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The Great Empires of Prophecy, from Babylon to the Fall of Rome

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    Battle of the Granicus—Takes All Asia Minor—Darius’s Army—Battle of Issus—Alexander Takes Tyre—Alexander’s Vision—Holiday and Triumph in Egypt—The Battle of Arbela

    THE winter of 335 B. C. was employed by Alexander “in completing his preparations; so that early in the spring of 334 B. C., his army, destined for the conquest of Asia, was mustered between Pella and Amphipolis, while his fleet was at hand to lend support.”GEP 160.1

    2. “The army intended for Asia, having been assembled at Pella, was conducted by Alexander himself first to Amphipolis, where it crossed the Strymon; next along the road near the coast to the river Nestus and to the towns of Abdera and Maroneia; then through Thrace across the rivers Hebrus and Melas; lastly, through the Thracian Chersonese to Sestos. Here it was met by his fleet, consisting of a hundred and sixty triremes, with a number of trading vessels besides; made up in large proportions from contingents furnished by Athens and Grecian cities. The passage of the whole army—infantry, cavalry, and machines—on ships, across the strait from Sestos in Europe to Abydos in Asia, was superintended by Parmenio, and accomplished without either difficulty or resistance.GEP 160.2

    3. “The army when reviewed on the Asiatic shore after its crossing, presented a total of thirty thousand infantry and four thousand five hundred cavalry.... Besides these troops, there must have been an effective train of projectile machines and engines, for battles and sieges, which we shall soon find in operation. As to money, the military chest of Alexander, exhausted in part by profuse donatives to Macedonian officers,” contained only seventy talents,—$78, 085,—no more than enough to maintain his army for thirty days; besides this he had, in bringing together and fitting out his army, incurred a debt of about $1,450,150,—Grote. 1[Page 160] “History of Greece,” chap 92, pars. 1. 24, 27, 28.GEP 160.3

    4. Thus in the spring of 334 B. C., on the soil of the Persian Empire, stood Alexander the Great, “as the chief of united Greece,” and “the conqueror abroad in the name of Greece,” extending the Greek power over all the nations of the East, and carrying to them Greek art, the Greek language, and Greek civilization. And so, according to the word of the Lord, spoken two hundred years before, “the prince of Grecia” HAD “come.” 2[Page 161] Daniel 10:20.GEP 161.1

    5. About seventy-five or eighty miles from the place where Alexander landed in Asia Minor, the river Granicus pours into the Sea of Marmora. There, early in his fourth day’s march, May 22, B. C. 334, 3[Page 161] Haydn’s “Dictionary of Dates.” he found the Persian army drawn up in battle array, on the eastern bank of the river. “On approaching the river he made his preparations for immediate attack.” Alexander’s forces having arrived at the brink of the river, the two armies stood for some time “watching each other in anxious silence.” Then Alexander gave the word of command, and with wild war-shouts, and sound of trumpets, his troops rushed into the river and across, and in a little while had gained the opposite bank. The Persian army was annihilated. Of the Persian troops about twenty thousand were killed, and about two thousand were taken prisoners; while of Alexander’s soldiers there were only one hundred and fifteen killed, and about one thousand one hundred and fifty wounded. “No victory could be more decisive or terror-striking than that of Alexander” at the Granicus. “There remained no force in the field to oppose him.... Such exploits, impressive even when we read of them now, must at the moment when they occurred have acted most powerfully upon the imagination of contemporaries.”—Grote. 4[Page 161] “History of Greece,” chap 92, pars. 39-50; “Rollin’s “Ancient History,” Alexander, sec. iii, pars. 10-15.GEP 161.2

    6. “The battle of Granicus threw open to Alexander the whole of Asia Minor.... Accordingly, the Macedonian operations for the next twelve months, or nearly the whole space that intervened between the battles of the Granicus and of Issus, consisted of little more than a series of marches and sieges.”—Rawlinson. 5[Page 161] “Seven Great Monarchies,” Fifth Monarchy, chap 7, par. 195.GEP 161.3

    7. From the Granicus Alexander sent Parmenio into Phrygia to attack the capital of that province. Parmenio found the place evacuated by the garrison, and it surrendered without a blow. “The whole satrapy of Phrygia thus fell into Alexander’s power.”—Grote. 6[Page 162] History of Greece,” chap 92, par. 51.GEP 162.1

    8. Alexander himself, with the main part of his army, marched direct to Sardis, “the bulwark of the barbarian empire on the side next the sea,” about one hundred and forty miles southeast of the place where the battle of the Granicus was fought. That city, though so strong both by nature and by military skill as to be “accounted impregnable,” sent out a deputation of citizens to meet Alexander eight miles from the place, and surrender to him the city. “The town, citadel, garrison, and treasure were delivered up to him without a blow.” Without any delay at Sardis he marched direct to Ephesus, about sixty miles to the southwest, which likewise offered no resistance. From Ephesus he went straight to Miletus, twenty-eight miles to the southeast, which attempted resistance, but after a brief assault by battering-rams was taken by storm at the first onset.GEP 162.2

    9. From Miletus he marched forty-miles southeastward to Halicarnassus in Caria, a strongly fortified city, and the capital of Caria. “The siege was long, and attended with such surprising difficulties as would have discouraged any warrior but an Alexander; yet the view of danger served only to animate his troops, and their patience was at last successful.”—Rollin. 7[Page 162] “Ancient History,” Alexander, sec. iv, par. 4. “The ensuing winter months he employed in the conquest of Lycia, Pamphylia, and Pisidia. All the southern coast of Asia Minor is mountainous, the range of Mount Taurus descending nearly to the sea, so as to leave little or no intervening breadth of plain. In spite of great strength of situation, such was the terror of Alexander’s arms, that all the Lycian towns—Hyparna, Telmissus, Pinara, Xanthus, Patara, and thirty others—submitted to him without a blow.”GEP 162.3

    10. As he was marching to Perga in Pamphylia “the ordinary mountain road by which he sent most of his army was so difficult as to require some leveling by Thracian light troops sent in advance for the purpose. But the king himself, with a select detachment, took a road more difficult still, called Climax, under the mountains by the brink of the sea. When the wind blew from the south, this road was covered by such a depth of water as to be impracticable. For some time before he had reached the spot, the wind had blown strong from the south; but as he came near, the special providence of the gods (so he and his friends conceived it) brought on a change to the north, so that the sea receded and left an available passage, though his soldiers had the water up to their waists.”—Grote. 8[Page 163] “History of Greece,” chap 92, pars. 64-65.GEP 162.4

    11. From Perga Alexander continued without material hindrance his conquering course northward to Gordium the capital of Greater Phrygia, where he arrived about the latter part of February, 333, and remained resting his army, till the middle of the following May. After the siege of Halicarnassus, and before entering Lycia, Alexander had allowed all the newly married men in his army to go home to Macedonia to spend the winter, upon their promise to return to him in the spring. Promptly in the spring these came to him at Gordium, bringing with them re-enforcements to the number of 3,650 men.GEP 163.1

    12. Leaving Gordium, the army first marched northward toward Paphlagonia. At the border of their country he was met by an embassy of Paphlagonians, who yielded the country to Alexander, only asking him not to march his army into it. Alexander accepted their submission and complied with their request, appointing a governor over the country. He then turned and entered Cappadocia, and speedily subdued the whole of that country, “even to a considerable extent beyond the Halys,” and appointed a governor there also—as in fact he did in every country that he conquered. Several countries of Asia Minor besides Paphlagonia voluntarily submitted to him, among which was Pontus.GEP 163.2

    13. Having established his authority over all this region, and leaving the whole of Asia Minor secure behind him, Alexander next led his army southward toward Tarsus in Cilicia. To go from Cappadocia to Cilicia the Taurus Mountains had to be crossed, and the only way was through the pass known as the Cilician Gates. This pass was so “narrow, winding, and rugged,” that Xenophon, who, with the younger Cyrus, had traversed it, declares it “absolutely impracticable for an army, if opposed by an occupying force.” “The narrowest part, while hardly sufficient to contain four armed men abreast, was shut in by precipitous rocks on each side.... On the first approach of Alexander, the few Persian soldiers occupying the pass fled without striking a blow, being seemingly unprepared for any enemy more formidable than mountain robbers. Alexander thus became master of this almost insuperable barrier without the loss of a man. On the ensuing day he marched his whole army over it into Cilicia, and arriving in a few hours at Tarsus, found the town already evacuated.”—Grote. 9[Page 164] Id., chap 93, pars. 13, 14.GEP 163.3

    14. The utter neglect of even any precaution regarding this pass, is but an illustration of the general persistent blindness of Darius in all his military conduct. It amounted practically to sheer military imbecility; and can hardly be explained upon any natural hypothesis. However, the Scripture explains it: When the angel of God was sketching this period to Daniel, he said that when he had told the prophet what he was commanded to tell him, he would return to the court of Persia; and then he said, “When I am gone forth, lo! the prince of Grecia shall come.” The angel had remained with the kingdom of Persia, and at that corrupt court, as long as he could possibly endure it. When intemperance and iniquity of all sorts so abounded there that it could no longer be endured by the holy messenger, he went forth. And when he had gone forth, and Persia and her king were abandoned to themselves and their pernicious ways, and the prince of Grecia had come, there was no wisdom, nor knowledge, nor power, to resist him. What was wisdom seemed to the Persians foolishness; and what was foolishness seemed to them the only wisdom.GEP 164.1

    15. By a severe fit of illness, Alexander was detained at Tarsus much longer than he expected, or wished, to remain. He had no sooner regained strength, however, than he was again on the march, this time toward Syria. The road from Cilicia into Syria led through a pass called the Gates of Cilicia and Syria, which was only less narrow and easy to be defended than were the Gates of Cilicia. Here, however, as there, the Persian guard fled with very little, if any, resistance. While he was on this march, Alexander first received definite news of the whereabouts of Darius, and found that he was encamped with a vast army on the plain in Syria, a little east of the southern point of Mount Amanus, at a place called Sochi.GEP 164.2

    16. In the year that had passed since the battle of the Granicus, Darius had succeeded in gathering together a vast host, numbering at the very lowest estimate 311,200, and at the highest 600,000, the weight of authority favors placing the real number at about 500,000. Accompanied by his mother, his wife, his concubines, his children, and all the personal attendants of every description that pertain to the palace and the harem, Darius in person led his army out of Babylon just about the time that Alexander, with his little band of less than forty thousand left Gordium. In the camp all the luxury of the palace was maintained by the king and his Persian grandees. “The baggage was enormous; of gold and silver alone we are told that there was enough to furnish load for six hundred mules and three hundred camels. A temporary bridge being thrown over the Euphrates, five days were required to enable the whole army to cross... . At the head of such an overwhelming host, Darius was eager to bring on at once a general battle.”—Grote. 10[Page 165] Id., chap 93, pars. 18, 19.GEP 165.1

    17. At the extreme northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea lay the city of Issus. As Alexander passed through this city, he left there the sick ones of his army, and hastened onward to find the camp of Darius. He marched two days’ journey southward from Issus along the seacoast, intending there to pass eastward through the Gates of Syria to the camp of Darius at Sochi. Meantime, however, Darius had marched out of Syria into Cilicia to seek the army of Alexander. While Alexander was marching southward west of the mountains, to go by the southern pass into Syria, Darius was marching northward east of the mountains, to go by the northern pass into Cilicia.GEP 165.2

    18. Darius crossed the mountains and came to Issus. There he learned that Alexander had left that place only two days before to find him. The Persians cruelly put to death all the sick whom Alexander had left at Issus, except a few of the more able-bodied who were able, or were allowed, to escape. These refugees hurried onward to overtake Alexander and to inform him that Darius was behind him. Alexander had been delayed by a violent storm, and so had not passed into Syria, and was therefore easily overtaken by the refugees. Though Darius had done the very thing that Alexander could have most desired, yet, under the circumstances, it was a thing so altogether blind and unmilitary that Alexander could not believe the report of the refugees until he had sent some of his officers in a galley up the coast to see. Darius had marched from Issus toward Alexander, and was now encamped with his whole host at the river Pinarus about eighteen miles from Alexander’s camp. The officers in the galley soon came in sight of the Persian host, and returned with all possible speed to their chief with the glad news. It was now evening, yet the camp was all astir, only eager to be led against the Persian host. Supper was eaten, and the march was begun. At midnight he had secured the Gates of Syria and Cilicia, and now being complete master of the situation against any attack that Darius might make, he rested his army till daylight, when he again took up his march. The time was November, 333 B. C.GEP 166.1

    19. Between the base of the mountains and the sea on the borders of the Gulf of Issus, was a tract of flat land, nowhere more than a mile and a half wide. In this narrow space, on the north bank of the river Pinarus, Darius wedged two hundred thousand men. Of course this made his ranks so deep that the rest of his army had no room to act, and so they remained, to the number of about two hundred and fifty thousand, useless and unformed in the rear.GEP 166.2

    20. On the south side of the river Pinarus, Alexander formed his forces, so in this position the Pinarus flowed between the two armies as did the Granicus at the battle that was fought there. The battle began by the advance of Alexander. Leaving three hundred of his cavalry to hold in check twenty thousand Persians that threatened his right flank, he moved onward his whole line at a slow pace till it came within bow-shot of the Persian front, and then gave the command to charge. Alexander with the right of his line charged Darius’s left, which “instantly broke and fled.” Alexander’s left was not so successful, however,—their part of the bank of the river was steep, and defended by stakes, and besides this, the Persian right showed a stubborn resistance; nor was it until Alexander had returned from the rout of Darius’s left, and attacked in flank the remaining forces, that his own left gained any headway; then, however, that part of the Persian line was driven back, and the rout became general.GEP 166.3

    21. Then the vast multitude confined in so narrow a space, horses, and chariots, and men, rushing headlong hither and thither in their frantic efforts to escape, only made the slaughter more dreadful. One hundred and ten thousand of the Persian army were slain, and forty thousand were made prisoners. Among the prisoners was Darius’s whole family. He himself managed to gather up four thousand of the flying troops; and made no tarrying until he put the Euphrates between himself and Alexander. Besides these, eight thousand hired Greeks held together in one body, and made their way to Tripolis on the coast of Phenicia, where they found the vessels that had brought them over; these they seized and escaped to Cyprus, and then to Egypt. And that was all that was left of the immense host that Darius brought to the battle of Issus.GEP 167.1

    22. No attempt was made to rally or reform the flying fugitives, and so the second time a Persian army was annihilated by Alexander; this time with a loss to himself of only four hundred and fifty killed, and five hundred and four wounded. “No victory recorded in history was ever more complete in itself, or more far-stretching in its consequences, than that of Issus. Not only was the Persian force destroyed or dispersed, but the efforts of Darius for recovery were paralyzed by the capture of his family. Portions of the dissipated army of Issus may be traced, reappearing in different places for operations of detail; but we shall find no further resistance to Alexander, during almost two years, except from the brave freemen of two fortified cities. Everywhere an overwhelming sentiment of admiration and terror was spread abroad, toward the force, skill, or good fortune of Alexander, by whichever name it might be called.”—Grote. 11[Page 168] “History of Greece,” chap 93, par. 33.GEP 167.2

    23. As the battle of Granicus gave to Alexander all Asia Minor, so the battle of Issus laid at his feet Egypt and all Asia west of the Euphrates.GEP 168.1

    24. Without delay Alexander took up his march toward Phenicia, detaching a considerable force under Parmenio to go and take possession of Damascus, where Darius had deposited the greater part of his treasure under the charge of the ministers and principal grandees of his empire. The city was surrendered without any attack, with all the treasure, the ministers, and the favorites of the court of Darius. “The prisoners were so numerous that most of the great Persian families had to deplore the loss of some relative, male or female.”—Grote. 12[Page 168] Id., par. 35.GEP 168.2

    25. All the cities of Syria and Phenicia were surrendered to Alexander without a battle, except Tyre, which he was obliged to besiege seven months through terrible hardships. While he was marching through Phenicia, Alexander was overtaken by envoys from Darius with a letter asking that his family might be released and allowed to return to him. Alexander replied:—GEP 168.3

    “By the grace of the gods I have been victorious, first over your satraps, next over yourself. I have taken care of all who submit to me, and made them satisfied with their lot. Come yourself to me also, as to the master of all Asia. Come without fear of suffering harm. Ask me, and you shall receive back your mother and wife, and anything else which you please. When next you write to me, however, address me not as an equal, but as lord of Asia and of all that belongs to you; otherwise I shall deal with you as with a wrong-doer. If you intend to contest the kingdom with me, stand and fight for it, and do not run away. I shall march forward against you, wherever you may be.” 13[Page 168] Grote’s “History of Greece,” chap 93, par. 43.GEP 168.4

    26. Since the siege and destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar, that city had been rebuilt on an island about a half mile from the mainland, and had recovered much of its former power and glory. The city was surrounded at the water’s edge by a strong wall which “on the side fronting the mainland, reached a height of not less than one hundred and fifty feet, with corresponding solidity and base.”—Grote. 14[Page 169] “History of Greece,” chap 93, par. 43. The water between the mainland and the city, though shallow close to shore, at the bank of the island attained a depth of eighteen feet. Alexander determined to build a mole from the mainland to the island, of sufficient width to support siege-towers, battering-rams, and a besieging force. When this mole had been built almost up to the wall of the city, the Tyrians made a sally with a great force of ships, on a very stormy day, and succeeded in destroying a great part of it. Nothing daunted, however, Alexander set to work to rebuild it broader and stronger throughout. The ruins of the old city, that had been left by Nebuchadnezzar, was the source of supply for material to build the mole; and the necessity of building the mole practically twice caused the place of old Tyre to be scraped bare of every particle of soil and rubbish that was obtainable. And thus was fulfilled the word of the Lord by Ezekiel when he first spoke of Nebuchadnezzar’s going against Tyre: “They shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.” “I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.” “Thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the Lord have spoken it, saith the Lord.” 15[Page 169] Ezekiel 26:4, 12, 14.GEP 168.5

    27. By gathering together a strong fleet from the cities of the Phenician coast, from Cyprus, Lycia, and even from Rhodes, and blockading the harbors of Tyre, Alexander was enabled to carry to completion his new mole. When this had been done, the city was soon taken, though only by desperate fighting. The victory was celebrated by a grand procession of his whole force, land and naval, led by Alexander himself, to the temple of the Tyrian Hercules, where he offered sacrifice.GEP 169.1

    28. While the siege of Tyre was being carried on, Darius sent to Alexander a proposal, offering him ten thousand talents in money; all the territory west of the Euphrates; his daughter to be Alexander’s wife; Darius to recognize the Macedonian power as the ally of Persia; Alexander on his part only to release the mother and wife of Darius and conclude a peace. Upon this offer Parmenio remarked, “If I were Alexander, I should accept such terms, instead of plunging into further peril.” Alexander replied, “So should I, if I were Parmenio; but since I am Alexander, I must return a different answer.” Then to Darius he sent the following reply:—GEP 169.2

    “I want neither your money nor your cession. All your money and territory are already mine, and you are tendering to me a part in place of the whole. If I choose to marry your daughter, I will marry her, whether you give her to me or not. Come hither to me, if you wish to obtain from me any act of friendship.” 16[Page 170] Grote’s “History of Greece,” chap 93, par. 52.GEP 170.1

    29. From Tyre Alexander marched to Jerusalem with the determination to destroy it as he had destroyed Tyre, because the Jews had not rendered him the support against Tyre that he demanded. This the Jews considered that they could not do for him, holding that as they were subjects of Darius, it would be an act of rebellion to support Alexander so long as Darius was alive. And this the more especially as all that they now were they owed under God to the Persian kings. All this they stated to Alexander in declining to send to him the desired assistance. Nevertheless Alexander would make no allowance for any such plea; he would visit vengeance upon their city also.GEP 170.2

    30. The Jews, learning of the coming of Alexander in wrath, were greatly troubled to know what to do. The high priest proclaimed a fast, and “ordained that the people should make supplications, and should join with him in offering sacrifices to God, whom he sought to protect that nation, and to deliver them from the perils that were coming upon them. Whereupon God warned him in a dream which came upon him after he had offered sacrifice, that he should take courage, and adorn the city, and open the gates; that the rest should appear in white garments; but that he and the priests should meet the king in the habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent. Upon which, when he rose from his sleep, he greatly rejoiced, and declared to all the warning he had received from God. According to which dream he acted entirely, and so waited for the coming of the king.GEP 170.3

    31. “And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession with the priests and the multitude of citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha, which name, translated into Greek, signifies a prospect; for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple. And when the Phenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him (Alexander) thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high priest to death, which the king’s displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened. For Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his miter on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself and adored that name, and first saluted the high priest. The Jews also did altogether with one voice salute Alexander and encompassed him about.GEP 171.1

    32. “Whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind. However, Parmenio alone went up to him and asked him how it came to pass that when all others adored him, he should adore the high priest of the Jews. To whom he replied: ‘I did not adore him, but that God who hath honored him with his high-priesthood. For I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is that having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the Power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my mind.’GEP 171.2

    33. “And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God according to the high priest’s direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And when the book of Daniel was showed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present, but the next day he called them to him and bade them ask what favors they pleased of him. Whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired. And when they entreated him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired. And when he said to the multitude that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army on this condition, that they should continue under the laws of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his wars.”—Josephus. 17[Page 172] “Antiquities of the Jews,” book xi, chap 8, pars. 4, 5.GEP 171.3

    34. From Jerusalem Alexander took up his march toward Egypt. Coming to Gaza on his way, and that city refusing to surrender, he decided to besiege it. This city was so strong that “the Macedonian engineers themselves pronounced it to be impregnable. But Alexander could not endure the thought of tacitly confessing his inability to take Gaza. The more difficult the enterprise, the greater was the charm for him, and the greater would be the astonishment produced all around when he should be seen to have triumphed.”—Grote. 18[Page 172] “History of Greece,” chap 93, par. 54. Gaza was built on a lofty artificial mound in a sandy plain, and was surrounded by a strong wall one hundred and fifty feet high. Alexander first built a mound on only one side of the city, and set up there his battering-rams and siege-towers, and began to batter the wall. The besieged made such a fierce sally that they were successful in defeating the besiegers and destroying their engines. Alexander then sent to Tyre and had all his siege-engines that had been employed there, brought by sea to Gaza. While this was being done, he set to work to build a wall around the whole city of Gaza, so as next to make his attack on all sides at once. “This Herculean work, the description of which we read with astonishment, was two hundred and fifty feet high all round, and two stadia (1,240 feet) broad.”—Grote. 19[Page 173] Id., par. 55. After this mighty work was finished, the place was soon taken; though the whole was accomplished in a few months, apparently only three or four.GEP 172.1

    35. “The two sieges of Tyre and Gaza, which occupied both together nine months, were the hardest fighting that Alexander had ever encountered, or in fact ever did encounter throughout his life. After such toils, the march to Egypt, which he now commenced (October, 332 B. C.), was an affair of holiday and triumph.”—Grote. 20[Page 173] Id., par. 59. All his time in Egypt also, after he reached the country, was only a holiday and a triumph; for instead of being obliged to conquer the country, “crowds of Egyptians assembled to welcome him.” He spent about five months in Egypt, in which time the two most notable things that he did were: first, the founding of a city which he named after himself, Alexandria, and which soon became, and has ever since remained, the greatest city in Egypt; and second, the dangerous march to the temple and oracle of Jupiter-Ammon in the midst of the Libyan desert, where he succeeded in having himself declared by the priest to be the son of the god Jupiter.GEP 173.1

    36. Early in the spring of 331 B. C., Alexander left Egypt and took up his march once more to find Darius; though he had no expectation of finding him anywhere but in the heart of Asia. Thither therefore he somewhat slowly, though steadily, made his way, so that about the middle of September he was at the ford of the Tigris thirty-five miles above the site of Nineveh. “On reaching the ford of the Tigris, he found it absolutely undefended. Not a single enemy being in sight, he forded the river as soon as possible, with all his infantry, cavalry, and baggage. The difficulties and perils of crossing were extreme, from the depth of the water (above their breasts), the rapidity of the current, and the slippery footing. A resolute and vigilant enemy might have rendered the passage almost impossible. But the good fortune of Alexander was not less conspicuous in what his enemies left undone than in what they actually did.”—Grote. 21[Page 174] “History of Greece,” chap 93, par. 66.GEP 173.2

    37. Nearly twenty-three months had passed since the battle of Issus, and Darius had succeeded in gathering together at Arbela an army of more than a million of men. “The forces that he had collected for the final struggle comprised—besides Persians, Babylonians, Medes, and Susianians from the center of the empire—Syrians from the banks of the Orontes, Armenians from the neighborhood of Ararat, Cappadocians and Albanians from the regions bordering on the Euxine, Cadusians from the Caspian, Bactrians from the Upper Oxus, Sogdians from the Jaxartes, Arachosians from Cabul, Arians from Herat, Indians from Punjab, and even Sacae from the country about Kashgar and Yarkand, on the borders of the Great Desert of Gobi. Twenty-five nations followed the standard of the great king, and swelled his vast army, which amounted (according to the best authorities) to above a million of men. Every available resource that the empire possessed was brought into play. Besides the three arms of cavalry, infantry, and chariots, elephants were, for perhaps the first time in the history of military science, marshaled in the battle-field, to which they added an unwonted element of grotesqueness and savagery.”—Rawlinson. 22[Page 174] “Seven Great Monarchies,” Fifth Monarchy, chap 7. par. 207 (11th from end).GEP 174.1

    38. After crossing the Tigris as we have seen, Alexander gave his army a rest of two days. He then marched for four days down the Tigris. The fourth day he met a body of Persian cavalry, which he scattered, taking some prisoners, from whom he learned that Darius with his whole army was only a few miles away. At this he halted and gave his army a rest of four days. While it was yet dark, the morning of the fifth day he advanced with the intention of attacking Darius at break of day. However, when he reached the plain immediately in the Persian front, he saw that some of the ground was freshly broken, and fearing that pitfalls had been prepared for his army, he delayed the attack, and spent the day in carefully surveying the field.GEP 174.2

    39. “The spot predetermined for a pitched battle was the neighborhood of Gaugamela, near the river Bumodus, about thirty miles west of Arbela, toward the Tigris, and about as much southeast of Mosul, a spacious and level plain, with nothing more than a few undulating slopes, and without any trees. It was by nature well adapted for drawing up a numerous army, especially for the free maneuvers of cavalry, and the rush of scythed chariots; moreover the Persian officers had been careful beforehand to level artificially such of the slopes as they thought inconvenient. In the ground, there seemed everything to favor the operation both of the vast total and the special forces of Darius, who fancied that his defeat at Issus had been occasioned altogether by his having adventured himself in the narrow defiles of Cilicia, and that on open and level ground his superior numbers must be triumphant. For those who looked only to numbers, the host assembled ... might well inspire confidence, for it is said to have consisted of one million infantry, forty thousand cavalry, two hundred scythed chariots, and fifteen elephants.”—Grote. 23[Page 175] “History of Greece,” chap 93, pars. 72, 73.GEP 175.1

    40. The next morning, Alexander marshaled his army, consisting of forty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry. As at Issus, Alexander led the right and Parmenio the left. In fact the whole conflict was hardly more than a repetition of the battle of Issus. Alexander defeated the Persian left, and got near enough to hurl a spear at Darius, which killed his charioteer. At this the cry was raised that Darius had fallen; the Persian ranks at once grew unsteady, and presently began to break and fly. Darius, seeing this, and being in imminent danger from Alexander, yielded to the general alarm, and fled, and with him, fleeing in every direction, went the whole of the left and center of his army. The Persian right, however, stoutly withstood Parmenio until Alexander had routed the rest of the army and was recalled to attack these in flank; then, seeing that all hope of success was gone, they, too, quitted the field. Then the terror began. The Persians hurrying to cross the river Zab were pursued by the conquerors, who slew the unresisting fugitives till they were weary of slaughter.GEP 175.2

    41. “The prodigious army of Darius was all either killed, taken, or dispersed, at the battle of Arbela.... The miscellaneous contingents of this once mighty empire, such at least among them as survived, dispersed to their respective homes, and could never be again mustered in mass. The defeat of Arbela was in fact the death-blow of the Persian Empire. It converted Alexander into the great king, and Darius into nothing better than a fugitive pretender.” “The decisive character of the victory was manifested at once by the surrender of the two great capitals of the Persian Empire—Babylon and Susa.”—Grote. 24[Page 176] Id., chap 93, pars. 88, 91.GEP 176.1

    42. “A few days after the battle, Alexander entered Babylon, ‘the oldest seat of earthly empire’ then in existence, as its acknowledged lord and master. There were yet some campaigns of his brief and bright career to be accomplished. Central Asia was yet to witness the march of his phalanx. He was yet to effect that conquest of Afghanistan in which England since has failed. His generalship, as well as his valor, was yet to be signalized on the banks of the Hydaspes and the field of Chillianwallah, and he was yet to precede the queen of England in annexing the Punjab to the dominions of a European sovereign. But the crisis of his career was reached; the great object of his mission was accomplished; and the ancient Persian Empire, which once menaced all the nations of the earth with subjection, was irreparably crushed when Alexander had won his crowning victory of Arbela.”—Creasy. 25[Page 176] “Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World,” Arbela, last paragraph.GEP 176.2

    43. “At Arbela the crown of Cyrus passed to the Macedonian.... The he goat with the notable horn between his eyes had come from the west to the ram which had two horns, and had run unto him with the fury of his power. He had come close to him, and, moved with choler, had smitten the ram and broken his two horns; there was no power in the ram to stand before him; but he had cast him down to the ground and stamped upon him, and there was none to deliver the ram out of his hand.”—Rawlinson. 26[Page 176] “Seven Great Monarchies,” Fifth Monarchy, chap 7, last paragraph.GEP 176.3

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