The Anabasis of Alexander/Arrian's Preface
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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.
I have admitted into my narrative as strictly authentic all the statements relating to Alexander and Philip which Ptolemy, son of Lagus, and Aristobulus, son of Aristobulus, agree in making; and from those statements which differ I have selected that which appears to me the more credible and at the same time the more deserving of record. Different authors have given different accounts of Alexander's life; and there is no one about whom more have written, or more at variance with each other. But in my opinion the narratives of Ptolemy and Aristobulus are more worthy of credit than the rest; Aristobulus, because he served under king Alexander in his expedition, and Ptolemy, not only because he accompanied Alexander in his expedition, but also because he was himself a king afterwards, and falsification of facts would have been more disgraceful to him than to any other man. Moreover, they are both more worthy of credit, because they compiled their histories after Alexander's death, when neither compulsion was used nor reward offered them to write anything different from what really occurred. Some statements made by other writers I have incorporated in my narrative, because they seemed to me worthy of mention and not altogether improbable; but I have given them merely as reports of Alexander's proceedings. And if any man wonders why, after so many other men have written of Alexander, the compilation of this history came into my mind, after perusing the narratives of all the rest, let him read this of mine, and then wonder (if he can).
- 1.Cf. Arrian (Cynegeticus, i. 4).
- 2.See Dio Cassius, Ixix. 15.
- 3.Cf. Josephus (Vita ipsius, 76).
- 4.Cf. Lucian (Alexander, 2).
- 5.See Dio Cassius, Ixix. 15.
- 6.See Anabasis, i. 10, 4; ii. 14, 4; ii. 25, 3; vi. 1,4; vii. 23, 7.
- 7.Anab., vii. 25
- 8. Life of Alexander, chap. 76.
- 9.See Anab. v. 5, 1; 6, 8; vi. 28, 6; Indica, 19, 21, 23, 82, -10 cc.
- 10.See Photius (codex 58); Dio Cassias, lxix. 15.
- 11. Ptolemaeus, surnamed Soter, the Preserver, but more commonly known as the Son of Lagus, a Macedonian of low birth. Ptolemy's mother, Arsinoe, had been a concubine of Philip of Macedon, for which reason it was generally believed that Ptolemy was the offspring of that king. Ptolemy was one of the earliest friends of Alexander before his accession to the throne, and accompanied him throughout his campaigns, being one of his most skilful generals and most intimate friends. On the division of the empire after Alexander's death, Ptolemy obtained the kingdom of Egypt, which he transmitted to his descendants. After a distinguished reign of thirty-eight years, he abdicated the throne to his youngest son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. He survived this event two years, and died B.C. 283. He was a liberal patron of literature and the arts, and wrote a history of the wars of Alexander, which is one of the chief authorities on which Arrian composed his narrative. For his beneficence, see Aelian (Varia Historia, xiii. 12). Not only Arrian, but Plutarch and Strabo, derived much information from Ptolemy's work, which is highly commended by Athenaeus.
- 12.Aristobulus of Potidaea, a town in Macedonia, which was afterwards called Cassandrea, served under Alexander, and wrote a history of his wars, wbich, like that of Ptolemy, was sometimes more panegyrical than the facts warranted. Neither of these histories has survived, but they served Arrian as the groundwork for the composition of his own narrative. Lucian in his treatise, Quomodo historia sit conscribenda, ch. 12, accuses Aristobulus of inventing marvellous tales of Alexander's valour for the sake of flattery. Plutarch based bis Life of Alexander chiefly on the work of this writer. We learn from Lucian (Macrobioi, c. 22), that Aristobulus wrote his history at the advanced age of eighty- four. He was employed by Alexander to superintend the restoration of Cyrus's tomb (Arrian, vi. 30).
- 13.άναλέγομαι in the sense of reading through = άναγιγνώσκειν, is found only in the later writers, Arrian, Plutarch, Dion, Calllmachus, etc.