Page 0660



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