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[56] It is said that while he was still serving under Alexander and following him in the war against the Persians he consulted the Didym├Žan oracle to inquire about his return to Macedonia and that he received for answer: --

"Do not hurry back to Europe; Asia will be much better for you."

It was said also that in Macedonia a great fire burst forth on his ancestral hearth without anybody lighting it; also that his mother saw in a dream that whatever ring she found she should give him to carry, and that he should be king at the place where he should lose the ring. She did find an iron ring with an anchor engraved on it, and he lost it near the Euphrates. It is said that at a later period, when he was returning to recover Babylon, he stumbled against a stone and that when he caused this stone to be dug up an anchor was found under it. When the soothsayers were alarmed at this prodigy, thinking that it portended delay, Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, who accompanied the expedition, said that an anchor was a sign of safety, not of delay. For this reason Seleucus, when he became king, used an engraved anchor for his signet-ring. Some say that while Alexander was still alive and looking on, another omen of the future power of Seleucus was made manifest in this wise. After Alexander had returned from India to Babylon and while he was sailing around the Babylonian lagoons with a view to the irrigation of the Assyrian fields from the Euphrates,

Y.R. 431
a wind struck him and carried away his diadem
B.C. 323
and hung it on a bunch of reeds growing on the tomb of an ancient king. This of itself signified the early death of Alexander. They say that a sailor swam after it, put it on his own head, and, without wetting it, brought it to Alexander, who gave him at once a silver talent as a reward for his kind service. The soothsayers advised putting the man to death. Some say that Alexander followed their advice. Others say the contrary. Other narrators skip that part of the story and say that it was no sailor at all, but Seleucus who swam after the king's diadem, and that he put it on his own head to avoid wetting it. The signs turned out true as to both of them in the end, for Alexander departed from life in Babylon and Seleucus became the ruler of a larger part of his dominions than any other of Alexander's successors.


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