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The officers of each unit fought valiantly at the head of their men and by their example inspired courage in the ranks. One could see many forms of wounds inflicted, furious struggles of all sorts inspired by the will to win. [2] The Persian Oxathres was the brother of Dareius and a man highly praised for his fighting qualities; when he saw Alexander riding at Dareius and feared that he would not be checked, he was seized with the desire to share his brother's fate. [3] Ordering the best of the horsemen in his company to follow him, he threw himself with them against Alexander, thinking that this demonstration of brotherly love would bring him high renown among the Persians. He took up the fight directly in front of Dareius's chariot and there engaging the enemy skillfully and with a stout heart slew many of them. [4] The fighting qualities of Alexander's group were superior, however, and quickly many bodies lay piled high about the chariot. No Macedonian had any other thought than to strike the king, and in their intense rivalry to reach him took no thought for their lives.1 [5]

Many of the noblest Persian princes perished in this struggle, among them Antixyes and Rheomithres and Tasiaces, the satrap of Egypt.2 Many of the Macedonians fell also, and Alexander himself was wounded3 in the thigh, for the enemy pressed about him. [6] The horses which were harnessed to the yoke of Dareius's chariot were covered with wounds and terrified by the piles of dead about them. They refused to answer to their bridles,4 and came close to carrying off Dareius into the midst of the enemy, but the king himself, in extreme peril, caught up the reins, being forced to throw away the dignity of his position and to violate the ancient custom of the Persian kings. [7] A second chariot was brought up by Dareius's attendants and in the confusion as he changed over to it in the face of constant attack he fell into a panic terror.5

Seeing their king in this state, the Persians with him turned to flee, and as each adjacent unit in turn did the same, the whole Persian cavalry was soon in full retreat. [8] As their route took them through narrow defiles and over rough country, they clashed and trampled on one another and many died without having received a blow from the enemy. For men lay piled up in confusion, some without armour, others in full battle panoply. Some with their swords still drawn killed those who spitted themselves upon them.6 Most of the cavalry, however, bursting out into the plain and driving their horses at full gallop succeeded in reaching the safety of the friendly cities. [9] Now the Macedonian phalanx and the Persian infantry were engaged only briefly, for the rout of the cavalry had been, as it were, a prelude of the whole victory. Soon all of the Persians were in retreat and as so many tens of thousands were making their escape through narrow passes the whole countryside was soon covered with bodies.

1 Curtius 3.11.8. This is the scene pictured in the Alexander Mosaic from the House of the Faun at Pompeii.

2 Rheomithres was mentioned as a cavalry commander on the Persian right wing at the Granicus (chap. 19.4). Curtius 3.11.10 mentions the death of Atizyes, Rheomithres, and Sabaces, satrap of Egypt; Arrian. 2.11.8 names Arsames, Rheomithres, Atizyes, Sabaces of Egypt, and Bubaces. Although Diodorus has reported Atizyes dead at the Granicus (chap. 21.3), it is possible that he is the otherwise unknown Antixyes here.

3 By Dareius himself, according to Chares (Plut. De Fortuna aut Virtute Alexandri 2.9.341b). Alexander's wound is mentioned by Curtius 3.11.10, Justin 11.9.9, Plut. Alexander 20.2, and Arrian. 2.12.1.

4 A more literal rendering would be "they shook off (or out) their bits," but it is hard to see how horses could do this. Curtius 3.11.11 renders the same idiom as "iugum quatere," "toss the yoke." If, as has been suggested in the Introduction, Diodorus was using Trogus as a source, it may be that he was put to it to translate a Latin saying. We may assume that the horses reared and tossed and shook their heads, making their control almost impossible. This is how they are represented in the Alexander Mosaic.

5 The Alexander Mosaic shows Dareius about to mount a horse to make his escape, as in Curtius 3.11.11 and Arrian. 2.11.5. In chap. 37.1, also, Dareius makes his escape on horseback. Perhaps he intended to continue the battle in the second chariot.

6 Arrian. 2.11.8 quotes Ptolemy as reporting that Alexander's cavalry in the pursuit crossed a deep gully on the piled up bodies of the dead. Even a king, it seems, might draw the long bow on occasion in writing history.

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