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Thereupon the king returned with his army to Macedonia, assembled his military commanders and his noblest Friends and posed for discussion the plan for crossing over to Asia. When should the campaign be started and how should he conduct the war? [2] Antipater and Parmenion advised him to produce an heir first and then to turn his hand to so ambitious an enterprise, but Alexander was eager for action and opposed to any postponement, and spoke against them. It would be a disgrace, he pointed out, for one who had been appointed by Greece to command the war, and who had inherited his father's invincible forces, to sit at home celebrating a marriage and awaiting the birth of children.1 [3] He then proceeded to show them where their advantage lay and by appeals aroused their enthusiasm for the contests which lay ahead. He made lavish sacrifices to the gods at Dium in Macedonia and held the dramatic contests in honour of Zeus and the Muses which Archelaus, one of his predecessors, had instituted.2 [4] He celebrated the festival for nine days, naming each day after one of the Muses. He erected a tent to hold a hundred couches3 and invited his Friends and officers, as well as the ambassadors from the cities, to the banquet. Employing great magnificence, he entertained great numbers in person besides distributing to his entire force sacrificial animals and all else suitable for the festive occasion, and put his army in a fine humour.

1 This incident is not mentioned by Justin or Arrian, or by Plutarch in the Alexander, but is given in Plut. Demosthenes 23.5.

2 Arrian. 1.11.1, after mentioning the sacrifice to Olympian Zeus, adds: "others say that he held games in honour of the Muses." That is to say, this was not mentioned by Ptolemy or (probably) Aristobulus, Arrian's primary sources.

3 The size of this structure may be judged from the fact that Agathocles's Hall of the Sixty Couches was one of the wonders of Sicily (Book 16.83.2). The tent accompanied Alexander on his expedition (Athenaeus 12.538c, 539d).

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