for safety in that place, as if forsooth it were impregnable. For he also had revolted from Alexander. If this rock was captured, it seemed that nothing would be left to those of the Sogdianians who wished to throw off their allegiance. When Alexander approached it, he found it precipitous on all sides against assault, and that the barbarians had collected provisions for a long siege. The great quantity of snow which had fallen helped to make the approach more difficult to the Macedonians, while at the same time it kept the barbarians supplied with plenty of water. But notwithstanding all this, he resolved to assault the place; for a certain overweening and insolent boast uttered by the barbarians had thrown him into a wrathful state of ambitious pertinacity. For when they were invited to come to terms of capitulation, and it was held out to them as an inducement, that if they surrendered the place, they would be allowed to withdraw in safety to their own abodes, they burst out laughing, and in their barbaric tongue bade Alexander seek winged soldiers, to capture the mountain for him, since they had no apprehension of danger from other men.[3] He then issued a proclamation that the first man who mounted should have a reward of twelve talents,[4] the man who came next to him the second prize, and the third so on in proportion, so that the last reward should be three hundred darics[5] to the last prize-taker who reached the top. This proclamation excited the valour of the Macedonians still more, though they were even before very eager to commence the assault.

1. The Hebrew name for Media is Madai, which means middle-land. The Greeks called the country Media, according to Polybius (v. 44), because it lies near the middle of Asia.

2. Of the year 327 B.C.

3. ωρα, akin to Latin cura, a poetical and Ionic word, often found in Herodotus.

4. About £2,700.

5. About £327. Curtius (vii. 41) says that the first prize was 10 talents, the second 9 talents, and the same proportion for the eight others, so that the tenth man who mounted received one talent. The stater of Darius, usually called a daricus, was a gold coin of Persia, See Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities.


Ch.19: Alexander Captures the Rock and Marries Roxana

All the men who had gained practice in scaling rocks in sieges, banded themselves together to the number of three hundred, and provided themselves with the small iron pegs with which their tents had been fastened to the ground, with the intention of fixing them into the snow, where it might be seen to be frozen hard, or into the ground, if it should anywhere exhibit itself free from snow. Tying strong ropes made of flax to these pegs, they advanced in the night towards the most precipitous part of the rock, which was also most unguarded; and fixing some of these pegs into the earth, where it made itself visible, and others into the snow where it seemed least likely to break up, they hoisted themselves up the rock, some in one place and some in another. Thirty of them perished in the ascent; and as they fell into various parts of the snows, not even could their bodies be found for burial. The rest, however, reached the top of the mountain at the approach of dawn; and taking possession of it, they waved linen flags towards the camp of the Macedonians,[1] as Alexander had directed them to do. He now sent a herald with instructions to shout to the sentries of the barbarians to make no further delay, but surrender at once; since "the winged men" had been found, and the summits of the mountain were in their possession. At the same time the herald pointed at the soldiers upon the crest of the mountain. The barbarians, being alarmed by the unexpectedness of the sight, and suspecting that the men who were occupying the peaks were more numerous than they really were, and that they were completely armed, surrendered, so frightened did they become at the sight of those few Macedonians. The wives and children of many important men were there captured, including those of Oxyartes. This chief had a daughter, a maiden of marriageable age, named Roxana,[2] who was asserted by the men who served in Alexander's army to have been the most beautiful of all Asiatic women, with the single exception of the wife of Darius.[3] They also say that no sooner did Alexander see her than he fell in love with her; but though he was in love with her, he refused to offer violence to her as a captive, and did not think it derogatory to his dignity to marry her. This conduct of Alexander I think worthy rather of praise than blame. Moreover, in regard to the wife of Darius, who was said to be the most beautiful woman in Asia, he either did not entertain a passion for her, or else he exercised control over himself,[4] though he was young, and in the very meridian of success, when men usually act with insolence and violence. On the contrary, he acted with modesty and spared her honour, exercising a great amount of chastity, and at the same time exhibiting a very proper desire to obtain a good reputation.[5]

1. Cf. Curtius (vii. 43), vela, signum capti verticis.

2. Roxana and her son Alexander Aegus were put to death by Cassander, B.C. 311.

3. Statira. She died shortly before the battle of Arbela.

4. καρτερος αυτου. Cf. Theocritus, xv. 94, αμων καρτερος.

5. After the capture of Damascus, Alexander married Barsine, the widow of his rival Memnon, and daughter of Artabazus. She was distinguished for her beauty and accomplishments, having received a Grecian education. By her he had a son named Heracles. See Plutarch (Alex., 21). She and her son were put to death by Polysperchon, B.C.309.


Ch.20: Magnanimous Treatment of the Family of Darius

In relation to this subject there is a story current, that soon after the battle which was fought at Issus between Darius and Alexander, the eunuch who was guardian of Darius's wife escaped and came to him. When Darius saw this man, his first inquiry was, whether his children, wife, and mother were alive? Ascertaining that they were not only alive, but were called queens, and enjoyed the same personal service and attention which they had been accustomed to have with Darius, he thereupon made a second inquiry, whether his wife was still chaste? When he ascertained that she remained so, he asked again whether Alexander had not offered any violence to her to gratify his lust? The eunuch took an oath and said: "O king, thy wife is just as thou didst leave her; and Alexander is the best and most chaste of men." Upon this Darius stretched his hands towards heaven and prayed as follows:— "King Zeus,[1] to whom power has been assigned to regulate the affairs of kings among men, do thou now protect for me especially the empire of the Persians and Medes, as indeed thou didst give it to me. But if I am no longer king of Asia according to thy behest, at any rate do thou hand over my power to no other man but Alexander." Thus not even to enemies, I ween, are chaste actions a matter of unconcern. Oxyartes, hearing that his children were in the power of Alexander, and that he was treating his daughter Roxana with respect, took courage and came to him. He was held in honour at the king's court, as was natural after such a piece of good fortune.[2]

1.Cf. Herodotus, i. 131; Curtius, iv. 42. The Persians called this god Ormuzd.

2. Curtius (viii. 16) says that Alexander saw Roxana at a banquet given by Oxyartes in his honour.


Ch.21: Capture of the Rock of Chorienes

When Alexander had finished his operations among the Sogdianians, and was now in possession of the rock, he advanced into the land of the Paraetacians, because many of the barbarians were said to be holding another rock, a strongly fortified place in that country. This was called the rock of Chorienes; and to it Chorienes himself and many other chiefs had fled for refuge. The height of this rock was about twenty stades, and the circuit about sixty. It was precipitous on all sides, and there was only one ascent to it, which was narrow and not easy to mount, since it had been constructed in spite of the nature of the place. It was therefore difficult to ascend even by men in single file and when no one barred the way. A deep ravine also enclosed[1] the rock all round, so that whoever intended to lead an army up to it, must long before make a causeway of earth over this ravine in order that he might start from level ground, when he led his troops to the assault. Notwithstanding all this, Alexander undertook the enterprise. To so great a pitch of audacity had he advanced through his career of success, that he thought every place ought to be accessible to him,[2] and to be captured by him. He cut down the pines, which were very abundant and lofty all round the mountain, and made ladders of them, so that by means of them the soldiers might be able to descend into the ravine[3]; for otherwise it was impossible for them to do so. During the day-time he himself superintended the work, keeping half of his army engaged in it; and during the night his confidential body-guards, Perdiccas, Leonnatus, and Ptolemy, son of Lagus, in turn with the other half of the army divided into three parts, performed the duty which had been assigned to each for the night. But they could complete no more than twenty cubits in a day, and not quite so much in a night, though the whole army engaged in the labour; so difficult was the place to approach and so hard was the work in it. Descending into the ravine, they fastened pegs into the sharpest and narrowest part of it, distant from each other as far as was consistent with strength to support the weight of what was placed upon them. Upon these they placed hurdles made of willow and osiers, very much in the form of a bridge. Binding these together, they loaded earth above them, so that there might be an approach to the rock for the army on level ground. At first the barbarians derided, as if the attempt was altogether abortive; but when the arrows began to reach the rock, and they were unable to drive back the Macedonians, though they themselves were on a higher level, because the former had constructed screens to ward off the missiles, that they might carry on their labour under them without receiving injury, Chorienes grew alarmed at what was being done, and sent a herald to Alexander, beseeching him to send Oxyartes up to him. Alexander accordingly sent Oxyartes, who on his arrival persuaded Chorienes to entrust himself and the place to Alexander; for he told him that there was nothing which Alexander and his army could not take by storm; and as he himself had entered into an alliance of fidelity and friendship with him, he commended the king's honour and justice in high terms, adducing other examples, and above all his own case for the confirmation of his arguments. By these representations Chorienes was persuaded and came himself to Alexander, accompanied by some of his relations and companions. When he arrived, the king gave him a courteous answer to his inquiries, and retained him after pledging his fidelity and friendship. But he bade him send to the rock some of those who came down with him to order his men to surrender the place; and it was surrendered by those who had fled to it for refuge. Alexander therefore took 500 of his shield-bearing guards and went up to get a view of the rock; and was so far from inflicting any harsh treatment upon Chorienes that he entrusted that very place to him again, and made him governor of all that he had ruled before. It happened that the army suffered much hardship from the severity of the winter, a great quantity of snow having fallen during the siege; while at the same time the men were reduced to great straits from lack of provisions. But Chorienes said he would give the army food for two months; and he gave the men in every tent corn, wine, and salted meat out of the stores in the rock. When he had given them this, he said he had not exhausted even the tenth part of what had been laid up for the siege. Hence Alexander held him in still greater honour, inasmuch as he had surrendered the rock, not so much from compulsion as from his own inclination..

1. Krüger substituted περιειργε for περιέργει.

2. βατά. Cf. Xenophon (Anab., iv. 6, 17).

3. Arrian imitates Heρodotus in the use of ως with the infinitive instead of ωστε.


Ch.22: Alexander reaches the River Cabul, and Receives the Homage of Taxiles

After performing this exploit, Alexander himself went to Bactra; but sent Craterus with 600 of the cavalry Gompanions and his own brigade of infantry as well those of Polysperchon, Attalus, and Alcetas, against Catanes and Austanes, who were the only rebels still remaining in the land of the Paraetacenians.[1] A sharp battle was fought with them in which Craterus was victorious; Catanes being killed there while fighting, and Austanes being captured and brought to Alexander. Of the barbarians with them 120 horsemen and about 1,500 foot soldiers were killed. When Craterus had done this, he also went to Bactra, where the tragedy in reference to Callisthenes and the pages befell Alexander. As the spring was now over, he took the army and advanced from Bactra towards India,[2] leaving Amyntas in the land of the Bactrians with 3,500 horses and 10,000 foot. He crossed the Caucasus[3] in ten days and arrived at the city of Alexandria, which had been founded in the land of the Parapamisadae when he made his first expedition to Bactra. He dismissed from office the governor whom he had then placed over the city, because he thought he was not ruling well. He also settled in Alexandria others from the neighbouring tribes and the soldiers who were now unfit for service in addition to the first settlers, and commanded Nicanor, one of the Companions, to regulate the affairs of the city itself. Moreover he appointed Tyriaspes viceroy of the land of the Parapamisadae and of the rest of the country as far as the river Cophen.[4] Arriving at the city of Nicaea, he offered sacrifice to Athena and then advanced towards the Cophen, sending a herald forward to Taxiles[5] and the otter chiefs on this side the river Indus, to bid them come and meet him as each might find it convenient. Taxiles and the other chiefs accordingly did come to meet him, bringing the gifts which are reckoned of most value among the Indians. They said that they would also present to him the elephants which they had with them, twenty-five in number. There he divided his army, and sent Hephaestion and Perdiccas away into the land of Peucelaotis,[6] towards the river Indus, with the brigades of Gorgias, Clitus,[7] and Meleager, half of the Companion cavalry, and all the cavalry of the Grecian mercenaries. He gave them instructions either to capture the places on their route by force, or to bring them over on terms of capitulation; and when they reached the river Indus, to make the necessary preparations for the passage of the army. With them Taxiles and the other chiefs also marched. When they reached the river Indus they carried out all Alexander's orders. But Astes, the ruler of the land of Peucelaotis, effected a revolt, which both ruined himself and brought ruin also upon the city into which he had fled for refuge. For Hephaestion captured it after a siege of thirty days, and Astes himself was killed. Sangaeus, who had some time before fled from Astes and deserted to Taxiles, was appointed to take charge of the city. This desertion was a pledge to Alexander of his fidelity.

1. This term is a Persian word meaning mountaineers. The tribe mentioned here lived between the rivers Oxus and Jaxartes, on the borders of Bactria and Sogdiana.

2. Curtius (viii. 17) says Alexander took with him 30,000 select troops from all the conquered provinces, and that the army which he led against the Indians numbered 120,000 men.

3. This is the Indian Caucasus, or mount Parapamisus, now called Hindu-Koosh.

4. The Cophen is now called Cabul. Nicaea was probably on the same site as the city of Cabul. Others say it is Beghram. The Greek word Satrapes denotes a Persian viceroy. It is a corruption of a word meaning court-guardian, in the Behistun Inscriptions written Khshatrapa. See Rawlinson's Herod., i. 192.

5. Curtius (viii. 43) says that Taxiles was the title which the king of this district received. His name was Omphis.

6. A district between the rivers Indus and Attock. Its capital, Peucela, is the modern Pekheli.

7. The brigade of Clitus still bore the name of its commander after his death. Cf. Arrian, vii. 14 infra.


Ch.23:Battles with the Aspasians

Alexander now took command of the shield-bearing guards, the Companion cavalry with the exception of those who had been joined with Hephaestion's division, the regiments of what were called foot-Companions, the archers, the Agrianians and thfe horse-lancers, and advanced with them into the land of the Aspasians, Guraeans and Assacenians.[1] Marching by a mountainous and rough road along the river called Choes,[2] which he crossed with difficulty, he ordered the main body of his infantry to follow at leisure; while he himself took all the cavalry, and 800 of the Macedonian infantry whom he mounted upon horses with their infantry shields, and made a forced march, because he had received information that the barbarians who inhabited that district had fled for safety into the mountains which extend through the land and into as many of their cities as were strong enough to resist attack. Assaulting the first of these cities which was situated on his route, he routed, at the first attack without any delay, the men whom he found drawn up in front of the city, and shut them up in it. He was himself wounded by a dart which penetrated through the breastplate into his shoulder; but the wound was only a slight one, for the breastplate prevented the dart from penetrating right through his shoulder. Leonnatus and Ptolemy, son of Lagus, were also wounded. Then he encamped near the city at the place where the wall seemed most easy to assault. At dawn on the following day the Macedonians easily forced their way through the first wall, as it had tiot been strongly built. The city had been surrounded with a double wall. At the second wall the barbarians stood their ground for a short time; but when the scaling ladders were now being fixed, and the defenders were being wounded with darts from all sides, they no longer stayed; but rushed through the gates out of the city towards the mountains. Some of them were killed in the flight and the Macedonians, being enraged because they had wounded Alexander, slew all whom they took prisoners. Most of them, however, escaped into the mountains, because they were not far from the city. Having levelled this city with the ground, he marched to another, named Audaca, which he got possession of by capitulation. He left Craterus there with the other commanders of the infantry to capture all the remaining cities which would not yield of their own accord, and to set the affairs of the whole country in such order as he should find most convenient under the circumstances.

1. These were tribes living in the north-west of the Punjab.

2. Probably the modern Kama, a tributary of the Cabul.


Ch.24: Operations against the Aspasians

Alexander now took command of the shield-bearing guards, the archers, the Agrianians, the brigade of Coenus and Attains, the royal body-guard of cavalry, about four regiments of the other Companion cavalry, and half of the horse-archers, and advanced towards the river Euaspla,[1] where the chieftain of the Aspasians was. After a long journey he arrived at the city on the second day. When the barbarians ascertained that he was approaching they set fire to the city and fled to the mountains. But Alexander followed close upon the fugitives as far as the mountains, and slaughtered many of them before they could manage to get away into the places which were difficult of access. Ptolemy, son of Lagus, observing that the leader himself of the Indians of that district was on a certain hill, and that he had some of his shield-bearing guards round him, though he had with himself far fewer men, yet he still continued to pursue him on horseback. But as the hill was difficult for his horse to run up, lie left it there, handing it over to one of the shield-bearing guards to lead. He then followed the Indian on foot, without any delay. When the latter observed Ptolemy approaching, he turned round, and so did the shield-bearing guards with him. The Indian at close quarters struck Ptolemy on the chest through the breastplate with a long spear, but the breastplate checked the violence of the blow. Then Ptolemy, smiting right through the Indian's thigh, overthrew him, and stripped him of his arms. When his men saw their leader lying dead, they stood their ground no longer; but the men on the mountains, seeing their chieftain's corpse being carried off by the enemy, were seized with indignation, and running down engaged in a desperate conflict over him on the hill. For Alexander himself was now on the hill with the infantry who had dismounted from the horses. These, falling upon the Indians, drove them away to the mountains after a hard struggle, and remained in possession of the corpse. Then crossing the mountains he descended to a city called Arigaeum, and found that this had been set on fire by the inhabitants, who had afterwards fled. There Craterus with his army reached him, after accomplishing all the king's orders; and because this city seemed to be built in a convenient place, he directed that general to fortify it well, and. settle in it as many of the neighbouring people as were willing to live there, together with any of the soldiers who were unfit for service. He then advanced to the place where he heard that most of the barbarians of the district had fled for refuge; and coming to a certain mountain, he encamped at the foot of it. Meantime Ptolemy, son of Lagus, being sent out by Alexander on a foraging expedition, and advancing a considerable distance with a few men to reconnoitre, brought back word to the king that he had observed many more fires in the camp of the barbarians than there were in Alexander's. But the latter did not believe in the multitude of the enemy's fires. Discovering, however, that the barbarians of the district had joined their forces into one body, he left a part of his army there near the mountain, encamped as they were, and taking as many men as seemed sufficient, according to the reports he had received, as soon as they could descry the fires near at hand, he divided his army into three parts. Over one part he placed Leonnatus, the confidential body-guard, joining the brigades of Attains and Balacrus with his own; the second division he put under the lead of Ptolemy, son of Lagus, including the third part of the royal shield-bearing guards, the brigades of Philip and Philotas, two regiments of horse-archers, the Agrianians, and half of the cavalry. The third division he himself led towards the place where most of the barbarians were visible.

1. Supposed to be another name for the Choes.


Ch.25 Defeat of the Aspasians.—The Assacenians and Guraeans Attacked

When the enemy who were occupying the commanding heights perceived the Macedonians approaching, they descended into the plain, being emboldened by their superiority in number and despising the Macedonians, because they were seen to be few. A sharp contest ensued; but Alexander won the victory with ease. Ptolemy's men did not range themselves on the level ground, for the barbarians were occupying a hill. Wherefore Ptolemy, forming his battalions into column, led them to the point where the hill seemed most easily assailable, not surrounding it entirely, but leaving room for the barbarians to flee if they were inclined to do so. A sharp contest also ensued with these men, both from the difficult nature of the ground, and because the Indians are not like the other barbarians of this district. but are far stronger than their neighbours. These men also were driven away from the mountain by the Macedonians. In the same way did Leonnatus with the third division of the army; for his men also defeated those opposed to them. Ptolemy indeed says that all the men were captured, to a number exceeding 40,000, and that 230,000 oxen were also taken, of which Alexander picked out the finest, because they seemed to him to excel both in beauty and size, wishing to send them into Macedonia to till the soil. Thence he marched towards the land of the Assacenians; for he received news that these people had made preparations to fight him, having 20,000 cavalry, more than 30,000 infantry, and 30 elephants. When Craterus had thoroughly fortified the city, for the founding of which he had been left behind, he brought the heavier armed men of his army for Alexander as well as the military engines, in case it might be necessary to lay siege to any place. Alexander then marched against the Assacenians at the head of the Companion cavalry, the horse-archers, the brigades of Coenus and Polysperchon, the Agrianians, the light-armed troops,[1] and the archers. Passing through the land of the Guraeans, he crossed the river Guraeus,[2] which gives its name to the land, with difficulty, both on account of its depth, and because its current is swift, and the stones in the river being round caused those who stepped upon them to stumble.[3] When the barbarians perceived Alexander approaching, they durst not take their stand for a battle in close array, but dispersed one by one to their various cities with the determination of preserving these by resolute fighting.

1. και τους ψιλους. The usual reading is τους χιλίους, 1,000 Agrianians.

2. A tributary of the Cophen, probably what is now called the Lundye, running parallel with the Kama.

3. Cf. Livy, xxi. 31:— "Amnis saxa glareosa volvens, nihil stabile nectutum ingredienti praebet."


Ch.26: Siege of Massaga

IN the first place Alexander led his forces against Massaga1, the largest of the cities in that district ; and when he was approaching the walls, the barbarians being emboldened by the mercenaries whom they had obtained from the more distant Indians to the number of 7,000, when they saw the Macedonians pitching their camp, advanced against them with a run. Alexander, seeing that the battle was about to be fought near the city, was anxious to draw them further away from their walls, so that if they were put to rout, as he knew they would be, they might not be able easily to preserve themselves by fleeing for refuge into the city close at hand. When therefore he saw the barbarians running out, he ordered the Macedonians to turn round and retreat to a certain hill distant something about seven stades from the place where he had resolved to encamp. The enemy being emboldened, as if the Macedonians had already given way, rushed upon them with a run and with no kind of order. But when the arrows began to reach them, Alexander at once wheeled round at the appointed signal, and led his phalanx against them with a run. His horse-javelin-men, Agrianians, and archers first ran forward and engaged with the barbarians, while he himself led the phalanx in regular order. The Indians were alarmed at this unexpected manoeuvre, and as soon as the battle became a hand-to-hand conflict, they gave way and fled into the city. About 200 of them were killed, and the rest were shut up within the walls. Alexander then led his phalanx up to the wall, from which he was soon after slightly wounded in the ankle with an arrow. On the next day he brought up his military engines and easily battered down a piece of the wall; but the Indians so gallantly kept back the Macedonians who were trying to force an entrance where the breach had been made, that he recalled the army for this day. But on the morrow the Maceclonians themselves made a more vigorous assault, and a wooden tower was drawn up to the walls, from which the archers shot at the Indians, and missiles were hurled from the military engines which repulsed them to a great distance. But not even thus were they able to force their way within the wall. On the third day he led the phalanx near again, and throwing a bridge from a military engine over to the part of the wall where the breach had been made, by this he led up the shield-bearing guards, who had captured Tyre for him in a similar way2. But as many were urged on by their ardour, the bridge received too great a weight, and was snapped asunder, so that the Macedonians fell with it. The barbarians, seeing what was taking place, raised a great shout, and shot at them from the wall with stones, arrows, and whatever else any one happened to have at hand, or whatever any one could lay hold of at the time. Others issued forth by the small gates which they had between the towers in the wall, and at close quarters struck the men who had been thrown into confusion by the fall.

1. This was the capital of the Assacenians. Curtius (viii. 37) calls it Mazagae, and describes its strong position.

2. See Bk. ii. 23 supra p.254

27. Sieges of Massaga and Ora

ALEXANDER now sent Alcetas with his own brigade to recover the men who had been severely wounded, and to recall to the camp those who were assailing the enemy. On the fourth day he brought up another bridge against the wall in like manner upon another military engine. The Indians, as long as the ruler of the place survived, defended themselves gallantly; but when he was struck and killed with a missile hurled from an engine, and as some of their number had fallen in the siege, which had gone on without any cessation, while most of them were wounded and unfit for service, they sent a herald to Alexander. He was glad to preserve the lives of brave men ; so he came to terms with the Indian mercenaries on this condition, that they should be admitted into the ranks with the rest of his army and serve as his soldiers. They therefore came out of the city with their arms, and encamped by themselves upon a hill which was facing the camp of the Macedonians; but they resolved to arise by night and run away to their own abodes, because they were unwilling to take up arms against the other Indians. When Alexander received intelligence of this, he placed the whole of his army round the hill in the night, and intercepting them in the midst of their flight, cut them to pieces. He then took the city by storm, denuded as it was of defenders; and captured the mother and daughter of Assacenus1. In the whole siege five-and-twenty of Alexander’s men were killed. Thence he des-patched Coenus to Bazira2, entertaining an opinion that the inhabitants would surrender, when they heard of the capture of Massaga. He also despatched Attalus, Alcetas, and Demetrius the cavalry officer to another city, named Ora, with instructions to blockade it until he himself arrived. The men of this city made a sortie against the forces of Alcetas; but the Macedonians easily routed them, and drove them into the city within the wall. But affairs at Bazira were not favourable to Coenus, for the inhabitants showed no sign of capitulating, trusting to the strength of the place, because not only was it situated on a lofty eminence, but it was also thoroughly fortified all round. When Alexander learnt this, he started off to Bazira; but ascertaining that some of the neighbouring barbarians were about to get into the city of Ora by stealth, being despatched thither by Abisares3 for that very purpose, he first marched to Ora. He ordered Coenus to fortify a certain strong position to serve as a basis of operations against the city of Bazira, and then to come to him with the rest of his army, after leaving in that place a sufficient garrison to restrain the men in the city from enjoying the free use of their land. But when the men of Bazira saw Coenus departing with the larger part of his army, they despised the Macedonians, as not being able to contend with them, and sallied forth into the plain. A sharply contested battle ensued, in which 500 of the barbarians fell, and over seventy were taken prisoners. But the rest, fleeing for refuge into the city4, were now more securely shut off from the country by the men in the fort. The siege of Ora proved an easy matter to Alexander, for he no sooner attacked the walls than at the first assault he got possession of the city, and captured the elephants which had been left there.

1. Curtius (viii. 37, 38) says that the name of the queen was Cleophis, and that after the surrender she gained Alexander's favour. He also informs us that the king died just before Alexander's arrival.

2. Probably Bajour, north-west of Peshawur. The position of Ora cannot be fixed.

3. This was the king of the Indian mountaineers. See Arrian, v. 8 infra.

4. On the ground of εν τη πόλει ξυμφυγόντες not being classical Greek, Krüger has substituted εν τη πόλη ξυμπεθευγόντες, and Sintenis εις την πόλιν ξυμφυγόντες. No one however ought to expect Arrian to be free from error, writing, as he did, in the middle of the second century of the Christian era.


Ch.28: Capture of Oazira.— advance to the rock of Aornus.

WHEN the men in Bazira heard this news, despairing of their own affairs, they abandoned the city about the middle of the night, and fled to the rock as the other barbarians were doing. For all the inhabitants deserted the cities and began to flee to the rock which is in their land, and is called Aornus1. For stupendous is this rock in this land, about which the current report is, that it was found impregnable even by Heracles, the son of Zeus. I cannot affirm with confidence either way, whether the Theban, Tyrian, or Egyptian Heracles2 penetrated into India or not; but I am rather inclined to think that he did not penetrate so far for men are wont to magnify the difficulty of all difficult enterprises to such a degree as to assert that they would have been impracticable even to Heracles. Therefore, I am inclined to think, that in regard to this rock the name of Heracles was mentioned simply to add to the marvellous-ness of the tale. The circuit of the rock is said to be about 200 stades (i.e., about twenty-three miles), and its height where it is lowest, eleven stades (i.e., about a mile and a quarter). There was only one ascent, which was artificial and difficult; on the summit of the rock there was abundance of pure water, a spring issuing from the ground, from which the water flowed; and there was also timber, and sufficient good arable land for 1,000 men to till3. When Alexander heard this, he was seized with a vehement desire to capture this mountain also, especially on account of the legend which was current about Heracles. He then made Ora and Massaga fortresses to keep the land in subjection, and fortified the city of Bazira. Hephaestion and Perdiccas also fortified for him another city, named Orobatis, and leaving a garrison in it marched towards the river Indus. When they reached that river they at once began to carry out Alexander’s instructions in regard to bridging it. Alexander then appointed Nicanor, one of the Companions, viceroy of the land on this side the river Indus; and in the first place leading his army towards that river, he brought over on terms of capitulation the city of Peucelaotis, which was situated not far from it. In this city he placed a garrison of Macedonians, under the command of Philip, and then reduced to subjection some other small towns situated near the same river, being accompanied by Cophaeus and Assagetes, the chieftains of the land. Arriving at the city of Embolima4, which was situated near the rock Aornus, he left Craterus there with a part of the army, to gather as much corn as possible into the city, as well as all the other things requisite for a long stay, so that making this their base of operations, the Macedonians might be able by a long siege to wear out the men who were holding the rock, supposing it were not captured at the first assault. He then took the bowmen, the Agrianians, and the brigade of Coenus, and selecting the lightest as well as the best-armed men from the rest of the phalanx, with 200 of the Companion cavalry and zoo horse-bowmen, he advanced to the rock. This day he encamped where it appeared to him convenient; but on the morrow he approached a little nearer to the rock, and encamped again.

1. This seems to be the Greek translation of the native name, meaning the place to which no bird can rise on account of its height. Cf. Strabo, xv. 1. This mountain was identified by Major Abbot, in 1854, as Mount Mahabunn, near the right bank of the Indus, about 60 miles above its confluence with the Cabul.

2. Cf. Arrian, ii. 16 supra.

3. Curtius (viii. 39) says that the river Indus washed the base of the rock, and that its shape resembled the meta or goal in a race-course, which was a stone shaped like a sugar-loaf. Arrian's description is more likely to be correct as he took it from Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals.

4.Near mount Mahabunn are two places called Umb and Balimah, the one in the valley of the river and the other on the mountain above it. See Major Abbot's Gradus ad Aornon.


Ch.29: Siege of Aornus

AT this juncture some of the natives came to him, and surrendering themselves, offered to lead him to the part of the rock where it could be most easily assailed, and from which it would be easy for him to capture the place. With these he sent Ptolemy, son of Lagus, the confidential bodyguard, in command of the Agrianians and the other light-armed troops, together with picked men from the shield bearing guards. He gave this officer instructions, as soon as he had got possession of the place, to occupy it with a strong guard, and signal to him that it was held. Ptolemy proceeded along a road which was rough and difficult to pass, and occupied the position without the knowledge of the barbarians. After strengthening this position with a stockade and a ditch all round, he raised a beacon from the mountain, whence it was likely to be seen by Alexander. The flame was at once seen, and on the following day the king led his army forward; but as the barbarians disputed his advance, he could do nothing further on account of the difficult nature of the ground. When the barbarians perceived that Alexander could not make an assault, they turned round and attacked Ptolemy, and a sharp battle ensued between them and the Macedonians, the Indians making great efforts to demolish the stockade, and Ptolemy to preserve his position. But the barbarians, getting the worst of it in the skirmish, withdrew as the night came on. Alexander now selected from the Indian deserters a man who was not only devoted to him but acquainted with the locality,1 and sent him by night to Ptolemy, carrying a letter, in which it was written that as soon as the king attacked the rock, Ptolemy was to come down the mountain upon the barbarians, and not be contented with holding his position in guard; so that the Indians, being assailed from both sides at once, might be in perplexity what course to pursue. Accordingly, starting from his camp at daybreak, he led his army up the path by which Ptolemy had ascended by stealth, entertaining the opinion that if he could force his way in this direction and join his forces with those of Ptolemy, the work would no longer be difficult for him; and so it turned out. For until midday a smart battle was kept up between the Indians and the Macedonians, the latter striving to force a way of approach, and the former hurling missiles at them as they ascended. But as the Macedonians did not relax their efforts, advancing one after another, and those who were in advance rested till their comrades came up, after great exertions they gained possession of the pass early in the afternoon, and formed a junction with Ptolemy’s forces. As the whole army was now united, Alexander led it on again against the rock itself. But the approach to it was still impracticable. Such then was the result of this day’s labours. At the approach of the dawn he issued an order that each soldier individually should cut ioo stakes; and when these had been cut he heaped up a great mound towards the rock, beginning from the top of the hill where they had encamped. From this mound he thought the arrows as well as the missiles launched from the military engines would be able to reach the defenders of the rock. Every one in the army assisted him in this work of raising the mound; while he himself superintended it, as an observer, not only commending the man who completed his task with zeal and alacrity, but also chastising him who was dilatory in the pressing emergency.

1. δαήμων, a poetical word. Cf. Homer (Odyssey, viii. 159).


Ch.30: Capture of Aornus. — arrival at the Indus.

ON the first day his army constructed the mound the length of a stade; and on the following day the slingers shooting at the Indians from the part already finished, assisted by the missiles which were hurled from the military engines, repulsed the sallies which they made against the men who were constructing the mound. He went on with the work for three days without intermission, and on the fourth day a few of the Macedonians forcing their way occupied a small eminence which was on a level with the rock. Without taking any rest, Alexander went on with the mound, being desirous of connecting his artificial rampart with the eminence which the few men were now occupying for him. But then the Indians, being alarmed at the indescribable audacity of the Macedonians, who had forced their way to the eminence, and seeing that the mound was already united with it, desisted from attempting any longer to resist. They sent their herald to Alexander, saying that they were willing to surrender the rock, if he would grant them a truce. But they had formed the design of wasting the day by continually (delaying the ratification of the truce, and of scattering themselves in the night with the view of escaping one by one to their own abodes. When Alexander discovered this plan of theirs, he allowed them time to commence their retreat, and to remove the guard which was placed all round the place. He remained quiet until they began their retreat; then taking ‘yoo of the body-guards and shield-bearing infantry, he was the first to scale the rock at the part of it abandoned by the enemy; and the Macedonians ascended after him, one in one place another in another, drawing each other up. These men at the concerted signal turned themselves upon the retreating barbarians, and killed many of them in their flight. Others retreating with panic terror perished by leaping down the precipices; and thus the rock which had been inexplicable to Heracles was occupied by Alexander. He offered sacrifice upon it, and arranged a fort, committing the superintendence of the garrison to Sisicottus, who long before had deserted from the Indians to Besstts in Bactra, and after Alexander had acquired possession of the country of Bactria, entered his army and appeared to be eminently trustworthy.

He now set out from the rock and invaded the land of the Assacenians; for he was informed that the brother of Assacenus, with his elephants and many of the neighbouring barbarians had fled into the mountains in this district. When he arrived at the city of Dyrta1, he found none of the inhabitants either in it or in the land adjacent. On the following day he sent out Nearchus and Antiochus, the colonels of the shield-bearing guards, giving the former the command of the Agrianians and the light-armed troops2, and the latter the command of his own regiment and two others besides. They were despatched both to reconnoitre the locality and to try if they could capture some of the barbarians anywhere in order to get information about the general affairs of the country; and he was especially anxious to learn news of the elephants. He now directed his march towards the river Indus3, and his army going forward made a road, as otherwise this district would have been impassable. Here he captured a few of the barbarians, from whom he learnt that the Indians of that land had fled for safety to Abisares, but that they had left their elephants there to pasture near the river Indus. He ordered these men to show him the way to the elephants. Many of the Indians are elephant-hunters, and these Alexander kept in attendance upon him in high honour, going out to hunt the elephants in company with them. Two of these animals perished in the chase, by leaping down a precipice, but the rest were caught and being ridden by drivers were marshalled with the army. He also as he was marching along the river lighted upon a wood, the timber of which was suitable for building ships; this was cut down by the army, and ships were built for him, which were brought down the river Indus to the bridge, which had long since been constructed for him by Hephaestion and Perdiccas.

1. Probably Dyrta was at the point where the Indus issues from the Hindu-Koosh. Grovovius first introduced και before τους ψιλους.

2. The name Indus is derived from the Sanscrit appellation Sindhu, from a root Syandh, meaning to flow. The name Indians, or Sindians, was originally applied only to the dwellers on the banks of this river. Hindustan is a Persian word meaning the country of the Hindus or Sindus. Compare the modern Sinde, in the north-west of India, which contains the lower course of the Indus. In Hebrew India was called Hodu, which is a contraction of Hondu, another form of Hindu. See Esther i. 1; viii. 9. Krüger changed ωδοποιειτο into ωδοποιει


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