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.