All this while, what favors did Fortune shower upon Alexander but what he merited, what he sweat for, what he bled for? What came gratis? What without the price [p. 507] of great achievements and illustrious actions? He quenched his thirst in rivers mixed with blood; he marched over bridges of slain carcasses; he grazed the fields to satisfy his present hunger; he dug his way to nations covered with snow and cities lying under ground; he made the hostile sea submit to his fleets; and, marching over the thirsty and barren sands of the Gedrosians and Arachosians, he discovered green at sea before he saw it at land. So that if I might use the same liberty of speech for Alexander to Fortune as to a man, I would thus expostulate with her:— “Insulting Fortune, when and where didst thou make an easy way for Alexander's vast performances? What impregnable rock was ever surrendered to him without a bloody assault, by thy favor? What city didst thou ever deliver unguarded into his hands? Or what unarmed battalion of men? What faint-hearted prince, what negligent captain, or sleepy sentinels did he ever surprise? When didst thou ever befriend him with so much as a fordable river, a mild winter, or an easy summer? Get thee to Antiochus the son of Seleucus, to Artaxerxes the brother of Cyrus. Get thee to Ptolemy Philadelphus. Their fathers proclaimed them kings in their own lifetime; they won battles which no mothers wept for; they spent their days in festivals, admiring the pomp of shows and theatres; and still more happy, they prolonged their reigns till scarce their feeble hands could wield their sceptres. But if nothing else, behold the body of Alexander wounded by the enemy, mangled, battered, bruised, from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet,
With spears, and swords, and mighty stones.At the battle of the Granicus his helmet was cleft to his very scull; at Gaza he was wounded in the shoulder with [p. 508] a dart. Among the Maragandi he was shot in the shin so desperately, that the bone of his shank was broken and started out of the skin. In Hyrcania he was struck in the neck with a stone, which caused such a dimness in his eyes that for many days he was in danger of losing his sight. Among the Assaracans he was wounded in the heel with an Indian dart; at which time he thus derided his flatterers with a smiling countenance, saying, This is blood, and no immortal ichor,—
Such stream as issues from a wounded God.At Issus he was run through the thigh with a sword by Darius (as Chares relates), who encountered him hand to hand. Alexander also himself, writing the truth with all sincerity to Antipater, said, It was my fortune to be wounded with a poniard in the thigh, but no ill symptoms attended it either when it was newly done or afterwards during the cure. Another time, among the Malli he was wounded with an arrow two cubits in length, that went in at his breast and came out at his neck, as Aristobulus relates. Crossing the Tanais against the Scythians and winning the field, he pursued the flying enemy a hundred and fifty furlongs, though at the same time laboring with a dysentery.