The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Alexander Til

ALEXANDER.

Demosthenes (de fals. Leg. p. 402) names Apollo-phanes as one of the murderers. (Diod. xv. 60, 61, 67, 71, 77; Pint. Pdop. 26, 27; Athen. xiv. p. 629, d.; Aeschin. defais. Leg. p. 31,1. 33.)

ALEXANDER TIL fA\e'£cw/8pos), king of macedonia, surnamed the Great, was born at Pella, in the autumn of b. c. 356. He was the son of Philip II. and Olympias, and he inherited much of the natural disposition of both of his pa­rents—the cool forethought and practical wisdom of his father, and the ardent enthusiasm and un­governable passions of his mother. His mother belonged to the royal house of Epeirus, and through her he traced his descent from the great hero Achilles. His early education was committed to Leonidas and Lysimachus, the former of whom was a relation of his mothers, and the latter an Acarnanian. Leonidas early accustomed him to endure toil and hardship, but Lysimachus recom­mended himself to his royal pupil by obsequious flattery. But Alexander was also placed under the care of Aristotle, who acquired an influence over his mind and character, which is manifest to the latest period of his life. Aristotle wrote for his use a treatise on the art of government; and the clear and comprehensive views of the political relations of nations and. of the nature of government, which Alexander shews in the midst of all his con­quests, may fairly be ascribed to the lessons he had received in his youth from the greatest of phi­losophers. It is not impossible too that his love of discovery, which distinguishes him from the herd of vulgar conquerors, may also have been im­planted in him by the researches of Aristotle. Nor was his physical education neglected. He was early trained in all manly and athletic sports; in horsemanship he excelled all of his age; and in the art of war he had the advantage of his father's instruction.

At the early age of sixteen, Alexander was en­trusted with the government of Macedonia by his father, while he was obliged to leave his kingdom to march against Byzantium. He first distinguished himself, however, at the battle of Chaeroneia (b. c. 338), where the victory was mainly owing to his impetuosity and courage.

On the murder of Philip (b. c. 336), just after he had made arrangements to inarch into Asia at the head of the confederate Greeks, Alexander ascended the throne of Macedon, and found him­self surrounded by enemies on every side. Attains, the uncle of Cleopatra, who had been sent into Asia by Parmenion with a considerable force, as­pired to the throne ; the Greeks, roused by De­mosthenes, threw off the Macedonian supremacy ; and the barbarians in the north threatened his dominions. Nothing but the promptest energy could save him; but in this Alexander was never deficient. Attains was seized and put to death. His rapid march into the south of Greece over­awed all opposition; Thebes, which had been most active against him, submitted when he ap­peared at its gates; and the assembled Greeks at

119

ALEXANDER.

the Isthmus of Corinth, with the sole exception of the Lacedaemonians, elected him to the command against Persia, which had previously been bestowed upon his father. Being now at liberty to reduce the barbarians of the north to obedience, he marched (early in b.c. 335) across mount Haemus, defeated the Triballi, and advanced as far as the Danube, which he crossed, and received embassies from the Scythians and other nations. On his return, he marched westward, and subdued the Illyrians and Taulantii, who were obliged to sub­mit to the Macedonian supremacy. While en­gaged in these distant countries, a report of his death reached Greece, and the Thebans once more took up arms. But a terrible punishment awaited them. He advanced into Boeotia by rapid marches, and appeared before the gates of the city almost before the inhabitants had received intelligence of his approach. The city was taken by assault; all the buildings, with the exception of the house of Pin-clar, were levelled with the ground ; most of the inhabitants butchered, and the rest sold as slaves. Athens feared a similar fate, and sent an embassy deprecating his wrath ; but Alexander did not ad­vance further; the punishment of Thebes was a sufficient warning to Greece.

Alexander now directed all his energy to prepare for the expedition against Persia. In the spring of b. c, 334, he crossed over the Hellespont into Asia with an army of about 35,000 men. Of these 30,000 were foot and 5000 horse; and of the former only 12,000 were Macedonians. But experience had shewn that this was a force which no Persian king could resist. Darius, the reigning king of Persia, had no military skill, and could only hope to oppose Alexander by engaging the services of mercenary Greeks, of whom he obtained large supplies.

Alexander's first engagement with the Persians was on the banks of the Granicus, where they at­tempted to prevent his passage over it. Memnon, a Rhodian Greek, was in the army of the Persians, and had recommended them to withdraw as Alexan­der's army advanced, and lay waste the country; but this advice was not followed, and the Persians were defeated. Memnon was the ablest general that Darius had, and his death in the following year (b. c. 333) relieved Alexander from a formid­able opponent. After the capture of Halicainassus, Memnon had collected a powerful fleet, in which Alexander was greatly deficient; he had taken many of the islands in the Acgaean, and threatened Macedonia.

Before marching against Darius, Alexander thought it expedient to subdue the chief towns on the western coast of Asia Minor. The last event of importance in the campaign was the capture of Halicarnassus, which was not taken till late in the autumn, after a vigorous defence by Memnon. Alexander marched along the coast of Lycia and Pamphylia, and then northward into Phrygia and to Gordium, where he cut or untied the celebrated Gordian knot, which, it was said, was to be loosened only by the conqueror of Asia.

In b. c. 333, he was joined at Gordium by re­inforcements from Macedonia, and commenced his second campaign. From Gordium he marched through the centre of Asia Minor into Cilicia to the city of Tarsus, where he nearly lost his life by a fever, brought on by his great exertions, or through throwing himself, when heated, into the

Pages
About | First

118

119

120
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.