When he had returned from Egypt into Phoenicia,
he honoured the gods with sacrifices and solemn processions, and held contests of dithyrambic choruses and tragedies which were made brilliant, not only by their furnishings, but also by the competitors who exhibited them. For the kings of Cyprus were the choregi, or exhibitors, just like, at Athens, those chosen by lot from the tribes, and they competed against each other with amazing ambition. Most eager of all was the contention between Nicocreon of Salamis and Pasicrates of Soli.
For the lot assigned to these exhibitors the most celebrated actors, to Pasicrates Athenodorus, and to Nicocreon Thessalus, in whose success Alexander himself was interested. He did not reveal this interest, however, until, by the votes of the judges, Athenodorus had been proclaimed victor. But then, as it would appear, on leaving the theatre, he said that he approved the decision of the judges, but would gladly have given up a part of his kingdom rather than to have seen Thessalus vanquished.
And yet, when Athenodorus, who had been fined by the Athenians for not keeping his engagement in the dramatic contest of their Dionysiac festival, asked the king to write a letter to them in his behalf, though he would not do this, he sent them the amount of the fine from his own purse. Furthermore, when Lycon of Scarpheia, who was acting successfully before Alexander, inserted into the comedy a verse containing a request for ten talents, Alexander laughed and gave them to him.
When Dareius sent to him a letter and friends,
begging him to accept ten thousand talents as ransom for the captives, to hold all the territory this side of the Euphrates, to take one of his daughters in marriage, and on these terms to be his ally and friend, Alexander imparted the matter to his companions. ‘If I were Alexander,’ said Parmenio,
‘I would accept these terms.’
‘And so indeed would I,’ said Alexander,
‘were I Parmenio.’ But to Dareius he wrote:
‘Come to me, and thou shalt receive every courtesy; but otherwise I shall march at once against thee.’