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Callisthenes Vague on Alexander's Movements

His account of the movements of Alexander are equally vague. He says that "he crossed into Asia with forty thousand infantry and four thousand five hundred cavalry; but that when he was about to enter Cilicia he was joined by a reinforcement of five thousand infantry and eight hundred cavalry." From these numbers, if one were to make the liberal allowance of three thousand absentees from the infantry and three hundred from the cavalry on various services, there would still remain forty-two thousand infantry and five thousand cavalry. Starting with these numbers, he goes on to say "that Alexander heard of the entrance of Darius into Cilicia when he was a hundred stades away from him, having already marched through the pass:1 that he therefore retraced his steps through the pass, his phalanx on the van, his cavalry next, and his baggage on the rear. But that as soon as he had debouched upon the open country, he gave general orders to form up into a phalanx, at first thirty-two deep; then sixteen; and lastly, when they were nearing the enemy, eight deep." Now this is a worse blunder than the last. A stade, allowing for the distances which must be kept on a march, and reckoning the depth at sixteen, admits of one thousand six hundred men, each man covering six feet. It is plain, therefore, that ten stades will admit of only sixteen thousand men, and twenty twice that number. Hence, when Alexander caused his men to form sixteen deep, he would have wanted a width of ground of twenty stades; and even then, the whole of the cavalry and ten thousand infantry would have been unaccounted for.

1 The Cilician gates.

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