The Anabasis of Alexander/Book I/Chapter XIV

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Arrangement of the Hostile Armies.

Having spoken thus, he sent Parmenio to command upon the left wing, while he led in person on the right. And at the head of the right wing he placed the following officers:—Philotas, son of Parmenio, with the cavalry Companions, the archers, and the Agrianian javelin-men; and Amyntas, son of Arrhabaeus, with the cavalry carrying the long pike, the Paeonians, and the squadron of Socrates, was posted near Philotas. Close to these were posted the Companions who were shield-bearing infantry under the command of Nicanor, son of Parmenio. Next to these the brigade of Perdiccas, son of Orontes, then that of Coenus, son of Polemocrates; then that of Craterus,[1] son of Alexander, and that of Amyntas, son of Andromenes; finally, the men commanded by Philip, son of Amyntas. The first on the left wing were the Thessalian cavalry, commanded by Calas, son of Harpalus;[2] next to these, the cavalry of the Grecian allies, commanded by Philip, son of Menelaus;[3] next to these the Thracians, commanded by Agatho.[4] Close to these were the infantry, the brigades of Craterus, Meleager, and Philip, reaching as far as the centre of the entire line.

The Persian cavalry were about 20,000 in number, and their infantry, consisting of Grecian mercenaries, fell a little short of the same number.[5] They had extended their horse along the bank of the river in a long phalanx, and had posted the infantry behind the cavalry, for the ground above the bank was steep and commanding. They also marshalled dense squadrons of cavalry upon that part of the bank where they observed Alexander himself advancing against their left wing; for he was conspicuous both by the brightness of his arms and by the respectful service of his attendants. Both armies stood a long time at the margin of the river, keeping quiet from dread of the result; and profound silence was observed on both sides. For the Persians were waiting till the Macedonians should step into the water, with the intention of attacking them as they emerged. Alexander leaped upon his steed, ordering those about him to follow, and exhorting them to show themselves valiant men. He then commanded Amyntas, son of Arrhabaeus, to make the first rush into the river at the head of the skirmishing cavalry, the Paeonians, and one regiment of infantry; and in front of these he had placed Ptolemy, son of Philip, in command of the squadron of Socrates, which body of men indeed on that day happened to have the lead of all the cavalry force. He himself led the right wing with sounding of trumpets, and the men raising the war-cry to Enyalius.[6] He entered the ford, keeping his line always extended obliquely in the direction in which the stream flowed, in order that the Persians might not fall upon him on the flank as he was emerging from the water, but that he might, as far as practicable,[7] encounter them with his phalanx.

  1. Craterus was one of Alexander's best generals. On the death of the king he received the government of Macedonia and Greece in conjunction with Antipater, whose daughter he married. He fell in battle against Eumenes (B.C. 321).
  2. Calas was appointed viceroy of Phrygia. He Consequently took no further part in Alexander's campaigns after this.
  3. Alexander had three generals named Philip, two of whom are mentioned here as sons of Amyntas and Menelaus. The third was son of Machatas, and was left in India as viceroy.
  4. Son of Tyrimmas, was commander of the Odrysian cavalry. See iii. 12 infra.
  5. Diadorus (xvii. 19) says that the Persian cavalry numbered 10,000 and their infantry 100,000. Both these numbers are inaccurate. We know from Arrian (chaps. 12 and 13) that the Persian infantry was inferior in number to that of Alexander.
  6. This is an Homeric name for Mars the war-god. In Homer Ares is the Trojan and Enyalius the Grecian war-god. Hence they are mentioned as difiterent in Aristophanes (Pax, 457). See Paley's note on Homer (vvi. 166). As to the practice of shouting the war-cry to Mars before battle, see Xenophon (Anab., i. 8, 18; v. 2, 14). The Scholiast on Thucydides (i. 50) says that the Greeks used to sing two paeans, one to Mars before battle, another to Apollo after it.
  7. ώς άνυστόν=ώς δυνατόν Cf. Arrian, iv. 12, 6; Xenophon (Anab., i, 8, 11; Res. Laced., i. 3).