« PreviousContinue »
had he been guilty, he would not have suppressed before Philoxenus, as that orator was his enemy.
Upon the first report of Harpalus's flying to Athens, A., lexander, fully determined to go in person to punish Har. palus and the Athenians, had commanded a fleet to be equip. ped. But after news was brought that the people in their assembly had ordered him to depart their city, he laid aside all thoughts of returning into Europe,
Alexander, having still the curiosity to see the ocean, came down from Susa, upon the river Eulæus ; and after having coasted the Persian gulf to the mouth of the Tigris, he went up the river towards the army, which was encamped on the banks of it, near the city of Opis, under the command of Hephæstion,
Upon his arrival there, he published a declaration in the camp, by which all the Macedonians, who by reason of their age, wounds, or any other infirmities, were unable to support any longer the fatigues of the service, were permitted to return into Greece ; declaring that his design was to dis. charge them, to be bountiful to them and send them back to their
native country in a safe and honourable manner. His intention was, in making this declaration, to oblige, and at the same time give them the strongest proof how greatly they were in his esteem. However, the very contrary happened ; for, being already disgusted upon some other accounts, especially by the visible preference which Alexander gave to the foreigners, they imagined that his resolution was to make Asia the seat of his empire, and to disengage himself from the Macedonians; and that the only mo. tive of his doing this was, that they might make room for the new troops he had levied in the conquered countries. This alone was sufficient to exasperate them to fury. Upon which without observing the least order or discipline, or regarding the remonstrances of their officers, they went to the king with an air of insolence which they had never assumed till then, and with seditious cries unanimously demanded to be discharged ; saying further, that since he despised the sola diers who had gained him all his victories, he and his father Ammon might carry on the war against whomsoever, and in what manner they pleased; but as for themselves, they were fully determined not to serve him any longer.
The king, no way surprised, and without once hesitating, jumps from his tribunal ; causes the principal mutineers, whom he himself pointed out to his guards, to be immedia ately seized, and orders thirteen to be punished. This bold and vigorous action, which thunderstruck the Macedonians, suppressed their courage in an instant. Quite amazed and
confounded, and scarce daring to look at one another, they stood with downcast eyes, and were so dispirited, and trembied so prodigiously, that they were unable either to speak or even to think, Seeing them in this condition, he reascended his tribunal, where after repeating to them, with a severe countenance, and a menacing tone of voice, the numerous favours which Philip his father had bestowed upon them, and all the marks of kindness and friendship by which he: himself had distinguished them, he concluded with these words : "you all desire a discharge ; I grant it you.
GO “ now and publish to the whole world, that you ha ve left *. your prince to the mercy of the nations he had conquered, “ who were more affectionate to him than you." . After speaking this, he returned suddenly into his tent; cashiers his old guard ; appoints another in its place, all composed of Persian soldiers ; shuts himself up for some days, and would not see any person all the time.
Had the Macedonians been sentenced to die, it could not have surprised them more than when news was brought them, that the king had confided the guard of his person to the Persians. They could surpress their grief no longer, so that nothing was heard but cries groans and lamentations, Soon after they all ran together to the king's tent; throw down their arms, confessing their guilt ; acknowledging' their fault with tears and sighs ; declare that the loss of life will not be so grievous as the loss of honour ; and protest that they will not leave the place till the king has pardoned them. At last Alexander could no longer resist the tender proofs they gave of their sorrow and repentance; so that when he himself, at bis coming out of hs tent, saw them in this dejected condition, lie could not refrain from tears; and after some gentle reproaches, which were softened by an air of humanity and kindness, he declared so loud as to be heard by them all, that he restored them to his friendship. This was restoring them to life, as was manifest froin their shouts.
He afterwards discharged such Macedonians as were no longer able to carry arms, and sent them back to their native country with rich presents. He commanded that at the exhibiting of the public games, they should be allowed the chief places in the theatre, and there sit with crowns on their heads; and gave orders that the children of those who had lost their lives in his service, should receive, during their minority, the same pay which had been given their fathers. Such support and honours granted to veterans must necessarily ennoble, in a very conspicuous mariner, the military profession! It is not possible for a government to enrich every soldier in particular; but it may animate and console him by marks of distinction, which inspire a stronger ardour for war, more constancy in the service, and nobler sentiments and motives.
Alexander appointed Craterus commander of these soldiers, to whom he gave the government of Macedonia, Thessaly and Thrace, which Antipater had enjoyed ; and the latter was commanded to bring the recruits instead of Craterus. The king had long since been quite tired with the complaints of his mother and Antipater, who could not agree. She charged Antipater of aspiring at sovereign power, and the latter complained of her violent and untractable disposition ; and had often declared in his letters, that she did not behave in a manner suitable to her ciignity. It was with some reluctance Antipater resigned his government.
* From Opis, Alexander arrived at Ecbatana in Media, where, after having dispatched the most urgent affairs of the kingdom, he again solemnised games and festivals.There had come to him from Greece 3000 dancers, makers of machinery, and other persons skilled in diversions of this kind.
It happened very unluckily, during the celebration of these festivals, that Hephæstion died of a disease which he brought upon himself. Alexander abandoning himself to immoderate drinking, his whole court followed his exam. ple, and sometimes spent whole days and nights in these excesses. In one of them Hephæstion lost his life. the most intimate friend the king had, the corifidant of all his secrets, and, to say all in a word, a second self. Crate, rus only seemed to dispute this honour with hiin. A few words, which one day escaped that prince, shows the difference he made between these two courtiers. says he, “ loves the king, but Hephæstion loves Alexan. der.” This expression signifies, if I mistake not, that Hcphæstion had devoted himself in a tender and affectionate manner to the person of Alexander ; but that Craterus loved him as a king, that is was concerned for his reputation, and sometimes was less obsequious to his will than he was zealous for his glory and interest. An excellent character, but very uncommon.
Hephæstion was as much beloved by all the courtiers, as by Alexander himself. Modest, even-tempered, beneficent, free from pride, avarice and jealousy ; he nerer abused his eredit, nor preferred himself to those officers whose merit made them necessary to his sovereign. He was universally regretted; but his death threw Alexander into exces.
* A. M. 3680. Ant. J. C. 324.
sive sorrow, to which he abandoned himself in such a manner as was unworthy so great a king. He seemed to receive no consolation, but in the extraordinary funeral honours he paid to his friend at his arrival in Babylon, whither he commanded Perdiccas to carry his corpse.
In order to remove by business and employment, the melancholy ideas which the death of his favorite perpetually awakened in his mind, Alexander marched his army against the Cosszi, a warlike nation inhabiting the moune tains of Media, whom not one of the Persian monarchs had ever been able to conquer. However the king reduced them in forty days, afterwards passed the Tigris, and marched towards Babylon,
SECTION XVIII. ALEXANDER ENTERS BABYLON.HIS DEATH. HIS CORPSE CONVEYED TO THE TEMPLE
OF JUPITER-AMMON, ALEXANDER being arrived within a league and an half of Babylon,* the Chaldeans who pretended to know futuri. ty by the stars, deputed to him some of their old men to acquaint him, that he would be in danger of his life in case he entered that city ; and were very urgent with him to go no further. The Babylonish astrologers were held in such great reputation, that this advice made a prodigious impression on his mind, and filled him with confusion and dread. Upon this, after sending several of the grandces of his court to Babylon, he himself went another way; and having marched about ten leagues, he stopped for some time in the place where he had encamped his army. The Greek philosophers being told the foundation of his fear and scru. ples, waited upon him ; when, setting in the strongest light the principles of Anaxagoras, whose tenets they followed, they demonstrated to him, in the strongest manner, the vanity of astrology, and made him have so great a contempt for divination in general, and for that of the Chaldeans in particular, that he immediately marched towards Babylon with his whole army. He knew that there were arrived in that city ambassadors from all parts of the world, who waited for his coming; the whole earth echoing so much with
* Arrian. I. vii. p. 294–309. Q. Cart. I. X. C 4-7. Plota in Alex. p. 705-707.
Diod. l. xvii. P 570-583. Justin. I. xii. c.13-56.
the terror of his name, that the several nations came, with inexpressible ardour, to pay homage to Alexander, as to him who was to be their sovereign. 'This view, which agreeably soothed the strongest of all his passions, contributed very much to stifle every other reflection, and to make him careless of all advice that might be given him ; so that he set forward with all possible diligence towards that great city, there to hold the states general, in a manner of the world. After making a most magnificent entry, he gave audience to all the ambassadors, with the grandeur and dignity suitable to a great monarch, and, at the same time, with the affability and politeness of a prince who is desirous of winning the affection of all. He loaded those of Epidaurus with great presents for the deity who presides over their city as well as over health, but reproached him at the same time. “ Æscu. “ lapius," says he, “has showed me but very little indul"gence, in not preserving the life of a friend, who was as « dear to me as myself.” In private, he discovered a great friendship for such of the deputies of Greece, as came to congratulate him on his victories and his happy return; and he restored them all the statues, and other curiosities, which Xerxes had carried out of Greece, that were found in Susa, Babylon, Passagardæ, and other places. We are told, that among these were the statues of Harinodius and Aristogiton, and that they were brought back to Athens.
The ambassadors from Corinth, having offered him in the name of the city, the freedom of it, he laughed at an offer which seemed altogether unworthy of one who had attained so exalted a pitch of grandeur and power. Howerer, when Alexander was told that Corinth had granted this privilege to Hercules only, he accepted it with joy, and piqued himself upon treading in his steps, and resembling him in all things. But, cries Seneca,* in what did this frantic young man, with whom successful temerity passed for virtue, resemble Hercules? The latter, free from all self-interested views, travelled through the world, merely to serve the sev. eral nations he visited, and to purge the earth of such robbers as infested it : whereas Alexander, who is justly entitled the plunderer of nations, made his glory consist in cartying desolation into all places, and in rendering himself the terror of mankind.
At the same time he wrote a letter, which was to have been read publicly in the assembly of the Olympic games, whereby the several cities of Greece were commanded to permit all exiles to return into their native country, those
. Senec, de Benef. 1. i. c. 130