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[153] As Cæsar was entering the Senate for the last time, as I have shortly before related, the same omens were observed, but he said, jestingly, that the same thing had happened to him in Spain. When the soothsayer replied that he was in danger then too, and that the omen was now more deadly, he yielded somewhat to the warning and sacrificed again, and continued to do so until he became vexed with the priests for delaying him, and went in and was killed. The same kind of thing happened to Alexander. As he was returning from India to Babylon with his army, and was nearing the latter place, the Chaldeans urged him to postpone his entrance for the present. He replied with the iambic verse, "He who guesses right is the best prophet."1 Again, the Chaldeans urged him not to march his army into the city while looking toward the setting sun, but to go around and enter facing the east. It is said that he yielded to this suggestion and started to go around, but being bothered by a lake and marshy ground, he disregarded this second prophecy also, and entered the city looking toward the west. Not long after entering he went down the Euphrates in a boat to the river Pallacotta, which takes its water from the Euphrates and carries it away in marshes and ponds and thus hinders the irrigation and navigation of the Assyrian country. While he was considering how he should dyke this stream and while he was sailing out to it for this purpose, it is said that he jeered at the Chaldeans because he had gone into Babylon and sailed out of it safely. But scarcely had he returned back to it when he died. Cæsar jeered at the prophecies in like manner, for the soothsayer predicted the day of his death, saying that he should not survive the Ides of March, and when the day came Cæsar mocked him saying, "The Ides have come "; and the same day he died. Thus both alike made light of the prophecies concerning themselves, and were not angry at the soothsayers who uttered them, yet they became the inevitable victims of the prophecies.

1 This is a line from Euripides, which had passed into a proverb in both Greek and Latin. Schweighäuser cites several authors who used it -- among them Arrian (Expeditio Alex. vii. 16), who also gives us a more detailed account of this affair of Alexander and the Chaldeans.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), BABYLO´NIA
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