Page 0652

652

UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

himself in popular esteem by flattering the national superstitions.

Careful respect was shown to the religious rites of the Babylonians, and

the conqueror himself disdained not to enter the great temple of the

city and offer sacrifices to Belus.

Remaining for a while in Babylon, Alexander received a deputation from

the Armenians of the North, who professed their desire to be included as

subjects of his Empire. Soon afterwards a delegation arrived from Susa,

the Persian capital, and he was informed of the wish of that great city

to put her keys in his hands. The ambassadors expressed their dislike of

the Persian dynasty, and the wish of the Susianians to share their

destinies with the House of Macedon. This was important intelligence,

and Alexander immediately availed himself of it by marching in the

direction of the Persian capital. Before arriving at Susa, however, he

was met by a son of the satrap, who came out to assure him of a

hospitable reception. He was informed that the city, with all its

defenses and treasures, would be surrendered without delay or

opposition. Within twenty days after his departure from Babylon he

reached his destination. Susa was given up, and the Macedonian found

himself in possession of a sum equal to fifty millions of dollars. In

the royal palace were found many of the treasures which Xerxes had taken

from the Greeks. Among the rest were two bronze statues of Harmodius and

Aristogiton, those famous popular heroes who slew the tyrant Hipparchus.

These venerated relics were at once returned by Alexander to the

Athenians, though the conqueror could hardly have been in sympathy with

the cause of which they were the symbols.

While tarrying at Susa, Alexander reinstated the wives and daughters of

Darius in the royal palace. He also, in reorganizing the government,

entrusted the satrapy to a native Persian, thus exhibiting a

conciliatory disposition towards the traditions of the people. Meanwhile

a large reinforcement, sent out by Antipater, arrived from Macedonia.

With them came fifty youths from the most distinguished families, who

were recommended to the king as proper additions to his bodyguard.

The time had now come to begin the invasion of the original seat of the

Persian Empire. Between Susiana and Persia Proper were ranges of high

mountains, the passes of which must be traversed by the Macedonians on

their way from Susa to Persepolis. These heights were inhabited by a

race of warlike barbarians who, even in the days of Persian ascendancy,

had maintained their independence, and were in the habit, with singular

impudence, of obliging the subjects of the Great King to pay toll for

the privilege of passing through the mountains. It was the program of

these half-savages, on the approach of the conqueror, to occupy the

cliffs, and compel the king of Macedon to pay the usual tribute. But the

buccaneers of the hills were soon taught another lesson. The light armed

Macedonians, agile as the mountaineers themselves, hastily preoccupied

the heights, and the barbarians were glad to escape with their lives. It

was not the custom of Alexander the Great to pay for the privilege of

going where he would.

At a further stage of his progress through the hill-country, the

Macedonian encountered a still more serious obstacle. The Persian Gate,

through which he must descend from the highland into the plain, had been

seized by the satrap, Ariobarzanes, who, with forty thousand picked

soldiers, had chosen this favorable position with the determination to

stop the progress of Alexander toward the East. In attempting to force

the pass, the Macedonians were not only checked but actually repelled,

until what time Alexander, having discovered another defile through the

mountains, passed through with one division of his army, and fell upon

the Persian rear. The discomfiture of Ariobarzanes was complete.

It was now no longer any concern of the Macedonian what should become of

the satrap who had attempted to bar his progress, but whether he himself

could reach Persepolis before the fugitives from the recent overthrow

should bear thither the news of his coming. He had been informed of the

purpose of the Persepolitan authorities to destroy the treasures and

records of the city rather than