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So Alexander employed the false alarms of war to outgeneral the Indians and to gain possession of the "rock" without further fighting. He gave the promised reward to his guide and marched off with his army.1 [2]

About this time, a certain Indian named Aphrices with twenty thousand troops and fifteen elephants was encamped in the vicinity.2 Some of his followers killed him and cut off his head and brought it to Alexander, and saved their own lives by this favour. [3] The king took them into his service, and rounded up the elephants, which were wandering about the countryside.3

Alexander now advanced to the Indus River and found his thirty-oared boats in readiness and fully equipped, and the stream spanned by a floating bridge.4 He rested his army for thirty days and offered splendid sacrifices to the gods, then moved his army across and experienced a startling fright and relief. [4] Taxiles, the king, had died, and his son Mophis5 had succeeded to the throne. He had sent word to Alexander earlier when he was in Sogdiana, promising to join him in a campaign against his enemies among the Indians, and now he stated through his messengers that he turned his kingdom over to him. [5] When Alexander was still forty furlongs off, Mophis deployed his force as if for war and marched forward, his elephants gaily caparisoned, surrounded by his Friends. Alexander saw a great army in warlike array approaching and concluded at once that the Indian's promises were made in order to deceive him, so that the Macedonians might be attacked before they had time to prepare themselves. He ordered the trumpeters to sound the call to arms, and when the soldiers had found their battle stations, marched against the Indians. [6] Mophis saw the excited activity of the Macedonians and guessed the reason. He left his army and accompanied only by a few horsemen galloped forward, corrected the misapprehension of the Macedonians, and gave himself and his army over to the king. [7] Alexander, much relieved, restored his kingdom to him and thereafter held him as a friend and ally. He also changed his name to Taxiles.6

That is what happened in that year.

1 According to Sir Aurel Stein's discoveries (85.1, note), the ravine which Alexander filled up lay at the top of the ridge, so that both features of Diodorus's account, the secret path and the regular siege operations, were actually present. The third feature of the story, the deception to induce the Indians to withdraw, is less easy to explain.

2 In Curtius 8.12.1 he is said to have blocked Alexander's advance.

3 Arrian. 4.30.7-9 tells of rounding up elephants left at pasture, perhaps the same story.

4 The work was done by Hephaestion (Curtius 8.12.4) or by Hephaestion and Perdiccas (Arrian. 4.30.9).

5 Called Omphis in Curtius 8.12.4.

6 The same story is told by Curtius 8.12.4-18. The adhesion of Taxiles is briefly noted in Arrian. 5.3.5-6, and told in a different manner by Plut. Alexander 59.1-3.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (6):
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 59.1
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 4.30.7
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 4.30.9
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 5.3.5
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 8.12.1
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 8.12.4
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