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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.1. Conquest of Egypt.— foundation of Alexandria.

Alexander now led an expedition into Egypt, whither he had set out at first (from Tyre); and marching from Gaza, on the seventh day he arrived at Pelusium[1] in Egypt. His fleet had also set sail from Phoenicia to Egypt; and he found the ships already moored at Pelusium.[2] When Mazaces the Persian, whom Darius had appointed viceroy of Egypt,[3] ascertained how the battle at Issus had resulted, that Darius had fled in disgraceful flight, and that Phoenicia, Syria, and most of Arabia were already in Alexander's possession, as he had no Persian force with which he could offer resistance, he admitted Alexander into the cities and the country in a friendly way.[4] Alexander introduced a garrison into Pelusium, and ordering the men in the ships to sail up the river as far as the city of Memphis,[5] he went in person towards Heliopolis,[6] having the river Nile[7] on his right. He reached that city through the desert, after getting possession of all the places on the march through the voluntary surrender of the inhabitants. Thence he crossed the stream and came to Memphis; where he offered sacrifice to Apis[8]and the other gods, and celebrated a gymnastic and musical contest, the most distinguished artists in these matters coming to him from Greece. From Memphis he sailed down the river towards the sea, embarking the shield-bearing guards, the archers, the Agrianians, and of the cavalry the royal squadron of the Companions. Coming to Canobus,[9] he sailed round the Marian lake,[10] and disembarked where now is situated the city of Alexandria, which takes its name from him. The position seemed to him a very fine one in which to found a city, and he foresaw that it would become a prosperous one.[11] Therefore he was seized by an ardent desire to undertake the enterprise, and himself marked out the boundaries of the city, pointing out the place where the agora was to be constructed, where the temples were to be built, stating how many there were to be, and to what Grecian gods they were to be dedicated, and specially marking a spot for a temple to the Egyptian Isis.[12] He also pointed out where the wall was to be carried round it. In regard to these matters he offered sacrifice, and the victims appeared favourable.


1. Pelusium is identical with the Hebrew Sin (a marsh) the most easterly city of Egypt, which is called in Ezekiel xxx. 15, the strength of Egypt, because it was the key to that country from its frontier position. Cf. Herodotus, iii. 5. Strabo (xvii. 1) says it was situated near marshes. It stood east of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, about 212 miles from the sea. This mouth of the river was choked up with sand as early as the first century of the Christian era (Lucan, viii. 465). Sennacherib advanced as far as this city, and here Cambyses defeated the Egyptians, B.C. 525. Iphicrates the Athenian advanced to Pelusium with the satrap Pharnabazus, B.C. 373. Cf. Vergil (Georgic, i. 228); Martial, xiii. 9; Silius, iii. 375.

2. Curtius (iv. 22) says that this fleet was under the command of Hephaestion.

3.His predecessor, Sabaces, was slain at Issus. See Arrian, ii. 11 supra.

4. Curtius (iv. 29) says that Mazaces surrendered to Alexander treasure to the amount of 800 talents, nearly £200,000.

5. Memphis, the capital of Egypt, is called in the Hebrew Bible, Noph. In Hosea ix. 6 it is called Moph. The Egyptian name was Mӗnoph, of which both Moph and Noph are contractions. The name signifies place of Ftah, the Egyptian name for Vulcan. Memphis stood on the west bank of the Nile, and is said by Herodotus (ii. 99) to have been founded by Menes. It had a circumference of fifteen miles. Its numerous temples were famous and are mentioned in the poems of Martial, Ovid, and Tibullus. It never recovered the devastation committed by Cambyses, who was exasperated by its resistance. The rise of Alexandria as the capital under the Ptolemies, hastened the decline of Memphis. At Gizeh, near Memphis, are the three great pyramids, being of the height respectively of 460, 446, and 203 feet. Not far off are six smaller ones. Near the second pyramid is the Sphinx, cut out of the solid rook, which was probably an object of worship. Cf. Apollodorus, ii. 4.

6. Heliopolis is known in Hebrew as On, which is an Egyptian word meaning Sun. It is mentioned in Gen. xli. 45, 50; xlvi. 20. In Ezek. XXX. 17, it is called Aven, which is the same word in Hebrew as On, with a variation of the vowels. In Jer. xliii. 13 it is called Beith-Shemesh, which in Hebrew means House of the Sun, a translation of the Egyptian name. The Greeks called it Heliopolis, City of the Sun. The great temple of the Sun and its priesthood are described by Herodotus and Strabo. There are still remaining a beautiful obelisk of red granite nearly 70 feet high, and the brick wall of the temple 3,750 feet long by 2,370 feet broad. Cf. Apollodorus, ii. 4.

7.The word Nile never occurs in the Hebrew Bible; but that river is called Yeor (river). In Amos viii. 8 it is called Yeor Mitsraim, the river of Egypt; but it is usually called simply Yeor, the river. In Isa. xxiii. 3 the corn of Egypt is called the harvest of Yeor, or the Nile. In like manner Avon, Ganges, Rhine, mean river. The Greek name Neilos, or Nile, means a bed with a stream, and was originally applied to the land of Egypt, as the valley of the Nile. It rises in the lake Victoria Nyanza, and has a course of 3,300 miles. In Isa. xxiii. 3 and Jer. ii. 18 the Nile is called Shichor (turbid). In Homer (Odys., iv. 477, etc.) the river is called Egypt as well as the country. Cf. Ammianus, xxii. 15.

8. The Bull of Memphis, sacred to Ftah, the god of fire. See Herodotus, iii. 27, 28; Strabo, xvii. 1; Ammianus, xxii. 14; Ovid (Met., ix. 690).

9. Now Aboukir, about 13 miles north-east of Alexandria, near the westernmost mouth of the Nile. Cf. Aeschylus (Supp., 311; Prom., 846); Strabo, xvii. 1, 17; Tacitus (Ann., ii. 60).

10. Usually called Lake Mareotis, now Mariût. Cf . Vergil (Georgic, ii. 91).

11. We learn, from Curtius (iv. 38), that Alexander at first resolved to build the city on the island of Pharos, but finding it too small, built it on the mainland.

12. A goddess representing the moon, and wife of Osiris the sun-god.

p.140-142

Ch.2 Foundation of Alexandria.—Events in the Aegean

The following story is told, which seems to me not worthy of belief[1]:—that Alexander himself wished to leave behind for the builders the marks for the boundaries of the fortification, but that there was nothing at hand with which to make a furrow in the ground. One of the builders[2] hit upon the plan of collecting in vessels the barley which the soldiers were carrying, and throwing it upon the ground where the king led the way; and thus the circle of the fortification which he was making[3] for the city was completely marked out. The soothsayers, and especially Aristander the Telmissian, who was said already to have given many other true predictions, pondering this, told Alexander that the city would become prosperous in every respect, but especially in regard to the fruits of the earth.

At this time Hegelochus[4] sailed to Egypt and informed Alexander that the Tenedians had revolted from the Persians and attached themselves to him; because they had gone over to the Persians against their own wish. He also said that the democracy of Chios were introducing Alexander's adherents in spite of those who held the city, being established in it by Autophradates and Pharnabazus. The latter commander had been caught there and kept as a prisoner, as was also the despot Aristonicus, a Methymnaean,[5] who sailed into the harbour of Chios with five piratical vessels, fitted with one and a half banks of oars, not knowing that the harbour was in the hands of Alexander's adherents, but being misled by those who kept the bars of the harbour, because forsooth the fleet of Pharnabazus was moored in it. All the pirates were there massacred by the Chians; and Hegelochus brought to Alexander, as prisoners Aristonicus, Apollonides the Chian, Phisinus, Megareus, and all the others who had taken part in the revolt of Chios to the Persians, and who at that time were holding the government of the island by force. He also announced that he had deprived Chares[6] of the possession of Mitylene, that he had brought over the other cities in Lesbos by a voluntary agreement, and that he had sent Amphoterus to Cos with sixty ships, for the Coans themselves invited him to their island. He said that he himself had sailed to Cos and found it already in the hands of Amphoterus. Hegelochus brought all the prisoners with him except Pharnabazus, who had eluded his guards at Cos and got away by stealth. Alexander sent the despots who had been brought from the cities back to their fellow-citizens, to be treated as they pleased; but Apollonides and his Chian partisans he sent under a strict guard to Elephantinē, an Egyptian city.[7]


1. Cf. Strabo (xvii. 1); Plutarch (Alex., 26); Diodorus (xvii. 52); Curtius (iv. 33); Ammianus (xxii. 16). 2. We find from Valerius Maximus (i. 4) and Ammianus, I.c., that his name was Dinocrates.

3.Krüger substitutes ὲπενόει for ὲποίει, comparing iv. 1, 3, and 4, 1 infra.

4. See Arrian, ii. 2 supra.

5. Methymna was, next to Mitylene, the most important city in Lesbos.

6. Chares was an Athenian who had been one of the generals at the fatal battle of Chaeronea. Curtius (iv. 24) says that he consented to evacuate Mitylene with his force of 2,000 men on condition of a free departure.

7. On an island in the Nile, of the same name, opposite Syene. It served as the southern frontier garrison station.

p.142-143

Ch.3 Alexander visits the Temple of Ammon

After these transactions, Alexander was seized by an ardent desire to visit Ammon[1] in Libya, partly in order to consult the god, because the oracle of Ammon was said to be exact in its information, and Perseus and Heracles were said to have consulted it, the former when he was despatched by Polydectes[2] against the Gorgons, and the latter, when he visited Antaeus[3] in Libya and Busiris[4] in Egypt. Alexander was also partly urged by a desire of emulating Perseus and Heracles, from both of whom he traced his descent.[5] He also deduced his pedigree from Ammon, just as the legends traced that of Heracles and Perseus to Zeus. Accordingly he made the expedition to Ammon with the design of learning his own origin more certainly, or at least that he might be able to say that he had learned it. According to Aristobulus, he advanced along the sea-shore to Paraetonium through a country which was a desert, but not destitute of water, a distance of about 1,600 stades.[6] Thence he turned into the interior, where the oracle of Ammon was located. The route is desert, and most of it is sand and destitute of water. But there was a copious supply of rain for Alexander, a thing which was attributed to the influence of the deity; as was also the following occurrence. Whenever a south wind blows in that district, it heaps up the sand upon the route far and wide, rendering the tracks of the road invisible, so that it is impossible to discover where one ought to direct one's course in the sand, just as if one were at sea; for there are no landmarks along the road, neither mountain anywhere, nor tree, nor permanent hill standing erect, by which travellers might be able to form a conjecture of the right course, as sailors do by the stars.[7] Consequently, Alexander's army lost the way, and even the guides were in doubt about the course to take. Ptolemy, son of Lagus, says that two serpents went in front of the army, uttering a voice, and Alexander ordered the guides to follow them, trusting in the divine portent. He says too that they showed the way to the oracle and back again. But Aristobulus, whose account is generally admitted as correct, says that two ravens flew in front of the army, and that these acted as Alexander's guides. I am able to assert with confidence that some divine assistance was afforded him, for probability also coincides with the supposition; but the discrepancies in the details of the various narratives have deprived the story of certainty.[8]


1. The temple of Jupiter Ammon was in the oasis of Siwah, to the west of Egypt. Its ruins were discovered by Browne in 1792. This oasis is about 6 miles long and 3 broad. The people called Libyans occupied the whole of North Africa excluding Egypt. In Hebrew they are called Lubim (sunburnt). See 2 Chron. xii. 3; xvi. 8; Dan. xi. 43; Nah. iii. 9. Cf. Herodotus, ii. 32; iv. 168-199.

2. King of the island Seriphus. Cf. Herodotus, ii. 91.

3. The gigantic son of Poseidon and Ge.

4. King of Egypt, who was said to have sacrificed all foreigners that visited the land.

5. Perseus was the grandfather of Alemena, the mother of Hercules.

6. About 183 miles. This city lay at the extreme west of Egypt, in Marmarica.

7. "For some distance onward the engineers had erected a line of telegraph poles to guide us, but after they ceased the desert was absolutely trackless. Our guides were the stars—had the night been overcast the enterprise would have been impossible—and we were steered by a naval officer, Lieutenant Rawson, who had doubtless studied on previous nights the relation of these celestial beacons to the course of our march. The centre of the line was the point of direction; therefore he rode between the centre battalions (75th and 79th) of the Highland Brigade. Frequently in the course of the night, after duly ascertaining what dark figure I was addressing, I represented to him that his particular star was clouded over; but he always replied that he had another in view, a second string to his bow, which he showed me, and that he was convinced he had not deviated in the least from the proper direction. And he was right, his guidance was marvellously correct; for his reward, poor fellow, he was shot down in the assault, mortally wounded. Here we were adrift, but for the stars, in a region where no token existed on the surface by which to mark the course—any more than on the ocean without a compass—and the distance to be traversed was many miles."—Sir Edward Hamley: " The Second Division at Tel-el-Kebir," Nineteenth Century, December, 1882.

8. Strabo (xvii. 1) quotes from Callisthenes, whose work on Alexander is lost. He agrees with Aristobulus about the two ravens. Callisthenes is also quoted by Plutarch (Alex., 27) in regard to this prodigy. Curtius (iv. 30) says that there were several ravens; and Diodorus (xvii. 49) speaks of ravens.

p.144-146

Ch.4 The Oasis 0f Ammon.

The place where the temple of Ammon is located is entirely surrounded by a desert of far-stretching sand, which is destitute of water. The fertile spot in the midst of this desert, is not extensive; for where it stretches into its greater expanse, it is only about forty stades broad.[1] It is full of cultivated trees, olives and palms; and it is the only place in those parts which is refreshed with dew. A spring also rises from it, quite unlike all the other springs which issue from the earth.[2] For at mid-day the water is cold to the taste, and still more so to the touch, as cold as cold can be. But when the sun has sunk into the west, it gets warmer, and from the evening it keeps on growing warmer until midnight, when it reaches the warmest point. After midnight it goes on getting gradually colder: at day-break it is already cold; but at midday it reaches the coldest point. Every day it undergoes these alternate changes in regular succession. In this place also natural salt is procured by digging, and certain of the priests of Ammon convey quantities of it into Egypt. For whenever they set out for Egypt they put it into little boxes plaited out of palm, and carry it as a present to the king, or some other great man. The grains of this salt are large, some of them being even longer than three fingers' breadth; and it is clear like crystal.[3] The Egyptians and others who are respectful to the deity, use this salt in their sacrifices, as it is clearer than that which is procured from the sea. Alexander then was struck with wonder at the place, and consulted the oracle of the god. Having heard what was agreeable to his wishes, as he himself said, he set out on the journey back to Egypt by the same route, according to the statement of Aristobulus; but according to that of Ptolemy, son of Lagus, he took another road, leading straight to Memphis.[4]


1. Nearly five miles. Cf. Lucan, ix. 511-543.

2. This Fountain of the Sun, as it is called, is 30 paces long and 20 broad; 6 fathoms deep, with bubbles constantly rising from the surface. Cf. Herodotus, iv. 181; Lucretius, vi. 849-878; Ptolemy, iv. 5, 37.

3. This is what we call sal ammoniac, known to chemists as hydrochlorate of ammonia. The dactylos was the smallest Greek measure of length, about 710 of an inch.

4. We learn from Strabo (xvii. 1), on the authority of Callisthenes, that the declaration of the oracle of Ammon was confirmed by those of Apollo at Branchidae near Miletus, and of Athena at Erythrae in Ionia. Plutarch (Alex., 28) and Arrian (vii. 29) assert that Alexander set afloat the declaration that he was the son of Zeus to overawe the foreigners over whom he was extending his rule.

p.147-148

Ch.5 Settlement of the affairs of Egypt.

At Memphis, many embassies from Greece reached him; and he sent away no one disappointed by the rejection of his suit. From Antipater also arrived an army of 400 Grecian mercenaries under the command of Menidas, son of Hegesander: likewise from Thrace 500 cavalry, under the direction of Asclepiodorus, son of Eunicus. Here he offered sacrifice to Zeus the King, led his soldiers fully armed in solemn procession, and celebrated a gymnastic and musical contest. He then settled the affairs of Egypt, by appointing two Egyptians, Doloaspis and Petisis, governors of the country, dividing between them the whole land; but as Petisis declined his province, Doloaspis received the whole. He appointed two of the Companions to be commandants of garrisons: Pantaleon the Pydnaean in Memphis, and Polemo, son of Megacles, a Pellaean, in Pelusium. He also gave the command of the Grecian auxiliaries to Lycidas, an Aetolian, and pointed Eugnostus, son of Xenophantes, one of the Companions, to be secretary over the same troops. As their overseers he placed Aeschylus and Ephippus the Chalcidean. The government of the neighbouring country of Libya he granted to Apollonius, son of Charinus; and the part of Arabia near Heroöpolis[1] he put under Cleomenes, a man of Naucratis.[2] This last was ordered to allow the governors to rule their respective districts according to the ancient custom; but to collect from them the tribute due to him. The native governors were also ordered to pay it to Cleomenes. He appointed Peucestas, son of Macartatus, and Balacrus, son of Amyntas, generals of the army which he left behind in Egypt; and he placed Polemo, son of Theramenes, over the fleet as admiral. He made Leonnatus, son of Anteas, one of his body-guards instead of Arrhybas, who had died of disease. Antiochus, the commander of the archers, also died; and in his stead Ombrion the Cretan was appointed. When Balacrus was left behind in Egypt, the allied Grecian infantry, which had been under his command, was put under that of Calanus. Alexander was said to have divided the government of Egypt among so many men, because he was surprised at the natural strength of the country, and he thought it unsafe to entrust the rule of the whole to a single person. The Romans also seem to me to have learned a lesson from him, and therefore keep Egypt under strong guard; for they do not send any of the senators thither as proconsul for the same reason, but only men who have the rank among them of Equites (Knights).[3]


1. Ewald and others think that Heroöpolis was identical with the Raamses of the Bible. Raamses, or Rameses, is a Coptic word meaning "the son of the sun."

2. A city founded by the Milesians on the Canopic branch of the Nile. It remained a purely Greek city, being the only place where Greeks were allowed to settle and trade in Egypt. Cf. Herodotus, ii. 97, 135, 178, 179.

3. Cf. Tacitus (Historiae, i. 11).

p.148-149

Ch. 6 March into Syria. —Alexander's Kindness to Harpalus and his other early Adherents

As soon as spring began to appear, he went from Memphis to Phoenicia, bridging the stream of the Nile near Memphis, as well as the canals issuing from it. When he arrived at Tyre, he found his fleet already there.[1] In this city he again offered sacrifice to Heracles, and celebrated both a gymnastic and musical contest. While there, the state vessel called the Paralus came to him from Athens, bringing Diophantus and Achilleus as envoys to him; and all the crew of the Paralus were joined with them in the embassy.[2] These men obtained all the requests which they were despatched to make, and the king gave up to the Athenians all their fellow-citizens who had been captured at the Granicus.[3] Being informed that revolutionary plans had been carried out in the Peloponnese, he sent Amphoterus thither to assist those of the Peloponnesians who were firm in their support of his war against Persia, and were not under the control of the Lacedaemonians. He also commanded the Phoenicians and Cyprians to despatch to the Peloponnese 100 other ships in addition to those which he was sending with Amphoterus. He now started up into the interior towards Thapsacus and the river Euphrates, after placing Coeranus, a Beroean[4] over the levy of tribute in Phoenicia, and Philoxenus to collect it in Asia as far as the Taurus. In the place of these men he entrusted the custody of the money which he had with him to Harpalus, son of Machatas, who had just returned from exile. For this man at first had been banished, while Philip was still king, because he was an adherent of Alexander; as also was Ptolemy, son of Lagus, for the same reason; likewise Nearchus, son of Androtimus, Erigyius, son of Larichus, and his brother Laomedon. For Alexander fell under Philip's suspicion when the latter married Eurydice[5] and treated Alexander's mother Olympias with dishonour. But after Philip's death those who had been banished on Alexander's account returned from exile and were received into favour. He made Ptolemy one of his confidential body-guards; he placed Harpalus over the money, because his bodily strength was unequal to the fatigues of war. Erigyius was made commander of the allied Grecian cavalry; and his brother Laomedon, because he could speak both the Greek and Persian languages and could read Persian writings, was put in charge of the foreign prisoners. Nearchus also was appointed viceroy of Lycia and of the land adjacent to it as far as mount Taurus. But shortly before the battle which was fought at Issus, Harpalus fell under the influence of Tauriscus, an evil man, and fled in his company. The latter started off to Alexander the Epirote[6] in Italy, where he soon after died. But Harpalus found a refuge in Megaris, whence however Alexander persuaded him to return, giving him a pledge that he should be none the worse on account of his desertion. When he came back, he not only received no punishment, but was even reinstated in the office of treasurer. Menander, one of the Companions, was sent away into Lydia as viceroy; and Clearchus was put in command of the Grecian auxiliaries who had been under Menander. Asclepiodorus, son of Eunicus, was also appointed viceroy of Syria instead of Arimmas, because the latter seemed to have been remiss in collecting the supplies which he had been ordered to collect for the army which the king was about to lead into the interior.


1. We learn, from Curtius (iv. 34), that Alexander went to Samaria to chastise the inhabitants, who had burnt his deputy, Andromachus, to death.

2. From early times the Athenians kept two sacred vessels for state purposes, the one called the Paralus and the other Salaminia. In the earliest times the former was used for coasting purposes, and the latter for the journey to Salamis. Hence their respective names. See Dr. Smith's Dict. of Antiquities. Aeschines, in his oration against Ctesiphon (p. 550), asserts that he was informed by the seamen of the Paralus that Demosthenes on this occasion sent a letter to Alexander soliciting pardon and favour.

3. Cf. Aelian, Varia Historia, i. 25; Curtius, iv. 34.

4. Beroea was a city of Macedonia, on the Astraeus, a tributary of the Haliacmon, about 20 miles from the sea.

5. Other historians call this queen Cleopatra. She was the daughter of a Macedonian named Attalus. Plutarch (Alex., 9 and 10) says that she was cruelly put to death by Olympias during Alexander's absence. Justin (ix. 7; xi. 2) states that Olympias first slew her daughter on her mother's bosom and then had Cleopatra hanged; while Alexander put to death Caranus, the infant son of Philip and Cleopatra. Pausanias (viii. 7) says that Olympias caused Cleopatra and her infant son to be roasted on a brazen vessel. Cf. Aelian (Varia Historia, xiii. 35).

6. This king was brother of Alexander's mother Olympias, and husband of Cleopatra the daughter of Philip and Olympias. He crossed over into Italy to aid the Tarentines against the Lucanians and Bruttians, but was eventually defeated and slain near Pandosia, B.C. 326.

p.150-152

Ch.7 Passage of the Euphrates and Tigris

Alexander arrived at Thapsacus in the month Hecatombaion,[1] in the archonship of Aristophanes at Athens; and he found that two bridges of boats had been constructed over the stream. But Mazaeus, to whom Darius had committed the duty of guarding the river, with about 3,000 cavalry, 2,000 of which were Grecian mercenaries, was up to that time keeping guard there at the river. For this reason the Macedonians had not constructed the complete bridge as far as the opposite bank, being afraid that Mazaeus might make an assault upon the bridge where it ended. But when he heard that Alexander was approaching, he went off in flight with all his army. As soon as he had fled, the bridges were completed as far as the further bank, and Alexander crossed upon them with his army.[2] Thence he marched up into the interior through the land called Mesopotamia, having the river Euphrates and the mountains of Armenia on his left. When he started from the Euphrates he did not march to Babylon by the direct road; because by going the other route he found all things easier for the march of his army, and it was also easier to obtain fodder for the horses and provisions for the men from the country. Besides this, the heat was not so scorching on the indirect route. Some of the men from Darius's army, who were dispersed for the purpose of scouting, were taken prisoners; and they reported that Darius was encamped near the river Tigris, having resolved to prevent Alexander from crossing that stream. They also said that he had a much larger army than that with which he had fought in Cilicia. Hearing this, Alexander went with all speed towards the Tigris; but when he reached it he found neither Darius himself nor any guard which he had left. However he experienced great difficulty in crossing the stream, on account of the swiftness of the current,[3] though no one tried to stop him. There he made his army rest, and while so doing, an eclipse of the moon nearly total occurred.[4] Alexander thereupon offered sacrifice to the moon, the sun and the earth, whose deed this was, according to common report. Aristander thought that this eclipse of the moon was a portent favourable to Alexander and the Macedonians; that there would be a battle that very month, and that victory for Alexander was signified by the sacrificial victims. Having therefore decamped from the Tigris, he went through the land of Aturia,[5] having the mountains of the Gordyaeans[6] on the left and the Tigris itself on the right; and on the fourth day after the passage of the river, his scouts brought word to him that the enemy's cavalry were visible there along the plain, but how many of them there were they could not guess. Accordingly he drew his army up in order and advanced prepared for battle. Other scouts again riding forward and taking more accurate observations, told him that the cavalry did not seem to them to be more than 1,000 in number.


1. June-July, B.C. 331.

2. We learn, from Curtius (iv. 37), that Alexander took eleven days to march from Phoenicia to the Euphrates.

3. Curtius (iv. 37) says that Tigris is the Persian word for arrow; and that the river was so named on account of the swiftness of its current. The Hebrew name is Chiddekel, which means arrow. See Gen. ii. 14; and Dan. i. 4, where it is called the great river. The name Tigris is derived from the Zend Tighra, which comes from the Sanscrit Tig, to sharpen. It is now called Dijleh. It joins the Euphrates 90 miles from the sea, and the united stream is called Shat-el-Arab. Its entire length is 1,146 miles. In ancient times the two rivers had distinct mouths. So the Rhon formerly had several mouths. See Livy, xxi. 26. Strabo (iv. 1, 8) says that Timaeus gave it five mouths; Polybius gives it two; others give seven.

4. This eclipse occurred September 20th, B.C. 331.

5. The part of Assyria lying between the Upper Tigris and the Lycus was called Aturia.

6. Called Carduchi by Xenophon. These mountains separate Assyria and Mesopotamia from Media and Armenia.

p.152-154

Ch.8 Description of Darius's Army at Arbela

Alexander therefore took the royal squadron of cavalry, and one squadron of the Companions, together with the Paeonian scouts, and marched with all speed; having ordered the rest of his army to follow at leisure. The Persian cavalry, seeing Alexander, advancing quickly, began to flee with all their might. Though he pressed close upon them in pursuit, most of them escaped; but a few, whose horses were fatigued by the flight, were slain, others were taken prisoners, horses and all. From these they ascertained that Darius with a large force was not far off. For the Indians who were conterminous with the Bactrians, as also the Bactrians themselves and the Sogdianians had come to the aid of Darius, all being under the command of Bessus, the viceroy of the land of Bactria. They were accompanied by the Sacians, a Scythian tribe belonging to the Scythians who dwell in Asia.[1] These were not subject to Bessus, but were in alliance with Darius. They were commanded by Mavaces, and were horse-bowmen. Barsaentes, the viceroy of Arachotia, led the Arachotians[2] and the men who were called mountaineer Indians. Satibarzanes, the viceroy of Areia, led the Areians,[3] as did Phrataphernes the Parthians, Hyrcanians, and Tapurians,[4] all of whom were horsemen. Atropates commanded the Medes, with whom were arrayed the Cadusians, Albanians, and Sacesinians.[5] The men who dwelt near the Red Sea[6] were marshalled by Ocondobates, Ariobarzanes, and Otanes. The Uxians and Susianians[7] acknowledged Oxathres son of Aboulites as their leader, and the Babylonians were commanded by Boupares. The Carians who had been deported into central Asia, and the Sitacenians[8] had been placed in the same ranks as the Babylonians. The Armenians were commanded by Orontes and Mithraustes, and the Cappadocians by Ariaoes. The Syrians from the vale between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon (i.e. Coele-Syria) and the men of Syria which lies between the rivers[9] were led by Mazaeus. The whole army of Darius was said to contain 40,000 cavalry, 1,000,000 infantry, and 200 scythe-bearing chariots.[10] There were only a few elephants, about fifteen in number, belonging to the Indians who live this side of the Indus.[11] With these forces Darius had encamped at Gaugamela, near the river Bumodus, about 600 stades distant from the city of Arbela, in a district everywhere level;[12] for whatever ground thereabouts was unlevel and unfit for the evolutions of cavalry, had long before been levelled by the Persians, and made fit for the easy rolling of chariots and for the galloping of horses. For there were some who persuaded Darius that he had forsooth got the worst of it in the battle fought at Issus, from the narrowness of the battle-field; and this he was easily induced to believe.


1. Cf. Aelian (Varia Historia, xii. 38).

2. Arachosia comprised what is now the south-east part of Afghanistan and the north-east part of Beloochistan.

3. Aria comprised the west and north-west part of Afghanistan and the east part of Khorasan.

4. Parthia is the modern Khorasan. Hyrcania was the country south and south-east of the Caspian Sea. The Tapurians dwelt in the north of Media, on the borders of Parthia between the Caspian passes. Cf. Ammianus, xxiii. 6.

5. The Cadusians lived south-west of the Caspian, the Albanians on the west of the same sea, in the south-east part of Georgia, and the Sacesinians in the north-east of Armenia, on the river Kur.

6. "The Red Sea was the name originally given to the whole expanse of sea to the west of India as far as Africa. The name was subsequently given to the Arabian Gulf exclusively. In Hebrew it is called Yam-Suph (Sea of Sedge, or a seaweed resembling wool). The Egyptians called it the Sea of Weeds.

7. The Uxians occupied the north-west of Persis, and Susiana was the country to the north and west of Persis.

8. The Sitacenians lived in the south of Assyria. ἐτετάχατο. is the Ionic form for τεταγμἑνοι ἦσαν.

9. The Greeks called this country Mesopotamia because it lies between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. In the Bible it is called Paddan-Aram (the plain of Aram, which is the Hebrew name of Syria). In Gen. xlviii. 7 it is called merely Paddan, the plain. In Hos. xii. 12, it is called the field of Aram, or, as our Bible has it, the country of Syria. Elsewhere in the Bible it is called Aram-naharaim, Aram of the two rivers, which the Greeks translated Mesopotamia. It is called "the Island," by Arabian geographers.

10. Curtius (iv. 35 and 45) states that Darius had 200,000 infantry, 45,000 cavalry, and 200 scythed chariots; Diodorus (xvii. 53) says, 800,000 infantry, 200,000 cavalry, and 200 scythed chariots; Justin (xi. 12) gives 400,000 foot and 100,000 horse; and Plutarch (Alex., 31) speaks of a million of men. For the chariots cf. Xenophon (Anab., i 8, 10); Livy, xxxvii. 41.

11. This is the first instance on record of the employment of elephants in battle.

12. This river is now called Ghasir, a tributary of the Great Zab. The village Gaugamela was in the district of Assyria called Aturia, about 69 miles from the city of Arbela, now called Erbil.

p.154-157

Ch.9 Alexander's Tactics.— His Speech to the Officers

When Alexander had received all this information from the Persian scouts who had been captured, he remained four days in the place where he had received the news; and gave his army rest after the march. He meanwhile fortified his camp with a ditch and stockade, as he intended to leave behind the baggage and all the soldiers who were unfit for fighting, and to go into the contest accompanied by his warriors carrying with them nothing except their weapons. Accordingly he took his forces by night, and began the march about the second watch, in order to come into collision with the foreigners at break of day. As soon as Darius was informed of Alexander's approach, he at once drew out his army for battle; and Alexander led on his men drawn up in like manner. Though the armies were only sixty stades[1] from each other, yet they were not in sight of each other, for between the hostile forces some hills intervened. But when Alexander was only thirty stades distant from the enemy, and his army was already marching down from the hills just mentioned, catching sight of the foreigners, he caused his phalanx to halt there. Calling a council of the Companions, generals, cavalry officers, and leaders of the Grecian allies and mercenaries, he deliberated with them, whether he should at once lead on the phalanx without delay, as most of them urged him to do; or, whether, as Parmenio thought preferable, to pitch their tents there for the present, to reconnoitre all the ground, in order to see if there was anything there to excite suspicion or to impede their progress, or if there were ditches or stakes firmly fixed in the earth out of sight, as well as to make a more accurate survey of the enemy's tactical arrangements. Parmenio's opinion prevailed, so they encamped there, drawn up in the order in which they intended to enter the battle. But Alexander took the light infantry and the cavalry Companions and went all round, reconnoitring the whole country where he was about to fight the battle. Having returned, he again called together the same leaders, and said that they did not require to be encouraged by him to enter the contest; for they had been long before encouraged by their own valour, and by the gallant deeds which they had already so often achieved. He thought it expedient that each of them individually should stir up his own men separately; the infantry captain the men of his company, the cavalry captain his own squadron, the brigadiers their various brigades, and each of the leaders of the infantry the phalanx entrusted to him. He assured them that in this battle they were going to fight, not as before, either for Coele-Syria, Phoenicia, or Egypt, but for the whole of Asia. For he said this battle would decide who were to be the rulers of that continent. It was not necessary for him to stir them up to gallant deeds by many words, since they had this valour by nature; but they should see that each man took care, so far as in him lay, to preserve discipline in the critical moment of action, and to keep perfect silence when it was expedient to advance in silence. On the other hand, they should see that each man uttered a sonorous shout, where it would be advantageous to shout, and to raise as terrible a battle-cry as possible, when a suitable opportunity occurred of raising the battle-cry. He told them to take care to obey his orders as quickly as possible, and to transmit the orders they had received to the ranks with all rapidity; each man remembering that both as an individual and in the aggregate he was increasing the general danger if he was remiss in the discharge of his duty, and that he was assisting to gain a victory if he zealously put forth his utmost exertions.


About 7 miles.

p.157-159

Ch.10 Rejection of Parmenio's Advice

With these words and others like them he briefly exhorted his officers, and in return was exhorted by them to feel confidence in their valour. He then ordered the soldiers to take dinner and to rest themselves. It is said that Parmenio came to him in his tent, and urged him to make a night attack on the Persians; saying that thus he would fall upon them unprepared and in a state of confusion, and at the same time more liable to a panic in the dark.[1] But the reply which he made, as others were listening to their conversation, was, that it would be mean to steal a victory, and that Alexander ought to conquer in open daylight, and without any artifice. This vaunting did not appear any arrogance on his part, but rather to indicate self-confidence amid dangers. To me at any rate, he seems to have used correct reasoning in such a matter. For in the night many accidents have occurred unexpectedly to those who were sufficiently prepared for battle as well as to those who were deficiently prepared, which have caused the superior party to fail in their plans, and have handed the victory over to the inferior party, contrary to the expectations of both sides. Though Alexander was generally fond of encountering danger in battle, the night appeared to him perilous; and, besides, if Darius were again defeated, a furtive and nocturnal attack on the part of the Macedonians would relieve him of the necessity of confessing that he was an inferior general and commanded inferior troops. Moreover, if any unexpected defeat befell his army, the circumjacent country was friendly to the enemy, and they were acquainted with the locality, whereas the Macedonians[2] were unacquainted with it, and surrounded by nothing but foes, of whom there were a great number prisoners. These would be a great source of anxiety, as they would be likely to assist in attacking them in the night, not only if they should meet with defeat, but even if they did not appear to be gaining a decisive victory. For this way of reasoning I commend Alexander; and I think him no less worthy of admiration for his excessive desire to fight in open daylight.


1. Xenophon (Anab., iii. 4, 35) explains why this was so.

2.σφεῖς here stands for αὐτοί.

p.159-160

Ch.11 Tactics of the Opposing Generals

Darius and his army remained drawn up during the night in the same order as that in which they had first arrayed themselves; because they had not surrounded themselves with a completely entrenched camp, and, moreover, they were afraid that the enemy would attack them in the night. The success of the Persians, on this occasion, was impeded especially by this long standing on watch with their arms, and by the fear which usually springs up before great dangers; which, however, was not then suddenly aroused by a momentary panic, but had been experienced for a long time, and had thoroughly cowed their spirits.[1]

The army of Darius was drawn up in the following manner: for, according to the statement of Aristobulus, the written scheme of arrangement drawn up by Darius was afterwards captured.

His left wing was held by the Bactrian cavalry, in conjunction with the Daans[2] and Arachotians; near these had been posted the Persians, horse and foot mixed together; next to these the Susians, and then the Cadusians. This was the arrangement of the left wing as far as the middle of the whole phalanx.

On the right had been posted the men from Coele-Syria and Mesopotamia. On the right again were the Medes; next to them the Parthians and Sacians; then the Tapurians and Hyrcanians, and last the Albanians and Sacesinians, extending as far as the middle of the whole phalanx.

In the centre where King Darius was, had been posted the king's kinsmen,[3] the Persian guards carrying spears with golden apples at the butt end,[4] the Indians, the Carians who had been forcibly removed to Central Asia, and the Mardian archers.[5] The Uxians, the Babylonians, the men who dwell near the Red Sea, and the Sitacenians had also been drawn up in deep column.

On the left, opposite Alexander's right, had been posted the Scythian cavalry, about 1,000 Bactrians and 100 scythe-bearing chariots. In front of Darius's royal squadron of cavalry stood the elephants and 50 chariots. In front of the right wing the Armenian and Cappadocian cavalry with 50 scythe-bearing chariots bad been posted. The Greek mercenaries, as alone capable of coping with the Macedonians, were stationed right opposite their phalanx, in two divisions close beside Darius himself and his Persian attendants, one division on each side.[6]

Alexander's army was marshalled as follows: The right wing was held by the cavalry Companions, in front of whom had been posted the royal squadron, commanded by Clitus, son of Dropidas. Near this was the squadron of Glaucias, next to it that of Aristo, then that of Sopolis, son of Hermodorus, then that of Heraclides, son of Antiochus. Near this was that of Demetrius, son of Althaemenes, then that of Meleager, and last one of the royal squadrons commanded by Hegelochus, son of Hippostratus. All the cavalry Companions were under the supreme command of Philotas, son of Parmenio. Of the phalanx of Macedonian infantry, nearest to the cavalry had been posted first the select corps of shield-bearing guards, and then the rest of the shield-bearing-guards, under the command of Nicanor, son of Parmenio. Next to these was the brigade of Coenus, son of Polemocrates; after these that of Perdiceas, son of Orontes, then that of Meleager, son of Neoptolemus, then that of Polysperchon,[7] son of Simmias, and last that of Amyntas, son of Andromenes, under the command of Simmias, because Amyntas had been despatched to Macedonia to levy an army. The brigade of Craterus, son of Alexander, held the left end of the Macedonian phalanx, and this general commanded the left wing of the infantry.[8] Next to him was the allied Grecian cavalry, under the command of Erigyius, son of Larichus. Next to these, towards the left wing of the army, were the Thessalian cavalry, under the command of Philip, son of Menelaüs. But the whole left wing was led by Parmenio, son of Philotas, round whose person were ranged the Pharsalian horsemen, who were both the best and most numerous squadron of the Thessalian cavalry.


1. See note 1 to ii. 10 supra.

2. These people were a Scythian tribe leading a nomadic life east of the Caspian. They are called Daoi by Herodotus, i. 125; Dahae by Ammianus, xxii. 8, 21; Livy, xxxv. 48; xxxvii. 38; Vergil (Aeneid, viii. 728); Pliny, vi. 19; Strabo, xi. 7. They are mentioned in Ezra iv. 9 as subjects of Persia. The district is now called Daikh. See Früst's Hebrew Lexicon, sub voce דֶֽה.

3. A title of honour. Curtius says that they numbered 15,000.

4. Cf. Herodotus, vii. 41.

5. This people lived to the south of the Caspian.

6. "Several names of various contingents stated to have been present in the field are not placed in the official return— thus the Sogdiani, the Arians, and the Indian mountaineers are mentioned by Arrian as having joined Darius (iii. 8); the Kossaeans by Diodorus (xvii. 59); the Sogdiani, Massagatae, Belitae, Kossaeans, Gortyae, Phrygians, and Kataonians, by Curtius (iv. 12)."—Grote.

7. This distinguished general succeeded Antipater as regent of Macedonia, but was overcome by Cassander, the son of the former, and became subordinate to him.

8. There were thus six taxeis, or brigades of foot Companions, as they were called, in the phalanx of infantry at the battle of Arbela. Arrian's description of the battle at the Granicus (i. 14) seems to be erroneous in some of the words of the text; yet it may be gathered from it that there were also six taxeis in Alexander's phalanx on that occasion also.

p.160-163

Ch.12 Alexander's Tactics

In this way had Alexander marshalled his army in front; but he also posted a second array, so that his phalanx might be a double one.1 Directions had been given to the commanders of these men posted in the rear to wheel round and receive the attack of the foreigners, if they should see their own comrades surrounded by the Persian army. Next to the royal squadron on the right wing, half of the Agrianians, under the command of Attalus, in conjunction with the Macedonian archers under Briso’s command, were posted angular-wise in case they should be seized anyhow by the necessity of deepening the phalanx, or of closing up the ranks. Next to the archers were the men called the veteran mercenaries, whose commander was Cleander. In front of the Agrianians and archers were posted the light cavalry used for skirmishing, and the Paeonians, under the command of Aretes and Aristo. In front of all had been posted the Grecian mercenary cavalry under the direction of Menidas; and in front of the royal squadron of cavalry and the other Companions had been posted half of the Agrianians and archers, and the javelin-men of Balacrus who had been ranged opposite the scythe-bearing chariots. Instructions had been given to Menidas and the troops under him to wheel round and attack the enemy in flank, if they should ride round their wing. Thus had Alexander arranged matters on the right wing. On the left the Thracians under the command of Sitalces had been posted angular-wise, and near them the cavalry of the Grecian allies, under the direction of Coeranus. Next stood the Odrysian cavalry, under the command of Agatho, son of Tyrimmas. In this part, in front of all, were posted the auxiliary cavalry of the Grecian mercenaries, under the direction of Andromachus, son of Hiero. Near the baggage the infantry from Thrace were posted as a guard. The whole of Alexander’s army numbered 7,000 cavalry and about 40,000 infantry.


1.See Arrian's Tactics, 29.

p.163-164

Ch.13 The Battle of Arbela

When the armies drew near each other, Darius and the men around him were observed: the apple-bearing Persians, the Indians, the Albanians, the Carians who had been forcibly transported into Central Asia, the Mardian archers ranged opposite Alexander himself and the royal squadron of cavalry. Alexander led his own army more towards the right, and the Persians marched along parallel with him, far outflanking him upon their left.1 Then the Scythian cavalry rode along the line, and came into conflict with the front men of Alexander’s array; but he nevertheless still continued to march towards the right, and almost entirely got beyond the ground which had been cleared and levelled by the Persians.2 Then Darius, fearing that his chariots would become useless, if the Macedonians advanced into the uneven ground, ordered the front ranks of his left wing to ride round the right wing of the Macedonians, where Alexander was commanding, to prevent him from marching his wing any further. This being done, Alexander ordered the cavalry of the Grecian mercenaries under the command of Menidas to attack them. But the Scythian cavalry and the Bactrians, who had been drawn up with them, sallied forth against them, and being much more numerous they put the small body of Greeks to rout. Alexander then ordered Aristo at the head of the Paeonians and Grecian auxiliaries to attack the Scythians; and the barbarians gave way. But the rest of the Bactrians, drawing near to the Paeonians and Grecian auxiliaries, caused their own comrades who were already in flight to turn and renew the battle; and thus they brought about a general cavalry engagement, in which more of Alexander’s men fell, not only being overwhelmed by the multitude of the barbarians, but also because the Scythians themselves and their horses were much more completely protected with armour for guarding their bodies.3 Notwithstanding this, the Macedonians sustained their assaults, and assailing them violently squadron by squadron, they succeeded in pushing them out of rank. Meantime the foreigners launched their scythe-bearing chariots against Alexander himself, for the purpose of throwing his phalanx into confusion; but in this they were grievously deceived. For as soon as they approached, the Agrianians and the javelin-men with Balacrus, who had been posted in front of the Companion cavalry, hurled their javelins at some of the horses; others they seized by the reins and pulled the drivers off, and standing round the horses killed them. Yet some got right through the ranks; for the men stood apart and opened their ranks, as they had been instructed, in the places where the chariots assaulted them. In this way it generally happened that the chariots passed through safely, and the men by whom they were driven were uninjured. But these also were afterwards overpowered by the grooms of Alexander’s army and by the royal shield-bearing guards.4


1. Cf. Diodorus (xvii. 57).

2. See Donaldson's New Cratylus, sect. 178.

3. Cf. Curtius, iv. 35. "Equitibus equisque tegumenta erant ex ferreis laminis serie inter se connexis."

4. Compare the uselessness of the Persian scythed chariots at the battle of Cunaxa. See Xenophon (Anabasis, i. 8). So also at the battle of Magnesia between Scipio and Antiochus. See Livy, xxxvii. 41.

p.164-166

Ch.14 Battle of Arbela.— Plight of Darius

As soon as Darius began to set his whole phalanx in motion, Alexander ordered Aretes to attack those who were riding completely round his right wing; and up to that time he was himself leading his men in column. But when the Persians had made a break in the front line of their army, in consequence of the cavalry sallying forth to assist those who were surrounding the right wing, Alexander wheeled round towards the gap, and forming a wedge as it were of the Companion cavalry and of the part of the phalanx which was posted here, he led them with a quick charge and loud battle-cry straight towards Darius himself. For a short time there ensued a hand-to-hand fight; but when the Macedonian cavalry, commanded by Alexander himself, pressed on vigorously, thrusting themselves against the Persians and striking their faces with their spears, and when the Macedonian phalanx in dense array and bristling[1] with long pikes had also made an attack upon them, all things at once appeared full of terror to Darius, who had already long been in a state of fear, so that he was the first to turn and flee.[2] The Persians also who were riding round the wing were seized with alarm when Aretes made a vigorous attack upon them. In this quarter indeed the Persians took to speedy flight; and the Macedonians followed up the fugitives and slaughtered them.[3] Simmias and his brigade were not yet able to start with Alexander in pursuit, but causing the phalanx to halt there, he took part in the struggle, because the left wing of the Macedonians was reported to be hard pressed. In this part of the field, their line being broken, some of the Indians and of the Persian cavalry burst through the gap towards the baggage of the Macedonians; and there the action became desperate. For the Persians fell boldly on the men, who were most of them unarmed, and never expected that any men would cut through the double phalanx and break through upon them.[4] When the Persians made this attack, the foreign prisoners also assisted them by falling upon the Macedonians in the midst of the action. But the commanders of the men who had been posted as a reserve to the first phalanx, learning what was taking place, quickly moved from the position which they had been ordered to take, and coming upon the Persians in the rear, killed many of them there collected round the baggage. But the rest of them gave way and fled. The Persians on the right wing, who had not yet become aware of the flight of Darius, rode round Alexander's left wing and attacked Parmenio in flank.[5]


1. πεφρικυῖα, imitated from Homer (Iliad, iv. 282). Cf. Vergil (Aeneid, x. 178, horrentibus hastis); Livy, xliv. 41 (horrendis hastis).

2. Curtius (iv. 58, 59) and Diodorus (xvii. 60) describe quite an Homeric battle, Darius hurling a spear at Alexander, and Alexander hurling his at Darius and killing his charioteer. They say that the Persians mistook the fall of the charioteer for that of the king, and fled, carrying Darius with them.

3. Curtius (iv. 59) and Diodorus (xvii. 60) say that so thick a cloud of dust was raised by the mighty mass of fugitives, that nothing could be clearly distinguished, and that thus the Macedonians lost the track of Darius. The noise of the shouting and the cracking of whips served as guides to the pursuers.

4. Sisygambis, the mother of Darius, whom these Persians were especially anxious to liberate from the custody of the Macedonians, refused to go with them. See Diodorus and Curtius.

5. Arrian does not say much about this vigorous charge of Mazaeus, the commander of the Persian right wing. See Curtius (iv. 60); Diodorus (xvii. 60).

p.166-168

Ch.15 Defeat of the Persians and Pursuit of Darius

At this juncture, while the Macedonians were doubtful as to the result of the battle, Parmenio sent a messenger to Alexander in haste, to tell him that their side was in a critical position and that he must send him aid.[1] When this news was brought to Alexander, he immediately turned back again from the pursuit, and wheeling round with the Companion cavalry, led them with great speed against the right wing of the foreigners. In the first place he assaulted the fleeing cavalry of the enemy, the Parthians, some of the Indians, and the most numerous and the bravest division of the Persians. Then ensued the most obstinately contested cavalry fight in the whole engagement. For being drawn up by squadrons as it were, the foreigners wheeled round and falling on Alexander's men face to face, they no longer relied on the hurling of javelins or the dexterous deploying of horses, as is the common practice in cavalry battles, but every one on his own account strove eagerly to break through what stood in his way, as if this were their only means of safety. They struck and were struck without quarter, as if they were no longer struggling to secure the victory for another, but were contending for their own personal safety. Here about sixty of Alexander's Companions fell; and Hephaestion himself, as well as Coenus and Menidas, was wounded. But even these troops were overcome by Alexander; and as many of them as could force their way through his ranks fled with all their might. And now Alexander had nearly come into conflict with the enemy's right wing, but in the meantime the Thessalian cavalry in a splendid struggle, had not fallen short of Alexander's success in the engagement. For the foreigners on the right wing were already beginning to fly when he came on the scene of conflict; so that he wheeled round again and started off in pursuit of Darius once more, keeping up the chase as long as there was daylight. Parmenio's brigade also followed in pursuit of those who were opposed to them. But Alexander crossed the river Lycus[2] and pitched his camp there, to give his men and horses a little rest; while Parmenio seized the Persian camp with their baggage, elephants, and camels. After giving his horsemen rest until midnight, Alexander again advanced by a forced march towards Arbela, with the hope of seizing Darius there, together with his money and the rest of his royal property. He reached Arbela the next day, having pursued altogether about 600 stades from the battle-field.[3] But as Darius went on fleeing without taking any rest,[4] he did not find him at Arbela. However the money and all the other property were captured, as was also the chariot of Darius. His spear and bow were likewise taken, as had been the case after the battle of Issus.[5] Of Alexander's men about 100 were killed, and more than 1,000 of his horses were lost either from wounds or from fatigue in the pursuit, nearly half of them belonging to the Companion cavalry. Of the foreigners there were said to have been about 300,000 slain, and far more were taken prisoners than were killed.[6] The elephants and all the chariots which had not been destroyed in the battle were also captured. Such was the result of this battle, which was fought in the archonship of Aristophanes at Athens, in the month Pyanepsion;[7] and thus Aristander's prediction was accomplished, that Alexander would both fight a battle and gain a victory in the same month in which the moon was seen to be eclipsed.[8]


1. We learn from Diodorus and Curtius that Parmenio had driven Mazaeus back before Alexander's arrival.

2. The Lycus, now called the Great Zab, is a tributary of the Tigris. Xenophon calls it Zabatus (Anab., ii. 5). The Greek Lycus is a translation of the Syrian Zaba (wolf).

3. About sixty-nine miles. Cf. Strabo (xvi. 1, 3).

4. ὲλνύσας. This is an Ionic word used by Herodotus (viii. 71, etc.), and rarely in Attic poets and later prose writers.

5. See Arrian, ii. 11 supra.

6. Curtius (iv. 63) says that 40,000 of the Persians were slain, and that less than 300 Macedonians were killed. Diodorus (xvii. 61) states that more than 90,000 Persians and 500 Macedonians were elain.

7. September 331 B.C. Cf. Plutarch (Alex., 31).

8. For this prediction, see iii. 7 supra.


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