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On the other hand, just as he had previously1 sent envoys to Alexander to treat for peace, offering to concede to him the land west of the Halys River, and also to give him twenty thousand talents of silver, [2] but Alexander would not agree, so now again Dareius sent other envoys praising Alexander for his generous treatment of Dareius's mother and the other captives and inviting him to become a friend. He offered him all the territory west of the Euphrates, thirty thousand talents of silver,2 and the hand of one of his daughters. Alexander would become Dareius's son-in-law and occupy the place of a son, while sharing in the rule of the whole empire.3 [3] Alexander brought together all his Friends into a council and laid before them the alternatives. He urged each to speak his own mind freely. [4] None of the rest, however, dared to give an opinion in a matter of this importance, but Parmenion spoke up and said: "If I were Alexander, I should accept what was offered and make a treaty." [5] Alexander cut in and said: "So should I, if I were Parmenion."

He continued with proud words and refuted the arguments of the Persians, preferring glory to the gifts which were extended to him. Then he told the envoys that the earth could not preserve its plan and order if there were two suns nor could the inhabited world remain calm and free from war so long as two kings shared the rule.4 [6] He bade them tell Dareius that, if he desired the supremacy, he should do battle with him to see which of them would have sole and universal rule. If, on the other hand, he despised glory and chose profit and luxury with a life of ease, then let him obey Alexander, but be king over all other rulers,5 since this privilege was granted him by Alexander's generosity. [7]

Alexander dismissed the council and ordering his forces to resume their march, he advanced on the camp of the enemy. At this juncture the wife of Dareius died and Alexander gave her a sumptuous funeral.6

1 The diplomatic exchanges between Dareius and Alexander are discussed above on chap. 39.2, note.

2 These figures are variously reported in the manuscripts.

3 It was a common practice among the Persians as later among the Seleucids for the king to share the administration of his huge realm with the crown prince. According to this offer, Dareius would rule the east, Alexander the west, but the kingdom would remain a unit. The territory offered to Alexander was approximately that which later became a part of the Roman Empire.

4 The quip, "So should I if I were Parmenion," occurs in all the sources. The "two suns" metaphor is given otherwise only by Justin 11.12.15.

5 This is a concept in keeping with the feudal organization of the Persian empire. The king was, quite literally, "king of kings"; if he accepted Alexander's overlordship, he might still be king of all the other kings of "Iran and non-Iran."

6 Plutarch, also (Plut. Alexander 30), places this incident after Dareius's embassy. Curtius 4.10.18-34 and Justin 11.12.6-7 place it before the embassy. This was the summer of 331. She had been taken prisoner in November, 333, but Plut. Alexander 30.1, states that she died in childbirth. This may reflect a tradition that Alexander had not taken as good care of her as was generally believed.

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