The Anabasis of Alexander/6a
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Or, The History of Wars and Conquests of Alexander the Great
Literally translated, with a commentary, from the Greek of Arrian the Nicomedian,
by E. J. Chinnock, M.A., LL.B., London, Rector of Dumfries Academy. 1883.
- 1 Ch.1: Preparations for a Voyage down the Indus
- 2 Ch.2: Voyage down the Hydaspes
- 3 Ch.3:Voyage down the Hydaspes (continued)
- 4 Ch.4: Voyage down the Hydaspes into the Acesines
- 5 Ch.5: Voyage down the Acesines
- 6 Ch.6: Campaign against the Mallians
- 7 Ch.7: Campaign against the Mallians (continued)
- 8 Ch.8: Defeat of the Mallians at the river Hydraotes
- 9 Ch.9: Storming of the Mallian Stronghold
- 10 Ch.10: Alexander dangerously Wounded
- 11 Ch.11: Alexander Wounded
- 12 Ch.12: Anxiety of the Soldiers about Alexander
- 13 Ch.13: Joy of the Soldiers at Alexander's Recovery
- 14 Ch.14: Voyage down the Hydraotes and Acesines into the Indus
Ch.1: Preparations for a Voyage down the Indus
Alexander now resolved to sail down the Hydaspes to the Great Sea, after he had prepared on the banks of that river many thirty-oared galleys and others with one and a half bank of oars, as well as a number of vessels for conveying horses, and all the other things requisite for the easy conveyance of an army on a river. At first he thought he had discovered the origin of the Nile, when he saw crocodiles in the river Indus, which he had seen in no other river except the Nile, as well as beans growing near the banks of the Acesines of the same kind as those which the Egyptian land produces. This conjecture was confirmed when he heard that the Acesines falls into the Indus. He thought the Nile rises somewhere or other in India, and after flowing through an extensive tract of desert country loses the name of Indus there; but afterwards when it begins to flow again through the inhabited land, it is called Nile both by the Aethiopians of that district and by the Egyptians, and finally empties itself into the Inner Sea. In like manner Homer made the river Egypt give its name to the country of Egypt. Accordingly when he wrote to Olympias about the country of India, after mentioning other things, he said that he thought he had discovered the sources of the Nile, forming his conclusions about things so great from such small and trivial premisses. However, when he had made a more careful inquiry into the facts relating to the river Indus, he learned the following details from the natives: — That the Hydaspes unites its water with the Acesines, as the latter does with the Indus, and that they both yield up their names to the Indus; that the last-named river has two mouths, through which it discharges itself into the Great Sea; but that it has no connection with the Egyptian country. He then removed from the letter to his mother the part he had written about the Nile. Planning a voyage down the rivers as far as the Great Sea, he ordered ships for this purpose to be prepared for him. The crews of his ships were fully supplied from the Phoenicians, Cyprians, Carians, and Egyptians who accompanied the army.
2. This was the Nelumbium speciosum, the Egyptian bean of Pythagoras the Lotus of the Hindus, held sacred by them. It is cultivated and highly valued in China, where it is eaten. The seeds are the shape and size of acorns.
3. I.e. the Mediterranean.
4. See Arrian, v. 6 supra. The native name of Egypt was Chem (black). Compare Vergil (Georgic. iv. 291):— Viridem Aegyptum nigrâ, fecundat arenfâ. Usque ooloratis amnis devexus ab Indis.
5. This use of αμφί with the dative is instead of the Attic περί with the genitive or accusative.
Ch.2: Voyage down the Hydaspes
At this time Coenus, who was one of Alexander's most faithful Companions, fell ill and. died, and the king buried him with as much magnificence as circumstances allowed. Then collecting the Companions and the Indian envoys who had come to him, he appointed Porus king of the part of India which had already been conquered, seven nations in all, containing more than 2,000 cities. After this he made the following distribution of his army. With himself he placed on board the ships all the shield-bearing guards, the archers, the Agrianians, and the body-guard of cavalry. Craterus led a part of the infantry and cavalry along the right bank of the Hydaspes, while along the other bank Hephaestion advanced at the head of the most numerous and efficient part of the army, including the elephants, which now numbered about 200. These generals were ordered to march as quickly as possible to the place where the palace of Sopeithes was situated, and Philip, the viceroy of the country beyond the Indus extending to Bactria, was ordered to follow them with his forces after an interval of three days. He sent the Nysaean cavalry back to Nysa. The whole of the naval force was under the command of Nearchus; but the pilot of Alexander's ship was Onesicritus, who, in the narrative which he composed of Alexander's campaigns, falsely asserted that he was admiral, while in reality he was only a pilot. According to Ptolemy, son of Lagus, whose statements I chiefly follow, the entire number of the ships was about eighty thirty-oared galleys; but the whole number of vessels, including the horse transports and boats, and all the other river craft, both those previously plying on the rivers and those built at that time, fell not far short of 2,000.
1. Plutarch (Alex. 66) informs ua that Alexander's army numbered 120,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry. Cf. Arrian (Indica, 19).
2. Arrian, in the Indica (chap. 19), says that Alexander embarked with 8,000 men.
4. As Alexander was at this time east of the Indus, the expression, "beyond the Indus," means west of it.
5. Cf. Arrian, v. 2 supra.
6. Only fragments of this narrative are preserved. Strabo (xv. 1) says that the statements of Onesicritus are not to be relied upon.
7. Curtius (ix. 13) and Diodorus (xvii. 95) say that there were 1,000 vessels. Arrian (Indica, 19) says there were 800. Krüger reads χιλίων in this passage instead of the common reading δισχιλίων.
Ch.3:Voyage down the Hydaspes (continued)
When he had made all the necessary preparations the army began to embark at the approach of the dawn; while according to custom he offered sacrifice to the gods and to the river Hydaspes, as the prophets directed. When he had embarked he poured a libation into the river from the prow of the ship out of a golden goblet, invoking the Acesines as well as the Hydaspes, because he had ascertained that it is the largest of all the rivers which unite with the Hydaspes, and that river confluence was not far off. He also invoked the Indus, into which the Acesines flows after its junction with the Hydaspes. Moreover he poured out libations to his forefather Heracles, to Ammon, and the other gods to whom he was in the habit of sacrificing, and then he ordered the signal for starting seawards to be given with the trumpet. As soon as the signal was given they commenced the voyage in regular order; for directions had been given at what distance apart it was necessary for the baggage vessels to be arranged, as also for the vessels conveying the horses and for the ships of war; so that they might not fall foul of each other by sailing down the channel at random. He did not allow even the fast-sailing ships to get out of rank by outstripping the rest. The noise of the rowing was never equalled on any other occasion, inasmuch as it proceeded from so many ships rowed at the same time; also the shouting of the boatswains giving the time for beginning and stopping the stroke of the oars, and the clamour of the rowers, when keeping time all together with the dashing of the oars made a noise like a battle-cry. The banks of the river also, being in many places higher than the ships, and collecting the sound into a narrow space, sent back to each other an echo which was very much increased by its very compression. In some parts too the groves of trees on each side of the river helped to swell the sound, both from the solitude and the reverberation of the noise. The horses which were visible on the decks of the transports struck the barbarians who saw them with such surprise that those of them who were present at the starting of the fleet accompanied it a long way from the place of embarkation. For horses had never before been seen on board ships in the country of India ; and the natives did not call to mind that the expedition of Dionysus into India was a naval one. The shouting of the rowers and the noise of the rowing were heard by the Indians who had already submitted to Alexander, and these came running down to the river's bank and accompanied him singing their native songs. For the Indians have been eminently fond of singing and dancing since the time of Dionysus and those who under his Bacchic inspiration traversed the land of the Indians with him.
1. From Arrian (Indica, 18) we learn that he sacrificed to his country gods, and to Poseidon, Amphitrite, the Nereids, the Ocean, as well as to the three rivers. Cf. i. 11, supra.
2. Cf. iii. 3 supra.
3. Cf. Arrian (Indica, 7).
SAILING thus, he stopped on the third day at the spot where he had instructed Hephaestion and Craterus to encamp on opposite banks of the river at the same place. Here he remained two days, until Philip with the rest of the army came up with him. He then sent this general with the men he brought with him to the river Acesines, with orders to march along the bank of that river. He also sent Craterus and Hephaestion off again with instructions how they were to conduct the march. But he himself continued his voyage down the river Hydaspes, the channel of which is nowhere less than twenty stades broad. Wherever he happened to moor his vessels near the banks, he received some of the Indians dwelling near into allegiance by surrender on terms of agreement, while he reduced by force those who came into a trial of strength with him. Then he sailed rapidly towards the country of the Mallians and Oxydracians, ascertaining that these tribes were the most numerous and the most warlike of the Indians in that region; and having been informed that they had put their wives and children for safety into their strongest cities, with the resolution of fighting a battle with him, he made the voyage with the greater speed with the express design of attacking them before they had arranged their plans, and while there was still lack of preparation and a state of confusion among them. Thence he made his second start, and on the fifth day reached the junction of the Hydaspes and Acesines. Where these rivers unite, one very narrow river is formed out of the two; and on account of its narrowness the current is swift. There are also prodigious eddies in the whirling stream, and the water rises in waves and piashes exceedingly, so that the noise of the swell of waters is distinctly heard by people while they are still far off. These things had previously been reported to Alexander by the natives, and he had told his soldiers; and yet, when his army approached the junction of the rivers, the noise made by the stream produced so great an impression upon them that the sailors stopped rowing, not from any word of command, but because the very boatswains who gave the time to the rowers became silent from astonishment and stood aghast at the noise, the vigorous rowing overcome the whirlings of the water, being of a round form, the merchant vessels which happened to be whirled round by the current received no damage from the eddy, but the men who were on board were thrown into disorder and fright. For being kept upright by the force of the stream itself, these vessels settled again into the onward course. But the ships of war, being long, did not emerge so scatheless from the whirling current, not being raised aloft in the same way as the others upon the plashing swell of water. Those ships which had two ranks of oars on each side, had the lower oars only a little out of the water; and the oars of these getting athwart in the eddies were snapped asunder, at any rate those which were caught by the water, the workers of which did not raise them in time. Thus many of the ships were damaged; two indeed fell foul of each other and were destroyed, and many of those sailing in them perished.’ But when the river widened out, there the current was no longer so rapid, and the eddies did not whirl round with so much violence. Alexander therefore moored his fleet on the right bank, where there was a protection from the force of the stream and a roadstead for the ships. A certain promontory also in the river jutted out conveniently for collecting the wrecks. He preserved the lives of the men who were still being conveyed upon them; and when he had repaired the damaged ships, he ordered Nearchus to sail down the river until he reached the confines of the nation called Mallians. He himself made an inroad into the territories of the barbarians who would not yield to him, and after preventing them from succouring the Mallians, he again formed a junction with the naval armament. Hephaestion, Craterus, and Philip had already united their forces here. Alexander then transported the elephants, the brigade of Polysperchon, the horse-archers, and Philip with his army, across the river Hydaspes, and instructed Craterus to lead them. He sent Nearchus with the fleet with orders to set sail three days before the army started. He divided the rest of his army into three parts, and ordered Hephaestion to go five days in advance, so that if any should flee before the men under his own command and go rapidly forward they might fall in with Hephaestion’s brigade and thus be captured. He also gave a part of the army to Ptolemy, son of Lagus, with orders to follow him after the lapse of three days, so that all those who fled from him and turned back again might fall in with Ptolemy’s brigade. He ordered those in advance to wait, when they arrived at the confluence of the rivers Acesines and Hydraotes, until he himself came up; and he instructed Craterus and Ptolemy also to form a junction with him at the same place.
Ch.5: Voyage down the Acesines
When they came near the junction of the rivers, the pilots passed on the order that the men should row as hard as possible to get out of the narrows, so that the ships might not fall into the eddies and be overturned by them, but might by the vigorous rowing overcome the whirlings of the water. Being of a round form, the merchant vessels which happened to be whirled round by the current received no damage from the eddy, but the men who were on board were thrown into disorder and fright. For being kept upright by the force of the stream itself, these vessels settled again into the onward course. But the ships of war, being long, did not emerge so scatheless from the whirling current, not being raised aloft in the same way as the others upon the plashing swell of water. These ships had two ranks of oars on each side, the lower oars being only a little out of the water. These vessels getting athwart in the eddies, their oars could not be raised aloft in proper time and were consequently caught by the water and came into collision with each other. Thus many of the ships were damaged; two indeed fell foul of each other and were destroyed, and many of those sailing in them perished. But when the river widened out, there the current was no longer so rapid, and the eddies did not whirl round with so much violence. Alexander therefore moored his fleet on the right bank, where there was a protection from the force of the stream and a roadstead for the ships. A certain promontory also in the river jutted out conveniently for collecting the wrecks. He preserved the lives of the men who were still being conveyed upon them; and when he had repaired the damaged ships, he ordered Nearchus to sail down the river until he reached the confines of the nation called Mallians. He himself made an inroad into the territories of the barbarians who would not yield to him, and after preventing them from succouring the Mallians, he again formed a junction with the naval armament. Hephaestion, Craterus, and Philip had already united their forces here. Alexander then transported the elephants, the brigade of Polysperchon, the horse-archers, and Philip with his army, across the river Hydaspes, and instructed Craterus to lead them. He sent Nearchus with the fleet with orders to set sail three days before the army started. He divided the rest of his army into three parts, and ordered Hephaestion to go five days in advance, so that if any should flee before the men under his own command and go rapidly forward they might fall in with Hephaestion's brigade and thus be captured. He also gave a part of the army to Ptolemy, son of Lagus, with orders to follow him after the lapse of three days, so that all those who fled from him and turned, back again might fall in with Ptolemy's brigade. He ordered those in advance to wait, when they arrived at the confluence of the rivers Acesines and Hydraotes, until he himself came up; and he instructed Craterus and Ptolemy also to form a junction with him at the same place.
1. Cf. Curtius;; (ix. 15); Diodorus (xvii. 97). The latter says that Alexander offered sacrifice to the gods for having escaped the greatest danger, and having contested with a river like Achilles.
Ch.6: Campaign against the Mallians
HE then took the shield-bearing guards, the bowmen, the Agrianians, Peithon’s brigade of men, from those who were called foot Companions, all the horse bowmen and half the cavalry Companions, and marched through a tract of country destitute of water against the Mallians, a tribe of the independent Indians1. On the first day he encamped near a small piece of water which was about too stades distant from the river Acesines (Chenab). Having dined there and caused his army to rest a short time, he ordered every man to fill whatever vessel he had with water. After travelling the remaining part of that day and all the ensuing night a distance of about 400 stades, he at daybreak reached the city into which many of the Mallians had fled for refuge. Most of them were outside the city and unarmed, supposing that Alexander would never come against them through the waterless country. It was evident that he led his army by this route for this very reason, because it was difficult to lead an army this way, and consequently it appeared incredible to the enemy that he would lead his forces in this direction. He therefore fell upon them unexpectedly, and killed most of them without their even turning to defend themselves, since they were unarmed. He cooped the rest up in the city, and posted his cavalry all round the wall, because the phalanx of infantry had not yet 2 come up with him. He thus made use of his cavalry in place of a stockade. As soon as the infantry arrived, he sent Perdiccas with his own cavalry regiment and that of Clitus, as well as the Agrianians, against another city of the Mallians, whither many of the Indians of that region had fled for refuge. He ordered Perdiccas to blockade the men in the city, but not to commence the action until he himself should arrive, so that none might escape from this city and carry news to the rest of the barbarians that Alexander was already approaching. He then began to assault the wall; but the barbarians abandoned it, finding that they were no longer able to defend it, since many had been killed in the capture, and others had been rendered unfit for fighting on account of their wounds. Fleeing for refuge into the citadel, they defended themselves for some time from a position commanding from its height and difficult of access. But as the Macedonians pressed on vigorously from all sides, and Alexander himself appeared now in this part of the action and now in that, the citadel was taken by storm, and all the men who had fled into it for refuge were killed, to the number of 2,000. Perdiccas also reached the city to which he had been dispatched and found it deserted; but learning that the inhabitants had fled from it not long before, he made a forced march on the track of the fugitives. The light armed troops followed him as quickly as they could on foot, so that he took and massacred as many of the fugitives as could not outstrip him and flee for safety into the river-marshes.
2. Μήπω. In later writers μή is often used where the Attic writers would use ου.
Ch.7: Campaign against the Mallians (continued)
AFTER dining and causing his men to rest until the first watch of the night, Alexander marched forward; and travelling a great distance through the night, he arrived at the river Hydraotes1 at daybreak. There he ascertained that most of the Mallians had already crossed the river; but coming upon those who were still in the act of crossing, he slew many of them around the ford itself. Having crossed with them in pursuit without any delay by the same ford, he kept close tip with those who had outstripped him in their retreat. Many also of these he slew; some he took prisoners; but the majority of them escaped into a place strong by nature and made more so by fortifications. When the infantry reached him, Alexander dispatched Peithon against the men in the fortress, giving him the command of his own brigade of infantry and two regiments of cavalry. These, attacking the place, took it at the first assault, and made slaves of all those who had fled thither for safety, at least as many of them as had not perished in the attack. After accomplishing this, Peithon returned again to the camp. Alexander in person led his forces against a certain city of the Brachmans,2 because he ascertained that some of the Mallians had fled for refuge into it. When he reached it, he led his phalanx in serried ranks close up to the wall on all sides. The enemy seeing that their walls were being undermined, and being themselves repulsed by the missiles, abandoned the walls, and having fled for safety into the citadel, began to defend themselves from thence. A few Macedonians having rushed in with them, turning round and drawing together into a close body, they drove them out and killed five-and-twenty of them in their retreat. Hereupon Alexander ordered the scaling-ladders to be placed against the citadel on all sides, and the wall to be undermined; and when one of the towers, being undermined, fell down, and a part of the wall between two towers was breached, and thus rendered the citadel more accessible to assault in this quarter, he was seen to be the first man to scale the wall and get hold of it. The other Macedonians seeing him were ashamed of themselves and mounted the ladders in various places. The citadel was soon in their possession. Some of the Indians began to set fire to the houses, and being caught in them were killed; but most of them were slain fighting. About 5,000 in all were killed; and on account of their valour, only a few were taken prisoners.
1. Strabo and Curtius call this river Hyarotis.
2. The Brachmans, or Brahmins, were a religious caste of Indians. The name was sometimes used for the people whose religion was Brahminism. Cf. Arrian (Indica, 11); Strabo, xv. 1; p. 713 ed. Casaubon.
HAVING remained there one day to give his army rest, he advanced on the morrow against the other Mallians. He found the cities abandoned, and ascertained that the men had fled into the desert. There he again gave the army one day’s rest, and on the next day sent Peithon and Demetrius the cavalry general back to the river, in command of their own troops, giving them in addition as many battalions of the light-armed infantry as were sufficient for the enterprise. Their instructions were to go along the bank of the river, and if they met any of those who had fled for safety into the woods, of which there were many near the river’s bank, to kill all who refused to surrender. Peithon and Demetrius captured many of these in the woods and killed them.
He himself led his forces against the largest city of the Mallians, whither he was informed many from the other cities had taken refuge. But this also the Indians abandoned when they heard that Alexander was marching against it. Crossing the river Hydraotes, they remained with their forces drawn up upon its bank, because it was high, with the intention of obstructing Alexander’s passage. When he heard this, he took all the cavalry which he had with him, and went to the part of the river where he was informed that the Mallians had drawn themselves up for battle; and the infantry was ordered to follow. When he reached the river and beheld the enemy drawn out on the opposite bank, he made no delay, but instantly, without resting from the journey, plunged into the ford with the cavalry alone. When they saw that he was now in the middle of the river, though they were drawn up ready for battle, they withdrew from the bank with all speed; and Alexander followed them with his cavalry alone. But when the Indians perceived only cavalry, they wheeled round and fought with desperate valour, being about 50,000 in number. When Alexander perceived that their phalanx was densely conipact, as his own infantry was absent, he rode right round their army and made charges upon them, but did not come to close fighting with them. Meanwhile the archers, the Agrianians and the other select battalions of light-armed infantry, which he was leading with him, arrived, and his phalanx of infantry was seen not far off. As all kinds of danger were threatening them at once, the Indians now wheeled round again and began to flee with headlong speed into the strongest of their adjacent cities; but Alexander followed them and slew many, while those who escaped into the city were cooped up within it. At first indeed he surrounded the city with the horse-soldiers as they came up from the march; but when the infantry arrived, he encamped all round the wall for this day, because not much of it was left for making the assault, and his army had been exhausted, the infantry by the long march, and the horses by the uninterrupted pursuit, and especially by the passage of the river.
Ch.9: Storming of the Mallian Stronghold
On the following day, dividing the army into two parts, he himself assaulted the wall at the head of one, and Perdiccas led on the other. Upon this the Indians did not wait to receive the attack of the Macedonians, but abandoned the walls of the city and fled for safety into the citadel. Alexander and his troops therefore split open a small gate, and got within the city long before the others; for those who had been put under Perdiccas were behind time, having experienced difficulty in scaling the walls, as most of them did not bring ladders, thinking that the city had been captured, when they observed that the walls were deserted by the defenders. But when the citadel was seen to be still in the possession of the enemy, and many of them were observed drawn up in front of it to repel attacks, some of the Macedonians tried to force an entry by undermining the wall, and others by placing scaling ladders against it, wherever it was practicable to do so. Alexander, thinking that the men who carried the ladders were too slow, snatched one from a man who was carrying it, placed it against the wall, and began to mount it, crouching under his shield. After him mounted Peucestas, the man who carried the sacred shield which Alexander took from the temple of the Trojan Athena and used to keep with him, and have it carried before him in all his battles. After Peucestas, by the same ladder ascended Leonnatus the confidential body-guard; and up another ladder went Abreas, one of the soldiers who received double pay for distinguished services. The king was now near the battlement of the wall, and leaning his shield against it was pushing some of the Indians within the fort, and had cleared that part of the wall, by killing others with his sword. The shield-bearing guards becoming very anxious for the king's safety, pushed each other with ardour up the same ladder and broke it; so that those who were already mounting fell down and made the ascent impracticable for the rest. Alexander then, standing upon the wall, was being assailed all round from the adjacent towers; for none of the Indians dared approach him. He was also being assailed by the men in the city, who were throwing darts at him from no great distance; for a mound of earth happened to have been heaped up there opposite the wall. Alexander was conspicuous both by the brightness of his weapons and by his extraordinary display of audacity. He therefore perceived that if he remained where he was, he would be incurring danger without being able to perform anything at all worthy of consideration; but if he leaped down within the fort he might perhaps by this very act strike the Indians with terror, and if he did not, but should only thereby be incurring danger, at any rate he would die not ignobly after performing great deeds of valour worthy of recollection by men of after times. Forming this resolution, he leaped down from the wall into the citadel; where, supporting himself against the wall, he struck with his sword and killed some of the Indians who came to close quarters with him, including their leader, who rushed upon him too boldly. Another man who approached him he kept in check by hurling a stone at him, and a third in like manner. Those who advanced nearer to him he again kept off with his sword; so that the barbarians were no longer willing to approach him, but standing round him cast at him from all sides whatever any one happened to have or could get hold of at the time.
1. Cf. Arrian i. 11 supra.
2. The Romans called these men duplicarii. See Livy, ii. 59; vii. 37.
3. τοις εποιτα πυθέσθαι. Cf. Homer (Iliad, xxii. 305; ii. 119).
Ch.10: Alexander dangerously Wounded
MEANTIME Peucestras and Abreas, the soldier entitled to double pay, and after them Leonnatus, being the only men who happened to have scaled the walls before the ladders were broken, had leaped down and were fighting in front of the king. Ahreas, the man entitled to double pay, fell there, being shot with an arrow in the forehead. Alexander himself also was wounded with an arrow under the breast through his breastplate in the chest, so that Ptolemy says air was breathed out from the wound together with the blood. But although he was faint with exhaustion, he defended himself, as long as his blood was still warm. But the blood streaming out copiously and without ceasing at every expiration of breath, he was seized with a dizziness and swooning, and bending over fell upon his shield. After he had fallen Peucestas defended him, holding over him in front the sacred shield brought from Troy; and on the other side he was defended by Leonnatus. But both these men were themselves wounded, and Alexander was now nearly fainting away from loss of blood. For the Macedonians had experienced great difficulty in the assault also on this account, because those who saw Alexander being shot at upon the wall and then leaping down into the citadel within, in their ardour arising from fear lest their king should meet with any mishap by recklessly exposing himself to danger, broke the ladders. Then some began to devise one plan and others another to mount upon the wall, as well as they could in their state of embarrassment, some fixing pegs into the wall, which was made of earth, and suspending themselves from these hoisted themselves up with difficulty by their means; others got up by mounting one upon the other. The first man who got up threw himself down from the wall into the city, and so did they all, with a loud lamentation and howl of grief; where they saw the king lying on the ground. Now ensued a desperate conflict around his fallen body, one Macedonian after another holding his shield in front of him. In the meantime some of the soldiers having shivered in pieces the bar by which the gate in the space of wall between the towers was secured, entered the city a few at the time; while others, putting their shoulders under the gap made by the gate, forced their way into the space inside the wall, and thus laid the citadel open in that quarter.
Ch.11: Alexander Wounded
Hereupon some of them began to kill the Indians, all of whom they slew, sparing not even a woman or child. Others carried off the king, who was lying in a faint condition, upon his shield ; and they could not yet tell whether he was likely to survive. Some authors have stated that Critodemus, a physician of Cos, an Asclepiad by birth made an incision into the injured part and drew the weapon out of the wound. Other authors say that as there was no physician present at the critical moment, Perdiccas, the confidential body-guard, at Alexander's bidding, made an incision with his sword into the wounded part and removed the weapon. On its removal there was such a copious effusion of blood that Alexander swooned again; and the effect of the swoon was, that the effusion of blood was stanched. Many other things concerning this catastrophe have been recorded by the historians; and Rumour having received the statements as they were given by the first falsifiers of the facts, still preserves them even to our times, nor will she desist from handing the falsehoods on to others also in regular succession, unless a stop is put to it by this history. For example, the common account is, that this calamity befell Alexander among the Oxydracians; whereas, it really occurred among the Mallians, an independent tribe of Indians; the city belonged to the Mallians, and the men who wounded him were Mallians. These people, indeed, had resolved to join their forces with the Oxydracians and then to make a desperate struggle; but he forestalled them by marching against them through the waterless country, before any aid could reach them from the Oxydracians, or they could render any help to the latter. Moreover, the common account is, that the last battle fought with Darius was near Arbela, at which battle he fled and did not desist from flight until he was arrested by Bessus and put to death at Alexander's approach; just as the battle before this was at Issus, and the first cavalry battle near the Granicus. The cavalry battle did really take place near the Granicus, and the next battle with Darius near Issus; but those authors who make Arbela most distant say that it is 600 stades distant from the place where the last battle between Alexander and Darius was fought, while those who make it least distant, say that it is 500 stades off. Moreover, Ptolemy and Aristobulus say that the battle was fought at Gaugamela near the river Bumodus. But as Gaugamela was not a city, but only a large village, the place is not celebrated, nor is the name pleasing to the ear; hence, it seems to me, that Arbela, being a city, has carried off the glory of the great battle. But if it is necessary to consider that this engagement took place near Arbela, being in reality so far distant from it, then it is allowable to say that the sea-battle fought at Salainis occurred near the isthmus of the Corinthians, and that fought at Artemisium, in Euboea, occurred near Aegina or Sunium. Moreover, in regard to those who covered Alexander with their shields in his peril, all agree that Peucestas did so; but they no longer agree in regard to Leonnatus or Abreas, the soldier in receipt of double pay for his distinguished services. Some say that Alexander, having received a blow on the head with a piece of wood, fell down in a fit of dizziness; and that having risen again he was wounded with a dart through the corselet in the chest. But Ptolemy, son of Lagus, says that he received only this wound in the chest. However, in my opinion, the greatest error made by those who have written the history of Alexander is the following. There are some who have recorded that Ptolemy, son of Lagus, in company with Peucestas, mounted the ladder with Alexander; that Ptolemy held his shield over him when he lay wounded, and that he was called Soter (the preserver) on that account. And yet Ptolemy himself has recorded that he was not even present at this engagement, but was fighting battles against other barbarians at the head of another army. Let me mention these facts as a digression from the main narrative, so that the correct account of such great deeds and calamities may not be a matter of indifference to men of the future.
1. Curtius (ix. 22) calls the physician Critobulus. Near the city of Cos stood the Asclepieum, or temple of Asolepius, to whom the island was sacred, and from whom the chief family, the Asclepiadae, claimed descent. Curtius says:— Igitur patefaoto latius vulnere, et spiculo evolso, ingens vis sanguinis manare coepit, linquique animo rex, et caligine oculis offusa, veluti moribundus extendi.
2. Cf. Plutarch (Alex. 63); Diodorus (xvii. 98, 99); Curtius (ix. 18-23); Justin (xii. 9).
3. As to Fame, or Rumour, see Homer (Iliad, ii. 93; Odyss. xxiv. 412); Hesiod (Works and Days, 758-762); Vergil (Aeneid, iv. 173-190); Ovid (Met. xii. 39-63); Statius (Theb. ii. 426).
4. Curtius (ix. 18) says it was the town of the Oxydracians.
5. Nearly 70 miles.
6. Isthmus is from the same root as ιέναι, to go, and thus means a passage. Pindar (Isthmia, iv. 34) calls it the "bridge of the sea."
7. We learn from Curtius (ix. 21) that the authors who stated that Ptolemy was present in this battle were Clitarchus and Timagenes. From the history of the former, who was a contemporary of Alexander, Curtius mainly drew the materials for his history of Alexander.
8. Ptolemy received this appellation from the Rhodians whom he relieved from the assaults of Demetrius. The grateful Rhodians paid him divine honours as their preserver, and he was henceforward known as Ptolemy Soter. B.C. 304. See Pausanias, i. 8, 6.
9. The word αταλαιπωρος is used in a similar way by Thucydides, i. 20, 4.
Ch.12: Anxiety of the Soldiers about Alexander
WHILE Alexander was remaining in this place until his wound was cured, the first news which reached the camp from which he had set out to attack the Mallians was that he had died of the wound; and at first there arose a sound of lamentation from the entire army, as one man handed the rumour on to another. When they ceased their lamentation, they became spiritless, and felt perplexed as to the man who was to become the leader of the army; for many of the officers seemed to stand in equal rank and merit, both in the opinion of Alexander and in that of the Macedonians. They were also in a state of perplexity how to get back in safety to their own country, being quite enclosed by so many warlike nations, some of whom had not yet submitted, and who they conjectured would fight stoutly for their freedom while others would no doubt revolt as soon as they were relieved of their fear of Alexander. Besides, they seemed then at any rate to be in the midst of impassable rivers, and all things appeared to them uncertain and impracticable now that they were bereft of Alexander. But when at length the news came that he was still alive, they with difficulty acquiesced in it; and did not yet believe that he was even likely to survive. Even when a letter came from the king, saying that he was coming down to the camp in a short time, this did not appear to most of them worthy of credit, on account of their excessive fear; for they conjectured that the letter was concocted by his confidential body-guards and generals.
Ch.13: Joy of the Soldiers at Alexander's Recovery
WHEN Alexander became acquainted with this, for fear some attempt at a revolution might be made in the army, he had himself conveyed, as soon as it could be done with safety, to the bank of the river Hydraotes, and placed in a boat to sail down the river. For the camp was at the confluence of the Hydraotes and Acesines, where Hephaestion was at the head of the army, and Nearchus of the fleet. When the ship bearing the king approached the camp, he ordered the tent covering to be removed from the stern, that he might be visible to all. But they were still incredulous, thinking, forsooth, that Alexander’s corpse was being conveyed on the vessel; until at length he stretched out his hand to the multitude, when the ship was nearing the bank. Then the men raised a cheer, lifting their hands, some towards the sky and others to the king himself. Many even shed involuntary tears at the unexpected sight. Some of the shield-bearing guards brought a litter for him when he was conveyed out of the ship; but he ordered them to fetch his horse. When he was seen again mounting his horse, the whole army re-echoed with loud clapping of hands, so that the banks of the river and the groves near them reverberated with the sound. On approaching his tent he dismounted from his horse, so that he might be seen walking. Then the men came near, some on one side, others on the other, some touching his hands, others his knees, others only his clothes. Some only came close to get a sight of him, and went away having chanted his praise, while others threw garlands upon him, or the flowers which the country of India supplied at that season of the year. Nearchus says that some of his friends incurred his displeasure, reaproaching him for exposing himself to danger in the front of the army in battle; which they said was the duty of a private soldier, and not that of the general1. It seems to me that Alexander was offended at these remarks, because he knew that they were correct, and that he deserved the censure. However, like those who are mastered by any other pleasure, he had not sufficient self-control to keep aloof from danger, through his impetuosity in battle and his passion for glory. Nearchus also says that a certain old Boeotian, whose name he does not mention, perceiving that Alexander was offended at the censures of his friends and was looking sullenly at them, came near him, and speaking in the Boeotian dialect, said: “0 Alexander, it is the part of heroes to perform great deeds!” and repeated a certain Iambic verse, the purport of which is, that the man who performs anything great is destined also to suffer2. This man was not only acceptable to Alexander at the time, but was afterwards received into his more intimate acquaintance.
1. Curtius (ix. 24) says that Craterus was deputed by the officers to make this representation to the king, and that he was backed up by Ptolemy and the rest.
2. This line is a fragment from one of the lost tragedies of Aeschylus: δράσαντι γάρ τι και παιθειν οφειλεται
At this time arrived envoys from the Mallians who still survived, offering the submission of the nation; also from the Oxydracians came both the leaders of the cities and the governors of the provinces, accompanied by the other 150 most notable men, with full powers to make a treaty, bringing the gifts which are considered most valuable among the Indians, and also, like the Mallians, offering the submission of their nation. They said that their error in not having sent an embassy to him before was pardonable, because they excelled other races in the desire to be free and independent, and their freedom had been secure from the time Dionysus came into India until Alexander came; but if it seemed good to him, inasmuch as there was a general report that he also was sprung from gods, they were willing to receive whatever viceroy he might appoint, pay the tribute decreed by him, and give him as many hostages as he might demand. He therefore demanded the thousand best men of the nation, whom he might hold as hostages, if he pleased; and if not, that he might keep them as soldiers in his army, until he had finished the war which he was waging against the other Indians. They accordingly selected the thousand best and tallest men of their number, and sent them to him, together with 500 chariots and charioteers, though these were not demanded. Alexander appointed Philip viceroy over these people and the Mallians who were still surviving. He sent back the hostages to them, but retained the chariots. When he had satisfactorily arranged these matters, since many vessels had been built during the delay arising from his being wounded, he embarked 1,700 of the cavalry Companions, as many of the light-armed troops as before, and 10,000 infantry, and sailed a short distance down the river Hydraotes. But when that river mingled its waters with the Acesines, the latter giving its name to the united stream, he continued his voyage down the Acesines, until he reached its junction with the Indus. For these four large rivers, which are all navigable, discharge their water into the river Indus, though each does not retain its distinct name, for the Hydaspes discharges itself into the Acesines, and after the junction the whole stream forms what is called the Acesines. Again this same river unites with the Hydraotes, and after absorbing this river, still retains its own name. After this the Acesines takes in the Hyphasis, and finally flows into the Indus under its own name; but after the junction it yields its name to the Indus. From this point I have no doubt that the Indus proceeds 100 stades, and perhaps more, before it is divided so as to form the Delta ; and there it spreads out more like a lake than a river.
1. Curtius (ix. 23) says that he was cured of his wound in seven days. Diodorus (xvii. 99) says that it took many days.
2. Arrian does not mention the Sutledj, which is the fifth of the rivers of the Punjab. Pliny (vi. 21) calls it Hesidrus; Ptolemy (vii. 1) calls it Zaradrus.
12. About 12 miles. Ita se findente Nilo ut triquestram terrae figuram effioiat. Ideo multi Graeoae literae vocabiilo Delta appellavere Aegyptum (Pliny, v. 9).