Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

instant ; and, overjoyed to find the scale turned in his fa. vour, and the enemy entirely defeated, he renewed, in koncert with Parinenio, the pursuit of Darius. He rode as far as Arbela, where he fancied he should come up with that monarch and all his baggage ; but Darius had only just passed by it, and left his treasure a prey to the enemy, with his bow and shield.

Such was the success of this famous battle, which gave empire to the conqueror. According to Arrian, the Persians lost 300,000 men, besides those who were taken pris oners ; which at least is a proof that the loss was very great on their side. That of Alexander was very inconsiderable, he not losing, according to the last-mentioned author 1200 men, most of whom were horse. *This engagement was fought in the month of † October, about the same time, two years before, that the battle of. Issus was fought. As Gaugamela, in Assyria, the spot where the two armies engaged, was a small place of very little note, this was called the battle of Arbela, that city being nearest to the field of battle.

SECTION IX, ALEXANDER TAKES ARBELA, BABYLON, SUSÀ, PERSE,

POLIS; AND FINDS IMMENSE RICHES IN THOSE

CITIES.

ALEXANDER's first care ţ after his obtaining the victory, was to offer magnificent sacrifices to the gods by way of thanksgiving. He afterwards rewarded such as had signalised themselves remarkably in battle ; bestowed riches upon them with a very libéral hand, and gave to each of them houses, employments, and governments. But being desirous of expressing more particularly his gratitude to the Greeks, for having appointed him generalissimo against the Persians, he gave orders for abolishing tlre several tyrannical institutions that had started up in Greece ; that the cities should be restored to their liberties, and all their rights and privileges. He wrote particularly to the Platzans, declaring that it was his desire their city should be rebuilt, to reward the zeal and bravery by which their ancestors had distinguished themselves, in defending the common liberties

*A. M. 3674. Apt. J. C: 330,

*The month called by the Greeks Boedromion apswers partly to our mooth of Odober,

Diod. 1. xvii, P. 538-540. Arrian. 1. j. p. 127-133. Plug Alca. p 685-688: Quiat. Curt. l. v, c. 1-7. Justin. 1, si. c. 14.

of Greece. *He also sent part of the spoils to the people of Crotona in Italy ; to honour, though so many years after, the good will and courage of Phayllus the champion, a native of their country, who, whilst war was carrying on against Greece, and when all the rest of the Greeks that were set tled in Italy had abandoned the true Grecians, imagining they were entirely undone, fitted out a galley at his own expence, and sailed to Salamis, to partake of the dangers to which his countrymen were at that time exposed. So great a friend and encourager, says Plutarch, was Alexander of every kind of virtue ; considering himself, says the same author, obliged in a manner to perpetuate the remembrance of all great actions ; to give immortality to merit, and propose them to posterity as so many models for their imitation.

Darius, after his defeat, having but very few attendants, had rode towards the river Lycus. After crossing it, sev. eral advised him to break down the bridges, because the enemy pursued him. But he made this generous answer, “fthat life was not so dear to him, as to make him desire

preserve it, by the destruction of so many thousands of "his subjects and faithful allies, who, by that means, would " be delivered up to the mercy of the enemy ; that they had

as much' right to pass over this bridge as their sovereign, " and consequently that it ought to be as open to them." After 'riding a great number of leagues full speed, he arrió ved at midnight at Arbela, From thence he fled towards Media over the Armenian mountains, followed by a great number of the nobility, and a few of his guards. The rea.. son of his going that way was, his supposing that Alexander would proceed towards Babylon and Susa, there to enjoy the fruits of his victory ; besides, a numerous army could not pursue him by this road ; whereas, in the other, horses and chariots might advance with great ease; not to mention that the soil was very fruitful.

A few days after Arbela surrendered to Alexander, who found in it a great quantity of furniture belonging to the crown, rich clothes, and other precious moveables, with 4000 talents, (about 775,0001.) and all the riches of the army, which Dárius had left there at his setting out against Alexander, as was before observed. But he was soon obliged to leave that place, because of the diseases that spread in his camp, occasioned by the infection of the dead bodies which covered all the field of battle. This prince advanced there

Herodotos relates this history in very few words, 1. viii. c. 47. tNon ita fe falut is fuæ velle consultum, ut tot millia sociorum hoái objiciat ; debere et aliis fugæ viam pacçre, quæ patuerit abi. Julia fore over the plains towards Babylon, and after four days march arrived at Memnis, where, in a cave, is seen the cel. ebrated fountain which throws so vast a quantity of bitumen, that, we are told, it was used as cement in building the walls of Babylon.

But what Alexander admired most was, a great gulf, whence streamed perpetually rivulets of fire, as from an inexhaustible spring; and a flood of naphtha, which overflowing from the prodigious quantities of it, formed a great lake pretty near the gulf. This naphtha is exactly like bitumen, but has one quality more, viz. its catching fire so very suddenly, that before it' touches a'flame,. it takes fire merely from the light that surrounds the flame, and sets the air be. tween both on fire. The barbarians being desirous of show.. ing the king the strength and subtilty of this combustīble şub. stance, scattered several drops of it up and down after his arrival in Babylon, in that street which went up to the house he had chosen for his residence. After this, going to the other end of the street, they brought torches near the places where those drops were falleni (for it was night); and the drops which were nighest the torches taking fire on a sud'den, the flame ran in an instant to the other end: by which means the whole street seemed in one general conflagration.

When Alexander was' got near Babylon, Mazæus, who had retired thither after the battle of Arbela, surrendered himself, with his children, who were grown up, and gave the city into his hands. The king was very well pleased with his arrival ; for he would have met with great difficulties in Desieging a city of such importance, and so well provided of every thing. Besides his being a person of great quality, and very brave, he had also acquired great honour in the last battle ; and others might have been prompted, from the example he set them, to imitate him. Alexander entered the city at the head of his whole army, as if he had been marching to a battle. The walls of Babylon were lined with people, notwithstanding the greatest part of the citi. zens were gone out before, from the impatient desire they had to see their new sovereign, whose renown had far out. stripped his' march. Bagophanes, governor of the fortress, and guardian of the treasure, unwilling to discover less zeal than Mazæus, strewed the streets' with flowers, and raised on both sides of the way silver alfars, which smoked not only with frankincense, but the most fragrant perfumes of every kind. Last of all came the presents which were to be made to the king, viz. herds of cattle, and a great number of horses ; as also lions and panthers, which were carried in cages. After these the magi walked, singing hymns aftef

the manner of their country ; then the Chaldeans, accompanied by the Babylonish'soothsayers and musicians. It was customary for the latter to sing the praises of their king to their instruments; and the Chaldeans to observe the motion of the planets, and the vicissitude of seasons. The rear was brought up by the Babylonish cavalry, which, both men ar.d horses, were so sumptuous that imagination can scarce reach their magnificence. The king caused the people to walk after his infantry, and himself, surrounded with his guards, and seated on a chariot, entered the city ; and from thence rode to the palace as in a kind of triumph. The next day. he took a view of all Darius's money and moveables. Of the monies he found in Babylon, he gave, by way of extraordinary recompence, to each Macedonian horseman, six minæ, about 151.; to each mercenary horsemar, two minx, about 51. ; to' every Macedonian foot soldier, two mina ; and to every one of the rest two months of their ordinary pay. He gave orders, pursuant to the advice of the magi, with whom he had several conferences, for the rebuilding the temples which Xerxes had demolished ; and among others, that of Belus, who was in greater veneration at Babylon than any other deity. He gave the government of the province to Mazæus, and the command of the forces he left there to Apollodorus of Amphipolis.

Alexander, in the midst of the hurry and tumult of war, still preserved a love for the sciences. He used often to Converse with the Chaldeans, who had always applied themselves to the study of astronomy from its origin, and gained great fame by their knowledge in it. *They presented him with astronomical obşervations taken by their predecessors during the space of 1903 years, which consequently went as far back as the age of Nimrod. These were sent by Callisthenes, who accompanied Alexander, to Aristotle.

The king resided longer in Babylon than he had done in any other city, whicu was of great prejudice to the discipline of his forces. The people, even from a religious motive, abandoned themselves to pleasures, to voluptuousness, and the most infamous excesses; nor did ladies, though of the highest quality, observe any decorum, or show the least reserve in their immoral actions, but gloried therein, so far from endeavouring to conceal them, or blushing at their énsormity. It must be confessed, that this army of soldiers, which had triumphed over Asia, after having thus enervated themselves, and rioted, as it were, w the sloth and lux. ury of the city of Babylon, for 34 days together, would have Porphyr. apud Simplic, in lib, ü. de Ca'n

been scarce able to complete their exploits, had they been opposed by an enemy. But as they were reinforced from time to time, these irregularities were not so visible ;- for Amyntas brought 6000, foot, and 500 Macedonian horse, which were sent by Antipater ; and 600 Thracian horses, with 3500 foot of the same nation ; besides 4000 mercenaries from Peloponnesus, with near 400 horses.

The above mentioned Amyntas had also brought the king 50 Macedonian youths, sons to noblemen of the highest quality in the country, to serve as his guards. The youths in question waited upon him at table, brought him his horses when in the field, attended upon him in parties of hunting, and kept guard at the door of his apartment by turns. And these were the first steps to the highest employments both in the army and the state.

After Alexander had left Babylon, he entered the province of Sitacena, the soil of which is very fruitful, and productive of every thing valuable, which made him continue the longer in it. But lest indolence should enervate the courage of his soldiers, he proposed prizes for such of them as should exert the greatest bravery ; and appoint-ed, as judges of the actions of those who should dispute this honour, persons, who themselves had been eye-witnesses of the proofs of bravery which each soldier had given in the former battles ; for on these only the prizes were to be bestowed. To each of the eight men who were pronounced most valiant, he gave a regiment consisting of 1000 men ; whence those officers were called chiliarchi. This was the first time that regiments were composed of. so great a number of soldiers, consisting before but of 500,and had not yet been the reward of valour. The soldiers ran in crowds to view this illustrious sight, not only as eye-witnesses of the actions of all, but as judges over the judges themselves ; because they might perceive very eas-ily whether rewards were bestowed on merit, or merely by favour ; a circumstance in which soldiers can never be imposed upon. The prizes seems to have been distributedi with the utmost equity and justice.

He likewise made several sery advantageous changes in: military discipline, as estabiished by his predecessors; for he formed one single body of his whole cavalry, without showing any regard to the difference of nations, and appointed such officers to command them as they themselves thought fit to nominate ; whereas before, the horsemen of every nation used to fight under his own particular stanllard, and was commanded by a colonel of that country, The trumpa's sound used to be the signal for the march;

« PreviousContinue »