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In the archonship of Chremes at Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Publius Cornelius and Aulus Postumius.2 In this year Alexander repaired his army in the land of Taxiles and then marched against Porus, the king of the neighbouring Indians.3 [2] He had more than fifty thousand infantry, about three thousand cavalry, more than a thousand chariots of war, and one hundred and thirty elephants.4 He had enlisted the support of a second king of the neighbouring regions, whose name was Embisarus5; he had an army little smaller than that of Porus. [3]

When Alexander received word that this king was four hundred furlongs away, he decided to attack Porus before the arrival of his ally. [4] As he approached the Indians, Porus learned of his advance and deployed his forces promptly. He stationed his cavalry upon both flanks, and arranged his elephants, arrayed so as to strike terror in an opponent, in a single line at equal intervals along his front. Between these beasts he placed the rest of his infantry, with the mission of helping them and preventing their being attacked with javelins from the sides. [5] His whole array looked very much like a city, for the elephants resembled towers, and the soldiers between them curtain walls.6 Alexander viewed the enemy's dispositions and arranged his own troops appropriately.

1 326/5 B.C.

2 Chremes was archon at Athens from July 326 to June 325 B.C. The consuls of 328 B.C. are not entirely certain (Broughton 1.145). One was C. Plautius Decianus or P. Plautius Proculus, the other P. Cornelius Scapula or P. Cornelius Scipio Barbatus. No Postumius is otherwise attested at this time. According to the calculations of M. J. Fontana, Kokalos, 2 (1956), 42 f., the battle with Porus took place about July 326 B.C., as Diodorus dates it, while Arrian. 5.19.3 places the battle a little earlier, in the Attic month Munichion of the year of Hegemon (April/May of 326 B.C.). He states, however, that the time was after the summer solstice (Arrian. 5.9.4).

3 For the whole story cp. Curtius 8.13-14; Justin 12.8.1-7; Plut. Alexander 60; Arrian. 5.3.5-19.3. Diodorus (like Justin) omits the exciting story of Alexander's crossing the Hydaspes River.

4 Curtius 8.13.6 gives Porus's strength as 30,000 foot, 300 chariots, and 85 elephants; Plut. Alexander 62.2 as 20,000 foot and 2000 horse. Arrian. 5.15.4 gives 4000 horse, 300 chariots, 200 elephants, and 30,000 foot.

5 He is otherwise known as Abisares (Arrian. 5.22.2; Curtius 8.13.1; 14.1). Diodorus calls him by another name in chap. 90.4 (Berve, Alexanderreich, 2, no. 2).

6 The same comparison in Curtius 8.14.13. The other writers do not place infantry between the elephants.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (11):
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 60
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 62.2
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 5.15.4
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 5.19.3
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 5.22.2
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 5.3.5
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 5.9.4
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 8.13
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 8.13.1
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 8.13.6
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 8.14.1
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