previous next

Now there came to Susa at this time a body of thirty thousand Persians, all very young and selected for their bodily grace and strength.1 [2] They had been enrolled in compliance with the king's orders and had been under supervisors and teachers of the arts of war for as long as necessary. They were splendidly equipped with the full Macedonian armament and encamped before the city, where they were warmly commended by the king after demonstrating their skill and discipline in the use of their weapons. [3] The Macedonians had not only mutinied when ordered to cross the Ganges River but were frequently unruly when called into an assembly2 and ridiculed Alexander's pretence that Ammon was his father.3 For these reasons Alexander had formed this unit from a single age-group of the Persians which was capable of serving as a counter-balance to the Macedonian phalanx.

These were the concerns of Alexander. [4]

Harpalus had been given the custody of the treasury in Babylon and of the revenues which accrued to it, but as soon as the king had carried his campaign into India, he assumed that Alexander would never come back, and gave himself up to comfortable living.4 Although he had been charged as satrap5 with the administration of a great country, he first occupied himself with the abuse of women and illegitimate amours with the natives and squandered much of the treasure under his control on incontinent pleasure. He fetched all the long way from the Red Sea a great quantity of fish and introduced an extravagant way of life, so that he came under general criticism. [5] Later, moreover, he sent and brought from Athens the most dazzling courtesan of the day, whose name was Pythonice.6 As long as she lived he gave her gifts worthy of a queen, and when she died, he gave her a magnificent funeral and erected over her grave a costly monument of the Attic type. [6]

After that, he brought out a second Attic courtesan named Glycera7 and kept her in exceeding luxury, providing her with a way of life which was fantastically expensive. At the same time, with an eye on the uncertainties of fortune, he established himself a place of refuge by benefactions to the Athenians.

When Alexander did come back from India and put to death many of the satraps who had been charged with neglect of duty, Harpalus became alarmed at the punishment which might befall him. He packed up five thousand talents of silver, enrolled six thousand mercenaries, departed from Asia and sailed across to Attica. [7] When no one there accepted him, he shipped his troops off to Taenarum in Laconia, and keeping some of the money with him threw himself on the mercy of the Athenians. Antipater and Olympias demanded his surrender, and although he had distributed large sums of money to those persons who spoke in his favour, he was compelled to slip away and repaired to Taenarum and his mercenaries. [8] Subsequently he sailed over to Crete, where he was murdered by Thibron, one of his Friends.8 At Athens, an accounting was undertaken of the funds of Harpalus, and Demosthenes and certain other statesmen were convicted of having accepted money from this source.9

1 Arrian. 7.6.1; Plut. Alexander 71.1. Curtius 8.5.1 mentions the organization of this force in Bactria in 327; Plut. Alexander 47.2 places it in Hyrcania in 330.

2 The account of the mutiny at Opis is broken by Diodorus into two sections; cp. chap. 109.1 below. The full accounts are Curtius 10.2.8-4.3 Justin 12.11.5-12.7; Plut. Alexander 71.1-5; Arrian 7.8-11. "Ganges" is a slip (chap. 94).

3 Justin 12.11.6; Arrian. 7.8.3.

4 The Harpalus story was well known (Plut. Alexander 41.4; Plut. Phocion 21-22; Justin 13.5.9), but was told here, in addition to Diodorus, only by Curtius. In the loss of parts of that text only the end of the story remains (Curtius 10.2.1-3), told in a similar way to that here. The account of these events in Plut. Demosthenes 25-26, may plausibly be ascribed to Theopompus, at least in part.

5 Harpalus was not actually a satrap, but director general of the royal treasury.

6 She is mentioned by Athenaeus 13.586c, who refers to accounts of her by Theopompus and Cleitarchus.

7 Athenaeus 13.586c. The considerable evidence on these two is collected by Berve, Alexanderreich, 2, nos. 231 and 676.

8 Curtius 10.2.1-3; Book 18.19.2. The collaboration of Antipater and Olympias is odd, for they were ordinarily hostile to each other.

9 Justin 13.5.9.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1989)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (18 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: