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As the main bodies now neared each other and, employing bows and slings and throwing javelins, expended their missiles, they turned to hand to hand fighting. [2] The cavalry first joined battle, and as the Macedonians were on the right wing, Dareius, who commanded his own left, led his kinsman cavalry against them. These were men chosen for courage and for loyalty, the whole thousand included in one squadron.1 [3] Knowing that the king was watching their behaviour, they cheerfully faced all of the missiles which were cast in his direction. With them were engaged the Apple Bearers,2 brave and numerous, and in addition to these Mardi and Cossaei, who were admired for their strength and daring, [4] as well as all the household troops belonging to the palace and the best fighters among the Indians. They all raised a loud battle cry and, attacking, engaged the enemy valiantly and pressed hard upon the Macedonians because of their superior numbers. [5]

Mazaeus was in command of the Persian right wing with the best of the cavalry under him and killed not a few of his opponents at the first onslaught, but sent off two thousand Cadusii and a thousand picked Scythian horsemen with orders to ride around the enemy's flank and to continue on to their camp and capture the baggage. [6] This they did promptly, and as they burst into the camp of the Macedonians, some of the captives seized weapons and aided the Scythians in seizing the baggage. There was shouting and confusion throughout the whole camp area at this unexpected event. [7] Most of the female captives rushed off to welcome the Persians, but the mother of Dareius, Sisyngambris, did not heed when the women called upon her, but remained placidly where she was, since she neither trusted the uncertain turns of Fortune nor would sully her gratitude toward Alexander. [8] Finally, after the Scythians had rounded up much of the baggage, they rode off to Mazaeus to report their success.3 During this time, also, part of the cavalry of Dareius in superior numbers continued their pressure on the opposing Macedonians and forced them to give ground.

1 Curtius 4.15.24-25. This was the royal chiliarchy, commanded by the chiliarch or grand vizier. The members had the court rank of Royal Relatives. Like Diodorus, Curtius 4.12 writes only of left and right wings in the Persian army, with the king in the former position (Curtius 4.14.8). Arrian. 3.11.5 places the king correctly in the centre.

2 So called from the fact that the butts of their spears were carved in the likeness of apples. They constituted the royal foot guards. Arrian. 3.11.3-4 gives from an official list captured after the battle Kinsmen, Melophoroi, Indians, Carians, and Mardi. The Cossaei are named by Curtius also (Curtius 4.12.10), certainly in error, since they were not subjects of the king (chap. 111.4).

3 Curtius 4.15.5-11. The "baggage" included persons as well as objects, and it may be that this attack was a calculated attempt to recover the Persian women captured at Issus. Arrian. 3.14.5-6 views it as a purely military manoeuvre. Arrian reports that it was a break through the Macedonian line carried out by Indians and Persian cavalry, while Curtius and Plut. Alexander 32.2, who do not identify the troops, agree with Diodorus that the operation was a sweep around the Macedonian left wing.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (9):
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 32.2
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.11.3
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.11.5
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.14.5
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.12
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.12.1
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.14.8
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.15.2
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.15.5
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