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The Anabasis (which survives complete in seven books) is a history of the campaigns of Alexander the Great, specifically his conquest of the Persian Empire between 334 and 323 BC.
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Death of Philip and Accession of Alexander.—His Wars with the Thracians.
IT IS SAID THAT PHILIP died when Pythodemus was archon at Athens, and that his son Alexander, being then about twenty years of age, marched into Peloponnesus as soon as he had secured the regal power. There he assembled all the Greeks who were within the limits of Peloponnesus, and asked from them the supreme command of the expedition against the Persians, an office which they had already conferred upon Philip. He received the honour which he asked from all except the Lacedaemonians, who replied that it was an hereditary custom of theirs, not to follow others but to lead them. The Athenians also attempted to bring about some political change; but they were so alarmed at the very approach of Alexander, that they conceded to him even more ample public honours than those which had been bestowed upon Philip. He then returned into Macedonia and busied himself in preparing for the expedition into Asia.
However, at the approach of spring (b.c. 335), he marched towards Thrace, into the lands of the Triballians and Illyrians, because he ascertained that these nations were meditating a change of policy; and at the same time, as they were lying on his frontier, he thought it inexpedient, when he was about to start on a campaign so far away from his own land, to leave them behind him without being entirely subjugated. Setting out then from Amphipolis, he invaded the land of the people who were called independent Thracians, keeping the city of Philippi and mount Orbelus on the left. Crossing the river Nessus, they say he arrived at mount Haemus on the tenth day. Here, along the defiles up the ascent to the mountain, he was met by many of the traders equipped with arms, as well as by the independent Thracians, who had made preparations to check the further advance of his expedition by seizing the summit of the Haemus, along which was the route for the passage of his army. They had collected their waggons, and placed them in front of them, not only using them as a rampart from which they might defend themselves, in case they should be forced back, but also intending to let them loose upon the phalanx of the Macedonians, where the mountain was most precipitous, if they tried to ascend. They had come to the conclusion that the denser the phalanx was with which the waggons rushing down came into collision, the more easily would they scatter it by the violence of their fall upon it.
But Alexander formed a plan by which he might cross the mountain with the least danger possible; and since he was resolved to run all risks, knowing that there were no means of passing elsewhere, he ordered the heavy-armed soldiers, as soon as the waggons began to rush down the declivity, to open their ranks, and directed that those whom the road was sufficiently wide to permitto do so should stand apart, so that the waggons might roll through the gap; but that those who were hemmed in on all sides should either stoop down together or even fall flat on the ground, and lock their shields compactly together, so that the waggons rushing down upon them, and in all probability by their very impetus leaping over them, might pass on without injuring them. And it turned out just as Alexander had conjectured and exhorted. For some of the men made gaps in the phalanx, and others locked their shields together. The waggons rolled over the shields without doing much injury, not a single man being killed under them. Then the Macedonians regained their courage, inasmuch as the waggons, which they had excessively dreaded, had inflicted no damage upon them. With a loud cry they assaulted the Thracians. Alexander ordered his archers to march from the right wing in front of the rest of the phalanx, because there the passage was easier, and to shoot at the Thracians where they advanced. He himself took his own guard, the shield-bearing infantry and the Agrianians, and led them to the left. Then the archers shot at the Thracians who sallied forward, and repulsed them; and the phalanx, coming to close fighting, easily drove away from their position men who were light-armed and badly equipped barbarians. The consequence was, they no longer waited to receive Alexander marching against them from the left, but casting away their arms they fled down the mountain as each man best could. About 1,500 of them were killed; but only a few were taken prisoners on account of their swiftness of foot and acquaintance with the country. However, all the women who were accompanying them were captured, as were also their children and all their booty.
Battle with the Triballians.
Alexander sent the booty away southward to the cities on the seashore, entrusting to Lysanias and Philotas the duty of setting it up for sale. But he himself crossed the summit, and advancing through the Haemus into the land of the Triballians, he arrived at the river Lyginus. This river is distant from the Ister three days’ march to one intending to go to the Haemus. Syrmus, king of the Triballians, hearing of Alexander’s expedition long before, had sent the women and children of the nation on in advance to the Ister, ordering them to pass over into one of the islands in that river, the name of which was Peuce. To this island also the Thracians, whose territories were conterminous with those of the Triballians, had fled together for refuge at the approach of Alexander. Syrmus himself likewise, accompanied by his train, had fled for refuge to the same place. But the main body of the Triballians fled back to the river, from which Alexander had started the day before.
When he heard of their starting, he wheeled round again, and, marching against them, surprised them just as they were encamping. And those who were surprised drew themselves up in battle array in a woody glen along the bank of the river. Alexander drew out his phalanx into a deep column, and led it on in person. He also ordered the archers and slingers to run forward and discharge arrows and stones at the barbarians, hoping to provoke them by this to come out of the woody glen into the ground unencumbered with trees. When they were within reach of the missiles, and were struck by them, they rushed out against the archers, who were undefended by shields, with the purpose of fighting them hand-to-hand. But when Alexander had drawn them thus out of the woody glen, he ordered Philotas to take the cavalry which came from upper Macedonia, and to charge their right wing, where they had advanced furthest in their sally. He also commanded Heraclides and Sopolis to lead on the cavalry which came from Bottiaea and Amphipolis against the left wing; while he himself extended the phalanx of infantry and the rest of the horse in front of the phalanx and led them against the enemy’s centre. And indeed as long as there was only skirmishing on both sides, the Triballians did not get the worst of it; but as soon as the phalanx in dense array attacked them with vigour, and the cavalry fell upon them in various quarters, no longer merely striking them with the javelin, but pushing them with their very horses, then at length they turned and fled through the woody glen to the river. Three thousand were slain in the flight; few of them were taken prisoners, both because there was a dense wood in front of the river, and the approach of night deprived the Macedonians of certainty in their pursuit. Ptolemy says, that of the Macedonians themselves eleven horsemen and about forty foot soldiers were killed.
Alexander at the Danube and in the Country of the Getae.
On the third day after the battle, Alexander reached the river Ister, which is the largest of all the rivers in Europe, traverses a very great tract of country, and separates very warlike nations. Most of these belong to the Celtic race, in whose territory the sources of the river take their rise. Of these nations the remotest are the Quadi and Marcomanni; then the Iazygianns, a branch of the Sauromatians; then the Getae, who hold the doctrine of immortality; then the main body of the Sarmatians; and, lastly, the Scythians, whose land stretches as far as the outlets of the river, where through five mouths it discharges its water into the Euxine Sea. Here Alexander found some ships of war which had come to him from Byzantium, through the Euxine Sea and up the river. Filling these with archers and heavy-armed troops, he sailed to the island to which the Triballians and Thracians had fled for refuge. He tried to force a landing; but the barbarians came to meet him at the brink of the river, where the ships were making the assault. But these were only few in number, and the army in them small. The shores of the island, also, were in most places too steep and precipitous for landing, and the current of the river alongside it, being, as it were, shut up into a narrow channel by the nearness of the banks, was rapid and exceedingly difficult to stem.
Alexander therefore led back his ships, and determined to cross the Ister and march against the Getae, who dwelt on the other side of that river; for he observed that many of them had collected on the bank of the river for the purpose of barring his way, if he should cross. There were of them about 4,000 cavalry and more than 10,000 infantry. At the same time a strong desire seized him to advance beyond the Ister. He therefore went on board the fleet himself. He also filled with hay the hides which served them as tent-coverings, and collected from the country around all the boats made from single trunks of trees. Of these there was a great abundance, because the people who dwell near the Ister use them for fishing in the river, sometimes also for journeying to each other for traffic up the river; and most of them carry on piracy with them. Having collected as many of these as he could, upon them he conveyed across as many of his soldiers as was possible in such a fashion. Those who crossed with Alexander amounted in number to 1,500 cavalry and 4,000 infantry.
Alexander Destroys the City of the Getae.—The Ambassadors of the Celts.
They crossed over by night to a spot where the corn stood high; and in this way they reached the bank more secretly. At the approach of dawn Alexander led his men through the field of standing corn, ordering the infantry to lean upon the corn with their pikes held transversely, and thus to advance into the untilled ground. As long as the phalanx was advancing through the standing corn, the cavalry followed; but when they marched out of the tilled land, Alexander himself led the horse round to the right wing, and commanded Nicanor to lead the phalanx in a square. The Getae did not even sustain the first charge of the cavalry; for Alexander’s audacity seemed incredible to them, in having thus easily crossed the Ister, the largest of rivers, in a single night, without throwing a bridge over the stream. Terrible to them also was the closely-locked order of the phalanx, and violent the charge of the cavalry. At first they fled for refuge into their city, which was distant about a parasang from the Ister; but when they saw that Alexander was leading his phalanx carefully along the river, to prevent his infantry being anywhere surrounded by the Getae lying in ambush; whereas he was leading his cavalry straight on, they again abandoned the city, because it was badly fortified. They carried off as many of their women and children as their horses could carry, and betook themselves into the steppes, in a direction which led as far as possible from the river. Alexander took the city and all the booty which the Getae left behind. This he gave to Meleager and Philip to carry off. After razing the city to the ground, he offered sacrifice upon the bank of the river, to Zeus the preserver, to Heracles, and to Ister himself, because he had allowed him to cross; and while it was still day he brought all his men back safe to the camp.
There ambassadors came to him from Syrmus, king of the Triballians, and from the other independent nations dwelling near the Ister. Some even arrived from the Celts who dwelt near the Ionian gulf. These people are of great stature, and of a haughty disposition. All the envoys said that they had come to seek Alexander’s friendship. To all of them he gave pledges of amity, and received pledges from them in return. He then asked the Celts what thing in the world caused them special alarm, expecting that his own great fame had reached the Celts and had penetrated still further, and that they would say that they feared him most of all things. But the answer of the Celts turned out quite contrary to his expectation; for, as they dwelt so far away from Alexander, inhabiting districts difficult of access, and as they saw he was about to set out in another direction, they said they were afraid that the sky would some time or other fall down upon them. These men also he sent back, calling them friends, and ranking them as allies, making the remark that the Celts were braggarts.
Revolt of Clitus and Glaucias.
He then advanced into the land of the Agrianians and Paeonians, where messengers reached him, who reported that Clitus, son of Bardylis, had revolted, and that Glaucias, king of the Taulantians, had gone over to him. They also reported that the Autariatians intended to attack him on his way. He accordingly resolved to commence his march without delay. But Langarus, king of the Agrianians, who, in the lifetime of Philip, had been an open and avowed friend of Alexander, and had gone on an embassy to him in his private capacity, at that time also came to him with the finest and best armed of the shield-bearing troops, which he kept as a body-guard. When this man heard that Alexander was inquiring who the Autariatians were, and what was the number of their men, he said that he need take no account of them, since they were the least warlike of the tribes of that district; and that he would himself make an inroad into their land, so that they might have too much occupation about their own affairs to attack others. Accordingly, at Alexander’s order, he made an attack upon them; and not only did he attack them, but he swept their land clean of captives and booty. Thus the Autariatians were indeed occupied with their own affairs. Langarus was rewarded by Alexander with the greatest honours, and received from him the gifts which were considered most valuable in the eyes of the king of the Macedonians. Alexander also promised to give him his sister Cyna in marriage when he arrived at Pella. But Langarus fell ill and died on his return home.
After this, Alexander marched along the river Erigon, and proceeded to the city of Pelium; for Clitus had seized this city, as it was the strongest in the country. When Alexander arrived at this place, and had encamped near the river Eordaicus, he resolved to make an assault upon the wall the next day. But Clitus held the mountains which encircled the city, and commanded it from their height; moreover, they were covered with dense thickets. His intention was to fall upon the Macedonians from all sides, if they assaulted the city. But Glaucias, king of the Taulantians, had not yet joined him. Alexander, however, led his forces towards the city; and the enemy, after sacrificing three boys, an equal number of girls, and three black rams, sallied forth for the purpose of receiving the Macedonians in a hand-to-hand conflict. But as soon as they came to close quarters, they left the positions which they had occupied, strong as they were, in such haste that even their sacrificial victims were captured still lying on the ground.
On this day he shut them up in the city, and encamping near the wall, he resolved to intercept them by a circumvallation; but on the next day Glaucias, king of the Taulantians, arrived with a great force. Then, indeed, Alexander gave up the hope of capturing the city with his present force, since many warlike troops had fled for refuge into it, and Glaucias with his large army would be likely to follow him up closely if he assailed the wall. But he sent Philotas on a foraging expedition, with the beasts of burden from the camp and a sufficient body of cavalry to serve as a guard. When Glaucias heard of the expedition of Philotas he marched out to meet him, and seized the mountains which surrounded the plain, from which Philotas intended to procure forage. As soon as Alexander was informed that his cavalry and beasts of burden would be in danger if night overtook them, taking the shield-bearing troops, the archers, the Agrianians, and about four hundred cavalry, he went with all speed to their aid. The rest of the army he left behind near the city, to prevent the citizens from hastening forth to form a junction with Glaucias (as they would have done), if all the Macedonian army had withdrawn. Directly Glaucias perceived that Alexander was advancing, he evacuated the mountains, and Philotas and his forces returned to the camp in safety. But Clitus and Glaucias still imagined that they had caught Alexander in a disadvantageous position; for they were occupying the mountains, which commanded the plain by their height, with a large body of cavalry, javelin-throwers, and slingers, besides a considerable number of heavy-armed infantry. Moreover, the men who had been beleaguered in the city were expected to pursue the Macedonians closely if they made a retreat. The ground also through which Alexander had to march was evidently narrow and covered with wood; on one side it was hemmed in by a river, and on the other there was a very lofty and craggy mountain, so that there would not be room for the army to pass, even if only four shield-bearers marched abreast.
Defeat of Clitus and Glaucias.
Then Alexander drew up his army in such a way that the depth of the phalanx was 120 men; and stationing 200 cavalry on each wing, he ordered them to preserve silence, in order to receive the word of command quickly. Accordingly he gave the signal to the heavy-armed infantry in the first place to hold their spears erect, and then to couch them at the concerted sign; at one time to incline their spears to the right, closely locked together, and at another time towards the left. He then set the phalanx itself into quick motion forward, and marched it towards the wings, now to the right, and then to the left. After thus arranging and re-arranging his army many times very rapidly, he at last formed his phalanx into a sort of wedge, and led it towards the left against the enemy, who had long been in a state of amazement at seeing both the order and the rapidity of his evolutions. Consequently they did not sustain Alexander’s attack, but quitted the first ridges of the mountain. Upon this, Alexander ordered the Macedonians to raise the battle cry and make a clatter with their spears upon their shields; and the Taulantians, being still more alarmed at the noise, led their army back to the city with all speed.
As Alexander saw only a few of the enemy still occupying a ridge, along which lay his route, he ordered his body-guards and personal companions to take their shields, mount their horses, and ride to the hill; and when they reached it, if those who had occupied the position awaited them, he said that half of them were to leap from their horses, and to fight as foot-soldiers, being mingled with the cavalry. But when the enemy saw Alexander’s advance, they quitted the hill and retreated to the mountains in both directions. Then Alexander, with his companions, seized the hill, and sent for the Agrianians and archers, who numbered 2,000. He also ordered the shield-bearing guards to cross the river, and after them the regiments of Macedonian infantry, with instructions that, as soon as they had succeeded in crossing, they should draw out in rank towards the left, so that the phalanx of men crossing might appear compact at once. He himself, in the vanguard, was all the time observing from the ridge the enemy’s advance. They, seeing the force crossing the river, marched down the mountains to meet them, with the purpose of attacking Alexander’s rear in its retreat. But, as they were just drawing near, Alexander rushed forth with his own division, and the phalanx raised the battle-cry, as if about to advance through the river. When the enemy saw all the Macedonians marching against them, they turned and fled. Upon this, Alexander led the Agrianians and archers at full speed towards the river, and succeeded in being himself the first man to cross it. But when he saw the enemy pressing upon the men in the rear, he stationed his engines of war upon the bank, and ordered the engineers to shoot from them as far forward as possible all sorts of projectiles which are usually shot from military engines. He directed the archers, who had also entered the water, to shoot their arrows from the middle of the river. But Glaucias durst not advance within range of the missiles; so that the Macedonians passed over in such safety, that not one of them lost his life in the retreat.
Three days after this, Alexander discovered that Clitus and Glaucias lay carelessly encamped; that neither were their sentinels on guard in military order, nor had they protected themselves with a rampart or ditch, as if they imagined he had withdrawn through fear; and that they had extended their line to a disadvantageous length. He therefore crossed the river again secretly, at the approach of night, leading with him the shield-bearing guards, the Agrianians, the archers, and the brigades of Perdiccas and Coenus, after having given orders for the rest of the army to follow. As soon as he saw a favourable opportunity for the attack, without waiting for all to be present, he despatched the archers and Agrianians against the foe. These, being arranged in phalanx, fell unawares with the most furious charge upon their flank, where they were likely to come into conflict with their weakest point, and slew some of them still in their beds, others being easily caught in their flight. Accordingly, many were there captured and killed, as were many also in the disorderly and panic-stricken retreat which ensued. Not a few, moreover, were taken prisoners. Alexander kept up the pursuit as far as the Taulantian mountains; and as many of them as escaped, preserved their lives by throwing away their arms. Clitus first fled for refuge into the city, which, however, he set on fire, and withdrew to Glaucias, in the land of the Taulantians.
Revolt of Thebes (September, b.c. 335).
While these events were occurring, some of the exiles who had been banished from Thebes, coming to the city by night, and being brought in by some of the citizens, in order to effect a change in the government, apprehended and slew outside the Cadmea, Amyntas and Timolaüs, two of the men who held that fortress, having no suspicion that any hostile attempt was about to be made. Then entering the public assembly, they incited the Thebans to revolt from Alexander, holding out to them as pretexts the ancient and glorious words, liberty and freedom of speech, and urging them now at last to rid themselves of the heavy yoke of the Macedonians. By stoutly maintaining that Alexander had been killed in Illyria they gained more power in persuading the multitude; for this report was prevalent, and for many reasons it gained credit, both because he had been absent a long time, and because no news had arrived from him. Accordingly, as is usual in such cases, not knowing the facts, each man conjectured what was most pleasing to himself.
When Alexander heard what was being done at Thebes, he thought it was a movement not at all to be slighted, inasmuch as he had for a long time suspected the city of Athens and deemed the audacious action of the Thebans no trivial matter, if the Lacedaemonians, who had long been disaffected in their feelings to him, and the Aetolians and certain other States in the Peloponnese, who were not firm in their allegiance to him, should take part with the Thebans in their revolutionary effort. He therefore led his army through Eordaea and Elimiotis and along the peaks of Stymphaea and Paravaea, and on the seventh day arrived at Pelina in Thessaly. Starting thence, he entered Boeotia on the sixth day; so that the Thebans did not learn that he had passed south of Thermopylae, until he was at Onchestus with the whole of his army. Even then the authors of the revolt asserted that Antipater’s army had arrived out of Macedonia, stoutly affirming that Alexander himself was dead, and being very angry with those who announced that it was Alexander himself who was advancing. For they said it must be another Alexander, the son of Aëropus, who was coming. On the following day Alexander set out from Onchestus, and advanced towards the city along the territory consecrated to Iolaüs; where indeed he encamped, in order to give the Thebans further time to repent of their evil resolutions and to send an embassy to him. But so far were they from showing any sign of wishing to come to an accommodation, that their cavalry and a large body of light-armed infantry sallied forth from the city as far as the camp, and, skirmishing with the Macedonian outposts, slew a few of their men. Alexander hereupon sent forth a party of his light-armed infantry and archers to repel their sortie; and these men repelled them with ease, just as they were approaching the very camp. The next day he took the whole of his army and marched round towards the gate which led to Eleutherae and Attica. But not even then did he assault the wall itself, but encamped not far away from the Cadmea, in order that succour might be at hand to the Macedonians who were occupying that citadel. For the Thebans had blockaded the Cadmea with a double stockade and were guarding it, so that no one from without might be able to give succour to those who were beleaguered, and that the garrison might not be able, by making a sally, to do them any injury, when they were attacking the enemy outside. But Alexander remained encamped near the Cadmea, for he still wished rather to come to friendly terms with the Thebans than to come to a contest with them. Then those of the Thebans who knew what was for the best interest of the commonwealth were eager to go out to Alexander and obtain pardon for the commonalty of Thebes for their revolt; but the exiles and those who had summoned them home kept on inciting the populace to war by every means in their power, since they despaired of obtaining for themselves any indulgence from Alexander, especially as some of them were also Boeotarchs.However not even for this did Alexander assault the city.
Fall of Thebes.
But Ptolemy, son of Lagus, tells us that Perdiccas, who had been posted in the advanced guard of the camp with his own brigade, and was not far from the enemy’s stockade, did not wait for the signal from Alexander to commence the battle; but of his own accord was the first to assault the stockade, and, having made a breach in it, fell upon the advanced guard of the Thebans.Amyntas, son of Andromenes, followed Perdiccas, because he had been stationed with him. This general also of his own accord led on his brigade when he saw that Perdiccas had advanced within the stockade. When Alexander saw this, he led on the rest of his army, fearing that unsupported they might be intercepted by the Thebans and be in danger of destruction. He gave instructions to the archers and Agrianians to rush within the stockade, but he still retained the guards and shield-bearing troops outside. Then indeed Perdiccas, after forcing his way within the second stockade, fell there wounded with a dart, and was carried back grievously injured to the camp, where he was with difficulty cured of his wound. However the men of Perdiccas, in company with the archers sent by Alexander, fell upon the Thebans and shut them up in the hollow way leading to the temple of Heracles, and followed them in their retreat as far as the temple itself. The Thebans, having wheeled round, again advanced from that position with a shout, and put the Macedonians to flight. Eurybotas the Cretan, the captain of the archers, fell with about seventy of his men; but the rest fled to the Macedonian guard and the royal shield-bearing troops. Now, when Alexander saw that his own men were in flight, and that the Thebans had broken their ranks in pursuit, he attacked them with his phalanx drawn up in proper order, and drove them back within the gates. The Thebans fled in such a panic that being driven into the city through the gates they had not time to shut them; for the Macedonians, who were close behind the fugitives, rushed with them within the fortifications, inasmuch as the walls were destitute of defenders on account of the numerous pickets in front of them. When the Macedonians had entered the Cadmea, some of them marched out of it, in company with those who held the fortress, into the other part of the city opposite the temple of Amphion, but others crossing along the walls, which were now in the possession of those who had rushed in together with the fugitives, advanced with a run into the market-place. Those of the Thebans who had been drawn up opposite the temple of Amphion stood their ground for a short time; but when the Macedonians under the command of Alexander were seen to be pressing hard upon them in various directions, their cavalry rushed through the city and sallied forth into the plain, and their infantry fled for safety as each man found it possible. Then indeed the Thebans, no longer defending themselves, were slain, not so much by the Macedonians as by the Phocians, Plataeans and other Boeotians, who by indiscriminate slaughter vented their rage against them. Some were even attacked in the houses, having there turned to defend themselves from the enemy, and others were slain as they were supplicating the protection of the gods in the temples; not even the women and children being spared.
Destruction of Thebes.
This was felt by the Greeks to be a general calamity for it struck the rest of the Greeks with no less consternation than it did those who had themselves taken part in the struggle, both on account of the magnitude of the captured city and the celerity of the action, the result of which was in the highest degree contrary to the expectation both of the sufferers and the perpetrators. For the disasters which befell the Athenians in relation to Sicily, though in regard to the number of those who perished they brought no less misfortune to the city, yet, because their army was destroyed far away from their own land, being composed for the most part rather of auxiliary troops than of native Athenians, and because their city itself was left to them intact, so that afterwards they held their own in war even for a long time, though fighting against the Lacedaemonians and their allies, as well as the Great King; these disasters, I say, neither produced in the persons who were themselves involved in the calamity an equal sensation of the misfortune, nor did they cause the other Greeks a similar consternation at the catastrophe. Again, the defeat sustained by the Athenians at Aegospotami was a naval one, and the city received no other humiliation than the demolition of the Long Walls, the surrender of most of her ships, and the loss of supremacy. However, they still retained their hereditary form of government, and not long after recovered their former power to such a degree as not only to build up the Long Walls but to recover the rule of the sea and in their turn to preserve from extreme danger those very Lacedaemonians then so formidable to them, who had come and almost obliterated their city. Moreover, the defeat of the Lacedaemonians at Leuctra and Mantinea filled them with consternation rather by the unexpectedness of the disaster than because of the number of those who perished. And the attack made by the Boeotians and Arcadians under Epaminondas upon the city of Sparta, even this terrified both the Lacedaemonians themselves and those who participated with them in the transactions at that time, rather by the novelty of the sight than by the reality of the danger. The capture of the city of the Plataeans was not a great calamity, by reason of the small number of those who were taken in it; most of the citizens having long before escaped to Athens. Again, the capture of Melus and Scione simply related to insular States, and rather brought disgrace to those who perpetrated the outrages than produced great surprise among the Grecian community as a whole.
But the Thebans having effected their revolt suddenly and without any previous consideration, the capture of the city being brought about in so short a time and without difficulty on the part of the captors, the slaughter, being great, as was natural, from its being made by men of the same race who were glutting their revenge on them for ancient injuries, the complete enslavement of a city which excelled among those in Greece at that time both in power and warlike reputation, all this was attributed not without probability to the avenging wrath of the deity. It seemed as if the Thebans had after a long time suffered this punishment for their betrayal of the Greeks in the Median war, for their seizure of the city of Plataeae during the truce, and for their complete enslavement of it, as well as for the un-Hellenic slaughter of the men who had surrendered to the Lacedaemonians, which had been committed at the instigation of the Thebans; and for the devastation of the territory in which the Greeks had stood in battle-array against the Medes and had repelled danger from Greece; lastly, because by their vote they had tried to ruin the Athenians when a motion was brought forward among the allies of the Lacedaemonians for the enslavement of Athens. Moreover it was reported that before the disaster many portents were sent from the deity, which indeed at the time were treated with neglect, but afterwards when men called them to remembrance they were compelled to consider that the events which occurred had been long before prognosticated.
The settlement of Theban affairs was entrusted by Alexander to the allies who had taken part in the action. They resolved to occupy the Cadmea with a garrison; to raze the city to the ground; to distribute among themselves all the territory, except what was dedicated to the gods; and to sell into slavery the women and children, and as many of the males as survived, except those who were priests or priestesses, and those who were bound to Philip or Alexander by the ties of hospitality or had been public agents of the Macedonians. It is said that Alexander preserved the house and the descendants of Pindar the poet, out of respect for his memory. In addition to these things, the allies decreed that Orchomenus and Plataeae should be rebuilt and fortified.
Alexander’s Dealings with Athens.
As soon as news of the calamity which had befallen the Thebans reached the other Greeks, the Arcadians, who had set out from their own land for the purpose of giving aid to the Thebans, passed sentence of death on those who had instigated them to render aid. The Eleans also received back their exiles from banishment, because they were Alexander’s adherents; and the Aetolians, each tribe for itself, sent embassies to him, begging to receive pardon, because they also had attempted to effect a revolution, on the receipt of the report which had been spread by the Thebans. The Athenians also, who, at the time when some of the Thebans, escaping from the carnage, arrived at Athens, were engaged in celebrating the Great Mysteries, abandoned the sacred rites in great consternation, and carried their goods and chattels from the rural districts into the city. The people came together in public assembly, and, on the motion of Demades, elected from all the citizens ten ambassadors, men whom they knew to be Alexander’s special adherents, and sent them to signify to him, though somewhat unseasonably, that the Athenian people rejoiced at his safe return from the land of the Illyrians and Triballians, and at the punishment which he had inflicted upon the Thebans for their rebellion. In regard to other matters he gave the embassy a courteous reply, but wrote a letter to the people demanding the surrender of Demosthenes and Lycurgus, as well as that of Hyperides, Polyeuctus, Chares, Charidemus, Ephialtes, Diotimus, and Moerocles; alleging that these men were the cause of the disaster which befell the city at Chaeronea, and the authors of the subsequent offensive proceedings after Philip’s death, both against himself and his father. He also declared that they had instigated the Thebans to revolt no less than had those of the Thebans themselves who favoured a revolution. The Athenians, however, did not surrender the men, but sent another embassy to Alexander, entreating him to remit his wrath against the persons whom he had demanded. The king did remit his wrath against them, either out of respect for the city of Athens, or from an earnest desire to start on the expedition into Asia, not wishing to leave behind him among the Greeks any cause for distrust. However, he ordered Charidemus alone of the men whom he had demanded as prisoners and who had not been given up, to go into banishment. Charidemus therefore went as an exile to King Darius in Asia.
Alexander Crosses the Hellespont and Visits Troy.
Having settled these affairs, he returned into Macedonia. He then offered to the Olympian Zeus the sacrifice which had been instituted by Archelaüs, and had been customary up to that time; and he celebrated the public contest of the Olympic games at Aegae. It is said that he also held a public contest in honour of the Muses. At this time it was reported that the statue of Orpheus, son of Oeagrus the Thracian, which was in Pieris, sweated incessantly. Various were the explanations of this prodigy given by the soothsayers; but Aristander, a man of Telmissus, a soothsayer, bade Alexander take courage; for he said it was evident from this that there would be much labour for the epic and lyric poets, and for the writers of odes, to compose and sing about Alexander and his achievements.
(b.c. 334.) At the beginning of the spring he marched towards the Hellespont, entrusting the affairs of Macedonia and Greece to Antipater. He led not much above 30,000 infantry together with light-armed troops and archers, and more than 5,000 cavalry. His march was past the lake Cercinitis, towards Amphipolis and the mouths of the river Strymon. Having crossed this river he passed by the Pangaean mountain, along the road leading to Abdera and Maronea, Grecian cities built on the coast. Thence he arrived at the river Hebrus, and easily crossed it. Thence he proceeded through Paetica to the river Melas, having crossed which he arrived at Sestus, in twenty days altogether from the time of his starting from home. When he came to Elaeūs he offered sacrifice to Protesilaus upon the tomb of that hero, both for other reasons and because Protesilaus seemed to have been the first of the Greeks who took part with Agamemnon in the expedition to Ilium to disembark in Asia. The design of this sacrifice was, that his disembarking in Asia might be more fortunate than that of Protesilaus had been. He then committed to Parmenio the duty of conveying the cavalry and the greater part of the infantry from Sestus to Abydus; and they were transported in 160 triremes, besides many trading vessels. The prevailing account is, that Alexander started from Elaeūs and put into the Port of Achaeans, that with his own hand he steered the general’s ship across, and that when he was about the middle of the channel of the Hellespont he sacrificed a bull to Poseidon and the Nereids, and poured forth a libation to them into the sea from a golden goblet. They say also that he was the first man to step out of the ship in full armour on the land of Asia, and that he erected altars to Zeus, the protector of people landing, to Athena, and to Heracles, at the place in Europe whence he started, and at the place in Asia where he disembarked. It is also said that he went up to Ilium and offered sacrifice to the Trojan Athena; that he set up his own panoply in the temple as a votive offering, and in exchange for it took away some of the consecrated arms which had been preserved from the time of the Trojan war. These arms were said to have been carried in front of him into the battles by the shield-bearing guards. A report also prevails that he offered sacrifice to Priam upon the altar of Zeus the household god, deprecating the wrath of Priam against the progeny of Neoptolemus, from whom Alexander himself derived his origin.
Alexander at the Tomb of Achilles.—Memnon’s Advice Rejected by the Persian Generals.
When he went up to Ilium, Menoetius the pilot crowned him with a golden crown; after him Chares the Athenian, coming from Sigeum, as well as certain others, both Greeks and natives, did the same. Alexander then encircled the tomb of Achilles with a garland; and it is said that Hephaestion decorated that of Patroclus in the same way. There is indeed a report that Alexander pronounced Achilles fortunate in getting Homer as the herald of his fame to posterity. And in truth it was meet that Alexander should deem Achilles fortunate for this reason especially; for to Alexander himself this privilege was wanting, a thing which was not in accordance with the rest of his good fortune. His achievements have, therefore, not been related to mankind in a manner worthy of the hero. Neither in prose nor in verse has any one suitably honoured him; nor has he ever been sung of in a lyric poem, in which style of poetry Hiero, Gelo, Thero, and many others not at all comparable with Alexander, have been praised. Consequently Alexander’s deeds are far less known than the meanest achievements of antiquity. For instance, the march of the ten thousand with Cyrus up to Persia against King Artaxerxes, the tragic fate of Clearchus and those who were captured along with him, and the march of the same men down to the sea, in which they were led by Xenophon, are events much better known to men through Xenophon’s narrative than are Alexander and his achievements. And yet Alexander neither accompanied another man’s expedition, nor did he in flight from the Great King overcome those who obstructed his march down to the sea. And, indeed, there is no other single individual among Greeks or barbarians who achieved exploits so great or important either in regard to number or magnitude as he did. This was the reason which induced me to undertake this history, not thinking myself incompetent to make Alexander’s deeds known to men. For whoever I may be, this I know about myself, that there is no need for me to assert my name, for it is not unknown to men; nor is it needful for me to say what my native land and family are, or if I have held any public office in my own country. But this I do assert, that this historical work is and has been from my youth up, in place of native land, family, and public offices to me; and for this reason I do not deem myself unworthy to rank among the first authors in the Greek language, if Alexander indeed is among the first in arms.
From Ilium Alexander came to Arisbe, where his entire force had encamped after crossing the Hellespont; and on the following day he came to Percote. On the next, passing by Lampsacus, he encamped near the river Practius, which flows from the Idaean mountains and discharges itself into the sea between the Hellespont and the Euxine Sea. Thence passing by the city of Colonae, he arrived at Hermotus. He now sent scouts before the army under the command of Amyntas, son of Arrhabaeus, who had the squadron of the Companion cavalry which came from Apollonia, under the captain Socrates, son of Sathon, and four squadrons of what were called Prodromi (runners forward). In the march he despatched Panegorus, son of Lycagoras, one of the Companions, to take possession of the city of Priapus, which was surrendered by the inhabitants.
The Persian generals were Arsames, Rheomithres, Petines, Niphates, and with them Spithridates, viceroy of Lydia and Ionia, and Arsites, governor of the Phrygia near the Hellespont. These had encamped near the city of Zeleia with the Persian cavalry and the Grecian mercenaries. When they were holding a council about the state of affairs, it was reported to them that Alexander had crossed (the Hellespont). Memnon, the Rhodian, advised them not to risk a conflict with the Macedonians, since they were far superior to them in infantry, and Alexander was there in person; whereas Darius was not with them. He advised them to advance and destroy the fodder, by trampling it down under their horses’ hoofs, to burn the crops of the country, and not even to spare the very cities. “For then Alexander,” said he, “will not be able to stay in the land from lack of provisions.” It is said that in the Persian conference Arsites asserted that he would not allow a single house belonging to the people placed under his rule to be burned, and that the other Persians agreed with Arsites, because they had a suspicion that Memnon was deliberately contriving to protract the war for the purpose of obtaining honour from the king.
Battle of the Granicus (b.c. 334).
Meantime Alexander was advancing to the river Granicus, with his army arranged for battle, having drawn up his heavy-armed troops in a double phalanx, leading the cavalry on the wings, and having ordered that the baggage should follow in the rear. And Hegelochus at the head of the cavalry, who were armed with the long pike, and about 500 of the light-armed troops, was sent by him to reconnoitre the proceedings of the enemy. When Alexander was not far from the river Granicus, some of his scouts rode up to him at full speed and announced that the Persians had taken up their position on the other side of the Granicus, drawn up ready for battle. Thereupon Alexander arranged all his army with the intention of fighting. Then Parmenio approached him and spoke as follows: “I think, O king, that it is advisable for the present to pitch our camp on the bank of the river as we are. For I think that the enemy, being, as they are, much inferior to us in infantry, will not dare to pass the night near us, and therefore they will permit the army to cross the ford with ease at daybreak. For we shall then pass over before they can put themselves in order of battle;whereas, I do not think that we can now attempt the operation without evident risk, because it is not possible to lead the army through the river with its front extended. Besides, it is clear that many parts of the stream are deep, and you see that these banks are steep and in some places abrupt. Therefore the enemy’s cavalry, being formed into a dense square, will attack us as we emerge from the water in broken ranks and in column, in the place where we are weakest. At the present juncture the first repulse would be difficult to retrieve, as well as perilous for the issue of the whole war.”
But to this Alexander replied: “I recognise the force of these arguments, O Parmenio; but I should feel it a disgrace, if, after crossing the Hellespont so easily, this brook (for with such an appellation he made light of the Granicus) should bar our passage for a moment. I consider that this would be in accordance neither with the fame of the Macedonians nor with my own eagerness for encountering danger. Moreover, I think that the Persians will regain courage, as being a match in war for Macedonians, since up to the present time they have suffered no defeat from me to warrant the fear they entertain.”
Arrangement of the Hostile Armies.
Having spoken thus, he sent Parmenio to command upon the left wing, while he led in person on the right. And at the head of the right wing he placed the following officers:—Philotas, son of Parmenio, with the cavalry Companions, the archers, and the Agrianian javelin-men; and Amyntas, son of Arrhabaeus, with the cavalry carrying the long pike, the Paeonians, and the squadron of Socrates, was posted near Philotas. Close to these were posted the Companions who were shield-bearing infantry under the command of Nicanor, son of Parmenio. Next to these the brigade of Perdiccas, son of Orontes, then that of Coenus, son of Polemocrates; then that of Craterus, son of Alexander, and that of Amyntas, son of Andromenes; finally, the men commanded by Philip, son of Amyntas. The first on the left wing were the Thessalian cavalry, commanded by Calas, son of Harpalus; next to these, the cavalry of the Grecian allies, commanded by Philip, son of Menelaüs; next to these the Thracians, commanded by Agatho. Close to these were the infantry, the brigades of Craterus, Meleager, and Philip, reaching as far as the centre of the entire line.
The Persian cavalry were about 20,000 in number, and their infantry, consisting of Grecian mercenaries, fell a little short of the same number. They had extended their horse along the bank of the river in a long phalanx, and had posted the infantry behind the cavalry, for the ground above the bank was steep and commanding. They also marshalled dense squadrons of cavalry upon that part of the bank where they observed Alexander himself advancing against their left wing; for he was conspicuous both by the brightness of his arms and by the respectful service of his attendants. Both armies stood a long time at the margin of the river, keeping quiet from dread of the result; and profound silence was observed on both sides. For the Persians were waiting till the Macedonians should step into the water, with the intention of attacking them as they emerged. Alexander leaped upon his steed, ordering those about him to follow, and exhorting them to show themselves valiant men. He then commanded Amyntas, son of Arrhabaeus, to make the first rush into the river at the head of the skirmishing cavalry, the Paeonians, and one regiment of infantry; and in front of these he had placed Ptolemy, son of Philip, in command of the squadron of Socrates, which body of men indeed on that day happened to have the lead of all the cavalry force. He himself led the right wing with sounding of trumpets, and the men raising the war-cry to Enyalius. He entered the ford, keeping his line always extended obliquely in the direction in which the stream flowed, in order that the Persians might not fall upon him on the flank as he was emerging from the water, but that he might, as far as practicable, encounter them with his phalanx.
Description of the Battle of the Granicus.
The Persians began the contest by hurling missiles from above in the direction where the men of Amyntas and Socrates were the first to reach the bank; some of them casting javelins into the river from their commanding position on the bank, and others stepping down along the flatter parts of it to the very edge of the water. Then ensued a violent struggle on the part of the cavalry, on the one side to emerge from the river, and on the other to prevent the landing. From the Persians there was a terrible discharge of darts; but the Macedonians fought with spears. The Macedonians, being far inferior in number, suffered severely at the first onset, because they were obliged to defend themselves in the river, where their footing was unsteady, and where they were below the level of their assailants; whereas the Persians were fighting from the top of the bank, which gave them an advantage, especially as the best of the Persian horse had been posted there. Memnon himself, as well as his sons, were running every risk with these; and the Macedonians who first came into conflict with the Persians, though they showed great valour, were cut down, except those who retreated to Alexander, who was now approaching. For the king was already near, leading with him the right wing. He made his first assault upon the Persians at the place where the whole mass of their horse and the leaders themselves were posted; and around him a desperate conflict raged, during which one rank of the Macedonians after another easily kept on crossing the river. Though they fought on horseback, it seemed more like an infantry than a cavalry battle; for they struggled for the mastery, horses being jammed with horses and men with men, the Macedonians striving to drive the Persians entirely away from the bank and to force them into the plain, and the Persians striving to obstruct their landing and to push them back again into the river. At last Alexander’s men began to gain the advantage, both through their superior strength and military discipline, and because they fought with spear-shafts made of cornel-wood, whereas the Persians used only darts.
Then indeed, Alexander’s spear being broken to shivers in the conflict, he asked Aretis, one of the royal guards, whose duty it was to assist the king to mount his horse, for another spear. But this man’s spear had also been shivered whilst he was in the thickest of the struggle, and he was conspicuous fighting with the half of his broken spear. Showing this to Alexander, he bade him ask some one else for one. Then Demaratus, a man of Corinth, one of his personal Companions, gave him his own spear; which he had no sooner taken than seeing Mithridates, the son-in-law of Darius, riding far in front of the others, and leading with him a body of cavalry arranged like a wedge, he rode on in front of the others, and hitting at the face of Mithridates with his spear, struck him to the ground. But hereupon, Rhoesaces rode up to Alexander and hit him on the head with his scimitar, breaking off a piece of his helmet. But the helmet broke the force of the blow. This man also Alexander struck to the ground, hitting him in the chest through the breastplate with his lance. And now Spithridates from behind had already raised aloft his scimitar against the king, when Clitus, son of Dropidas, anticipated his blow, and hitting him on the arm, cut it off, scimitar and all. Meantime the horsemen, as many as were able, kept on securing a landing all down the river, and were joining Alexander’s forces.
Defeat of the Persians.—Loss on Both Sides.
The Persians themselves, as well as their horses, were now being struck on their faces with the lances from all sides, and were being repulsed by the cavalry. They also received much damage from the light-armed troops who were mingled with the cavalry. They first began to give way where Alexander himself was braving danger in the front. When their centre had given way, the horse on both wings were also naturally broken through, and took to speedy flight. Of the Persian cavalry only about 1,000 were killed; for Alexander did not pursue them far, but turned aside to attack the Greek mercenaries, the main body of whom was still remaining where it was posted at first. This they did rather from amazement at the unexpected result of the struggle than from any steady resolution. Leading the phalanx against these, and ordering the cavalry to fall upon them from all sides in the midst, he soon cut them up, so that none of them escaped except such as might have concealed themselves among the dead bodies. About 2,000 were taken prisoners. The following leaders of the Persians also fell in the battle: Niphates, Petines, Spithridates, viceroy of Lydia, Mithrobuzanes, governor of Cappadocia, Mithridates, the son-in-law of Darius, Arbupales, son of Darius the son of Artaxerxes, Pharnaces, brother of the wife of Darius, and Onares, commander of the auxiliaries. Arsites fled from the battle into Phrygia, where he is reported to have committed suicide, because he was deemed by the Persians the cause of their defeat on that occasion.
Of the Macedonians, about twenty-five of the Companions were killed at the first onset; brazen statues of whom were erected at Dium, executed by Lysippus, at Alexander’s order. The same statuary also executed a statue of Alexander himself, being chosen by him for the work in preference to all other artists. Of the other cavalry over sixty were slain, and of the infantry, about thirty. These were buried by Alexander the next day, together with their arms and other decorations. To their parents and children he granted exemption from imposts on agricultural produce, and he relieved them from all personal services and taxes upon property. He also exhibited great solicitude in regard to the wounded, for he himself visited each man, looked at their wounds, and inquired how and in the performance of what duty they had received them, allowing them both to speak and brag of their own deeds. He also buried the Persian commanders and the Greek mercenaries who were killed fighting on the side of the enemy. But as many of them as he took prisoners he bound in fetters and sent them away to Macedonia to till the soil, because, though they were Greeks, they were fighting against Greece on behalf of the foreigners in opposition to the decrees which the Greeks had made in their federal council.
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