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Again he embarked with his Friends upon the ships and continued his voyage down the river until he came to the confluence of the rivers named above with the Indus.1 As these mighty streams flowed together, many dangerous eddies were created and these, making the ships collide with each other, caused much damage. The current was swift and violent and overcame the skill of the helmsmen. Two of the galleys were sunk and not a few of the other vessels ran aground. [2] The flagship was swept into a great cataract and the king was brought into extreme danger. With death staring him in the face, Alexander flung off his clothing and leaping into the water naked saved himself as best he could.2 His Friends swam with him, concerned to help the king to safety now that his ship was foundering. [3] Aboard the ship itself there was wild confusion. The crew struggled against the might of the water but the river was superior to all human skill and power. Nevertheless, Alexander and the ships3 with him got safely ashore with difficulty. Thus narrowly escaping, he sacrificed to the gods as having come through mortal danger, reflecting that he, like Achilles, had done battle with a river.4

1 Both Curtius 9.4.8-14 and Arrian. 6.4.4-5.4 speak of the confluence of the Hydaspes and the Acesines, rightly. The Indus joins the system much further to the south.

2 Plut. Alexander 58.4, reported that Alexander could not swim.

3 This is the manuscript reading, possibly a mistake for νέων, "young men," or νεόντων, "swimmers." This last is the suggestion of Professor Post.

4 Hom. Il. 21.228-382. Cp. Curtius 9.4.14: "cum amne bellum fuisse crederes"; Plut. De Fortuna aut Virtute Alexandri 2.9.340e: θαλάτταν μαχομένην ἔπλευσε. Curtius, like Arrian. 6.5.1-4, says that Alexander was not wrecked.

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