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I shall be thought to be making a strange statement, yet what I shall say is true : it was because of Fortune that Alexander all but lost the repute of being the son of Ammon! For what offspring of the gods could have toiled through such hazardous, toilsome, and painful Labours save only Heracles, the son of Zeus? But it was one arrogant man who imposed upon Heracles the task of capturing lions, of pursuing wild boars, of frightening off birds so that he might not have time to go about performing greater deeds, such as punishing men like Antaeus and stopping creatures like Busiris1 from their abominable murders. But upon Alexander it was Virtue who laid the kingly and god-like Labour, the end and aim of which was not gold, carried about by countless camels, nor Persian luxury, banquets, and women, nor the wine [p. 471] of Chalybon,2 nor the fish of Hyrcanis,, but to order all men by one law and to render them submissive to one rule and accustomed to one manner of life. The desire which he cherished to accomplish this task was implanted in him from childhood, and was fostered and increased with the years that passed. Once, when ambassadors carne from the Persian king to Philip, who was not at home, Alexander, while he entertained them hospitably,3 asked ho childish questions, as the others did, about the vine of gold,4 or the Hanging Gardens, or how the Great King was arrayed ; but he was completely engrossed with the most vital concerns of the dominion, asking how large was the Persian army; where the king stationed himself in battle (even as the famed Odysseus5 asked
Where are his arms that he wields in the battle, and where are his horses?);
and which roads were the shortest for travellers going inland from the sea - so that the strangers were astounded and said, ‘This boy is a ‘great king’; our king is only wealthy.’ But after Philip's end, when Alexander was eager to cross over and, already absorbed in his hopes and preparations, was hastening to gain a hold upon Asia, Fortune, seizing upon him, blocked his way, turned him about, dragged him back, and surrounded him with countless distractions and delays. First she threw into the utmost commotion the barbarian elements among his neighbours, and contrived wars with the Illyrians6 and Triballians. By these wars he was drawn from his Asiatic projects as far away as the portion of Scythia that lies along [p. 473] the Danube ; when, by sundry manoeuvres, he had subjugated all this territory with much danger and great struggles, he was again eager and in haste for the crossing. Again, however, Fortune stirred up Thebes against him, and thrust in his pathway a war with Greeks, and the dread necessity of punishing, by means of slaughter and fire and sword, men that were his kith and kin,7 a necessity which had a most unpleasant ending.8

After this he crossed with provision for thirty days, as Phylarchus9 relates ; but Aristobulus says,10 with seventy talents. He divided the greater part of his possessions at home and his royal revenues among his friends ; Perdiccas11 alone would take nothing when Alexander offered, but asked, ‘What, are you leaving for yourself, Alexander?’ And when Alexander replied, ‘High hopes !’, ‘Then,’ said Perdiccas, ‘we also shall share in these ; for it is not right to take your possessions, but right to wait in expectation of those of Darius.’

1 Cf. 315 b, supra and Moralia 857 a.

2 A city in Syria; for the wine cf. Strabo, xv. 3. 22 (p. 735); Athenaeus, 28 d; Suidas and Hesychius, s.v.

3 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. v. (666 e-f).

4 Cf. Xenophon, Hellenica, vii. 1. 38; Diodorus, xix. 48.

5 Homer, Il. x. 407.

6 Cf. 327 d, supra.

7 Heracles, a reputed ancestor of the Macedonian kings, was born in Thebes.

8 The sack of Thebes and the enslaving of most of the surviving inhabitants; cf. Life of Alexander, chap. xi. (670 e), and Arrian, Anabasis, i. 8-9.

9 Cited on the authority of Duris in 327 e, supra.

10 Cf. 327 e, supra.

11 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. xv. (672 b).

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