The Anabasis of Alexander/6b

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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: Voyage down the Indus to the land of Musicanus

THERE, at the confluence of the Acesines and Indus, he waited until Perdiccas with the army arrived, after having routed on his way the independent tribe of the Abastanians1. Meantime, he was joined by other thirty-oared galleys and trading vessels which had been built for him among the Xathrians, another independent tribe of Indians who had yielded to him. From the Ossadians, who were also an independent tribe of Indians, came envoys to offer the submission of their nation. Having fixed the confluence of the Acesines and Indus as the limit of Philip’s viceroyalty, he left with him all the Thracians and as many men from the infantry regiments as appeared to him sufficient to provide for the security of the country. He then ordered a city to be founded there at the very junction of the two rivers, expecting that it would become large and famous among men.2 He also ordered a dockyard to be made there. At this time the Bactrian Oxyartes, father of his wife Roxana, came to him, to whom he gave the viceroyalty over the Parapamisadians, after dismissing the former viceroy, Tiryaspes, because he was reported to be exercising his authority improperly3. Then he transported Craterus with the main body of the army and the elephants to the left bank of the river Indus, both because it seemed easier for a heavy-armed force to march along that side of the river, and the tribes dwelling near were not quite friendly. He himself sailed down to the capital of the Sogdians; where he fortified another city, made another dockyard, and repaired his shattered vessels. He appointed Peithon viceroy of the land extending from the confluence of the Indus and Acesines as far as the sea, together with all the coast-land of India. He then again despatched Craterus with his army through the country; and himself sailed down the river into the dominions of Musicanus, which was reported to be the most prosperous part of India. I-Ic advanced against this king because he had not yet come to meet him to offer the submission of himself and his land, nor had he sent envoys to seek his alliance. He had not even sent him the gifts which were suitable for a great king, or asked any favour from him. He accelerated his voyage down the river to such a degree that he succeeded in reaching the confines of the land of Musicanus before he had even heard that Alexander had started against him. Musicanus was so greatly alarmed that he went as fast as he could to meet him, bringing with him the gifts valued most highly among the Indians, and taking all his elephants. He offered to surrender both his nation and himself, at the same time acknowledging his error, which was the most effectual way with Alexander for any one to get what he requested. Accordingly for these considerations Alexander granted him an indemnity for his offences. He also granted him the privilege of ruling the city and country, both of which Alexander admired. Craterus was directed to fortify the citadel in the capital; which was done while Alexander was still present. A garrison was also placed in it, because he thought the place suitable for keeping the circumvent tribes in subjection.

1. This tribe dwelt between the Acesines and the Indus. Diodorus (xvii. 102) calls them Sambastians; while Curtius (ix. 30) calls them Sabarcians. The Xathrians and Ossadians dwelt on the left bank of the Indus.

2. We find from Curtius (ix. 31) and Diodorus (xvii. 102) that the name of this was Alexandria. It is probably the present Mittun.

3. Curtius (ix. 31) calls this satrap Terioltes, and says he was put to death. His appointment as viceroy is mentioned by Arrian (iv. 22 supra).


Ch.16 Campaign against Oxycanus and Sambus.

THEN he took the archers, Agrianians, and cavalry sailing with him, and marched against the governor of that country, whose name was Oxycanus,1 because he neither came himself nor did envoys come from him, to offer the surrender of himself and his land. At the very first assault he took by storm the two largest cities under the rule of Oxycanus; in the second of which that prince himself was captured. The booty he gave to his army, but the elephants he led with himself. The other cities in the same land surrendered to him as he advanced, nor did any one turn to resist him; so cowed in spirit2. had all the Indians now become at the thought of Alexander and his fortune. He then marched back against Sambus, whom he had appointed viceroy of the mountaineer Indians and who was reported to have fled, because he learned that Musicanus had been pardoned by Alexander and was ruling over his own land. For he was at war with Musicanus, But when Alexander approached the city which the country of Samb held as its metropolis, the name of which was Sindimana, the gates were thrown open to him at his approach, and the relations of Sambus reckoned up his money and went out to meet him, taking with them the elephants also. They assured him that Sambus had fled, not from any hostile feeling towards Alexander, but fearing on account of the pardon of Musicanus3. He also captured another city which had revolted at this time, and slew as many of the Brachmans4 as had been instigators of this revolt. These men are the philosophers of the Indians, of whose philosophy, if such it may be called, I shall give an account in my book descriptive of India5.

1. This king is called Porticanus by Curtius (ix. 31), Diodorus (xvii. 102), and Strabo (xv. 1).

2. An expression imitated from Thucydides (iv. 34). Cf. Arrian, ii. 10; v. 19; where the same words are used of Darius and Porus.

3. Diodorus (xvii. 102) says that Sambas escaped beyond the Indus with thirty elephants.

4. See note, page 327 supra.

5. The Indica, a valuable work still existing. See chapters x. and xi. of that book.


Ch.17: Musicanus executed — capture of Patala

MEANTIME he was informed that Musicanus had revolted. He dispatched the viceroy, Peithon, son of Agenor, with a sufficient army against him, while he himself marched against the cities which had been put under the rule of Musicanus. Some of these he razed to the ground, reducing the inhabitants to slavery; and into others he introduced garrisons and fortified the citadels. After accomplishing this, he returned to the camp and fleet. By this time Musicanus had been captured by Peithon, who was bringing him to Alexander. The king ordered him to be hanged in his own country, and with him as many of the Brachmans as had instigated him to the revolt. Then came to him the ruler of the land of the Patalians1, who said that the Delta formed by the river Indus was still larger than the Egyptian Delta.2 This man surrendered to him the whole of his own land and entrusted both himself and his property to him. Alexander sent him away again in possession of his own dominions, with instructions to provide whatever was needful for the reception of the army. He then sent Craterus into Carmania with the brigades of Attalus, Meleager, and Antigenes, some of the archers, and as many of the Companions and other Macedonians as, being now unfit for military service, he was despatching to Macedonia by the route through the lands of the Arachotians and Zarangians. To Craterus he also gave the duty of leading the elephants; but the rest of the army, except the part of it which was sailing with himself down to the sea, he put under the command of Hephaestion. He transported Peithon with the horse-javelin-men and Agrianians to the opposite bank of the Indus, not the one along which Hephaestion was about to lead the army. Peithon was ordered to collect men to colonize the cities which had just been fortified, and to form a junction with the king at Patala, after having settled the affairs of the Indians of that region, if they attempted any revolutionary proceedings. On the third day of his voyage, Alexander was informed that the governor of the Patalians3 had collected most of his subjects and was going away by stealth, having left his land deserted. For this reason Alexander sailed down the river with greater speed than before4; and when he arrived at Patala, he found both the country and the city deserted by the inhabitants and tillers of the soil. He however despatched the lightest troops in his army in pursuit of the fugitives and when some of them were captured, he sent them away to the rest, bidding them to be of good courage and return, for they might inhabit the city and till the country as before. Most of them accordingly returned.

1. These people inhabited the Delta of the Indus, which is now called Lower Scinde. Their capital, Patala, is the modern Tatta.

2. Cf. Arrian (Indica, ii.).

3. Aristobulus, as quoted by Strabo (xv. 1), said that the voyage down the Indus occupied ten months, the fleet arriving at Patala about the time of the rising of Sirius, or July, 325 B.C.

4. Curtius (ix. 34) calls this king Moeris.


Ch.18: Voyage down the Indus

AFTER instructing Hephaestion to fortify the citadel in Patala, he sent men into the adjacent country, which was waterless, to dig wells and to render the land fit for habitation. Certain of the native barbarians attacked these men, and falling upon them unawares slew some of them; but having lost many of their own men, they fled into the desert. The work was therefore accomplished by those who had been sent out, another army having joined them, which Alexander had despatched to take part in the work, when he heard of the attack of the barbarians. Near Patala the water of the Indus is divided into large rivers, both of which retain the name of Indus as far as the sea. Here Alexander constructed a harbour and dockyard; and when his works had advanced towards completion he resolved to sail down as far as the mouth of the right branch of the river1. He gave Leonnatus, the command of 1,000 cavalry and 8,000 heavy and light-armed infantry, and sent him to march through the island of Patala opposite the naval expedition; while he himself took the fastest sailing vessels, both those having one and a half bank of oars, and all the thirty-oared galleys, with some of the boats, and began to sail down the right branch of the river. The Indians of that region had fled, and consequently he could get no pilot for the voyage, and the voyage down the river was more difficult. On the day after the start a storm arose, and the wind blowing right against the stream made the river hollow 2 and shattered the hulls of the vessels violently, so that most of his ships were injured, and some of the thirty-oared galleys were entirely broken up. But they succeeded in running them aground before they quite fell to pieces in the water and others were therefore constructed. He then sent the quickest of the light-armed troops into the land beyond the river’s bank and captured some Indians, who from this time piloted him down the channel. But when they arrived at the place where the river expands, so that where it was widest it extended 200 stades, a strong wind blew from the outer sea, and the oars could hardly be raised in the swell; they therefore took refuge again in a canal into which his pilots conducted them.

1. The right arm of the Indus is now called the Buggaur, and the left Sata.

2. I.e. caused a heavy swell of waters. Cf. Apollonius Rhodius, ii. 595; Polybius, i. 60, 6. This wind was the south-west monsoon.


Ch.19: Voyage down the Indus into the sea.

WHILE their vessels were moored here, the phenomenon of the ebb of the tide in the great sea occurred, so that their ships were left upon dry ground. This even in itself caused Alexander and his companions to small alarm, inasmuch as they were previously quite unacquainted with it. But they were much more alarmed when, the time coming rotind again, the water approached and the hulls of the vessels were raised aloft.1 The ships which it caught settled in the mud were raised aloft without any damage, and floated again without receiving any injury; but those that had been left on the drier land and had not a firm settlement, when an immense compact wave advanced, either fell foul of each other or were dashed against the land and thus shattered to pieces. When Alexander had repaired these vessels as well as his circumstances permitted, he sent some men on in advance down the river in two boats to explore the island at which the natives said he must moor his vessels in his voyage to the sea. They told him that the name of the island was Cilluta.2 As he was informed that there were harbours in this island, that it was a large one and had water in it, he made the rest of his fleet put in there; but he himself with the best sailing ships advanced beyond, to see if the mouth of the river afforded an easy voyage out into the open sea. After advancing about 200 stades from the first island, they descried another which was quite out in the sea. Then indeed they returned to the island in the river; and having moored his vessels near the extremity of it, Alexander offered sacrifice to those gods to whom he said he had been directed by Ammon to sacrifice. On the following day he sailed down to the other island which was in the deep sea; and having come to shore here also, he offered other sacrifices to other gods and in another manner. These sacrifices he also offered according to the oracular instructions of Ammon. Then having gone beyond the mouths of the river Indus, he sailed out into the open sea, as he said, to discover if any land lay anywhere near in the sea; but in my opinion, chiefly that he might be able to say that he had navigated the great outer sea of India. There he sacrificed some bulls to Poseidon and cast them into the sea; and having poured out a libation after the sacrifice, he threw the goblet and bowls, which were golden, into the deep as thank-offerings, praying the god to escort safely for him the fleet, which he intended to despatch with Nearchus to the Persian Gulf and the mouths of the Euphrates and Tigres3.

1. Cf. Curtius (ix. 35, 36); Caesar (Bell. Gall. iv. 29). τα σκάφη εμετεωριζοντο. Arrian does not comply with the Attic rule, that the plural neuter should take a verb in the singular. Compare ii. 20, 8; v. 17, 6 and 7; etc.

2. Plutarch (Alex. 66) says that Alexander called the island Scillustis; but others called it Psiltucis. He also says that the voyage down the rivers to the sea took seven months.

3. In regard to this expedition, see Arrian, vii. 20 infra.


Ch.20: Exploration of the mouths of the Indus

RETURNING to Patala, he found that the citadel had been fortified and that Peithon had arrived with his army, having accomplished everything for which he was despatched. He ordered Hephaestion to prepare what was needful for the fortification of a naval station and the construction of dock-yards; for he resolved to leave behind here a fleet of many ships near the city of Patala, where the river Indus divides itself into two streams. He himself sailed down again into the Great Sea by the other mouth of the Indus, to ascertain which branch of the river is easier to navigate. The mouths of the river Indus are about 1800 stades distant from each other.1 In the voyage down he arrived at a large lake in the mouth of the river, which the river makes by spreading itself out; or perhaps the waters of the surrounding district draining into it make it large, so that it very much resembles a gulf of the sea.2 For in it were seen fish from the sea, larger indeed than those in this sea of ours. Having moored his ships then in the lake, where the pilots directed, he left there most of the soldiers and all the boats with Leonnatus; but he himself with the thirty-oared galleys and the vessels with one and a half row of oars passed beyond the mouth of the Indus, and advancing into the sea also this way, ascertained that the outlet of the river on this side (i.e. the east) was easier to navigate than the other. He moored his ships near the shore, and taking with him some of the cavalry went along the sea-coast three days’ journey, exploring what kind of country it was for a coasting voyage, and ordering wells to be dug, so that the sailors might have water to drink.2 He then returned to the ships and sailed back to Patala; but he sent a part of his army along the sea-coast to effect the same thing, instructing them to return to Patala when they had dug the wells. Sailing again down to the lake, he there constructed another harbour and dockyard; and leaving a garrison for the place, he collected sufficient food to supply the army for four months, as well as whatever else he could procure for the coasting voyage.

1. About 200 miles. Arrian here follows the statement of Nearchus. Aristobulus said that the distance was 1,000 stades. See Strabo, xv. 1.

2. See Curtius, ix. 38. This lake has disappeared.


Ch.21: Campaign against the Oritians (Nov 326 BC)

The season of the year was then unfit for voyaging; for the periodical winds prevailed, which at that season do not blow there from the north, as with us, but from the Great Sea, in the direction of the south wind.[1] Moreover it was reported that there the sea was fit for navigation after the beginning of winter, from the setting of the Pleiades[2] until the winter solstice; for at that season mild breezes usually blow from the lands drenched as it has been with great rains; and these winds are convenient on a coasting voyage both for oars and sails. Nearclius, who had been placed in command of the fleet, waited for the coasting season; but Alexander, starting from Patala, advanced with all his army as far as the river Arabius.[3] He then took half of the shield-bearing guards and archers, the infantry regiments called foot Companions, the guard of the Companion cavalry, a squadron of each of the other cavalry regiments, and all the horse-bowmen, and turned away thence on the left towards the sea to dig wells, so that there might be abundance, of them for the fleet sailing along on the coasting voyage; and at the same time to make an unexpected attack upon the Oritians,[4] a tribe of the Indians in this region, which had long been independent. This he meditated doing because they had performed no friendly act either to himself or his army. He placed Hephaestion in command of the forces left behind. The Arabitians,[5] another independent tribe dwelling near the river Arabius, thinking that they could not cope with Alexander in battle, and yet being unwilling to submit to him, fled into the desert when they heard that he was approaching. But crossing the river Arabius, which was both narrow and shallow, and travelling by night through the greater part of the desert, he came near the inhabited country at daybreak. Then ordering the infantry to follow him in regular line, he took the cavalry with him, dividing it into squadrons, that it might occupy a very large part of the plain, and thus marched into the land of the Oritians. All those who turned to defend themselves were cut to pieces by the cavalry, and many of the others were taken prisoners. He then encamped near a small piece of water; but when Hephaestion formed a junction with him, he advanced farther. Arriving at the largest village of the tribe of the Oritians, which was called Rhambacia,[6] he commended the place and thought that if he colonized a city there it would become great and prosperous. He therefore left Hephaestion behind to carry out this project.[7]

1.These periodical winds are the southerly monsoon of the Indian Ocean. Cf. Arrian (Indica, 21).

2.This occurs at the beginning of November. The Romans called the Pleiads Vergiliae. Cf. Pliny (ii. 47, 125): Vergiliarum occasus hiemem inchoat, quod tempus in III. Idus Novembres incidere consuevit. Also Livy (xxi. 35, 6): Nivis etiam casus, occidente jam sidfere Vergiliarum, ingentem terrorem adjecit.

3.This river, which is now called the Purally, is about 120 miles west of the mouth of the Indus. It is called Arabia by Arrian (Indica, 21); and Arbis by Strabo (xv. 2).

4.These were a people of Gadrosia, inhabiting a coast district nearly 200 milles long in the present Beloochistan. Cf. Arrian {Indica, 22 and 25); Pliny, vi. 23.

5.The Arabitians dwelt between the Indus and the Arabius; the Oritians were west of the latter river.

6.Rhambacia was probably at or near Haur.

7.According to Diodorus (xvii. 104) the city was called Alexandria.


Ch.22: March through the desert of Gadrosia

Again he took half of the shield-bearing guards and Agrianians, the guard of cavalry and the horse-bowmen, and marched forward to the confines of the Gadrosians and Oritians, where he was informed that the passage was narrow, and the Oritians were drawn up with the Gadrosians and were encamping in front of the pass, with the purpose of barring Alexander's passage. They had indeed marshalled themselves there; but when it was reported that he was already approaching, most of them fled from the pass, deserting their guard. The chiefs of the Oritians, however, came to him, offering to surrender both themselves and their nation. He instructed these to collect the multitude of their people together and send them to their own abodes, since they were not about to suffer any harm. Over these people he placed Apollophanes as viceroy, and with him he left Leonnatus the confidential body-guard in Ora,[1] at the head of all the Agrianians, some of the bowmen and cavalry, and the rest of the Grecian mercenary infantry and cavalry. He instructed him to wait until the fleet had sailed round the land, to colonize the city, and to regulate the affairs of the Oritians so that they might pay the greater respect to the viceroy. He himself, with the main body of the army (for Hephaestion had arrived at the head of the men who had been left behind), advanced into the land of the Gadrosians by a route most of which was desert. Aristobulus says that in this desert many myrrh-trees grew, larger than the ordinary kind; and that the Phoenicians, who accompanied the army for trafficking, gathered the gum of myrrh, and loading the beasts of burden, carried it away.[2] For there was a great quantity of it, inasmuch as it exuded from large stems and had never before been gathered. He also says that this desert produces many odoriferous roots of nard,[3] which the Phoenicians likewise gathered; but much of it was trampled down by the army, and a sweet perfume was diffused far and wide over the land by the trampling; so great was the abundance of it. In the desert there were also other kinds of trees, one of which had foliage like that of the bay-tree, and grew in places washed by the waves of the sea. These trees were on ground which was left dry by the ebb-tide; but when the water advanced they looked as if they had grown in the sea. Of others the roots were always washed by the sea, because they grew in hollow places, from which the water could not retire; and yet the trees were not destroyed by the sea. Some of these trees in this region were even thirty cubits high. At that season they happened to be in bloom; and the flower was very much like the white violet,[4] but the perfume was far superior to that of the latter. There was also another thorny stalk growing out of the earth, the thorn on which was so strong that, piercing the clothes of some men just riding past, it pulled the horseman down from his horse rather than be itself torn off the stalk. It is also said that when hares run past these bushes, the thorns cling to their fur; and thus these animals are caught, as birds are with bird-lime, or fish with hooks. However they were easily cut through with steel; and when the thorns are cut the stalk gives forth much juice, still more abundantly than fig-trees do in the springtime, and more pungent.[5]

1. Ora was the name of the district inhabited by the Oritians.

2. Cf. Pliny (Nat. Hist. xii. 33-35).

3. Cf. Strabo (xv. 2); Pliny (Nat. Hist. xii. 26).

4. Probably the snow-flake.

5. This is the well-known catechu, obtained chiefly from the Acacia Catechu. The liquid gum is called kuth or cutch in India.


Ch.23 March through the desert of Gadrosia

THENCE Alexander marched through the land of the Gadrosians, by a difficult route, which was also destitute of provisions; and in many places there was no water for the army. Moreover they were compelled to march most of the way by night, and a great distance from the sea. However he was very desirous of coming to the part of the country along the sea, both to see what harbours were there, and to make what preparations he could on his march for the fleet, either by employing his men in digging wells, or by making arrangements somewhere for a market and anchorage. But the part of the country of the Gadrosians near the sea was entirely desert. He therefore sent Thoas, son of Mandrodorus, with a few horsemen down to the sea, to reconnoitre and see if there happened to be any haven anywhere near, or whether there was water or any other of the necessaries of life not far from the sea. This man returned and reported that he found some fishermen upon the shore living in stifling huts, which were made by putting together mussel-shells, and the back-bones of fishes were used to form the roofs.1 He also said that these fishermen used little water, obtaining it with difficulty by scraping away the gravel, and that what they got was not at all fresh. When Alexander reached a certain place in Gadrosia, where corn was more abundant, he seized it and placed it upon the beasts of burden; and marking it with his own seal, he ordered it to be conveyed down to the sea. But while he was marching to the halting stage nearest to the sea, the soldiers paying little regard to the seal, the guards made use of the corn themselves, and gave a share of it to those who were especially pinched with hunger. To such a degree were they overcome by their misery that after mature deliberation they resolved to take account of the visible and already impending destruction rather than the danger of incurring the king’s wrath, which was not before their eyes and still remote. When Alexander ascertained the necessity which constrained them so to act, he pardoned those who had done the deed. He himself hastened forward to collect from the land all he could for victualing the army which was sailing round with the fleet; and sent Cretheus the Callatian 2 to convey the supplies to the coast. He also ordered the natives to grind as much corn as they could and convey it down from the interior of the country, together with dates3 and sheep for sale to the soldiers. Moreover he sent Telephus, one of the confidential Companions, down to another place on the coast with a small quantity of ground corn.

1. These people were called Ichthyophagi, or Fish-eaters. They are described by Arrian (Indica, 29); Curtius, ix. 40; Diodorus, xvii. 105; Pliny (Nat. Hist. vi. 25, 26); Plutarch (Alex. 66); Strabo, xv. They occupied the sea-ooast of Gadrosia, or Beloochistan. Cf. Alciphron (Epistolae, i. 1, 2).

2. A man of Callatis, a town on the Black Sea in Thrace, originally colonized by the Milesians.

3.Cf. Herodotus, i. 193.


Ch.24: March through Gadrosia.

HE then advanced towards the capital of the Gadrosians, which was named Pura1 ; and he arrived there in sixty days after starting from Ora. Most of the historians of Alexander’s reign assert that all the hardships which his army suffered in Asia were not worthy of comparison with the labours undergone here. They say that Alexander pursued this route, not from ignorance of the difficulty of the journey (Nearchus, indeed, alone says that he was ignorant of it), but because he heard that no one had ever hitherto passed that way with an army and emerged in safety, except Semiramis, when she fled from India. The natives said that even she emerged with only twenty men of her army; and that Cyrus,. son of Cambyses, escaped with only seven of his men2. For they say that Cyrus also marched into this region for the purpose of invading India, but that he did not effect his retreat before losing the greater part of his army, from the desert and the other difficulties of this route. When Alexander received this information he is said to have been seized with a desire of excelling Cyrus and Semiramis. Nearchus says that he turned his march this way, both for this reason and at the same time for the purpose of conveying provisions near the fleet. The scorching heat and lack of water destroyed a great part of the army, and especially the beasts of burden; most of which perished from thirst and some of them even from the depth and heat of the sand, because it had been thoroughly scorched by the sun. For they met with lofty ridges of deep sand, not closely pressed and hardened, but such as received those who stepped upon it just as if they were stepping into mud, or rather into untrodden snow. At the same time too the horses and mules suffered still more, both in going up and coming down the hills, from the unevenness of the road as well as from its instability. The length of the marches between the stages also exceedingly distressed the army; for the lack of water often compelled them to make the marches of unusual length.3 When they travelled by night on a journey which it was necessary to complete, and at daybreak came to water, they suffered no hardship at all; but if, while still on the march, on account of the length of the way, they were caught by the heat, the day advancing, then they did indeed suffer hardships from the blazing sun, being at the same time oppressed by unassuageable thirst.4

1. Pura was near the borders of Carmania, probably at Bampur. The name means town.

2. Cf. Strabo, xv. 2; Diodorus, ii. 19, 20. According to Megasthenes, Semiramis died before she could carry out her intended invasion of India. See Arrian (Indica, 5). Neither Herodotus nor Ctesias mentions an invasion of India by Cyrus; and according to Arrian (Indica, 9), the Indians expressly denied that Cyrus attacked them.

3. Strabo says that some of these marolies extended 200, 400, and even 600 stades; most of the marching being done in the night. Kruger substitutes ξυμμέτρους for ξύμμερτος ουσα.

4. Cf. Thucydides, ii. 49, 3.


Ch.25: Sufferings of the army.

THE soldiers killed many of the beasts of burden of their own accord; for when provisions were lacking, they came together, and slaughtered most of the horses and mules. They ate the flesh of these, and said that they had died of thirst or had perished from the heat. There was no one to divulge the real truth of their conduct, both on account of the men’s distress and because all alike were implicated in the same offence. What was being done had not escaped Alexander’s notice; but he saw that the best cure for the present state of affairs was to pretend to be ignorant of it, rather than to permit it as a thing known to himself. The consequence was, that it was no longer easy to convey the soldiers who were suffering from disease, or those who were left behind on the roads on account of the heat, partly from the want of beasts of burden and partly because the men themselves were knocking the waggons to pieces, not being able to draw them on account of the depth of the sand; and because in the first stages they were compelled on this account to go, not by the shortest routes, but by those which were easiest for the carriages. Thus some were left behind along the roads on account of sickness, others from fatigue or the effects of the heat, or from not being able to bear up against the drought; and there was no one either to lead them or to remain and tend them in their sickness. For the expedition was being made with great urgency; and the care of individual persons was necessarily neglected in the zeal displayed for the safety of the army as a whole, As they generally made the marches by night, some of the men also were overcome by sleep on the road; afterwards rousing up again, those who still had strength followed upon the tracks of the army; but only a few out of many overtook the main body in safety. Most of them perished in the sand, like men getting out of the course at sea.1 Another calamity also befell the army, which greatly distressed men, horses, and beasts of burden; for the country of the Gadrosian s is supplied with rain by the periodical winds, just as that of the Indians is; not the plains of Gadrosia, but only the mountains where the clouds are carried by the wind and are dissolved into rain without passing beyond the summits of the mountains. On one occasion, when the army bivouacked, for the sake of its water, near a small brook which was a winter torrent, about the second watch of the night the brook which flowed there was suddenly swelled by the rains in the mountains which had fallen unperceived by the soldiers. The torrent advanced with so great a flood as to destroy most of the wives and children of the men who followed the army, and to sweep away all the royal baggage as well as all the beasts of burden still remaining. The soldiers, after great exertions, were hardly able to save themselves together with their weapons, many of which they lost beyond recovery. When, after enduring the burning heat and thirst, they lighted upon abundance of water, many of them perished from drinking to excess, not being able to check their appetite for it. For this reason Alexander generally pitched his camp, not near the water itself, but at a distance of about twenty stades from it, to prevent the men and beasts from pressing in crowds into the river and thus perishing, and at the same time to prevent those who had no control over themselves from fouling the water for the rest of the army by stepping into the springs or streams.

1. Cf. Xenophon (Anab. vii. 5, l3); Homer (Odyss. vii. 283).


Ch.26: Alexander's magnanimous conduct.

HERE I have resolved not to pass over in silence the most noble deed perhaps ever performed by Alexander, which occurred either in this land or, according to the assertion of some other authors, still earlier, among the Parapamisadians.1 The army was continuing its march through the sand, though the heat of the sun was already scorching, because it was necessary to reach water before halting. They were far on the journey, and Alexander himself, though oppressed with thirst, was nevertheless with great pain and difficulty leading the army on foot, so that his soldiers also, as is usual in such a case, might more patiently bear their hardships by the equalization of the distress. At this time some of the light-armed soldiers, starting away from the army in quest of water, found some collected in a shallow cleft, a small and mean spring. Collecting this water with difficulty, they came with all speed to Alexander, as if they were bringing him some great boon. As soon as they approached the king, they poured the water into a helmet and carried it to him. He took it, and commending the men who brought it, immediately poured it upon the ground in sight of all. As a result of this action, the entire army was re-invigorated to so great a degree that any one would have imagined that the water poured away by Alexander had furnished a draught to every man. This deed beyond all others I commend as evidence of Alexander’s power of endurance and self-control, as well as of his skill in managing an army. The following adventure also occurred to the army in that country. At last the guides declared that they no longer remembered the way, because the tracks of it had been rendered invisible by the wind blowing the sand over them. Moreover, in the deep sand which had been everywhere reduced to one level, there was nothing by which they could conjecture the right way, not even the usual trees growing along it, nor any solid hillock rising up; and they had not practised themselves in making journeys by the stars at night or by the sun in the daytime, as sailors do by the constellations of the Bears— the Phoenicians by the Little Bear, and other men by the Greater Bear.2 Then at length Alexander perceived that it was necessary for him to lead the way by declining to the left; and taking a few horsemen with him he advanced in front of the army. But when the horses even of these were exhausted by the heat, he left most of these men behind, and rode away with only five men and found the sea. Having scraped away the shingle on the sea-beach, he lighted upon water fresh and pure, and then went and fetched the whole army. For seven days they marched along the seacoast, supplying themselves with water from the shore. Thence he led his expedition into the interior, for now the guides knew the way.

1. Curtius (vii. 20) mentions a similar act of magnanimity as having Occurred on the march in pursuit of Bessus through the desert to the river Oxus. Plutarch (Alex. 42) says it was when Alexander was pursuing Darius; Frontinus (Strategematica, i. 7, 7) says it was in the desert of Africa; Polyaemus (iv. 3, 25) relates the anecdote without specifying where the event occurred, μετεξέτεροι is an Ionic form very frequently used by Herodotus.

2. Compare note on page 146.


Ch.27: March through Carmania - punishment of viceroys.

WHEN he arrived at the capital of Gadrosia (Pura), he there gave his army a rest. He deposed Apollophanes from the viceroyalty,1 because he discovered that he had paid no heed to his instructions. Thoas was appointed viceroy over the people of this district; but as he fell ill and died, Sibyrtius succeeded to the office. The same man had also lately been appointed by Alexander viceroy of Carmania;’ but now the rule over the Arachotians and Gadrosians was given to him, and Tlepolemus, son of Pythophanes, received Carmania. The king was already advancing into Carmania, when news was brought to him that Philip, the viceroy of the country of the Indians, had been plotted against by the mercenaries and treacherously killed; but that Philip’s Macedonian bodyguards had caught some of the murderers in the very act and others afterwards, and had put them to death. When he had ascertained this, he sent a letter into India to Eudemus and Taxiles, ordering them to administer the affairs of the land which had previously been subordinated to Philip until he could send a viceroy for it. When he arrived in Carmania, Craterus effected a junction with him, bringing with him the rest of the army and the elephants. He also brought Ordanes, whom he had arrested for revolting and trying to effect a revolution.2 Thither also came Stasanor, the viceroy of the Areians3 and Zarangians, accompanied by Pharismanes, son of Phrataphernes, the viceroy of the Parthians and Hyrcanians. There came also the generals who had been left with Parmenio over the army in Media, Cleander, Sitalces, and Heracon, bringing with them the greater part of their army. Both the natives and the soldiers themselves brought many accusations against Cleander and Sitalces, as for example, that the temples had been pillaged by them, old tombs rifled, and other acts of injustice, recklessness, and tyranny perpetrated against their subjects. As these charges were proved,4 he put them to death, in order to inspire others who might be left as viceroys, governors, or prefects of provinces with the fear of suffering equal penalties with them if they swerved from the path of duty5. This was one of the chief means by which Alexander kept in subordination the nations which he had conquered in war or which had voluntarily submitted to him, though they were so many in number and so far distant from each other; because under his regal sway it was not allowed that those who were ruled should be unjustly treated by those who ruled. At that time Heracon was acquitted of the charge, but soon after, being convicted by the men of Susa of having pillaged the temple in that city, he also suffered punishment. Stasanor and (the son of) Phrataphernes came to Alexander bringing a multitude of beasts of burden and many camels, when they learnt that he was marching by the route to Gadrosia, conjecturing that his army would suffer the very hardships which it did suffer. Therefore these men arrived just at the very time they were required, as also did their camels and beasts of burden. For Alexander distributed all these animals to the officers man by man, to all the various squadrons and centuries2 of the cavalry, and to the various companies of the infantry, as far as their number allowed him.

1. This man had been placed over the Oritians. See page 351 supra.

2. Curtius (ix. 41) says that Craterus sent a messenger to the king, to say that he was holding in chains two Persian nobles, Ozines and Zeriaspes, who had been trying to effect a revolt.

3. The Areians were famed for their skill as professional mourners. See Aeschylus (Choëphorae, 423). For the origin of the name see Donaldson (New Cratylus, sect. 81.)

4. εξηλέχθη is substituted by Sintenis for the common reading εξηγγέλθη.

5. According to Curtius (x. 1), Cleander and his colleagues were not slain, but put into prison; whereas 600 of the soldiers who had been the agents of their cruelty were put to death. Curtius says Oleander was spared for having killed Parmenio with his own hand. Cf. iii. 26 supra.


Ch.28: Alexander in Carmania B.C. 325

Certain authors have said (though to me the statement seems incredible) that Alexander led his forces through Carmania lying extended with his Companions upon two covered waggons joined together, the flute beinig played to him; and that the soldiers followed him wearing garlands and sporting. Food was provided for them, as well as all kinds of dainties which had been brought together along the roads by the Carmanians. They say that he did this in imitation of the Bacchic revelry of Dionysus, because a story was told about that deity, that after subduing the Indians he traversed the greater part of Asia in this manner and received the appellation of Thriambus.[1] For the same reason the processions in honour of victories after war were called thriambi. This has been recorded neither by Ptolemy, son of Lagus, nor by Aristobulus, son of Aristobulus, nor by any other writer whose testimony on such points any one would feel to be worthy of credit. It is sufficient therefore for me to record it as unworthy of belief.[2] But as to what I am now going to describe I follow the account of Aristobulus. In Carmania Alexander offered sacrifices to the gods as thank-offerings for his victory over the Indians, and because his army had been brought in safety out of Gadrosia. He also celebrated a musical and gymnastic contest. He then appointed Peucestas one of his confidential body-guards, having already resolved to make him viceroy of Persis. He wished him, before being appointed to the viceroyalty, to experience this honour and evidence of confidence, as a reward for his exploit among the Mallians., Up to this time the number of his confidential body-guards had been seven:—Leonnatus, son of Anteas, Hephaestion, son of Amyntor, Lysimachus, son of Agathocles, Aristonous, son of Pisaeus, these four being Pellaeans; Perdiccas, son of Orontes, from Orestis, Ptolemy, son of Lagus, and Peithon, son of Crateas, the Heordaeans. Peucestas, who had held the shield over Alexander, was now added to them as an eighth. At this time Nearchus, having sailed round the coast of Ora and Gadrosia and that of the Ichthyophagi, put into port in the inhabited part of the coastland of Carmania,[3] and going up thence into the interior with a few men he reported to Alexander the particulars of the voyage which he had made along the coasts of the external sea. Nearchus was then sent down to the sea again to sail round as far as the country of Susiana, and the outlets of the river Tigres.[4] How he sailed from the river Indus to the Persian Sea and the mouth of the Tigres, I shall describe in a separate book, following the account of Nesa-chus himself.[5] For he also wrote a history of Alexander in Greek. Perhaps I shall be able to compose this narrative in the future, if inclination and the divine influence urge me to it. Alexander now ordered Hephaestion to march into Persis[6] from Carmania along the sea-shore with the larger division of the army and the beasts of burden, taking with him also the elephants; because, as he. was making the expedition in the season of winter,[7] the part of Persis near the sea was warm and possessed abundant supplies of provisions.

1. The thriambus was a hymn to Bacchus, sung in festal processions in his honour. It was also used as a name of that deity, as we learn from Diodorus, iv. 5. It was afterwards used as synonymous with the Roman triumphus, by Polybius, Dionysius, and Plutarch.

2. The Bacchanalian procession through Carmania is described by Curtius (ix. 42); Plutarch (Alex. 67); and Diodorus (xvii. 106).

3. Diodorus (xvii. 106) says that the port into which Nearchus put was called Salmus.

4. ἐκπεριπλεύσοντα. The Attic future of πλέω is πλεύσομαι. πλεύσω is only found in Polybius and the later writers.

5. See Arrian (Indica, 18-43).

6. The name for Persia and the Persians in the Hebrew Bible, is Paras. Cyrus is called Koresh (the sun) in Hebrew; in the cuneiform inscriptions the name is Khurush. Cambyses is called Ahasuerus in Ezra iv. 6; and Smerdis the Magian is the Artaxerxes who was induced by the Samaritans to forbid the further building of the temple (Ezra iv. 7-24). The Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther is probably Xerxes. Artaxerxes the Long-handed was the patron of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra vii. 11-28; Neh. ii. 1-9, etc). " Darius the Persian," mentioned in Neh. xii. 22, was probably Darius Oodomannus, who was conquered by Alexander. The province of Susiana, previously called Elymais, appears in the Hebrew under the name of Eilam or Elam. Persis is still called Fars.

7. B.C. 325.


Ch.29 Alexander in Persis — tomb of Cyrus repaired

He himself then marched to Pasargadae in Persis, with the lightest of his infantry, the Companion cavalry and a part of the archers; but he sent Stasanor down to his own land.[1] When he arrived at the confines of Persis, he found that Phrasaortes was no longer viceroy, for he happened to have died of disease while Alexander was still in India. Orxines was managing the affairs of the country, not because he had been appointed ruler by Alexander, but because he thought it his duty to keep Persia in order for him, as there was no other ruler.[2] Atropates, the viceroy of Media, also came to Pasargadae, bringing Baryaxes, a Mede, under arrest, because he had assumed the upright head-dress and called himself king of the Persians and Medes.[3] With Baryaxes he also brought those who had taken part with him in the attempted revolution and revolt. Alexander put these men to death. He was grieved by the outrage committed upon the tomb of Cyrus, son of Cambyses; for according to Aristobulus, he found it dug through and pillaged. The tomb of the famous Cyrus was in the royal park at Pasargadae, and around it a grove of all kinds of trees had been planted. It was also watered by a stream, and high grass grew in the meadow. The base of the tomb itself had been made of squared stone in the form of a rectangle. Above there was a stone building surmounted by a roof, with a door leading within, so narrow that even a small man could with difficulty enter, after suffering much discomfort.[4] In the building,lay a golden coffin, in which the body of Cyrus had been buried, and by the side of the coffin was a couch, the feet of which were of gold wrought with the hammer. A carpet of Babylonian tapestry with purple rugs formed the bedding upon it were also a Median coat with sleeves and other tunics of Babylonian manufacture. Aristobulus adds that Median trousers and robes dyed the colour of hyacinth were also lying upon it, as well as others of purple and various other colours; moreover there were collars, sabres, and earrings of gold and precious stones soldered together, and near them stood a table. On the middle of the couch lay the coffin[5] which contained the body of Cyrus. Within the enclosure, near the ascent leading to the tomb, there was a small house built for the Magians who guarded the tomb; a duty which they had discharged ever since the time of Cambyses, son of Cyrus, son succeeding father as guard. To these men a sheep and specified quantities of wheaten flour and wine were given daily by the king; and a horse once a month as a sacrifice to Cyrus. Upon the tomb an inscription in Persian letters had been placed, which bore the following meaning in the Persian language:

" man, I am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, who founded the empire of the Persians, and was king of Asia. Do not therefore grudge me this monument."

As soon as Alexander had conquered Persia, he was very desirous of entering the tomb of Cyrus; but he found that everything else had been carried off except the coffin and couch. They had even maltreated the king's body; for they had torn off the lid of the coffin and cast out the corpse. They had tried to make the coffin itself of smaller bulk and thus more portable, by cutting part of it off and crushing part of it up, but as their efforts did not succeed, they departed, leaving the coffin in that state. Aristobulus says that he was himself commissioned by Alexander to restore the tomb for Cyrus, to put in the coffin the parts of the body still preserved, to put the lid on, and to restore the parts of the coffin which had been, defaced. Moreover he was instructed to stretch the couch tight with bands, and to deposit all the other things which used to lie there for ornament, both resembling the former ones and of the same number. He was ordered also to do away with the door, building part of it up with stone and plastering part of it over with cement and finally to put the royal seal upon the cement. Alexander arrested the Magians who were the guards of the tomb, and put them to the torture to make them confess who had done the deed; but in spite of the torture they confessed nothing either about themselves or any other person. In no other way were they proved to have been privy to the deed; they were therefore released by Alexander.[6]

1. Aria. See chap. 27 supra.

2. Curtius (x. 4) says Orxines was descended from Cyrus.

3. See iii. 25 supra.

4. Cf. Strabo, xv. 3, where a description of this tomb is given, derived from Onesioritus, the pilot of Alexander. See Dean Blakesley's note on Herodiotus i. 214.

5. Just a few lines above, Arrian says that the couch was by the side of the coffin.

6. Cf. Ammianus, xxiii. 6, 32, 33. The Magi were the priests of the religion of Zoroaster, which was professed by the Medes and Persians. Their Bible was the Avesta, originally consisting of twenty-one books, only one of which, the twentieth (Vendidad), is still extant.


Ch.30: Peucestas appointed Viceroy of Persis

Thence he proceeded to the royal palace of the Persians, which he had on a former occasion himself burnt down, as I have previously related, expressing my disapprobation of the act[1]; and on his return Alexander himself did not commend it. Many charges were brought by the Persians against Orxines, who ruled them after the death of Phrasaortes. He was convicted of having pillaged temples and royal tombs, and of having unjustly put many of the Persians to death. He was therefore hanged by men acting under Alexander's orders[2]; and Peucestas the confidential body-guard was appointed viceroy of Persis. The king placed special confidence in him both for other reasons, and especially on account of his exploit among the Mallians, where he braved the greatest dangers and helped to save Alexander's life. Besides this, he did not refuse to accommodate himself to the Asiatic mode of living; and as soon as he was appointed to the position of viceroy of Persis, he openly assumed the native garb, being the only man among the Macedonians who adopted the Median dress in preference to the Grecian.[3] He also learnt to speak the Persian language correctly, and comported himself in all other respects like a Persian. For this conduct he was not only commended by Alexander, but the Persians also were highly delighted with him, for preferring their national customs to those of his own forefathers.

1. See iii. 18 supra.

2. According to Curtius (x. 4, 5) Orxines was not only innocent, but was very devoted and attached to Alexander. The favourite eunuch, Bagoas, poisoned the king's mind against him, and suborned other accusers against him. He was condemned unheard.

3. Purpura et nitor corporis, ornatusque Persicus multo auro multisque gemmis. — Cicero (de Senectute, 17).


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