previous next

Thus the king was left alone, and boldly took a step which was as little expected as it is worthy of mention. It seemed to him out of keeping with his tradition of success to descend from the wall to his troops without accomplishing anything. In stead, he leapt down with his armour alone inside the city. [2] As the Indians thronged about him, he withstood their attack undismayed. He protected himself on the right by a tree1 which grew close by the wall and on the left by the wall itself and kept the Indians off, displaying such courage as you would expect from a king who had his record of achievement. He was eager to make this, if it were the last feat of his life, a supremely glorious one. [3] He took many blows upon the helmet, not a few upon the shield. At length he was struck by an arrow2 below the breast and fell upon one knee, overborne by the blow. Straightway the Indian who had shot him, thinking that he was helpless, ran up and struck at him; Alexander thrust his sword up into the man's side, inflicting a mortal wound. The Indian fell, and the king caught hold of a branch close by and getting on his feet, defied the Indians to come forward and fight with him.3 [4]

At this point Peucestes, one of the guards, who had mounted another ladder, was the first to cover the king with his shield. After him a good many appeared together, which frightened the natives and saved Alexander.4 The city was taken by storm. In a fury at the injury to their king, the Macedonians killed all whom they met and filled the city with corpses. [5]

For many days the king lay helpless under his treatment,5 and the Greeks who had been settled in Bactria and Sogdiana, who had long borne unhappily their sojourn among peoples of another race and now received word that the king had died of his wounds, revolted against the Macedonians. [6] They formed a band of three thousand men and underwent great hardship on their homeward route. Later they were massacred by the Macedonians after Alexander's death.6

1 Curtius 9.5.4; Justin 12.9.9.

2 An arrow three feet long (Plut. De Fortuna aut Virtute Alexandri 2.9.341c).

3 Curtius 9.5.11-13.

4 There is general agreement that Peucestas deserves the credit for saving Alexander's life at this time. Curtius 9.5.14-18 reports that Timaeus, Leonnatus, and Aristonus were present also. Plut. Alexander 63 names Limnaeus; Arrian 6.10-11, Leonnatus and Abreas. According to Cleitarchus, Ptolemy was present also, but Ptolemy denied this (Curtius 9.5.21; Arrian. 6.11.8). He is named only by Plut. De Fortuna aut Virtute Alexandri 1.2.327b. and 2.13.343d-345 (naming also Limnaeus and Leonnatus, but omitting Peucestas).

5 Curtius 9.5.22-30.

6 Curtius 9.7.1-11, who reports that they all eventually made good their escape. Diodorus is thinking of the 20,000 foot and 3000 horse killed by the soldiers of Pithon (Book 18.4.8; 7.1-9).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1989)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (13 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (11):
    • Plutarch, Alexander, 63
    • Plutarch, De Alexandri magni fortuna aut virtute, 1
    • Plutarch, De Alexandri magni fortuna aut virtute, 2
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 6.10
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 6.11.8
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 9.5.11
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 9.5.14
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 9.5.21
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 9.5.22
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 9.5.4
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 9.7.1
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: