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their own reputation to sustain as well as wrongs to be avenged in the

ranks of their unnatural countrymen. Here, then, the battle was furious

and bloody. Hardly could the staggering phalanx make its way against the

stubborn resistance of the Greek soldiers; nor is it certain which way

victory in this part of the field would have inclined but for the

overthrow of the Persian wings.

The success of Alexander and Parmenio enabled them, especially the

former, to fall upon the flanks of the Persian center, and the valiant

soldiers who confronted the phalanx found themselves assailed from three

directions. Under such assaults they began to lose ground, but such was

their valor that they nearly all perished sooner than relinquish the

field. It was in this part of the battle that Darius displayed

conspicuous bravery. He urged forward his chariot into the thickest of

the fight and encouraged his soldiers both by voice and example until

his horses were cut down and himself almost taken by the Macedonians.

Nothing but the courage of his brother Oxathres saved the king from

capture or destruction. In the critical moment the monarch was thrust

into a fresh chariot and borne from the field. As usual in the great

battles of the East, the flight of the king was the signal for a

universal rout. The ranks everywhere broke and fled precipitately from

the scene. Only the Persian cavalry on the right wing made a stand and

fought as if to sustain their old-time fame for valor. Nor did they

desist from their onsets until some time after the rout had become

general in all other parts of the field.

As soon as the flight began the Macedonians pressed hard upon the

fugitives. Thousands were cut down in the panic and confusion. Alexander

himself at the head of the cavalry bore down upon the flying foe and cut

his broken ranks to pieces. His hope was to overtake and capture the

king and thus end the business of the Empire. But Darius, after fleeing

as far as he could in his chariot, mounted a horse and succeeded in

escaping through the Amanic Gate. But so hot was the pursuit that the

shield, bow, and cloak of the king were secured by Alexander.

The losses of the Persians are differently stated by different authors.

The lowest estimate, which is perhaps nearest the truth, places the

number slain at about seventy thousand, and of the captives at forty

thousand. Nor is there any trustworthy account of the loss sustained by

the Macedonians. There appears to have been an intent on the part of the

Greek writers to gloss over the matter or to represent the list as

insignificant. It is impossible, however, but that a severe loss must

have been inflicted on Alexander's army; for the battle was long and

obstinate, and the Ionian Greeks gave the phalanx blow for blow. It is

known that Ptolemy and several other distinguished officers were slain.

The battle of Issus furnished several incidents which posterity has been

pleased to preserve. When Alexander returned from his pursuit of Darius

he learned that the family of that monarch, including his wife, his

daughters, and his mother, were prisoners in the Macedonian camp. They

were in the greatest agitation, believing that the king had been slain,

and that they themselves would be dishonored and sold as slaves. Hearing

of their distress, the conqueror at once sent his friend Leonatus to

quiet their alarm, and to assure them that the king had made good his

escape. They were informed that they should be treated not only with

humanity, but with that courtesy which befitted their rank. The language

attributed to Alexander sounds like a phrase of chivalry; for he is

reported to have said to the distracted princesses that towards the

Great King he had no personal enmity at all-that he warred with him only

because they could not both be ruler of Asia.

On the following day the Macedonian, accompanied by his intimate friend

Hephaestion, called in person at the tent which had been assigned to the

captive women. When they were ushered into the presence of the royal

household the princesses, mistaking the stately Hephaestion for

Alexander, prostrated themselves before him and began to plead for

commiseration. Hephaestion at once drew back and pointed to the king as

the one to whom they should address themselves. Alexander at once

relieved the embarrassment in