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631 MACEDONIA-ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

he himself at the head of the other proceeded against the freebooters of

the coast. With extraordinary rapidity he fell upon those who had defied

his authority and scattered them in terror before him. He pursued the

fugitives into the mountains of Haemus, and gave them no rest even in

the rocky defiles where they had sought refuge. No campaign conducted by

Philip had exhibited such audacity or been crowned with such speedy

success.

Turning from his expedition to the coast, Alexander next made his way

into Thrace. Here the enemy had seized the tops of the mountains, and

having fixed their war chariots in front of their lines so as to form a

rampart against the phalanx, they regarded their position as

impregnable. It was proposed, moreover, should the Macedonians attempt

to scale the heights, to hurl down the chariots in their faces. But

Alexander, nothing daunted, ordered his men to ascend the acclivity, and

to open their ranks for the passage of any engines that might be sent

down against them. It is said by Arrian that not a single Macedonian was

killed in the charge. The heights were carried and the barbarians

scattered to the winds. Fifteen hundred of their dead, together with all

the women and spoils of the battle, were left on the field..

The king next turned his attention to the Triballi whom he followed

northward of Haemus into the great forests which stretch out on the

right bank of the Danube. After hunting the barbarians out of the woods,

he assaulted them and their king, Syrmus, on the island of Pence, in the

river Ister; but for once his audacity was overdone. The place proved

impregnable, and he was obliged to desist from the attack. The Triballi,

however, were glad to escape with their lives, and made no further

attempt to disturb the peace of the kingdom.

Alexander next crossed the Danube, and made a successful campaign

against the Getae. These people were less warlike than the Triballi, and

could offer no successful resistance to the progress of the Macedonians.

The whole country was speedily overrun; the capital was destroyed and

the tribes subdued. Returning to the south bank of the river, the king

was met by a humble embassy from Syrmus, who begged that he and his

people might have peace. Likewise came envoys from the Celts dwelling on

the Ionian bay. They too, though representing a haughty and warlike

race, sought the favor of Alexander, and were received as friends and

allies. (1)

Alexander next directed his course against the revolted Illyrians.

Marching with great rapidity into their country, he penetrated to. the

capital, Pellion, which he seized before the insurgents were well

aroused to a sense of their danger. The Illyrians, however, and the

Taulantians, who had joined them, trusted rather to the defensible

position which they had chosen among the hills than to the risks of a

battle. They therefore waited to be attacked, and it was some time

before Alexander could bring them to an engagement. At last, however, he

assaulted them in their position, and they were quickly dispersed. The

leaders of the revolt thereupon made overtures for peace, which were

readily accepted by the king. News had already been carried to him of a

troubled state of affairs in Greece, whereat Alexander was so greatly

disturbed that he speedily withdrew from Illyria and returned to

Macedon.

After the death of Philip, the anti-Macedonian party in the Greek states

became more active than ever. Especially were the radical energies of

Demosthenes vehemently directed against the young king of the North.

Every motive which envy and revenge could suggest was busily and

persistently paraded to incite insurrection among the southern

dependencies of Macedonia. Thebes took fire. This state, after the

battle of Chaeronea, had been reduced to a condition of vassalage. The

people, naturally proud and headstrong, chafed under the domination of

Macedonia, and, Greek-like, were ready at the first opportunity to break

into revolt. It was in anticipation of such an emergency that in the

very year of _________________________ 1 It is related that, in the

interview of Alexander with the Celtic ambassadors, he inquired what

might be the cause of their alarm, expecting the flattering answer that

they dreaded his name. What, therefore, was his chagrin on being told

that the thing which the Celts most feared was that the sky might fall

on their heads and bury them!