The Anabasis of Alexander/Book III/Chapter XXV

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CHAPTER XXV.

March to Bactra.—Bessus Aided by Satibaezanes.

Having settled these affairs, he marched to Zadracarta, the largest city of Hyrcania, where also was the seat of the Hyrcanian government. Tarrying here fifteen days, he offered sacrifice to the gods according to his custom, and celebrated a gymnastic contest, after which he began his march towards Parthia; thence to the confines of Areia[1] and to Susia, a city in that province, where Satibarzanes, the viceroy of the Areians, came to meet him. To this man he restored his viceregal dignity, and with him sent Anaxippus, one of the Companions, to whom he gave forty horse-lancers so that he might be able to station them as guards of the localities, in order that the Areians might not be injured by the army in its march through their land. At this time came to him some Persians, who informed him that Bessus had assumed the erect tiara[2] and was wearing the Persian dress,[3] calling himself Artaxerxes instead of Bessus, and asserting that he was king of Asia. They said he had in attendance upon him the Persians who had escaped into Bactra and many of the Bactrians themselves; and that he was expecting the Scythians also to come to him as allies. Alexander, having now all his forces together, went towards Bactra, where Philip son of Menelaüs came to him out of Media with the Greek mercenary cavalry which were under his own command, those of the Thessalians who had volunteered to remain, and the men of Andromachus. Nicanor, the son of Parmenio, the commander of the shield-bearing guards, had already died of disease. While Alexander was on his way to Bactra, he was informed that Satibarzanes, viceroy of Areia, had killed Anaxippus and the horse-lancers who were with him, had armed the Areians and collected them in the city of Artacoana, which was the capital of that nation. It was also said that he had resolved, as soon as he ascertained that Alexander had advanced, to leave that place and go with his forces to Bessus, with the intention of joining that prince in an attack upon the Macedonians, wherever a chance might occur. When he received this news, he stopped the march towards Bactra, and taking with him the Companion cavalry, the horse-lancers, the archers, the Agrianians and the regiments of Amyntas and Coenus, and leaving the rest of his forces there under the command of Craterus, he made a forced march against Satibarzanes and the Areians; and having travelled 600 stades in two days came near Artacoana. Satibarzanes, however, no sooner perceived that Alexander was near, than being struck with terror at the quickness of his arrival, he took to flight with a few Areian horsemen. For he was deserted by the majority of his soldiers in his flight, when they also learned that Alexander was at hand. The latter made rapid marches in pursuit of the enemy, killed some of the men whom he discovered to be guilty of the revolt and who at that time had left their villages, fleeing, some one way, some another; and others of them he sold into slavery. He then proclaimed Arsames, a Persian, viceroy over the Areians. Being now joined by the men who had been left behind with Oraterus, he marched into the land of the Zarangaeans,[4] and reached the place where their seat of government was. But Barsaentes, who at that time had possession of the land, being one of those who had fallen upon Darius in his flight, learning that Alexander was approaching, fled to the Indians who live this side of the river Indus. But they arrested him and sent him back to Alexander, by whom he was put to death on account of his guilty conduct towards Darius.


  1. Areia occupied what is now the east part of Khorasan, and the west and north-west of Afghanistan. Susia is the modern Tus.
  2. Compare the words of Tissaphernes to Clearchus (Xenophon, Anabasis, ii. 6): "Though the king is the only man who can wear the tiara erect upon his head, I shall be able to wear mine erect upon my heart in, full confidence, when you are in my service." Cf. Curtius (iii. 8); Aristophanes (Birds, 487). The cap of the ordinary Persians was low, loose, and clinging about the head in folds; whereas that of the king was high and erect above the head. From Xenophon (Cyropaedia, viii. 3, 13) we learn that the Persian king's, vest was of a purple colour, half mixed with white, and that no one else was allowed to wear this mixture of white. He had loose trousers of a scarlet colour, and a robe entirely purple. Cf. also Strabo (xv. 3), where the tiara is said to be in the shape of a tower; and Seneca (De Beneficiis, vi. 31); Ammianus, xviii. 8, 5.
  3. See Xenophon (Anab., i. 2, 27; Cyropaedia, viii. 3); Curtius (iii. 8).
  4. These people are also called Drangians. Theylivedwest of Aiaohosia in Diangiana.