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MACEDONIA-ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

himself gave the death blow. Alexander, in childish anger for the

affront thus offered, fell upon the young man in the presence of his

companions, beat him with a rod, and took away his horse. Hermolaus

showed himself capable of revenge. Taking four of his companions into

his confidence, he made conspiracy with them to kill the king that night

in his bed-chamber; for the pages were the guardians of the royal

sleeping apartments. It chanced, however, that the plot was overheard by

a convenient old woman who was near the chamber. She thereupon persuaded

the king not to retire that night; and on the following day, the young

men being put to the rack, confessed the particulars of their murderous

scheme. They also declared that the instigator of the plot was a certain

Athenian named Callisthenes, an arrogant philosopher belonging to the

court. He and the young men were straightway condemned and executed.

The time had now arrived to begin the contemplated expedition into

India. In the spring of B. C. 327, Alexander set out across the mountain

range of Paropamisus, and quickly penetrated the valley of the Indus.

His army was now swollen to more than one hundred thousand men. This

great force he divided into two corps, reserving the command of one for

himself, and giving the other to Hephaestion. This general the king

ordered to press forward to the river Cophenes, while he himself

undertook the conquest of the barbarous tribes dwelling between that

river and the Indus. As soon as this work was accomplished, he crossed

the great river, and made his way into the eastern provinces. Several

districts were rapidly overrun, and a certain Taxiles, the most

important ruler of this region, made a voluntary surrender of his

territories. He also sent to the conqueror a present of seven thousand

Indian horses, and in other ways testified his willingness to be

enrolled among the subjects of the king. Alexander cordially accepted

the prince as his ally, and restored him to his dominions.

Meanwhile, Porus, the most powerful king of South-eastern India, had

gathered a vast army of his subjects and advanced to the river Hydaspes

to oppose the passage of the Macedonians. For the third time in the

course of his campaigns, Alexander beheld on the opposite bank of a

stream the cohorts of an innumerable enemy drawn up to hinder his

progress. To the mind of the Macedonian, the present emergency seemed

more grave than that which presented itself at the Granicus or Issus.

Instead, therefore, of dashing into the river with the reckless audacity

displayed in his first battle, he hesitated and maneuvered. After making

so many feints as to throw Porus off his guard, he finally succeeded in

crossing in the night. A general engagement ensued with the morning

light, and the Indians were completely routed. The two sons of the king

and twenty-three thousand of his troops were killed. Porus himself,

flying on his great war elephant, was captured and brought into the

presence of Alexander. (1)

It is narrated that the Indian prince was of so goodly a person and

manners that the Macedonian, greatly impressed with the bearing of his

prisoner, asked him in what way he could serve him. "By acting like a

king," was the reply. "I should do as much for my own sake," said

Alexander; "but what shall I do for yours?" Porus answered, "I have

preferred my only request." So greatly was Alexander pleased with the

response of the royal captive that he at once reinstated him in

authority; and having presently conquered thirty-seven cities on the

eastern frontier, he added them to the possession of his new friend and

confederate.

Having completed the conquest of India, the conqueror sought recreation

for himself and his men by instituting on the bank of the Hydaspes a

series of gymnastic and equestrian games like the Olympic festival of

Greece. When the celebration was completed, he proceeded to found in

honor of his victories the city of Nicaea, and soon

________________________________ 1 The reader can but be struck with the

superior bearing of Alexander in the field. War brought out the better

qualities of his character and genius. It was in the times of surcease,

when his restless energies no longer found vent in the excitement of

campaign and battle that his passions turned to meanness and depravity.