CHAPTER XX. ALEXANDER THE GREAT, B.C. 336-323.
Alexander rested a month on the banks of the Hydaspes, where he celebrated his victory by games and sacrifices, and founded two towns one of which he named Nicaea, and the other Bucephala, in honour of his gallant charger Bucephalus, which is said to have died there. He then overran the whole of the PENJ-AB, as far as the Hyphasis (GHARRA), its southern boundary. Upon reaching this river, the army, worn out by fatigues and dangers, positively refused to proceed any farther; although Alexander passionately desired to attack a monarch still more powerful than Porus, whose dominions lay beyond the Hyphasis. All his attempts to induce his soldiers to proceed proving ineffectual, he returned to the Hydaspes, when he ordered part of his army to descend the river on its opposite banks; whilst he himself at the head of 8000 men, embarked on board a fleet of about 2000 vessels, which he had ordered to he prepared with the view of sailing down the Indus to its mouth.
The army began to move in November 327. The navigation lasted several months, but was accomplished without any serious opposition, except from the tribe of the Malli, who are conjectured to have occupied the site of the present MOOLTAN. At the storming of their town the life of Alexander was exposed to imminent danger. He was the first to scale the walls of the citadel, and was followed by four officers; but before a fifth man could mount, the ladder broke, and Alexander was left exposed on the wall to the missiles of the enemy. Leaping down into the citadel among the enemy, he placed his back to the wall, where he succeeded in keeping the enemy at bay, and slew two of their chiefs who had ventured within reach of his sword. But an arrow which pierced his corslet brought him to the ground, fainting with loss of blood. Two of his followers, who had jumped down after him, now stood over and defended him; till at length, more soldiers having scaled the walls and opened one of the gates, sufficient numbers poured in not only to rescue their monarch, but to capture the citadel; when every living being within the place was put to the sword. Upon arriving at the mouth of the Indus, Nearchus with the fleet was directed to explore the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, and the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates, with the view of establishing a maritime communication between India and Persia. Alexander himself proceeded with his army, in the autumn of 326, through the burning deserts of Gedrosia towards Persepolis; marching himself on foot, and sharing the privations and fatigues of the meanest soldier. In these regions the very atmosphere seems to be composed of a fine dust which, on the slightest wind, penetrates into the mouth and nose, whilst the soil affords no firm footing to the traveller. The march through this inhospitable region lasted 60 days, during which numbers of the soldiers perished from fatigue or disease. At length they emerged into the fertile province of Carmania. Whilst in this country Alexander was rejoined by Nearchus, who had arrived with his fleet at Harmozia (ORMUZ); but who subsequently prosecuted his voyage to the head of the Persian Gulf.
Upon reaching Susa (B.C. 325) Alexander allowed his soldiers to repose from their fatigues, and amused them with a series of brilliant festivities. It was here that he adopted various measures with the view of consolidating his empire. One of the most important was to form the Greeks and Persians into one people by means of intermarriages. He himself celebrated his nuptials with Statira the eldest daughter of Darius, and bestowed the hand of her sister, Drypetis, on Hephaestion. Other marriages were made between Alexander's officers and Asiatic women, to the number, it is said, of about a hundred; whilst no fewer than 10,000 of the common soldiers followed their example and took native wives. As another means of amalgamating the Europeans and Asiatics, he caused numbers of the latter to be admitted into the army, and to be armed and trained in the Macedonian fashion. But these innovations were regarded with a jealous eye by most of the Macedonian veterans; and this feeling was increased by the conduct of Alexander himself, who assumed every day more and more of the state and manners of an eastern despot. Their long-stifled dissatisfaction broke out into open mutiny and rebellion at a review which took place at Opis on the Tigris. But the mutiny was quelled by the decisive conduct of Alexander. He immediately ordered thirteen of the ringleaders to be seized and executed, and then, addressing the remainder, pointed out to them how, by his own and his father's exertions, they had been raised from the condition of scattered herdsmen to be the masters of Greece and the lords of Asia; and that, whilst he had abandoned to them the richest and most valuable fruits of his conquest, he had reserved nothing but the diadem for himself, as the mark of his superior labours and more imminent perils. He then secluded himself for two whole days, during which his Macedonian guard was exchanged for a Persian one, whilst nobles of the same nation were appointed to the most confidential posts about his person. Overcome by these marks of alienation on the part of their sovereign, the Macedonians now supplicated with tears to be restored to favour. A solemn reconciliation was effected, and 10,000 veterans were dismissed to their homes under the conduct of Craterus. That general was also appointed to the government of Macedonia in place of Antipater, who was ordered to repair to Asia with fresh reinforcements.