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376 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORI.D.

tion. The scythe-bearing chariots were placed in front. Then came the Scythian, Bactrian,

Armenian, and Cappadocian cavalry. After these were the great masses of infantry, arranged

in two wings, and after all, the Babylonian reserve massed in the rear. The king took his

post in the center and awaited the onset. About him were arranged body-guards of archers

and cavalry, and a troop of elephants mounted and directed by their Indian masters.

Alexander went into the conflict with great care. From deserters he learned the exact

disposition of his enemy's forces. On the margin of the battle-field he paused over night,

counseling his generals, and reconnoitering the grounds occupied. Darius, His own forces

consisted of forty thousand foot and seven thousand horse -these against a million! Light-

armed troops were deployed by the Macedonian to operate against the Persian chariots. Then

came the heavy lines of battle- Alexander commanded the right; Parmenio the left. In

beginning battle the conqueror charged diagonally across the field and greatly

disconcerted the Persians. Darius ordered his chariots into battle; but the charioteers

were soon brought down by the agile skirmishers, and the few vehicles which reached the

battle-lines were allowed to pass through without harm only to be overthrown in the rear.

Alexander, meanwhile, had reached the

Persian flank, and discovering a gap in front of the left wing, he plunged into it like an

avalanche. He soon fought his way into the immediate vicinity of Darius, and himself

buried a lance which brought down the king's charioteer. The cry at once spread that

Darius was slain. Then came the rout. The lines broke. The banner of the Empire hung

suspended for a moment; then fluttered; then fell never to rise. The king fled to Arbela.1

The field was a turmoil of struggling, flying cohorts. The remnants of the Persian host

rolled across the Zab but before they reached safety on the other side, the Macedonians

had destroyed three hundred thousand men. The victory was overwhelming, astounding, the

very crack of doom to that great power which had so long overshadowed Western Asia. Darius

was pursued to Arbela, thence through Rhagae to the Elburz mountains, and thence to the

deserts of Parthia. Here he was assassinated by Bessus, the satrap of Bactria, He was

discovered by Alexander in a flying condition by the roadside. He asked for a cup of

water, thanked the giver, and died. And with him died the Empire of the Persians. The

body, of the dead monarch was sent by Alexander to Persepolis, where it was honorably

buried in the tombs of the kings.

1 The great battle which takes the name of Arbela was fought on the other side of the

river Zah, at the little village of Gaugamela, and should have been so named.