The Anabasis of Alexander/Book VI/Chapter XXVIII

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CHAPTER XXVIII.

Alexander in Carmania.

Certain authors have said (though to me the statement seems incredible) that Alexander led his forces through Carmania lying extended with his Companions upon two covered waggons joined together, the flute beiinig played to him; and that the soldiers followed him wearing garlands and sporting. Pood was provided for them, as well as all kinds of dainties which had been brought together

along the roads by the Carmanians. They say that he did this in imitation of the Bacchic revelry of Dionysus, because a story was told about that deity, that after subduing the Indians he traversed the greater part of Asia in this manner and received the appellation of Thriambus.[1] For the same reason the processions in honour of victories after war were called thriambi. This has been recorded neither by Ptolemy, son of Lagus, nor by Aristobulus, son of Aristobulus, nor by any other writer whose testimony on such points any one would feel to be worthy of credit. It is sufficient therefore for me to record it as unworthy of belief.[2] But as to what I am now going to describe I follow the account of Aristobulus. In Carmania Alexander offered sacrifices to the gods as thank-offerings for his victory over the Indians, and because his army had been brought in safety out of Gadrosia. He also celebrated a musical and gymnastic contest. He then appointed Peucestas one of his confidential body-guards, having already resolved to make him viceroy of Persis. He wished him, before being appointed to the viceroyalty, to experience this honour and evidence of confidence, as a reward for his exploit among the Mallians., Up to this time the number of his confidential body-guards had been seven:—Leonnatus, son of Anteas, Hephaestion, son of Amyntor, Lysimachus, son of Agathocles, Aristonous, son of Pisaeus, these four being Pellaeans; Perdiccas, son of Orontes, from Orestis, Ptolemy, son of Lagus, and Peithon, son of Crateas, the Heordaeans. Peucestas, who had held the shield over Alexander, was now added to them as an eighth. At this time Nearchus, having sailed round the coast of Ora and Gadrosia and that of the Ichthyophagi, put into port in the inhabited part of the coastland of Carmania,[3] and going up thence into the interior with a few men he reported to Alexander the particulars of the voyage which he had made along the coasts of the external sea. Nearchus was then sent down to the sea again to sail round as far as the country of Susiana, and the outlets of the river Tigres.[4] How he sailed from the river Indus to the Persian Sea and the mouth of the Tigres, I shall describe in a separate book, following the account of Nesa-chus himself.[5] For he also wrote a history of Alexander in Greek. Perhaps I shall be able to compose this narrative in the future, if inclination and the divine influence urge me to it. Alexander now ordered Hephaestion to march into Persis[6] from Carmania along the sea-shore with the larger division of the army and the beasts of burden, taking with him also the elephants; because, as he. was making the expedition in the season of winter,[7] the part of Persis near the sea was warm and possessed abundant supplies of provisions.
  1. The thriambus was a hymn to Bacchus, sung in festal processions in his honour. It was also used as a name of that deity, as we learn from Diodorus, iv. 5. It was afterwards used as synonymous with the Roman triumphus, by Polybius, Dionysius, and Plutarch.
  2. The Bacchanalian procession through Carmania is described by Curtius (ix. 42); Plutarch (Alex. 67); and Diodorus (xvii. 106).
  3. Diodorus (xvii. 106) says that the port into which Nearchus put was called Salmus.
  4. ἐκπεριπλεύσοντα. The Attic future of πλέω is πλεύσομαι. πλεύσω is only found in Polybius and the later writers.
  5. See Arrian (Indica, 18-43).
  6. The name for Persia and the Persians in the Hebrew Bible, is Paras. Cyrus is called Koresh (the sun) in Hebrew; in the cuneiform inscriptions the name is Khurush. Cambyses is called Ahasuerus in Ezra iv. 6; and Smerdis the Magian is the Artaxerxes who was induced by the Samaritans to forbid the further building of the temple (Ezra iv. 7-24). The Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther is probably Xerxes. Artaxerxes the Long-handed was the patron of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra vii. 11-28; Neh. ii. 1-9, etc). " Darius the Persian," mentioned in Neh. xii. 22, was probably Darius Oodomannus, who was conquered by Alexander. The province of Susiana, previously called Elymais, appears in the Hebrew under the name of Eilam or Elam. Persis is still called Fars.
  7. B.C. 325.