previous next

I think that if Fortune should try to inscribe her name on his successes, he would say to her, ‘Slander not my virtues, nor take away my fair fame by detraction. Darius was your handiwork : he who was [p. 385] a slave and courier of the king,1 him did you make the mighty lord of Persia ; and Sardar Lapalus, upon whose head you placed the royal diadem, though he spent his days in carding purple wool.2 But I, through my victory at Arbela,3 went up to Susa, and Cilicia4 opened the way for me into the broad land of Egypt; but to Cilicia I came by way of the Granicus,5 which I crossed, using as a bridge the dead bodies of Mithridates and Spithridates. Adorn yourself, proud Fortune, and vaunt your dominion over kings that never felt a wound nor shed a drop of blood. For they have been Fortune's favourites, men such as Ochus6 was and Artaxerses, whom at the very hour of their birth you placed upon the throne of Cyrus. But my body bears many a token of an opposing Fortune and no ally of mine. First, among the Illyrians,7 my head was wounded by a stone and my neck by a cudgel. Then at the Granicus8 my head was cut open by an enemy's dagger, at Issus9 my thigh was pierced by the sword. Next at Gaza10 my ankle was wounded by an arrow, my shoulder was dislocated, and I whirled heavily round and round. Then at Maracandaf11 the bone of my leg was split open by an arrow. There awaited me towards the last also the buffetings I received among the Indians and the [p. 387] violence of famines.12 Among the Aspasians13 my shoulder was wounded by an arrow, and among the Gandridae14 my leg. Among the Mallians,15 the shaft of an arrow sank deep into my breast and buried its steel; and I was struck in the neck by a cudgel, when the scaling-ladders which we had moved up to the walls were battered down ; and Fortune cooped me up alone, favouring ignoble barbarians and not illustrious adversaries with such an exploit. But if Ptolemy16 had not held his shield above me, and Limnaeus17 taking his stand before me had not fallen, a target for ten thousand shafts, and if my Macedonians had not overthrown the wall with spirit and main force, then that nameless village in a foreign land must needs have become the tomb of Alexander.’

1 Cf. 340 c, infra; Life of Alexander, chap. xviii. (674 d). Aelian, Varia Historia, xii. 43, says that he was a slave; and Strabo, xv. 3. 24, Diodorus, xvii. 5, say that he was not of the royal family.

2 Cf. 336 c, infra.

3 331 b.c.

4 The battle of Issus, 333 b.c.

5 334 b.c.

6 Artaxerxes III. (358-338 b.c.).

7 This wound is elsewhere unknown to history. For the wounds of Alexander see the excellent tables of Nachstädt, op. cit. pp. 38-44.

8 Cf. 341 a-c, infra; Life of Alexander, chap. xvi. (673 a); Arrian, Anabasis, i. 15. 7; Diodorus, xvii. 20.

9 By Darius, according to Chares (341 c, infra; Life of Alexander, chap. xx. (675 f)); but this is unknown to Arrian, Diodorus, Curtius, and Justin.

10 The text is probably corrupt; in Curtius, iv. 6, we hear of two wounds, and they are quite different ones. One wound is reported in 341 b, infra; Life of Alexander, chap. xxv. (679 b); Arrian, Anabasis, ii. 27. 2.

11 Cf. 341 b, infra; Arrian, Anabasis, iii. 30. 11; Curitus, vii. 6.

12 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. lxvi. (702 a-b); Arrian, Anabasis, vi. 24-25.

13 Cf. Ibid., iv. 23. 3; Curitus, viii. 3.

14 Nothing is known of this wound.

15 Cf. 341 c, 343 e ff., infra; Life of Alexander, chap. lxiii. (700 b ff.); Arrian, Anabasis, vi. 9, 10; Diodorus, xvii. 98; Curtius, ix. 4, 5; Strabo, xv. 1. 33.

16 Peucestas in Life of Alexander, and in Arrian, Anabasis.

17 Leonnatus according to Arrian (Anabasis, vi. 10. 2).

load focus Greek (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1889)
load focus English (Goodwin, 1874)
load focus Greek (Frank Cole Babbitt, 1936)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: