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This webpage reproduces part of the essay
De Fortuna Alexandri


as published in Vol. IV
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1936

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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(Vol. IV) Plutarch, Moralia

On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander

 p383  I

326d 11 This is Fortune's discourse, who declares that Alexander is her own characteristic handiwork, and hers alone. But some rejoinder must be made on behalf of philosophy, or rather on Alexander's behalf, who would be vexed and indignant if he should be thought to have received as a pure gift, even at the hands of Fortune, the supremacy which he won at the price of much blood and of wounds that followed one after another; and


Many a night did he spend without sleeping,
Many a blood-stained day did he pass amid combats unceasing,1

against irresistible forces and innumerable tribes, against impassable rivers and mountain fastnesses whose summit no arrow could reach, furthered by wise counsels, steadfast purpose, manly courage, and a prudent heart.

2 1 I think that if Fortune should try to inscribe her name on his successes, he would say to her, "Slander not my virtues, nor take away my fair name by detraction. Darius was your handiwork: he who was  p385 a slave and courier of the king,2 him did you make the mighty lord of Persia; fand Sardanapalus, upon whose head you placed the royal diadem, though he spent his days in carding purple wool.3 But I, through my victory at Arbela,4 went up to Susa, and Cilicia5 opened the way for me into the broad land of Egypt; but to Cilicia I came by way of the Granicus,6 which I crossed, using as a bridge the dead bodies of Mithridates and Spithridates. Adorn yourself, proud Fortune, and vaunt your dominion over kings that never felt a wound nor shed a drop of blood. For they have been Fortune's favourites, 327men such as Ochus7 was and Artaxerxes, whom at the very hour of their birth you placed upon the throne of Cyrus. But my body bears many a token of an opposing Fortune and no ally of mine. First, among the Illyrians,8 my head was wounded by a stone and my neck by a cudgel. Then at the Granicus9 my head was cut open by an enemy's dagger, at Issus10 my thigh was pierced by the sword. Next at Gaza11 my ankle was wounded by an arrow, my shoulder was dislocated, and I whirled heavily round and round. Then at Maracanda12 the bone of my leg was split open by an arrow. There awaited me towards the last also the buffetings I received among the Indians and the  p387 violence of famines.13 bAmong the Aspasians14 my shoulder was wounded by an arrow, and among the Gandridae15 my leg. Among the Mallians,16 the shaft of an arrow sank deep into my breast and buried its steel; and I was struck in the neck by a cudgel, when the scaling-ladders which we had moved up to the walls were battered down; and Fortune cooped me up alone, favouring ignoble barbarians and not illustrious adversaries with such an exploit. But if Ptolemy17 had not held his shield above me, and Limnaeus18 taking his stand before me had not fallen, a target for ten thousand shafts, and if my Macedonians had not overthrown the wall with spirit and main force, then that nameless village in a foreign land must needs have become the tomb of Alexander."

c 3 1 Moreover, there were the trials of the campaign itself: storms, droughts, deep rivers, the heights of the Birdless Rock,19 the monstrous shapes of savage beasts, an uncivilized manner of life, the constant succession of petty kings and their repeated treachery. Then there were also the difficulties before his expedition:20 Greece was still gasping over Philip's wars; Thebes staggering to her feet after her fall, was shaking the dust of Chaeroneia from her arms, and Athens was stretching forth a helping hand to join with Thebes. All Macedonia was festering with revolt and looking toward Amyntas and the children  p389 of Aëropus;21 the Illyrians were again rebelling, and trouble with the Scythians was impending for their Macedonian neighbours, who were in the throes of political change; Persian gold flowed freely through the hands of the popular leaders everywhere, and helped to rouse the Peloponnesus; dPhilip's treasuries were bare of money, and in addition there was owing a loan of two hundred talents22 (as Onesicritus records). In such poverty23 and in circumstances fraught with such uncertainty, a stripling, scarcely older than a boy, had the daring to hope for Babylon and Susa; nay more, to conceive the project of dominion over all the world, relying only on the thirty thousand foot and four thousand cavalry which were his; for, according to Aristobulus, that was the full extent of their number. eBut King Ptolemy puts them at thirty thousand foot and five thousand horse, Anaximenes at forty-three thousand foot, fifty-five hundred horse. And the great and glorious war-chest which Fortune had ready for him was only seventy talents,24 as Aristobulus25 says, though Duris26 says it was provision for only thirty days.

4 1 Was, then, Alexander ill-advised and precipitate in setting forth with such humble resources to acquire so vast an empire? By no means. For who has ever put forth with greater or fairer equipment than he: greatness of soul, keen intelligence, self-restraint, and manly courage, with which Philosophy  p391 herself provided him for his campaign? Yes, the equipment that he had from Aristotle his teacher fwhen he crossed over into Asia was more than what he had from his father Philip. But although we believe those who record that Alexander once said that the Iliad27 and the Odyssey accompanied him as equipment for his campaigns, since we hold Homer in reverence, yet are we to contemn anyone who asserts that the works of Homer accompanied him as a consolation after toil and as a pastime for sweet leisure, 328but that his true equipment was philosophic teaching, and treatises on Fearlessness and Courage, and Self-restraint also, and Greatness of Soul? For of course it is obvious that Alexander wrote nothing on the subject of either syllogisms or axioms, nor did he have the opportunity of sharing the walks in the Lyceum,28 or of discussing propositions in the Academy. For it is by these criteria that those define philosophy who regard it as a theoretical rather than a practical pursuit. And yet even Pythagoras wrote nothing at all, nor did Socrates, nor Arcesilaüs, nor Carneades, who were all most notable among philosophers. Nor were these philosophers continuously occupied with such tremendous wars, bnor with spreading civilization among foreign princes, nor in establishing Grecian cities among savage nations, nor did they go on and on, instructing lawless and ignorant tribes in the principles of law and peace; but, even though they had leisure, they relinquished the writing of philosophy to sophists. Whence, then, comes our belief that they were true philosophers? Surely from what they said, or from the  p393 manner of life which they led, or from the principles which they taught. By these criteria let Alexander also be judged! For from his words, from his deeds, and from the instruction which he imparted, it will be seen that he was indeed a philosopher.

5 1 And first, if you will, consider a matter entirely contrary to the general belief, and compare Alexander's pupils with those of Plato and Socrates. Plato and Socrates taught pupils of splendid natural endowment who spoke the same language; so that, even if the pupils understood nothing else, at least they understood the Greek tongue. cAnd even so, Plato and Socrates did not win over many. But their pupils, such as Critias and Alcibiades and Cleitophon,29 were prone to spew the good word forth, as a horse the curbing bit, and turned them to other ways.

But if you examine the results of Alexander's instruction, you will see that he educated the Hyrcanians30 to respect the marriage bond, and taught the Arachosians to till the soil, and persuaded the Sogdians to support their parents, not to kill them, and the Persians30 to revere their mothers and not to take them in wedlock. O wondrous power of Philosophic Instruction, that brought the Indians to worship Greek gods, and the Scythians to bury their dead, not to devour them! dWe admire Carneades' power, which made Cleitomachus,31 formerly called Hasdrubal, and a Carthaginian by birth, adopt Greek ways. We admire the character of Zeno, which  p395 persuaded Diogenes32 the Babylonian to be a philosopher. But when Alexander was civilizing Asia, Homer was commonly read, and the children of the Persians, of the Susianians, and of the Gedrosians learned to chant the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides.33 And although Socrates, when tried on the charge of introducing foreign deities,34 lost his cause to the informers who infested Athens, yet through Alexander Bactria and the Caucasus learned to revere the gods of the Greeks. Plato wrote a book on the One Ideal Constitution, ebut because of its forbidding character he could not persuade anyone to adopt it; but Alexander established more than seventy cities among savage tribes, and sowed all Asia with Grecian magistracies, and thus overcame its uncivilized and brutish manner of living. Although few of us read Plato's Laws, yet hundreds of thousands have made use of Alexander's laws, and continue to use them. Those who were vanquished by Alexander are happier than those who escaped his hand; for these had no one to put an end to the wretchedness of their existence, while the victor compelled those others to lead a happy life. Therefore it is even more just to apply Themistocles' saying35 to the nations conquered by Alexander. For, when Themistocles in exile had obtained great gifts from Artaxerxes, fand had received three cities to pay him tribute, one to supply his bread, another his wine, and a third his meat, he exclaimed, "My children, we should be ruined now, had we not been ruined before." Thus Alexander's new subjects would not have been civilized, had they not been vanquished; Egypt  p397 would not have its Alexandria, nor Mesopotamia its Seleuceia, nor Sogdiana its Prophthasia, nor India its Bucephalia, nor the Caucasus a Greek city36 hard by; 329for by the founding of cities in these places savagery was extinguished and the worse element, gaining familiarity with the better, changed under its influence. If, then, philosophers take the greatest pride in civilizing and rendering adaptable the intractable and untutored elements in human character, and if Alexander has been shown to have changed the savage natures of countless tribes, it is with good reason that he should be regarded as a very great philosopher.

6 1 Moreover, the much-admired Republic37 of Zeno, the founder of the Stoic sect, may be summed up in this one main principle: that all the inhabitants of this world of ours should not live differentiated by their respective rules of justice into separate cities and communities, bbut that we should consider all men to be of one community and one polity, and that we should have a common life and an order common to us all, even as a herd that feeds together and shares the pasturage of a common field. This Zeno wrote, giving shape to a dream or, as it were, shadowy picture of a well-ordered and philosophic commonwealth; but it was Alexander who gave effect to the idea. For Alexander did not follow Aristotle's38 advice to treat the Greeks as if he were their leader, and other peoples as if he were their master; to have regard for the Greeks as for friends and kindred, but  p399 to conduct himself toward other peoples as though they were plants or animals; for to do so would have been to cumber his leadership with numerous battles and banishments and festering seditions. cBut, as he believed that he came as a heaven-sent governor to all, and as a mediator for the whole world, those whom he could not persuade to unite with him, he conquered by force of arms, and he brought together into one body all men everywhere, uniting and mixing in one great loving-cup, as it were, men's lives, their characters, their marriages, their very habits of life.39 He bade them all consider as their fatherland the whole inhabited earth, as their stronghold and protection his camp, as akin to them all good men, and as foreigners only the wicked; they should not distinguish between Grecian and foreigner by Grecian cloak and targe, or scimitar and jacket; dbut the distinguishing mark of the Grecian should be seen in virtue, and that of the foreigner in iniquity; clothing and food, marriage and manner of life they should regard as common to all, being blended into one by ties of blood and children.

7 1 Now Demaratus the Corinthian, one of Philip's intimate friends,40 when he had seen Alexander in Susa, exclaimed with tears of joy41 that all the Greeks who had died before that hour had been deprived of a great joy, since they had not seen Alexander seated on the throne of Darius. But I swear that for my part I feel no envy because of this spectacle toward them that saw it, for it was but the  p401 handiwork of Fortune, and the lot of other kings as well. But methinks I would gladly have been a witness of that fair and holy marriage-rite, ewhen he brought together in one golden-canopied tent an hundred Persian brides and an hundred Macedonian and Greek bridegrooms, united at a common hearth and board.42 He himself, crowned with garlands, was the first to raise the marriage hymn as though he were singing a song of truest friendship over the union of the two greatest and most mighty peoples; for he, of one maid the bridegroom, and at the same time of all the brides the escort, as a father and sponsor united them in the bonds of wedlock. Indeed at this sight I should have cried out for joy, "O dullard Xerxes, stupid fool that spent so much fruitless toil to bridge the Hellespont! This is the way that wise kings join Asia with Europe; it is not by beams or rafts, nor by lifeless and unfeeling bonds, fbut by the ties of lawful love and chaste nuptials and mutual joy in children that they join the nations together."

8 1 Considering carefully this order of affairs, Alexander did not favour the Median raiment, but preferred the Persian, for it was much more simple than the Median. Since he deprecated the unusual and theatrical varieties of foreign adornment, 330such as the tiara and the full-sleeved jacket and trousers, he wore a composite dress adapted from both Persian and Macedonian fashion,43 as Eratosthenes44 has recorded. As a philosopher what he wore was  p403 a matter of indifference, but as sovereign of both nations and benevolent king he strove to acquire the goodwill of the conquered by showing respect for their apparel, so that they might continue constant in loving the Macedonians as rulers, and might not feel hate toward them as enemies. Conversely it were the mark of an unwise and vainglorious mind to admire greatly a cloak of uniform colour and to be displeased by a tunic with a purple border, or again to disdain those things and to be struck with admiration for these, bholding stubbornly, in the manner of an unreasoning child, to the raiment in which the custom of his country, like a nurse, had attired him. When men hunt wild animals, they put on the skins of deer, and when they go to catch birds, they dress in tunics adorned with plumes and feathers; they are careful not to be seen by bulls when they have on red garments, nor by elephants when dressed in white;45 for these animals are provoked and made savage by the sight of these particular colours. But if a great king, in taming and mollifying headstrong and warring nations, just as in dealing with animals, succeeded in soothing and stilling them cby wearing a garb familiar to them and by following their wonted manner of life, thereby conciliating their rough natures and smoothing their sullen brows, can men impeach him? Must they not rather wonder at his wisdom, since by but a slight alteration of his apparel he made himself the popular leader of all Asia, conquering their bodies by his arms, but winning over their souls by his apparel? And yet men marvel at the disciple of Socrates, Aristippus,46 that whether he wore a threadbare  p405 cloak or a fine Milesian robe he retained his gentility in either; but they impeach Alexander because, although paying due respect to his own national dress, he did not disdain that of his conquered subjects in establishing the beginnings of a vast empire. dFor he did not overrun Asia like a robber nor was he minded to tear and rend it, as if it were booty and plunder bestowed by unexpected good fortune, after the manner in which Hannibal later descended upon Italy, or as earlier the Treres47 descended upon Ionia and the Scythians48 upon Media. But Alexander desired to render all upon earth subject to one law of reason and one form of government and to reveal all men as one people, and to this purpose he made himself conform. But if the deity that sent down Alexander's soul into this world of ours had not recalled him quickly, one law would govern all mankind, and they all would look toward one rule of justice as though toward a common source of light. eBut as it is, that part of the world which has not looked upon Alexander has remained without sunlight.

9 1 Therefore, in the first place, the very plan and design of Alexander's expedition commends the man as a philosopher in his purpose not to win for himself luxury and extravagant living, but to win for all men concord and peace and community of interests.

And, in the second place, let us examine his sayings too, since it is by their utterances49 that the souls of other kings and potentates also best reveal their characters. The elder Antigonus remarked to a certain sophist who put in his hands a treatise on  p407 justice, "You are a fool to say anything about justice when you see me smiting other people's cities." fThe despot Dionysius remarked that one should trick children with dice, but men with oaths.50 Upon the tomb of Sardanapalus51 is written,

These are still mine — what I ate, and my wanton love-frolics.

Who would not own that by these several sayings are revealed Sardanapalus's love of pleasure, Dionysius's impiety, and Antigonus's injustice and greed? But if you subtract from Alexander's sayings his crown, his relationship with Ammon, and his noble birth, 331they will appear to you as the utterances a Socrates or a Plato or a Pythagoras. Let us, then, pay no heed to the proud boasts which the poets inscribed upon his portraits and statues, studying, as they were, to portray, not Alexander's moderation, but his power:

Eager to speak seems the statue of bronze, up to Zeus as it gazes:

"Earth I have set under foot; Zeus, keep Olympus yourself."52

And another man makes Alexander say, "I am the son of Zeus."53 These expressions, then, as I have said, the poets addressed to Alexander in flattery of his good fortune.

But of the genuine sayings of Alexander we might first review those of his youth. bSince he was the swiftest of foot of all the young men of his age,54 his  p409 comrades urged him to enter the Olympic games. He asked if the competitors were kings, and when his friends replied that they were not, he said that the contest was unfair, for it was one in which a victory would be over commoners, but a defeat would be the defeat of a king.

When the thigh of his father Philip had been pierced by a spear in battle with the Triballians, and Philip, although he escaped with his life, was vexed with his lameness, Alexander said, "Be of good cheer, father, and go on your way rejoicing, that at each step you may recall your valour."55 Are not these the words cof a truly philosophic spirit which, because of its rapture for noble things, already revolts against mere physical encumbrances? How, then, think you, did he glory in his own wounds, remembering by each part of his body affected a nation overcome, a victory won, the capture of cities, the surrender of kings? He did not cover over nor hide his scars, but bore them with him openly as symbolic representations, graven on his body, of virtue and manly courage.

10 1 And in the same spirit if ever there chanced to be in hours of ease or at a banquet a comparison of the verses of Homer, each man choosing his favourite line, Alexander always judged this verse to be the greatest of all:

Both things is he: both a goodly king and a warrior mighty.56

dThis praise, which at the time it was written another had received, Alexander conceived to be a law for himself, so that he said of Homer that in this same verse he had honoured the manly courage of Agamemnon  p411 and prophesied that of Alexander. Accordingly when he had crossed the Hellespont, he went to see the site of Troy,57 imagining to himself the heroic deeds enacted there; and when one of the natives of the country promised to give him the lyre of Paris, if he wished it, Alexander said, "Of his lyre I have no need; for I already possess Achilles' lyre to the accompaniment of which, as he rested from his labours,

he sang the famed deeds of heroes.58

But the lyre of Paris gave forth an altogether weak and womanish strain to accompany his love songs." eThus it is the mark of a truly philosophic soul to be in love with wisdom and to admire wise men most of all, and this was more characteristic of Alexander than of any other king. His attitude toward Aristotle has already been stated;59 and it is recorded by several authors that he considered the musician Anaxarchus the most valuable of all his friends, that he gave ten thousand gold pieces to Pyrrhon60 of Elis the first time he met him, that he sent to Xenocrates,61 the friend of Plato, fifty talents as a gift, and that he made Onesicritus,62 the pupil of Diogenes the Cynic, chief pilot of his fleet.

But when he came to talk with Diogenes63 himself in Corinth, fhe was so awed and astounded with the life and the worth of the man that often, when remembrance of the philosopher came to him, he would  p413 say, "If I were not Alexander, I should be Diogenes," that is to say: "If I did not actively practise philosophy, I should apply myself to its theoretical pursuit." He did not say, "If I were not a king, I should be Diogenes," nor "If I were not rich and an Argead"; 332for he did not rank Fortune above Wisdom, nor a crown and royal purple above the philosopher's wallet and threadbare gown. But he said, "If I were not Alexander, I should be Diogenes"; that is to say: "If it were not my purpose to combine foreign things with things Greek, to traverse and civilize every continent, to search out the uttermost parts of land and sea, to push the bounds of Macedonia to the farthest Ocean, and to disseminate and shower the blessings of Greek justice and peace over every nation, I should not be content to sit quietly in the luxury of idle power, but I should emulate the frugality of Diogenes. But as things are, forgive me, Diogenes, that I imitate Heracles, and emulate Perseus, band follow in the footsteps of Dionysus,64 the divine author and progenitor of my family,65 and desire that victorious Greeks should dance again in India and revive the memory of the Bacchic revels among the savage mountain tribes beyond the Caucasus. Even there it is said that there are certain holy men, a law unto themselves, who follow a rigid gymnosophy66 and give all their time to God; they are more frugal than Diogenes since they have no need of a wallet. For they do not store up food, since they have it ever fresh and green from the earth; the flowing rivers give them drink and they have fallen leaves and grassy  p415 earth to lie upon. Because of me even those faraway sages shall come to know of Diogenes, and he of them. cAnd I also, like Diogenes, must alter the standard of coinage67 and stamp foreign states with the impress of Greek government."

11 1 Very well. Do Alexander's actions, then, reveal the caprice of Fortune, the violence of war, the might of conquest, or do they rather reveal the great courage and justice, the great restraint and mildness together with the decorous behaviour and intelligence, of one who did all things with sober and sane judgement? For, by Heaven, it is impossible for me to distinguish his several actions and say that this betokens his courage, this his humanity, this his self-control, but everything he did seems the combined product of all the virtues; for he confirms the truth of that principle of the Stoics dwhich declares that every act which the wise man performs is an activity in accord with every virtue; and although, as it appears, one particular virtue performs the chief rôle in every act, yet it but heartens on the other virtues and directs them toward the goal. Certainly one may observe that in Alexander the warlike is also humane, the mild also manly, the liberal provident, the irascible placable, the amatory temperate, his relaxation not idle, and his labours not without recreation. Who but he combined festivals with wars, campaigns with revels, Bacchic rites and weddings and nuptial songs with sieges and battle-fields? Who was ever more hostile to wrongdoers or kinder to the unfortunate? eWho more stern to his opponents or more indulgent to petitioners?

 p417  It occurs to me to introduce here an incident touching Porus.68 For when Porus was brought as a captive before Alexander, the conqueror asked how he should treat him. "Like a king, Alexander," said Porus. When Alexander asked again if there were nothing else, "No," said he, "for everything is included in that word." And it naturally occurs to me also to exclaim over each of Alexander's deeds, "Like a philosopher!" For in this is included everything. He became enamoured of Roxanê,69 the daughter of Oxyartes, as she danced among the captive maidens; yet he did not offer any violence to her, but made her his wife. "Like a philosopher!" fWhen he saw Darius70 pierced through by javelins, he did not offer sacrifice nor raise the paean to indicate that the long war had come to an end; but he took off his own cloak and threw it over the corpse as though to conceal the divine retribution that waits upon the lot of kings. "Like a philosopher!" Once when he was reading a confidential letter from his mother, and Hephaestion,71 who, as it happened, was sitting beside him, was quite openly reading it too, Alexander did not stop him, 333but merely placed his own signet-ring on Hephaestion's lips, sealing them to silence with a friend's confidence. "Like a philosopher!" For if these actions be not those of a philosopher, what others are?

12 1 But let us compare the actions of men who are admitted to be philosophers. Socrates forbore when Alcibiades72 spent the night with him. But when  p419 Philoxenus,73 the governor of the coast-lands of Asia Minor, wrote to Alexander that there was in Ionia a youth, the like of whom for bloom and beauty did not exist, and inquired in his letter whether he should send the boy on to him, Alexander wrote bitterly in reply, "Vilest of men, what deed of this sort have you ever been privy to in my past that now you would flatter me with the offer of such pleasures?" bWe admire Xenocrates74 because he would not accept the gift of fifty talents which Alexander sent him. But shall we not admire the giving of it? Or do we think that he who does not welcome a gift and he who bestows it are not at one in their contempt for money? Because of philosophy Xenocrates had no need of wealth and because of philosophy Alexander had need of wealth that he might lavish it upon such men. How many times has Alexander said this when forcing an attack amid a shower of missiles?75 And yet we believe that all men are endowed with the capacity to form right judgements. For Nature of herself is prone to lead men toward the Good. But philosophers differ from common persons in having their powers of judgement strong and firm cto face danger, since the common man is not fortified by conceptions such as these: "Best is one omen"76 and  p421 "Death is the end for all men";77 but crises destroy all his calculations in the face of danger, and the fantastic imaginings of perils close at hand dispel his powers of judgement. For not only does "fear," as Thucydides78 says, "drive out memory," but it also drives out every purpose and ambition and impulse, unless philosophy has drawn her cords about them.

The Translator's Notes:

1 Adapted from Homer, Il. IX.325‑326.

2 Cf. 340C, infra; Life of Alexander, chap. XVIII (674D). Aelian, Varia Historia, XII.43, says that he was a slave; and Strabo, XV.3.24, Diodorus, XVII.5, say that he was not of the royal family.

3 Cf. 336C, infra.

4 331 B.C.

5 The battle of Issus, 333 B.C.

6 334 B.C.

7 Artaxerxes III (358‑338 B.C.).

8 This wound is elsewhere unknown to history. For the wounds of Alexander see the excellent tables of Nachstädt, op. cit. pp38‑44.

9 Cf. 341A-C, infra; Life of Alexander, chap. XVI (673A); Arrian, Anabasis, I.15.7; Diodorus, XVII.20.

10 By Darius, according to Chares (341C, infra; Life of Alexander, chap. XX (675F)); but this is unknown to Arrian, Diodorus, Curtius, and Justin.

11 The text is probably corrupt; in Curtius, IV.6, we hear of two wounds, and they are quite different ones. One wound is reported in 341B, infra; Life of Alexander, chap. XXV (679B); Arrian, Anabasis, II.27.2.

12 Cf. 341B, infra; Arrian, AnabasisIII.30.11; Curtius, VII.6.

13 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. LXVI (702A-B); Arrian, AnabasisVI.24‑25.

14 Cf. Ibid., IV.23.3; Curtius, VIII.3.

15 Nothing is known of this wound.

16 Cf. 341C, 343E ff., infra; Life of Alexander, chap. LXIII (700B ff.); Arrian, AnabasisVI.9, 10; Diodorus, XVII.98; Curtius, IX.4.5; Strabo, XV.1.33.

17 Peucestas in Life of Alexander, and in Arrian, Anabasis.

Thayer's Note: and in Curtius as well.

18 Leonnatus according to Arrian (Anabasis, VI.10.2).

19 Cf. Moralia, 181C; Arrian, AnabasisIV.28; Diodorus, XVII.85. Sir Aurel Stein has identified Aornos with the plateau of Pir-s'ar (On Alexander's Track to the Indus, Macmillan, 1929).

20 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. XI (670B).

21 Very little is known of this faction. Cf. Diodorus, XIV.37 and 89. Amyntas later joined Darius and met his death soon after the battle of Issus.

22 £40,000 or $200,000.

Thayer's Note: A reminder that this equivalent dates to 1936 (notice the pound at $5); in 2004, the figures would be about $2,400,000 or £1,300,000.

23 For the varying accounts of the wealth and forces of Alexander cf. 342D, infra; Life of Alexander, chap. XV (672A); Arrian, AnabasisI.11.3; and Alexander's own account, according to Arrian, AnabasisVII.9.6 ff.

24 £14,000 or $70,000.

In 2004, about $840,000 or £470,000.

25 Cf. 342D, infra.

26 Cf. Müller, Frag. Hist. Graec. II p472.

27 Cf. Life of Alexander, chaps. VIII (p. 668D) and XXVI (679C-D); Pliny, Natural History, VII.29.108.

28 That is, of occupying himself with Peripatetic (Aristotelian) philosophy.

29 It is interesting to note that dialogues bearing the names of all these pupils have been handed down to us under the name of Plato, although some of them are thought to be spurious.

30 Wyttenbach in sadness doubts whether these ethnological remarks are the fruit of any research on the part of Plutarch. But they probably derive from a hazy recollection of such passages as Herodotus, I.216 (of the Massagetae). Note, however, that Strabo supports Plutarch on this custom of the Persians (XV.3.20), which is easily explained by the (p393)fact that the young king inherited his father's harem as well as his father's stable, and that the father's younger wives furnished the beginning of the son's harem. Cf. also Sophocles, Trachiniae, 1221‑1251. For other pleasant customs of the Hyrcanians cf. Moralia, 499D.

31 Cf. Diogenes Laertius, IV.67; Athenaeus, 402C.

32 Diogenes, from Seleucia in Mesopotamia (Strabo, XVI.1.16; Diogenes Laertius, VI.81), was said to have been a pupil of Chrysippus, and thus was converted to the inheritance of Zeno, Stoicism.

33 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. VIII (p. 668E).

34 Cf. Plato, Apology, 24B; Xenophon, Memorabilia, I.1.1.

35 Cf. Moralia, 185F, and the note there.

36 Alexandria-in‑the‑Caucasus: cf. Arrian, AnabasisIII.284; IV.22.4; V.1.5; Curtius, VII.3.23; Diodorus, XVII.83.1.

37 Cf. Cambridge Ancient History, vol. VII p225; Moralia, 653E; Life of LycurgusXXXI (59A); Cicero, De (p387)LegibusI.7‑11 (21‑32); De OfficiisI.7 (22); Diogenes Laertius, VII.32‑34, 121, 129, 131.

38 Aristotle's name is not elsewhere linked with this advice; cf. Strabo, I.4.9 (p66), or Aristotle, Frag. 658 (ed. V. Rose).

39 Cf. Arrian, AnabasisVII.11.8‑9.

40 Cf. Moralia, 70C; Life of Alexander, chap. IX (669C).

41 Ibid. chaps. XXXVII (687A), LVI (696F); Life of Agesilaüs, chap. XV (604A).

42 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. LXX (703E); Arrian, AnabasisVII.4; Diodorus, XVII.107.6; Athenaeus, 538B-E; Aelian, Varia Historia, VIII.7; but the number is not elsewhere given as 100.

43 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. XLV (690E-691A); Diodorus, XVII.77.

44 Presumably in the treatise referred to by Strabo, I.4.9 (p66).

45 Cf. Moralia, 144D.

46 Cf. Horace, EpistlesI.17.23‑29 "personamque feret non inconcinnus utramque."

47 Cf. Strabo, I.3.21; XI.8.4.

48 Cf. Herodotus, I.15, 103‑106.

49 Cf. Moralia, 172D.

50 Attributed elsewhere to Lysander; cf. Moralia, 229B, and the note (Vol. III p373).

51 Cf. Palatine Anthology, VII.325; XV.27: a full list of citations portraying Sardanapalus in ancient popular philosophy is given by W. Capelle, Hermes, LX p394; see also W. Headlam, Journal of Philology, XXVI p98.

Thayer's Note: The printed edition has Journal of Philology; the correction was made by an editor of a subsequent Volume of the Loeb series (De se laudando, 546A, note).


52 Cf. 335B, infra; T. Preger, Inscriptiones Graecae (p407)Metricae, pp183‑187. The epigram is more completely given in the Anthology, XVI.120, where it is attributed to Archelaüs or Asclepiades. Probably, as Ouvré has seen, it belongs to the latter.

53 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. XXVII (680F).

54 Cf. Moralia, 179D; Life of Alexander, chap. IV (666D).

55 Attributed to a Spartan woman in Moralia, 241E, where see the note.

56 IliadIII.179; cf. Xenophon, Memorabilia, III.2.2.

57 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. XV (672B); Aelian, Varia Historia, IX.38.

58 Homer, Il. IX.189.

59 327F, supra; cf. Life of Alexander, chaps. VII, VIII (668A-F).

60 Cf. Sextus Empiricus, Adversus Mathematicos, I.282.

61 Cf. 333B, infra, and Moralia, 181E.

62 Cf. Life of Alexander, chaps. LXV, LXVI (701C, 702A); Arrian, AnabasisVI.2.3, VII.5.6; Diogenes Laertius, VI.84.

63 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. XIV (671D); Diogenes Laertius, VI.32; Valerius Maximus, IV.3.4; Juvenal, XIV.311‑314. Cf. also Moralia, 782A-B.

64 Cf. Arrian, AnabasisIV.10.6; Rhein. Mus. LIV.470.

65 Cf. 326B, supra.

66 Cf. Life of Alexander, chaps. LXIV, LXV (700F-701F) for Alexander's dealings with the Gymnosophists.

67 Cf. Diogenes Laertius, VI.20, 21.

68 Cf. Moralia, 181E, and 458B; Life of Alexander, chap. LX (669C); Arrian, AnabasisV.19.2.

69 Cf. 338D, infra; Life of Alexander, chap. XLVII (691E); Arrian, IV.19; Curtius, VIII.4.

70 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. XLIII (690B).

71 Cf. Moralia, 180D, and the note.

72 Cf. Plato, Symposium, 218C; Diogenes Laertius, II.31.

73 Cf. Moralia, 1099D; Life of Alexander, chap. XXII (676F).

74 Cf. 331E, supra.

75 Alexander's remark that he needed money to give to others may be compared to the remark which Plutarch quotes in his Life of Alexander, chap. LX (698E), when Alexander was risking his life in crossing the swollen Hydaspes: "O Athens, can you possibly believe what dangers I undergo to win good repute among you?" Others think that the remark has been lost from the MSS.

76 Homer, Il. XII.243 εἷς οἰωνὸς ἄριστος ἀμύνεσθαι περὶ πάτρης.

77 Cf. Moralia, 166F; Demosthenes, De Corona, 97. W. Crönert, in a review of Bell-Crum, A Greek-Coptic Glossary (Gnomon, II p657), reconstructs, from the works of (p421)the Testament of the High Priest Fl. Phoebammon, trimeters of an Euripidean flavour:

πέρας δὲ παντὸς τοῦ βροτησίου γένους
ὁ θάνατός οὐδὲ δυνατόν ἐστιν ἐκφυγεῖν

More likely here, however, would be such a line as

ὁ θάνατός ἐσθ’ ἅπασιν ἀνθρώποις πέρας.

Plutarch and Demosthenes may both be quoting from something of the sort.

78 Thucydides, II.87.

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