Arrian Anabasis Book 4a

Intro : 1a : 1b : 2a : 2b : 3a : 3b : 4a : 4b : 5a : 5b : 6a : 6b : 7a : Indica 1 : Indica 2 : Successors


A FEW days after this, envoys reached Alexander from the people called Abian Scythians, whom Homer commended in his poem, calling them the justest of men. This nation dwells in Asia and is independent, chiefly by reason of its poverty and love of justice. Envoys also came from the Scythians of Europe, who are the largest nation dwelling in that continent.’ Alexander sent some of the Companions with them, under the pretext indeed that they were to conclude a friendly alliance by the embassy ; but the real object of the mission was rather to spy into the natural features of the Scythian land, the number of the inhabitants and their customs, as well as the armaments which they possessed for making military expeditions He formed a plan of founding a city near the river Tanais, which was to be named after himself; for the site seemed to him suitable and likely to cause the city to grow to large dimensions. He also thought it would be built in a place which would serve as a favourable basis of operations for aninvasion of Scythia, if such an event should ever occur; and not only so, but it would also be a bulwark to secure the land against the incursions of the barbarians dwelling on the further side of the river. Moreover he thought that the city would become great, both by reason of the multitude of those who would join in colonizing it, and on account of the celebrity of the name conferred upon it.’ Meantime the barbarians dwelling near the river seized upon the Macedonian soldiers who were garrisoning their cities and killed them; after which they began to strengthen the cities for their greater security. Most of the Sogdianians joined them in this revolt, being urged on to it by the men who had arrested Bessus. These men were so energetic that they even induced some of the Bactrians to join in their rebellion, either because they were afraid of Alexander, or because their seducers assigned as a reason for their revolt, that he had sent instructions to the rulers of that land to assemble for a conference at Zari aspa, the chief city; which conference, they said, would be for no good purpose.


WHEN Alexander was informed of this, he gave instructions to each particular company of infantry, to prepare the ladders which were assigned to each company. He then started from the camp and advanced to the nearest city, the name of which was Gaza; for the barbarians of the land were said to have fled for refuge into seven cities. He sent Craterus to the one called Cyropolis, the largest of them all, into which most of the barbarians had gathered.’ The orders of Craterus were to encamp near the city, to dig a trench round it, to surround it with a stockade, and to fix together the military engines which were required for use, so that the men in this city, having had their attention drawn to his forces, might be unabLe to render aid to the other cities. As soon as Alexander arrived at Gaza, without any delay he gave the signal to his men to place the ladders against the wall all round and to take it by assault at once, as it was made merely of earth and was not at all high. Simultaneously with the approach of the infantry, his slingers, archers, and javelin-throwers assailed the defenders on the wall, and missiles were hurled from the military engines, so that the wall was quickly cleared of its defenders by the multitude of the missiles. Then the fixing of the ladders and the mounting of the Macedonians upon the wall were matters soon effected. They killed all the men, according to Alexander’s injunctions; but the women, the children, and the rest of the booty they carried off as plunder. Thence he immediately marched to the city situated next to that one; and this he took in the same way and on the same day, treating the captives in the same nianner. Then he marched against the third city, and took it on the next day at the first assault. While he was thus occupied by these matters with the infantry, he sent out his cavalry to the two neighbouring cities, with orders to guard the men within them closely, so that when they heard of the capture of the neighbouring cities, and at the same time of his own near approach, they should not betake themselves to flight and render it impossible for him to pursue them. It turned out just as he had conjectured; and his dispatch of the cavalry was made just at the nick of time. For when the barbarians who occupied the two cities still uncaptured, sa~v the smoke rising from the city in front of them which was then on fire, (and some men, escaping even from the midst of the calamity itself, be~ame the reporters of the capture which they had themselves witnessed,) they began to flee in crowds out of the cities as fast as each man could; but falling in with the dense body of cavalry drawn up in array of battle, most of them were cut to pieces.


HAVING thus captured the five cities and reduced them to slavery in two days, he went to Cyropolis, the largest city in the country. It was fortified with a wall higher than those of the others, as it had been founded by Cyrus. The majority of the barbarians of this district, and at the same time the most warlike of them, had fled for refuge thither, and consequently it was not possible for the Macedonians to capture it so easily at the first assault. Wherefore Alexander brought his military engines up to the wall with the determination of battering it down in this direction, and of making assaults wherever breaches might be made in it from time to time. But when he observed that the course of the river, which flows through the city when it is swollen by the winter rains, was at that time nearly dry and did not reach up to the wall, and would thus afford his soldiers a passage by which to penetrate into the city, he took the body-guards, the shield-bearing guards, the archers, and Agrianians, and made his way secretly into the city along the channel, at first with a few men, while the barbarians had turned their attention towards the military engines and those who were assailing them in that direction. Having from within broken open the gates which were opposite this position, he gave an easy admittance to the rest of his soldiers. Then the barbarians, though they per. ceived that their city was already in the hands of the enemy, nevertheless turned against Alexander and his men and made .a desperate assault upon them, in which Alexander himself received a violent blow on the head and neck with a stone, and Craterus was wounded with an arrow, as were also rnany other officers. Notwithstanding this, however, they drove the barbarians out of the market-place. Meantime, those who had made the assault upon the wall, took it, as it was now void of defenders. In the first capture of the city about 8,ooo of the enemy were killed. The rest fled for refuge into the citadel; for 55,000 warriors in all had gathered toget her into the city. Alexander encamped around these and besieged them for one day,’ and then they surrendered through lack of water. The seventh city he took at the first assault. Ptolemy says that the men in it surrendered; but Aristobulus asserts that this city was also taken by storm, and that he slew all who were captured therein. Ptolemy also says that he distributed the men among the army and ordered that they should be kept guarded in chains until he should depart from the country, so that none of those who had effected the revolt should be left behind. Meantime an army of the Asiatic Scythians arrived at the bank of the river Tanais, because most of them had heard that some of the barbarians on the opposite side of the river had revolted from Alexanaer. They intended to attack the Macedonians, if any revolutionary movement worthy of consideration were effected. News was also brought that Spitamenes was besieging the men who had been left in the citadel at Maracanda. Against him Alexander then dispatched Andromachus, Menedemus, and Caranus with sixty of the Companion cavalry, 8oo of the mercenary cavalry under the command of Caranus, and 1,500 mercenary infantry. Over them he placed Pharnuches the interpreter, who, though by birth a Lycian, was skilled in the language of the barbarians of this country, and in other respects appeared clever in dealing’ with them.


IN twenty days he fortified the city which he was pr~jecting, and settled in it some of the Grecian mercenaries and those of the neighbouring barbarians who volunteered to take part in the settlement, as well as some of the Macedonians from his army who were now unfit for military service.’ He then offered sacrifice to the gods in his customary manner and celebrated an equestrian and gymnastic contest. When he saw that the Scythians were not retiring from the river’s bank, but were seen shooting arrows into the river, which was not wide here, and were uttering audacious words in their barbaric tongue to insult Alexander, to the effect that he durst not touch Scythians, or if he did, he would learn what was the difference between them and the Asiatic barbarians, he ~vas irritated by these remarks, and having resolved to cross over against them, he began to prepare the skins for the passage of the river.’ But when he offered sacrifice with a view to crossing, the victims proved to be unfavourable; and though he was vexed at their not being favourable, he nevertheless controlled himself and remained where he was. But as the Scythians did not desist from their insults, he again offered sacrifice with a view to crossing; and Aristander the soothsayer told him that the omens still portended danger to himself. But Alexander said that it was better for him to come into extreme danger than that, after having subdued almost the whole of Asia, he should be a laughing-stock to Scythians, as Darius, the father of Xerxes, had been in days of yore.’ Aristander refused to explain the will of the gods contrary to the revelations made by the deity simply because Alexander wished to hear the contrary. When the skins had been prepared for the passage, and the army, fully equipped, had been posted near the river, the military engines, at the signal preconcerted, began to shoot at the Scythians riding along the river’s bank. Some of them were wounded by the missiles, and one was struck right through the wicker-shield and breastplat e and fell from his horse. The others, being alarmed at the discharge of missiles from so great a distance, and at the death of their champion, retreated a little from the bank. But Alexander, seeing them thrown into confusion by the effect of his missiles, began to cross the river with trumpets sounding, himself leading the way; and the rest of the army followed him. Having first got the archers and slingers across, he ordered them to sling and shoot at the Scythians, to prevent them approaching the phalanx of infantry stepping out of the water, until all his cavalry had passed over. When they were upon the bank in dense mass, he first of all launched against the Scythians one regiment of the Grecian auxiliary cavalry and four squadrons of pike-men. These the Scythians received, and in great numbers riding round them in circles, wounded them, as they were few in number, themselves escaping with ease. But Alexander mixed the archers, the Agrianians, and other light troops under- the command of Balacrus, with the cavalry, and then led them against the enemy. As soon as they came to close quarters, he ordered three regiments of the cavalry Companions and all the horse-javelin-men to charge them. The rest of the cavalry he himself led, and made a rapid attaQ’ with his squadrons in column. Accordingly the enemy were no longer able as before to wheel their cavalry force round in circles, for at one and the same time the cavalry and the light-armed infantry mixed with the horsemen pressed upon them, and did not permit them to wheel about in safety. Then the flight of the Scythians was already apparent. 1,000 of them fell, including Satraces, one of their chiefs and 150 were captured. But as the pursuit was keen and fatiguing on account of the excessive heat, the entire army was seized with thirst; and Alexander himself while riding drank of such water as was procurable in that country. He was seized with an incessant diarrhcea; for the water was bad; and for this reason he could not pursue all the Scythians. Otherwise I think all of them would have perished in the flight, if Alexander had not fallen ill. He was carried back to the camp, having fallen into extreme danger; and thus Aristander’s prophecy was fulfilled.


SooN after this, arrived envoys from the king of the Scythians, who were sent to apologize for what had been done, and to state that it was not the act of the Scythian State, but of certain men who set out for plunder after the manner of freebooters. They also assured him that their king was willing to obey the commands laid upon him. Alexander sent to him a courteous reply, because it did not seem honourable for him to abstain from marching against him if he distrusted him, and at that time there was not a convenient opportunity to do so. The Macedonians who were garrisoning the citadel at Maracanda, when an assault was made upon it by Spitamenes and his adherents, sallied forth, and killing some of the enemy and repulsing all the rest, retreated into the citadel without any loss. But when Spitamenes was informed that the men dispatched by Alexander to Maracanda were now drawing near, he raised the siege of the citadel, and retired to the capital of Sogdiana.’ Pharnuches and the generals with him, being eager to drive him out altogether, followed him up as he was retreating towards the frontiers of Sogdiana, and without due consideration made a joint attack upon the Nomad Scythians. Then Spitamenes, having received a reinforcement of 6oo Scythian horsemen, was further emboldened by the Scythian alliance to wait and receive the Macedonians who were advancing upon him. Posting his men in a level place near the Scythian desert, he was not willing either to wait for the enemy or to attack them himself; but rode round and discharged arrows at the phalanx of infantry. When the forces of Pharnuches made a charge upon them, they easily escaped, since their horses were swifter and at that time more vigorous, while the cavalry of Andrornachus had been exhausted by the incessant marching, as well as by lack of fodder; and the Scythians pressed upon them with all their might whether they halted or retreated. Many of them then were wounded by the arrows, and some were killed. The leaders therefore arranged the soldiers in to the form of a square and retreated to the river Polytimetus,’ because there was a woody glen near it, and it would consequently no longer be easy for the barbarians to shoot arrows at them, and their infantry would be more useful to them. But Caranus, the commander of the cavalry, without communicating with Andromachus, attempted to cross the river in order to put the cavalry in a place of safety on the other side. The infantry followed him without any word of command; their stepping into the river being made in a panic and without any discipline down pr~tpitous banks. When the barbarians perceived the error of the Macedonians, they charged into the ford here and there, horses and all. Some of them seized and held tight those who had already crossed and were departing; others being posted right in front of those who were crossing, rolled them over into the river; others shot arrows at them from the flanks; while others pressed upon the men who were Just entering the water. The Macedonians being thus encompassed with difficulty on all sides, fled for refuge into one of the small islands in the river, where they were entirely surrounded by the Scythians and the cavalry of Spitamenes, and all killed with arrows, except a few of them, whom they reduced to slavery. All of these were afterwards killed.


But Aristobulus says the greater part of this army was destroyed by an ambuscade, the Scythians having hidden themselves in a park and fallen upon the Macedonians from their place of concealment, when Pharnuches was in the very act of trying to retire from the command in favour of the Macedonians who had been sent with him, on the ground of his not being skilled in military affairs, and of his having been sent by Alexander rather to win the favour of the barbarians than to take the supreme command in battles. He also alleged that the Macedonian officers present were the king’s Companions. But Andromachus, Menedemus, and Caranus declined to accept the chief command, partly because it did not seem right to make any alteration on their own responsibility contrary to Alexander’s instructions to them, and partly because in the very crisis of danger, they were unwilling, if they met with any defeat, not only individually to take a share of the blame, but also having exercised the command unsuccessfully to incur the whole of it. In this confusion and disorder the barbarians fell upon them, and cut them all off, so that not more than forty horsemen and 300 foot preserved their lives.’ When the report of this reached Alexander, he was chagrined at the loss of his soldiers, and resolved to march with all speed against Spitamenes and his barbarian adherents. He therefore took half of the Companion cavalry, all the shield-bearing guards, the archers, the Agrianians, and the lightest men of the phalanx, and went towards Maracanda, where he ascertained Spitamenes had returned and was again besieging the men in the citadel. Having travelled 1,500 stades in three days, at the approach of dawn on the fourth day he came near the city ; but when Spitamenes and his party were informed of Alexander’s approach, they did not remain, but abandoned the city and fled. Alexander pursued them closely ; and coining to the place where the battle was fought, he buried his soldiers as well as the circumstances permitted, and then followe d the fugitives as far as the desert. Returning thence, he laid the land waste, and slew the barbarians who had fled for refuge into the fortified places, because they were reported to have taken part in the attack upon the Macedonians.’ He traversed the whole country which the river Polytimetus waters in its course; but the country beyond the place where the water of this river disappears is desert; for though it has abundance of water, it disappears into the sand. Other large and perennial rivers in that region disappear in a similar way —the Epardus, which flows through the land of the Mardians; the Areius, after which the country of the Areians is named; and the Etymander, which flows through the territory of the Euergetae. All of these are rivers of such a size that none of them is smaller than the Thessalian river Peneius, which flows through Tempê and discharges itself into the sea. The Polytimetus is much too large to be compared with the river Peneius.


WHEN he had accomplished this, he came to Zariaspa; where he remained until the depth of winter arrived. At this time came to him Phrataphernes the viceroy of Parthia, and Stasanor, who had been sent into the land of the Areians to arrest Arsames.6 Him they brought with them in chains, as also Barzanes, whom Bessus had appointed viceroy of the land of the Parthians, and some others of those who at that time had joined Bessus in revolt. At the same time arrived from the sea, Epocillus, Melamnidas and Ptolemy, the general of the Thracians, who had convoyed down to the sea the Grecian allies and the money sent with Menes, At this time also arrived Asander and Nearchus at the head of an army of Grecian mercenaries: Asclepiodorus, viceroy of Syria, and Menes the deputy also arrived from the sea, at the head of another army. Then Alexander gathered a conference of those who were then at hand, and led Bessus in before them. Having accused him of the betrayal of Darius, he ordered his nose and ears to be cut off, and that he should be taken to Ecbatana to be put to death there in the council of the Medes and Persians. I do not commend this excessive punishment of Bessus; on the contrary, I consider that the mutilation of the prominent features of the body is a barbaric custom, and I agree with those who say that Alexander was led on by degrees to indulge his desire of emulating the Median and Persian wealth and to treat his subjects as inferior beings in his intercourse with them according to the custom of the foreign kings. Nor do I by any means commend him for changing the Macedonian style of dress of his fathers, for the Median one, being as he was a descendant of Heracles. Besides, he was not ashamed to exchange the head-dress which he the conqueror had so long worn, for that of the conquered Persians. None of these things do I commend; but I consider Alexander’s great achievements prove, if anything can, that supposing a man to have a vigorous bodily constitution, to be illustrious in descent, and to be even more successful in war than Alexander himself; even supposing he could sail right round Libya as well as Asia, and hold them both in subjection as Alexander indeed designed; even if he could add the possession of Europe to that of Asia and Libya; all these things would be no furtherance to such a man’s happiness, unless at the same time he possess the power of self-control, though he has performed deeds which are supposed to be great.’


HERE then I shall give an account of the tragic fate of Clitus, son of Dropidas, and of Alexander’s mishap in regard to it. Though it occurred a little while after this, it will not be out of place here. The Macedonians kept a day sacred to Dionysus, and on that day Alexander used to offer sacrifice to him every year. But they say that on this occasion he was neglectful of Dionysus, and sacrificed to the Dioscouri instead; for he had resolved to offer sacrifice to those deities for some reason or other. When the drinking-party on this occasion had already gone on too long (for Alexander had now made innovations even in regard to drinking, by imitating too much the custom of foreigners), and in the midst of the carouse a discussion had arisen about the Dioscuri, how their procreation had been taken away from Tyndareus and ascribed to Zeus, some of those present, in order to flatter Alexander, maintained that Polydeuces and Castor were in no way worthy to compare with him and his exploits. Such men have always destroyed and will never cease to ruin the interests of those who happen to be reigning.’ In their carousal they did not even abstain from (comparing him with) Heracles saying that envy stood in the way of the living receiving the honours due to them from their associates. It was well known that Clitus had long been vexed at Alexander for the change in his style of living in excessive imitatiOn of foreign customs, and at those who flattered him with their speech. At that time also, being heated with wine, he would not permit them either to insult the deity or, by depreciating the deeds of the ancient heroes, to confer upon Alexander this gratification which deserved no thanks. He affirmed Alexander’s deeds were neither in fact at all so great or marvellous as they represented in their laudation; nor had he achieved them by himself, but for the most part they were the deeds of the Macedonians. The delivery of this speech annoyed Alexander; and I do not commend it, for I think, in such a drunken bout, it wou ld have been sufficient if, so far as he was personally concerned, he had kept silence, and not comtnitted the error of indulging in the same flattery as the others. But when some even mentioned Philip’s actions without exercising a just judgment, declaring that he had performed nothing great or marvellous, they herein gratified Alexander; but Clitus being then no longer able to contain himself, began to put Philip’s achievements in the first rank, and to depreciate Alexander and his performances. Clitus being now quite intoxicated, made other depreciatory remarks and even vehemently reviled him, because forsooth he had saved his life, when the cavalry battle had been fought with the Persians at the Granicus. Then indeed, arrogantly stretching out his right hand, he said :—“ This hand, 0 Alexander, preserved thee on that occasion.” Alexander could now no longer endure the drunken insolence of Clitus; but jumped up against him in a great rage. He was however restrained by his boon companions. As Clitus did not desist from his insulting remarks, Alexanc1er shouted Out a summons for his shield-bearing guards to a~end him; but when no one obeyed him, he said that he was reduced to the same position as Darius, when he was led about under arrest by Bessus and his adherents, and that he now possessed the mere name of king. Then his companions were no longer able to restrain him ; for according to some he leaped up and snatched a javelin from one of his confidential body-guards; according to others, a long pike from one of his ordinary guards, with which he struck Clitus and killed him.’ Aristobulus does not say whence the drunken quarrel originated, but asserts that the fault was entirely on the side of Clitus, who, when Alexander had got so enraged with him as to jump up against him with the intention of making an end of him; was led away by Ptolemy, son of Lagus. the confidential body-guard, through the gateway, beyond the wall and ditch of the citadel where the quarrel occurred. He adds that Clitus could not control himself, but went back again, and falling in with Alexander who was calling out for Clitus, he exclaimed :—“ Alexander, here am I, Clitus!” Thereupon he was struck with a long pike and killed.


I THINK Clitus deserving of severe censure for his insolent behaviour to his king, while at the same time I pity Alexander for his mishap, because on that occasion he showed himself the slave of two vices, anger and drunkenness, by neither of which is it seemly for a prudent man to be enslaved. But then on the other hand I think his subsequent behaviour worthy of praise, because directly after he had done the deed he recognized that it was a horrible one. Some of his biographers even say that he propped the pike against the wall with the intention of falling upon it himself, thinking that it was not proper for him to live who had killed his friend when under the influence of wine.’ Most historians do not mention this, but say that he went off to bed and lay there lamenting, calling Clitus himself by name, and his sister Lanice, daughter of Dropidas, who had been his nurse. He exclaimed that having reached man’s estate he had forsooth bestowed on her a noble reward for her care in rearing him, as she had lived to see her own sons die fighting on his behalf, and he himself had slain her brother with his own hand.’ He did not cease calling himself the murderer of his friends; and for three days rigidly abstained from food and drink, and paid no attention whatever to his personal appearance. Some of the soothsayers revealed that the avenging wrath of Dionysus had been the cause of his conduct, because he had omitted the sacrifice to that deity.’ At last with great difficulty he was induced by his companions to touch food and to pay proper attention to his person. He then paid to Dionysus the sacrifice due to him, since he was not at all unwilling that the fatality should be attributed rather to the avenging wrath of the deity than to his own depravity. I think Alexander deserves great praise for this, that he did not obstinately persevere in evil, or still worse become a defender and- advocate of the others, at any rate among the Athenians an exile would be able to find preservation; for they waged war on behalf o f the sons of Heracles against Eurystheus, who at that time was ruling as a despot over Greece.”’ How he resisted Alexander in regard to the ceremony of prostration, the following is the most received account. An arrangement was made between Alexander and the Sophists in conjunction with the most illustrious of the Persians and Medes who were in attendance upon him, that this topic should be mentioned at a wine-party. Anaxatihus commenced the discussion by saying that Alexander would much more justly be deemed a god than either Dionysus or Heracles, not only on account of the very numerous and mighty exploits which he had performed, but also because Dionysus was only a Theban, in no way related to Macedonians; and Heracles was an Argive, not at all related to them, except in regard to Alexander’s pedigree; for he was a descendant of Heracles. He added that the Macedonians might with greater justice gratify their king with divine honours, for there was no doubt about this, that when he departed from men they would honour him as a god. How much more just then would it be to reward him while alive, than after his death, when it would be no advantage to him to be honoured.


WHEN Anaxarchus had uttered these remarks and others of a similar kind, those who were privy to the plan applauded his speech, and wished at once to begin the ceremony of prostration. Most of the Macedonians, however, were vexed ‘ at the speech and kept silence. But Callisthenes interposed and said :—“ 0 Anaxarchus, I openly declare that there is no honour which Alexander is unworthy to receive, provided that it is consistent with his being human; but men have made distinctions between those honours which are due to men, and those due to gods, in many different ways, as for instance by the building of temples and by the erection of statues. Moreover for the gods sacred inclosures are selected, to them sacrifice is offered, and to them libations are made. Hymns also are composed in honour of the gods, and eulogies for men. But the greatest distinction is made by the custom of prostration. For it is the practice that men should be kissed by those who salute them;  but because the deity is located somewhere above, it is not lawful even to touch him, and this is the reason no doubt why he is honoured by prostration. Bands of choral dancers are also appointed for the gods, and paeans are sung in their honour. And this is not at all wonderful, seeing that certain honours are specially assigned to some of the gods and certain others to other gods, and, by Zeus, quite different ones again are assigned to heroe~, which are very distinct from those paid to the deity.’ It is not therefore reasonable to confound all these distinctions without discrimination, exalting men to a rank above their condition by extravagant accumulation of honours, and debasing the gods, as far as lies in human power, to an unseemly level, by paying them honours only equal to those paid to men.” He said that Alexander would not endure the affront, if some pri~Jte individual ~vere to be thrust into his royal honours by an unjust vote, either by show of hands or by ballot. Much more justly then would the gods be indignant at those mortals who usurp divine honours or suffer themselves to be thrust into them by others. “ Alexander not only seems to be, but is in reality beyond any competition t~e bravest of brave men, of kings the most kingly~tnd of generals the most worthy to comrn~nd an army. 0 Anaxarchus, it was thy duty rather than any other man’s, to become the special advocate of these arguments now adduced by me, and the opponent of those contrary to them, seeing that thou associatest with him for the purpose of imparting philosophy and instruction. Therefore it was unseemly to begin this discussion, when thou oughtest to have remembered that thou art not associating with and giving advice to Cambyses or Xerxes, but to the son of Philip, who derives his origin from Heracles and Aeacus,1 whose ancestors came into Macedonia from Argos, and have continued to rule the Macedonians, not by force, but by law. Not even to Heracles himself while still alive were divine honours paid by the Greeks and even after his death they were withheld until a decree had been published by the oracle of the god at Delphi that men should honour Heracles as a god. But if, because the discussion is held  in the land of foreigners, we ought to adopt the sentiments of foreigners, I for my part demand, 0 Alexander, that thou shouldst be-think thyself of Greece, for whose sake the whole of this expedition was undertaken by thee, that thou mightest join Asia to Greece. Therefore make up thy mind whether thou wilt return thither and compel the Greeks, who are men most devoted to freedom, to pay thee the honour of prostration, or whether thou wilt keep aloof from Greeks, and inflict this dishonour on the Macedonians alone, or thirdly whether~ thou wilt thyself make a difference altogether as to the honours to be paid thee, so as to be honoured by the Greeks and Macedonians as a human being and after the manner of the Greeks, and by foreigners alone after the foreign fashion. But if it is said that Cyrus, son of Cambyses, was the first man to whom the honour of prostrat ion was paid and that afterwards this degrading ceremony continued in vogue among the Persians and Medes, we ought to bear in mind that the Scythians, men poor but independent, chastened that Cyrus , that other Scythians again chastened Darius, as the Athenians and Lacedaemonians did Xerxes, as Clearchus and Xenophon with their io,ooo followers did Artaxerxes; and finally, that Alexander, though not honoured with prostration, has chastened this Darius.”


By making these and other remarks of a similar kind, Callisthenes greatly annoyed Alexander, but spoke the exact sentiments of the Macedonians. When the king perceived this, he sent to prevent the Macedonians from making any further mention of the ceremony of prostration. But after the discussion silence ensued and then the most honour-able of the Persians arose in due order and prostrated their bodies before him. But when one of the Persians seemed to have performed the ceremony in an awkward way, Leonnatus, one of the Companions, laughed at his posture as mean. Alexander at the time was angry with him for this, but was afterwards reconciled to him. The following account has also been given :—Alexander drank from a golden goblet the health of the circle of guests, and handed it first to those with whom he had concerted the ceremony of prostration. The first who drank from the goblet rose up and performed the act of prostration, and received a kiss from him. This ceremony proceeded from one to another in due order. But when the pledging of health came to the turn of Callisthenes, he rose up and drank from the goblet, and drew near, wishing to kiss the king without performing the act of prostration. Alexander happened then to be conversing with Hephaestion, and consequently did not observe whether Callisthenes performed the ceremony completely or not. But when Callisthenes was approaching to kiss him, Demetrius, son of Pythonax, one of the Companions, said that he was doing so without having prostrated himself. So the king would not permit him to kiss him whereupon the philosopher said :—“ I am going away only with the loss of a kiss.” I by no means approve any of these proceedings, which manifested both the insolence of Alexander on the present occasion and the churlish nature of Callisthenes. But I think that, so far as regards himself, it would have been quite sufficient if he had expressed himself discreetly, magnifying as much as possible the exploits of the king, with whom no one thought it a dishonour to associate. Therefore I consider that not without reason Callisthenes became odious to Alexander on account of the unseasonable freedom of speech in which he indulged,’ as well as from the egregious fatuity of his conduct. I surmise that this was the reason why such easy credit was given to those who accused him of participating in the conspiracy formed against Alexander by his pages, and to those also who affirmed that they had been incited to engage in the conspiracy by him alone. The facts of this conspiracy were as follows


IT was a custom introduced by Philip, that the sons of those Macedonians who had enjoyed high office, should, as soon as they reached the age of puberty, be selected to attend the king’s court. These youths were entrusted with the general attendance on the king’s person and the protection of his body while he was asleep. Whenever the king rode out, some of them received the horses from the grooms, and brought them to him, and others assisted him to mount in the Persian fashion. They were also companions of .the king in the emulation of the chase.’ Among these youths was Hermolaus, son of Sopolis, who seemed to be applying his mind to the study of philosophy, and to be cultivating the society of Callisthenes for this purpose. There is current a tale about this youth to the effect that, in the chase, a boar rushed at Alexander, and that Hermolaus anticipated him by casting a javelin at the beast, by which it was smitten and killed. But Alexander, having lost the opportunity of distinguishing himself by being too late in the assault, was indignant with Hermolaus, and in his wrath ordered him to receive a scourging in sight of the other pages; and also deprived him of his horse. This Hermolaus, being chagrined at the disgrace he had incurred, told Sostratus, son of Amyntas, who was his equal in age and intimate confidential friend, that life would be insupportable to him unless he could take vengeance upon Alexander for the affront. He easily persuaded Sostratus to join in the enterprise, since he was fondly attached to him. They gained over to their plans Antipater, son of Asclepiodorus, who had been viceroy of Syria, Epimenes son of Arseas, Anticles son of Theocritus, and Philotas son of Carsis the Thracian. They therefore agreed to kill the king by attacking him in his sleep, on the night when the nocturnal watch came round to Antipater’s turn. Some say that Alexander accidentally happened to be drinking until day-break; but Aristobulus has given the following account: A Syrian woman, who was under the inspirat ion of the deity, used to follow Alexander about. At first she was a subject of mirth to Alexander and his courtiers; but when all that she said in her inspiration was seen to be true, he no longer treated her with neglect, but she was allowed to have free access to him both by night and day, and she often took her stand near him even when he was asleep. And indeed on that occasion, when he was withdrawing from the drinking-party she met him, being under the inspiration of the deity at the time, and besought him to return and drink all night. Alexander, thinking that there was something divine in the warning, returned and went on drinking ; and thus the enterprise of the pages fell through. The next day, Epimenes, son of Arseas, one of those who took part in the conspiracy, spoke of the undertaking to Charicles, son of Menander, who had become his confidential friend; and Charicles told it to Eurylochus, brother of Epimenes. Eurylochus went to Alexander’s tent and related the whole affair to Ptolemy, son of Lagus, one of the confidential body-guards. He told Alexander, who ordered those whose names had been mentioned by Eurylochus to be arrested. These, being put on the rack, confessed their own conspiracy, and mentioned the names of certain others.


ARISTOBULUS says that the youths asserted it was Callisthenes who instigated them to make the daring attempt; and Ptolemy says the same.’ Most writers, however, do not agree with this, but represent that Alexander readily believed the worst about Callisthenes, from the hatred which he already felt towards him, and because Hermolaus was known to be exceedingly intimate with him. Some authors have also recorded the following particulars :—that Hermolaus was brought before the Macedonians, to ~vhom he confessed that he had conspired against the king’s life, because it ~vas no longer possible for a free man to bear his insolent tyranny. He then recounted all his acts of despotism, the illegal execution of Philotas, the still more illegal one of his father Parmenio and of the others who were put to death at that time, the murder of Clitus in a fit of drunkenness, the assumption of the Median garb, the introduction of the ceremony of prostration, which had been planned and not yet relinquished, and the drinking-bouts and lethargic sleep arising from them. He said that, being no longer able to bear these things, he wished to free both himself and the other Macedonians. These same authors say that Hermolaus himself and those who had been arrested with him were stoned to death by those who were present. Aristobulus says that Callisthenes was carried about with the army bound with fetters, and afterwards died a natural death; but Ptolemy, son of Lagus, says that he was stretched upon the rack and then hanged. Thus not even did these authors, whose narratives are very trustworthy, and who at the time were in intimate association with Alexander, give accounts consistent with each other of events so well known, and the circumstances of which could not have escaped their notice. Other writers have given many various details of these same proceedings which are inconsistent with each other; but I think I have written quite sufficient on this subject. Though these events took place shortly after, I have described them amon g those which happened to Alexander in reference to Clitus, because, for the purposes of narrative, I consider them very intimately connected with each other.