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73. As he was on his way to enter Babylon, Nearchus (who had joined him again after sailing through the ocean into the Euphrates) told the king that certain Chaldaeans had met him and advised that Alexander should keep away from Babylon. 1 Alexander paid no heed to this, but continued on his march; and when he was arrived at the walls, he saw many ravens flying about and clawing one another, and some of them fell dead at his feet. [2] Again, being informed that Apollodorus the commandant of Babylon had sacrificed to learn Alexander's fate, Alexander called Pythagoras the seer. Pythagoras did not deny the fact, whereupon Alexander asked him what was the character of the sacrifice. And when the seer told that the victim's liver had no lobe, ‘Ah me!’ said Alexander, ‘a forcible omen!’ and did Pythagoras no harm. He was sorry, too, that he had not obeyed Nearchus, and passed most of his time outside of Babylon, either living in his tent, or sailing about on the Euphrates. [3] And he was troubled by many omens. For instance, the largest and handsomest lion in his menagerie was attacked by a tame ass and kicked to death. Again, he once took off his clothes for exercise and was playing at ball, and when it was time to dress again, the young men who were playing with him beheld a man seated on the king's throne, in silence, wearing the royal diadem and robes. [4] When the man was asked who he was, he was speechless for a long time; but at last he came to his senses and said that his name was Dionysius, and that he was a native of Messenia; in consequence of some charge brought against him, he said, he had been brought thither from the sea-board, and for a long time had been in chains; but just now the god Serapis had come to him and loosed his chains and brought him to this spot, bidding him put on the robe and diadem and sit on the throne and hold his peace. 2

1 According to Arrian ( Anab. vii. 16, 5), the Chaldaeans besought Alexander in person to suspend his march to Babylon. It was in the spring of 323 B.C.

2 Other predictions of Alexander's death are given in Arrian ( Anab. vii. 18, 22, and 24).

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