previous next

Dareius hurried to Babylon and gathered together the survivors of the battle at Issus. He was not crushed in spirit in spite of the tremendous setback he had received, but wrote to Alexander advising him to bear his success as one who was only human and to release the captives in return for a large ransom. He added that he would yield to Alexander the territory and cities of Asia west of the Halys River if he would sign a treaty of friendship with him. [2] Alexander summoned his Friends to a council and concealed the real letter. Forging another more in accord with his interests he introduced it to his advisers and sent the envoys away empty handed.1 [3] So Dareius gave up the attempt to reach an agreement with Alexander by diplomatic means and set to work on vast preparations for war. He re-equipped those who had lost their armour in the defeat and he enlisted others and assigned them to military units. He sent for the levies from the upper satrapies,2 which he had previously left unemployed because of the haste of the last campaign. [4] He took such pains over the constitution of the army that he ended up with one twice the size of that which had been engaged at Issus. He assembled eight hundred thousand infantry and two hundred thousand cavalry, and a force of scythe-bearing chariots in addition.

These were the events of this year.

1 Diodorus is the only author to report this forgery. Three approaches by Dareius to Alexander are mentioned. (1) After the battle of Issus. Justin 11.12.1-2, Arrian 2.14, and Curtius 4.1.7-14 state that this letter of Dareius demanded that Alexander withdraw from Asia and release his captives with (Curtius, Justin) or without (Arrian) a ransom. Curtius adds that this letter was cast in an insulting tone, suggesting the manner of the one here stated to have been forged by Alexander. (2) After the capture of Tyre. Dareius now offered the hand of one of his daughters and all the territory west of the Halys River (Curtius 4.5.1-8) or a share in the kingdom (Justin 11, 12.3-4). This is approximately the same as the true letter which Diodorus mentions here. Arrian locates at this point what appears elsewhere as the third letter. (3) After the departure from Egypt and before Gaugamela, and connected with Alexander's kindly treatment of Dareius's queen. This took the form of an embassy, probably (Diodorus, 17.54.1-6; Curtius 4.11; Arrian 2.25), rather than a letter (Justin 11.12.7-16); Plut. Alexander 29.4). Dareius offered the hand of another daughter in marriage, cession of all territory west of the Euphrates, and a ransom for the royal women of 10,000 (Plutarch, Arrian) or 30,000 (Diodorus, Curtius, Justin) talents. An extensive correspondence, largely fictional, between Alexander and Dareius was in circulation in antiquity, and fragments of it occur in the papyri (cp. PSI, 12.1285). Much of if found a place in or contributed to the Alexander Romance.

2 These are listed by Arrian. 3.8.3-6.

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 Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1285 AD (1)
hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (7):
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 29.4
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 2.14
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 2.25
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.8.3
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.11
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.1.7
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.5.1
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: