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After this recital, the king ordered the officers of the fleet to sail on to the Euphrates,1 while he continued on a great distance with the army, and came to the frontier of Susiane. Here the Indian Caranus,2 who had advanced far in philosophy and was highly regarded by Alexander, put a remarkable end to his life. [2] He had lived for seventy-three years without ever having experienced an illness, and now decided to remove himself from life, since he had received the utmost limit of happiness both from nature and from Fortune. [3] He had been taken ill and each day becoming more exhausted he asked the king to erect for him a huge pyre and, after he had ascended it, to order the attendants to ignite it. [4]

At first Alexander tried to dissuade him from this plan, but when he was unsuccessful, he agreed to do what was asked. After the project had become generally known, the pyre was erected, and everybody came to see the remarkable sight. [5] True to his own creed, Caranus cheerfully mounted the pyre and perished, consumed along with it. Some of those who were present thought him mad, others vain-glorious about his ability to bear pain, while others simply marvelled at his fortitude and contempt for death. [6]

The king gave Caranus a magnificent funeral and then proceeded to Susa, where he married Stateira, the elder daughter of Dareius, and gave her younger sister Drypetis as wife to Hephaestion. He prevailed upon the most prominent of his Friends to take wives also, and gave them in marriage the noblest Persian ladies.3

1 This order to Nearchus would have been better given in Carmania than at Susa. Cp. Arrian. 6.28.6. At all events, in the narrative of Diodorus Alexander is not yet in Susa.

2 Plut. Alexander 69.3-4; Arrian. 7.2.4-3.6. The name is usually given as Calanus (as Strabo 15.1.64; 68). For the vogue of the story in antiquity cp. M. Hadas, Hellenistic Culture (1959), 178 f.

3 Curtius 10.3.11-12; Justin 12.10.9-10; Plut. Alexander 70.2; Arrian. 7.4.4-8. There were one hundred couples (Plut. De Fortuna aut Virtute Alexandri 1.7.329e). Justin and Plutarch report that Alexander married Stateira; Arrian names Barsine and Parysatis. This marriage was described in detail by Chares, Alexander's minister of protocol (Athenaeus 12.538b-539a).

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