Alexander Romance ( "Pseudo-Callisthenes" )

Book 1 , Chapters 13-19

A combination of the Greek version translated by E.H.Haight (1955); the Armenian version translated by A.M.Wolohojian (1969); and the Syriac version translated by E.A.W.Budge (1889).

Most of the Armenian version is a fairly close translation of the Greek version. Sentences that appear in the Armenian version but not in the Greek version are shown in green.   Click on the G symbols to go the Greek text of each chapter.

Alexander and Bucephalus

  Alexander and Bucephalus, the man-eating horse

  Oxford MS.Bodlean.264 (14th century)

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{ Greek & Armenian versions }


{ Syriac version }

[13] G   When these events occurred, Philip said: "I planned not to rear the child, Lady, because he is not my son. But now, since I see clearly that his origin is the seed of a god, and the babe is someone marked by the cosmic elements, let him be reared and in memory of my son by my former wife, my son who perished, let him be called Alexander." When he said these words, the child received the proper care. And through all Pella and Thrace and Macedonia the people celebrated the event, wearing crowns of flowers.

[13] And when Philip saw these things, he said, "I had determined that thou shouldst not rear him, O woman, because he was not begotten by me ; but since the several parts of the world have given such signs as these concerning him, he must be of the seed of the gods. Let the gods now rear him ; let the name Alexander be given him in remembrance of the son who was borne to me by a former wife." And when Philip had spoken thus, he gave orders that they should surely rear the boy with watchfulness, solicitude, and care; and he commanded all the towns of Thrace and Macedonia to bring crowns to him.

Now the boy grew up and he did not look like Philip or Olympias. For he had his own type, a leonine mane of hair, eyes of different colours, one white, one black. And he had sharp teeth like fangs, and the passionate nature of a wild lion.   And his personality very clearly indicated what the boy would be like. And in time he grew up and tried his wings at learning and at ruling.

And the child grew, and was weaned ; and he became strong, and increased in stature and wisdom ; but as regards his form and appearance, he was neither like Philip, nor Olympias his mother, nor the god by whom he was begotten, but his features and looks differed from theirs, for his hair resembled the mane of a lion, and one eye was different from the other, one being white {light} and the other black {dark}; and his teeth were sharp like a razor, and his steps were firm like those of a lion. From his person then it was evident what he was destined to become afterwards.

When he became a lad, his pedagogue was Lacretetis, a negro, his foster-father Leuconides, his teacher of literature Polyneices of Pella, and of music the Lemnian Alcippus, of geometry the Peloponnesian Menippus, of rhetoric the Athenian Aristomenes, of philosophy Aristotle of Melos, and of warfare (?) Lampsaces. . .   But Paphovranos { Favorinus } mentioned these matters in the fourth book of his all-encompassing learned histories.

He had for his tutor in his boyhood a great man whose name was Lekrânîkos (?) the Pellaean ; and his master in letters was Apos (?) the Lemnian ; and his teacher in geometry, which is [used] for measuring lands, was Philip; and his master in the art of speaking with brevity was Arespimôn (?) ; and his teacher in philosophy was Aristotle the Milesian ; and his instructor in war was Ardippos the Dmatskian (?).

So, as time passed, he was educated in formal knowledge and began to think of ruling, taught swiftly by some god. For, after all his instruction, he divided his fellow-students into groups, and organized battle, while he stood alone, then joined those who were being defeated and fought with them until they conquered.   Thus it was clear that the victory was of his doing.

And after a long time, when the child had reached boyhood and youth, he began to accustom himself to the manners and customs of royalty, for one of the gods had shown him in a vision [that he was to be a king]. When then he was with the boys at school, he used to hold contests with the rest of the boys, and he strove and did not stir from his place, until he had gained the victory over all of them.

Now the rulers of Cappadocia once brought to Philip a present from their stables, an enormous colt, heavily chained, and they said he was a man-eater.   And they brought it and stood it before him and addressed him in this fashion. "Lord King, we found this creature, who is more beautiful and faster than Pegasus or than Arion, born in your stables, and we have brought him from Lamomentios and we offer him to you." He was very surprised at seeing such great beauty and size, and said, "I swear by my salvation that he is beautiful." "However, Lord," they said, "he is a man-eater."   Philip, glancing at the handsome creature, said: "Verily in this horse is illustrated, the proverb 'evil has grown next to good,' but since you have arrived with him, put him behind iron bars, take off his bridle, and shut him up in order that we may execute condemned criminals who have been caught in piracy or actual murder." When the king gave this order, it was quickly carried out.

Now at that time the princes of the Cappadocians brought as an offering to Philip from their herds of horses a foal of great size, bound with fetters of iron, for, said they, he devours men. And when Philip observed his appearance and beauty, he said to his friends, "True it is what is said in the proverb, for they say, 'something bad springs up by the side of anything good'; but now since the chiefs of the Cappadocians, my friends, have brought me a present, accept it from them, and let him be kept in restraint and guarded in an iron-barred enclosure, and let the dead bodies of evildoers, by whom crimes worthy of death have been committed, and who are appointed to be slain by the decrees of the judges, be thrown to this [beast]." And when Philip had thus spoken, they executed his orders with all speed.

[14] G   Alexander grew apace and, when he was twelve years old, he went with his father to the military manoeuvres and armed himself and took part in the actions of the foot-soldiers and the cavalry. Philip, watching him, said: "Son, I love your character, but I hate your appearance, for you are clearly unlike me in looks, but like me in character."   And he saw that Philip was not on good terms with Olympias.

Once when Philip was out of the country, Olympias summoned Nectanebos and said to him: "Find out what Philip is planning about me." Then he, having produced his tablet, considered the stars and made observations. Alexander, sitting beside him, said: "Father, do these stars which you read appear in the sky?" He replied: "Indeed they do, young man." He asked: "And can I see them?" "You can." "When?" "At night."

[14] And after these things, when Alexander was twelve years old, he went with Philip his father to war, and he practised horsemanship, and exercised himself along with skilful and brave horsemen. And his training was so good, that Philip himself applauded, and answered and said to him, "I love thee, my son, because thou art right well trained in the art of gaining the victory in war ; but it grieves me that thy appearance does not resemble mine." Now it fell out that Philip went to a certain city on some business, and certain thoughts were stirring in Olympias after the manner of women, and she commanded to call Nectanebus to her presence. And she answered and said to him, "Look by thy wisdom concerning me, and see what Philip meditates in his mind about me." Then Nectanebus set a small table before her in the midst, and placed in order upon it the gems of the signs of the zodiac; and Alexander was sitting in that place. And he began to compute the signs of the zodiac, and answered and said to her, "O queen, the guidance of the will of the gods suffers not by anything which takes place by chance. The place of thy constellation is now exceedingly great beyond all expectation; so do not abandon thyself to care and doubt For I have observed and seen, and just now the Sun stands against the sign of the Baltin {Venus} of Philip, and quenches his desire and longing and turns him away from the love of women." And Olympias answered and said to him, "Is the sign thus, O Nectanebus?" He answered and said, "It is thus; would that thou wert able to understand, that I might show thee this sign in the heavens, and thou mightest understand that it is even as I have said to thee." When these words had been spoken, Alexander answered and said to Nectanebus his father, "My father, are all the signs of the zodiac to be recognised in the heavens as thou hast said?" And Nectanebus said, "Yes, my son." Alexander says to him, "I wish to see them." Nectanebus said to him, "This shall be this very night, if the sky be clear. Come with me to the open plain, and thou shalt see them, provided the sky be clear." Alexander said, "My master, since thou knowest [the heavens] so accurately, it befits thee to know also thine own nativity." Nectanebus said, "Yes, my son, I know also my own nativity." Alexander said, "I desire to ask thee this [question], though thou knowest that it is not of a matter which concerns me that I ask, but it is necessary to learn what I have seen ; now tell me of thy death, in what manner it will be." Nectanebus said, "This is [the manner of] my death ; I shall perish by the hands of my son."

So, when evening came, Nectanebos took Alexander out. But although he was an experienced prophet through his art of magic and no mean astrologer, foreseeing the future, he did not then perceive, having fallen into Alexander's hands, his own fate lying before him. For Nectanebos led Alexander outside the city, and, gazing up to the sky, showed Alexander the stars, teaching him his own art. Alexander then lifted him up on his shoulders and hurled him against a jutting, hard rock.   Alexander seized him and took and threw him down into a pit.   From the fall, his head was frightfully injured, and he cried: "Alexander, my lad, what do you think you have done?" He said: "Blame yourself, astrologer." He said: "For what?" And he replied: "Because, not understanding the matters of earth, you seek to know heaven." He said: "I am dying, Alexander. This fall is fatal. It is not possible for any mortal to conquer his fate. For when I read my future, I found I was destined to be killed by my own son. So I have not escaped my fate, but I have been killed by you." Alexander then said: "Am I indeed your son?" He said: "Yes, my lad." He queried: "How did this happen?" Then Nectanebos told him about his flight from Egypt and his approach to Olympias and how he went to her as the god Ammon and embraced her. After telling all this, he died.

And while they had talked of these things together, the day had passed and the night was come, and the moon had risen in the heavens, and the signs of the zodiac were visible. Then Alexander walked behind his father, whom he knew not, and they went outside the city. Then Nectanebus lifted up his eyes, and said to the boy, "Observe how gloomy this sign of Saturn is, how much this [sign of] Ares resembles blood, how this [sign of] Balti {Venus} stands in joyfulness, how favourable is this [sign] of Nâbo the scribe, and how bright is the sign of Bêl." And while the eyes of Nectanebus were fixed upon the signs, and both of them were walking along together, and there was a pit very near them, the boy Alexander pushed Nectanebus and pitilessly cast him into the pit. And when he had fallen, he answered and said to Alexander, "What wast thou thinking of in thy mind, O my son Alexander, that thou hast stretched out thy hand against me and hast cast me into this pit ?" Alexander answered and said to him, "O teacher, what is upon earth thou dost not know, [and yet] thou dost investigate that which is in the heavens ; it did not become thee, seeing that thou knewest not what is upon earth, to dare to investigate and examine and vex thyself with what is in the heavens." Then Nectanebus lifted up his voice and said to him, "I knew, O my son, that some such thing as this would befall me, but I was unable to help my life in any way, for no man is able to flee from what is decreed." Alexander answered and said to him, "I blame also thy lack of knowledge, in that thou didst say that thy death would happen by the hands of thy son, and thou didst not know that thou shouldest die by my hands." Then Nectanebus said, "I did indeed say that I should die through my son, and I have not lied in what I said, for thou thyself art my son." Alexander said, "Am I thy son?" Then Nectanebus answered, "Hear, my son, what I say regarding thee, that thou mayest know about thyself!" So Nectanebus went on to speak from the beginning, of his being king when he was in Egypt, and of the rumour which was reported to him by the spy ; of the divination in the bowl, and of his foreknowledge of the betrayal of Egypt by the hands of its gods ; of his flight from Egypt, of his arrival in Pella, and of his teaching the ordering of the signs of the zodiac ; of his thoughts concerning Olympias, of his desire for her love, and of his sorcery ; of Ammon, and Heracles, and Dionysus, and of his union with Olympias, and of her pregnancy; of Philip's dream, of the serpent, and of the heaven of constellations. And when he had spoken these words, his soul departed from him and he died.

Then Alexander, having learned that the dead man was his own father, was afraid to cast him into a pit lest he should be devoured by wild beasts. For the night was dark, the region was a desert. And feeling affection for his father, he said to himself: "You did not do well, Father, as you yourself said, in not confiding in me while you were alive, that I was your son in order that I with that knowledge might have presented you with suitable honours and gifts of gold. But having held out until death, you brought upon yourself the fitting pay for each enchantment which you wrought and for your deception of Philip and Olympias about my parentage. So I grieve, Father, for my act, but I am blameless. For the cause of your death was you yourself. Now, lifting you on my shoulders, I will carry your body to my mother, and telling her what has happened, I will plan with her for your burial."

After this speech, in noble fashion, he placed the body on his shoulders and bore it within the city gates. And going to his mother, he related to her what he had heard from the man and declared that he must be buried. Olympias was amazed on discovering that she had been deceived by magic spells and betrayed unwittingly. She prepared fitting burial for Nectanebos, had a grave made, and laid him there.

It is astonishing to consider the destiny of Nectanebus. For the Egyptian came to Macedon and was shrouded and buried in the Greek fashion. While Alexander, who was Macedonian, came to Egypt and had a native burial befitting a god.

Now when Alexander knew that Philip was not his father, but that he was begotten of the seed of Nectanebus, he was afraid to leave the body of Nectanebus in the pit lest wild beasts should devour it Then love of his father entered into his mind, and he took up the body upon his shoulders, and came back to the royal palace. When Olympias saw Alexander carrying the body of Nectanebus, she said to him, "A second Telamonian Ajax! what is this that thou art carrying, my son?" Alexander answered and said to her, "Aeneas carried his father upon his shoulders affectionately and lovingly, because [Anchises] was an old man and decrepit; but I carry this body cruelly and as a parricide." Olympias said to him, "Hast thou slain thy father Philip ? " Alexander said, "I have not slain Philip, but Nectanebus have I slain." Olympias said to him, "Was Nectanebus then thy father?" Alexander said, "Yes; the gods sent him to thee according to the will which they had." And he forthwith laid down the body from his shoulder and began to speak of the time of the night at which he went forth, and of the pointing out [by Nectanebus] of the constellations, and of the pit, and of his pushing [him in], and of what he said, and of his replies.

When Olympias heard all these things, she blamed herself, and [wondered] how Alexander was able to carry so great a body upon his shoulders; and in the midst of her affliction she derived consolation from the strength of the youth, [thinking] that, although she had fallen and had been led astray, it was no mean man that had seduced her, but a king of Egypt, and that her pregnancy had taken place by the fate of the gods. And when the boy had said these words, he turned to the corpse of Nectanebus, and buried his father as a son should do, and like an Egyptian in the burial place of his caste ; and he said to him, "Who will be master of the constellations after thee, and will know who shall be king ? "

[15] G   Now Philip, on his return to his palace, sent an embassy to Delphi to get an oracle as to who should reign after him and subdue all men to his power. The oracle,   after drinking from the Castalian river of the underworld,   said: "The one who, mounting the horse Bucephalus, shall ride him through the city of Pella." Now the horse was called Bucephalus {bull-headed} because on its thigh was branded the head of a bull. And Philip on hearing the oracle expected to see a young Heracles.

[15] Then Philip returned from whence he had gone, and sent his servants to Polias the diviner at Delphi to ask of the diviner, that he might know who would be king after him. When they drew near, and came to the fountain of Castalia, they asked an augury. And the virgin Pythia answered them saying, "Say ye to Philip, the father and lord of Macedonia, 'He that shall receive the kingdom, being sent by the gods, the rulers of the world, to this kingdom of the Macedonians, this is the sign that I have seen concerning him ; he shall make the mighty steed which is called Bucephalus (the interpretation of which is Bull-head) run through Pella.' " And when those who had been sent to bring the augury returned to Philip, they told this sign to him, and he, after he had received this augury, used to watch when he might see this sign ; and he used to enquire of every one who made a horse run through Pella what its name was and how it was called.

[16] G   Alexander studied only with the sophist Aristotle, the Milesian. Since many lads studied with Aristotle and they also were sons of kings, Aristotle said to one of them: "If you inherit the kingdom of your father, what will you give to me, your teacher?" He answered: "You shall be beside me as joint ruler of the world and I will make you famous among all men."   And he asked another, "And you, son, what will you do?" And he said, "I shall make you my administrator, and I shall appoint you advisor of matters to be judged by me."   He questioned one after another and received their promises. He said also to Alexander: "And you, my lad, if you inherit the kingdom from your father, how will you use me, your teacher?" He answered: "Would you learn about my future deeds not taking today as a pledge? Then I will make gifts, if it seems best to me when time and the hour run on to fulfilment of my promise." And Aristotle said: "Success to you, ruler of the world. For you are the greatest king."

{ In the Syriac version , this passage appears at the start of chapter 17. }

Now Alexander was loved by all for his intelligence and his warlike qualities, but Philip was in two minds about him; for he rejoiced on seeing him such a warrior, but he grieved, on looking at him, in finding no resemblance to himself.   Meanwhile Alexander distributed as gifts to others many things which he had been sent by his father.

{ Greek & Armenian versions }


{ Syriac version }

[17] G   When Alexander was fourteen years old, one day he happened to be passing through the district where Bucephalus was confined, and heard a most frightful neighing. And turning to his friends, he said: "Men, is this neighing the roar of a horse, or of a lion?" Ptolemy (afterwards called Saviour) who was accompanying him, on being addressed, answered: "This is Bucephalus, whom your father shut up because he is a man-eater." Then the horse, on hearing the voice of Alexander, neighed a second time, making a sound not utterly frightful and mournful, but rather gracious, for a god at once dominated him. And then Bucephalus himself, on seeing Alexander, stretched out his feet before himself and moved his whole body as if offering a prayer to his own ruler.

[16] Now when Alexander was nearly old enough to reign, he went to a distance to the place [where Bucephalus was kept] ; and he looked and saw from the door, and went out and saw the horse guarded by on iron grating, with its whole body bound with chains; and he saw that the horse was very excited and furious. By reason of the smell of the human bones and skulls which he devoured, the place itself was foul, and the horse emitted a foetid odour from his mouth. When Alexander saw the many human bones lying under him near his feet, he questioned those who had the care of him, saying, "I want to know what is the reason that this horse is bound in this manner ?" And they said to him, "This horse is a man-eater." Now when Alexander heard this speech, he marvelled and drew near to the iron grating, and admired the strength and size and beauty of the horse. He was especially struck with wonder at his being so terrible and at his fierce appearance. And after the horse took no notice of him, he put his hands gently through the railings, and put a bit into his mouth; and the horse licked the hand of Alexander with his tongue. Then Alexander began to rub his side and legs, and he was quiet.

Then Alexander, observing his new aspect and the fragments of many men, who alive had met a violent death, in his humanity pitied him, and pushing aside the guards he opened the grating, trusting his own power. And, when the horse was brought under control, grasping his mane, he mounted him and rode him without a bridle. Some one quickly ran off and told Philip what had happened. He, remembering the oracle, went to meet his son and embraced him, saying: "Alexander, ruler of the world, I salute you."   And Philip remained cheerful and happy in the secret and hidden hope for his son.

And when he saw that the horse was gratified, he commanded and they took away the railings from him. And he led the horse out, holding the bridle with his right hand, while with the left he stroked the horse's body, and the horse wagged his tail like a dog. And when Alexander saw that he was so gentle, he led him by the bridle and brought him out into the street, and he saw upon the right side of the horse a birthmark in the form of a wolf, a sign that was born with him, and this wolf held a bull in its mouth. Then [Alexander] mounted and rode upon him, and made him run through the city [of Pella]. Now it happened that Philip was sitting upon the wall of the city, making the horsemen pass before him by number, and he enquired of them the names of their horses, if peradventure there might be one who had a horse called Bull-head, for he had learned the augury from the diviner. And while Philip was sitting upon the wall, Alexander came up to him at a gallop; and when Philip saw Alexander guiding the horse with his hand and standing upon his feet, he said, "My son Alexander, the whole oracle refers to thee; I believe that after my death thou wilt reign, and that thou wilt rule the whole world."

{ In the Greek version , this passage appears in chapter 16. }

[17] Then Alexander, after he had made the horse gallop, took him away and put him in his own stable; and he drew near to Aristotle the sage and saluted him, and answered and said, "Peace be with thee, my teacher." And Aristotle answered and said to him, "Peace be with thee, Alexander ; come and stand by the side of thy companions in order." And when he had taken his place by the side of his fellows, Aristotle answered and said to him, "Be thou rich, O son of a king ! O excellent youth, filled with wealth, if the kingdom comes to thee after thy father, what wilt thou give me or wherewith wilt thou enrich me?" He replied, "O teacher, if the dominion comes to me, I will make thee a ruler." And he said to another, "And thou, what sayest thou to me Kalkalva?" Kalkalva answered and said to him, "I will make thee my secret counsellor." And he said to another, "And thou, what wouldst thou give me, Partion?" And he said, "I will make thee a companion and associate." And he said to Alexander, "And thou, what wouldst thou give me, Alexander?" Alexander answered and said to him, "Ask not now concerning that which is future, and take not a pledge of me for the morrow : wait and see if I live until the morrow ; and if I live, I will do that something, and times and seasons are commanded for me." And Aristotle said, "Peace be with thee, O Alexander, ruler of the world! From thy nature thou art known to be the future ruler of the world." Now Philip heard all these things concerning Alexander, and when he heard them he rejoiced greatly ; he was however a little grieved in his mind that the looks of Alexander did not resemble his own.

[39] And Zeuxis wrote a letter which said: "Greetings to Philip and Olympias, my lords; and information from your servant, Zeuxis, as to what Alexander is doing. What you are sending him is not adequate because he gives away so many gifts, Now you judge and decide what you deem proper to send me. I bid you farewell."

Now Alexander was exceedingly liberal in everything; accordingly, that which his father and mother were wont to send him for expenses, he divided among his friends. Then Zintôs { Zeuxis }, Alexander's tutor, sent a letter to Philip and Olympias, and in it there was written thus : " To my lords Philip and Olympias from your servant Zintôs greeting. Know ye that what ye send to Alexander for his expenses is not sufficient for him, because he distributes it all in gifts ; and now see and look into this matter, and do according to what appears right unto you."

[40] And they, in turn, wrote to Aristotle, his teacher, a letter which went thus: "Philip and Olympias greet Aristotle, the teacher. Zeuxis, whom we have charged with the care of this boy, notified us that whatever we send to you is not sufficient for Alexander because he wants to give away many gifts. Now that you have found out about it, set things right and notify us."

When Philip had read this letter, he wrote a letter to Aristotle, Alexander's teacher [as follows] : "From Philip and Olympias to Aristotle, greeting. Our servant Zintôs, whom we have sent for the purpose of educating and training Alexander, has made known to us by letter that what we send him for expenses is not sufficient for him, because he gives many presents ; now he thus informs us as if blaming and murmuring against thee, and it is of thee he complains."

[41] In answer, the philosopher wrote a letter that went like this: "Aristotle, the teacher, greets Philip and Olympias. I do not think that it is I who advise your son to act in a manner foreign to his own and my and your customs. For I hear about and see his wisdom in acting with critical discernment; and he is able to judge and choose not as a youth but as an experienced man. Now do what you want to. Farewell."

When Aristotle had heard this, he wrote a letter to Philip and to Olympias his wife and made answer [saying] : "In every way it beseems us [to acknowledge] that this giving of presents by Alexander proceeds from us and is the result of our teaching. Ye also yourselves have examined and seen that he is wise and superior in everything, and in knowledge and understanding he is not at all like [other] youths, but he is well fitted by his wisdom for the business of life ; neither does he do anything unseemly or improper, but everything whatsoever ye command him that he does."

[42] And when they read this, they sent the following letter to Zeuxis. "Philip and Olympias greet our dear Zeuxis. We sent Aristotle, the teacher, the letter you wrote us, so that when you receive this answer of his, you might try to set things right. Farewell."

Then Philip sent this letter to Zintôs the tutor, and he himself wrote to him thus and said: "From Philip and Olympias to our servant Zintôs greeting. We wrote and informed Aristotle, Alexander's teacher, concerning his affairs, according to what thou didst write to us, and we desire that the answer which he sent to us should be conveyed to thee. Do thou therefore take it and read it, and do thou what is right and proper."

[43] Meanwhile, Aristotle was vexed and wrote reprovingly in this fashion: "Aristotle greets his son, Alexander. Your parents wrote me that the allowance sent you by them is not sufficient for you, who, I think, would do nothing outside your own or my or your parents' wishes. Farewell, sweet child."

After Aristotle knew that Alexander's father complained of him, he wrote a letter to Alexander, and in it thus informed him: "From me to my son Alexander greeting. Philip thy father and Olympias thy mother have written and informed me, saying, 'That which we sent for expenses is not sufficient for him, because he distributes it all in gifts.' Now I know that thou wilt not do what is not right, and I know not from whom thou hast learned this practice, which thy father and thy mother disapprove of and I too ; but if thou hast done anything which befits not thy skilled knowledge, in thy wisdom correct it, O wise and beloved son. Be thou well."

[44] In return, Alexander wrote thus: "Alexander greets you, my greatly gifted teacher, Aristotle. Know, father, that my allowance sent by my parents is unsuitable; however, it was right and proper to get angry upon hearing such things about their child. But now they have wronged me. Farewell."

When Alexander had read this letter, he immediately made answer to Aristotle : "From thy son Alexander to Aristotle, my master and chief and teacher, greeting. What my father and mother send me for expenses is not sufficient, nor is it adequate for me ; and instead of doing that which was right when they heard that the amount was too small for my expenses, that is, to blame themselves, they now complain bitterly [of others]."

[45] And likewise, his parents wrote Alexander a letter that let him know about their wishes; and it went thus: "Philip and Olympias greet their son, Alexander. Take into consideration the honour of Philip and Olympias and do not scorn and reject the set allowance we send you, and do not scorn Aristotle's letter either. Instead, behave as befits you, and bear in mind other good thoughts. Farewell for us, dear and wise son."

In answer, Alexander wrote them a letter which gave them the following information. "Alexander greets Philip and Olympias. My fixed allowance, which you gave me through Zeuxis, is not worthy of Alexander, nor as befits Philip and Olympias to dispense. I do in fact bear in mind the counsel of my teacher, Aristotle, and I esteem that educator; but I reproach you for readily lending an ear to others, who are frequently depraved men and charlatans, yet remaining silent about such other matters which are natural obligations toward children, such as pertain to showing solicitude and care that would benefit me. I sincerely bid you farewell."

And Alexander also wrote a letter to Philip his father and Olympias his mother, in which was as follows : "From Alexander to Philip and Olympias greeting. That which ye have sent to me for my expenses by the hands of Zintôs is not sufficient, for I am Alexander; and, moreover, I have not spent it in an improper manner. I have also seen Aristotle's letter, and I will never blame Aristotle, because from him I have received knowledge and instruction in good things: but I do blame you, because ye have shown such parsimony to me, who am your son, while ye also blame me and cease not, and think nothing good of me."

[18] G   So Philip lived happily, rejoicing in his hope for his son. And Alexander, when he was fifteen years old, one day found his father at leisure and after embracing him said: "Father, I beg you, let me make a voyage to Pisa."   Philip asked, "Do you wish to see the Olympic contest?" The youth replied,   "No, Father, but I myself wish to compete in the contests." "And in your wishes what contest have you in mind? For I know that as a king's son you are not trained in javelin throwing, or the pancratium, or the other gymnastic exercises." And Alexander answered: "I wish to drive a chariot, Father." He said: "Son, horses from my stables will be at your disposal, and will accompany you at once;   and you concern yourself in a praiseworthy fashion with the care of training them.  " Alexander said: "Trust it all to me. For I have my own horses which I have trained from the time when they were colts." Philip, embracing him and marvelling at his foresight, said: "Son, if you wish, make the journey."

[18] So the youth Alexander returned from school, being fifteen years of age, and came home with honour. And when Philip saw him, he embraced him and kissed him. Then Alexander said to his father, "Bid me, O my father, to embark in a ship and go to Pisa, for I would enter and see the horse and chariot races." Philip says to him, "Dost thou desire to see the contest ?" Alexander says, "Nay, my father, but I will go thither myself to the contest, and will contend with them with horses and chariots, and I will moreover bring back the crown of victory." When Philip heard these words, he rejoiced, and said to Alexander, "Go, my son, and good luck go with thee. I know, my son, that thou wilt not contend like a king's son, but like a king himself; and I will entreat the gods that thou mayest return with victory, my son. Go now into the stables, and [take] forty colts and sixty wheels and chariots, together with harness and bridles and everything which thou mayest require, that thou mayest not lack horses in the contest. Take too ten thousand darics for thy expenses, and go, my son, and good luck go with thee ; and keep thyself in good training, for this contest is great and renowned. And Alexander said, "Do thou but give me the command, and I will go without taking aught; for I have trained horses and exercised colts, which I myself have trained. Then Philip kissed Alexander, and admired him for his will and purpose, and said to him , "My son, everything shall be according to thy wish."

Alexander went to the harbour and gave orders that a new boat should be launched and the horses with their chariots embarked. Then he went on and with him his friend Hephaestion and they sailed to Pisa. Landing there and taking lodgings, he gave orders to his servants about the care of the horses, and then with Hephaestion started on a walk.

And Philip went with him to the harbour, and commanded to bring a ship. Then he commanded to bring the horses, the chariots, and the baggage, and they brought them and placed them in the ship. And Alexander and his friend Hephaestion embarked in the ship. And they loosed the ship and departed from their kinsfolk. And when they had disembarked from the ship, they received many gifts from their friends; and Alexander commanded his servants to feed the horses regularly and to anoint them with oil ; and he and his friend Hephaestion went to the place where the nobles were wont to walk.

They were met by a man named Nicolaus, a fine young fellow, a prince of the Acarnanians, proud because he was relying on wealth and fortune, two undependable gods, and confident of his body's power. He came up and greeted Alexander and, wishing to learn why he was there, said: "Greetings, young gentleman." He replied: "And greetings also to you whoever you may be." The other said: "Whom, pray, do you think you are addressing? Nicolaus, king of the Acarnanians." And Alexander said: "Do not be so haughty, King Nicolaus, as though you had a sure hold on your life today. Fortune does not stand fixed on one spot, but her blow falls and beheads the proud." The other said: "You speak rightly. Now why have you come here? For I have learned that you are the son of Philip of Macedon. He said: "I am here to take part in the contests, not in the riding (for I am still too young) nor in the driving of two-horses or any other such sport." Nicolaus asked: "What then do you wish?" He said: "I wish to drive a chariot." Then Nicolaus, raging and despising Alexander's youth, for he had not learned the greatness of the spirit, spat at him and said: "A curse on you!" Alexander, who had learned self-control, wiping off the spittle, and smiling ominously, said: "Nicolaus, I swear by the holy sperm of my father and the holy womb of my mother, that even here I will conquer you in the chariot-race and in the country of the Acarnanians I will conquer you with my spear." After this conversation, they parted in wrath.

And while he was walking in this place in the costume of an athlete, Nicolaus the king of Ârêtâ, who had brought a large retinue to the contest and combat, saw that Alexander was small in stature (now Nicolaus was huge in stature, rich in property, great in strength, and fair in appearance), and he answered and said, "Who is this ? and from what country does he come?" And when he had learnt that he was the son of king Philip, and had come on account of the contest, he answered and said to him, "Peace be with thee;" and Alexander answered him, "Peace be with thee; and who art thou?" Nicolaus said, "As whom dost thou greet me ? I am Nicolaus of Hâlêâ, and the son of Karyânâ. And Alexander said, "Do not boast of this, and be not insolent (?) on account of such things, and do not be out of thy senses because of thy royalty, because thou knowest not the manner of thy death ; for thy fortune and fate, O Nicolaus, remain not in one place ; for this fickle fortune has the habit of departing even from him that is great, and of going to him that is little." Nicolaus said to him, "Thou hast spoken rightly as regards one that is weak, and hast made known that thy fate is thus ; but my fate does not change in this manner, neither does it depart. Now, therefore, inform me of thy business, and for what reason thou hast now come hither, whether to see the contest, or to take part in it ; for thy stature and thy appearance are not like those of an athlete." Alexander said, "Get thee gone from my presence, for it is not to be seen that thou art in any way like me." Nicolaus said, "I asked thee this question, for what thou hadst come hither, whether to see this contest or to take part in it, because thou art the son of Philip the Macedonian." Alexander said, "If thou desirest to hear and to know, give me thine ear and I will tell thee. I am not one of those who will look on at the struggle, but I am one of those who will perform valiant deeds at the contest ; and though I be little and short in stature, yet I am mighty in chariot races, and I will defeat the proud" When Nicolaus heard this speech, his gall was stirred up within him, and he answered and said, "Look and see to what a pass this strife of Zeus has come, that even a mere boy, the son of Olympias, has come to take part in it, and so we think that it is the sport of children. By the life of my father, if they should make only a sprinkling of drops of water come to his mouth upon his chariot, his soul would depart from his body." Then he looked at him from head to foot, and despised him greatly, and spat, saying, "Go, get thyself a rag, and wipe away thy sweat with it, because thou art famished, and thy sweat is abundant." And he shot out his lip at him, thinking him to be already dead and not alive. Then Alexander said to him, "Nicolaus, I swear this oath by the race of my gods and ancestors, and by my conception from the divine seed in the womb of my mother, that in this contest I will defeat thee in the strife of horses and chariots ; and I will come to thy country, and will subdue thee and all the people therein with the point of my spear." And when he had spoken these words, they separated one from the other.

[19] G   After a few days, the time set for the contest came, and nine charioteers entered, of whom four were sons of kings, Nicolaus, Xanthias the Boeotian, Cimon the Corinthian, and Alexander himself. The others were sons of generals and satraps. A balloting urn was set up and the lots were cast. The first was Nicolaus, the second Xanthias, the third Cimon, the fourth Cleitomachus the Achaean, the fifth Aristippus the Olynthian, the sixth Pierus the Phocaean, the seventh Lacon the Lindian, the eighth Alexander of Macedon, the ninth Nicomachus the Locrian. They stood at the starting point, mounted on their chariots.

[19] And on the third day all the athletes went prepared to the race-course and to the place of the contest with horses and chariots. Now the athletes were nine in number, and four of them were king's sons; the fifth was Nicolaus, the son of Hêlââ and king Keryânâ ; the sixth, Kestios, the king of the Philippians (?); the seventh, Ksosios (?), the king of Bithynia; the eighth, Alexander the son of Philip, the king of the Macedonians; and the ninth, Aristoteles of Pisa(?); with the rest of the . . . and the chariots from various places. Callimachus from Akîmtarnêtos (?), Anistippos {Aristippus} from Corinth, Trîdît (?) from Arôntîr (?), Sephîlââ (?) from Lêbâria (?), Elkârôn (?) from Phocis, Armitos (?) from Lôdâ (?), Nîkînâmos (?) from Krîmîtos (?), Pardânîs (?) from Klôphiôn (?), all these were assembled together in one place. And they placed a boat of silver in the midst of the race-course, and this boat was of pure silver. And they proclaimed the names of the horses that were yoked to the chariots, and they made the horses stand beside the gates. The first gate fell by lot to Nicolaus, the second to Kestos, the third to Bantîrâ Eustanîkâ (?), the fourth to Klîtmaos {Cleitomachus}, the fifth to Adastâos (?), the sixth to Ksômios (?), the seventh to Kôrantîdos (?), the eighth to Alexander, the ninth to Nîkômos (?). Now these athletes were clothed in garments of various colours ; the first had put on sky-blue apparel, the second and third scarlet robes, the fourth green vestments, the fifth and sixth yellow apparel, the seventh dark blue clothing, and the eighth and ninth purple raiment.

The trumpet sounded the call to the contest. The starting-place was opened. All leaped forth on their cars. Then appeared the first contestant, the second, the third and the fourth. . . As for those coming in later, their horses were not well guided and had lost their spirit. The fourth driver was Alexander and behind him was Nicolaus, who did not wish the victory as much as the destruction of Alexander. For the father of Nicolaus had been killed by Philip in the war.

So they mounted the chariots, and the war trumpets were sounded; and the athletes punished the horses with bit and whipcord, and suddenly the horses started and went forth with a rush, each contending as to who should get first; and they urged on their horses with lashes. Now Ksîtos (?) got foremost, Nicolaus second, Timotheus third, Elîkiôr (?) fourth, Klinathmâchos {Cleitomachus} fifth, Philaeus {Piêris} sixth, Aristoteles seventh, Nicolaus eighth, and Alexander ninth. [They kept this order] in the first, second and third rounds; but in the fourth round the chariot of Kestios (?) was overturned, and the horses and chariot and rider fell head over heels. Then Nicodemus turned his horses to the left, and wished to pass through them all and get first in the race, but he too stumbled over the chariot of Kestios. Then Kimrênêos (?), when he wished to turn his horses to the right, was unable to pass because of those that were overthrown. Then Elîkiôr too stumbled over the chariot of Kimotheus, and fell. And Klinathmâchos {Cleitomachus} wished to turn back his horses and chariot from the midst [of the strife], but was unable to do so on account of the horses and chariots which were overthrown before and behind him ; and he too fell. When Nicolaus saw that Alexander was behind all these, he wished that Alexander would pass on to the front, and that he might be behind him, in order to throw him down and kill him ; and Nicolaus began to turn his horses aside from before those of Alexander. Now Alexander understood this artifice of Nicolaus who was wishing to kill him. When Nicolaus had turned his horses to the left, Alexander saw an empty space between two chariots which had been upset and overthrown, and he guided his horses before Nicolaus, and passed through that spot to the front. When Nicolaus saw that he had passed him, he guided his horses after him; but when he reached the spot through which Alexander had passed to the front, he was upset by the struggling of the horses which were down, and fell. Then Alexander began to urge on his horses alone; [but Nicolaus], in order to save himself, leaped out of his chariot, and stood upon his feet, and began to call out, saying, "O thou that art not able to conquer lawfully, there thou runnest by thyself! Every one knows that the foremost was overturned and fell, until the arena was full ; and now thou runnest by thyself, and thinkest to receive the crown of victory !" Now, inasmuch as the people of Pisa were spectators and judges at this contest, they commanded all the tumult to cease, and made a proclamation by their heralds to all the people who were sitting in that place, saying, "O men of Pisa, dwellers in the city and its suburbs, and ye too, O Athenians, and ye people who have come from a multitude of places, we declare that we all have seen that, when Ksîtos (?) was first in the race, he was tripped up among the horses and fell, and the other six charioteers stumbled over him. Moreover Alexander drove on contrary to the rules of the contest. Let them therefore return, and bring back their horses."

Alexander knew this and wisely contrived when the first horses fell, to let Nicolaus pass him. And Nicolaus, thinking that he had conquered Alexander, went on, hoping to be crowned as victor. But after two or three stades, the right horse of Nicolaus collapsed and the whole chariot with the charioteer himself was overturned. And Alexander rushing on with his horses at full speed immediately killed Nicolaus. Alexander continued on.   And there was a saying about his dying that goes thus: He who plots evil for another does it to himself; and a bad thought is very bad for the thinker.

Then in accordance with this command, they brought Alexander back and ordered that other horses should be yoked to the chariots in the place of the eight on the left side, because that horse of Ksîtos (?) had been injured. And when they had spoken in this manner, and each charioteer had changed one of his horses and had put another in his place, then Alexander too changed one horse and yoked Bucephalus in his stead. So they all returned to the gate of the race-course ; and when they were ready, the trumpet sounded again, and they all started together, and urged on their horses with severe lashing, all [running] furiously until they reached the farthest turn together. Now when they had reached the turn, Nîkîmos (Nicodemus) passed first, Elîkôr second, Philaeus third, Alexander fourth, Nicolaus fifth, Aristippus sixth, Krîtomachos {Cleitomachus} seventh, Timotheus eighth, Kastîs (?) ninth. They went the first, second and third rounds, and at the fourth round the horses of Aristippus lagged behind the horses of Kritomachus {Cleitomachus}, and Kîmîs (Nicodemus) restrained his horses, and turned and went to one side. Then Alexander, who had been fourth, became first ; and after him Nicolaus was foremost. He wished to let Alexander pass a little ahead that he might come up with him and kill him, on account of the enmity which existed between Philip, Alexander's father, and himself, for Philip had taken by force a number of villages and their inhabitants from Nicolaus. Then Alexander, being full of wisdom, gave Nicolaus room to pass before him. Now after he had passed Alexander in this way, he was meditating some means whereby he might gain the crown of victory, so he stopped his chariot before Alexander, and beckoned with his hand to Nicanor {Elîkiôr ?} and Pîthâos {Philaeus ?}, as much as to say, "Do ye who are behind me keep to the left side," to the intent that they might get Alexander between them and might lay hold of him and kill him. Then Elîkiôr (?) and Pîthâos {Philaeus} turned their horses to the left behind Alexander ; and when they had come close to Alexander's chariot in this manner, so that Alexander was already contending with these two, then Nicolaus looked behind him from his chariot, and stooped down to lay hold of the thongs of the bridles of Alexander's horses that his two allies might come up with him. Then Alexander turned his whip upon his horse Bucephalus, and smote him without sparing upon his back, until the horse was beside himself with rage and fury, and raised his fore feet in the air, and struck at Nicolaus, who died immediately with his hand upon the bridle of the horses. And again Alexander smote Bucephalus with the lash mercilessly and pitilessly, until the horse, from the pain of the blows, stretched forward his mouth and seized the right hand of Nicolaus between his teeth and lifted him from his chariot. Now Nicodemus, wishing to come to the assistance of Nicolaus, drove his horses with care, and when he had come alongside of Alexander's chariot, he smote Bucephalus violently upon his head with a stick. Then Bucephalus let go Nicolaus, who was already dead, and seized Nicodemus by his left hand, arid dragged him from his chariot. Nicodemus, crying out and shrieking with pain, begged Elîkiôr to come to his assistance. Then Alexander guided his horses to the left, and when he {Elîkiôr} had come up alongside of Nicodemus, he (Alexander) turned again from the left [to the right], and Elîkiôr was tripped up by the axle of Alexander's chariot wheels, and fell head foremost, he and the horses and the chariot ; and he died together with his horses.

So, crowned with the olive, he went up to the temple of Olympian Zeus. And the temple servant said to him: "Alexander, just as you conquered Nicolaus, may you conquer also many enemies."

Then Alexander obtained the victory mightily and gloriously, and gained the four crowns of victory. And a herald proclaimed in the race-course, "These four crowns of victory belong to Alexander the son of Olympias and of Philip the king of the Macedonians ; [the judges] have awarded them to him for his strength and his might and his victory." Now the names of the horses that were yoked to Alexander's chariot were these: the first Ksithîdos {Xanthus?}, the second Îdâdô (?); the third Achlios {or Ulios ?} ; the fourth Bucephalus ; and by the might and strength of these four horses he obtained the victory over four athletes, Nicolaus, Nicodemus, Elîkiôr and Phîlâdâos {Philaeus}. Thus by good fortune Alexander won the crown, and with his horses obtained the victory; and he turned to go to his mother Olympias. Now when he had come to Iûnûsia (?) the priest, [he said to him], "Receive this crown which Zeus has given to thee;" and he answered and said to him, "Now thou hast vanquished Nicolaus ; so also wilt thou vanquish all nations and peoples which dwell upon the earth and [all] thine enemies."

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