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of his health, he started again on his journey, and passed through a
great extent of country and past many considerable cities, all of
which he subdued.

LXIV. He captured ten of the Indian philosophers called
Gymnosophistæ;[425] who had been instrumental in causing Sabbas to
revolt, and had done much mischief to the Macedonians. These men are
renowned for their short, pithy answers, and Alexander put difficult
questions to all of them, telling them that he would first put to
death the man who answered him worst, and so the rest in order. The
first was asked, whether he thought the living or the dead to be the
more numerous. He answered, "The living, for the dead are not."

The second was asked, which breeds the largest animals, the sea or the
land. He answered, "The land, for the sea is only a part of it."

The third was asked, which is the cleverest of beasts. He answered,
"That which man has not yet discovered."

The fourth was asked why he made Sabbas rebel. He answered, "Because I
wished him either to live or to die with honour."

The fifth was asked, which he thought was first, the day or the night.
He answered, "The day was first, by one day." As he saw that the king
was surprised at this answer, he added, "impossible questions require
impossible answers."

Alexander now asked the sixth how a man could make himself most
beloved. He answered, "By being very powerful, and yet not feared by
his subjects."

Of the remaining three, the first one was asked, how a man could
become a god. He answered, "By doing that which is impossible for a
man to do."

The next was asked, which was the stronger, life or death. He
answered, "Life, because it endures such terrible suffering."

The last, being asked how long it was honourable for a man to live,
answered, "As long as he thinks it better for him to live than to

Upon this Alexander turned to the judge and asked him to pronounce
his decision. He said that they had answered each one worse than the
other. "Then," said Alexander, "you shall yourself be put to death for
having given such a verdict." "Not so," said he, "O king, unless you
mean to belie your own words, for you said at the beginning that you
would put to death him who gave the worst answer."

LXV. Alexander now gave them presents and dismissed them unhurt. He
also sent Onesikritus to the most renowned of them, who lived a life
of serene contemplation, desiring that they would come to him. This
Onesikritus was a philosopher of the school of Diogenes the cynic. One
of the Indians, named Kalanus, is said to have received him very
rudely, and to have proudly bidden him to take off his clothes and
speak to him naked, as otherwise he would not hold any conversation
with him, even if he came from Zeus himself. Dandamis, another of the
Gymnosophists, was of a milder mood, and when he had been told of
Sokrates, Pythagoras, and Diogenes, said that they appeared to him to
have been wise men, but to have lived in too great bondage to the
laws. Other writers say that Dandamis said nothing more than "For what
purpose has Alexander come all the way hither?" However, Taxiles
persuaded Kalanus to visit Alexander. His real name was Sphines: but
as in the Indian tongue he saluted all he met with the word 'Kale,'
the Greeks named him Kalanus. This man is said to have shown to
Alexander a figure representing his empire, in the following manner.
He flung on the ground a dry, shrunken hide, and then trod upon the
outside of it, but when he trod it down in one place, it rose up in
all the others. He walked all round the edge of it, and showed that
this kept taking place until at length he stepped into the middle, and
so made it all lie flat. This image was intended to signify that
Alexander ought to keep his strength concentrated in the middle of his
empire, and not wander about on distant journeys.

LXVI. Alexander's voyage down the Indus and its tributaries, to the
sea-coast, took seven months. On reaching the ocean he sailed to an
island which he himself called Skillustis, but which was generally
known as Psiltukis. Here he landed and sacrificed to the gods, after
which he explored the sea and the coast as far as he could reach.
Having done this, he turned back, after praying to the gods that no
conqueror might ever transcend this, the extreme limit of his
conquests. He ordered his fleet to follow the line of the coast,
keeping India on their right hand: and he gave Nearchus the supreme
command, with Onesikritus as chief pilot. He, himself, marched through
the country of the Oreitæ, where he endured terrible sufferings from
scarcity of provisions, and lost so many men that he scarcely brought
back home from India the fourth part of his army, which originally
amounted to a hundred and twenty thousand foot, and fifteen thousand
horse. Most of the men perished from sickness, bad food, and the
excessive heat of the sun, and many from sheer hunger, as they had to
march through an uncultivated region, inhabited only by a few
miserable savages, with a stunted breed of cattle whose flesh had
acquired a rank and disagreeable taste through their habit of feeding
on sea-fish.

After a terrible march of sixty days, the army passed through this
desert region, and reached Gedrosia, where the men at once received
abundant supplies of food, which were furnished by the chiefs of the
provinces which they entered.

LXVII. After he had refreshed his troops here for a little, Alexander
led them in a joyous revel for seven days through Karmania.[426] He,
himself, feasted continually, night and day, with his companions, who
sat at table with him upon a lofty stage drawn by eight horses, so
that all men could see them. After the king's equipage followed
numberless other waggons, some with hangings of purple and embroidered
work, and others with canopies of green boughs, which were constantly
renewed, containing the rest of Alexander's friends and officers, all
crowned with flowers and drinking wine. There was not a shield, a
helmet, or a pike, to be seen, but all along the road the soldiers
were dipping cups, and horns, and earthenware vessels into great jars
of liquor and drinking one another's healths, some drinking as they
marched along, while others sat by the roadside. Everywhere might be
heard the sound of flutes and pipes, and women singing and dancing;
while with all this dissolute march the soldiers mingled rough jokes,
as if the god Dionysus himself were amongst them and attended on their
merry procession. At the capital of Gedrosia, Alexander again halted
his army, and refreshed them with feasting and revelry. It is said
that he himself, after having drunk hard, was watching a contest
between several choruses, and that his favourite Bagoas won the prize,
and then came across the theatre and seated himself beside him,
dressed as he was and wearing his crown as victor. The Macedonians,
when they saw this, applauded vehemently, and cried out to Alexander
to kiss him, until at length he threw his arms round him and kissed

LXVIII. He was now much pleased at being joined by Nearchus and his
officers, and took so much interest in their accounts of their voyage,
that he wished to sail down the Euphrates himself with a great fleet,
and then to coast round Arabia and Libya, and so enter the
Mediterranean sea through the pillars of Herakles.[427] He even began
to build many ships at Thapsakus, and to collect sailors and pilots
from all parts of the world, but the severe campaigns which he had
just completed in India, the wound which he had received among the
Malli, and the great losses which his army had sustained in crossing
the desert, had made many of his subjects doubt whether he was ever
likely to return alive, and had encouraged them to revolt, while his
absence had led many of his satraps and viceroys to act in an
extremely arbitrary and despotic manner, so that his whole empire was
in a most critical condition, and full of conspiracies and seditious
risings. Olympias and Kleopatra[428] had attacked and driven out
Antipater, and had divided the kingdom between themselves, Olympias
taking Epirus, and Kleopatra Macedonia. When Alexander heard this, he
said that his mother had proved herself the wiser of the two; for the
Macedonians never would endure to be ruled by a woman. He now sent
Nearchus back to the sea, determining to make war all along the coast,
and coming down in person to punish the most guilty of his officers.
He killed Oxyartes, one of the sons of Abouletes (the satrap of
Susiana) with his own hands, with a sarissa or Macedonian pike.
Abouletes had made no preparations to receive Alexander, but offered
him three thousand talents of silver. Alexander ordered the money to
be thrown down for the horses; and as they could not eat it, he said
"What is the use of your having prepared this for me?" and ordered
Abouletes to be cast into prison.

LXIX. While Alexander was in Persis[429] he first renewed the old
custom that whenever the king came there he should give every woman a
gold piece. On account of this custom we are told that many of the
Persian kings came but seldom to Persis, and that Ochus never came at
all, but exiled himself from his native country through his
niggardliness. Shortly afterwards Alexander discovered that the
sepulchre of Cyrus had been broken into, and put the criminal to
death, although he was a citizen of Pella[430] of some distinction,
named Polemarchus. When he had read the inscription upon the tomb, he
ordered it to be cut in Greek letters also. The inscription ran as
follows: "O man, whosoever thou art, and whencesoever thou comest - for
I know that thou shalt come - I am Cyrus, who won the empire for the
Persians. I pray thee, do not grudge me this little earth that
covereth my body." These words made a deep impression upon Alexander,
and caused him to meditate upon the uncertainty and changefulness of
human affairs. About this time, Kalanus, who had for some days been
suffering from some internal disorder, begged that a funeral pile
might be erected for him. He rode up to it on horseback, said a
prayer, poured a libation for himself and cut off a lock of his own
hair, as is usual at a sacrifice, and then, mounting the pile, shook
hands with those Macedonians who were present, bidding them be of good
cheer that day, and drink deep at the king's table. He added, that he
himself should shortly see the king at Babylon. Having spoken thus he
lay down and covered himself over. He did not move when the fire
reached him, but remained in the same posture until he was consumed,
thus sacrificing himself to the gods after the manner of the Indian
philosophers. Many years afterwards another Indian, a friend of Cæsar,
did the like in the city of Athens; and at the present day his
sepulchre is shown under the name of "the Indian's tomb."

LXX. After Alexander left the funeral pyre, he invited many of his
friends and chief officers to dinner, and offered a prize to the man
who could drink most unmixed wine. Promachus, who won it, drank as
much as four choes.[431] He was presented with a golden crown worth a
talent, and lived only three days afterwards. Of the others, Chares,
the historian, tells us that forty-one died of an extreme cold that
came upon them in their drunkenness.

Alexander now celebrated the marriage of many of his companions at
Susa. He himself married Statira, the daughter of Darius, and bestowed
the noblest of the Persian ladies upon the bravest of his men. He gave
a splendid banquet on the occasion of his marriage, inviting to it not
only all the newly married couples, but all those Macedonians who were
already married to Persian wives. It is said that nine thousand guests
were present at this feast, and that each of them was presented with a
golden cup to drink his wine in. Alexander entertained them in all
other respects with the greatest magnificence, and even paid all the
debts of his guests, so that the whole expense amounted to nine
thousand eight hundred and seventy talents. On this occasion,
Antigenes the one-eyed got his name inscribed on the roll as a debtor,
and produced a man who said that he was his creditor. He received the
amount of his alleged debt, but his deceit was afterwards discovered
by Alexander, who was much enraged, banished him from his court, and
took away his command. This Antigenes was a very distinguished
soldier. When Philip, was besieging Perinthus, Antigenes, who was then
very young, was struck in the eye with a dart, and would not allow his
friends to pull it out, nor leave the fight, before he had driven back
the enemy into the city. He now was terribly cast down at his
disgrace, and made no secret of his intention of making away with
himself. The king, fearing that he would carry out his threat,
pardoned him, and permitted him to keep the money.

LXXI. Alexander was much pleased with the appearance of the three
thousand youths whom he had left to be trained in the Greek manner,
who had now grown into strong and handsome men, and showed great skill
and activity in the performance of military exercises; but the
Macedonians were very discontented, and feared that their king would
now have less need for them. When Alexander sent those of them who
were sick or maimed back to the sea coast, they said that it was
disgraceful treatment that he should send these poor men home to their
country and their parents in disgrace, and in worse case than when
they set out, after he had had all the benefit of their services. They
bade him send them all home, and regard them all as unserviceable,
since he had such a fine troop of young gallants at his disposal to go
and conquer the world with. Alexander was much vexed at this. He
savagely reproached the soldiers, dismissed all his guards, and
replaced them with Persians, whom he appointed as his body-guards and
chamberlains. When the Macedonians saw him attended by these men, and
found themselves shut out from his presence, they were greatly
humbled, and after discussing the matter together they became nearly
mad with rage and jealousy. At last they agreed to go to his tent
without their arms, dressed only in their tunics, and there with
weeping and lamentation offered themselves to him and bade him deal
with them as with ungrateful and wicked men. Alexander, although he
was now inclined to leniency, refused to receive them, but they would
not go away, and remained for two days and nights at the door of his
tent lamenting and calling him their sovereign. On the third day he
came out, and when he saw them in such a pitiable state of abasement,
he wept for some time. He then gently blamed them for their conduct,
and spoke kindly to them. He gave splendid presents to all the
invalids, and dismissed them, writing at the same time to Antipater
with orders, that in every public spectacle these men should sit in
the best places in the theatre or the circus with garlands on their
heads. The orphan children of those who had fallen he took into his
own service.

LXXII. After Alexander was come to the city of Ekbatana in Media, and
had despatched the most weighty part of his business there, he gave
himself up entirely to devising magnificent spectacles and
entertainments, with the aid of three thousand workmen, whom he had
sent for from Greece. During this time, Hephæstion fell sick of a
fever, and being a young man, and accustomed to a soldier's life, did
not put himself upon a strict diet and remain quiet as he ought to
have done. As soon as Glaukus, his physician, left him to go to the
theatre, he ate a boiled fowl for his breakfast, and drank a large jar
of cooled wine. Upon this he was immediately taken worse, and very
shortly afterwards died.

Alexander's grief for him exceeded all reasonable measure. He ordered
the manes of all the horses and mules to be cut off in sign of
mourning, he struck off the battlements of all the neighbouring
cities, crucified the unhappy physician, and would not permit the
flute or any other musical instrument to be played throughout his
camp, until a response came from the oracle of Ammon bidding him
honour Hephæstion and offer sacrifice to him as to a hero.[432] To
assuage his grief he took to war, and found consolation in fighting
and man-hunting. He conquered the tribe called Kossæi, and slew their
entire male population, which passed for an acceptable offering to the
manes of Hephæstion. He now determined to spend ten thousand
talents[433] on the funeral and tomb of Hephæstion; and as he wished
to exceed the cost by the ingenuity and brilliancy of invention shown
in this spectacle, he chose Stasikrates out of all his mechanicians to
arrange it, as he was thought to be able both to devise with grandeur
and to execute with skill.

He on one occasion before this, when conversing with Alexander, told
him that of all mountains in the world Mount Athos in Thrace was that
which could most easily be carved into the figure of a man; and that,
if Alexander would give him the order, he would form Athos into the
most magnificent and durable monument of him that the world had ever
seen, as he would represent him as holding in his left hand the city
of Myriandrus, and with his right pouring, as a libation, a copious
river into the sea. Alexander would not, indeed, adopt this
suggestion, but was fond of discussing much more wonderful and costly
designs than this with his engineers.

LXXIII. Just as Alexander was on the point of starting for Babylon,
Nearchus, who had returned with his fleet up the Euphrates, met him,
and informed him that some Chaldæans had warned Alexander to avoid
Babylon. He took no heed of this warning, but went his way. When he
drew near the walls he saw many crows flying about and pecking at one
another, some of whom fell to the ground close beside him. After this,
as he heard that Apollodorus, the governor of Babylon, had sacrificed
to the gods to know what would happen to Alexander, he sent for
Pythagoras, the soothsayer, who had conducted the sacrifice, to know
if this were true. The soothsayer admitted that it was, on which
Alexander inquired what signs he had observed in the sacrifice.
Pythagoras answered that the victim's liver wanted one lobe. "Indeed!"
exclaimed Alexander, "that is a terrible omen." He did Pythagoras no
hurt, but regretted that he had not listened to the warning of
Nearchus, and spent most of his time in his camp outside the walls of
Babylon, or in boats on the river Euphrates. Many unfavourable omens
now depressed his spirit. A tame ass attacked and kicked to death the
finest and largest lion that he kept; and one day, as he stripped to
play at tennis, the young man with whom he played, when it was time to
dress again, saw a man sitting on the king's throne, wearing his
diadem and royal robe. For a long time this man refused to speak, but
at length said that he was a citizen of Messene, named Dionysius, who
had been brought to Babylon and imprisoned on some charge or other,
and that now the god Serapis had appeared to him, loosed his chains,
and had brought him thither, where he had bidden him to put on the
king's diadem and robe, seat himself on his throne, and remain silent.

LXXIV. When Alexander heard this, he caused the man to be put to
death, according to the advice of his soothsayers; but he himself was
much cast down, and feared that the gods had forsaken him: he also
grew suspicious of his friends. Above all he feared Antipater and his
sons, one of whom, Iolas, was his chief cup-bearer, while the other,
Kassander, had but recently arrived from Greece, and as he had been
trained in the Greek fashion, and had never seen any Oriental customs
before, he burst into a loud, insolent laugh, when he saw some of the
natives doing homage to Alexander. Alexander was very angry, and
seizing him by the hair with both hands, beat his head against the
wall. Another time he stopped Kassander, when he was about to say
something to some men who were accusing his father, Antipater. "Do you
imagine" said he, "that these men would have journeyed so far merely
in order to accuse a man falsely, if they had not been wronged by
him?" When Kassander answered, that it looked very like a false
accusation for a man to journey far from the place where his proofs
lay, Alexander said with a laugh, "This is how Aristotle teaches his
disciples to argue on either side of the question; but if any of you
be proved to have wronged these men ever so little, you shall smart
for it." It is related that after this, terror of Alexander became so
rooted in the mind of Kassander, that many years afterwards, when
Kassander was king of Macedonia, and lord of all Greece, he was
walking about in Delphi looking at the statues, and that when he saw
that of Alexander he was seized with a violent shuddering; his hair
stood upright on his head, and his body quaked with fear, so that it
was long before he regained his composure.

LXXV. After Alexander had once lost his confidence and become
suspicious and easily alarmed, there was no circumstance so trivial
that he did not make an omen of it, and the palace was full of
sacrifices, lustrations, and soothsayers. So terrible a thing is
disbelief in the gods and contempt for them on the one hand, while
superstition and excessive reverence for them presses on men's guilty
consciences like a torrent of water[434] poured upon them. Thus was
Alexander's mind filled with base and cowardly alarms. However when
the oracular responses of the gods about Hephæstion were reported to
him, he laid aside his grief somewhat, and again indulged in feasts
and drinking bouts. He entertained Nearchus and his friends
magnificently, after which he took a bath, and then, just as he was
going to sleep, Medius invited him to a revel at his house. He drank
there the whole of the following day, when he began to feel feverish:
though he did not drink up the cup of Herakles at a draught, or
suddenly feel a pain as of a spear piercing his body, as some
historians have thought it necessary to write, in order to give a
dramatic fitness and dignity to the end of so important a personage.
Aristobulus tells us that he became delirious through fever, and drank
wine to quench his thirst, after which he became raving mad, and died
on the thirtieth day of the month Daisius.

LXXVI. In his own diary his last illness is described thus: "On the
eighteenth day of Daisius he slept in the bath-room, because he was
feverish. On the following day after bathing he came into his chamber
and spent the day playing at dice with Medius. After this he bathed
late in the evening, offered sacrifice to the gods, dined, and
suffered from fever during the night. On the twentieth he bathed and
sacrificed as usual, and while reclining in his bath-room he conversed
with Nearchus and his friends, listening to their account of their
voyage, and of the Great Ocean. On the twenty-first he did the same,
but his fever grew much worse, so that he suffered much during the
night, and next day was very ill. On rising from his bed he lay beside
the great plunge-bath, and conversed with his generals about certain
posts which were vacant in his army, bidding them choose suitable
persons to fill them. On the twenty-fourth, although very ill, he rose
and offered sacrifice; and he ordered his chief officers to remain
near him, and the commanders of brigades and regiments to pass the
night at his gate. On the twenty-fifth he was carried over the river
to the other palace, and slept a little, but the fever did not leave
him. When his generals came to see him he was speechless, and remained
so during the twenty-fifth, so that the Macedonians thought that he
was dead. They clamoured at his palace gates, and threatened the
attendants until they forced their way in. When the gates were thrown
open they all filed past his bed one by one, dressed only in their
tunics. On this day Python and Seleukus, who had been to the temple of
Serapis, enquired whether they should bring Alexander thither. The god
answered that they must leave him alone. The eight and twentieth day
of the month, towards evening, Alexander died."

LXXVII. Most of the above is copied, word for word, from Alexander's
household diary. No one had any suspicion of poison at the time; but
it is said that six years after there appeared clear proof that he was
poisoned, and that Olympias put many men to death, and caused the
ashes of Iolas, who had died in the mean time, to be cast to the
winds, as though he had administered the poison to Alexander.

Some writers say that Antipater was advised by Aristotle to poison

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