The Anabasis of Alexander/5b
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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.
- 1 Ch.16: Alexander's tactics.
- 2 Ch.17: Defeat of Porus
- 3 Ch.18: Losses of the combatants.— Porus surrenders.
- 4 Ch.19: Alliance with Porus.— death of Bucephalas
- 5 Ch.20: Conquest of the Glausians.— Embassy from Abisares. —Passage of the Acesines (Chenab)
- 6 Ch.21: XXI. Advance beyond the Hydraotes (Ravi)
- 7 Ch.22: Invasion of the Land of the Cathaeans
- 8 Ch.23: Assault upon Sangala
- 9 Ch.24: Capture of Sangala
- 10 Ch.25: The Army refuses to Advance.—Alexander's Speech to the Officers
- 11 Ch.26: Alexander's Speech (continued)
- 12 Ch.27: The Answer of Coenus
- 13 Ch.28: Alexander resolves to Return
- 14 Ch.29: Alexander recrosses the Hydraotes and Acesines
Ch.16: Alexander's tactics.
Such was the arrangement which Porus made of his forces. As soon as Alexander observed that the Indians were drawn up in order of battle, he stopped his cavalry from advancing farther, so that he might take up the infantry as it kept on arriving; and even when the phalanx in quick march had effected a junction with the cavalry, he did not at once draw it out and lead it to the attack, not wishing to hand over his men exhausted with fatigue and out of breath, to the barbarians who were fresh and untired. On the contrary, he caused his infantry to rest until their strength was recruited, riding along round the lines to inspect them1. When he had surveyed the arrangement of the Indians, he resolved not to advance against the centre, in front of which the elephants had been posted, and in the gaps between them a dense phalanx of men arranged; for he was alarmed at the very arrangements which Porus had made here with that express design. But as he was superior in the number of his cavalry, he took the greater part of that force, and marched along against the left wing of the enemy for the purpose of making an attack in this direction. Against the right wing he sent Coenus with his own regiment of cavalry and that of Demetrius, with instructions to keep close behind the barbarians when they, seeing the dense mass of cavalry opposed to them, should ride out to fight them. Seleucus, Antigenes, and Tauron were ordered to lead the phalanx of infantry, but not to engage in the action until they observed2 the enemy’s cavalry and phalanx of infantry thrown into disorder by the cavalry under his own command. But when they came within range of missiles, he launched the horse-archers, 1,000 in number, against the left wing of the Indians, in order to throw those of the enemy who were posted there into confusion by the incessant storm of arrows and by the charge of the horses. He himself with the Companion cavalry marched along rapidly against the left wing of the barbarians, being eager to attack them in ftank while still in a state of disorder, before their cavalry could he deployed in line.
1. See Donaldson's New Gratylus, sec. 178.
2. πριν κατιδωσιν. In Attic, πριν αν is the regular form with the subjunctive; but in Homer and the Tragic writers αν is often omitted.
Ch.17: Defeat of Porus
Meantime the Indians had collected their cavalry from all parts, and were riding along, advancing out of their position to meet Alexander’s charge. Coenus also appeared with his men in their rear, according to his instructions. The Indians, observing this, were compelled to make the line of their cavalry face both ways;1 the largest and best part against Alexander, while the rest wheeled round against Coenus and his forces. This therefore at once threw the ranks as well as the decisions of the Indians into confusion. Alexander, seeing his opportunity, at the very moment the cavalry was wheeling round in the other direction, made an attack on those opposed to him with such vigour that the Indians could not sustain the charge of his cavalry, but were scattered and driven to the elephants, as to a friendly wall, for refuge. Upon this, the drivers of the elephants urged forward the beasts against the cavalry but now the phalanx itself of the Macedonians was advancing against the elephants, the men casting darts at the riders and also striking the beasts themselves, standing round them on all sides. The action was unlike any of the previous contests; for wherever the beasts could wheel round, they rushed forth against the ranks of infantry and demolished the phalanx of the Macedonians, dense as it was. The Indian cavalry also, seeing that the infantry were engaged in the action, rallied again and advanced against the Macedonian cavalry. But when Alexander’s men, who far excelled both in strength and military discipline, got the mastery over them the second time, they were again repulsed towards the elephants and cooped up among them. By this time the whole of Alexander’s cavalry had collected into one squadron, not by any command of his, but having settled into this arrangement by the mere effect of the struggle itself; and wherever it fell upon the ranks of the Indians they were broken lip with great slaughter. The beasts being now cooped up into a narrow space, their friends were no less injured by them than their foes, being trampled down in their wheeling and pushing about. Accordingly there ensued a great slaughter of the cavalry, cooped tip as it was in a narrow space around the elephants. Most of the keepers of the elephants had been killed by the javelins, and some of the elephants themselves had been wounded, while others no longer kept apart in the battle on account of their sufferings or from being destitute of keepers. But, as if frantic with pain, rushing forward at friends and foes alike, they pushed about, trampled down and killed them in every kind of way. However, the Macedonians inasmuch as they were attacking the beasts in an open space and in accordance with their own plan, got out of their way whenever they rushed at them; and when they wheeled round to return, followed them closely and hurled javelins at them; whereas the Indians retreating among them were now receiving greater injury from them. But when the beasts were tired out, and were no longer able to charge with any vigour, they began to retire slowly, facing the foe like ships backing water,’ merely uttering a shrill piping sound. Alexander himself surrounded the whole line with his cavalry, and gave the signal that the infantry should link their shields together so as to form a very densely closed body, and thus advance in phalanx. By this means the Indian cavalry, with the exception of a few men, was quite cut up in the action; as was also the infantry, since the Macedonians were now pressing upon them from all sides. Upon this, all who could do so turned to flight through the spaces which intervened between the parts of Alexander’s cavalry.
1. Cf. Arrian's Tactics, chap. 29.
Ch.18: Losses of the combatants.— Porus surrenders.
At the same time Craterus and the other officers of Alexander’s army who had been left behind on the bank of the Hydaspes crossed the river, when they perceived that Alexander was winning a brilliant victory. These men, being fresh, followed up the pursuit instead of Alexander’s exhausted troops, and made no less a slaughter of the Indians in their retreat. Of the Indians little short of 20,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry were killed in this battle.1 All their chariots were broken to pieces; and two sons of Porus were slain, as were also Spitaces, the governor of the Indians of that district, the managers of the elephants and of the chariots, and all the cavalry officers and generals of Porus’s army. All the elephants which were not killed there, were captured. Of Alexander’s forces, about 80 of the 6,000 foot-soldiers who were engaged in the first attack were killed,; 10 of the horse-archers, who were also the first to engage in the action; about 20 of the Companion cavalry, and about 200 of the other horsemen fell2. When Porus, who exhibited great talent in the battle, performing the deeds not only of a general but also of a valiant soldier, observed the slaughter of his cavalry, and some of his elephants lying dead, others destitute of keepers straying about in a forlorn condition, while most of his infantry had perished, he did not depart as Darius the Great King did, setting an example of flight to his men; but as long as any body of Indians remained compact in the battle, he kept up the struggle. But at last, having received a wound on the right shoulder, which part of his body alone was unprotected during the battle, he wheeled round. His coat of mail warded off the missiles from the rest of his body, being extraordinary both for its strength and the close fitting of its joints, as it was afterwards possible for those who saw him to observe. Then indeed he turned his elephant round and began to retire. Alexander, having seen that he was a great man and valiant in the battle, was very desirous of saving his life. He accordingly sent first to him Taxiles the Indian ; who rode up as near to the elephant which was carrying Porus as seemed to him safe, and bade him stop the beast, assuring him that it was no longer possible for him to flee, and bidding him listen to Alexander’s message. But when he saw his old foe Taxiles, he wheeled round and was preparing to strike him with a javelin; and perhaps he would have killed him, if he had not quickly driven his horse forward out of the reach of Porus before he could strike him. But not even on this account was Alexander angry with Porus; but he kept on sending others in succession; and last of all Meroës an Indian, because he ascertained that he was an old friend of Porus. As soon as the latter heard the message brought to him by Meroës, being at the same time overcome by thirst, he stopped his elephant and dismounted from it. After he had drunk some water and felt refreshed, he ordered Meroës to lead him without delay to Alexander; and Meroës led him thither.3
1. Diodorus (xvii. 89) says that more than 12,000 Indians were killed in this battle, over 9,000 being captured, besides 80 elephants.
2. According to Diodorus there fell of the Macedonians 280 cavalry and more than 700 infantry. Plutarch (Alex. 60) says that the battle lasted eight hours.
3. Curtius (viii. 50, 51) represents Porus sinking half dead, and being protected to the last by his faithful elephant. Diodorus (xvii. 88) agrees with him
Ch.19: Alliance with Porus.— death of Bucephalas
When Alexander heard that Meroës was bringing Porus to him, he rode in front of the line with a few of the Companions to meet Porus; and stopping his horse, he admired his handsome figure and his stature, which reached somewhat above five cubits. He was also surprised that he did not seem to be cowed in spirit, but advanced to meet him as one brave man would meet another brave man, after having gallantly struggled in defence of his own kingdom against another king. Then indeed Alexander was the first to speak, bidding him say what treatment he would like to receive. The report goes that Porus replied: "Treat me, Alexander, in a kingly way!" Alexander being pleased at the expression, said: "For my own sake, Porus, thou shalt be thus treated; but for thy own sake do thou demand what is pleasing to thee!" But Porus said that everything was included in that, Alexander, being still more pleased at this remark, not only granted him the rule over his own Indians, but also added another country to that which he had before, of larger extent than the former. Thus he treated the brave man in a kingly way, and from that time found him faithful in all things. Such was the result of Alexander's battle with Porus and the Indians living beyond the river Hydaspes, which was fought in the archonship of Hegemon at Athens, in the month Munychion (18 April to 18 May, 326 B.C.).
Alexander founded two cities, one where the battle took place, and the other on the spot whence he started to cross the river Hydaspes; the former he named Nicaea, after his victory over the Indians, and the latter Bucephala in memory of his horse Bucephalas, which died there, not from having been wounded by any one, but from the effects of toil and old age; for he was about thirty years old, and quite worn out with toil. This Bucephalas had shared many hardships and incurred many dangers with Alexander during many years, being ridden by none but the king, because he rejected all other riders. He was both of unusual size and generous in mettle. The head of an ox had been engraved upon him as a distinguishing mark, and according to some this was the reason why he bore that name; but others say, that though he was black he had a white mark upon his head which bore a great resemblance to the head of an ox. In the land of the Uxians this horse vanished from Alexander, who thereupon sent a proclamation throughout the country that he would kill all the inhabitants, unless they brought the horse back to him. As a result of this proclamation it was immediately brought back. So great was Alexander's attachment to the horse, and so great was the fear of Alexander entertained by the barbarians. Let so much honour be paid by me to this Bucephalas for the sake of his master.
1. Cf. Curtius, viii. 44; Justin, xii. 8.
2. Cf. Arrian, ii. 10 supra. δεουλωμένος τη γνωμη. The Scholiast on Thucydides iv. 34, explains this by τεταπεινωμένος φοβω.
3. Cf. Plutarch (Alex., 60); Curtius, viii. 51.
4. Diodorus (xvii. 87) says that the battle was fought in the archonship of Chremes at Athens.
6. Cf. Plutarch (Alex., 61). Schmieder says that Alexander could not have broken in the horse before he was sixteen years old. But since at this time he was in his twenty-ninth year he would have had him thirteen years. Consequently the horse must have been at least seventeen years old when he acquired him. Can any one believe this? Yet Plutarch also states that the horse was thirty years old at his death.
7. Curtius (vl. 17) says this occurred in the land of the Mardians; whereas Plutarch (Alex., 44) says it happened in Hyrcania.
WHEN Alexander had paid all due honours to those who had been killed in the battle, he offered the customary sacrifices to the gods in gratitude for his victory, and celebrated a gymnastic and horse contest upon the bank of the Hydaspes at the place where he first crossed with his army1. He then left Craterus behind with a part of the army, to erect and fortify the cities which he was founding there; but he himself marched against the Indians conterminous with the dominion of Porus. According to Aristobulus the name of this nation was Glauganicians; but Ptolemy calls them Glausians. I am quite indifferent which name it bore. Alexander traversed their land with half the Companion cavalry, the picked men from each phalanx of the infantry, all the horse-bowmen, the Agrianians, and the archers. All the inhabitants came over to him on terms of capitulation; and he thus took thirty-seven cities, the inhabitants of which, where they were fewest, amounted to no less then 5,000, and those of many numbered above 10000. He also took many villages, which were no less populous than the cities. This land also he granted to Porus to rule; and sent Taxiles back to his own abode after effecting a reconciliation between him and Porus. At this time arrived envoys from Abisares,2 who told him that their king was ready to surrender himself and the land which he ruled. And yet before the battle which was fought between Alexander and Porus, Abisares intended to join his forces with those of the latter. On this occasion he sent his brother with the other envoys to Alexander, taking with them money and forty elephants as a gift. Envoys also arrived from the independent Indians, and from a certain other Indian ruler named Porus.3 Alexander ordered Abisares to come to him as soon as possible, threatening that unless he came he would see him arrive with his army at a place where he would not rejoice to see him. At this time Phrataphernes, viceroy of Parthia and Hyrcania, came to Alexander at the head of the Thracians who had been left with him. Messengers also came from Sisicottus, viceroy of the Assacenians, to inform him that those people had slain their governor and revolted from Alexander. Against these he dispatched Philip and Tyriaspes with an army, to arrange and set in order the affairs of their land. He himself advanced towards the river Acesines.4 Ptolemy, son of Lagus, has described the size of this river alone of those in India, stating that where Alexander crossed it with his army upon boats and skins, the stream was rapid and the channel was full of large and sharp rocks, over which the water being violently carried seethed and dashed. He says also that its breadth amounted to fifteen stades; that those who went over upon skins had an easy passage but that not a few of those who crossed in the boats perished there in the water, many of the boats being wrecked upon the rocks and dashed to pieces. From this description theft it would be possible for one to come to a conclusion by comparison, that the size of the river Indus has been stated not far from the fact by those who think that its mean breadth is forty stades, but that it contracts to fifteen stades where it is narrowest and therefore deepest; and that this is the width of the Indus in many places. I come then to the conclusion that Alexander chose a part of the Acesines where the passage was widest, so that he might find the stream slower than elsewhere.
1. Diodorus (xvii. 89), says Alexander made a halt of 30 days after this battle.
2. Cf. Arrian, v. 8 supra, where an earlier embassy from Abisares is mentioned.
3. Strabo (xv. 1) says that this Porus was a cousin of the Porus captured by Alexander.
4. This is the Chenab. See Arrian (Indica, iii.), who says that where it joins the Indus it is 30 stades broad.
AFTER crossing the river1, he left Coenus with his own brigade there upon the bank, with instructions to superintend the passage of the part of the army which had been left behind for the purpose of collecting2 corn and other supplies from the country of the Indians which was already subject to him. He now sent Porus away to his own abode, commanding him to select the most warlike of the Indians and take all the elephants he had and come to him. He resolved to pursue the other Porus, the bad one, with the lightest troops in his army, because he was informed that he had left the land which he ruled and had fled. For this Porus, while hostilities subsisted between Alexander and the other Porus, sent envoys to Alexander offering to surrender both himself and the land subject to him, rather out of enmity to Porus than from friendship to Alexander. But when he ascertained that the former had been released, and that he was ruling over another large country in addition to his own, then, fearing not so much Alexander as the other Porus, his namesake, he fled from his own land, taking with him as many of his warriors as he could persuade to share his flight. Against this man Alexander marched, and arrived at the Hydraotes3, which is another Indian river, not less than the Acesines (Chenab) in breadth, but less in swiftness of current. He traversed the whole country as far as the Hydraotes, leaving garrisons in the most suitable places, in order that Craterus and Coenus might advance with safety, scouring most of the land for forage. Then he dispatched Hephaestion into the land of the Porus who had revolted, giving him a part of the army, comprising two brigades of infantry, his own regiment of cavalry with that of Demetrius and half of the archers, with instructions to hand the country over to the other Porus, to win over any independent tribes of Indians which dwelt near the banks of the river Hydraotes, and to give them also into the hands of Porus to rule. He himself then crossed the river Hydraotes, not with difficulty, as he had crossed the Acesines. As he was advancing into the country beyond the bank of Hydraotes, it happened that most of the people yielded themselves up on terms of capitulation; but some came to meet him with arms, while others who tried to escape he captured and forcibly reduced to obedience.
1. Diodorus (xvii. 95) says that Alexander received a reinforcement from Greece at this river of more than 30,000 infantry and nearly 6,000 cavalry; also suits of armour for 25,000 infantry, and 100 talents of medical drugs.
2. Μέλλειν is usually connected with the future infinitive; but Arrian frequently uses it with the present.
3. Now called the Ravi.
Ch.22: Invasion of the Land of the Cathaeans
MEANTIME he received information that the tribe called Cathaeans and some other tribes of the independent Indians were preparing for battle, if he approached their land; and that they were summoning to the enterprise all the tribes conterminous with them who were in like manner independent. He was also informed that the city, Sangala by name1, near which they were thinking of having the struggle, was a strong one. The Cathaeans themselves were considered very daring and skillful in war; and two other tribes of Indians, the Oxydracians and Mallians, were in the same temper as the Cathaeans. For a short time before, it happened that Porus and Abisares had marched against them with their own forces and had roused many other tribes of the independent Indians to arms, but were forced to retreat without effecting anything worthy of the preparations they had made. When Alexander was informed of this, he made a forced march against the Cathaeans, and on the second day after starting from the river Hydraotes he arrived at a city called Pimprama, inhabited by a tribe of Indians named Adraistaeans, who yielded to him on terms of capitulation. Giving his army a rest the next day, he advanced on the third day to Sangala, where the Cathaeans and the other neighbouring tribes had assembled and marshalled themselves in front of the city upon a hill which was not precipitous on all sides. They had posted their waggons all round this hill and were encamping within them in such a way that they were surrounded by a triple palisade of waggons. When Alexander perceived the great number of the barbarians and the nature of their position, he drew up his forces in the order which seemed to him especially adapted to his present circumstances, and sent his horse-archers at once without any delay against them, ordering them to ride along and shoot at them from a distance; so that the Indians might not be able to make any sortie, before his army was in proper array, and that even before the battle commenced they might be wounded within their stronghold. Upon the right wing he posted the guard of cavalry and the cavalry regiment of Clitus; next to these the shield-bearing guards, and then the Agrianians. Towards the left he had stationed Perdiccas with his own regiment of cavalry, and the battalions of foot Companions. The archers he divided into two parts and placed them on each wing. While he was marshalling his army, the infantry and cavalry of the rear-guard came up. Of these, he divided the cavalry into two parts and led them to the wings, and with the infantry which came up he made the ranks of the phalanx more dense and compact. He then took the cavalry which had been drawn up on the right, and led it towards the waggons on the left wing of the Indians; for here their position seemed to him more easy to assail, and the waggons had not been placed together so densely.
Ch.23: Assault upon Sangala
As the Indians did not run out from behind the waggons against the advancing cavalry, but mounted upon them and began to shoot from the top of them, Alexander, perceiving that it was not the work for cavalry, leaped down from his horse, and on foot led the phalanx of infantry against them. The Macedonians without difficulty forced the Indians from the first row of waggons; but then the Indians, taking their stand in front of the second row, more easily repulsed the attack, because they were posted in denser array in a smaller circle. Moreover the Macedonians were attacking them likewise in a confined space, while the Indians were secretly creeping under the front row of waggons, and without regard to discipline were assaulting their enemy through the gaps left between the waggons as each man found a chance1. But nevertheless even from these the Indians were forcibly driven by the phalanx of infantry. They no longer made a stand at the third row, but fled as fast as possible into the city and shut themselves up in it. During that day Alexander with his infantry encamped round the city, as much of it, at least, as his phalanx could surround for he could not with his camp completely encircle the wall, so extensive was it. Opposite the part uninclosed by his camp, near which also was a lake, he posted the cavalry, placing them all round the lake, which he discovered to be shallow. Moreover, he conjectured that the Indians, being terrified at their previous defeat, would abandon the city in the night; and it turned out just as he had conjectured; for about the second watch of the night most of them dropped down from the wall, but fell in with 2 the sentinels of cavalry.
The foremost of them were cut to pieces by these; but the men behind them perceiving that the lake was guarded all round, withdrew into the city again. Alexander now surrounded the city with a double stockade, except in the part where the lake shut it in, and round the lake he posted more perfect guards. He also resolved to bring military engines up to the wall, to batter it down. But some of the men in the city deserted to him, and told him that the Indians intended that very night to steal out of the city and escape by the lake, where the gap in the stockade existed. He accordingly stationed Ptolemy, son of Lagus, there, giving him three regiments of the shield-bearing guards, all the Agrianians, and one line of archers, pointing out to him the place where he especially conjectured the barbarians would try to force their way. “When thou perceivest the barbarians forcing their way here,” said he, “do thou, with the army obstruct their advance, and order the bugler to give the signal. And do you, 0 officers, as soon as the signal has been given, each being arrayed in battle order with your own men, advance towards the noise, wherever the bugle summons you. Nor will I myself withdraw from the action.”
1. Compare Csesar (Bell. Gall., i. 26): pro vallo carros objecerant et e loco superiore in nostros venientes tela conjiciebant, et nonnulli inter carros rotasque mataras ac tragulas subjiciebant nostrosque vulnerabant.
2. εγκυρειν is an epic and Ionic word rarely used in Attic; but found frequently in Herodotus, Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar.
Ch.24: Capture of Sangala
SUCH were the orders he gave; and Ptolemy collected there as many waggons as he could from those which had been left behind in the first flight, and placed them athwart, so that there might seem to the fugitives in the night to be many difficulties in their way; and as the stockade had. been knocked down, or had not been firmly fixed in the ground, he ordered his men to heap up a mound of earth in various places between the lake and the wall. This his soldiers effected in the night. When it was about the fourth watch1, the barbarians, just as Alexander had been informed, opened the gates towards the lake, and made a run in that direction. However they did not escape the notice of the guards there, nor that of Ptolemy, who had been placed behind them to render aid. But at this moment the buglers gave the signal for him, and he advanced against the barbarians with his army fully equipped and drawn up in battle array. Moreover the waggons and the stockade which had been placed in the intervening space were an obstruction to them. When the bugle sounded and Ptolemy attacked them, killing the men as they kept on stealing out through the waggons, then indeed they turned back again into the city; and in their retreat 500 of them were killed. In the meanwhile Porus arrived, bringing with him the elephants that were left to him, and 5,000 Indians. Alexander had constructed his military engines and they were being led up to the wall; but before any of it was battered down, the Macedonians took the city by storm, digging under the wall, which was made of brick, and placing scaling ladders against it all round. In the capture a 7,000 of the Indians were killed, and above 70,000 were captured, besides 300 chariots and ~co cavalry. In the ~~‘hole siege a little less than 100 of Alexander’s army were killed; but the number of the wounded was greater than the proportion of the slain, being more than 1,200, among whom were Lysimacbus, the confidential body-guard, and other officers. After burying the dead according to his custom, Alexander sent Eurnenes, the secretary2, with 300 cavalry to the two cities which had joined Sangala in revolt, to tell those who held them about the capture of Sangala, and to inform them that they would receive no harsh treatment from Alexander if they stayed there and received him as a friend; for no harm had happened to any of the other independent Indians who had surrendered to him of their own accord. But they had become frightened, and had abandoned the cities and were fleeing; for the news had already reached them that Alexander had taken Sangala by storm. When Alexander was informed of their flight he pursued them with speed; but most of them were too quick for him, and effected their escape, because the pursuit began from a distant starting-place. But all those who were left behind in the retreat from weakness, were seized by the army and killed, to the number of about 5oo. Then, giving up the design of pursuing the fugitives any further, he returned to Sangala, and razed the city to the ground. He added the land to that of the Indians who had formerly been independent, but who had then voluntarily submitted to him. He then sent Porus with his forces to the cities which had submitted to him, to introduce garrisons into them ; whilst he himself with his army, advanced to the river Hyphasis3, to subjugate the Indians beyond it. Nor did there seem to him any end of the war, so long as anything hostile to him remained.
2. Eumenes, of Cardia in Thrace, was private secretary to Philip and Alexander. After the death of the latter, he obtained the rule of Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, and Pontus. He displayed great ability both as a general and statesman; but was put to death by Antigonus in B.C. 316, when he was 45 years of age. Being a Greek, he was disliked by the Macedonian generals, from whom he experienced very unjust treatment. It is evident from the biographies of him written by Plutarch and Cornelius Nepos, that he was one of the most eminent men of his era.
Ch.25: The Army refuses to Advance.—Alexander's Speech to the Officers
IT was reported that the country beyond the river Hyphasis (Beas) was fertile, and that the men were good agriculturists, and gallant in war; and that they conducted their own political affairs in a regular and constitutional manner. For the multitude was ruled by the aristocracy, who governed in no respect contrary to the rules of moderation. It was also stated that the men of that district possessed a much greater number of elephants than the other Indians, and that they were men of very great stature, and excelled in valour. These reports excited in Alexander an ardent desire to advance farther; but the spirit of the Macedonians now began to flag, when they saw the king raising one labour after another, and incurring one danger after another. Conferences were held throughout the camp, in which those who were the most moderate bewailed their lot, while others resolutely declared that they would not follow Alexander any farther, even if he should lead the way. When he heard of this, before the disorder and pusillanimity of the soldiers should advance to a greater degree, he called a council of the officers of the brigades and addressed them as follows:
—“ O Macedonians and Grecian allies, seeing that you no longer follow me into dangerous enterprises with a resolution equal to that which formerly animated you, I have collected you together into the same spot, so that I may either persuade you to march forward with me, or may be persuaded by you to return. If indeed the labours which you have already undergone up to our present position seem to you worthy of disapprobation, and if you do not approve of my leading you into them, there can be no advantage in my speaking any further. But, if as the result of these labours, you hold possession of Ionia1, the Hellespont, both the Phrygias, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Lydia, Caria, Lycia, Pamphylia, Phoenicia, Egypt together with Grecian Libya, as well as part of Arabia, Hollow Syria, Syria between the rivers, Babylon, the nation of the Susians, Persia, Media, besides all the nations which the Persians and the Medes ruled, and many of those which they did not rule, the land beyond the Caspian Gates, the country beyond the Caucasus, the Tanais, as well as the land beyond that river, Bactria, Hyrcania, and the Hyrcanian Sea; if we have also subdued the Scythians as far as the desert; if in addition to these, the river Indus flows through our territory, as do also the Hydaspes (Jhelum), the Acesines (Chenab), and the Hydraotes (Ravi), why do ye shrink from adding the Hyphasis (Beas) also, and the nations beyond this river, to your empire of Macedonia? Do ye fear that your advance will be stopped in the future by any other barbarians? Of whom some submit to us of their own accord, and others are captured in the act of fleeing, while others, succeeding in their efforts to escape, hand over to us their deserted land, which we add to that of our allies, or to that of those who have voluntarily submitted to us.
1. In the Hebrew Bible Javan denotes the Ionian race of Greeks, and then the Greeks in general (Gen. x. 2, 4; Isa. lxvi. 19; Ezek. xxvii. 13; Joel iii. 6; Zech. ix. 13). In Dan. viii. 21, x. 20, xi. 2, Javan stands for the kingdom of Alexander the Great, comprising Macedonia as well as Greece. The form of the name Javan is closely connected with the
2. Coele-Syria, or the Hollow Syria, was the country between the ranges of Libanus and Antilibanus. Syria between the rivers is usually called by its Greek name of Mesopotamia. It is the Padan Aram of the Bible. Cappadocia embraced the whole northeastern part of the peninsula of Asia Minor. Slaves were procured from this region. See Horace (Epistles, i. 6, 39); Persius, vi. 77. The name Pamphylia is from παν and φυλἠ, because of the mixed origin of the inhabitants.
Ch.26: Alexander's Speech (continued)
"I, for my part, think, that to a brave man there is no end to labours except the labours themselves, provided they lead to glorious achievements. But if any one desires to hear what will be the end to the warfare itself, let him learn that the distance still remaining before we reach the river Ganges and the Eastern Sea is not great; and I inform you that the Hyrcanian Sea will be seen to be united with this, because the Great Sea encircles the whole earth. I will also demonstrate both to the Macedonians and to the Grecian allies, that the Indian Gulf is confluent with the Persian, and the Hyrcanian Sea with the Indian Gulf. From the Persian Gulf our expedition will sail round into Libya as far as the Pillars of Heracles. From the pillars all the interior of Libya becomes ours, and so the whole of Asia will belong to us, and the limits of our empire, in that direction, will be those which God has made also the limits of the earth. But, if we now return, many warlike nations are left unconquered beyond the Hyphasis as far as the Eastern Sea, and many besides between these and Hyrcania in the direction of the north wind, and not far from these the Scythian races. Wherefore, if we go back, there is reason to fear that the races which are now held in subjection, not being firm in their allegiance, may be excited to revolt by those who are not yet subdued. Then our many labours will prove to have been in vain; or it will be necessary for us to incur over again fresh labours and dangers, as at the beginning. But, O Macedonians and Grecian allies, stand firm! Glorious are the deeds of those who undergo labour and run the risk of danger; and it is delightful to live a life of valour and to die leaving behind immortal glory. Do ye not know that our ancestor reached so great a height of glory as from being a man to become a god, or to seem to become one, not by remaining in Tiryns or Argos, or even in the Pelopounese or at Thebes? The labours of Dionysus were not few, and he was too exalted a deity to be compared with Heracles. But we, indeed, have penetrated into regions beyond Nysa; and the rock of Aornus, which Heracles was unable to capture, is in our possession. Do ye also add the parts of Asia still left unsubdued to those already acquired, the few to the many. But what great or glorious deed could we have performed, if, sitting at ease in Macedonia, we had thought it sufficient to preserve our own country without any labour, simply repelling the attacks of the nations on our frontiers, the Thracians, Illyrians, and Triballians, or even those Greeks who were unfriendly to our interests? If, indeed, without undergoing labour and being free from danger I were acting as your commander, while you were undergoing labour and incurring danger, not without reason would you be growing faint in spirit and resolution, because you alone would be sharing the labours, while procuring the rewards of them for others. But now the labours are common to you and me, we have an equal share of the dangers, and the rewards are open to the free competition of all. For the land is yours, and you act as its viceroys. The greater part also of the money now comes to you; and when we have traversed the whole of Asia, then, by Zeus, not merely having satisfied your expectations, but having even exceeded the advantages which each man hopes to receive, those of you who wish to return home I will send back to their own land, or I will myself lead them back; while those who remain here, I will make objects of envy to those who go back."
Greek Ion, which originally had a digamma, Ivon. Pott says that it means the young, in opposition to the Graikci, the old. According to Aristotle (Meteorologica, i. 14) the Hellenes were originally called Graikoi. Cf. Sanscrit, jewan; Zend, jawan; Latin, juvenis; English, young.
1. Cf. Arrian (Anabasis, vii. 1; Indica, 43). Herodotus (iv. 42) says that Pharaoh Neco sent a Phoenician expedition from the Bed Sea, which circumnavigated Africa and returned by the Straits of Gibraltar, or the Pillars of Hercules. The Carthaginian Hanno is said to have sailed from Cadiz to the extremity of Arabia. See Pliny (Historia Naturalis, ii. 67; v. 1). Herodotus (iv. 43) says that the Carthaginians asserted they had sailed round Africa. There is a Greek translation of Hanno's Periplus still extant. As to the Pillars of Hercules, see Aelian (Varia Historia, v. 3). They are first mentioned by Pindar (Olym. iii. 79; Nem. iii. 36).
2. Arrian, like many other ancient writers, includes Africa, or Libya, as a part of Asia. The boundaries were the Eastern Sea and the Atlas Mountains. Cf. Arrian, iii. 30; vii. 1 and 30. The name Asia first occurs in Homer (Iliad, ii. 461), in reference to the marsh about the Cayster, and was thence gradually extended over the whole continent.
3. The interior of Africa, from the Straits of Gibraltar to Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the then unexplored South.
4. Heracles, from whom the Macedonian kings claimed to be descended.
6. See chap. 1 of this book.
7. Cf. Xenophon (Anab., i. 7, 4).
Ch.27: The Answer of Coenus
When Alexander had uttered these remarks, and others in the same strain, a long silence ensued, for the auditors neither had the audacity to speak in opposition to the king without constraint, nor did they wish to acquiesce in his proposal. Hereupon, he repeatedly urged any one who wished it, to speak, if he entertained different views from those which he had himself expressed. Nevertheless the silence still continued a long time; but at last, Coenus, son of Polemocrates, plucked up courage and spoke as follows:— "O king, inasmuch as thou dost not wish to rule Macedonians by compulsion, but sayest thou wilt lead them by persuasion, or yielding to their persuasion wilt not use violence towards them, I am going to make a speech, not on my own behalf and that of my colleagues here present, who are held in greater honour than the other soldiers, and most of us have already carried off the rewards of our labours, and from our preeminence are more zealous than the rest to serve thee in all things; but I am going to speak on behalf of the bulk of the army. On behalf of this army I am not going to say what may be gratifying to the men, but what I consider to be both advantageous to thee at present, and safest for the future. I feel it incumbent upon me not to conceal what I think the best course to pursue, both on account of my age, the honour paid to me by the rest of the army at thy behest, and the boldness which I have without any hesitation displayed up to the present time in incurring dangers and undergoing labours. The more numerous and the greater the exploits have been, which were achieved by thee as our commander, and by those who started from home with thee, the more advantageous does it seem to me that some end should be put to our labours and dangers. For thou thyself seest how many Macedonians and Greeks started with thee, and how few of us have been left. Of our number thou didst well in sending back home the Thessalians at once from Bactra, because thou didst perceive that they were no longer eager to undergo labours. Of the other Greeks, some have been settled as colonists in the cities which thou hast founded; where they remain not indeed all of them of their own free will. The Macedonian soldiers and the other Greeks who still continued to share our labours and dangers, have either perished in the battles, become unfit for war on account of their wounds, or been left behind in the different parts of Asia. The majority, however, have perished from disease, so that few are left out of many; and these few are no longer equally vigorous in body, while in spirit they are much more exhausted. All those whose parents still survive, feel a great yearning to see them once more; they feel a yearning after their wives and children, and a yearning for their native land itself; which it is surely pardonable for them to yearn to see again with the honour and dignity they have acquired from thee, returning as great men, whereas they departed small, and as rich men instead of being poor. Do not lead us now against our will; for thou wilt no longer find us the same men in regard to dangers, since free-will will be wanting to us in the contests. But, rather, if it seem good to thee, return to thy own land, see thy mother, regulate the affairs of the Greeks, and carry to the home of thy fathers these victories so many and great. Then start afresh on another expedition, if thou wishest, against these very tribes of Indians situated towards the east; or, if thou wishest, into the Euxine Sea; or else against Carchedon and the parts of Libya beyond the Carchedonians. It is now thy business to manage these matters; and the other Macedonians and Greeks will follow thee, young men in place of old, fresh men in place of exhausted ones, and men to whom warfare has no terrors, because up to the present time they have had no experience of it; and they will be eager to set out, from hope of future reward. The probability also is, that they will accompany thee with still more zeal on this account, when they see that those who in the earlier expedition shared thy labours and dangers have returned to their own abodes as rich men instead of being poor, and renowned instead of being obscure as they were before. Self-control in the midst of success is the noblest of all virtues, king! For thou hast nothing to fear from enemies, while thou art commanding and leading such an army as this; but the visitations of the deity are unexpected, and consequently men can take no precautions against them."
1. Cf. Curtius, ix. 12.
3. Pontus Euxinus antea ab inhospitali feritate Axenos appellatus (Pliny, vi. 1).
Ch.28: Alexander resolves to Return
WHEN Coenus had concluded this speech, loud applause was given to his words by those who were present; and the fact that many even shed tears, made it still more evident that they were disinclined to incur further hazards, and that return would be delightful to them. Alexander then broke up the conference, being annoyed at the freedom of speech in which Coenus indulged, and the hesitation displayed by the other officers. But the next day he called the same men together again in wrath, and told them that he intended to advance farther, but would not force any Macedonian to accompany him against his will; that he would have those only who followed their king of their own accord; and that those who wished to return home were at liberty to return and carry back word to their relations that they were come back, having deserted their king in the midst of his enemies. Having said this, he retired into his tent, and did not admit any of the Companions on that day, or until the third day from that, waiting to see if any change would occur in the minds of the Macedonians and Grecian allies, as is wont to happen as a general rule among a crowd of soldiers, rendering them more disposed to obey. But on the contrary, when there was a profound silence throughout the camp, and the soldiers were evidently annoyed at his wrath, without being at all changed by it, Ptolemy, son of Lagus, says that he none the less offered sacrifice there for the passage of the river, but the victims were unfavourable to him when he sacrificed. Then indeed he collected the oldest of the Companions and especially those who were friendly to him, and as all things indicated the advisability of his returning, he made known to the army that he had resolved to march back again.
THEN they shouted as a mixed multitude would shout when rejoicing; and most of them shed tears of joy. Some of them even approached the royal tent, and prayed for many blessings upon Alexander; because by them alone he suffered himself to be conquered. Then he divided the army into brigades, and ordered twelve altars to be prepared, equal in height to very large towers, and in breadth much larger than towers, to serve as thank-offerings to the gods who had led him so far as a conqueror, and also to serve as monuments of his own labours1. When the altars were completed, he offered sacrifice upon them according to his custom, and celebrated a gymnastic and equestrian contest. After adding the country as far as the river Hyphasis to the dominion of Porus, he marched back to the Hydraotes. Having crossed this river, he continued his return march to the Acesines, where he found the city which Hephaestion had been ordered to fortify, quite built.
In this city he settled as many of the neighbouring people as volunteered to live in it, as well as those of the Grecian mercenaries who were now unfit for military service; and then began to make the necessary preparations for a voyage down the river into the Great Sea. At this time Arsaces, the ruler of the land bordering on that of Abisares, and the brother of the latter, with his other relations, came to Alexander, bringing the gifts which are reckoned most valuable among the Indians, including some elephants from Abisares, thirty in number. They declared that Abisares himself was unable to come on account of illness; and with these men the ambassadors sent by Alexander to Abisares agreed. Readily believing that such was the case, he granted that prince the privilege of ruling his own country as his viceroy, and placed Arsaces also under his power. After arranging what tribute they were to pay, he again offered sacrifice near the river Acesines. He then crossed that river again, and came to the Hydaspes, where he employed the army in repairing the damage caused to the cities of Nicaea and Bucephala by the rain, and put the other affairs of the country in order.
1. Pliny (vi. 21), says that Alexander erected the altars on the farther bank of the Hyphasis, whereas Arrian, Diodorus, and Plutarch say they were on this side of the river. Curtius (ix. 13) does not specify the side of the river.