The Anabasis of Alexander/2b

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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 XV. Alexander's Treatment of the Captured Greek Ambassadors.—Submission of Byblus and Sidon

When Alexander ascertained that all the money which Darius had sent off to Damascus with Cophen, son of Artabazus, was captured, and also that the Persians who had been left in charge of it, as well as the rest of the royal property, were taken prisoners, he ordered Parmenio to take the treasure back to Damascus, and there guard it.[1] When he also ascertained that the Grecian ambassadors who had reached Darius before the battle had likewise been captured, he ordered them to be sent to him.[2] They were Euthycles, a Spartan; Thessaliscus, son of Ismenias, and Dionysodorus, a victor in the Olympic games, Thebans; and Iphicrates, son of Iphicrates the general, an Athenian.[3] When these men came to Alexander, he immediately released Thessaliscus and Dionysodorus, though they were Thebans, partly out of compassion for Thebes, and partly because they seemed to have acted in a pardonable manner. For their native city had been reduced to slavery by the Macedonians, and they were trying to find whatever succour they could for themselves and perhaps also for their native city from Darius and the Persians. Thinking thus compassionately about both of them, he released them, saying that he dismissed Thessaliscus individually out of respect for his pedigree, for he belonged to the ranks of the distinguished men of Thebes. Dionysodorus also he released because he had been conqueror at the Olympic games; and he kept Iphricrates in attendance on himself as long as he lived, treating him with special honour both from friendship to the city of Athens and from recollection of his father's glory. When he died soon after from sickness, he sent his bones back to his relations at Athens. But Euthycles at first he kept in custody, though without fetters, both because he was a Lacedaemonian of a city at that time openly and eminently hostile to him, and because in the man as an individual he could find nothing to warrant his pardon. Afterwards, when he met with great success, he released even this man also.

He set out from Marathus and took possession of Byblus[4] on terms of capitulation, as he did also of Sidon,[5] the inhabitants of which spontaneously invited him from hatred of the Persians and Darius.[6] Thence he advanced towards Tyre;[7] ambassadors from which city, despatched by the commonwealth, met him on the march, announcing that the Tyrians had decided to do whatever he might command.[8] He commended both the city and its ambassadors, and ordered them to return and tell the Tyrians that he wished to enter their city and offer sacrifice to Heracles. The son of the king of the Tyrians was one of the ambassadors, and the others were conspicuous men in Tyre; but the king Azemilcus[9] himself was sailing with Autophradates.

1. This statement of Arrian is confirmed by Curtius (iii. 34), who says that Parmenio captured the treasure, not in the city, but from fugitives who were conveying it away.

2. In giving the names of the captured Grecian envoys, Curtius (iii. 35) seems to have confounded this with a future occasion, mentioned in Arrian (iii. 24).

3. The great Iphicrates had been adopted by Alexander's grandfather, as is stated in a note on Book I. chap. 23.

4. Byblus is said by Strabo (xvi. 2) to have been situated on a height not far from the sea. It was reported to be the oldest city in the world. It possessed a considerable extent of territory, including Berytus, and was an independent State for a long period, the last king being deposed by Pompey. On a Byblus coin of Alexander's time appears the name Einel, which is the king Enylus mentioned by Arrian (ii. 20). Byblus was the chief seat of the worship of Adonis, or Thammuz, who was supposed to have been born there. In the Bible it appears under its Hebrew name Gebal (mountain-district). The inhabitants of Gebal are said in Ezek. xxvii. 9 to have been skilled in building ships. In Josh, xiii. 5 the northern boundary of the Holy Land is said to reach as far as the land of the Giblite, or inhabitant of Gebal. In 1 Kings v. 18 the word translated in our Bible stone-squarers ought to be rendered Giblites. The Arabs still call the place Jebail. Cf. Milton (Paradise Lost, viii. 18).

5. Sidon, or in Hebrew Tsidon (fortress), is called in Gen. x. 15, 19 the firstborn son of Canaan, i.e. it was the first city founded by the Canaanites or Phoenicians. It lay about twenty miles south of Tyre, on a small promontory two miles south of the river Bostremus. We read in Homer that it was famous for its embroidered robes and metal utensils, and from other ancient writers we find that it manufactured glass and linen and also prepared dye's. Before the time of David it fell under the rule of Tyre; but when Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, invaded Phoenicia, it revolted from Tyre and submitted to the invader. It was governed by its own kings under the Babylonian and Persian empires; and under the latter power it reached its highest prosperity, surpassing Tyre in wealth and importance. In the expedition of Xerxes against Greece, the Sidonians furnished the best ships in the whole fleet, and their king obtained the highest place under Xerxes in the council. But they revolted against Ochus, king of Persia, and being betrayed to him by their own king Tennes, they burnt their city and ships. It is said that 40,000 persons perished in the fire and by the sword, B.C. 351. (Diodorus, xvi. 43-45). No doubt this barbarous treatment of Ochus induced the Sidonians to take the side of Alexander. The city was already built and again flourishing when that king appeared on the scene. Near the site of the ancient city is the present town of Saida, with a population of about 5,000. Cf. Homer (Iliad, vi. 289; xxiii. 741); Lucan, iii. 217.

6. At Sidon, Alexander deposed the reigning king Strato, a friend of the Persians; and a poor man, named Abdalonymus, distantly related to the regal family, was put into his place (Curtius, iv. 3, 4). Diodorus (xvii. 47) tells the same story, but applies it to Tyre, probably by mistake.

7. The Hebrew name for Tyre is Tsor (rock). In Isa. xxiii. 4 it is called the fortress of the sea; and in ver. 8, "Tsor, the crowning one," because Tyre gave rulers to the Phoenician cities and colonies. Valuable information about the power, trade, and customs of Tyre is derived from Ezek. xxvi-xxviii.; and we learn the fact that she employed mercenaries like her colony Carthage (Ezek. zxvii. 10, 11). In the classical writers the name is corrupted into Tyrus, and sometimes into Sarra. Tyre was unsuccessfully besieged for five years by Shalmaneser. It was also besieged for thirteen years by Nebuchadnezzar, and in the end an alliance was formed, by which the Tyrians retained their own king as a vassal of the king of Babylon. This arrangement was continued under the kings of Persia.

8. Curtius (iv. 7) tells us that the envoys also brought to Alexander a golden wreath, together with abundant supplies for his army.

9. This king must have brought home his ships for the defence of Tyre, for he was in the city when it was captured. See chap. 24.


Ch.16 The Worship of Hercules in Tyre.— The Tyrians refuse to admit Alexander

The reason of this demand was, that in Tyre there existed a temple of Heracles,[1] the most ancient of all those which are mentioned in history. It was not dedicated to the Argive Heracles, the son of Alcmena; for this Heracles was honoured in Tyre many generations before Cadmus set out from Phoenicia and occupied Thebes, and before Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, was born, from whom Dionysus, the son of Zeus, was born. This Dionysus would be third from Cadmus, being a contemporary of Labdacus, son of Polydorus, the son of Cadmus; and the Argive Heracles lived about the time of Oedipus, son of Laius.[2] The Egyptians also worshipped another Heracles, not the one which either the Tyrians or Greeks worship. But Herodotus says that the Egyptians considered Heracles to be one of the twelve gods,[3] just as the Athenians worshipped a different Dionysus, who was the son of Zeus and Core; and the mystic chant called Iacchus was sung to this Dionysus, not to the Theban. So also I think that the Heracles honoured in Tartessus[4] by the Iberians, where are certain pillars named after Heracles, is the Tyrian Heracles; for Tartessus was a colony of the Phœnicians, and the temple to Heracles there was built and the sacrifices offered after the usage of the Phoenicians. Hecataeus the historian[5] says Geryones, against whom the Argive Heracles was despatched by Eurystheus to drive his oxen away and bring them to Mycenae, had nothing to do with the land of the Iberians;[6] nor was Heracles despatched to any island called Erythia[7] outside the Great Sea; but that Geryones was king of the mainland (Epirus) around Ambracia[8] and the Amphilochians, that Heracles drove the oxen from this Epirus, and that this was deemed no mean task. I know that to the present time this part of the mainland is rich in pasture land and rears a very fine breed of oxen; and I do not think it beyond the bounds of probability that the fame of the oxen from Epirus, and the name of the king of Epirus, Geryones, had reached Eurystheus. But I do not think that Eurystheus would know the name of the king of the Iberians, who were the remotest nation in Europe, or whether a fine breed of oxen grazed in their land, unless some one, by introducing Hera into the account, as herself giving these commands to Heracles through Eurystheus, wished, by means of the fable, to disguise the incredibility of the tale.

To this Tyrian Heracles, Alexander said he wished to offer sacrifice. But when this message was brought to Tyre by the ambassadors, the people passed a decree to obey any other command of Alexander, but not to admit into the city any Persian or Macedonian; thinking that under the existing circumstances, this was the most specious answer, and that it would be the safest course for them to pursue in reference to the issue of the war, which was still uncertain.[9] When the answer from Tyre was brought to Alexander, he sent the ambassadors back in a rage. He then summoned a council of his Companions and the leaders of his army, together with the captains of infantry and cavalry, and spoke as follows:—

1. The Phoenician god Melkarth (lord of the city), whom the Syrians called Baal (lord), was supposed to be identical with the Grecian Heracles, or Hercules, who was the mythical ancestor of the Macedonian kings. Curtius (iv. 7) tells us that Alexander affirmed he had been ordered by an oracle to sacrifice in Tyre to Heracles. Gesenius informs us that a Maltese inscription identifies the Tyrian Melkarth with Heracles.

2. Who was the son of Labdacus.

3. See Herodotus, ii. 43, 44.

4. The district comprising all the south-west of Spain outside the pillars of Heracles, or Straits of Gibraltar, was called Tartessus, of which the chief city was Tartessus. Here the Phoenicians planted colonies, one of which still remains under the name of Cadiz. The Romans called the district Baetica, from the principal river, the Baetis or Guadalquivir. The Hebrew name for this region is Tarshish, of which Tartessus is the Greek form. Tarshish was the station for the Phoenician trade with the West, which extended as far as Cornwall. The Tyrians fetched from this locality silver, iron, lead, tin, and gold (Isa. xxiii. 1, 6, 10, lxvi. 19; Jer. x. 9; Ezek. xxvii. 12, xxxviii. 13). Martial, Seneca, and Avienus, the first two of whom were Spaniards, understood Tartessus to stand for the south-west of Spain and Portugal. The word Tarshish probably means sea-coast, from the Sanscrit tarischa, the sea. Ovid (Met., xiv. 416); Martial, viii. 28; Silius, xiii. 673.

5. Of Miletus. Herodotus knew his writings well, but they have not come down to us. See Herod, (ii. 143; v. 36 and 125).

6. The Iberians were originally called Tibarenes, or Tibari. They dwelt on the east of the Black Sea, and west of Colchis, whence they emigrated to Spain. This nation is called Tubal in the Hebrew Bible; in Isa.', lxvi. 19 the Iberians of western Europe are referred to.

7. An island near Cadiz, now called Leon. Cf. Hesiod (Theogonia, . 287-294); Herodotus, iv. 8. Now called Arta.

8. Arrian omits to mention that the Tyrians pointed out to him that his wish to sacrifice to Hercules might be gratified without entering their city, since at Palaetyrus, on the mainland, separated from Tyre only by a narrow strait, was a temple of that deity more ancient than that in Tyre. See Curtius, iv. 7; Justin, xi. 10. We learn from Arrian, i. 18, that when Alexander offered sacrifice to the Ephesian Diana he marched to the temple with his whole army in battle array. No doubt it was this kind of thing the Tyrians objected to. Alexander actually did the same at Tyre after its capture. (See chapter 24.)


Ch.17 Speech of Alexander to his Officers

"Friends and allies, I see that an expedition to Egypt will not be safe for us, so long as the Persians retain the sovereignty of the sea; nor is it a safe course, both for other reasons, and especially looking at the state of matters in Greece, for us to pursue Darius, leaving in our rear the city of Tyre itself in doubtful allegiance, and Egypt and Cyprus in the occupation of the Persians. I am apprehensive lest while we advance with our forces towards Babylon and in pursuit of Darius, the Persians should again forsooth conquer the maritime districts, and transfer the war into Greece with a larger army, considering that the Lacedaemonians are now waging war against us without disguise, and the city of Athens is restrained for the present rather by fear than by any good-will towards us. But if Tyre were captured, the whole of Phoenicia would be in our possession, and the fleet of the Phoenicians, which is the most numerous and the best in the Persian navy, would in all probability come over to us. For the Phoenician sailors and marines will not put to sea in order to incur danger on behalf of others, when their own cities are occupied by us. After this, Cyprus will either yield to us without delay, or will be captured with ease at the mere arrival of a naval force; and then navigating the sea with the ships from Macedonia in conjunction with those of the Phoenicians, Cyprus at the same time coming over to us, we shall acquire the absolute sovereignty of the sea, and at the same time an expedition into Egypt will become an easy matter for us. After we have brought Egypt into subjection, no anxiety about Greece and our own land will any longer remain, and we shall be able to undertake the expedition to Babylon with safety in regard to affairs at home, and at the same time with greater reputation, in consequence of having cut off from the Persian empire all the maritime provinces and all the land this side of the Euphrates."


Ch. 18 Siege of Tyre.—Construction of a Mole from the Mainland to the Island

By this speech he easily persuaded his officers to make an attempt upon Tyre. Moreover he was encouraged by a divine admonition, for that very night in his sleep[1] he seemed to be approaching the Tyrian walls, and Heracles seemed to take him by the right hand and lead him up into the city. This was interpreted by Aristander[2] to mean that Tyre would be taken with labour, because the deeds of Heracles were accomplished with labour. Certainly, the siege of Tyre appeared to be a great enterprise; for the city was an island[3] and fortified all round with lofty walls. Moreover naval operations seemed at that time more favourable to the Tyrians, both because the Persians still possessed the sovereignty of the sea and many ships were still remaining with the citizens themselves. However, as these arguments of his had prevailed, he resolved to construct a mole from the mainland to the city.[4] The place is a narrow strait full of pools; and the part of it near the mainland is shallow water and muddy, but the part near the city itself, where was the deepest part of the channel, was the depth of about three fathoms. But there was an abundant supply of stones and wood, which they put on the top of the stones.[5] Stakes were easily fixed down firmly in the mud, which itself served as a cement to the stones to hold them firm. The zeal of the Macedonians in the work was great, and it was increased by the presence of Alexander himself, who took, the lead[6] in everything, now rousing the men to exertion by speech, and now by presents of money, lightening the labour of those who were toiling more than their fellows from the desire of gaining praise for their exertions. As long as the mole was being constructed near the mainland, the work made easy and rapid progress, as the material was poured into a small depth of water, and there was no one to hinder them; but when they began to approach the deeper water, and at the same time came near the city itself, they suffered severely, being assailed with missiles from the walls, which were lofty, inasmuch as they had been expressly equipped for work rather than for fighting. Moreover, as the Tyrians still retained command of the sea, they kept on sailing with their triremes to various parts of the mole, and made it impossible in many places for the Macedonians to pour in the material. But the latter erected two towers upon the mole, which they had now projected over a long stretch of sea, and upon these towers they placed engines of war. Skins and prepared hides served as coverings in front of them, to prevent them being struck by fire-bearing missiles from the wall, and at the same time to be a screen against arrows to those who were working. It was likewise intended that the Tyrians who might sail near to injure the men engaged in the construction of the mole should not retire easily, being assailed by missiles from the towers.

1. For this use of ἐνύπνιον, cf. Homer (Iliad, ii. 56); Aristophanes (Wasps, 1218).

2. Cf. Arrian, i. 11 and 25 supra.

3. The island was about half a mile from the mainland, and about a mile in length.

4. We learn from Diodorus (xvii. 40) that the breadth of this mole was about 200 feet. Curtius (iv. 10) says that the timber was procured from Lebanon, and the stones from Old Tyre on the mainland.

5. Cf. Polyaenus (iy. 3).


Ch. 19. The Siege Of Tyre

But to counteract this the Tyrians adopted the following contrivance. They filled a vessel, which had been used for transporting horses, with dry twigs and other combustible wood, fixed two masts on the prow, and fenced it round in the form of a circle as large as possible, so that the enclosure might contain as much chaff and as many torches as possible. Moreover they placed upon this vessel quantities of pitch, brimstone, and whatever else was calculated to foment a great flame.[1] They also stretched out a double yard-arm upon each mast; and from these they hung caldrons into which they had poured or cast materials likely to kindle flame which would extend to a great distance. They then put ballast into the stern, in order to raise the prow aloft, the vessel being weighed down abaft.[2] Then watching for a wind bearing towards the mole, they fastened the vessel to some triremes which towed it before the breeze. As soon as they approached the mole and the towers, they threw fire among the wood, and at the same time ran the vessel, with the triremes, aground as violently as possible, dashing against the end of the mole. The men in the vessel easily swam away, as soon as it was set on fire. A great flame soon caught the towers; and the yard-arms being twisted round poured out into the fire the materials that had been prepared for kindling the flame. The men also in the triremes tarrying near the mole kept on shooting arrows into the towers, so that it was not safe for men to approach in order to bring materials to quench the fire. Upon this, when the towers had already caught fire, many men hastened from the city, and embarking in light vessels, and striking against various parts of the mole, easily tore down the stockade which had been placed in front of it for protection, and burnt up all the engines of war which the fire from the vessel did not reach.[3] But Alexander began to construct a wider mole from the mainland, capable of containing more towers; and he ordered the enginemakers to prepare fresh engines. While this was being performed, he took the shield-bearing guards and the Agrianians and set out to Sidon, to collect there all the triremes he could; since it was evident that the successful conclusion of the siege would be much more difficult to attain, so long as the Tyrians retained the superiority at sea.[4]

1. Cf. Cӕsar (Bell. Gall., vii 24)—reliquasque res, quibus ignis excitari potest, fundebant. Krüger has unnecessarily altered ἐπὶ ταύτῃ into ἐπ' αὐτήν (i.e. πρῷραν).

2. Curtius (iv. 12) says that the stern was loaded with stones and sand.

3. Diodorus (xvii. 42) and Curtius (iv. 12) say that a great tempest helped to demolish the palisade.

4. We learn from Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, ix, 14), on the authority of Menander, that when Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, four centuries before Alexander's time, besieged Tyre, the other Phoenicians supplied him with ships in like manner.


Ch.20.Tyre Besieged by Sea as well as Land

About this time Gerostratus, King of Aradus, and Enylus, King of Byblus, ascertaining that their cities were in the possession of Alexander, deserted Autophradates and the fleet under his command, and came to Alexander with their naval force, accompanied by the Sidonian triremes; so that about eighty Phoenician ships joined him. About the same time triremes also came to him from Rhodes, both the one called Peripolus,[1] and with it nine others. From Soli and Mallus also came three, and from Lycia ten; from Macedonia also a ship with fifty oars, in which sailed Proteas, son of Andronicus.[2] Not long after, too, the kings of Cyprus put into Sidon with about one hundred and twenty ships, when they heard of the defeat of Darius at Issus, and were terrified, because the whole of Phoenicia was already in the possession of Alexander. To all of these Alexander granted indemnity for their previous conduct, because they seemed to have joined the Persian fleet rather by necessity than by their own choice. While the engines of war were being constructed for him, and the ships were being fitted up for a naval attack on the city and for the trial of a sea-battle, he took some squadrons of cavalry, the Agrianians and archers, and made an expedition into the range of mountains called Anti-Libanus.[3] Having subdued some of the mountaineers by force, and drawn others over to him by terms of capitulation, he returned to Sidon in ten days.[4] Here he found Cleander, son of Polemocrates, just arrived from Peloponnesus, having 4,000 Grecian mercenaries with him.[5]

When his fleet had been arranged in due order, he embarked upon the decks as many of his shield-bearing guards as seemed sufficient for his enterprise, unless a sea-battle were to be fought rather by breaking the enemy's line[6] than by a close conflict. He then started from Sidon and sailed towards Tyre with his ships arranged in proper order, himself being on the right wing which stretched out seaward; and with him were the kings of the Cyprians, and all those of the Phoenicians except Pnytagoras, who with Craterus was commanding the left wing of the whole line. The Tyrians had previously resolved to fight a sea-battle, if Alexander should sail against them by sea. But then with surprise they beheld the vast multitude of his ships; for they had not yet learnt that Alexander had all the ships of the Cyprians and Phoenicians. At the same time they were surprised to see that he was sailing against them with his fleet arranged in due order; for Alexander's fleet a little before it came near the city, tarried for a while out in the open sea, with the view of provoking the Tyrians to come out to a battle; but afterwards, as the enemy did not put out to sea against them, though they were thus arranged in line, they advanced to the attack with a great dashing of oars. Seeing this, the Tyrians decided not to fight a battle at sea, but closely blocked up the passage for ships with as many triremes as the mouths of their harbour would contain, and guarded it, so that the enemy's fleet might not find an anchorage in any of the harbours.

As the Tyrians did not put out to sea against him, Alexander sailed near the city, but resolved not to try to force an entrance into the harbour towards Sidon on account of the narrowness of its mouth; and at the same time because he saw that the entrance had been blocked up with many triremes having their prows turned towards him. But the Phoenicians fell upon the three triremes moored furthest out at the mouth of the harbour, and attacking them prow to prow, succeeded in sinking them. However, the men in the ships easily swam off to the land which was friendly to them. Then, indeed, Alexander moored his ships along the shore not far from the mole which had been made, where there appeared to be shelter from the winds; and on the following day he ordered the Cyprians with their ships and their admiral Andromachus to moor near the city opposite the harbour which faces towards Sidon, and the Phoenicians opposite the harbour which looks towards Egypt, situated on the other side of the mole, where also was his own tent.

1. This was a state vessel, or guardship, similar to the Paralus and Salaminia at Athens. See Alciphron, Bk. I. Epistle 11, with Bergler's note.

2. See Arrian, ii. 2 supra.

3. Curtius (iv. 11) says that about thirty of the Macedonians collecting timber in Lebanon were killed by a party of wild Arabs, and that a few were also captured by them. Lebanon is a Hebrew word meaning white, like Alpes. It was so called on account of its white cllffs, just as Britain is called by Aristotle, Albion, the Celtic for white.

4. Plutarch (Life of Alexander, 24) gives us, on the authority of Chares, some details of daring valour on the part of Alexander in this expedition.

5. Cleander was put to death by Alexander for oppression in exercising his duties as governor of Media. See Arrian, vi. 27 infra.

6.In regard to this manoeuvre, see Herodotus, yi. 12; Thucydides, i. 49, with Arnold's note.


Ch.21 Siege of Tyre

He had now collected many engineers both from Cyprus and the whole of Phoenicia, and many engines of war had been constructed,[1] some upon the mole, others upon vessels used for transporting horses, which he brought with him from Sidon, and others upon the triremes which were not fast sailers. When all the preparations had been completed they brought up the engines of war along the mole that had been made and also began to shoot from ships moored near various parts of the wall and making trial of its strength. The Tyrians erected wooden towers on their battlements opposite the mole, from which they might annoy the enemy; and if the engines of war were brought near any other part, they defended themselves with missiles and shot at the very ships with fire-bearing arrows, so that they deterred the Macedonians from approaching the wall. Their walls opposite the mole were about one hundred and fifty feet high, with a breadth in proportion, and constructed with large stones imbedded in gypsum. It was not easy for the horse-transports and the triremes of the Macedonians, which were conveying the engines of war up to the wall, to approach the city, because a great quantity of stones hurled forward into the sea prevented their near assault. These stones Alexander determined to drag out of the sea; but this was a work accomplished with great difficulty, since it was performed from ships and not from the firm earth; especially as the Tyrians, covering their ships with mail, brought them alongside the anchors of the triremes, and cutting the cables of the anchors underneath, made anchoring impossible for the enemy's ships. But Alexander covered many thirty-oared vessels with mail in the same way, and placed them athwart in front of the anchors, so that the assault of the ships was repelled by them. But, notwithstanding this, divers under the sea secretly cut their cables. The Macedonians then used chains to their anchors instead of cables, and let them down so that the divers could do no more harm. Then, fastening slipknots to the stones, they dragged them out of the sea from the mole; and having raised them aloft with cranes, they discharged them into deep water, where they were no longer likely to do injury by being hurled forward. The ships now easily approached the part of the wall where it had been made clear of the stones which had been hurled forward. The Tyrians being now reduced to great straits on all sides, resolved to make an attack on the Cyprian ships, which were moored opposite the harbour turned towards Sidon. For a long time they spread sails across the mouth of the harbour, in order that the filling of the triremes might not be discernible; and about the middle of the day, when the sailors were scattered in quest of necessaries, and when Alexander usually retired from the fleet to his tent on the other side of the city, they filled three quinqueremes, an equal number of quadriremes and seven triremes with the most expert complement of rowers possible, and with the best-armed men adapted for fighting from the decks, together with the men most daring in naval contests. At first they rowed out slowly and quietly in single file, moving forward the handles of their oars without any signal from the men who give the time to the rowers[2]; but when they were already tacking against the Cyprians, and were near enough to be seen, then indeed with a loud shout and encouragement to each other, and at the same time with impetuous rowing, they commenced the attack.

1.συμπεπηγμέναι:—"In the best authors πέπηγα, is used as the perf. pass, of πήγνυμι" (Liddell & Scott). Cf. v. 12, 4; 24, 4, infra.

2.Cf. Plautus (Mercator, iv. 2, 5), hortator remigum.


Ch.22 Siege of Tyre.— Naval Defeat of the Tyrians

It happened on that day that Alexander went away to his tent, but after a short time returned to his ships, not tarrying according to his usual custom. The Tyrians fell all of a sudden upon the ships lying at their moorings, finding some entirely empty and others being filled with difficulty from the men who happened to be present at the very time of the noise and attack. At the first onset they at once sank the quinquereme of the king Pnytagoras, that of Androcles the Amathusiau[1] and that of Pasicrates the Curian;[2] and they shattered the other ships by pushing them ashore. But when Alexander perceived the sailing out of the Tyrian triremes, he ordered most of the ships under his command to be manned and to take position at the mouth of the harbour, so that the rest of the Tyrian ships might not sail out. He then took the quinqueremes which he had and about five of the triremes, which were manned by him in haste before the rest were ready, and sailed round the city against the Tyrians who had sailed out of the harbour. The men on the wall, perceiving the enemy's attack and observing that Alexander himself was in the fleet, began to shout to those in their own ships, urging them to return; but as their shouts were not audible, on account of the noise of those who were engaged in the action, they exhorted them to retreat by various kinds of signals. At last after a long time, perceiving the impending attack of Alexander's fleet, they tacked about and began to flee into the harbour; and a few of their ships succeeded in escaping, but Alexander's vessels assaulted the greater number, and rendered some of them unfit for sailing; and a quinquereme and a quadrireme were captured at the very mouth of the harbour. But the slaughter of the marines was not great; for when they perceived that their ships were in possession of the enemy, they swam off without difficulty into the harbour. As the Tyrians could no longer derive any aid from their ships, the Macedonians now brought up their military engines to the wall itself. Those which were brought near the city along the mole, did no damage worth mentioning on account of the strength of the wall there. Others brought up some of the ships conveying military engines opposite the part of the city turned towards Sidon. But when even there they met with no success, Alexander passed round to the wall projecting towards the south wind and towards Egypt, and tested the strength of the works everywhere. Here first a large piece of the wall was thoroughly shaken, and a part of it was even broken and thrown down. Then indeed for a short time he tried to make an assault to the extent of throwing a bridge upon the part of the wall where a breach had been made. But the Tyrians without much difficulty beat the Macedonians back. ---

1. Amathus was a town on the south coast of Cyprus. It is now called Limasol. Cf. Herodotus, v. 104–115; Tacitas (Ann., iii. 62); Vergil (Aeneid, x. 51).

2. Curium was also a town on the south coast of Cyprus.


Ch.23 Siege of Tyre

The third day after this, having waited for a calm sea, after encouraging the leaders of the regiments for the action, he led the ships containing the military engines up to the city. In the first place he shook down a large piece of the wall; and when the breach appeared to be sufficiently wide, he ordered the vessels conveying the military engines to retire, and brought up two others, which carried his bridges, which he intended to throw upon the breach in the wall. The shield-bearing guards occupied one of these vessels, which he had put under the command of Admetus; and the other was occupied by the regiment of Coenus, called the foot Companions. Alexander himself, with the shield-bearing guards, intended to scale the wall where it might be practicable. He ordered some of his triremes to sail against both of the harbours, to see if by any means they could force an entrance when the Tyrians had turned themselves to oppose him. He also ordered those of his triremes which contained the missiles to be hurled from engines, or which were carrying archers upon deck, to sail right round the wall and to put in where it was practicable, and to take up position within shooting range, until it became impossible to put in, so that the Tyrians, being shot at from all quarters, might become distracted, and not know whither to turn in their distress. When Alexander's ships drew close to the city and the bridges were thrown from them upon the wall, the shield-bearing guards mounted valiantly along these upon the wall; for their captain, Admetus, proved himself brave on that occasion, and Alexander accompanied them, both as a courageous participant in the action itself, and as a witness of brilliant and dangerous feats of valour performed by others. The first part of the wall that was captured was where Alexander had posted himself; the Tyrians being easily beaten back from it, as soon as the Macedonians found firm footing, and at the same time a way of entrance not abrupt on every side. Admetus was the first to mount the wall; but while cheering on his men to mount, he was struck with a spear and died on the spot.

After him, Alexander with the Companions got possession of the wall[1]; and when some of the towers and the parts of the wall between them were in his hands, he advanced through the battlements to the royal palace, because the descent into the city that way seemed the easiest.

1. Diodorus (xvii. 45) says, that after Admetus was killed, Alexander recalled his men from the assault that night, but renewed it next day.


Ch. 24 Capture of Tyre

To return to the fleet, the Phoenicians posted opposite the harbour looking towards Egypt, facing which they happened to be moored, forcing their way and bursting the bars asunder, shattered the ships in the harbour, attacking some of them in deep water and driving others ashore. The Cyprians also sailed into the other harbour looking towards Sidon, which had no bar across it, and made a speedy capture of the city on that side. The main body of the Tyrians deserted the wall when they saw it in the enemy's possession; and rallying opposite what was called the chapel of Agenor,[1] they there turned round to resist the Macedonians. Against these Alexander advanced with his shield-bearing guards, destroyed the men who fought there, and pursued those who fled. Great was the slaughter also made both by those who were now occupying the city from the harbour and by the regiment of Coenus, which had also entered it. For the Macedonians were now for the most part advancing full of rage, being angry both at the length of the siege and also because the Tyrians, having captured some of their men sailing from Sidon, had conveyed them to the top of their wall, so that the deed might be visible from the camp, and after slaughtering them, had cast their bodies into the sea. About 8,000 of the Tyrians were killed; and of the Macedonians, besides Admetus, who had proved himself a valiant man, being the first to scale the wall, twenty of the shield-bearing guards were killed in the assault on that occasion. In the whole siege about 400 Macedonians were slain. Alexander gave an amnesty to all those who fled for refuge into the temple of Heracles; among them being most of the Tyrian magistrates, including the king Azemilcus, as well as certain envoys from the Carthaginians, who had come to their mother-city to attend the sacrifice in honour of Heracles, according to an ancient custom.[2] The rest of the prisoners were reduced to slavery; all the Tyrians and mercenary troops, to the number of about 30,000, who had been captured, being sold.[3] Alexander then offered sacrifice to Heracles, and conducted a procession in honour of that deity with all his soldiers fully armed. The ships also took part in this religious procession in honour of Heracles. He moreover held a gymnastic contest in the temple, and celebrated a torch race. The military engine, also, with which the wall had been battered down, was brought into the temple and dedicated as a thank-offering; and the Tyrian ship sacred to Heracles, which had been captured in the naval attack, was likewise dedicated to the god. An inscription was placed on it, either composed by Alexander himself or by some one else; but as it is not worthy of recollection, I have not deemed it worth while to describe it. Thus then was Tyre captured in the month Hecatombaion, when Anicetus was archon at Athens.[4]

1. Agenor, the father of Cadmus, was the reputed founder of Tyre and Sidon. See Curtius, iv. 19.

2. The Tyrians had been encouraged in their resistance by the promise of aid from their colony Carthage. But the Carthaginians excused themselves on the ground of their own difficulties in contending with the Greeks. The Tyrians however despatched their women, children, and old men to Carthage for safety. See Diodorus, xvii. 40, 41; Curtius, iv. 8 and 15. We learn from Diod., xx. 14, that the Carthaginians were in the habit of sending to the Tyrian Hercules the tenth of their revenues.

3. Diodorus (xvii. 46) and Curtius (iv. 19) state that 2,000 Tyrians who had escaped the massacre were hanged on the sea-shore by Alexander's order.

4. The end o£ July and beginning of August B.C. 332. Diodorus (xvii. 46) tells us that the siege lasted seven months. See also Curtius (iv. 20) and Plutarch (Life of Alexander, 24). We find from Strabo (xvi. 2) that Tyre again became a flourishing city.


Ch.25 The Offers of Darius rejected. — Batis, Governor of Gaza, refuses to Submit

While Alexander was still occupied by the siege of Tyre, ambassadors came to him from Darius, announcing that he would give him ten thousand talents[1] in exchange for his mother, wife, and children; that all the territory west of the river Euphrates, as far as the Grecian Sea, should be Alexander's; and proposing that he should marry the daughter of Darius, and become his friend and ally.[2] When these proposals were announced in a conference of the Companions, Parmenio is said to have told Alexander, that if he were Alexander he should be delighted to put an end to the war on these terms, and incur no further hazard of success. Alexander is said to have replied, So would he also do, if he were Parmenio, but as he was Alexander he replied to Darius as he did. For he said that he was neither in want of money from Darius, nor would he receive a part of his territory instead of the whole; for that all his money and territory were his; and that if he wished to marry the daughter of Darius, he would marry her, even though Darius refused her to him. He commanded Darius to come to him if he wished to experience any generous treatment from him. When Darius heard this answer, he despaired of coming to terms with Alexander, and began to make fresh preparations for war.

Alexander now resolved to make an expedition into Egypt. All the other parts of what was called Palestine Syria[3] had already yielded to him; but a certain eunuch, named Batis, who was in possession of the city of Gaza, paid no heed to him; but procuring Arabian mercenaries, and having been long employed in laying up sufficient food for a long siege, he resolved not to admit Alexander into the city, feeling confident that the place could never be taken by storm.

1. About £2,440,000.

2. Diodorus (xvii. 54) puts the arrival of this embassy after Alexander's conquest of Egypt. Curtius (iv. 21) says that the name of the daughter whom Darius offered to Alexander was Statira.

3. The term Palestine is derived from Pӗleshieth, the name given in Hebrew to the coast district in the south-west of Palestine, the inhabitants of which were called Pӗlishtim, or Philistines. As this tract of country lay directly between Phoenicia and Egypt, it became known to the Greeks sooner than the rest of the Holy Land, and they called it Syria Palaestinē. The name was gradually extended until it became the usual one for all the Holy Land among Greek and Latin writers. An interesting account of Alexander's visit to Jerusalem and his dealings with the Jews is found in Josephus (Antiquities, xi. 8).


Ch.26 Siege of Gaza

'Gaza is about twenty stades from the sea;[1] the approach to it is sandy and over heavy soil, and the sea near the city everywhere shallow. The city of Gaza[2] was large, and had been built upon a lofty mound, around which a strong wall had been carried. It is the last city the traveller meets with going from Phoenicia to Egypt, being situated on the edge of the desert. When Alexander arrived near the city, on the first day he encamped at the spot where the wall seemed to him most easy to assail, and ordered his military engines to be constructed. But the engineers expressed the opinion that it was not possible to capture the wall by force, on account of the height of the mound. However, the more impracticable it seemed to be, the more resolutely Alexander determined that it must be captured. For he said that the action would strike the enemy with great alarm from its being contrary to their expectation; whereas his failure to capture the place would redound to his disgrace when mentioned either to the Greeks or to Darius. He therefore resolved to construct a mound right round the city, so as to be able to bring his military engines up to the walls from the artificial mound which had been raised to the same level with them. The mound was constructed especially over against the southern wall of the city, where it appeared easiest to make an assault. When he thought that the mound had been raised to the proper level with the walls, the Macedonians placed their military engines upon it, and brought them close to the wall of Gaza. At this time while Alexander was offering sacrifice, and, crowned with a garland, was about to commence the first sacred rite according to custom, a certain carnivorous bird, flying over the altar, let a stone which it was carrying with its claws fall upon his head. Alexander asked Aristander, the soothsayer,[3] what this omen meant. He replied: "O king, thou wilt indeed capture the city, but thou must take care of thyself on this day."

1. Nearly two miles and a half. Strabo (xvi. 2) says that the city was only seven stades from the sea.

2. Gaza is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Azzah (fortress). Its position on the border of Egypt and Palestine has given it importance from the earliest times. It was one of the five cities of the Philistines; and retained its own king till a late period, as we learn from Zechariah ix. 5. It was the scene of a battle between Richard I. and the Saracens. It is now called Guzzeh, with a population of 15,000.

3. Compare Arrian, i. 11 and 25; ii. 18. Plutarch (Alex., 25) says that the bird was entangled and caught among the nets and cords. See also Curtius, iv. 26.


Ch.27 Capture of Gaza

When Alexander heard this, he kept himself for a time near the military engines, out of the reach of missiles. But when a vigorous sortie was made from the city, and the Arabs were carrying torches to set fire to the military engines, and from their commanding position above hurling missiles at the Macedonians, who were defending themselves from lower ground, were driving them down from the mound which they had made, then Alexander either wilfully disobeyed the soothsayer, or forgot the prophecy from excitement in the heat of action. Taking the shield-bearing guards, he hastened to the rescue where the Macedonians were especially hard pressed, and prevented them from being driven down from the mound in disgraceful flight. But he was himself wounded by a bolt from a catapult, right through the shield and breastplate into the shoulder. When he perceived that Aristander had spoken the truth about the wound, he rejoiced, because he thought he should also capture the city by the aid of the soothsayer. And yet indeed he was not easily cured of the wound. In the meantime the military engines with which he had captured Tyre arrived, having been sent for by sea; and he ordered the mound to be constructed quite round the city on all sides, two stades[1] in breadth and 250 feet in height. When his engines had been prepared, and brought up along the mound, they shook down a large extent of wall; and mines being dug in various places, and the earth being drawn out by stealth, the wall fell down in many parts, subsiding into the emptied space.[2] The Macedonians then commanded a large extent of ground with their missiles, driving back the men who were defending the city, from the towers. Nevertheless, the men of the city sustained three assaults, though many of their number were killed or wounded; but at the fourth attack, Alexander led up the phalanx of the Macedonians from all sides, threw down the part of the wall which was undermined, and shook down another large portion of it by battering it with his engines, so that he rendered the assault an easy matter through the breaches with his scaling ladders. Accordingly the ladders were brought up to the wall; and then there arose a great emulation among those of the Macedonians who laid any claim to valour, to see who should be the first to scale the wall. The first to do so was Neoptolemus, one of the Companions, of the family of the Aeacidae; and after him mounted one rank after another with their officers. When once some of the Macedonians got within the wall, they split open in succession the gates which each party happened to light upon, and thus admitted the whole army into the city. But though their city was now in the hands of the enemy, the Gazaeans nevertheless stood together and fought; so that they were all slain fighting there, as each man had been stationed. Alexander sold their wives and children into slavery; and having peopled the city again from the neighbouring settlers, he made use of it as a fortified post for the war.[3]

1. A stadium equalled 60634 feet.

2. Cf. Thucydides, ii. 76 (description of the siege of Plataeae).

3. Diodorus (xvii. 48) says that the siege of Gaza lasted two months. Polybius (xvi. 40) speaks of the resolution and valour of the Gazaeans. We learn from Curtius (iv. 28) and from Dionysius of Halicarnassus (De Compositione Verborum, pp. 123-125) that Alexander treated the brave Batis with horrible cruelty. He ordered his feet to be bored and brazen rings to be put through them, after which the naked body was tied to the back of a chariot which was driven by Alexander himself round the city, in imitation of the treatment of Hector by Achilles at Troy. Cf . Arrian, vii. 14. Dionysius quotes from Hegesias of Magnesia, who wrote a history of Alexander, not now extant. Curtius says that nearly 10,000 of the Persians and Arabs were slain at Gaza. Strabo (xvi. 2) says that in his time (i.e. in the reign of Augustus) the city still remained desolate, as it was left by Alexander.


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