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This webpage reproduces a portion of
The Library of History

Diodorus Siculus

published in Vol. VIII
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1963

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. VIII) Diodorus Siculus
Library of History

Book XVII, 104‑118 (end)

 p419  104 1 Now he resumed his voyage down the river and sailed out into the Ocean with his Friends.​1 There he discovered two islands​2 and on them performed rich sacrifices.​3 He threw many large cups of gold into the sea following the libations which he poured from them. He erected altars to Tethys and Oceanus​4 and judged that his projected campaign was at an end. Setting sail from there, he proceeded back up the river to Patala, a fine city.​5 2 It had a government organized very much like that of Sparta. Two kings descended from two houses inherited their office from their fathers. They had charge of all arrangements concerning war, while the council of elders was the principal administrative body.6

 p421  3 Alexander burned such of his boats as were damaged.​7 The rest of his fleet he turned over to Nearchus and others of his Friends with orders to coast along through the Ocean and, having observed everything, to meet him at the mouth of the Euphrates River.​8 4 He set his army in motion and traversed much territory and defeated his opponents, while those who submitted were received kindly.​9 He brought over without fighting the so‑called Abritae​10 and the tribesmen of Cedrosia. 5 Then he marched through a long stretch of waterless and largely desert country as far as the frontiers of Oreitis. There he divided his force into three divisions and named as commander of the first, Ptolemy, and of the second, Leonnatus. He ordered Ptolemy to plunder the district by the sea and Leonnatus to lay waste the interior.​11 6 At one and the same time much country was wasted, so that every spot was filled with fire and devastation and great slaughter. 7 The soldiers soon became possessed of much booty, and the number of  p423 persons killed reached many myriads. By the destruction of these tribes, all their neighbours were terrified and submitted to the king.

8 Alexander wanted to found a city by the sea. He found a sheltered harbour with suitable terrain near by, and established there a city called Alexandria.12

105 1 He advanced into the country of the Oreitae through the passes and quickly brought it all into submission.​13 These Oreitae have the same customs as the Indians in other respects, but have one part which is strange and quite unbelievable. 2 The bodies of the dead are carried out by their relatives, who strip themselves naked and carry spears. They place the bodies in the thickets which exist in the country and remove the clothing from them, leaving them to be the prey of wild beasts. They divide up the clothing of the dead, sacrifice to the heroes of the nether world, and give a banquet to their friends.14

3 Next Alexander advanced into Cedrosia, marching near the sea, and encountered a people unfriendly and utterly brutish.​15 4 Those who dwelt here let the nails  p425 of their fingers and toes grow from birth to old age. They also let their hair remain matted like felt. Their colour is burned black by the heat of the sun, and they clothe themselves in the skins of beasts. 5 They subsist by eating the flesh of stranded whales. They build up the walls of their houses from . . .​16 and construct roofs with whale's ribs, which furnish them rafters eighteen cubits in length.​17 In the place of tiles, they covered their roofs with the scales of these beasts.18

6 Alexander passed through this territory with difficulty because of the shortage of provisions and entered a region which was desert, and lacking in everything which could be used to sustain life.​19 Many died of hunger. The army of the Macedonians was disheartened, and Alexander sank into no ordinary grief and anxiety. It seemed a dreadful thing that they who had excelled all in fighting ability and in equipment for war should perish ingloriously from lack of food in a desert country. 7 He determined, therefore, to send out swift messengers into Parthyaea and Dranginê and Areia and the other areas bordering on the desert, ordering these to bring quickly to the gates of Carmania racing camels and other animals trained to carry burdens, loading them  p427 with food and other necessities.​20 8 These messengers hurried to the satraps of these provinces and caused supplies to be transported in large quantities to the specified place. Alexander lost many of his soldiers, nevertheless, first because of shortages that were not relieved, and then at a later stage of this march, when some of the Oreitae attacked Leonnatus's division and inflicted severe losses, afterwards they escaped to their own territory.21

106 1 So with great difficulty Alexander passed through the desert and came into a well-populated country provided with everything needful.​22 Here he rested his army, and for seven days proceeded with his troops in festive dress. He himself led a Dionysiac comus, feasting and drinking as he travelled.23

2 After this celebration was over, Alexander learned that many of his officials who had used their powers arbitrarily and selfishly had committed serious offences, and he pursued a number of his satraps and  p429 generals.​24 As the word spread of his righteous indignation against his offending subordinates, many of the generals recalled acts of insolence or illegality which they had performed and became alarmed. Some who had mercenary troops revolted against the king's authority, and others got together sums of money and fled. 3 As news of this was brought to the king, he wrote to all his generals and satraps in Asia, ordering them, as soon as they had read his letter, to disband all their mercenaries instantly.

4 At this juncture the king was resting in a seaside city called Salmus and was holding a dramatic contest in the theatre, when into the harbour there sailed the fleet which had been ordered to return by way of the Ocean and to explore the coastal waters.​25 The officer came immediately into the theatre, greeted Alexander, and reported what they had done. 5 The Macedonians were delighted at their arrival and welcomed their safe return with loud applause, so that the whole theatre was filled with the wildest rejoicing.

6 The mariners told how they had encountered astonishing  p431 ebbings and flowings in the Ocean.​26 In the former case, many large and unsuspected islands appeared along the coast, but in the latter all such places were flooded over as a copious and strong current bore in towards the land, while the surface of the water was white with much foam. But their most remarkable experience was an encounter with a large school of incredibly big whales.​27 7 The sailors had been terrified and despaired of their lives, thinking that they would be dashed to pieces immediately, ships and all. But when they all shouted in unison, beating upon their shields to make a great din, and the trumpets were blow loudly in addition, the beasts were alarmed by the strange noise and plunged into the depths of the sea.

107 1 After this recital, the king ordered the officers of the fleet to sail on to the Euphrates,​28 while he continued on a great distance with the army, and came to the frontier of Susianê. Here the Indian Caranus,​29 who had advanced far in philosophy and was highly regarded by Alexander, put a remarkable end to his life. 2 He had lived for seventy-three years without ever having experienced an illness, and now decided to remove himself from life, since he had received the utmost limit of happiness both from  p433 nature and from Fortune. 3 He had been taken ill and each day becoming more exhausted he asked the king to erect for him a huge pyre and, after he had ascended, to order the attendants to ignite it.

4 At first Alexander tried to dissuade him from this plan, but when he was unsuccessful, he agreed to do what was asked. After the project had become generally known, the pyre was erected, and everybody came to see the remarkable sight. True to his own creed, Caranus cheerfully mounted the pyre and perished, consumed along with it. 5 Some of those who were present thought him mad, others vainglorious about his ability to bear pain, while others simply marvelled at his fortitude and contempt for death.

6 The king gave Caranus a magnificent funeral and then proceeded to Susa, where he married Stateira, the elder daughter of Dareius, and gave her younger sister Drypetis as wife to Hephaestion. He prevailed upon the most prominent of his Friends to take wives also, and gave them in marriage the noblest Persian ladies.30

108 1 Now there came to Susa at this time a body of thirty thousand Persians, all very young and selected for their bodily grace and strength.​31 2 They had been enrolled in compliance with the king's  p435 orders and had been under supervisors and teachers in the arts of war for as long as necessary. They were splendidly equipped with the full Macedonian armament and encamped before the city, where they were warmly commended by the king after demonstrating their skill and discipline in the use of their weapons. 3 The Macedonians had not only mutinied when ordered to cross the Ganges River but were frequently unruly when called into an assembly​32 and ridiculed Alexander's pretence that Ammon was his father.​33 For these reasons Alexander had formed this unit from a single age-group of the Persians which was capable of serving as a counter-balance to the Macedonian phalanx.

These were the concerns of Alexander.

4 Harpalus had been given the custody of the treasury in Babylon and of the revenues which accrued to it, but as soon as the king had carried his campaign into India, he assumed that Alexander would never come back, and gave himself up to comfortable living.​34 Although he had been charged as satrap​35 with the administration of a great country, he first occupied himself with the abuse of women and illegitimate amours with the natives and squandered much of the treasure under his control on incontinent pleasure. He fetched all the long way from the Red Sea a great quantity of fish and introduced an extravagant way of life, so that he came under general criticism.  p437 5 Later, moreover, he sent and brought from Athens the most dazzling courtesan of the day, whose name was Pythonicê.​36 As long as she lived he gave her gifts worthy of a queen, and when she died, he gave her a magnificent funeral and erected over her grave a costly monument of the Attic type.

6 After that, he brought out a second Attic courtesan named Glycera​37 and kept her in exceeding luxury, providing her with a way of life which was fantastically expensive. At the same time, with an eye on the uncertainties of fortune, he established himself a place of refuge by benefactions to the Athenians.

When Alexander did come back from India and put to death many of the satraps who had been charged with neglect of duty, Harpalus became alarmed at the punishment which might befall him. He packed up five thousand talents of silver, enrolled six thousand mercenaries, departed from Asia and sailed across to Attica. 7 When no one there accepted him, he shipped his troops off to Taenarum in Laconia, and keeping some of the money with him threw himself on the mercy of the Athenians. Antipater and Olympias demanded his surrender, and although he had distributed large sums of money to those persons who spoke in his favour, he was compelled to slip away and repaired to Taenarum and his mercenaries. 8 Subsequently he sailed over to Crete, where he was murdered by Thibron, one of his Friends.​38 At Athens, an accounting was undertaken of the funds of Harpalus,  p439 and Demosthenes and certain other statesmen were convicted of having accepted money from this source.39

109 1 While the Olympic Games were being celebrated, Alexander had it proclaimed in Olympia that all exiles should return to their cities, except those who had been charged with sacrilege or murder.​40 He selected the oldest of his soldiers who were Macedonians and released them from service; there were ten thousand of these. 2 He learned that many of them were in debt, and in a single day he paid their obligations, which were little short of ten thousand talents.41

The Macedonians who remained with him were becoming insubordinate, and when he called them to an assembly, they interrupted him by shouting.​42 In a fury, he denounced them without regard to his own personal risk; then, having cowed the throng, he leaped down from the platform, seized the ringleaders of the tumult with his own hands, and handed them over to his attendants for punishment.​43 3 This made the soldiers' hostility even more acute, so that the king appointed generals from specially selected Persians and advanced them into positions of responsibility. At this, the Macedonians were repentant.  p441 Weeping, they urgently petitioned Alexander to forgive them, and with difficulty persuaded him to take them back into favour.

110 1 In the archon­ship of Anticles at Athens, the Romans installed as consuls Lucius Cornelius and Quintus Popillius.​44 In this year Alexander secured replacements from the Persians equal to the number of these soldiers whom he had released, and assigned a thousand of them to the bodyguards​45 stationed at the court. In all respects he showed the same confidence in them as in the Macedonians. 2 At this time Peucestes arrived with twenty thousand Persian bowmen and slingers. Alexander placed these in units with his other soldiers, and by the novelty of this innovation created a force blended and adjusted to his own idea.46

3 Since there were by now sons of the Macedonians born of captive women, he determined the exact number of these. There were about ten thousand, and he set aside for them revenues sufficient to provide them with an upbringing proper for freeborn children, and set over them teachers to give them their proper training.47

After this he marched with his army from Susa,  p443 crossed the Tigris, and encamped in the villages called Carae. 4 Thence for four days he marched through Sittacenê and came to the place called Sambana.​48 There he remained seven days and, proceeding with the army, came on the third day to the Celones, as they are called. There dwells here down to our time a settlement of Boeotians who were moved in the time of Xerxes's campaign, but still have not forgotten their ancestral customs. 5 They are bilingual and speak like the natives in the one language, while in the other they preserve most of the Greek vocabulary, and they maintain some Greek practices.49

After a stay of some days he resumed his march at length and diverging from the main road​50 for the purpose of sight-seeing he entered the region called Bagistanê, a magnificent country covered with fruit trees and rich in everything which makes for good living. 6 Next he came to a land which could support enormous herds of horses, where of old they say that there were one hundred and sixty thousand horses grazing, but at the time of Alexander's visit there were counted only sixty thousand.​51 After a stay of thirty days he resumed the march and on the seventh  p445 day came to Ecbatana of Media. 7 They say that its circuit is two hundred and fifty stades. It contains the palace which is the capital of all Media and storehouses filled with great wealth.

Here he refreshed his army for some time and staged a dramatic festival, accompanied by constant drinking parties among his friends. 8 In the course of these, Hephaestion drank very much, fell ill, and died. The king was intensely grieved at this and entrusted his body to Perdiccas to conduct to Babylon, where he proposed to celebrate a magnificent funeral for him.52

111 1 During this period Greece was the scene of disturbances and revolutionary movements from which arose the war called Lamian.​53 The reason was this. The king had ordered all his satraps to dissolve their armies of mercenaries,​54 and as they obeyed his instructions, all Asia was overrun with soldiers released from service and supporting themselves by plunder. Presently they began assembling from all directions at Taenarum in Laconia, 2 whither came also such of the Persian satraps and generals as had survived, bringing their funds and their soldiers, so that they constituted a joint force. 3 Ultimately they chose as supreme commander the Athenian Leosthenes, who was a man of unusually brilliant mind, and thoroughly opposed to the cause of Alexander.  p447 He conferred secretly with the council at Athens and was granted fifty talents to pay the troops and a stock of weapons sufficient to meet pressing needs. He sent off an embassy to the Aetolians, who were unfriendly to the king, looking to the establishment of an alliance with them, and otherwise made every preparation for war.

4 So Leosthenes was occupied with such matters, being in no doubt about the seriousness of the proposed conflict, but Alexander launched a campaign with a mobile force against the Cossaeans, for they would not submit to him.​55 This is a people outstanding in valour which occupied the mountains of Media; and relying upon the ruggedness of their country and their ability in war, they had never accepted a foreign master, but had remained unconquered throughout the whole period of the Persian kingdom, and now they were too proudly self-confident to be terrified of the Macedonian arms. 5 The king, nevertheless, seized the routes of access into their country before they were aware of it, laid waste most of Cossaea, was superior in every engagement, and both slew many of the Cossaeans and captured many times more.

So the Cossaeans were utterly defeated, and, distressed at the number of their captives, were constrained to buy their recovery at the price of national submission. 6 They placed themselves in Alexander's hands and were granted peace on condition that they should do his bidding. In forty days at most, he had  p449 conquered this people. He founded strong cities at strategic points and rested his army.

* * *

112 1 After the conclusion of his war with the Cossaeans, Alexander set his army in motion and marched towards Babylon in easy stages, interrupting the march frequently and resting the army.​56 2 While he was still three hundred furlongs from the city, the scholars called Chaldaeans, who have gained a great reputation in astrology and are accustomed to predict future events by a method based on age-long observations, chose from their number the eldest and most experienced. By the configuration of the stars they had learned of the coming death of the king in Babylon, and they instructed their representatives to report to the king the danger which threatened. They told their envoys also to urge upon the king that he must under no circumstances make his entry into the city; 3 that he could escape the danger if he re-erected the tomb of Belus which had been demolished by the Persians,​57 but he must abandon his intended route and pass the city by.

The leader of the Chaldaean envoys, whose name was Belephantes,​58 was not bold enough to address the king directly but secured a private audience with  p451 Nearchus, one of Alexander's Friends, and told him everything in detail, requesting him to make it known to the king. 4 When Alexander, accordingly, learned from Nearchus​59 about the Chaldaeans' prophecy, he was alarmed and more and more disturbed, the more he reflected upon the ability and high reputation of these people. After some hesitation, he sent most of his Friends into Babylon, but altered his own route so as to avoid the city and set up his headquarters in a camp at a distance of two hundred furlongs.60

This act caused general astonishment and many of the Greeks came to see him, notably among the philosophers Anaxarchus.​61 5 When they discovered the reason for his action, they plied him with arguments drawn from philosophy and changed him to the degree that he came to despise all prophetic arts, and especially that which was held in high regard by the Chaldaeans.​62 It was as if the king had been wounded in his soul and then healed by the words of the philosophers, so that he now entered Babylon with his army. 6 As on the previous occasion,​63 the population received the troops hospitably, and all turned their attention to relaxation and pleasure, since everything necessary was available in profusion.

These were the events of this year.

 p453  113 1 When Agesias was archon at Athens, the Romans installed as consuls Gaius Publius and Papirius, and the one hundred and fourteenth celebration of the Olympic Games took place, in which Micinas of Rhodes won the foot race.​64 Now from practically all the inhabited world came envoys on various missions, some congratulating Alexander on his victories, some bringing him crowns, other concluding treaties of friendship and alliance, many bringing handsome presents, and some prepared to defend themselves against accusations. 2 Apart from the tribes and cities as well as the local rulers of Asia, many of their counterparts in Europe and Libya put in an appearance; from Libya, Carthaginians and Libyphoenicians and all those who inhabit the coast as far as the Pillars of Heracles; from Europe, the Greek cities and the Macedonians also sent embassies, as well as the Illyrians and most of those who dwell about the Adriatic Sea, the Thracian peoples and even those of their neighbours the Gauls, whose people became known then first in the Greek world.65

3 Alexander drew up a list of the embassies and arranged a schedule of those to whom first he would give his reply and then the others in sequence.​66 First he heard those who came on matters concerning religion; second, those who brought gifts; next, those who had disputes with their neighbours; fourth,  p455 those who had problems concerning themselves alone; and fifth, those who wished to present arguments against receiving back their exiles. 4 He dealt with the Eleians first, then with the Ammonians and the Delphians and the Corinthians, as well as with the Epidaurians and the rest, receiving their petitions in the order of importance of the sanctuaries. In all cases he made every effort to deliver replies which would be gratifying, and sent everyone away content so far as he was able.

114 1 When the embassies had been dismissed, Alexander threw himself into preparations for the burial of Hephaestion. He showed such zeal about the funeral that it not only surpassed all those previously celebrated on earth but also left no possibility for anything greater in later ages. He had loved Hephaestion most of the group of Friends who were thought to have been high in his affections, and after his death showed him superlative honour. In his lifetime, he had preferred him to all, although Craterus had a rival claim to his love; 2 so, for example, that when one of the companions said that Craterus was loved no less than Hephaestion, Alexander had answered that Craterus was king-loving, but Hephaestion was Alexander-loving.​67 At their first meeting with Dareius's mother, when she from ignorance had bowed to Hephaestion supposing him to be the king and was distressed when this was called to her attention, Alexander had said: "Never mind, mother. For actually he too is Alexander."68

3 As a matter of fact, Hephaestion enjoyed so much  p457 power and freedom of speech based on this friendship that when Olympias was estranged from him because of jealousy and wrote sharp criticisms and threats against him in her letters, he felt strong enough to answer her reproachfully and ended his letter as follows: "Stop quarrelling with us and do not be angry or menacing. If you persist, we​69 shall not be much disturbed. You know that Alexander means more to us than anything."

4 As part of the preparations for the funeral, the king ordered the cities of the region to contribute to its splendour in accordance with their ability, and he proclaimed to all the peoples of Asia that they should sedulously quench what the Persians call the sacred fire, until such time as the funeral should be ended. This was the custom of the Persians when their kings died, and people thought that the order was an ill omen, and that heaven was foretelling the king's own death. 5 There were also at this time other strange signs pointing to the same event, as we shall relate shortly, after we have finished the account of the funeral.70

115 1 Each of the generals and Friends tried to meet the king's desires and made likenesses of Hephaestion in ivory and gold and other materials which men hold in high regard.​71 Alexander collected artisans and an army of workmen and tore down the city wall to a  p459 distance of ten furlongs. He collected the baked tiles and levelled off the place which was to receive the pyre, and then constructed this square in shape, each side being a furlong in length. 2 He divided up the area into thirty compartments and laying out the roofs upon the trunks of palm trees wrought the whole structure into a square shape.​72 Then he decorated all the exterior walls. Upon the foundation course were golden prows of quinqueremes in close order, two hundred and forty in all. Upon the cat-heads each carried two kneeling archers four cubits in height, and (on the deck) armed male figures five cubits high, while the intervening spaces were occupied by red banners fashioned out of felt. 3 Above these, on the second level, stood torches fifteen cubits high with golden wreaths about their handles. At their flaming ends perched eagles with outspread wings looking downward, while about their bases were serpents looking up at the eagles. On the third level were carved a multitude of wild animals being pursued by hunters. 4 The fourth level carried a centauromachy rendered in gold, while the fifth showed lions and bulls alternating, also in gold. The next higher level was covered with Macedonian and Persian arms, testifying to the prowess of the one people and to the defeats of the other. On top of all stood Sirens, hollowed out and able to conceal within them persons who sang a lament in mourning for the dead. 5 The  p461 total height of the pyre was more than one hundred and thirty cubits.

All of the generals and the soldiers and the envoys and even the natives rivalled one another in contributing to the magnificence of the funeral, so, it is said, that the total expense came to over twelve thousand talents.​73 6 In keeping with this magnificence and the other special marks of honour at the funeral, Alexander ended by decreeing that all should sacrifice to Hephaestion as god coadjutor.​74 As a matter of fact, it happened just at this time that Philip, one of the Friends, came bearing a response from Ammon that Hephaestion should be worshipped as a god. Alexander was delighted that the god had ratified his own opinion, was himself the first to perform the sacrifice, and entertained everybody handsomely. The sacrifice consisted of ten thousand victims of all sorts.

116 1 After the funeral, the king turned to amusements and festivals, but just when it seemed that he was at the peak of his power and good fortune, Fate cut off the time allowed him by nature to remain alive. Straightway heaven also began to foretell his death, and many strange portents and signs occurred.

 p463  2 Once when the king was being rubbed with oil and the royal robe and diadem were lying on a chair, one of the natives who was kept in bonds was spontaneously freed from his fetters, escaped his guards' notice, and passed through the doors of the palace with no one hindering.​75 3 He went to the royal chair, put on the royal dress and bound his head with the diadem, then seated himself upon the chair and remained quiet.​76 As soon as the king learned of this, he was terrified at the odd event, but walked to the chair and without showing his agitation asked the man quietly who he was and what he meant by doing this. 4 When he made no reply whatsoever,​77 Alexander referred the portent to the seers for interpretation and put the man to death in accordance with their judgement, hoping that the trouble which was forecast by his act might light upon the man's own head.​78 He picked up the clothing and sacrificed to the gods who avert evil, but continued to be seriously troubled. He recalled the prediction of the Chaldaeans and was angry with philosophers who had persuaded him to enter Babylon. He was impressed anew with the skill of the Chaldaeans and their insight,  p465 and generally railed at those who used specious reasoning to argue away the power of Fate.

5 A little while later heaven sent him a second portent about his kingship.​79 He had conceived the desire to see the great swamp of Babylonia and set sail with his friends in a number of skiffs.​80 For some days his boat became separated from the others and he was lost and alone, fearing that he might never get out alive. 6 As his craft was proceeding through a narrow channel where the reeds grew thickly and overhung the water, his diadem was caught and lifted from his head by one of them and then dropped into the swamp. One of the oarsmen swam after it and, wishing to return it safely, placed it on his head and so swam back to the boat. 7 After three days and nights of wandering, Alexander found his way to safety just as he had again put on his diadem when this seemed beyond hope. Again he turned to the soothsayers for the meaning of all this.

117 1 They bade him sacrifice to the gods on a grand scale and with all speed, but he was then called away by Medius, the Thessalian, one of his Friends, to take part in a comus.​81 There he drank much unmixed  p467 wine in commemoration of the death of Heracles, and finally, filling a huge beaker, downed it at a gulp. 2 Instantly he shrieked aloud as if smitten by a violent blow and was conducted by his Friends, who led him by the hand back to his apartments.​82 His chamberlains put him to bed and attended him closely, 3 but the pain increased and the physicians were summoned. No one was able to do anything helpful and Alexander continued in great discomfort and acute suffering. When he, at length, despaired of life, he took off his ring and handed it to Perdiccas.​83 4 His Friends asked: "To whom do you leave the kingdom?" and he replied: "To the strongest."​84 He added, and these were his last words, that all of his leading Friends would stage a vast contest in honour of his funeral.​85 5 This was how he died after a reign of twelve years and seven months.​86 He accomplished greater deeds than any, not only of the kings who had lived before him but also of those who were to come later down to our time.

 p469  Since some historians disagree about the death of Alexander, and state that this occurred in consequence of a draught of poison, it seems necessary for us to mention their account also.87

118 1 They say that Antipater, who had been left by Alexander as viceroy in Europe, was at variance with the king's mother Olympias. At first he did not take her seriously because Alexander did not heed her complaints against him, but later, as their enmity kept growing and the king showed an anxiety to gratify his mother in everything out of piety, Antipater gave many indications of his disaffection. This was bad enough, but the murder of Parmenion and Philotas struck terror into Antipater as into all of Alexander's Friends, so by the hand of his own son, who was the king's wine-pourer, he administered poison to the king.​88 2 After Alexander's death, Antipater held the supreme authority in Europe and then his son Casander took over the kingdom, so that many historians did not dare write about the drug. Casander, however, is plainly disclosed by his own actions as a bitter enemy to Alexander's policies. He murdered Olympias and threw out her body without burial, and with great enthusiasm restored Thebes, which had been destroyed by Alexander.89

3 After the king's death Sisyngambris, Dareius's mother, mourned his passing and her own bereavement, and coming to the limit of her life she refrained  p471 from food and died on the fifth day, abandoning life painfully but not ingloriously.90

4 Having reached the death of Alexander as we proposed to do at the beginning of the book, we shall try to narrate the actions of the Successors in the books which follow.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 According to Plutarch, Alexander, 66.1, the voyage had taken seven months. It was now the summer of 325 B.C. (Strabo, 15.1.17).

2 One was in the river, one outside (Arrian, 6.19.3‑4). Plutarch, Alexander, 66.1, mentions only one island.

3 To Poseidon and to the gods whom Ammon had designated (Arrian, 6.19.4‑5). No gods named (Curtius, 9.9.27; Justin, 12.10.4; Plutarch, Alexander, 66.1).

4 Justin (12.10.6) mentions "aras."

5 Arrian, 6.20.1. This was about the rising of the Dog Star, or mid-July 325 (Strabo, 15.1.17 [692]).

6 Only Arrian (6.20.2‑5) at this point mentions Alexander's voyage down to the Rann of Kutch.

7 Curtius, 9.10.4.

8 Plutarch, Alexander, 66.2; Arrian, 6.21.1‑3. According to Curtius, Nearchus was ordered to explore the Ocean and then rejoin Alexander, either via the Indus or by way of the Euphrates (9.10.3). Curtius states that the fleet was commanded by Nearchus and Onesicritus, Plutarch that Onesicritus was only the chief pilot, and Arrian (from Nearchus; cp. 8.20.5) that Nearchus had sole command. The fleet waited until the end of the monsoons and sailed in the autumn (on the 30th of Boedromion, according to Arrian, Indica, 21.1; but Arrian gives the wrong year) or about 20 September 325 B.C.

9 An anticipation of Vergil's parcere subiectis et debellare superbos (Aen. 6.853); like the Romans, Alexander did not accept neutrality.

10 They are called Arabitae in Curtius (9.10.5) and Arrian (6.21.4).

11 Curtius, 9.10.5‑7, who also uses the term "Cedrosii" for the usual Gadrosia (Arrian, 6.22.1). He does, however, use the variant term "Horitae" (9.10.6). This expedition is sketched by Strabo, 15.2.1‑8 (720‑723).

12 Curtius, 9.10.7; Arrian, 6.21.5. It was built by Leonnatus (Arrian, 6.22.3).

13 Arrian, 6.22.1‑2. Bare mention in Plutarch, Alexander, 66.2.

14 This story is not otherwise told in this connection, but is of a type which is located in northern Iran. Onesicritus (Jacoby, Fragmente der Griechische Historiker, no. 134, F 5; Strabo, 11.11.3) told that the Bactrians and Sogdians threw out their sick and elderly to be devoured by dogs, but that Alexander stopped the practice. Plutarch twice refers to this institution. In De Fortuna aut Virtute Alexandri, 1.5, 328C, he says that Sogdians kill their parents, while the Scythians eat them. In Can Vice Cause Unhappiness? 3, 499D, he reports that the dead were devoured by dogs among the Hyrcanians, and by birds among the Bactrians (also Cicero, Disp. Tusc. 1.45.108). For other instances cp. Strabo, 11.11.(517); (520); 15.1.56 (710); 62 (714).

15 Curtius, 9.10.8‑10; Arrian, 6.23.1‑3.

16 Arrian's account (6.23.3) states that walls were made of shells (critical note 2), but Diodorus seems to be thinking only of materials secured from whales. All of these anecdotes probably derive from Nearchus (cp. Strabo, 15.2.2 (720)).

17 Twenty-seven feet. Cp. Arrian, Indica, 30.8.

18 Whales, of course, do not have scales.

19 Curtius, 9.10.8‑17; Justin, 12.10.7; Arrian, 6.23.4‑26.5; Strabo, 15.2.5‑6 (721‑722).

20 Curtius, 9.10.17; Plutarch, Alexander, 66.3. Arrian does not mention this, and all of these districts are so far from Carmania that they can hardly have sent help in time to be of any use. This tradition may be connected with the subsequent execution or removal of the satraps of Gedrosia, Susianê, and Paraetacenê as evidence for Alexander's attempt to find scapegoats for his ill-planned march through the desert (E. Badian, Classical Quarterly, 52 (1958), 147‑150).

21 Curtius, 9.10.19. Leonnatus was later crowned for a victory on this occasion (Arrian, 7.5.5).

22 This was Gedrosia; Curtius, 9.10.18; Plutarch, Alexander66.3; 67.4; Arrian, 6.27.1.

23 This was in Carmania. Curtius (9.10.22‑28) gives a lurid account of this celebration; so also Plutarch, Alexander, 67.1‑3. Arrian (6.28.1‑2) states that this story was not told by Ptolemy or Aristobulus, and that he himself did not believe it. It may be connected, however, with the tradition of dramatic and athletic games held at this time in celebration of the safe return of both army and fleet (E. Badian, Classical Quarterly, 52 (1958), 152). But both Philip (Book 16.87.1) and Alexander (chap. 72.5) were fond of the comus in general. See Addenda.

24 For Alexander's disciplinary measures at this time cp.  Curtius, 9.10.20‑21; 10.1.1‑9, 30‑42; Justin, 12.10.8 Plutarch, Alexander, 68.2‑3; Arrian, 6.27.1‑5; 29‑30 (Badian, op. cit. 147‑150).

25 Nearchus gave an account of his joining Alexander on two occasions, once, very dramatically, in Carmania (Arrian, 6.28.5‑6; Indica, 33‑36), and again after sailing up the Pasitigris to Susa (Indica, 42). Curtius (10.1.10) and Plutarch (Alexander, 68.1) seem to refer only to the former meeting. Neither meeting was on the coast. Salmus is not identified. Reference to the dramatic festival makes it likely that Diodorus is here referring to the reunion at Susa (Pliny, Naturalis Historia, 6.100, with reference to Nearchus and Onesicritus), but inserting it in the wrong place in his narrative. Pliny states that the voyage of Nearchus took six months, so the time would now be the spring of 324 B.C. B. Niese, Geschichte der griechischen und makedonischen Staaten, 1 (1893), 153, note 5, calculated the length of the voyage as about seventy-five days, which would bring the reunion rather to December of 325.

26 Others have described the ocean tides at the mouth of the Indus (Curtius, 9.9.9‑25; Arrian, 6.19.1).

27 Curtius, 10.1.11‑12. The description is from Nearchus (Arrian, Indica, 30.4‑5).

28 This order to Nearchus would have been better given in Carmania than at Susa. Cp. Arrian, 6.28.6. At all events, in the narrative of Diodorus Alexander is not yet in Susa.

29 Plutarch, Alexander, 69.3‑4; Arrian, 7.2.4‑3.6. The name is usually given as Calanus (as Strabo, 15.1.64 (715); 68 (717)). For the vogue of the story in antiquity cp. M. Hadas, Hellenistic Culture (1959), 178 f.

For a closer look at Calanus, mostly from Arrian, see the article at Livius; on another page of that site we find the amusing conjecture — by Brian Bosworth, "Calanus and the Brahman Opposition" in: Wolfgang Will (ed.), Alexander der Grosse. Eine Welteroberung und ihr Hintergrund (Bonn, 1998), pp173‑203 — that "Calanus" was not even the man's name at all, but was an artifact of relay interpreting, a florid and inscrutable Indian phrase essentially meaning "hello". This reminds me of the now exploded urban legend, one of those things that people "know", that kangaroo, a response to a question from Cook's explorers, meant "I don't understand", or in other versions, "your finger". I don't believe a word of it.

30 Curtius, 10.3.11‑12; Justin, 12.10.9‑10; Plutarch, Alexander, 70.2; Arrian, 7.4.4‑8. There were one hundred couples (Plutarch, De Fortuna aut Virtute Alexandri, 1.7, 329E). Justin and Plutarch report that Alexander married Stateira; Arrian names Barsinê and Parysatis. This marriage was described in detail by Chares, Alexander's minister of proto­col (Athenaeus, 12, 538B‑539A).

31 Arrian, 7.6.1; Plutarch, Alexander, 71.1. Curtius (8.5.1) mentions the organization of this force in Bactria in 327; Plutarch (Alexander, 47.3) places it in Hyrcania in 330.

32 The account of the mutiny at Opis is broken by Diodorus into two sections; cp. chap. 109.1 below. The full accounts are Curtius, 10.2.8‑4.3; Justin, 12.11.5‑12.7; Plutarch, Alexander, 71.1‑5; Arrian, 7.8‑11. "Ganges" is a slip (chap. 94).

33 Justin, 12.11.6 Arrian, 7.8.3.

34 The Harpalus story was well known (Plutarch, Alexander, 41.4; Phocion, 21‑22; Justin, 13.5.9), but was told here, in addition to Diodorus, only by Curtius. In the loss of parts of that text, only the end of the story remains (10.2.1‑3), told in a similar way to that here. The account of these events in Plutarch, Demosthenes, 25‑26, may plausibly be ascribed to Theopompus, at least in part.

35 Harpalus was not actually a satrap, but director general of the royal treasury.

36 She is mentioned by Athenaeus, 13, 586C, who refers to accounts of her by Theopompus and Cleitarchus.

37 Athenaeus, 13, 586C. The considerable evidence on these two is collected by Berve, Alexanderreich, 2, nos. 231 and 676.

38 Curtius, 10.2.1‑3; Book 18.19.2. The collaboration of Antipater and Olympias is odd, for they were ordinarily hostile to each other.

39 Justin, 13.5.9.

40 Curtius, 10.2.4‑7; Justin, 13.5.2‑5. Diodorus refers to this later with greater detail as one of the causes of the Lamian War (Book 18.8.2‑7). The time was midsummer of 324 B.C.

41 This story appears in differing versions. Curtius (10.2.9‑11) tells only of the payment of the debts, without specifying either the number or the identity of the beneficiaries; 10,000 talents were made available, and 130 were left over. Justin (12.11.2‑3) says that 20,000 talents were distributed, an act equally welcome to debtors and creditors. Plutarch (Alexander, 70.2) uses the same total as Curtius (9870), but says that these were the debts of the guests at the mass marriage in Susa. Curtius expresses astonishment that the soldiers were so in debt. (From whom, as a matter of fact, would ten thousand soldiers borrow a talent each?) At all events, Arrian (7.12.1) states specifically that the soldiers were Macedonian and each received a gift of a talent.

42 The mutiny at Opis, continued from chap. 108.3.

43 Curtius, 10.2.30; Justin, 12.11.8. Arrian (7.8.3) says that he merely pointed out the ringleaders.

44 Anticles was archon at Athens from July 325 to June 324 B.C. L. Cornelius Lentulus and Q. Publilius Philo were consuls in 327 B.C. (Broughton, 1.145). In his narrative, Diodorus has reached, actually, the late summer of 324 B.C. The narrative of Curtius is lost down to the story of Alexander's death.

45 Arrian (7.6.3) states that these thousand formed a fifth squadron of the Companion Cavalry.

46 Peucestes had been rewarded with the satrapy of Persia after saving Alexander's life (chap. 99.4). Of all Alexander's generals he showed the greatest willingness to conciliate the Persians. Arrian has described these new units earlier (7.11.3‑4) but places this event a year later (7.23.1).

47 Plutarch, Alexander, 71.5; Arrian, 7.12 (stating that these were the children of the veterans who returned to Macedonia); Justin, 12.4.6 (under 300 B.C.).

48 Diodorus's topography is confused. His tradition (shared by Curtius) does not place the mutiny at Opis, as does Arrian; hence Alexander is still at Susa. The "Carian" villages were in Babylonia (Book 19.12.1) and so on the right bank of the Tigris; Sittacenê was on the left bank (chap. 65.2). The location of Sambana is unknown. Perhaps Alexander crossed the Tigris twice. By "Tigris" in the text is not meant the Pasitigris (chap. 67.1), which was south-east of Susa; the city was on the Choaspes and Eulaeus Rivers (Strabo, 15.3.4 [728]).

49 These are probably the Eretrians whom Herodotus mentions (6.119) as having been carried off by Xerxes, although he places them nearer to Susa. The place is mentioned again, Book 19.19.2. In their tenacious Hellenism, they anticipated the settlers of the Hellenistic period (cp. F. Grosso, Rivista di Filologia Classica, 36 (1958), 350‑375).

50 The age-old road from Baghdad to Hamadan, the main route from Mesopotamia to Iran.

51 This was Nysa. Arrian (7.13.1) gives slightly different figures: formerly 150,000 mares, now 50,000.

52 Justin, 12.12.11; Plutarch, Alexander, 72; Arrian, 7.14.

53 Justin, 13.5.1‑8. The war did not actually break out until after Alexander's death, and Diodorus gives an account of it later (Book 18.8 ff.) which repeats some of this material.

54 Cp. chap. 106.3.

55 Plutarch, Alexander, 72.3; Arrian, 7.15.1‑3. This activity took place in the winter of 324/3 B.C. and was intended to solace Alexander's grief for the death of Hephaestion.

56 Justin, 12.13.3‑5; Plutarch, Alexander, 73.1‑2; Arrian, 7.16.5‑18.6.

57 Arrian (7.17.1‑4) makes the reverse statement, that the priests wanted to keep the revenues of the temple of Bel to themselves.

58 The name is not otherwise reported.

59 Plutarch, Alexander, 73.1.

60 Arrian does not think that Alexander heeded the warnings of the Chaldaeans, but quotes Aristobulus (7.17.5‑6) to the effect that Alexander did wish to avoid the city, but could not pass it because of the swamps.

61 Justin, 12.13.5. This was the celebrated philosopher of Abdera, of the school of Democritus. He had been with Alexander throughout the campaign.

62 That is, astrology. It is odd that Diodorus should speak so well of Greek rationalism, when in this case the Chaldaeans knew better.

63 Cp. chap. 64.4.

64 Hegesias (as the name appears in the Attic inscriptions) was archon from July 324 to June 323 B.C. The consuls of 326 B.C. were C. Poetelius Libo Visolus and L. Papirius Cursor (Broughton, 1.146). The Olympic Games were held in the summer of 324 B.C. (chap. 109.1). The name of the victor is given as Macinnas by Eusebius. The time was actually the spring of 323 B.C.

65 Justin, 12.13.1‑2; Arrian, 7.15.4‑6 (embassies from the west); 19.1‑2 (embassies from the Greeks). Arrian (7.15.5‑6) expresses doubt about the embassy from Rome, reported among others by Cleitarchus (Jacoby, Fragmente der Griechische Historiker, no. 137, F 31; from Pliny, Naturalis Historia, 3.57).

66 These ingenious and methodical arrangements of Alexander's court are not otherwise reported.

67 That is, Craterus loved Alexander as the king, Hephaestion loved Alexander for himself. On the relations between Craterus and Hephaestion cp. Plutarch, Alexander, 47.5‑57.

68 Cp. chap. 37.5‑6.

69 Hephaestion's usage here suggests the pluralis majestatis. He can hardly mean anyone but himself.

70 A similar account of Hephaestion's funeral was probably given by Curtius and is now lost from the manuscript book 10. The references in Justin (12.12.12), Plutarch (Alexander, 72), and Arrian (7.14) are briefer, and located it before, not after, the Cossaean campaign. See Addenda.

71 These were probably medallions or small images to be worn in wreaths, as one wore images of the gods. It was a common ancient practice, employed later in the case of the Hellenistic kings and the Roman emperors.

72 The brevity of Diodorus's account leaves the meaning a little obscure. It is possible that the ground plan was divided into thirty transverse compartments, each thus about 22 feet wide and 220 yards long. Each of these could be roofed with flat timbers to support the next higher section of the pyre.

73 Justin (12.12.12) gives the same figure; Plutarch (Alexander, 72.3) and Arrian (7.14.8), 10,000 talents.

74 Lucian (Calumniae non temere credendum, 17) gives a fuller account of Hephaestion's deification; he received temples and precincts in the cities, his name was used in the most solemn of oaths, and he received sacrifice as a πάρεδρος καὶ ἀλεξίκακος θεός. No archaeological record of any of this remains (C. Habicht, Gottesmenschentum und griechische Städte, 1956), and the ancient tradition was various. Justin (12.12.12) reports, like Diodorus, that Alexander ordered that Hephaestion was to be worshipped "ut deum." Plutarch (Alexander, 72.2) states that Ammon recommended that he should be honoured as a hero, and so did he also according to Arrian (7.23.6), after first refusing to allow him divine worship (7.14.7). The term πάρεδρος is odd: elsewhere it seems to mean a priest (G. E. Bean, Journal of Hellenic Studies, 72 (1952), 118.

75 Plutarch, Alexander, 73.3‑4, says that the prisoner had been miraculously freed by Serapis; Arrian, 7.24.1‑3, that he had not been held in bonds.

76 The significance of the royal throne in the Orient has appeared in chap. 66.3‑7 (p306, note 17). If the man was a native, he may have regarded it as a sanctuary, or at least as a place of refuge from the pursuing guards; in Arrian's account, they did not venture to remove him by force "because of some Persian custom." (According to the anecdote traced back to Trogus by O. Sell (Pompeius Trogus, Fragmenta, 1956, 109 f.), it was "capital" for anyone to sit on the throne of king of Persia.) Plutarch, Alexander, 73.4, states that he was a Greek. It is possible that he did not put on the royal garments, but merely held them. Later references to the significance of the throne are Dio, 50.10.2; 56.29.1; Script. Hist. Aug., Septimius Severus, 1.9. See Addenda.

77 Either because he was too frightened to speak, or because he did not speak Greek. Plutarch makes him claim to have been inspired by Serapis, but this did not save him from execution.

78 Plutarch, Alexander, 74.1. Arrian (7.24.3) reports only that he was tortured to make him explain his actions.

79 Or, perhaps, "about his death"; cp. note 1 above.

The "Note 1" mentioned is a critical note to the Greek text, at τελευτῆς (σημεῖον αὐτῷ περὶ τῆς τελευτῆς), which reads:

Possibly for τελευτῆς, as Fischer, or τοῦ βασιλέως τελευτῆς.

80 Arrian (7.22) tells this story earlier than the one about the throne, and gives various accounts about the incident of lost diadem and its recovery; it was the other boats which became lost, but Alexander sent a pilot and rescued them.

81 Justin, 12.13.7. These events are described from the royal journal more circumstantially by Plutarch, Alexander, 75.3, and Arrian, 7.24.4‑25.1. Medius belonged to a noble family of Larisa and had accompanied Alexander as a personal friend, not in a military capacity (Berve, Alexanderreich, 2, no. 521). Aelian (Varia Historia, 3.23) gives a day-by‑day account of Alexander's drinking and resting during the last three weeks of his life, crediting this to Eumenes of Cardia, the keeper of the journal, but gives the month wrongly as Dius. See Addenda.

82 Justin, 12.13.8‑9. Arrian (7.27.2) gives this story of the sudden stab of pain as a variant version, and Plutarch (Alexander, 75.3‑4) specifically denies it. Diodorus here explains the "cup of Heracles" mentioned by Plutarch. There was an annual festival of the death of Heracles on Mt. Oeta, with which Medius, as a Thessalian, was familiar. Its date has been unknown (M. P. Nilsson, Geschichte der griechische Religion, 1, 1941, p120), but this anecdote may indicate that it occurred in the Macedonian month of Caesius.

83 Curtius, 10.5.4; Justin, 12.15.12. Curtius's narrative resumes at this point.

84 So also in Arrian, 7.26.3. In Book 18.1.4, Diodorus says "To the best," agreeing with the "optimus" of Curtius, 10.5.5, and the "dignissimus" of Justin, 12.5.8. It is true, of course, that κράτιστος may mean "best" as well as "most powerful."

85 Curtius, 10.5.5; Arrian, 7.26.3.

86 Alexander died on the 28th of Daesius (Plutarch, Alexander, 76.4, so also the Babylonian records),º but Aristobulus (Plutarch, Alexander, 75.4) said the 30th; it was a hollow month, without any 29th, and Alexander died about sundown; this was the 10th of June), and it has been argued above that assassination of Philip and the accession of Alexander must have taken place in the same month (p100, note 1). This would give Alexander thirteen years of reign, and this figure is actually given by the Oxyrhynchus Chronologer (P. Oxy. 1.12. v.31‑32). Since Daesius was the eighth Macedonian month, the "seven months" of Diodorus and the "eight months" of Arrian (7.28.1) represent exclusive and inclusive counting from the first new year after Alexander's accession. Cp. Beloch, Griechische Geschichte2, 3.2.59.

87 Justin, 12.13.10; Arrian, 7.27.1. See Addenda.

88 Justin, 12.14; Plutarch, Alexander, 77.1‑3; Arrian, 7.27. The son's name was Iollas, but Justin associated with him his brothers Philip and Casander, the later king. Curtius does not mention this tradition.

89 Book 19.49‑51; 53.

90 Curtius, 10.5.19‑25.

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