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Dareius became king before the death of Philip and thought to turn the coming war back upon Macedonia, but when Philip died, Dareius was relieved of his anxiety and despised the youth of Alexander. [2] Soon, however, when Alexander's vigour and rapidity of action had secured for him the leadership of all Greece and made evident the ability of the young man, then Dareius took warning and began to pay serious attention to his forces. He fitted out a large number of ships of war and assembled numerous strong armies, choosing at the same time his best commanders, among whom was Memnon of Rhodes,1 outstanding in courage and in strategic grasp. [3] The king gave him five thousand2 mercenaries and ordered him to march to Cyzicus and to try to get possession of it. With this force, accordingly, Memnon marched on across the range of Mt. Ida. [4]

Some tell the story that this mountain got its name from Ida, the daughter of Melisseus.3 It is the highest mountain in the region of the Hellespont and there is in its midst a remarkable cave in which they say the goddesses were judged by Alexander.4 [5] On this mountain are supposed to have lived the Idaean Dactyls who first worked iron, having learned their skill from the Mother of the Gods.5 An odd occurrence has been observed in connection with this mountain which is known nowhere else. [6] About the time of the rising of the Dog Star,6 if one stands upon the highest peak, the stillness of the surrounding atmosphere gives the impression that the summit is elevated above the motion of the winds, and the sun can be seen rising while it is still night. Its rays are not circumscribed in a circular orb but its flame is dispersed in many places, so that you would think that there were many patches of fire burning along the horizon. [7] Presently, then, these draw together into one huge flame the width of which reaches three plethra.7 Finally, as the day dawns, the usually observed size of the sun's ball is attained and produces normal daylight.8 [8]

Memnon traversed this mountain and suddenly falling upon the city of Cyzicus came within an ace of taking it.9 Failing in this, he wasted its territory and collected much booty. [9] While he was thus occupied, Parmenion took by storm the city of Grynium and sold its inhabitants as slaves, but when he besieged Pitane10 Memnon appeared and frightened the Macedonians into breaking off the siege. [10] Later Callas with a mixed force of Macedonians and mercenaries joined battle in the Troad against a much larger force of Persians and, finding himself inferior, fell back on the promentory of Rhoeteium.11

That was the situation in Asia.

1 See Book 16.52.4.

2 This number seems small for the task assigned Memnon, but it is hardly likely that it should be emended to 50,000, the total number of the King's Greek mercenaries (Curtius 5.11.5). Polyaenus refers to Memnon's 4000 troops (Polyaenus 5.44.4).

3 Melisseus, king of Crete, is reported to have been the father of Adrasteia and Ida, to whom the infant Zeus was given to nurse (Book 5.70.2). See Apollod. 1.1.6.

4 The Judgement of Paris.

5 See Book 5.64.3-5.

6 According to the calculations of Mr. Alan E. Samuel, this would be the heliacal rising of Sirius, which occurred about 20th July (P. V. Neugebauer, Astronomische Chronologie, Berlin & Leipzig, 1929, Vol. 2, Tables E 58-62). Professor Otto Neugebauer writes that the rising would occur between 18th and 20th July, but that these references in the Greek authors are not to be pressed too closely.

7 The plethron was 100 Greek feet or somewhat less than 100 English feet, and varied somewhat. It is impossible to know its precise value in Diodorus or his source.

8 A somewhat different account of the same phenomenon is given by Pomponius Mela 1.18. Day began with the first appearance of the sun's rim above the horizon, and the previous streaks of light occurred while it was still, strictly speaking, night. Cp. C. Bailey on Lucretius, 3 (1947), 1426 f. (pointed out by Prof. Robert J. Getty).

9 Reported with some details by Polyaenus 5.44.5.

10 Grynium and Pitane were old Aeolian cities on the Bay of Elaea. Parmenion was pursuing Philip's mission of "liberation" (Book 16.91.2).

11 Rhoeteium is a promontory at the mouth of the Hellespont north of Ilium. Calas (as the name is properly spelled) was the son of a Harpalus, of a family prominent in the Elimiotis. Later he commanded the Thessalian cavalry in Alexander's army (chap. 17.4), and then remained in Asia Minor as satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia; cp. Berve, Alexanderreich, 2, no. 397.

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