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Thus Alexander acquired Hyrcania and the tribes which were its neighbours, and many of the Iranian commanders who had fled with Dareius came to him and gave themselves up.1 He received them kindly and gained wide repute for fair dealing; [2] for instance, the Greeks who had served with Dareius, one thousand five hundred in number, and accomplished soldiers, also promptly turned themselves over to Alexander, and receiving a full pardon for their previous hostility were assigned to units of his army on the same pay scale as the rest.2 [3]

Alexander followed the coastline to the west and entered the country of the people known as Mardians.3 They prided themselves on their fighting ability and thinking little of Alexander's growth in power sent him no petition or mark of honour, [4] but held the passes with eight thousand soldiers and confidently awaited the Macedonian approach. The king attacked them and joining battle killed most of them and drove the rest into the fastnesses of the mountains. [5]

As he was wasting the countryside with fire and the pages who led the royal horses were at a little distance from the king, some of the natives made a sudden rush and carried off the best one of them.4 [6] This animal had come to Alexander as a gift from Demaratus of Corinth5 and had carried the king in all of his battles in Asia. So long as he was not caparisoned, he would permit only the groom to mount him, but when he had received the royal trappings, he would no longer allow even him, but for Alexander alone stood quietly and even lowered his body to assist in the mounting. [7] Because of the superior qualities of this animal the king was infuriated at his loss and ordered that every tree in the land be felled, while he proclaimed to the natives through interpreters that if the horse were not returned, they should see the country laid waste to its furthest limit and its inhabitants slaughtered to a man. [8] As he began immediately to carry out these threats, the natives were terrified and returned the horse and sent with it their costliest gifts. They sent also fifty men to beg forgiveness. Alexander took the most important of these as hostages.6

1 Individuals are named in Curtius 6.4.8-14; 4.23-5.5; 5.22-23; Arrian. 3.23.7-9.

2 The same figure is given in Curtius 6.5.6-10, and Arrian. 3.23.8-9; 24.5.

3 Curtius 6.5.11-17; Arrian. 3.24.1-3.

4 The famous Bucephalus.

5 Not otherwise mentioned by Diodorus, Demaratus was of some fame. He had served in Sicily with Timoleon, and although no longer young, accompanied Alexander to Asia, fought at the Granicus, and died shortly before Alexander's Indian campaign (Berve, Alexanderreich, 2, no. 253). Plut. Alexander 9.6, mentions Demaratus as one of Philip's advisers, but says (6.1) that Bucephalus was given to Alexander by Philoneicus the Thessalian.

6 Curtius 6.5.18-21; Plut. Alexander 44; Arrian. 5.19.4-6 (told as an anecdote at the time of the animal's death).

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hide References (12 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), MARDYE´NI
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (10):
    • Plutarch, Alexander
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 9.6
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.23.7
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.23.8
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.24.1
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 5.19.4
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 6.4.8
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 6.5.11
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 6.5.18
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 6.5.6
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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