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The Macedonian advance began from Pella to Sestos on the Hellespont.

Here, at the tomb of Protesilaus Alexander offered sacrifices. Then

flinging himself into a galley he bade adieu to the shores of Europe,

and was rowed to the opposite coast. Arriving in Asia, he first visited

the site of ancient Troy. Thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the

Iliad, he paused to make offerings in the temple of Minerva, and from

this shrine he obtained a suit of armor which tradition said had been

preserved from the time of the Trojan war. In the place of this he

dedicated to the goddess one of his own coats-of-mail, which was hung up

in the temple.

Meanwhile, the Persian king appeared to take no alarm on account of the

Macedonian lion who had entered his dominions at a bound. The crossing

of the Hellespont had been made without opposition, though the Persian

fleet far outnumbered any armament that Alexander could have brought

against it. No general preparations had been made by the court of Susa

to resist the impending invasion. The defense of the western provinces

had been left to their respective satraps, while the Greek cities on the

coast had been entrusted to the guardianship of the Rhodian general,

Memnon. The carelessness of Darius and his officers in permitting the

actual invasion to begin without taking measures necessary to repel it

was little less than a blind infatuation of security for which the

Persian Empire was presently to pay a ruinous price.

Alexander greatly desired to try the mettle of the Persians, rather than

of the Greeks inhabiting the Ionian cities. He also had a respect for

the military abilities of Memnon, but none at all for the prowess of the

average satrap. He, therefore, made his way first along the shores of

the Propontis in a northeasterly direction, and thus came into the

province of Lower Phrygia, of which Arsites was the governor. To him

Memnon sent a most excellent piece of advice to the effect that the

satrap should lay waste the country in advance of Alexander, and avoid a

battle. But Arsites had an army of more than forty thousand men, and was

himself not devoid of courage. He therefore answered that not a house

should be burned, nor an article of property be destroyed within the

limits of his satrapy. This, of course, meant battle, and the day was at


For delay was not in Alexander's nature. He pressed forward rapidly to

the river Granicus, and came upon the stream near the town of Zelia. On

the opposite bank the Persian army was already encamped; for Arsites,

knowing the route of Alexander, had taken advantage of the stream to

oppose his passage. When Alexander reached the bank he was for giving

immediate battle; but at this juncture the veteran Parmenio, who knew

better than the impetuous young king the hazards of war, advised his

master not to attempt the crossing of the stream in the face of such an

enemy. But the king was not to be foiled in his purpose. With a vision

more far reaching than that of Parmenio, he saw that immediate and

victorious battle was the thing now needed to fire the spirits of the

Macedonians and to strike terror into the foe. To his veteran general's

admonition he therefore replied: "Your reflections are just and

forcible; but would it not be a mighty disgrace to us, who so easily

passed the Hellespont, to be stopped here by a contemptible brook? It

would, indeed, be a lasting reflection on the glory of the Macedonians

as well as on the personal bravery of their commander; and besides, the

Persians would forthwith consider themselves our equals in war, did we

not in this first contest with them achieve something to justify the

terror which attaches to our name.''

So it was determined to give battle without delay. Parmenio was

appointed to the left wing; Philotas, to the right. Here also Alexander

himself took his station. The preparations made by the Macedonians were

all in plain view of the Persians on the opposite bank. Discovering,

from the armor and decorations of Alexander's principal officers, in

what part of the lines the king was to command, the Persians drew up

their best cohorts opposite where the great Macedonian must cross the

river. This movement on the part of the enemy was altogether agreeable