MACEDONIA-ALEXANDER THE GREAT.
Macedonian factions had risen to such a height as to portend massacre
and destruction. Never was the prudence of Alexander displayed to a
better advantage than in the settlement of these internal broils.
Assuming the office of mediator, he behaved with such moderation and
liberality as to secure the confidence even of the democracy. He
established and confirmed the government of the cities in a manner so
little selfish as to substitute good order for anarchy and prosperity
for destructive turmoil. At Ephesus he greatly heightened his popularity
by a politic measure respecting the tribute. Hitherto the city had been
burdened with a heavy annual tax, which went to the satrap of the
province. At the times when Ephesus was subject to Athens and Sparta,
the tribute had been paid to them. So that to the Ephesians the
temporary liberty which they gained by the Ionian revolt amounted merely
to a change of masters. Alexander, however, instead of exacting the
tribute for his own-which would have been selfish-or remitting the tax
altogether-which would have been unwise-required a continuation of
payment, and directed that the whole revenue should be used in restoring
the temple of Diana-a measure well calculated to stimulate the
patriotism and flatter the pride of the Ephesians.
Of still greater importance, alike to Alexander and the Persian king,
was the city of Miletus. Of all the seaports belonging to Persia on the
AEgean, this was the most valuable and necessary. For Darius already had
a large armament in the western seas, and the free communication of the
conqueror with his own country was thus endangered. To gain possession
of Miletus was, therefore, a matter of prime importance to Alexander,
and to lose it a serious disaster to the king of Persia. As soon as the
Macedonian could settle affairs in Ephesus, he accordingly set out for
Miletus. On his arrival he at once began a siege; for the Milesians were
not so ready to surrender their city as had been the citizens of Sardis.