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This was a second success for the Persians, and Alexander saw that it was time for him to offset the discomfiture of his forces by his own intervention1 with the royal squadron and the rest of the elite horse guards, and rode hard against Dareius.2 [2] The Persian king received their attack and fighting from a chariot hurled javelins against his opponents, and many supported him. As the kings approached each other, Alexander flung a javelin at Dareius and missed him, but struck the driver standing beside him and knocked him to the ground. [3] A shout went up at this from the Persians around Dareius, and those at a greater distance thought that the king had fallen. They were the first to take to flight, and they were followed by those next to them, and steadily, little by little, the solid ranks of Dareius's guard disintegrated. As both flanks became exposed, the king himself was alarmed and retreated. The flight thus became general. [4] Dust raised by the Persian cavalry rose to a height, and as Alexander's squadrons followed on their heels, because of their numbers and the thickness of the dust, it was impossible to tell in what direction Dareius was fleeing. The air was filled with the groans of the fallen, the din of the cavalry, and the constant sound of lashing of whips.3 [5]

At this time Mazaeus, the commander of the Persian right wing, with the most and the best of the cavalry, was pressing hard on those opposing him, but Parmenion with the Thessalian cavalry and the rest of his forces put up a stout resistance. [6] For a time, fighting brilliantly, he even seemed to have the upper hand thanks to the fighting qualities of the Thessalians, but the weight and numbers of Mazaeus's command brought the Macedonian cavalry into difficulties. [7] A great slaughter took place, and despairing of withstanding the Persian power, Parmenion sent off some of his horsemen to Alexander, begging him to come to their support quickly. They carried out their orders with dispatch, but finding that Alexander was already in full pursuit at a great distance from the battlefield they returned without accomplishing their mission. [8] Nevertheless Parmenion handled the Thessalian squadrons with the utmost skill and finally, killing many of the enemy, routed the Persians who were by now much disheartened by the withdrawal of Dareius.4

1 This same motivation is ascribed to Alexander, Curtius 4.15.19.

2 Curtius 4.15.24-33; Arrian. 3.14.1-3.

3 Curtius 4.15.33.

4 This incident is variously reported. According to Diodorus, Alexander did not receive Parmenion's plea for help, and Parmenion extricated himself without it. According to Curtius 4.15.6-8; 16.1-4 and Plut. Alexander 32.3-4; 33.7, Alexander received the message but did not turn back, and Parmenion extricated himself without help. According to Arrian. 3.15.1, Alexander received the message, returned, and helped Parmenion.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (7):
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 32.3
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.14.1
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.15.1
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.15.1
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.15.2
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.15.3
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 4.15.6
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