Justinus: Epitome of Pompeius Trogus' Philippic Histories

    - books 11 to 12

Translated by Rev. J.S.Watson (1853). See key to translations for an explanation of the format.

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[11.1]   L  In the army of Philippus there were various nations, and after his death different feelings prevailed among them. 2 Some, oppressed with an unjust yoke, were excited with hopes of recovering their liberty; 3 others, from dislike of going to war in a distant country, rejoiced that the expedition was broken off; 4 others grieved that the torch, kindled at the daughter's nuptials, should have been applied to the funeral pile of the father. 5 It was no small fear, too, that possessed his friends on so sudden a change, contemplating at one time Asia that had been provoked, at another Europe that was not yet pacified, 6 at another the Illyrians, Thracians, Dardanians, and other barbarous nations, who were of wavering faith and perfidious dispositions, and whom, if they should all rebel at once, it would be utterly impossible to resist.

7 To all these apprehensions the succession of Alexander was a relief, 8 who, in a public assembly, so effectually soothed and encouraged the people, as to remove all uneasiness from those that were afraid, and to fill every one with favourable expectations. 9 He was now twenty years old; at which age he gave great promise of what he would be, but with such modesty, that it was evident he reserved the further proofs of his ability for the time of action. 10 He granted the Macedonians relief from all burdens, except that of service in war; by which conduct he gained such popularity with his subjects, that they said they had changed only the person, not the virtues, of their king.

[11.2]   L  His first care was about his father's funeral, when he caused all who had been privy to his murder to be put to death at his burial-place. 2 The only one that he spared was Alexander Lyncestes his brother, preserving in him the man who had first acknowledged his royal authority, for he had been the first to salute him king. 3 His brother Caranus, a rival for the throne, as being the son of his step-mother, he ordered to be slain.

4 In the beginning of his reign he put down many tribes that were revolting, and quelled some seditions in their birth. 5 Encouraged by his success, he marched with haste into Greece, where, after his father's example, having summoned the states to meet at Corinth, he was appointed general in his place. 6 He then turned his attention to the war with Persia, of which a commencement had been made by Philippus; 7 but, as he was engaged in preparations for it, he received intelligence that "the Thebans and Athenians had gone over from his side to that of the Persians, and that the author of the defection was the orator Demosthenes, who had been bribed by the Persians with a large sum of money, 8 and who had asserted that the whole army of the Macedonians, with their king, had been cut off by the Triballi, producing the author of the information before an assembly of the people, a man who said that he had been wounded in the battle in which the king had fallen. 9 In consequence of which statement," it was added, "the feelings of almost all the cities were changed, and the garrisons of the Macedonians besieged." 10 To repress these commotions, he marched upon Greece with an army in full array, and with such speed, that they could scarcely believe they saw him of whose approach they were so little aware.

[11.3]   L  In the course of his march he had exhorted the Thessalians to peace, reminding them of the kindnesses shown them by his father Philippus, and of his mother's connection with them by the family of the Aeacidae. 2 The Thessalians gladly listening to such an address, he was chosen, like his father, supreme commander of the whole nation, and they resigned into his hand all their customs and public revenues. 3 The Athenians, as they had been the first to rebel, were also the first to repent of their rebellion, 4 turning their contempt for their enemy into admiration of him, and extolling the youth of Alexander, which they had previously despised, above the merits of old generals. 5 Sending ambassadors, therefore, they deprecated war; and Alexander, listening to their treaties, and severely reproving them for their conduct, laid aside hostilities against them. 6 He then directed his march towards Thebes, intending to show similar indulgence, if he found similar penitence. 7 But the Thebans had recourse, not to prayers or in treaties, but to arms, and, being conquered, suffered the severest hardships of the most wretched state of subjugation. 8 It being debated in a council of war whether the city should be destroyed, the Phocians, Plataeans, Thespians, and Orchomenians, who were the allies of Alexander and sharers in his victory, dwelt upon the destruction of their own cities and the cruelty of the Thebans, 9 urging against them not only their present, but former, defection to the Persians, to the prejudice of the common liberty of Greece; 10 "on which account," they said, "they were an object of general hatred, as was manifest from the fact that all the Greeks had bound themselves by an oath to demolish Thebes as soon as they had conquered the Persians." 11 They brought forward also the fabulous accounts of their old crimes, with which they had filled every theatre, to make them odious not only for their recent perfidy, but for their ancient infamy.

[11.4]   L  Cleadas, one of those who had been taken prisoners, being permitted to speak in their behalf, said, that "they had not revolted from the king, whom they understood to be killed, but from the king's heirs; 2 that what had been done in the matter was the fault, not of treachery, but of credulity; for which, however, they had already suffered severely by the loss of the flower of their soldiery; 3 that there was left them only a multitude of old men and women, equally weak and harmless, but who had been so harassed by contumelies and insults, that they had never endured anything more grievous; 4 and that he did not now intercede for his countrymen, of whom so few survived, but for their unoffending natal soil, and for a city which had given birth, not only to men, but to gods." 5 He endeavoured to work upon the king, too, from his superstitious regard for Hercules, who had been born at Thebes, and from whom the family of the Aeacidae was descended, and from the reflection that the youth of his father Philippus had been spent at Thebes; 6 and he conjured him "to spare a city which adored some of his ancestors, who had been born in it, as gods, and saw others who had been brought up in it, princes of the highest dignity." 7 But resentment was more powerful than entreaty. The city was in consequence demolished, the lands divided among the conquerors, 8 and the prisoners publicly sold, their price being settled not for the profit of those who bought them, but according to the hatred of their enemies. 9 Their fate seemed to the Athenians deserving of pity; and they therefore, though contrary to the king's prohibition, opened their gates for the reception of the exiles. 10 At this proceeding Alexander was so displeased, that when they deprecated war by a second embassy, he forbore from hostilities only on condition that their orators and leaders, through confidence in whom they had so often rebelled, should be delivered up to him. 11 The Athenians preparing to comply, lest they should be compelled to abide a war, the matter ended in this arrangement, that the orators should be retained and the generals banished; 12 when the latter immediately went over to Darius, and formed no inconsiderable addition to the strength of the Persians.

[11.5]   L  When he set out to the Persian war, he put to death all his step-mother's relations whom Philippus had advanced to any high dignity, or appointed to any command. 2 Nor did he spare such of his own kinsmen as seemed qualified to fill the throne, lest any occasion for rebellion should be left in Macedonia during his absence; 3 and of the tributary princes he took such as were distinguished for ability to the war with him, leaving the less able at home for the defence of his dominions. 4 Having then assembled his troops, he put them on shipboard, where, excited with incredible animation at the sight of Asia, he erected altars to the twelve gods to offer prayers for success in the war. 5 He divided all his private property, which he had in Macedonia and the rest of Europe, among his friends, saying, "that for himself Asia was sufficient." 6 Before any ship left the shore, he offered sacrifices, praying for "victory in that war, in which he had been chosen the avenger of Greece so often assailed by the Persians, 7 to whom," he said, "a reign sufficiently long had been granted, a reign that had now reached maturity, and it was time that others, who would conduct themselves better, should take their place." 8 Nor were the anticipations of the army different from those of the prince; 9 for all the soldiers, unmindful of their wives and children, and of the length of the expedition from home, contemplated the Persian gold, and the wealth of the whole east, as already their own prey, thinking neither of the war nor its perils, but of riches only. 10 When they arrived at the continent of Asia, Alexander first of all threw a dart into the enemy's country, and leaped on the shore in full armour, like one dancing the tripudium. He then proceeded to offer sacrifices, 11 praying that "those countries might not unwillingly receive him as their king." 12 He also sacrificed at Troy, at the tombs of the heroes who had fallen in the Trojan war.

[11.6]   L  Marching forward in quest of the enemy, he kept the soldiers from ravaging Asia, telling them that "they ought to spare their own property, and not destroy what they came to possess." 2 His army consisted of thirty-two thousand infantry, and four thousand five hundred cavalry, with a hundred and eighty-two ships. 3 Whether, with this small force, it is more wonderful that he conquered the world, or that he dared to attempt its conquest, is difficult to determine. 4 When he selected his troops for so hazardous a warfare, he did not choose robust young men, or men in the flower of their age, but veterans, most of whom had even passed their term of service, and who had fought under his father and his uncles; 5 so that he might be thought to have chosen, not soldiers, but masters in war. 6 No one was made an officer who was not sixty years of age; so that he who saw the captains assembled at head-quarters, would have declared that he saw the senate of some ancient republic. 7 None, on the field of battle, thought of flight, but every one of victory; none trusted in his feet, but everyone in his arms.

8 King Darius, on the other hand, from confidence in his strength, abstained from all artifice in his operations; observing that "clandestine measures were fit only for a stolen victory;" he did not attempt to repel the enemy from his frontiers, 9 but admitted them into the heart of his kingdom, thinking it more honourable to drive war out of his kingdom than not to give it entrance. 10 The first engagement, in consequence, was fought on the plains of Adrastia. 11 The Persian army consisted of six hundred thousand men, who were conquered not less by the valour of the Macedonians than by the conduct of Alexander, and took to flight. The slaughter among the Persians was great. 12 Of the army of Alexander there fell only nine foot-soldiers, and a hundred and twenty horse, 13 whom the king buried sumptuously as an encouragement to the rest, honouring them also with equestrian statues, and granting privileges to their relatives. 14 After this victory the greater part of Asia came over to his side. 15 He had also several encounters with Darius's lieutenants, whom he conquered, not so much by his arms, as by the terror of his name.

[11.7]   L  During the course of these proceedings, he was acquainted, on the information of a certain prisoner, that a conspiracy was forming against him by Alexander Lyncestes the son-in-law of Antipater, who had been made governor of Macedonia. 2 Fearing, therefore, that, if he were put to death, some disturbance might arise in Macedonia, he only kept him in prison.

3 He soon after marched to a city called Gordium, which is situated between the Greater and Lesser Phrygia, 4 and which he earnestly desired to take, not so much for the sake of plunder, as because he had heard that in that city, in the temple of Jupiter, was deposited the yoke of Gordius's cart; the knot of which, if anyone should loose, the oracles of old had predicted that he should rule all Asia. 5 The cause and origin of the matter was as follows. When Gordius was ploughing in these parts, with oxen that he had hired, birds of every kind began to fly about him. 6 Going to consult the augurs of the next town on the occurrence, he met at the gate a virgin of remarkable beauty, and asked her "which of the augurs he had best consult." 7 When she, having heard his reason for consulting them, and knowing something of the art from the instruction of her parents, replied, that "a kingdom was portended to him," and offered to become his wife and the sharer of his expectations. 8 So fair a match seemed the chief felicity of a throne. 9 After his marriage a civil war arose among the Phrygians; 10 and when they consulted the oracles how their discord might be terminated, the oracles replied that "a king was required to settle their disputes." 11 Inquiring a second time as to the person of the king, they were directed to regard him as their king whom they should first observe, on their return, going to the temple of Jupiter on a cart. 12 The person who presented himself to them was Gordius, and they at once saluted him king. 13 He dedicated the cart, in which he was riding when the throne was offered him, "to kingly majesty," and it was placed in the temple of Jupiter. 14 After him reigned his son Midas, who, having been instructed by Orpheus in sacred rites, filled all Phrygia with ceremonies of religion, by which he was better protected, during his whole life, than by arms. 15 Alexander, having taken the city, and gone to the temple of Jupiter, requested to see the yoke of Gordius's cart, 16 and, when it was shown him, not being able to find the ends of the cords, which were hidden within the knots, he put a forced interpretation on the oracle, and cut the cords with his sword; and thus, when the coils were opened out, discovered the ends concealed in them.

[11.8]   L  While he was thus engaged, intelligence was brought him that Darius was approaching with a vast army. 2 Fearing the defiles, he crossed Mount Taurus with the utmost speed, advancing, in one of his forced marches, five hundred stades. 3 Arriving at Tarsus, and being charmed with the pleasantness of the river Cydnus, which flows through the midst of the city, he threw off his armour, and, covered as he was with dust and sweat, plunged himself into the water, which was then excessively cold; 4 when, on a sudden, such a numbness seized his nerves, that his voice was lost, and not only was there no hope of saving his life, but not even a means of delaying death could be found. 5 One of his physicians, named Philippus, was the only person that promised a cure; but a letter from Parmenion, which arrived the day before from Cappadocia, rendered him an object of suspicion; 6 for Parmenion, knowing nothing of Alexander's illness, had written to caution him against trusting Philippus, as he had been bribed by Darius with a large sum of money. 7 Alexander, however, thought it better to trust the doubtful faith of the physician, than to perish of certain disease. 8 Taking the cup from Philippus, therefore, he gave him Parmenion's letter to read, and, as he drank, fixed his eyes upon the physician's countenance while he was reading. 9 Seeing him unmoved, he became more cheerful, and recovered his health on the fourth day after.

[11.9]   L  Meantime Darius advanced to battle with four hundred thousand foot and a hundred thousand horse. 2 So vast a multitude of enemies caused some distrust in Alexander, when he contemplated the smallness of his own army; but he called to mind, at the same time, how much he had already done, and how powerful people he had overthrown, with that very moderate force. 3 His hopes, therefore, prevailing over his apprehensions, and thinking it more hazardous to defer the contest, lest dismay should fall upon his men, he rode round among his troops, and addressed those of each nation in an appropriate speech. 4 He excited the Illyrians and Thracians by describing the enemy's wealth and treasures, and the Greeks by putting them in mind of their wars of old, and their deadly hatred towards the Persians. 5 He reminded the Macedonians at one time of their conquests in Europe, and at another of their desire to subdue Asia, boasting that no troops in the world had been found a match for them, 6 and assuring them that this battle would put an end to their labours and crown their glory. 7 In the course of these proceedings he caused the army occasionally to halt, that they might, by such stoppages, accustom themselves to endure the sight of so great a multitude. 8 Nor was Darius less active in drawing up his forces. Rejecting the services of his officers, he rode himself through the whole army, encouraged the several divisions, and put them in mind of the ancient glory of the Persians, and the perpetual possession of empire vouchsafed them by the immortal gods. 9 Soon after a battle was fought with great spirit. Both kings were wounded in it. The result remained doubtful until Darius fled,10 when there ensued a great slaughter of the Persians, of whom there fell sixty-one thousand infantry and ten thousand horse, and forty thousand were taken prisoners. On the side of the Macedonians were killed a hundred and thirty foot and a hundred and fifty horse. 11 In the camp of the Persians was found abundance of gold and other treasures; 12 and among the captives taken in it were the mother and wife, who was also the sister, of Darius, and two of his daughters. 13 When Alexander came to see and console them, they threw themselves, at the sight of his armed attendants, into one another's arms, and uttered mournful cries, as if expecting to die immediately. 14 Afterwards, falling at the feet of Alexander, they begged, not that they might live, but that their death might be delayed till they should bury the body of Darius. 15 Alexander, touched with the respectful concern of the princesses for Darius, assured them that the king was still alive, and removed their apprehensions of death; directing, at the same time, that they should be treated as royal personages, 16 and giving the daughters hopes of husbands suitable to the dignity of their father.

[11.10]   L  As he afterwards contemplated the wealth and display of Darius, he was seized with admiration of such magnificence. 2 Hence it was that he first began to indulge in luxurious and splendid banquets, and fell in love with his captive Barsine for her beauty, 3 by whom he had afterwards a son that he called Hercules. 4 Not forgetting, however, that Darius was still alive, he despatched Parmenion to seize the Persian fleet, and commissioned some others of his friends to secure the cities of Asia, 5 which, on hearing the report of the victory, had immediately submitted to the conqueror, the satraps of Darius surrendering themselves with a vast quantity of treasure. 6 He next marched into Syria, where he was met by several princes of the east with fillets on their heads. 7 Of these, according to their respective deserts, he received some into alliance; others he deprived of their thrones, and put new kings in their places. 8 Above the rest Abdolonymus, appointed by Alexander king of Sidon, stood pre-eminent; 9 a man whom, when he was living a life of poverty, being accustomed to draw water, and water gardens for hire, Alexander made a king, setting aside the nobles, lest they should regard his favour as shown to their birth, and not as proceeding from the kindness of the giver.

10 The city of Tyre sending Alexander, by the hands of a deputation, a golden crown of great value, as a token of congratulation, he received their present kindly, and told them that "he intended to visit Tyre to pay his vows to Hercules." 11 The deputies replying that "he would do that better at Old Tyre, and in the more ancient temple;" he was so provoked with them, because they evidently deprecated his visit, that he threatened their city with destruction. 12 Bringing up his army, soon after, to the island, he was met with a hostile resistance, the Tyrians, from reliance on Carthage, being not less determined than himself. 13 The example of Dido had stimulated the Tyrians; for that queen, after founding Carthage, had secured the empire over the third part of the world; and they thought it would be dishonourable if their women should show more courage in acquiring dominion than they in defending their liberty. 14 They removed to Carthage, therefore, such as were unfit for war, and sent at once for assistance, but were, not long afterwards, reduced by treachery.

[11.11]   L  Alexander next got possession of Rhodes and Cilicia without an effort. 2 He then went to the temple of Jupiter Ammon, to consult the oracle about the event of his future proceedings, and his own parentage. 3 For his mother Olympias had confessed to her husband Philippus, that "she had conceived Alexander, not by him, but by a serpent of extraordinary size." 4 Philippus, too, towards the end of his life, had publicly declared that "Alexander was not his son;" 5 and he accordingly divorced Olympias, as having been guilty of adultery. 6 Alexander, therefore, anxious to obtain the honour of divine paternity, and to clear his mother from infamy, instructed the priests, by messengers whom he sent before him, what answers he wished to receive. 7 The priests, as soon as he entered the temple, saluted him as the son of Ammon. 8 Alexander, pleased with the god's adoption of him, directed that he should be regarded as his son. 9 He then inquired "whether he had taken vengeance on all that had been concerned in the assassination of his father." He was answered that "his father could neither be assassinated, nor could die; but that vengeance for Philippus' death had been fully exacted." 10 On putting a third question, he was told that "success in all his wars, and dominion over the world, was granted him." 11 A response was also given by the oracle to his attendants, that "they should reverence Alexander as a god, and not as a king." 12 Hence it was that his haughtiness was so much increased, and a strange arrogance arose in his mind, the agreeableness of demeanour, which he had contracted from the philosophy of the Greeks and the habits of the Macedonians, being entirely laid aside. 13 On his return from the temple of Ammon he founded Alexandria, and desired that that colony of the Macedonians might be considered the metropolis of Egypt.

[11.12]   L  Darius, having fled to Babylon, entreated Alexander, in a letter, "to give him permission to redeem his prisoners," offering a large sum for their ransom. 2 But Alexander demanded his whole kingdom, and not a sum of money, as the price of their release. 3 Sometime after, another letter from Darius was brought to Alexander, in which one of his daughters was offered him in marriage, and a portion of his kingdom. 4 Alexander replied that "what was offered was his own," and desired him ''to come to him as a suppliant, and to leave the disposal of his kingdom to his conqueror." 5 All hopes of peace being thus lost, Darius resumed hostilities, and proceeded to meet Alexander with four hundred thousand infantry and a hundred thousand cavalry. 6 On his march he was informed that "his wife had died of a miscarriage, and that Alexander had mourned for her death, and attended her funeral; acting, in that respect, not from love, but merely from kindness of feeling; 7 as Darius's wife had been visited by him but once, though he had often gone to console his mother and her little daughters."

8 Darius now considered himself indeed overcome, since, after losing so many battles, he was surpassed by his enemy even in kindnesses, and declared that it was a consolation to him since he could not conquer, to be conquered by such an enemy. 9 He therefore wrote a third letter to Alexander, thanking him for not having acted as an enemy towards his family, 10 and offering him a larger portion of his kingdom, even as far as the river Euphrates, another of his daughters in marriage, and thirty thousand talents for the other prisoners. 11 To this Alexander replied, that "thanks were needless from an enemy; 12 that nothing had been done by him to flatter Darius, or to gain the means of mollifying him, with a view either to the doubtful results of war, or to conditions of peace; 13 but that he had acted from a certain greatness of mind, by which he had learned to fight against the forces of his enemies, not to take advantage of their misfortunes;" 14 and he promised at the same time, that "he would comply with the wishes of Darius, if he would be content to be second to him, and not his equal; 15 but that the universe could not be governed by two suns, nor could the earth with safety have two sovereigns; 16 and that he must consequently either prepare to surrender on that day, or to fight on the next, and must promise himself no better success than he had already experienced."

[11.13]   L  On the next day they drew up their armies; when, on a sudden, before they came to battle, a deep sleep fell on Alexander, who was wearied with making arrangements. 2 Nothing but the presence of the king being wanting, in order to commence the engagement, he was awakened, though with difficulty, by Parmenion, and as those about him asked the reason of his sleeping in the midst of danger, when he was sparing of sleep even in time of security, 3 he answered that "he had been relieved from great concern, and that his repose was occasioned by sudden freedom from apprehension, since he should now engage with the forces of Darius in a body; whereas he had dreaded, if the Persians should divide their army, that the war would be greatly protracted." 4 Before the battle commenced, each army was an object of admiration to its antagonists. 5 The Macedonians admired the host of men opposed to them, their stature, and the beauty of their armour. The Persians were amazed that so many thousands of their countrymen had been defeated by so small a force. 6 Nor did the kings forbear to ride round among their troops. 7 Darius told his men, that "if a division of the enemy were made, scarcely one man would fall to ten of his own armed followers." 8 Alexander exhorted the Macedonians "not to be alarmed at the numbers of the enemy, their stature, or the strangeness of their complexion." 9 He bade them remember only that "they were now fighting for the third time with the same adversaries; and not to imagine that they had been rendered braver by defeat, as they would bring into the field with them the sad recollection of former disasters, and of the bloodshed in the two previous engagements;" 10 adding, that "Darius had the greater number of human beings, but he himself the greater number of men." 11 He admonished them "to despise an army glittering with gold and silver, in which they would find more spoil than danger, since victory was to be gained, not by splendour of arms, but by the power of the sword."

[11.14]   L  Soon after, the battle was begun. The Macedonians rushed upon the swords presented to them, with contempt for an enemy whom they had so often defeated. The Persians, on the other hand, were desirous to die rather than be conquered. 2 Seldom has there been so much bloodshed in a battle. 3 Darius, when he saw his army repulsed, wished himself to die, but was compelled by his officers to flee. 4 Some advising that the bridge over the Cydnus should be broken down, in order to stop the advance of the enemy, he said that "he would not provide for his safety in such a way as to expose so many thousands of his followers to the foe; and that the road which was open to himself, ought also to be open to others." 5 Alexander, meanwhile, made the most hazardous efforts; where he saw the enemy thickest, and fighting most desperately, there he always threw himself, desiring that the peril should be his, and not his soldiers'. 6 By this battle he gained the dominion over Asia, in the fifth year after his accession to the throne. 7 His victory was so decisive, that after it none ventured to rebel against him; and the Persians, after a supremacy of so many years, patiently submitted to the yoke of servitude. 8 After rewarding his soldiers, and allowing them to recover their strength for thirty-four days, he took account of the spoil. 9 He afterwards found forty thousand talents in the city of Susa. 10 Next he took Persepolis, the metropolis of the kingdom of Persia, a city which had been eminent for many years, and which was filled with the spoils of the world, as was now first seen at its destruction. 11 In the course of these proceedings, about eight hundred Greeks met Alexander, men who had been punished in captivity by mutilation of their bodies, and who entreated that, "as he had delivered Greece, he would also release them from the cruelty of their enemies." 12 Permission was given to them to go home, but they preferred receiving portions of land in Persia, lest, instead of causing joy to their parents by their return, they should merely shock them by the horrid spectacle which they presented.

[11.15]   L  Meanwhile, to gain the favour of the conqueror, Darius was confined in golden fetters and chains in a village of the Parthians named Thara; 2 the immortal gods, I suppose, ordaining that the empire of the Persians should have its termination in the country of those who were to succeed them in dominion. 3 Alexander, hastening his march, arrived there on the following day, when he found that Darius had been conveyed from the place in the night, in a covered vehicle. 4 Directing his army to follow him, he pursued the flying prince with six thousand cavalry. On his march he had several severe encounters, 5 and advanced many miles without finding any traces of Darius. But while he was allowing the horses time to rest, one of the soldiers, going to a neighbouring spring, found Darius in the vehicle, wounded in several places, but still alive. 6 One of the Persian captives being brought forward, the dying prince, knowing from his voice that he was his countryman, said that "he had at least this comfort in his present sufferings, that he should speak to one who could understand him, and that he should not utter his last words in vain." 7 He then desired that the following message should be given to Alexander: that "he died without having done him any acts of kindness, but a debtor to him for the greatest, 8 since he had found his feelings towards his mother and children to be those of a prince, not of a foe; that he had been more happy in his enemy than in his relations, for by his enemy life had been granted to his mother and children, but taken from himself by his relatives, to whom he had given both life and kingdoms; 9 and that such a requital must therefore be made them as his conqueror should please. 10 For himself, that he made the only return to Alexander which he could at the point of death, by praying to the gods above and below, and the powers that protected kings, that the empire of the world might fall to his lot. 11 That he desired the favour of a decent rather than a magnificent funeral; 12 and, as to avenging his death, it was not his cause alone that was concerned, but precedent, and the common cause of all kings, which it would be both dishonourable and dangerous for him to neglect; since, in regard to vengeance, the interests of justice were affected, and, in regard to precedent, those of the general safety. 13 To this effect he gave him his right hand, as the only pledge of a king's faith to be conveyed to Alexander." Then, stretching out his hand, he expired.

14 When this intelligence was communicated to Alexander, he went to see the body of the dead monarch, and contemplated with tears a death so unsuitable to his dignity. He also directed his corpse to he buried as that of a king, and his relics to be conveyed to the sepulchres of his ancestors.


[12.1]   L  Alexander interred the soldiers, whom he had lost in the pursuit of Darius, at great expense, and distributed thirteen thousand talents among the rest that attended him in that expedition. 2 Of the horses, the greater part were killed by the heat; and those that survived were rendered unfit for service. 3 All the treasure, amounting to a hundred and ninety thousand talents, was conveyed to Ecbatana, and Parmenion was entrusted with the charge of it. 4 In the midst of these proceedings, letters from Antipater in Macedonia were brought to Alexander, in which the war of Agis king of Sparta in Greece, that of Alexander king of Epirus in Italy, and that of Zopyrion his own lieutenant-general in Scythia, were communicated. 5 At this news he was affected with various emotions, but felt more joy at learning the deaths of two rival kings, than sorrow at the loss of Zopyrion and his army.

6 After the departure of Alexander from Macedonia, almost all Greece, as if to take advantage of the opportunity for recovering their liberty, had risen in arms, yielding, in that respect, to the influence of the Lacedaemonians, 7 who alone had rejected peace from Philippus and Alexander, and had scorned the terms on which it was offered. The leader in this insurrection was Agis, king of the Lacedaemonians, 8 but Antipater, assembling an army, suppressed the commotion in its infancy. 9 The slaughter, however, was great on both sides; 10 for king Agis, when he saw his men taking to flight, dismissed his guards, and, that he might seem inferior to Alexander in fortune only, not in valour, made such a havoc among the enemy, that he sometimes drove whole troops before him. 11 At last, overpowered by numbers, he fell superior to all in glory.

[12.2]   L  Alexander, too, the king of Epirus, having been invited into Italy by the Tarentines, who desired his assistance against the Bruttians, had gone thither as eagerly as if, in a division of the world, the east had fallen by lot to Alexander, the son of his sister Olympias, and the west to himself, 2 and as if he was likely to have not less to do in Italy, Africa, and Sicily, than Alexander in Asia and Persia. 3 To this was added, that as the oracle at Delphi had forewarned Alexander the Great against treachery in Macedonia, so that of Jupiter at Dodona had admonished the other Alexander "to beware of the city Pandosia and the river Acheron;" and as both these were in Epirus, 4 and he was ignorant that they were also to be found in Italy, he had the more eagerly fixed on this foreign expedition, in hope of escaping the dangers signified in the warning. 5 On his arrival in Italy, his first contest was with the Apulians; 6 but when he learned the destiny appointed to their city, he soon concluded a peace and alliance with their king. 7 The chief city of the Apulians, at that time, was Brundisium, which a party of Aetolians that followed Diomedes, a leader rendered famous and honourable by his achievements at Troy, had founded; 8 but being expelled by the Apulians, and having recourse to some oracle, they received for answer that "they would possess forever the place which they had sought to recover." 9 On this ground they demanded of the Apulians that their city should be restored, threatening them with war unless the demand should be complied with. 10 But the oracle becoming known to the Apulians, they put the ambassadors to death, and buried them in the city, that they might have a perpetual abode there; and, having thus given the oracle a fulfilment, they long kept possession of the city. 11 Alexander, hearing of this occurrence, and having great respect for the oracles of antiquity, made an end of hostilities with the Apulians.

12 He engaged also in war with the Bruttians and Lucanians, and captured several cities; and he formed treaties and alliances with the Metapontines, Poediculi, and Romans. 13 But the Bruttians and Lucanians, having collected reinforcements from their neighbours, renewed the war with fresh vigour; 14 when the king was slain near the city Pandosia and the river Acheron, not knowing the name of the fatal place before he fell in it, and understanding, as he was expiring, that the death, for fear of which he had fled from his country, had not been to be dreaded in his country. 15 The Thurians ransomed his body at the public expense, and buried it.

16 During these events in Italy, Zopyrion, who had been left governor of Pontus by Alexander the Great, thinking that, if he did not attempt something, he should be stigmatized as indolent, collected a force of thirty thousand men, and made war upon the Scythians. 17 But being cut off, with his whole army, he paid the penalty for a rash attack upon an innocent people.

[12.3]   L  When these occurrences were reported to Alexander, who was then in Parthia, he assumed a show of grief on account of his relationship to Alexander, and caused the army to mourn for three days. 2 But while all his men were expecting, as if the war had been ended, to return to their country, and were embracing in imagination their wives and children, he called a general assembly of the troops; 3 in which he told them that "nothing had been done in so many glorious battles, if the barbarians more to the eastward should be left unmolested; that he had not sought the body, but the throne, of Darius; and that those who had revolted from his government must be punished." 4 Having, by this speech, revived the spirits of his soldiers for new exertions, he subdued Hyrcania and the Mardians. 5 Here Thalestris, or Minithya, queen of the Amazons, came to meet him, having travelled for twenty-five days, with three hundred women in her train, and through extremely populous nations, in order to have issue by him. 6 Her appearance and arrival was a cause of astonishment to all, both from her dress, which was an unusual one for women, and from the object of her visit. 7 To gratify her, thirteen days' rest was allowed by the king; and when she thought herself pregnant, she took her leave.

8 Soon after, Alexander assumed the attire of the Persian monarchs, as well as the diadem, which was unknown to the kings of Macedonia, as if he gave himself up to the customs of those whom he had conquered. 9 And lest such innovations should be viewed with dislike, if adopted by himself alone, he desired his friends also to wear the long robe of gold and purple. 10 That he might imitate the luxury too, as well as the dress of the Persians, he spent his nights among troops of the king's concubines of eminent beauty and birth. 11 To these extravagances he added vast magnificence in feasting; and lest his entertainments should seem jejune and parsimonious, he accompanied his banquets, according to the ostentation of the eastern monarchs, with games; 12 being utterly unmindful that power is accustomed to be lost, not gained, by such practices.

[12.4]   L  During the course of these proceedings, there arose throughout the camp a general indignation that he had so degenerated from his father Philippus as to abjure the very name of his country, and to adopt the manners of the Persians, whom, from the effect of such manners, he had overcome. 2 But that he might not appear to be the only person who yielded to the vices of those whom he had conquered in the field, he permitted his soldiers also, if they had formed a connection with any of the female captives, to marry them; 3 thinking that they would feel less desire to return to their country, when they had some appearance of a house and home in the camp, 4 and that the fatigues of war would be relieved by the agreeable society of their wives. 5 He saw, too, that Macedonia would be less drained to supply the army, if the sons, as recruits, should succeed their veteran fathers, and serve within the ramparts within which they were born, 6 and would be likely to show more courage, if they passed, not only their earliest days of service, but also their infancy, in the camp. 7 This custom was also continued under Alexander's successors. 8 Maintenance was provided for the boys, and arms and horses were given them when they grew up; and rewards were assigned to the fathers in proportion to the number of their children. 9 If the fathers of any of them were killed, the orphans notwithstanding received their father's pay; and their childhood was a sort of military service in various expeditions. 10 Inured from their earliest years to toils and dangers, they formed an invincible army; they looked upon their camp as their country, and upon a battle as a prelude to victory. 11 These children bore the title Epigoni {"The Descendants"}. 12 Alexander then conquered the Parthians, and a Persian nobleman, Andragoras, was appointed to be their governor; it was from him that the Parthian kings of later times were descended.

[12.5]   L  Alexander, meanwhile, began to show a passionate temper towards those about him, not with a princely severity, but with the vindictiveness of an enemy. 2 What most incensed him was, that reflections were cast upon him in the common talk of the soldiers, for having cast off the customs of his father Philippus and of his country. 3 For this offence, Parmenion, an old man, next to the king in rank, and his son Philotas, were put to death; an examination by torture having been previously held on both of them. 4 At this instance of cruelty, all the soldiers, throughout the camp, began to express their displeasure, being concerned for the fate of the innocent old general and his son, and saying, at times, that "they must expect nothing better for themselves." 5 These murmurs coming to the knowledge of Alexander, he, fearing that such reports would be carried to Macedonia, and that the glory of his victories would be sullied by the stain of cruelty, pretended that he was going to send home some of his friends to give an account of his successes. 6 He exhorted his soldiers to write to their relatives, as they would now have fewer opportunities on account of the scene of warfare being further from home. 7 The packets of letters, as they were given in, he commanded to be privately brought to him, 8 and having learned from them what everyone thought of him, he put all those, who had given unfavourable opinions of his conduct, into one regiment, with an intention either to destroy them, or to distribute them in colonies in the most distant parts of the earth.

9 He then subdued the Drancae, the Euergetae, the Parymae, the Parapammeni, the (?) Arimaspi, and other nations that dwelt at the foot of Mount Caucasus.

10 In the meantime Bessus, one of the former friends of Darius, who had not only betrayed his sovereign, but put him to death, was brought to Alexander in chains, 11 who, that he might be punished for his treachery, delivered him to the brother of Darius to be tortured, considering not so much that Darius had been his enemy, as that he had been the friend of the man by whom he had been lulled.

12 That he might leave his name to these parts, he founded the city of Alexandria on the river Tanais, completing a wall six miles in circuit in seventeen days, and transplanting into it the inhabitants of three cities that had been built by Cyrus. 13 He also built twelve cities in the territories of the Bactrians and Sogdians, and distributed among them such of the soldiers as he had found mutinous.

[12.6]   L  After these proceedings, he invited his friends on some particular day, to a banquet, 2 where mention being made, when they were intoxicated, of the great things achieved by Philippus, he began to prefer himself to his father, and to extol the vastness of his own exploits to the skies, the greater part of the company agreeing with him; 3 and when Cleitus, one of the older guests, trusting to his hold on the king's friendship, in which he held the principal place, defended the memory of Philippus, and praised his acts, he so provoked Alexander, that he snatched a weapon from one of the guards, and slew him with it in the midst of the guests. 4 Exulting at the murder, too, he scoffed at the dead man for his defence of Philippus, and his commendation of his mode of warfare. 5 But when his mind, satiated with the bloodshed, grew calm, and reflection took the place of passion, he began, as he contemplated at one time the character of the dead, and at another the occasion of his death, to feel the deepest sorrow for the deed; 6 grieving that he had listened to his father's praises with more anger than he ought to have listened to insults on his memory, and that an old and blameless friend had been slain by him at a feast and carousal. 7 Driven, therefore, to repentance, with the same vehemence with which he had before been impelled to resentment, he determined to die. 8 Bursting into tears, he embraced the dead man, laid his hand on his wounds, and confessed his madness to him as if he could hear; then, snatching up a weapon, he pointed it against his breast, and would have committed suicide, had not his friends interposed. 9 His resolution to die continued even for several days after; 10 for to his other causes of sorrow was added the remembrance of his nurse, the sister of Cleitus, on whose account, though she was far away, he was greatly ashamed of his conduct, 11 lamenting that so base a return should be made her for rearing him; and that, in the maturity of life and conquest, he should have requited her, in whose arms he had spent his infancy, with bloodshed instead of kindness. 12 He reflected, too, what remarks and odium he must have occasioned, as well in his own army as among the conquered nations; what fear and dislike of himself among his other friends; 13 and how dismal and sad he had rendered his entertainment, appearing not less to be dreaded at a feast than when armed in the field of battle. 14 Parmenion and Philotas, his cousin Amyntas, his murdered stepmother and brothers, with Attalus, Eurylochus, Pausanias, and other slaughtered nobles of Macedonia, presented themselves to his imagination. 15 He in consequence persisted in abstaining from food for four days, until he was drawn from his purpose by the prayers of the whole army, who conjured him "not to lament the death of one, 16 so far as to ruin them all; since, after bringing them into the remotest part of the barbarians' country, he would leave them amidst hostile nations exasperated by war." 17 The entreaties of Callisthenes the philosopher had great effect upon him, a man who was intimate with him from having been his fellow-student under Aristotle, and who had been subsequently sent for, by the king himself, to record his acts for the perusal of posterity. 18 So he turned his attention back to the campaign, and accepted the surrender of the Chorasmi and the Dahae.

[12.7]   L  Soon after, he gave orders that he should not be approached with mere salutation, but with adoration; a point of Persian pride to which he had hesitated to advance at first, lest the assumption of everything at once should excite too strong a feeling against him. 2 Among those who refused to obey, the most resolute was Callisthenes; but his opposition proved fatal, both to himself and to several other eminent Macedonians, who were all put to death on the pretence that they were engaged in a conspiracy. 3 The custom of saluting their king was however retained by the Macedonians, adoration being set aside.

4 He then marched into India, that he might have his empire bounded by the ocean, and the extreme parts of the east. 5 That the equipments of his army might be suitable to the glory of the expedition, he mounted the trappings of the horses, and the arms of the soldiers, with silver, and called a body of his men, from having silver shields, Argyraspides. 6 On arriving at the city Nysa, he ordered the inhabitants, who, from their confidence in being protected by their worship of Bacchus, the founder of their city, made no resistance, to be spared; rejoicing that he had not only followed the god's military achievements, but also his footsteps. 7 He then led his army to view the sacred mountain, which was clad with the adornments of nature, the vine and ivy, as beautifully as if it had been tilled by art, and decked by the labour of the cultivator. 8 But the troops, as they approached the hill, were impelled, by a sudden commotion in their minds, to utter devout cries to the god, and ran frantically up and down, to the amazement of the king, but without suffering any harm; whence he might understand that, by sparing the town, he had not so much secured its safety, as that of his own army.

9 He next proceeded to the Daedalian mountains, and the dominions of Queen Cleophis; who, after surrendering to Alexander, recovered her throne from him by admitting him to her bed; saving by her charms what she had been unable to secure by her valour. 10 A son whom she had by him, she named Alexander; and he afterwards sat upon the throne of the Indians. 11 Queen Cleophis, for allowing her chastity to be violated, was thenceforward called by the Indians the royal harlot.

12 Having arrived, in his course through India, at a rock of extraordinary ruggedness and altitude, to which many people had fled for refuge, he learned that Hercules had been hindered from taking it by an earthquake. 13 Seized with a desire, in consequence, to go beyond the exploits of Hercules, he made himself master of the rock with the utmost exertion and peril, and received submission from all the tribes of that part of the country.

[12.8]   L  There was one of the kings of India, named Porus, equally distinguished for strength of body and vigour of mind, 2 who, hearing of the fame of Alexander, had been for some time before preparing for war against his arrival. 3 Coming to battle with him, accordingly, he directed his soldiers to attack the rest of the Macedonians, but desired that their king should be reserved as an antagonist for himself. 4 Nor did Alexander decline the contest; but his horse being wounded in the first shock, he fell headlong to the ground, and was saved by his guards gathering round him. 5 Porus, covered with a number of wounds, was made prisoner, 6 and was so grieved at being defeated, that when his life was granted him by the enemy, he would neither take food nor suffer his wounds to be dressed, and was scarcely at last prevailed upon to consent to live.7 Alexander, from respect to his valour, sent him back in safety to his kingdom. 8 Here he founded two cities, one called Nicaea, and the other, from the name of his horse, Bucephale.

9 He then overthrew the Adrestae, the Gesteani, the Praesidae, and the Gangaridae, with great slaughter among their troops. 10 When he had reached the (?) kingdom of Sophites, where the enemy awaited him with two thousand cavalry, the whole army, wearied not less with the number of their victories than with their toils in the field, besought him with tears that "he would at length make an end of war, 11 and think on his country and his return; considering the years of his soldiers, whose remainder of life would scarcely suffice for their journey home." 12 One pointed to his hoary hairs, another to his wounds, another to his body worn out with an age, another to his person disfigured with scars, 13 saying "that they were the only men who had endured continuous service under two kings, Philippus and Alexander;" 14 and conjuring him in conclusion that "he should restore their remains at least to the sepulchres of their fathers, since they failed not in zeal but in age;15 and that, if he would not spare his soldiers, he should yet spare himself, and not wear out his good fortune by pressing it too far." 16 Moved with these reasonable supplications, he ordered a camp to be formed, as if to mark the termination of his conquests, of greater size than usual, by the works of which the enemy might be astonished, and an admiration of himself be left to posterity. 17 No task did the soldiers execute with more alacrity. After great slaughter of the enemy, they returned to this camp with mutual congratulations.

[12.9]   L  From hence Alexander proceeded to the river Acesines, and sailed down it into the ocean. 2 In his way he received the submission of the (?) Agensonae and the Sibi, whom Hercules settled; 3 next he sailed to the Mandri and Sigambri, who met him with eighty thousand foot and sixty thousand horse. 4 Gaining the victory in a battle, he led his army against their city; 5 and supposing, as he looked from the wall, which he had been the first to mount, that the place was destitute of defenders, he leaped down into the area of the city without a single attendant. 6 The enemy, seeing him alone, gathered round upon him with a shout, to try if by taking one life they could put an end to war in the world, and exact vengeance for the defeats of so many nations. 7 Alexander withstood them with equal spirit, fighting alone against thousands. 8 It is, indeed, incredible, that neither the multitude of enemies, nor the thick showers of javelins, nor the loud outcries of his assailants, could in the least alarm him; and that he alone should have spread havoc and terror among so many thousands. 9 But seeing that he was likely to be overpowered by numbers, he fixed himself against the trunk of a tree that stood by the wall, 10 by the help of which he long resisted a host, when, his danger being known, his friends leaped down to him, many of whom were slain, 11 and the battle continued doubtful, till the whole army, making a breach in the wall, came to his aid. 12 Being wounded in the struggle by an arrow, and likely to faint through loss of blood, he placed his knee on the ground, and fought till he had killed the man by whom he had been wounded. 13 The curing of the wound caused him more suffering than the wound itself.

[12.10]   L  Being at length restored to health, after there had been great despair of it, he sent Polysperchon with the army to Babylon, while he himself, with a select band of followers, went on board the fleet, and sailed along the shore of the ocean. 2 When he came to the city of king Ambiger, the inhabitants, hearing that he was invincible to the sword, tipped their arrows with poison; and thus repulsing the enemy from their walls with wounds doubly fatal, they killed a great number of them. 3 Ptolemy, with many others, being wounded, and seeming to be at the point of death, a herb was shown to the king in a, dream as a cure for poison; this being taken in a drink, he was freed from danger, and the greater part of the army were saved by the same remedy. 4 Taking the city afterwards by storm, and returning to the fleet, he made oblations to the ocean, praying for a prosperous return to his country; 5 and having thus, as it were, driven his chariot round the goal, and fixed the boundaries of his empire, as far as either the deserts would suffer him to proceed by land, or the sea was navigable, he sailed up the mouth of the river Indus with the tide. 6 There he built the city Barce, in memory of the exploits achieved by him, and erected altars, leaving one of his friends as governor of the Indians on the coast. 7 As he intended to march from thence by land, and as the parts in the middle of his route were said to be dry, he ordered wells to be made in suitable places, from which he got abundance of fresh water, and so returned to Babylon. 8 Hither many of the conquered people sent deputations to accuse their governors, whom Alexander, without any regard to his former friendship for them, commanded to be put to death in the sight of the deputies.

9 Soon after he married Statira, the daughter of king Darius; but, at the same time, he gave the noblest virgins, chosen from all the conquered natives, as wives to the chiefs of the Macedonians; in order that the impropriety of the king's conduct might be rendered less glaring by the practice becoming general.

[12.11]   L  He next assembled the army, and promised that "he would pay all their debts at his own expense," so that they might carry home their spoil and prizes undiminished. 2 This munificence was highly prized, not only for the sum given, but for the character of the gift, and was received not more thankfully by the debtors than by the creditors, exaction being as troublesome to the one as payment to the other. 3 Twenty thousand talents were expended in this largess. 4 Discharging some of the veterans, he replenished the army with younger soldiers. 5 But those that were retained, murmuring at the discharge of the older men, demanded that they themselves should be released likewise; desiring that "their years, not of life, but of service, should be counted," and thinking it reasonable that "those who had been enlisted in the service together, should together be set free from the service." 6 Nor did they address the king only with entreaties, but also with reproaches, bidding him "carry on his wars alone, with the aid of his father Ammon, since he looked with disdain on his soldiers." 7 Alexander, on the other hand, sometimes upbraided his men, and sometimes charged them in gentle terms, "not to tarnish their glorious services by mutiny." 8 At last, when he could produce no effect by words, he leaped unarmed from his tribunal among the armed multitude, to lay hands on the authors of the mutiny; and not a man daring to oppose him, he led thirteen of them, whom he had seized with his own hand, to punishment. 9 Such submission to death did the fear of their king produce in the men; or such courage in inflicting punishment had his knowledge of military discipline given the king.

[12.12]   L  He then addressed himself, in a public speech, to the auxiliary troops of the Persians apart from the Macedonians. 2 He extolled their constant fidelity, as well as to himself as to their former kings; he mentioned the kindnesses which he had shown them, saying that "he had never treated them as a conquered people, but always as sharers in his successes; that he had gone over to the usages of their nation, not they to those of his; and that he had mingled the conquerors with the conquered by matrimonial connections. 3 And now," he added, "he would entrust the guardianship of his person, not to the Macedonians only, but also to them." 4 Accordingly, he enrolled a thousand of their young men among his bodyguard; and at the same time incorporated into his army a portion of the auxiliaries, trained after the discipline of the Macedonians. 5 At this proceeding the Macedonians were much dissatisfied, exclaiming that "their enemies were put into their places by their king;" 6 and at length they all went to Alexander in a body, beseeching him with tears "to content himself rather with punishing than ill-treating them." 7 By this modest forbearance they produced such an effect upon him, that he released eleven thousand veterans more. 8 Of his own friends, too, were sent away the old men, Polysperchon, Cleitus, Gorgias, Polydamas, Amadas, and Antigenes. 9 Of those that were sent home Craterus was appointed leader, and commissioned to take the government of Macedonia instead of Antipater, whom he summoned, with a body of recruits, to take the place of Craterus. 10 Pay was allowed to those that went home, as if they had been still in the service. 11 In the course of those proceedings, Hephaestion, one of his friends, died; a man who was a great favourite with Alexander, at first on account of his personal qualities in youth, and afterwards from his servility. 12 Alexander mourned for him longer than became his dignity as a king, built a monument for him that cost twelve thousand talents, and gave orders that he should be worshipped as a god.

[12.13]   L  As he was returning to Babylon, from the distant shores of the ocean, he was acquainted that embassies from the Carthaginians, and other states of Africa, as well as from the Spains, Sicily, Gaul, and Sardinia, and some also from Italy, were waiting his arrival at that city. 2 So powerfully had the terror of his name diffused itself through the world, that all nations were ready to bow to him as their destined monarch. 3 When he was hastening to Babylon, therefore, to hold an assembly, as it were, of the states of the world, one of the Magi warned him "not to enter the city," for that the "place would be fatal to him." 4 He accordingly avoided Babylon, and turned aside to Borsippa, a city on the other side of the Euphrates, that had been for some time uninhabited. 5 Here again be was persuaded by Anaxarchus the philosopher, to slight the predictions of the Magi as fallacious and uncertain; observing that, "if things were fixed by fate, they were unknown to mortals, and, if they were dependent on the course of nature, were unchangeable." 6 Returning, therefore, to Babylon, and allowing himself several days for rest, he renewed, in his usual manner, the entertainments which had been for some time discontinued, 7 resigning himself wholly to mirth, and joining in his cups the night to the day. As he was returning, on one occasion, from a banquet, Medius, a Thessalian, proposing to renew their revelling, invited him and his attendants to his house. 8 Taking up a cup, he suddenly uttered a groan while he was drinking, as if he had been stabbed with a dagger, 9 and being carried half dead from the table, he was excruciated with such torture that he called for a sword to put an end to it, and felt pain at the touch of his attendants as if he were all over wounds. 10 His friends reported that the cause of his disease was excess in drinking, but in reality it was a conspiracy, the infamy of which the power of his successors threw into the shade.

[12.14]   L  The author of this conspiracy was Antipater, who, seeing that his dearest friends were put to death, that Alexander Lyncestes, his son-in-law, was cut off, 2 and that he himself, after his important services in Greece, was not so much liked by the king as envied by him, 3 and was also persecuted with various charges by his mother Olympias; 4 reflecting, too, on the severe penalties inflicted, a few days before, on the governors of the conquered nations, 5 and hence imagining that he was sent for from Macedonia, not to share in the war, but to suffer punishment, 6 secretly, in order to be beforehand with Alexander, furnished his son Cassander with poison, who, with his brothers Philippus and Iollas, was accustomed to attend on the king at table. 7 The strength of this poison was so great, that it could be contained neither in brass, nor iron, nor shell, nor could be conveyed in any other way than in the hoof of a horse. 8 Cassander had been warned to trust nobody but the Thessalian and his brothers; and hence it was that the banquet was prepared and renewed in the house of the Thessalian. 9 Philippus and Iollas, who used to taste and mix the king's drink, had the poison ready in cold water, which they put into the drink after it had been tasted.

[12.15]   L  On the fourth day, Alexander, finding that death was inevitable, observed that "he perceived the approach of the fate of his family, for most of the Aeacidae had died under thirty years of age." 2 He then pacified the soldiers, who were making a tumult, from suspecting that the king was the victim of a conspiracy, and, after being carried to the highest part of the city, admitted them to his presence, and gave them his right hand to kiss. 3 While they all wept, he not only did not shed a tear, but showed not the least token of sorrow; so that he even comforted some who grieved immoderately, and gave others messages to their parents; 4 and his soul was as undaunted at meeting death, as it had formerly been at meeting an enemy. 5 When the soldiers were gone, he asked his friends that stood about him, "whether they thought they should find a king like him?" 6 All continuing silent, he said that, "although he did not know that, he knew, and could foretell, and almost saw with his eyes, how much blood Macedonia would shed in the disputes that would follow his death, and with what slaughters, and what quantities of gore, she would perform his obsequies." 7 At last he ordered his body to be buried in the temple of Jupiter Ammon. 8 When his friends saw him dying, they asked him "whom he would appoint as the successor to his throne?" He replied, "The most worthy." 9 Such was his nobleness of spirit, that though he left a son named Hercules, a brother called Aridaeus, and his wife Roxane with child, yet, forgetting his relations, he named only "the most worthy" as his successor; 10 as though it were unlawful for any but a brave man to succeed a brave man, or for the power of so great an empire to be left to any but approved governors. 11 But as if, by this reply, he had sounded the signal for battle among his friends, or had thrown the apple of discord amongst them, they all rose in emulation against each other, and tried to gain the favour of the army by secretly paying court to the common soldiers. 12 On the sixth day from the commencement of his illness, being unable to speak, he took his ring from his finger, and gave it to Perdiccas; an act which tranquillized the growing dissension among his friends; 13 for though Perdiccas was not expressly named his successor, he seemed intended to be so in Alexander's judgment.

[12.16]   L  Alexander, when he died, was thirty-three years and one month old. He was a man endowed with powers of mind far beyond ordinary human capacity. 2 His mother Olympias, the night in which she conceived him, dreamed that she was entwined with a huge serpent; nor was she deceived by her dream; for she certainly bore in her womb a conception superior to mortality; 3 and though her descent from the Aeacidae, a family of the remotest antiquity, and the royal dignity of her father, brother, husband, and indeed of all her ancestors, conferred sufficient splendour upon her, yet by no one's influence was she rendered more illustrious than that of her son. 4 Some omens of his future greatness appeared at his birth. 5 Two eagles sat the whole of the day on which he was born on the top of his father's palace, giving indication of his double empire over Europe and Asia. 6 The very same day, too, his father received the news of two victories, one in the war with the Illyrians, the other in the Olympic games, to which he had sent some four-horse chariots; an omen which portended to the child the conquest of the world. 7 As a boy, he was ably instructed in elementary learning; 8 and, when his boyhood was past, he improved himself, for five years, under his famous instructor Aristotle.9 On taking possession of the throne, he gave orders that he should be styled "King of all the earth and of the world;" 10 and he inspired his soldiers with such confidence in him, that, when he was present, they feared the arms of no enemy, though they themselves were unarmed. 11 He, in consequence, never engaged with any enemy whom he did not conquer, besieged no city that he did not take, and invaded no nation that he did not subjugate. 12 He was overcome at last, not by the prowess of any enemy, but by a conspiracy of those whom he trusted, and the treachery of his own subjects.

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