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Fail of The city fell, and Alexander took the resolution of

Miletus. disbanding his own fleet altogether, and concen-
trating all his operations on the land — doubtless a wise, but
desperate measure. He supposed, and rightly, that after
he had taken the cities on the coast, the Persian fleet
would be useless, and the country would be insured to his
army.

Alexander found some difficulty at the siege of Halicarnas-
sus, from the bravery of the garrison, commanded by Mem-
non, and the strength of the defenses, aided by the Persian
The siege of fleet. But his soldiers, " protected from missiles by

Haliearnas- x . *

bus. movable pent-houses, called tortoises, gradually

filled up the deep and wide ditch round the town, so as to
open a level road for his engines (rolling towers of wood) to
come up close to the Avails." Then the battering-rams over-
threw the towers of the city wall, and made a breach in them,
so that the city was taken by assault. Memnon, forced to
abandon his defenses, withdrew the garrison by sea, and
Alexander entered the city. The ensuing winter months
Conquest of were employed in the conquest of Lydia, Pam-
Asia Minor, phylia, and Pisidia, which was effected easily, since
the terror of his arms led to submission wherever he ap-
peared. At Gordium, in Phrygia, he performed the exploit
familiarly known as the cutting of the Gordian knot, which
was a cord so twisted and entangled, that no one could untie
it. The oracle had pronounced that to the person who
should untie it, the empire of Persia was destined. Alexan-
der, after many futile attempts to disentangle the knot, in a



Chap. XXV.] Darius neglects the Passes. 383

fit of impatience, cut it with his sword, and this was accepted
as the solution of the problem.

Meanwhile Memnon, to whom Darius had intrusted the
guardianship of the whole coast of Asia Minor, with a large
Phoenician fleet and a considerable body of Grecian mercen-
aries, acquired the important island of Chios, and a large part
of Lesbos. But in the midst of his successes, he died of
sickness, and no one was left able to take his place. Had
his advice been taken, Alexander could not have landed in
Asia. His death was an irreparable loss to the The Persians
Persian cause, and with his death vanished all hope fensiveoper-
of employing the Persian force with wisdom and atlons -
effect. Darius now changed his policy, and resolved to carry
on offensive measures on the land. He therefore summoned a
vast army, from all parts of his empire, of five hundred
thousand infantry, and one hundred thousand cavalry. An
eminent Athenian, Charidemus, advised the Persian king to
employ his great treasure in subsidizing the Greeks, and not to
dream, with his undisciplined Asiatics, to oppose the
Macedonians in battle. But the advice was so unpalatable
to the proud and self-reliant king, in the midst of his vast
forces, that he looked upon Charidemus as a traitor, and sent
him to execution.

It would not have been difficult for Darius to defend his
kingdom, had he properly guarded the mountain passes
through which Alexander must needs march to in- Neglect to
vade Persia. Here again Darius was infatuated, mountain
and he, in his self-confidence, left the passes over i' asses -
Mount Taurus and Mount Amanus undefended. Alexander,
with re-enforcements from Macedonia, now marched from
Gordium through Paphlagonia and Cappadocia, whose in-
habitants made instant submission, and advanced to the Cili-
cian Gates — an impregnable pass in the Taurus range, which
opened the way to Cilicia. It had been traversed Whicn A]ex .
seventy years before by Cyrus the Younger, with throi^un-
the ten thousand Greeks, and was the main road obstructed.
from Asia Minor into Cilicia and Syria. The narrowest part



384 Alexander the Great. [Chap. xxy.

of this defile allowed only four soldiers abreast, and here
Darius should have taken his stand, even as the Greeks took
possession of Thermopylae in the invasion of Xerxes. But
the pass was utterly undefended, and Alexander marched
through unobstructed without the loss of a man. He then
found himself at Tarsus, where he made a long halt, from a
dangerous illness which he got by bathing in the river
Cydnus. When he recovered, he sent Parmenio to secure the
pass over Mount Amanus, six days' march from Tarsus, called
the Cilician Gates. These were defended, but the guard fled
at the approach of the Macedonians, and this important de-
file was secured. Alexander then marched through Issus to
Myriandrus, to the south of the Cilician Gates, which he had
infatuation passed. The Persians now advanced from Sochi

and errors of , . , >

the Persians, and appeared in his rear at Issus — a vast host, in
the midst of which was Darius with his mother, his Avife, his
harem, and children, who accompanied him to witness his
anticipated triumph, for it seemed to him an easy matter to
overwhelm and crush the invaders, who numbered only
about forty thousand men. So impatient was Darius to
attack Alexander that he imprudently advanced into Cilicia
by the northern pass, now called Beylan, with all his army,
so that in the narrow defiles of that country his cavalry was
nearly useless. He encamped near Issus, on the river
Pinarus. Alexander, learning that Darius was in his rear,
retraced his steps, passed north through the Gates of Cilicia,
through which he had marched two days before, and ad-
The Persians vanced to the river Pinarus, on the north bank of

advance to . . ,

issus. which Darius was encamped. And here Darius

resolved to fight. He threw across the river thirty thousand
cavalry and twenty thousand infantry, to insure the undis-
turbed formation of his main force. His main line was com-
posed of ninety thousand hoplites, of which thirty thousand
were Greek in the centre. On the mountain to his left, he
posted twenty thousand, to act against the right wing of the
Macedonian army. He then recalled the thirty thousand
cavalry and twenty thousand infantry, which he had sent



Chap. XXV.] Battle of Issus. 385

across the river, and awaited the onset of Alexander
Darius was in his chariot, in the centre, behind the Grecian
hoplites. But the ground was so uneven, that only a part of
his army could fight. A large proportion of it were mere
spectators.

Alexander advanced to the attack. The left wing was
commanded by Parmenio, and the right by him- The „ reat
self, on which were placed the Macedonian cavalry, battieof iVe
The divisions of the phalanx were in the centre, l3SUS -
and the Peloponnesian cavalry and Thracian light infantry on
the left. The whole front extended only one and a half mile.
Crossing the river rapidly, Alexander, at the head of his
cavalry, light infantry, and some divisions of the phalanx,
fell suddenly upon the Asiatic hoplites which were stationed
on the Persian left. So impetuous and unexpected was the
charge, that the troops instantly fled, vigorously pressed by
the' Macedonian right. Darius, from his chariot, saw the
flight of his left wing, and, seized with sudden panic, caused
his chariot to be turned, and fled also among the foremost fugi-
tives. In his terror he cast away his bow, shield, and regal
mantle. He did not give a single order, nor did he remain
a moment after the defeat of his left, as he ought, for he
was behind thirty thousand Grecian hoplites, in the centre,
but abandoned himself to inglorious flight, and this was the
signal for a general flight also of all his troops, who turned
and trampled each other down in their efforts to get beyond
the reach of the enemy.

Thus the battle was lost by the giving way of the Asiatic
hoplites on the left, and the flight of Darius in a The mistakes

r ' » of the Per-

few minutes after. The Persian right showed sians. and

. the cowardice

some bravery, tdl Alexander, having completed of nanus,
the rout of the left, turned to attack the Grecian mercena-
ries in the flank and rear, when all fled in terror. The
slaughter of the fugitives was prodigious. The camp of
Darius was taken, with his mother, wife, sister, and chil-
dren. One hundred thousand Persians were slain, not in

fight, but in flight, and among them were several eminent
25



386 Alexander the Great. [Chap. xxv.

satraps and grandees. The Persian hosts were completely-
dispersed, and Darius did not stop till he had crossed the
Euphrates. The booty acquired was immense, in gold,
silver, and captives.

Such was the decisive battle of Issus, where the cowardice
and incompetency of Darius were more marked than the
generalship of Alexander himself. No victory was ever
impmtnnt followed by more important consequences. It

consequences -it-»«

of the battle, dispersed the Persian hosts, and opened Persia to
a victorious enemy, and gave an irresistible prestige to the
conqueror. The fall of the empire was rendered probable,
and insured successive triumphs to Alexander.

But before he proceeded to the complete conquest of the Per-
The flight sian empire, Alexander, like a prudent and far-reach-

and inaction . . _. - .

of Darius, mg general, impetuous as he was, concluded to sub-
due first all the provinces which lay on the coast, and thus
make the Persian fleet useless, and ultimately capture it, and
leave his rear without an enemy. Accordingly he sent Par-
menio to capture Damascus, where were collected immense
treasures. It was surrendered without resistance, though it
was capable of sustaining a siege. There were captured vast
treasures, with prodigious numbers of Persians of high rank,
and many illustrious Greek exiles. Master of Damascus,
Alexander, in the winter of b. c. 331, advanced upon Phoenicia,
the cities of which mostly sent letters of submission. While
at Maranthus, Darius wrote to Alexander, asking for the
restitution of his wife, mother, sister, and daughter, and ten-
dering friendship, to which Alexander replied in a haughty
letter, demanding to be addressed, not as an equal, but as
lord of Asia.

The last hope of Darius was in the Phoenicians, who furnish-
ed him ships ; and one city remained firm in its allegiance —
Tyre — the strongest and most important place in Phoenicia.
But even this city would have yielded on fair and honorable
conditions. This did not accord with Alexander's views,
who made exorbitant demands, which could not be accepted
by the Tyrians without hazarding their all. Accordingly



Chap, xxy.] The Siege of Tyre. 387

they prepared for a siege, trusting to the impregnable de-
fenses of the city. It was situated on an islet, half The siege o{
a mile from the main land, surrounded by lofty Tyra
walls and towers of immense strength and thickness. But
nothing discouraged Alexander, who loved to surmount
difficulties. He constructed a mole from the main land to
the islet, two hundred feet wide, of stone and timber, which
was destroyed by a storm and by the efforts of the Tyrians.
Nothing daunted, he built another, still wider and stronger,
and repaired to Sidon, where he collected a great fleet, with
which he invested the city by sea, as well as land. The doom
of the city was now sealed, and the Tyrians could offer no
more serious obstructions. The engines were then rolled
along the mole to the walls, and a breach was at last
made, and the city was taken by assault. The citizens then
barricaded the streets, and fought desperately until they
were slain. The surviving soldiers were hanged, and the
women and children sold as slaves. Still the city resisted
for seven months, and its capture was really the
greatest effort of genius that Alexander had shown,
and furnished an example to Richelieu in the siege of La
Rochelle.

On the fall of this ancient and wealthy capital, whose
pride and wealth are spoken of in the Scriptures, Alex-
ander received a second letter from Darius, offering
ten thousand talents, his daughter in marriage, with the
cession of all the provinces of his empire west 0ffer of
of the Euphrates, for the surrender of his family. Danu8 -
To which the haughty and insolent conqueror replied : " I
want neither your money nor your cession. All your money
and territory are mine already, and you are ten- E e j ecte d by
dering me a part instead of the whole. If I choose Alexan(ler -
to marry your daughter I shall marry her, whether you give
her to me or not. Come hither to me, if you wish for
friendship."

Darius now saw that he must risk another desperate bat-
tle, and summoned all his hosts. Yet Alexander did not



3S8 Alexander the Great. [Ciiap. xxv.

immediately march against him, but undertook first the con-
Who con- quest of Egypt. Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine
quers Egypt were now hi Sj as we ll as Asia Minor. He had also
defeated the Persian fleet, and was master of all the islands
of the iEgean. He stopped on his way to Egypt to take
Gaza, which held out against him, built on a lofty artificial
mound two hundred and fifty feet high, and encircled with a
lofty wall. The Macedonian engineers pronounced the place
impregnable, but the greater the difficulty the greater the
eagerness of Alexander to surmount it. He accordingly
built a mound all around the city, as high as that on which
Gaza was built, and then rolled his engines to the wall,
effected a breach, and stormed the city, slew all the gar-
rison, and sold all the women and children for slaves. As
for Batis, the defender of the city, he was dragged by a
chariot around the town, as Achilles, whom Alexander imi-
tated, had done to the dead body of Hector. The siege of
these two cities, Tyre and Gaza, occupied nine months, and
was the hardest fighting that Alexander ever encountered.

He entered and occupied Egypt without resistance, and
Founding of resolved to found a new city, near the mouth of
Alexandria. ^ e ^[\ e ^ n0 ^ as a f u t U re capital of the commercial
world, but as a depot for his ships. While he was preparing
for this great work, he visited the temple of Jupiter Amnion
in the desert, and was addressed by the priests as the Son of
God, not as a mortal, which flattery was agreeable to him, so
that ever afterward he claimed divinity, in the arrogance of
his character, and the splendor of his successes, and even slew
the man who saved his life at the Granicus, because he denied
his divine claims — the most signal instance of self exaggera-
tion and pride recorded in history, transcending both Nebu-
chadnezzar and Napoleon.

After arranging his affairs in Egypt, and obtaining re-en-

Aiexander forcements of Greeks and Thracians, he set out

th^Euphra- for the Euphrates, which he crossed at Thapsacus,

unobstructed — another error of the Persians.

But Darius was paralyzed by the greatness of his mis-



Chap. XXV.] Battle of Arbela. 389

fortunes, and by the capture of his family, and could not act
with energy or wisdom. He collected his vast hosts on a
plain near Arbela, east of the Tigris, and waited for the ap-
proach of the enemy. He had one million of infantry, forty
thousand cavalry, and two hundred scythed chariots, besides
a number of elephants. He placed himself in the centre,
with his choice troops, including the horse and foot-guards,
and mercenary Greeks. In the rear stood deep masses of
Babylonians, and on the left and right, Bactrians, Cadusians,
Mecles, Albanians, and troops from the remote provinces. In
the front of Darius, were the scythed chariots with advanced
bodies of cavalry.

Alexander, as he approached, ranged his forces with great
care and skill, forty thousand foot and seven thou- Marshalling

... , . of the armies

sand horse. His mam line was composed, on the at Arbela.
right, of choice cavalry ; then, toward the left, of hypaspists ;
then the phalanx, in six divisions, which formed the centre ;
then Greek cavalry on the extreme left. Behind the main
line was a body of reserves, intended to guard against
attack on the flanks and rear. In front of the main line were
advanced squadrons of cavalry and light troops. The Thra-
cian infantry guarded the baggage and camp. He himself
commanded the right, and Parmenio the left.

Darius, at the commencement of the attack, ordered his
chariots to charge, and the main line to follow, calculating on
disorder. But the horses of the chariots were terrified and
wounded by the Grecian archers and darters in utter dis-

- comfiture of

front, and most turned round, or were stopped. Darius.
Those that pressed on were let through the Macedonian lines
without mischief. As at Issus, Alexander did not attack the
centre, where Darius was surrounded with the choicest troops
of the army, but advanced impetuously upon the left wing,
turned it, and advanced by a flank movement toward the
centre, where Darius was posted. The Persian king, seeing
the failure of the chariots, and the advancing troops H is insio-
of Alexander, lost his self-possession, turned his no " s lg "
chariot, and fled, as at Issus. Such folly and cowardice led,



390 Alexander the Great. [Chap. xxy.

of course, to instant defeat and rout ; and nothing was left for
the victor, but to pursue and destroy the disorderly fugi-
tives, so that the slaughter was immense. But while the left
and centre of the Persians were put to flight, the right fought
vigorously, and might have changed the fortune of the day,
had not Alexander seasonably returned from the pursuit,
and attacked the left in the rear and flank. Then all was
lost, and headlong flight marked the Persian hosts. The
battle was lost by the cowardice of Darius, who insisted,
with strange presumption, on commanding in person. Half
the troops, under an able general, would have overwhelmed
the Macedonian army, even with Alexander at the head.
But the Persians had no leader of courage and skill, and were
a mere rabble. According to some accounts, three hundred
thousand Persians were slain, and not more than one hun-
dred Macedonians. There was no attempt on the part of
Darius to rally or collect a new army. His cause and throne
were irretrievably lost, and he was obliged to fly to his far-
thest provinces, pursued by the conqueror. The battle of
The battle of Arbela was the death-blow to the Persian empire.
death-Mow We can not help feeling sentiments of indignation
to Persia. j n v ^ ew f sucn wr etched management on the part
of the Persians, thus throwing away an empire. But, on the
other hand, we are also compelled to admit the extraordinary
Miiitnry generalship of Alexander, who brought into action

genius of the „ . ... , ,

conqueror. every part oi his army, while at least three-quar-
ters of the Persians were mere spectators, so that his avail-
able force was really great. His sagacious combinations, his
perception of the weak points of his adversary, and the instant
advantage which he seized — his insight, rapidit) r of move-
ment, and splendid organization, made him irresistible against
any Persian array of numbers, without skill. Indeed, the
Persian army was too large, since it could not be commanded
by one man with any effect, and all became confusion and
ruin on the first misfortune. The great generals of antiquity,
Greek and Roman, rarely commanded over fifty thousand
men on the field of battle ; and fifty thousand, under Alex-



Chap. XXV.] Surrender of Babylon. 391

ander's circumstances, were more effective, perhaps, than
two hundred thousand. In modern times, when battles are
not decided by personal bravery, but by the number and
disposition of cannon, and the excellence of fire-arms, an
army of one hundre,d thousand can generally overwhelm an
army of fifty thousand, with the same destructive weapons.
But in ancient times, the impetuous charge of twenty thou-
sand men on a single point, followed by success, would pro-
duce a panic, and then a rout, when even flight is obstructed
by numbers. Thus Alexander succeeded both at Issus and
Arbela. He concentrated forces upon a weak point, which,
when carried, produced a panic, and especially sent dismay
into the mind of Darius, who had no nerve or self-control.
Had he remained firm, and only fought on the defensive, the
Macedonians might not have prevailed. But he fled ; and
confusion seized, of course, his hosts.

» Both Babylon and Susa, the two great capitals of the
empire, immediatelv surrendered after the decisive Surrender of

1 ' J Babylon and

battle of Arbela, and Alexander became the great susa.
king and Darius a fugitive. The treasure found at Susa was
even greater than that which Babylon furnished — about
fifty thousand talents, or fifty million dollars, one-fifth of
which, three years before, would have been sufficient to sub-
sidize Greece, and present a barrier to the conquests of both
Philip and Alexander.

The victor spent a month in Babylon, sacrificing to the
Babylonian deities, feasting his troops, and organizing his
new empire. He then marched into Persia proper, -rheenor-

1 A x mous trea-

subdued the inhabitants, and entered Persepolis. suresofthe

rm i • i i-i • Persian

lnough it was the strongest place in the empire, kings.
it made no resistance. Here were hoarded the chief trea-
sures of the Persian kings, no less than one hundred and
twenty thousand talents, or about one hundred and twenty
million dollars of our money — an immense sum in gold and
silver in that age, a tenth of which, judiciously spent, would
have secured the throne to Darius against any exterior
enemy. He was now a fugitive in Media, and thither Alex-



392 Alexander' the Great. [Chap. xxv.

ancler went at once in pursuit, giving himself no rest. He
established himself at Ecbatana, the capital, without resist-
ance, and made preparations for the invasion of the eastern
part of the Persian empire, beyond the Parthian desert,
even to the Oxus and the Indus, inhabited by warlike bar-
barians, from which were chiefly recruited the Persian armies.
It would be tedious to describe the successive conquests of
Successive Sogdiana, Margiana, Bactriana, and even some

conquests of . _ . . _

Alexander, territory beyond the Indus. Alexander never met
from these nations the resistance which Csesar found in Gaul,
nor were his battles in these eastern countries remarkable.
He only had to appear, and he was master. At last his
troops were wearied of these continual marchings and easy
victories, when their real enemies were heat, hunger, thirst,
fatigue, and toil. They refused to follow their general and
king any further to the east, and he was obliged to return.
Yet some seven years were consumed in marches and con-
quests in these remote countries, for he penetrated to Scythia
at the north, and the mouth of the Indus to the south.

It was in the expeditions among these barbarians that
some of the most disgraceful events of his life took place.
He kins his He seldom rested, but when he had leisure he in-
fnendciitus. du i ge( j j n great excesses at the festive board. His
revelries with his officers were prolonged often during the
night, and when intoxicated, he did things which gave
him afterward the deepest remorse, and shame. Thus
he killed, with his own hand, Clitus, at a feast, because
Clitus ventured to utter some truths which were in
opposition to his notions of omnipotence. But the agony
Agony and of remorse was so great, that he remained in

remorse of i • i • ti

Alexander, bed three whole days and nights immediately
after, refusing all food and drink. He also killed Philotas,
one of his most trusted generals, and commander of his body-
guard, on suspicion of treachery, and then, without other
cause than fear of the anger of his father, Parmenio, he
caused that old general to be assassinated at Ecbatana, in
command of the post — the most important in his dominions —



Chap. XXV] Poms. 393

where his treasures were deposited. He savagely mutilated

Bessus, the satrap, who stood out against him in Bactria.

Callisthenes, one of the greatest philosophers of the age,

was tortured and assassinated for alleged complexity in a

conspiracy, but he really incurred the hatred of the monarch

for denying his claim to divinity.

In the spring of b. c. 326, Alexander crossed the Indus,

hut met with no resistance until he reached the He pene-
trates to the
river Hydaspes (Jhylum) on the other side of which, Indus.

Porus, an Indian prince, disputed his passage, with a formi-
dable force and many trained elephants — animals which the
Macedonians had never before encountered. By a series of
masterly combinations Alexander succeeded in crossing the
river, and the combat commenced. But the Indians could
not long withstand the long pikes and close combats of the
Greeks, and were defeated with o-rcat loss. Porus



Online LibraryJohn LordAnceint states and empires → online text (page 33 of 55)