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 Having separated his forces into three divisions, he set out with one division through Gedrosia, keeping at the utmost from the sea not more than 500 stadia, in order to secure the coast for his fleet; but he frequently approached the sea-side, although the beach was impracticable and rugged. The second division he sent forward under the command of Craterus through the interior, with a view of reducing Ariana, and of proceeding to the same places to which he himself was directing his march. (The third division), the fleet he intrusted to Nearchus and Onesicritus, his master pilot, giving them orders to take up convenient positions in following him, and to sail along the coast parallel to his line of march. 5 Nearchus says, that while Alexander was on his march, he himself commenced his voyage, in the autumn, about the achronical rising of the Pleiades,1 the wind not being before favourable. The Barbarians however, taking courage at the departure of the king, became daring, and attempted to throw off their subjection, attacked them, and endeavoured to drive them out of the country. But Craterus set out from the Hydaspes, and proceeded through the country of the Arachoti and of the Drangæ into Carmania. Alexander was greatly distressed throughout the whole march, as his road lay through a barren country. The supplies of provisions which he obtained came from a distance, and were scanty and unfrequent, so much so that the army suffered greatly from hunger, the beasts of burden dropped down, and the baggage was abandoned, both on the march and in the camp. The army was saved by eating dates and the marrow of the palm-tree.2 Alexander however (says Nearchus), although acquainted with the hardships of the enterprise, was ambitious of conducting this large army in safety, as a conqueror, through the same country where, according to the prevailing report, Semiramis escaped by flight from India with about twenty, and Cyrus with about seven men.
1 By the achronical rising of the Pleiades is meant the rising of this constellation, or its first becoming visible, after sun-set. Vincent (Voyage of Nearchus) fixes on the 23rd October, 327 B. C., as the date of the departure of Alexander from Nicæa; August, 326 B. C., as the date of his arrival at Pattala; and the 2nd of October, 326 B. C., as the date of the departure of the fleet from the Indus.
2 The pith in the young head-shoot of the palm-tree.
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