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First
Oration

This webpage reproduces part of the essay
De Fortuna Alexandri

by
Plutarch

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.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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(Vol. IV) Plutarch, Moralia

On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander

p423 II

333 1 1   Yesterday we forgot, it seems, to remark that the age of Alexander had the good fortune to produce both many artistic achievements and many men of great talent. ePerhaps, however, this was not part of Alexander's good fortune, but rather that of the artists, to have obtained as witness and spectator of their achievements the man who was both best able to judge of their success and to reward them most liberally. At any rate, it is said that, when Archestratus, a poet of a later age, who, though an accomplished writer, was passing his days in poverty and neglect, someone remarked to him, "If you had been born in Alexander's time, for every verse he would have given you a Cyprus or a Phoenicia." And I think that the foremost of the artists of that age became so, not because they lived in Alexander's day, but through what Alexander did for them. For a good climate and a lightness of the surrounding air produces a bountiful harvest; and likewise the favour, esteem, and benignity shown by a king evokes a rich increase in the arts and in men of talent. fAnd, conversely, through jealousy p425and parsimony or emulous rivalry on the part of monarchs all artistic production is quenched and perishes.

Thus the despot Dionysius,79 as the story goes, while listening to a celebrated harper, engaged to give him a talent.80 Next day, when the man asked for the fulfilment of the promise, Dionysius said, "Yesterday I was delighted with your performance, 334and during the time that you were singing I also delighted you with hopes! The result is that at that very time you were receiving full pay for the pleasure you gave by having your pleasure too!"

Alexander,81 the tyrant of Pherae (this last should be his only appellation; he should not be permitted to disgrace the name of Alexander), as he watched a tragic actor, felt himself much moved to pity through enjoyment of the acting. He jumped up, therefore, and left the theatre at a rapid pace, exclaiming that it would be a dreadful thing, if, when he was slaughtering so many citizens, he should be seen to weep over the sufferings of Hecuba and Polyxena. And he came near visiting punishment upon the actor bbecause the man had softened his heart, as iron in the fire.

Archelaüs82 was thought to be somewhat niggardly in his favours, and Timotheüs liked to hint at this by often chanting this refrain:

Over the earth-born silver you rave.

But Archelaüs, with some wit, chanted in reply:

That, however, is what you crave.

p427 Ateas, the Scythian king, took the flute-player Ismenias captive, and ordered him to play at a banquet. The rest were delighted, and applauded, but Ateas swore his horse's neighing was sweeter to his ear.83 So far from the Muses' habitation did he allow his ears to dwell, and his soul he kept in the mangers, better attuned to hear, not horses' neigh, but asses' bray! cAt the court of monarchs such as these what advancement or esteem could there be for Art, or for Poetry and Music of excellence? Nor, again, could artistic endeavour flourish at the court of those who wish to be rival performers in these arts, and thus through malice and ill-will suppress the true artists. Such a prince was Dionysius (to use him again as an example), who threw the poet Philoxenus84 into the stone-quarries; for when Dionysius ordered him to correct a tragedy of his, Philoxenus cancelled the whole piece from the very beginning to the final flourish.85

Philip also was in these matters somewhat more petty and childish than became him, since he had acquired his knowledge late in life. Thus they tell the tale that Philip86 once argued with a certain harp-player about the technique of his instrument, and even thought he was confuting the man; dbut the harp-player smiled gently and said, "God forbid, your Majesty, that you should ever fall so low as to know more of these matters than I."

2 1 But Alexander, knowing well in what matters he should be merely a spectator and listener, and in what he should play the chief rôle, trained himself p429always to be formidable in arms, and, in the words of Aeschylus,87

Sturdy contender in arms, baleful to all that oppose.

This art he inherited from his ancestors, the Aeacidae, and from Heracles;88 but upon the other arts he freely bestowed honour without jealousy according to their worth and artistic excellence; but he was not so easily carried away by the pleasure they gave him as to try to imitate them. The tragic actors of his time were the group that centred about Thettalus and Athenodorus.89 eAt the contest of these two, the kings of Cyprus defrayed the expenses of the performance and Alexander's most celebrated generals served as judges. When Athenodorus won, "I would rather," said Alexander, "have lost half my kingdom than see Thettalus defeated." However, he did not intercede with the judges nor find fault with the judgement, since he felt that, while he must be superior to all men, yet he must submit to Justice.

The comic actors of his time were the group that centred about Lycon of Scarpheia.89 When Lycon inserted in one of his comedies a begging verse, Alexander laughed and gave him ten talents.

Various harp-players also were his friends, among them Aristonicus,90 who came to Alexander's aid in a certain battle, fand was slain, fighting gloriously. Therefore Alexander ordered to be made and set up at Delphi a bronze statue of him, with lyre in hand and spear advanced; thereby he not only honoured p431this particular man, but also paid tribute to Music herself, in the belief that she is a creator of true men and, in particular, that she fills with inspiration and impetuousness those who are truly her foster-children. 335For once upon a time, when Antigenides was playing on his flute the Chariot Song,91 Alexander became so transported, and his spirit so inflamed by the strains, that he leapt up and laid hands upon the weapons that lay near, and thus confirmed the testimony of the Spartans who used to sing,92

The noble playing of the lyre is meet to match the sword.

Apelles the painter and Lysippus the sculptor also lived in the time of Alexander. The former painted "Alexander wielding the Thunderbolt"93 so vividly and with so natural an expression, that men said that, of the two Alexanders, Alexander, son of Philip, was invincible, but the Alexander of Apelles was inimitable. And when Lysippus94 modelled his first statue of Alexander bwhich represented him looking with his face turned towards the heavens (as indeed Alexander often did look, with a slight inclination of his head to one side),95 someone engraved these verses96 on the statue, not without some plausibility,

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

"Earth I have set under foot: Zeus, keep Olympus yourself!"

p433 Wherefore Alexander gave orders that Lysippus97 only should make statues of him. For Lysippus was, it seemed, the only one that revealed in the bronze Alexander's character and in moulding his form portrayed also his virtues. The others wished to imitate the flexing of his neck and liquid softness of his eyes, but were unable to preserve his virile and leonine expression.

cAmong the other artists at his court was Stasicrates98 the master-sculptor, not seeking to make something flowery or pleasant or lifelike to look upon, but employing a magnificence in workmanship and design worthy of a king's munificence. He followed Alexander into Asia and found fault with the paintings, sculptures, and moulded likenesses that had been made of him, on the ground that they were the works of timid and ignoble artists. "But I, your Majesty," said he, "have conceived the project of placing your likeness in living and imperishable material, with roots that are everlasting and weight immovable and unshakable. dFor Mount Athos in Thrace, in that part where is its highest and most conspicuous summit, has well-proportioned surfaces and heights, limbs and joints and proportions that suggest the human form. When it has been properly carved and worked into shape, it can be called Alexander's statue, and Alexander's statue it will be; with its base set in the sea, in its left hand it will encompass and hold a city with ten thousand p435inhabitants, and with its right pour from a bowl of libation an ever-flowing river down into the sea. But as for gold and bronze, ivory, wooden timbers, and dyes,99 ewhich make those paltry images that can be bought and sold, stolen, or melted down, let us reject them all!" Alexander listened to his words and admired but declined with thanks the lofty designs and the boldness of the artist. "But," said he, "let Athos remain as it is. It is enough that it be the memorial of the arrogance of one king;100 but my imprint the Caucasus shall show and the Emodian101 range and the Tanaïs and the Caspian Sea; these will be the image of my deeds.

3 1 But imagine, pray, that such a work had been completed and made evident to men's eyes. Is there anyone who could look upon it and suppose that the form, the arrangement, and the appearance were created by Fortune and Accident? fNo one, I think. What of Apelles' "Wielder of the Thunderbolt"?102 What of the statue which takes its name from the Spear?102 Shall we admit, then, that greatness in a statue cannot, without the help of Art,103 be created by Fortune's profuse provision of gold and bronze and ivory and much rich material, but is it possible that a great man, or rather the greatest man of all that have ever lived, without the help of Virtue, was perfected through Fortune's supplying him with arms and money, foot and horse? 336But for him who has not learned how to use these things they are a danger, not a strength and enrichment, but a means of proving his weakness and pettiness. For Antisthenes p437was right when he said,104 "We should pray that our enemies be provided with all good things, except courage; for thus these good things will belong, not to their owners, but to those that conquer them." Therefore they say that Nature also for defence has caused horns, wonderful for their size and jagged points, to grow upon the deer, the most cowardly of all animals; and therein does Nature teach us that strength and arms are of no benefit to such as have not the courage to stand their ground. bThus also Fortune, by frequently bestowing on cowards and fools military forces and dominions, in which they disgrace themselves, emblazons and commends Virtue as the one quality that constitutes the greatness and beauty of man. For if indeed, as Epicharmus105 says,

Mind has sight and Mind has hearing;

but

All things else are deaf and blind;

then it happens that these are really lacking in reason. For our perceptive faculties seem to respond to their own special stimuli; but the fact that it is mind which aids us and mind which emblazons our deeds, and it is mind that conquers and overpowers and plays the monarch, and that "all things else," since they are "blind and deaf" and soulless, mislead and burden and disgrace their possessors, if Virtue be not present,106 is a truth which may be gleaned from history.

cNow of the two monarchs Semiramis and Sardanapalus, in whose hands were placed the same power p439and dominion, Semiramis,107 though a woman, equipped great expeditions, armed her ranks, established the Babylonian Empire, and sailed about the Persian Gulf subduing the Ethiopians and Arabs. But Sardanapalus,108 though born a man, spent his days at home carding purple wool, sitting with his knees drawn up in front of him among his concubines; and when he died, they made a stone statue of him dancing in a barbaric fashion and apparently snapping his fingers above its head. They engraved upon it: "Eat, drink, and sport with love; all else is naught."109

When Crates110 saw a golden statue of Phrynê the courtesan dstanding at Delphi, he cried out that it stood there as a monument to Greek licentiousness; and thus if one examine either the life or the tomb of Sardanapalus (for I think there is no difference between them), one would say that they are a monument to the bounty of Fortune. But if this be so, shall we allow Fortune to lay hold upon Alexander after Sardanapalus, and to lay claim to Alexander's greatness and power? For what greater gift did she bestow on him than those which other monarchs received at her hands: arms, horses, missiles, money, guardsmen? Let Fortune endeavour to make an Aridaeus111 great by these, if she can, or an Ochus or Oarses112 eor Tigranes the Armenian, or the Bithynian Nicomedes. Of these p441Tigranes113 cast down his crown before the feet of Pompey and ignominiously received back his kingdom, which had become the spoil of war. But Nicomedes114 shaved his head and put on the freedman's cap and proclaimed himself an emancipated slave of the Roman people.

4 1 Shall we say, then, that Fortune makes men petty, timid, and abject in spirit? Yet it is not right for anyone to charge baseness to misfortune, or courage and intelligence to good fortune; but Fortune was magnified by Alexander's reign, for in him she was illustrious, invincible, magnanimous, inoffensive, and humane. fThen, immediately after Alexander's decease, Leosthenes115 said that his forces, as they wandered here and there and fell foul of their own efforts, were like the Cyclops after his blinding, groping about everywhere with his hands, which were directed at no certain goal; even thus did that vast throng roam about with no safe footing, blundering through want of a leader. Or rather, in the manner of dead bodies, after the soul departs, when they are no longer held together by natural forces, but undergo dispersion and dissolution, and finally are dissipated and disappear altogether; even so Alexander's forces, having lost him, maintained a gasping, agitated, and fevered existence 337through men like Perdiccas, Meleager, Seleucus, and Antigonus, who, as it were, provided still a warm breath of life and blood that still pulsed and circulated. But at length the host wasted away and perished, generating p443about itself maggots, as it were, of ignoble kings and rulers in their last death-struggle. This, then, it is likely that Alexander himself meant when he rebuked Hephaestion116 for quarrelling with Craterus: "What," said he, "will be your power and your achievements if someone deprive you of Alexander?" But I, for my part, shall not hesitate to say this very thing to the Fortune that presided over Alexander's career: "What is your greatness or your repute? Where is your power or your invincibility, if someone deprive you of Alexander?" bThat is to say, "If someone deprive you of your skill in arms, your munificent use of riches, your self-restraint in expending them, your boldness against your foes in battle, your mildness towards the vanquished? Make another great, if you can; but one that shall not be generous with his substance, nor court danger in the front ranks, nor give honour to his friends, nor feel pity for his captives, nor be temperate in his pleasures, nor sleepless in crises, nor placable in his victories, nor humane amid his successes. What man is great in the exercise of power, if folly and wickedness attend him? cTake away virtue from the fortunate man and in everything he is petty; in acts of generosity, through parsimony; in hard tasks, through softness; in religion, through superstition; towards the good, through envy; among men, through cowardice; among women, through wantonness." Just as inexpert artisans, who construct large pedestals for petty offerings, make the smallness of the offerings noticeable, so Fortune, whenever she elevates a petty character by acts that have a certain pomp p445and circumstance, makes the more conspicuous and disgraceful the blundering and instability that result from a shallow character.

5 1 Wherefore greatness lies, not in the possession of good things, but in our use of them, dsince even infant children inherit their fathers' kingdoms and dominions, even as Charillus,117 whom Lycurgus carried in his swaddling-clothes into the common dining-hall and proclaimed king of Sparta in place of himself. Assuredly it was not the child who was great, but he who surrendered to the child its paternal rights, and did not keep them for himself nor take them away.

But who could have made Aridaeus118 great, whom, differing no whit from a child, only that his swaddling-clothes were royal purple, Meleager set on the throne of Alexander? And indeed it was well that he did so, that for a few days it might be observed how it is that men rule by right of virtue and how by gift of Fortune. For in succession to a real competitor for sovereignty Meleager introduced a mere actor, eor rather, did a mute figure wearing a crown parade across the stage, as it were, of the inhabited world.

Even a woman can carry a burden if a man impose it upon her.119

Conversely, however, one might affirm that it lies within the strength of even a woman or a child to take up and impose the gifts of power and wealth and sovereignty. The eunuch Bagoas120 took up the kingship of Persia and bestowed it upon Oarses and Darius.121 But the ability to sustain and administer p447great authority when one has received it, and not to be crushed or turned from one's purpose by the weight and the magnitude of one's activities, is the mark of a man who possesses virtue, sense, and intelligence. fThis virtue Alexander possessed, whom some accuse of drunkenness and a passion for wine! But he was truly a great man, for in his conduct of affairs he was sober, nor was he made drunk nor led to revelling by authority and power; but others, when they get but a small portion, or even a taste, of power are unable to control themselves:

Bad men, when gorged with wealth, or chancing on

Some honours in the State, caper and prance

When luck, unhoped for, to their house has come.122

338Cleitus,123 when he had scuttled three or four Greek triremes at Amorgos, caused himself to be proclaimed Poseidon and carried a trident. Demetrius, to whom Fortune added the little that she was able to subtract from Alexander's power, allowed himself to be called "The Heaven-descended,"124 and the subject states did not send ambassadors to him, but "Sacred Deputies," and his replies they spoke of as "Oracles." Lysimachus, who obtained possession of the regions adjoining Thrace, the mere outskirts of the kingdom of Alexander, as it were, reached such a pitch of arrogance and boldness as to say, "The Byzantines now come to me when I am touching Heaven with my spear." bBut Pasiades of Byzantium, who was present, said, "Let us be off, lest he make a hole in the sky with his spear-point!"

p449 And yet why should anyone mention these men who might have some legitimate ground for pride because of Alexander, when even Clearchus, after he became despot of Heracleia,125 used to carry a thunderbolt,126 and named one of his sons Thunderer? And Dionysius the younger styled himself the son of Apollo in the inscription:

Sprung from a Dorian mother by union with Phoebus Apollo.127

And Dionysius's father killed ten thousand or more citizens, and, led on by envy, betrayed his brother to the enemy, cnor could he wait for his already aged mother to die a few days later, but strangled her;128 yet in one of his tragedies he wrote these words:129

The mother of foul wrong is tyranny!

Notwithstanding, of his daughters he named one Virtue, another Temperance, a third Justice.130 And yet other persons publicly styled themselves Benefactors,131 Conquerors, Saviours, or The Great; but no one would be able to tell the tale of their marriages one after another, like the matings of horses, as they spent their days with no restraint amid herds of women, their corruption of boys, their beating of drums in the company of emasculated men, their daily dicing, their flute-playing in the public theatres, the night that was too short for them at their dinners, and the day at their breakfasts.

d 6 1 But Alexander took his breakfast at daybreak p451seated;132 he dined late in the evening; he drank only after sacrificing to the gods; he played dice with Medius when he had a fever;133 he played games while travelling, at the same time also learning to wield a bow and mount a chariot.133 For himself he married Roxanê,134 the only woman he ever loved; but Stateira,135 the daughter of Darius, he married for imperial and political reasons, since the union of the two races was highly advantageous. But as for the other Persian women, he was as much their superior in self-control as in valour he was superior to Persian men. For he looked at no woman against her will136 and those that he looked at he passed by more readily than those that he did not look at; and although he bore himself humanely toward all other persons, it was toward fair youth alone that he conducted himself haughtily. eHe would not listen to a single word in praise of the beauty of the wife137 of Darius, who was a very handsome woman; but when she died, he graced her funeral with such a royal pomp and bewailed her death so feelingly that his self-control was questioned amid his display of humanity, and his goodness incurred the charge of wrongdoing. For Darius138 was disturbed by suspicion of Alexander's power and youth; for he also was still one of those who believed Alexander's victory to be through Fortune. But when he had tested the matter from every angle, and recognized the truth, "Then," said he, "the lot of the Persians is not so utterly wretched, nor will anyone say that we are altogether cowardly or unmanly in p453that we have been overcome by such a man. fBut for my part I pray the gods for fair fortune and for might in war, that I may surpass Alexander in bestowing favours; and I am possessed by an ambitious and emulous desire to prove myself more humane than Alexander. But if my power be spent, do thou, O Zeus, ancestral god of the Persians, and ye other gods that guard our kingship, grant that none other than Alexander take his seat upon the throne of Cyrus." This was Darius's way of adopting Alexander, invoking the gods as witnesses.

339 7 Thus do men prevail through Virtue. Ascribe to Fortune, if you will, Arbela and the Cilician victory and his other deeds of violence and war: Fortune battered down the walls of Tyre139 for him; Fortune opened the way to Egypt;140 through Fortune Halicarnassus fell, and Miletus was captured, and Mazaeus141 left the Euphrates unguarded, and the Babylonian plain was strewn with corpses. But at least it was not in any way Fortune's gift that he was temperate, nor was it because of Fortune that he was self-controlled, nor did Fortune lock his soul and keep it impregnable to pleasure and invulnerable to desire; in fact, these were the qualities by which he defeated Darius himself. The rest were but defeats of arms and horses, bbattles, slaughters and routs of men. But the truly great and indisputable defeat Darius suffered: he yielded in virtue and greatness of soul, in prowess and justice, and marvelled at Alexander's invincibility in pleasure, in toil, in the bestowal of favours. It is true that Tarrias,142 son of p455Deinomenes, and Antigenes of Pallenê, and Philotas, the son of Parmenion, were also invincible at least amid shields, pikes, battle-cries, and the clash of arms; but towards pleasures and women and gold and silver they were no better than their captives. In fact, when Alexander was freeing the Macedonians from debt143 and paying creditors for everybody, Tarrias csaid falsely that he was a debtor, and produced at the bank a person who asserted that he was Tarrias's creditor; later, when he was detected, he was ready to commit suicide had not Alexander, coming to know of this, exculpated him, and allowed him to keep the money; for the king remembered that when Philip was assaulting Perinthus, Tarrias, although his eye was pierced by a missile, would not submit nor suffer the shaft to be extracted until they had routed the enemy.

Antigenes144 joined himself with those who were being sent back to Macedonia because of sickness or wounds,145 and had himself enrolled among them; but when, however, it was discovered that he had nothing wrong with him, but was feigning some infirmity, and it was seen that he was a stout fighting man dwhose body was covered with wounds, the matter vexed Alexander. When he asked the reason for such conduct, Antigenes confessed that he was in love with Telesippa, and was accompanying her to the sea, since he could not be left behind if she went away. "Whose is she?" asked Alexander, "and to whom must we speak?" Antigenes replied that she was p457free-born. "Then," said Alexander, "let us persuade her with promises and presents to remain behind." So ready was he with an excuse for every lover rather than for himself.

And further, Philotas,146 the son of Parmenion, had in his licentiousness the nurse, as it were, of all his ills. eFor among the captives taken at Damascus was a courtesan from Pella, by name Antigona. Ere this she had crossed over to Samothrace, and there had been taken captive by Autophradates. She was comely enough to look upon and, after Philotas had attached himself to her, she had complete possession of him. Indeed that man of iron147 was so softened that he was not in control of his reasoning powers amid his pleasures, but unlocked and brought forth many of his secrets for the woman: "What was that famed Philip, were it not for Parmenion? What was this Alexander, were it not for Philotas? Where his Ammon, and where his serpents,148 if we do not wish it so?" These words Antigona reported to an intimate friend of hers among the women, fand she reported them to Craterus; Craterus brought Antigona herself secretly to Alexander, who did not touch her person, but restrained himself and, working secretly through her, he discovered the whole of Philotas's plans. And for a period of more than seven years Alexander never revealed his suspicion; not in his cups, the reputed drunkard! not in anger, this p459man of fiery temper! not to a friend, this man who trusted Hephaestion in everything and shared everything with him! 340In fact it is recorded149 that once, when he had broken the seal of a confidential letter from his mother and was reading it silently150 to himself, Hephaestion quietly put his head beside Alexander's and read the letter with him; Alexander could not bear to stop him, but took off his ring and placed the seal on Hephaestion's lips.

8 1 But one might grow weary in the enumeration of these matters by which Alexander is shown to have made the most honourable and the most regal use of his authority. And even though he became great through Fortune, he is even greater in that he made good use of his Fortune. And the more we praise his Fortune bthe more shall we exalt his Virtue by reason of which he became worthy of his Fortune.

Now, however, I shall proceed at once to the first steps in his advancement and the beginnings of his power, and I shall examine in those matters the rôle played by Fortune, by reason of which men assert that Alexander became great through the instrumentality of Fortune. In Heaven's name! Why do they not assert this of one that never felt a wound nor lost a drop of blood nor ever served in war, whom the neighing of a horse151 placed upon the throne of Cyrus, even as the first Darius, the son of Hystaspes? Or of Xerxes, whom a king, flattered by his wife, as Darius was flattered by Atossa,152 set upon the throne? Did the royal diadem come to Alexander's doors, as p461to Oarses153 through the machinations of Bagoas, cwho stripped from him the garb of a courier and put upon him the royal raiment and the tiara that ever stands erect?154 Was he suddenly and unexpectedly chosen by lot and thus came to rule the inhabited world, as at Athens the Thesmothetae and Archons attain their office?

Would you learn how it is that men come to the throne by choice of Fortune? Once upon a time among the Argives the family of Heracleidae became extinct, from which family it was their ancestral custom to select the Argive kings. When in their search they made inquiry of the god at Delphi, he replied that an eagle would show them; and a few days later an eagle appeared on high and, swooping down, alighted on the house of Aegon, and Aegon was chosen king.

Again in Paphos when the reigning king was seen to be unjust and wicked, Alexander expelled him and searched for another, dsince the family of Cinyradaea appeared to be already passing away or extinct. However, they told him that there still survived one poor and obscure person, who eked out a forsaken existence in a certain garden. Men were sent to fetch him and, when they arrived, he was found watering his garden-plots; and he was much perturbed when the soldiers laid hands on him and ordered him to come with them. He was brought before Alexander and, dressed as he was in a single cheap garment, he was proclaimed king, and received the royal purple, and became one of those who are styled the king's "Companions." His name was p463Abdalonymus.155 Thus does shifting Fortune create kings, change their raiment, eand quickly and easily alter the status of men who expect nothing of the sort, and do not even hope for it.

9 1 But what greatness did Alexander acquire beyond his just merits, what without sweat, what without blood, what without a price, what without labour? He drank rivers fouled with blood, crossed streams bridged by dead bodies, through hunger ate the first grass that he saw, dug through nations buried in deep snow156 and cities built beneath the earth, sailed over a battling sea;157 and as he traversed the parching strands of Gedrosia and Arachosia,158 it was in the sea, not on the land, that first he saw a living plant.

If to Fortune, as to a human being, one might present Frankness in Alexander's behalf, would she not say, f"When and where did you ever vouchsafe a way for the exploits of Alexander? What fortress did he ever capture by your help without the shedding of blood? What city unguarded or what regiment unarmed did you deliver into his hands? What king was found to be indolent, or what general negligent, or what watchman asleep at the gate? But no river was easy to cross, no storm was moderate, no summer's heat was without torment. 341Betake yourself to Antiochus, the son of Seleucus, or to Artaxerxes, the brother of Cyrus; depart to Ptolemy Philadelphus! Their fathers, while yet alive, proclaimed p465them kings; they won battles that did not cost a tear; they made merry all their lives in processions and theatres; and every one of them, because of good fortune, grew old upon the throne.

"But in the case of Alexander, though I were to mention nothing else, behold his body gashed with wounds159 tip to toe, bruised all over, smitten at the hands of his enemies

Now with the spear, now the sword, now with mighty masses of boulders.160

bOn the banks of the Granicus161 his helmet was cleft through to his scalp by a sword; at Gaza his shoulder was wounded by a missile; at Maracanda his shin was so torn by an arrow that by the force of the blow the larger bone was broken and extruded. Somewhere in Hyrcania his sight was dimmed, and for many days he was haunted by the fear of blindness. Among the Assacenians his ankle was wounded by an Indian arrow; that was the time when he smilingly said to his flatterers, 'this that you see is blood, not

Ichor, that which flows from the wounds of the blessed immortals.'162

At Issus he was wounded in the thigh with a sword, as Chares163 states, by Darius the king, who had come into hand-to‑hand conflict with him. cAlexander himself wrote of this simply, and with complete truth, in a letter to Antipater: 'I myself happened,' he writes, 'to be wounded in the thigh by a dagger. But nothing untoward resulted from the blow either p467immediately or later.' Among the Mallians he was wounded in the breast by an arrow three feet long, which penetrated his breastplate, and someone rode up under him, and struck him in the neck, as Aristobulus relates. When he had crossed the Tanaïs against the Scythians and had routed them, he pursued them on horseback an hundred and fifty stades, though he was grievously distressed with diarrhoea.164

10 1 "Well done, Fortune! You exalt Alexander and make him great by running him through from every side, by making him lose his footing, dby laying open every portion of his body. Not like Athena before Menelaüs165 did you guide the missile to the stoutest parts of his armour, and by breastplate, belt, and kilt take away the intensity of the blow, which only grazed his body with force enough to cause blood to flow; but you exposed to the missiles the vital portions of Alexander's body unprotected, you drove home the blows through his very bones, you circled around his body, you laid siege to his eyes and his feet, you hindered him in pursuing his foes, you endeavoured to strip him of his victories, you upset his expectations."

No other king seems to me to have felt the hand of Fortune more heavily upon him, even though on many it has fallen harshly and malignantly. eBut like a thunderbolt it cut down the other rulers, and destroyed them; toward Alexander, however, fortune's ill-will became but contentious and quarrelsome and hard to overpower, even as it was toward Heracles. For what manner of Typhons or monstrous p469giants did she not raise up to oppose him? Whom of his foes did she not fortify with a vast supply of weapons or deep rivers or jagged cliffs or the might of beasts from foreign lands?166 But if Alexander's thought had not been set on high emprise, if it had not derived its impelling force from great Virtue, and had not refused to submit to defeat in its wrestling with Fortune, would he not have grown tired and weary of marshalling and arming his forces, weary of his sieges and pursuits famid unnumbered revolts, desertions, and riots of subject peoples, defections of kings, against Bactria, Maracanda, Sogdiana, as if he were cutting off the heads of a hydra which ever grew again in renewed wars among these faithless and conspiring peoples?

11 1 I shall be thought to be making a strange statement, yet what I shall say is true: it was because of Fortune that Alexander all but lost the repute of being the son of Ammon! For what offspring of the gods could have toiled through such hazardous, toilsome, and painful Labours save only Heracles, the son of Zeus? 342But it was one arrogant man who imposed upon Heracles the task of capturing lions, of pursuing wild boars, of frightening off birds so that he might not have time to go about performing greater deeds, such as punishing men like Antaeus and stopping creatures like Busiris167 from their abominable murders. But upon Alexander it was Virtue who laid the kingly and god-like Labour, the end and aim of which was not gold, carried about by countless camels, nor Persian luxury, banquets, and women, nor the wine p471of Chalybon,168 nor the fish of Hyrcania, but to order all men by one law and to render them submissive to one rule accustomed to one manner of life. bThe desire which he cherished to accomplish this task was implanted in him from childhood, and was fostered and increased with the years that passed. Once, when ambassadors came from the Persian king to Philip, who was not at home, Alexander, while he entertained them hospitably,169 asked no childish questions, as the others did, about the vine of gold,170 or the Hanging Gardens, or how the Great King was arrayed; but he was completely engrossed with the most vital concerns of the dominion, asking how large was the Persian army; where the king stationed himself in battle (even as the famed Odysseus171 asked

Where are his arms that he wields in the battle, and where are his horses?);

cand which roads were the shortest for travellers going inland from the sea — so that the strangers were astounded and said, "This boy is a 'great king'; our king is only wealthy." But after Philip's end, when Alexander was eager to cross over and, already absorbed in his hopes and preparations, was hastening to gain a hold upon Asia, Fortune, seizing upon him, blocked his way, turned him about, dragged him back, and surrounded him with countless distractions and delays. First she threw into the utmost commotion the barbarian elements among his neighbours, and contrived wars with the Illyrians172 and Triballians. By these wars he was drawn from his Asiatic projects as far away as the portion of Scythia that lies along p473the Danube; dwhen, by sundry manoeuvres, he had subjugated all this territory with much danger and great struggles, he was again eager and in haste for the crossing. Again, however, Fortune stirred up Thebes against him, and thrust in his pathway a war with Greeks, and the dread necessity of punishing, by means of slaughter and fire and sword, men that were his kith and kin,173 a necessity which had a most unpleasant ending.174

After this he crossed with provision for thirty days, as Phylarchus175 relates; but Aristobulus says,176 with seventy talents. He divided the greater part of his possessions at home and his royal revenues among his friends; Perdiccas177 alone would take nothing when Alexander offered, ebut asked, "What are you leaving for yourself, Alexander?" And when Alexander replied, "High hopes!", "Then," said Perdiccas, "we shall also share in these; for it is not right to take your possessions, but right to wait in expectation of those of Darius."

12 1 What, then, were the hopes on which Alexander relied when he crossed into Asia? Not a force counted by means of a wall that would hold a city of 10,000 men,178 nor fleets that sailed through mountains,179 nor scourges or fetters, insane and barbaric implements for chastising the sea;180 but externally they p475were the great ambition in his little army, mutual rivalry of hot youth, competition for repute and excellence among his Companions. And within himself he had his own high hopes, freverence for the gods, fidelity towards his friends, frugality, self-control, experience, fearlessness toward death, high courage, humanity, affability, integrity of character, constancy in counsel, quickness in execution, the height of good repute, and a disposition to gain his end in everything honourable. For not appropriately nor convincingly did Homer181 employ a combination of three similes in his comparison describing the fair appearance of Agamemnon:

343Like in his eyes and his head unto Zeus who delighteth in thunder,

Like unto Ares in waist, and in breadth of his chest to Poseidon.

But if the god who begat Alexander made his natural endowment an harmoniously joined combination of many virtues, may we not say that he possessed the high spirit of Cyrus, the discretion of Agesilaüs, the intelligence of Themistocles, the experience of Philip, the daring of Brasidas, the eloquence and statesmanship of Pericles? And, to compare him with the men of still more ancient days, he was more self-restrained than Agamemnon; for Agamemnon set a captive woman182 above his wedded wife, but Alexander, even before his marriage, kept aloof from his captives. bHe was more magnanimous than Achilles; for Achilles183 gave back the body of Hector for a small ransom, but Alexander buried Darius at great expense; Achilles,184 when he had become reconciled, p477accepted gifts and recompense from his friends to requite him for ceasing from his Wrath, but Alexander enriched his enemies by conquering them. He was more reverent than Diomedes;185 for Diomedes was ready to fight with gods, but Alexander believed the gods to be the authors of all success. He was more deeply mourned by his relatives than was Odysseus; for Odysseus'186 mother died of grief, but the mother187 of Alexander's foe, for the goodwill she bore him, shared his death.

13 1 In short, if Solon's statesmanship also was due to Fortune, cand if Miltiades' generalship, and Aristeides'188 justice were but the result of Fortune, then surely there is no work of Virtue in these men, but it is a name only, talk based on appearance, pervading their lives to no purpose, a figment of the sophists and legislators. But if every one of these men and of others like them became poor or rich, weak or strong, ugly or handsome, lived to a ripe old age or met an untimely death through Fortune, or if each one of them proved himself a great general, a great lawgiver, or great in government and statesmanship through Virtue and Reason, then consider Alexander and compare him with them all. Solon189 brought about a cancellation of debts in Athens dwhich he called the "Relief from Burdens" (Seisachtheia); but Alexander himself paid the debts which his men owed to their creditors.190 Pericles collected tribute from the Greeks and with the money adorned the Acropolis p479with temples; but Alexander captured the riches of barbarians and sent them to Greece with orders that ten thousand talents191 be used to construct temples for the gods.192 Brasidas's193 dash along the shore to Methonê through the armed host of the enemy amid showers of missiles made him renowned in Greece; but that daring leap of Alexander in the country of the Oxydrachae,194 incredible to them that hear of it and fearful to them that saw it, when he hurled himself down from the walls into the midst of the enemy, ewho received him with spears and arrows and naked swords — with what may one compare it, save with the levin bolt that breaks and flashes in the midst of a hurricane, like the apparition of Phoebus that darted down to earth,195 gleaming round about with flaming armour. The enemy at first were amazed and affrighted and retired with trembling fear; but a moment later, when they saw that he was but one man attacking many, they made a stand against him.

There indeed Fortune made manifest great and splendid results of her kindliness toward Alexander, when she cast him into an insignificant foreign town and shut him in and fenced him round about! And when his men were earnestly trying to bring help from without fand were attempting to scale the walls, Fortune, by breaking and shattering their ladders, took away their foothold and hurled them from the walls. And of the three196 men who alone were quick enough to grasp the wall and, throwing themselves p481down inside, to take their stand beside the king, Fortune straightway snatched up one and made away with him before he could strike a blow; and a second, pierced through by many arrows, was only so far from death that he could see and perceive his king's danger. 344But the charges and shouting of the Macedonians were unavailing for they had no machines nor engines with them; but in their zeal they tried to hack the walls with their swords, and were forced to break them off with their bare hands, and all but bite their way through.

But the king, who was Fortune's favourite, and was always guarded and personally protected by her, was caught within like a wild beast in the toils, alone and without succour; nor was he struggling for Susa or Babylon, nor to capture Bactria, nor to vanquish the great Porus; for in great and glorious conflicts, even though men fail, disgrace, at least, can find no place. But so contentious and malicious was Fortune, so greatly did she favour barbarians and hate Alexander, bthat she tried to destroy not only his body and his life, but also, in so far as she could, to destroy his repute and to wipe out his fair fame. For it were not a terrible thing for Alexander to fall and lie buried beside the Euphrates or the Hydaspes, nor ignoble to meet death by coming into close combat with Darius or in confronting the horses and swords and battle-axes of the Persians as they fought to defend their king, nor to be overthrown while he bestrode the walls of Babylon and to fall from his high hope. Thus fell Pelopidas and Epameinondas; their death was a death belonging to Virtue, not to misfortune, engaged as they were in such a high emprise. But of what sort was the deed of Fortune, who is now p483under scrutiny? cWas it not that on the farthest outposts of a land beside a foreign river within the walls of an obscure hamlet, which surrounded and hid away from sight the lord and master of the inhabited world, he should perish, smitten and stricken by ignominious weapons and whatever else lay at hand? For his head was wounded through his helmet by an axe, and someone shot an arrow through his breastplate so that it penetrated the bones of his breast and was lodged there firmly, while the shaft protruded and hampered him and the iron point was four fingers broad and five fingers long.197 But — the extreme of all the dangers he confronted — while he was defending himself against those who had attacked him in front, the archer who shot him had plucked up courage to approach him with a sword, dbut Alexander with his dagger was too quick for the man and knocked him down and killed him; but while he was thus occupied, someone ran out from a mill, and gave him a blow on the neck with a cudgel from behind; this confused his senses, and his head swam. But Virtue was by his side and in him she engendered daring, and in his companions strength and zeal. For men like Limnaeus and Ptolemy and Leonnatus and all those who had surmounted the wall or had broken through it took their stand before him and were a bulwark of Virtue, exposing their bodies in the face of the foe and even their lives for the goodwill and love they bore their king. Surely it is not due to Fortune that the companions of good kings risk their lives and willingly die for them; ebut this they do p485through a passion for Virtue, even as bees, as if under the spell of love-charms, approach and closely surround their sovereign.

What spectator, then, who might without danger to himself have been present at that scene, would not exclaim that he was witnessing the mighty contest of Fortune and Virtue; that through Fortune the foreign host was prevailing beyond its deserts, but through Virtue the Greeks were holding out beyond their ability? And if the enemy gains the upper hand, this will be the work of Fortune or of some jealous deity or of divine retribution; but if the Greeks prevail, it will be Virtue and daring, friendship and fidelity, that will win the guerdon of victory? These were, in fact, the only support that Alexander had with him at this time, fsince Fortune had put a barrier between him and the rest of his forces and equipment, fleets, horse, and camp.

Finally, the Macedonians routed the barbarians, and, when they had fallen, pulled down their city on their heads. But this was no help to Alexander; for he had been hurried from the field, arrow and all, and he had the shaft in his vitals; the arrow was as a bond or bolt holding his breastplate to his body. 345And when they tried forcibly to pull it out of the wound by the roots, as it were, the iron would not budge, since it was lodged in the bony part of the breast in front of the heart. They did not dare to saw off the protruding portion of the shaft, since they were afraid that the bone might be split by the jarring and cause excruciating pain, and that an internal haemorrhage might result. But when Alexander perceived their great perplexity and hesitation, he himself tried with his dagger to cut off the arrow p487close to his breastplate; but his hand was unsteady and affected by a torpid languor from the inflammation of the wound. Accordingly with encouraging words he urged those that were unwounded to take hold and not to be afraid; band he railed at some who were weeping and could not control themselves, others he branded as deserters, since they had not the courage to come to his assistance. And he cried aloud to his Companions, "Let no one be faint-hearted even for my sake! For it will not be believed that I do not fear death, if you fear death for me!"198


The Translator's Notes:

79 Cf. Moralia, 41D-E.

80 £200, or $1000.

Thayer's Note: A reminder that this equivalent dates to 1936 (notice the pound at $5); in 2004, the figures would be about $12,000 or £6700.

81 Cf. Life of Pelopidas, xxix (293F); Aelian, Varia Historia, XIV.40.

82 Cf. Moralia, 177B and the note.

83 Cf. Moralia, 174F, and the note.

84 Ibid. 471E; Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, V.22 (63); Aelian, Varia Historia, XII.44; Diodorus, XV.6.

85 The coronis at the end of the roll.

86 Cf. Moralia, 67F, 179B, 634D.

87 Cf. 317E, supra, and the note.

88 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. ii (665B).

89 Ibid. chap. xxix (681D).

90 Cf. Arrian, AnabasisIV.16.7.

91 Cf. Moralia, 1133D (= Edmonds, Lyra Graeca, I pp4‑8). See also Dio Chrysostom, Oration I.1‑2, where Timotheus is the flute-player and the tune the Orthian.

92 Attributed to Alcman in Life of Lycurgus, chap. xxi (53D): cf. Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graec. III p51, or Edmonds, Lyra Graeca, I p90.

93 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. iv (666B); Pliny, Natural History, XXXV.10 (92).

94 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. iv (666B).

95 Cf. ibid. and Moralia, 53D.

96 Cf. 331A, supra, and the note.

97 Cf. Pliny, Natural History, VII.37 (125); Horace, EpistlesII.1.240; Valerius Maximus, VIII.11.2; Arrian, AnabasisI.16.4.

98 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. lxxii (705A): the man is called Deinocrates by Vitruvius, II. praef.; and Cheirocrates by the MSS. of Strabo, XIV.1.23.

99 The reference is to the chryselephantine statues of Pheidias and his school with their inner frame-work of timbers, and painted without.

100 Xerxes' canal; cf. 342E, infra.

101 A range of north-western India, the Prakrit Haimota; cf. Arrian, Indica, 2.3; 6.4; Pliny, Natural History, VI.17 (56).

102 Cf. 335A, supra, Moralia, 360D.

103 Cf. Moralia, 99B-C.

104 Cf. Stobaeus, Florilegium, LIX.41 (Hense, vol. IV p362).

105 An oft-quoted line. Cf. G. Kaibel, Comicorum Graec. Frag. I.137, Epicharmus, no. 249; Moralia, 98C, with the (p437)note; also Cicero, Tusculan Disp. 1.20 (46); Maximus Tyrius, XI.10.

106 Cf. Plato, Menexenus, 246E.

107 Cf. Diodorus, II.4‑20; Justin, I.2.

108 Cf. 326F, supra; Diodorus, II.21.8 ff.; Athenaeus, (p439)528F; W. K. Prentice, in Trans. Amer. Phil. Assoc. LIV (1923) p79: but the theory rightly set forth there, that this description comes from Ctesias's Persica, is as old as Hemsterhuys; see Wyttenbach's note on this passage.

109 See the note on 330F, supra.

110 Cf. Moralia, 401A; Athenaeus, 591B; Stobaeus, Florilegium, VI.39 (vol. III p296 Hense).

111 Cf. 337D, infra.

112 Cf. 337E, infra.

113 Cf. Life of Pompey, chap. xxxiii (637A); Comp. of Cimon and Lucullus, iii (522E); Velleius Paterculus, II.37; Valerius Maximus, V.1.10.

114 Plutarch has confused Nicomedes with his father Prusias; cf. Polybius, XXX.19; Livy, XLV.44; Diodorus, XXXI.15; Appian, Mithridatica, 2.

115 The saying is elsewhere attributed to Demades; cf. Moralia, 181F, and the note.

116 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. xlvii (691F-692A).

117 Cf. Life of Lycurgus, chap. iii (41A).

118 Cf. Moralia, 791E.

119 Aristophanes, Knights, 1056: see Rogers's note ad loc.

120 Cf. Arrian, AnabasisII.14.5; Aelian, Varia Historia, VI.8; Diodorus, XVII.5.

121 Cf. 326F, supra.

122 From a much longer fragment of Euripides' Erechtheus; Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. p471, Euripides, no. 362, 29‑31.

123 Cf. Diodorus, XVIII.15.972.

124 "Avatar," he that descends from Heaven (in thunder and lightning), a common title of Zeus; cf. Life of Demetrius, chaps. x, xi (893DE).

125 In Pontus: cf. Müller, Frag. Hist. Graec. III p526.

126 i.e. a skepton, instead of skeptron, "sceptre."

127 Cf. Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graec. II p324.

128 Cf. Aelian, Varia Historia, XIII.45.

129 Cf. Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. p797, Dionysius, no. 7.

130 Cf. Life of Dion, chap. vi (960C).

131 Probably Ptolemy Euergetes II Physcon (cf. Athenaeus XII.549D), rather than Philopator (cf. Moralia, 56E, Polybius V.34), is alluded to.

132 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. xxiii (677D).

133 Ibid. chap. lxxvi (706D).

134 Cf. 332E, supra.

135 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. lxx (703E); Diodorus, XVII.107; Justin, XII.10.

136 Cf. Moralia, 97D, 522A; Life of Alexander, chap. xxi (676F).

137 Ibid. chap. xxii (677A); Arrian, AnabasisIV.20; Athenaeus, XIII 603C; Quintus Curtius, Hist. Alexandri, IV.10.

138 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. xxx (682C-D).

139 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. xxv (679A); Arrian, AnabasisII.23.

140 Cf. 326F, supra.

141 Cf. Arrian, AnabasisIII.7.2.

142 Tarrias is elsewhere unknown; the stories here related of him are told of Antigenes in Life of Alexander, chap. lxx (703E-F).

143 Cf. 343D, infra; Arrian, AnabasisVII.5.1‑3.

144 Repeated in Moralia, 181A; but told of Eurylochus in Life of Alexander, chap. xli (689B).

145 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. lxxi (704B).

146 Cf. Life of Alexander, chaps. xlviii, xlix (692A-693A).

147 The Doric form suggests quotation from some poem or drama.

148 A reference, perhaps, to Ammon (i.e. Zeus) in the form of a serpent, seen with Olympias, as told in Life of Alexander, chap. iii (665D); or perhaps to the expedition to the oracle of Ammon, cf. Arrian, AnabasisIII.3.5.

149 Cf. 333A, supra.

150 "Silently," for reading was generally done aloud.

151 Cf. Herodotus, III.84 ff.

152 Ibid. VII.3.

153 Artaxerxes cf. 336E, 337E, supra, Life of Artaxerxes, chap. i (1012A): Reiske conjectured Ἄρσῃ from Diodorus, XVII.5, which may be right. But Bagoas also put Darius III on the throne of Persia. Cf. 326F, supra.

154 For the upright tiara cf. e.g. Xenophon, AnabasisII.5.23; (p461)Life of Themistocles, chap. xxix (126E); Life of Artaxerxes, chaps. xxvi, xxviii (1024E, 1025E).

155 Cobet's conjecture (Abdalonymus for Aralynomus) is only very partially supported by Diodorus, XVII.46, 47. But cf. the references ad loc. in Fischer's ed. (Leipzig 1906), especially Quintus Curtius, Hist. Alexandri, IV.1.19.

156 Cf. Diodorus, XVII.82; Quintus Curtius, Hist. Alexandri, V.3.

157 Cf. Arrian, AnabasisVI.19; Quintus Curtius, Hist. Alexandri, IX.9.

158 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. lxvi (702A); Arrian, AnabasisVI.22 ff.; Quintus Curtius, Hist. Alexandri, IX.10.

159 For the wounds of Alexander see the note on 327A, supra, with the work of Nachstädt there referred to.

160 Homer, Il. XI.265, 541.

161 Cf. 327A, supra, and the notes.

162 Homer, Il. V.340; Cf. Moralia, 180E and the note.

163 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. xx (675E-F).

164 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. xlv (691A); Arrian, AnabasisIV.4.9; Quintus Curtius, Hist. Alexandri, VII.9.13.

165 Cf. Homer, Il. IV.129.

166 Presumably elephants.

167 Cf. 315B, supra and Moralia 857A.

168 A city in Syria; for the wine cf. Strabo, XV.3.22 (p735); Athenaeus, 28D; Suidas and Hesychius, s.v.

169 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. v (666E-F).

170 Cf. Xenophon, Hellenica, VII.1.38; Diodorus, XIX.48.

171 Homer, Il. X.407.

172 Cf. 327D, supra.

173 Heracles, a reputed ancestor of the Macedonian kings, was born in Thebes.

174 The sack of Thebes and the enslaving of most of the surviving inhabitants; cf. Life of Alexander, chap. xi (670E), and Arrian, AnabasisI.8‑9.

175 Cited on the authority of Duris in 327E, supra.

176 Cf. 327E, supra.

177 Cf. Life of Alexander, chap. xv (672B).

178 Xerxes counted his army, according to Herodotus VII.60, by causing 10,000 men to fall in as compactly as possible; then a low wall was built around them; they then marched out, others marched in until the whole host (1,700,000 foot soldiers) had been counted.

179 By Xerxes' canal through Athos: cf. 335E, supra; Herodotus, VII.22, 23.

180 Again referring to Xerxes; cf. Herodotus, VII.35.

181 IliadII.478‑479.

182 Chryseis: IliadI.113.

183 IliadXXIV.552‑600.

184 IliadXIX.140‑147.

185 IliadV.335‑352, 855‑861.

186 Odyssey, XI.202‑203.

187 Sisygambis, the mother of Darius; cf. Diodorus, XVII.118.3; (p477)Justin, XIII.1; Quintus Curtius, Hist. Alexandri, X.5.21.

188 Cf. Moralia, 97C.

189 Cf. Moralia, 828F; Life of Solon, chaps. xv, xvi (86D, 87D); Aristotle, Constitution of Athens, 10.1.

190 Cf. 339C, supra, and the note.

191 £2,000,000 or $10,000,000.

In 2004, about $120,000,000 or £67,000,000.

192 Cf. Diodorus, XVIII.4.4.

193 Cf. Thucydides, II.25.2.

194 The Mallians: cf. 327B, supra.

195 Cf. perhaps Homer, Il. XV.237; IV.75‑80.

196 327B, supra, and Life of Alexander, chap. lxiii (700C) mention only two; but Plutarch here seems to follow the authority used by Arrian, AnabasisVI.10, who gives the number as three; cf. also 344D, infra.

197 Plutarch the rhetorician increases by one finger's-breadth (p483)the dimensions of the arrow-point which are given by Plutarch the biographer in his Life of Alexander, chap. lxiii (700E).

198 Some think the narrative closes abruptly, and that it should have been continued to include at least Alexander's recovery, but the Greeks did not always insist on a happy ending narrated in full.


Thayer's Note:

a The descendants of Cinyras, for whom see this curious note, that also gives a good list of ancient sources. The family ruled Cyprus for many years.


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