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I say, submitted patiently to all these losses, she, however, had not strength of mind sufficient to support herself after the death of Alexander. She would not take any sustenance, and starved herself to death, to avoid her surviving this last calamity.
After Alexander's death, great contentions arose among the Macedonians about appointing him a successor, of which I shall give an account in its proper place. After seven days spent in confusion and disputes, it was agreed that Aridæus, bastard brother to Alexander, should be declared king; and that in case Roxana, who was eight months gone with child, should be delivered of a son, he should share the throne in conjunction with Aridæus, and that Perdiccas should have the care of both ; for Aridæus was a weak man, and wanted a guardian as much as a child.
The Egyptians and Chaldeans having embalmed the king's corpse after their manner, Aridæus was appointed to convey it to the temple of Jupiter Ammon. *Two whole years were employed in preparing for this magnificent funeral ; which made Olympias bewail the fate of her son, who having had the ambition to rank himself among the gods, was so long deprived of burial, a privilege allowed to the meanęst of mortals.
SECTION XIX. TRE JUDGMENT WE ARE TO FORM OF ALEXANDER.
The reader would not be satisfied, if, after having given a detail of Alexander's actions, I should not take notice of the judgment we are to form of them ; especially as authors have entirely differed in their opinions, with regard to the merits of this prince. Some have applauded him with a kind of ecstacy, as the model of a perfect hero, which opinion seems to have prevailed ; others, on the contrary, have represented him in such colours, as at least sully, if not quite eclipse, the splendour of his victories.
This diversity of sentiments denotes that of Alexander's qualities; and it must be confessed that good and evil, virtues and vices, were never more equally blended, than in † the prince whose history we have written. But this is not all; for Alexander appears very different, according to the time or seasons in which we consider him, as Livy has very just
* Æliap. I. xiii, c. 30.
+ Luxuria, industria ; commitate, arrogantia ; malis bonisquc ar sibus inixtus, Tacit.
ly observed. In the inquiry he makes concerning the fate of Alexander's arms, supposing he had turned them towards Italy, he * discovers in him a kind of double Alexander ; the one wise, temperate, judicious, brave, intrepid, but at the same time prudent and circumspect: the other immersed in all the wantonness of an haughty prosperity ; vain, proud, arrogant, fiery ; softened by delights, abandoned to intemperance and excesses; in a word, resembling Darius rather than Alexander; and having made the Mace's donians degenerate into all the vices of the Persians, by the new turn of mind, and the new manners he assumed after his conqueșts.
I shall have an eye to this plan, in the account I am now to give of Alexander's character, and shall consider it under two aspects, and, in a manner, two eras ; first, from his youth to the battle of Issus, and the siege of Tyre, which followed soon after; and secondly, from that victory to his death. The former will exhibit to us great qualities with: few defects, according to the idea the heathens had of these ; the second will represent to us enormous vices, and, notwithstanding the splendour of so many victories, very little true and solid merit, even with regard to warlike actions, a few battles excepted, in which he sustained his reputation..
We are first to acknowledge and admire in Alexander, a happy disposition, cultivated and improved by an excel lent education. He had a great, noble, and generous soul. + He delighted in bestowing and doing service, qualities he had acquired in his infant years. A young lad, whose business it was to gather up and throw the balls when he play: ed at tennis, to whom he had given nothing, taught him a good lesson on that subject. As he always threw the balls to the other players, the king, with an angry air, cried out to him, “and am I then to have no ball ?"
“ No sir," replied the lad, “you do not ask me for it.” This witty and ready answer gave great satisfaction to the prince, who fell a laughing, and afterwards was very liberal to him. After
• Et loquimur de Alexandro nondum merso secundis rebus qua. tum nemo intolerantior fuit. Qui si ex habitu novæ fortuna, novi. que, ut ita dicam, ingenii, quod sibi victor induerat, spectetur. Datio magis quam Alexandro in Italiam venisset, et exercitum Mace. doniæ oblitum, degenerantemque jam in Persarum mores adduxisset: Liv. I. ix. n. 18,
† Plut, in Alex. p. 687.
this, there was no occasion to excite him to acts of generosity ; for he would be quite angry with such as refused them at hii hands. Finding Phocion inflexible on this head, he told him by letter, “that he would no longer be his friend, " in case he refused to accept of his favours."
Alexander, as if he had been sensible of the mighty things to which he was born, endeavoured to shine on all occasions, and appear more conspicuous than any other person. No one was ever fired with so strong a love for glory ; and it is well known, that ambition, which is considered by christians as a great vice, was looked upon by the heathens as a great virtue. It was that, which macle Alexander support with courage, all the toils and fatigues necessary for those, who would distinguish themselves, in the exercises both of body and mind. He was accustomel very early to a sober, hard, plain way of life, uncorrupted with luxury or delicacy of any kind ; a way of life lvighly advantageous to young soldiers.
I do not know whether any prince in the world had a nobler education than Alexander. He was very conversant in. eloquence, poetry, polite learning, the whole circle of arts,and the most abstracted and most sublime sciences. How happy was he in meeting with so great a preceptor! None but an Aristotle was fit for an Alexander. I am overjoyed to find the disciple pay so illustrious a testimony in respect to his master, by declaring he was more indebted to him, in one sense, than to his father. A man who thinks and speaksin this manner, must be fully sensible of the great advantage es of a good education, The effects of this were şoon seen.
Is it possible for us to admire too much, the great solidity and judgment, which this young prince discov red, in his conversation with the Persian ambassadors ? His early wisdom, whilst, in his youth, he act-ed as regent during his father's absence, and pacified the feuds which had broke out in Macedonia ? His courage and bravery at the battle of Chæroncea, in which he so gloriously
, distinguished himself ?
It is a pain to me, to see him wanting in respect to his father at a banquet, and employing severe insulting expresa sions on that occasion. It is true, indeed, that the affront which Philip put upon Olympias, his mother, in divorcing tier, transported him in a manner out of himself; but still no pretence, no injustice, or violence, can either justify or excuse such usage to a father and a king.
* He afterwards discovered more imoderation, when, or occasion of the insolent and seditious discourses held by bis
* Plut, in Alex, p. 688.
soldiers in an insurrection, he said, “ that nothing was more “ royal, than for a man to hear with calmness himself ill
spoken of, at the time he is doing good.” It has been observed, that the great prince of Conde did not think any thing more worthy of admiration in this conqueror, than the noble haughtiness with which he spoke to the rebellious soldiers, who refused to follow him: “Go,” says he," ungrate“ ful base wretches, and proclaim in your country, that you “ have abandoned your king among nations who will obey “him better than you. Alexander," says that prince, "aban“ doned by his own troops among barbarians, who were not " yet completely conquered, believes himself so worthy of " commanding over others, that he did not think men could “ refuse to obey him. Whether he were in Europe or in
Asia, among Greeks or Persians, it was the same to him. *** He fancied, that wherever he found men, he found sub
Alexander's patience and moderation, which I took notice of at first, are no less wonderful.
The first years of his reign are perhaps the most glorious of his life. That at 20 years of age he was able to appease the intestine feuds which raged in the kingdom ; that he either crushed or subjected foreign enemies, and those of the most formidable kind ; that he disarmed Greece, most of the nations whereof had united against him ; and that in less than three years, he should have enabled himself to execute securely those plans his father had so wisely projected ; all this supposes a presence of mind, a strength of soul, a courage, an intrepidity, and, what is more than all, a consummate prudence ; qualities which form the character of the true hero.
This character he supported in a wonderful manner, dur. ing the whole course of his expedition against Darius, till the time mentioned by us. +Plutarch very justly admires the bare plan of it, as the most heroic act that ever was. He formed it the very instant he ascended the throne, looking upon this design, in some measure as a part of what he inherited from his father. When scarce 20 years old, surrounded with dangers both within and without his kingdom, finding his treasury drained and incumbered with debts, tó the amount of 200 talents, (about 30,0001. sterling,) which his father had contracted; having an army which was greatly inferior in number to that of the Persians : in this condition, Alexander already turns his eyes towards Babylon and Susa, and proposes no less a conquest, than that of so vast an empire. * St. Evremond.
+ Plut, de fort, Alcx, P. 327. Bв 2
Was this the effect of the pride and rashness of youth? asks Plutarch. Certainly not, replies that author. No man ever formed a warlike enterprise with so great preparations, and such mighty succours, by which I understand, continues Plutarch, magnanimity, prudence, temperance, and courage; preparations and aids with which philosophy supplied him, and which he thoroughly studied ; so that we may affirm, that he was as much indebted for his conquest to the lessons of Aristotle, his master, as to the instructions of Philip, his father.
We may add, that, according to all the maxims of war, Alexander's enterprise must naturally be successful. Such an army as his, though not a very great one, consistiog of Macedonians and Greeks, that is, of the best troops at that time in the world, and trained up to war during a long course of years, inured to toils and dangers, formed by a happy ex• perience to all the exercises of sieges and battles, animated by the remembrance of their past victories, by the hopes of an immense booty, and more so, by their hereditary and irreconcileable hatred to the Persians ; such an army, I say, headed by Alexander, was almost sure of conquering an ar. my, composed, indeed, of infinite numbers of men, but of few soldiers.
The swiftness of the execution was answerable to the wise dom of the project. After having gained the affection of all his generals and officers by an unparalleled liberality ; and of asl his soldiers by an air of goodness, affability, and even familiarity, which, so far from debasing the majesty of a prince, adds to the respect which is paid to him, such a zeal and tenderness as is proof against all things; after this, I say, the next thing to be done, was to astonish his enemies by bold enterprises, to terrify them by examples of severity, ani lastly, to win them by acts of humanity and clemency. He succeeded wonderfully in these. The passage of the - Granicus, followed by a famous victory ; the two celebrated sieges of Miletus and Halicarnassus, showed Asia a young conqueror, to whom no part of military knowledge was une known. The razing of the last city to the very foundations, spread an universal terror ; but the allowing all those the enjoyment of their liberties and ancient laws who submitted cheerfully, made the world believe, that the conqueror had no other view than to make nations happy, and to procure them an easy and lasting peace.
His impatience to bathe himself, when covered with sweat, in the river Cydmus, might be looked upon as a gay juvenile actiori, unworthy of his dignity ; but we must not judge of it from the mangers of the present age. The ancients, all