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While all this was going on, Hephaestion returned with his army from his mission, having conquered a big piece of India.1 Alexander commended him for his successes, then invaded the kingdom of Phegeus where the inhabitants cheerfully accepted the appearance of the Macedonians.2 Phegeus himself met the king with many gifts and Alexander confirmed him in his rule. Alexander and the army were feasted bountifully for two days, and then advanced to the Hyphasis River, the width of which was seven furlongs, the depth six fathoms, and the current violent. This was difficult to cross. [2]

He questioned Phegeus about the country beyond the Indus River,3 and learned that there was a desert to traverse for twelve days, and then the river called Ganges, which was thirty-two furlongs in width4 and the deepest of all the Indian rivers. Beyond this in turn dwelt the peoples of the Tabraesians and the Gandaridae, whose king was Xandrames. He had twenty thousand cavalry, two hundred thousand infantry, two thousand chariots, and four thousand elephants equipped for war.5 Alexander doubted this information and sent for Porus, and asked him what was the truth of these reports. [3] Porus assured the king that all the rest of the acount was quite correct, but that the king of the Gandaridae was an utterly common and undistinguished character, and was supposed to be the son of a barber. His father had been handsome and was greatly loved by the queen; when she had murdered her husband, the kingdom fell to him.6 [4]

Alexander saw that the campaign against the Gandaridae would not be easy, but he was not discouraged. He had confidence in the fighting qualities of his Macedonians, as well as in the oracles which he had received, and expected that he would be victorious. He remembered that the Pythia had called him "unconquerable," and Ammon had given him the rule of the whole world.7

1 Continued from chap. 91.2; Curtius 9.1.35.

2 Curtius 9.1.36.

3 The river (the Beas) has just been called the Hyphasis, and editors have tended to remove the term "Indus" here.

4 The same figure is given by Plut. Alexander 62.1. In Book 2.37.2, in a description based probably on Megasthenes, Diodorus gives the width of the river as thirty furlongs.

5 Plut. Alexander 62.2, gives the reported figures as follows: 80,000 horse, 200,000 foot, 8000 chariots, and 6000 elephants. In Book 2.37.3 also Diodorus gives the number of elephants as 4000.

6 Curtius 9.2.2-7. The narrative of these events in Arrian is entirely different.

7 For the consultation of Ammon cp. chap. 51 above. The Pythian story is mentioned otherwise only by Plut. Alexander 14.4.

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