After the men were gone, Alexander lay down in his tent, and is said to have passed the rest of the night in a deeper sleep than usual, so that when his officers came to him in the early morning they were amazed, and on their own authority issued orders that the soldiers should first take breakfast. Then, since the occasion was urgent, Parmenio entered the tent, and standing by his couch called Alexander twice or thrice by name; and when he had thus roused him, he asked him how he could possibly sleep as if he were victorious, instead of being about to fight the greatest of all his battles.
Then Alexander said with a smile: ‘What, pray? Dost thou not think that we are already victorious, now that we are relieved from wandering about in a vast and desolated country in pursuit of a Dareius who avoids a battle?’ And not only before the battle, but also in the very thick of the struggle did he show himself great, and firm in his confident calculations.
For in the battle the left wing under Parmenio was thrown back and in distress, when the Bactrian cavalry fell upon the Macedonians with great impetuosity and violence, and when Mazaeus sent horsemen round outside the line of battle to attack those who were guarding the Macedonian baggage. Therefore, too, Parmenio, much disturbed by both occurrences, sent messengers to Alexander telling him that camp and baggage were gone, unless he speedily sent strong reinforcements from front to rear.
Now, it chanced that at that instant Alexander was about to give the signal for the onset to those under his command; but when he heard Parmenio's message, he declared that Parmenio was beside himself and had lost the use of his reason, and had forgotten in his distress that victors add the baggage of the enemy to their own, and that those who are vanquished must not think about their wealth or their slaves, but only how they may fight gloriously and die with honour.
After sending this message to Parmenio, he put on his helmet, but the rest of his armour he had on as he came from his tent, namely, a vest of Sicilian make girt about him, and over this a breastplate of two-ply linen from the spoils taken at Issus. His helmet was of iron, but gleamed like polished silver, a work of Theophilus; and there was fitted to this a gorget, likewise of iron, set with precious stones.
He had a sword, too, of astonishing temper and lightness, a gift from the king of the Citieans, and he had trained himself to use a sword for the most part in his battles. He wore a belt also, which was too elaborate for the rest of his armour; for it was a work of Helicon the ancient, and a mark of honour from the city of Rhodes, which had given it to him; this also he was wont to wear in his battles.
As long, then, as he was riding about and marshalling some part of his phalanx, or exhorting or instructing or reviewing his men, he spared Bucephalas, who was now past his prime, and used another horse; but whenever he was going into action, Bucephalas would be led up, and he would mount him and at once begin the attack.