UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
pressed after him; but just as he reached the summit the ladder broke,
and all the rest were precipitated to the ground. The son of Philip was
left alone on the top of the rampart, where his brilliant armor flashing
in the sun made him a conspicuous mark for a hundred javelins. Nothing
but his audacity saved him from certain death. Instead of attempting to
escape he leaped boldly in the citadel, placed his back to the wall, and
cut down the Mallian commander, with several others who rushed upon him.
In a few moments three of his own trusted followers scaled the rampart
and sprang to the side of their king. The first instantly fell, fatally
wounded, but the other two placed themselves between the foe and the
king, who had already received an arrow in his breast, and beat back the
assailants until the Macedonians broke through the walls and the place
was carried. The wound of the king was not such as to endanger his life,
but the peril to which his rashness had exposed him was perhaps the
greatest which he had ever faced in the vicissitudes of battle.
Having reached the sea, arrangements were at once completed for the
return of the expedition, first to the capital of Persia, and afterwards
to Europe. The army was divided into two parts, one of which was to
embark on the fleet and the other to proceed overland across the
Gedrosian desert; for it was deemed necessary that the two divisions by
land and sea should keep within supporting distance, the land forces to
supply the squadron from time to time, and the squadron to furnish the
land forces with the means of embarkation should the same be found
The fleet was under command of Nearchus, and Alexander himself took
charge of the division which was to proceed to Persia. Marching at the
head of his columns, carrying full armor, and claiming no exemption from
the hardships of the common soldier, the conqueror plunged into the
desert sands, and for two months toiled on through the Gedrosian waste.
Not until the expedition reached the province of Carmania were adequate
supplies obtained to meet the wants of the army.
During the two years' absence of Alexander in the East, the governors of
Babylon, Persepolis, and Susa, behaving after the manner of Orientals,
had resumed the oppressive methods of government to which both they and
the people had so long been accustomed. Great abuses had prevailed, and
the conqueror found his subjects restless and discontented under the
exaction of their rulers. To regulate these disorders and to punish
those of his subordinates who had proved unworthy of their trust were
now the first duties of the king.
More than ever he perceived the desirability of unifying as far as
practicable the diverse nationalities over which he was called to rule.
He, therefore, redoubled his exertions in the way of conciliating the
various peoples under his sway, and as a means of doing so he again had
recourse to intermarriages. It will be remembered that the family of
Darius had been left in the palace of Susa about three years previously.
On returning to that place Alexander proceeded to celebrate his marriage
with the eldest daughter of the late king. To Hephaestion, his favorite
general, he gave a sister of the princess whom he himself had chosen.
To Nearchus was assigned the daughter of Mentor, the brother of that
Memnon who had so ably opposed the Macedonian at the beginning of his
career. Eighty of the leading commanders of the army were rewarded with
princesses of Persia, and the nuptials were celebrated with great
magnificence after the style of the country. By these means the
affections of the Persians were rapidly turned to him who had scourged
them; but to the Greeks there was much that was distasteful in the
proceedings of their great leader.
Having remained for a time at Susa, busy with plans and projects for the
organization and development of the Empire, Alexander now set out for
Babylon. He descended the Eubaeus and then ascended the Tigris, making
surveys and maps of the rivers with a view to their future improvement.
A corps of competent engineers accompanied him, and these were
constantly consulted as to the best means of opening the country to
commerce and an improved civilization. There is no