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17. This contest at once made a great change in the situation to Alexander's advantage, so that he received the submission even of Sardis, the bulwark of the barbarian dominion on the sea-coast, and added the rest of the country to his conquests. Halicarnassus alone withstood him, and Miletus, which cities he took by storm 1 and subdued all the territories about them. Then he was in doubt as to his future course. [2] Many times he was eager to encounter Dareius and put the whole issue to hazard, and many times he would make up his mind to practice himself first, as it were, and strengthen himself by acquiring the regions along the sea with their resources, and then to go up against that monarch. Now, there is in Lycia, near the city of Xanthus, a spring, which at this time, as we are told, was of its own motion upheaved from its depths, and overflowed, and cast forth a bronze tablet bearing the prints of ancient letters, in which it was made known that the empire of the Persians would one day be destroyed by the Greeks and come to an end. [3] Encouraged by this prophecy, Alexander hastened to clear up the seacoast as far as Cilicia and Phoenicia. His rapid passage along the coasts of Pamphylia has afforded many historians material for bombastic and terrifying description. They imply that by some great and heaven-sent good fortune the sea retired to make way for Alexander, although at other times it always came rolling in with violence from the main, and scarcely ever revealed to sight the small rocks which lie close up under the precipitous and riven sides of the mountain. 2 [4] And Menander, in one of his comedies, 3 evidently refers jestingly to this marvel:—
How Alexander-like, indeed, this is; and if I seek some one,
Spontaneous he'll present himself; and if I clearly must
Pass through some place by sea, this will lie open to my steps.
Alexander himself; however, made no such prodigy out of it in his letters, but says that he marched by way of the so-called Ladder, and passed through it, setting out from Phaselis. [5] This was the reason for his spending several days in that city, during which he noticed that a statue of Theodectas, a deceased citizen of Phaselis, had been erected in the marketplace. Once, therefore, after supper and in his cups, he led a band of revellers to the statue and crowned it with many of their garlands, thus in pleasantry returning no ungraceful honour for the past association with the man which he owed to Aristotle and philosophy.

1 The siege and capture of these cities occupied Alexander till the late autumn of 334 B.C.

2 According to Arrian ( Anab. i. 26, 1 f.), there is no route along this beach except when the north wind blows. ‘But at that time, after strong south winds, the north winds blew and rendered his passage easy and quick, not without the divine intervention, as both he and his followers interpreted.’

3 Kook, Com. Att. Frag. iii. p. 240.

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