The Anabasis of Alexander/Book II/Chapter XXV

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The Offers of Darius Rejected.—Batis, Governor of Gaza, Refuses to Submit.

While Alexander was still occupied by the siege of Tyre, ambassadors came to him from Darius, announcing that he would give him ten thousand talents[1] in exchange for his mother, wife, and children; that all the territory west of the river Euphrates, as far as the Grecian Sea, should be Alexander's; and proposing that he should marry the daughter of Darius, and become his friend and ally.[2] When these proposals were announced in a conference of the Companions, Parmenio is said to have told Alexander, that if he were Alexander he should be delighted to put an end to the war on these terms, and incur no further hazard of success. Alexander is said to have replied, So would he also do, if he were Parmenio, but as he was Alexander he replied to Darius as he did. For he said that he was neither in want of money from Darius, nor would he receive a part of his territory instead of the whole; for that all his money and territory were his; and that if he wished to marry the daughter of Darius, he would marry her, even though Darius refused her to him. He commanded Darius to come to him if he wished to experience any generous treatment from him. When Darius heard this answer, he despaired of coming to terms with Alexander, and began to make fresh preparations for war.

Alexander now resolved to make an expedition into Egypt. All the other parts of what was called Palestine Syria[3] had already yielded to him; but a certain eunuch, named Batis, who was in possession of the city of Gaza, paid no heed to him; but procuring Arabian mercenaries, and having been long employed in laying up sufficient food for a long siege, he resolved not to admit Alexander into the city, feeling confident that the place could never be taken by storm.

  1. About £2,440,000.
  2. Diodorus (xvii. 54) puts the arrival of this embassy after Alexander's conquest of Egypt. Curtius (iv. 21) says that the name of the daughter whom Darius offered to Alexander was Statira.
  3. The term Palestine is derived from Pӗleshieth, the name given in Hebrew to the coast district in the south-west of Palestine, the inhabitants of which were called Pӗlishtim, or Philistines. As this tract of country lay directly between Phoenicia and Egypt, it became known to the Greeks sooner than the rest of the Holy Land, and they called it Syria Palaestinē. The name was gradually extended until it became the usual one for all the Holy Land among Greek and Latin writers. An interesting account of Alexander's visit to Jerusalem and his dealings with the Jews is found in Josephus (Antiquities, xi. 8).