« PrécédentContinuer »
13. The genius of Alexander began to be disgraced by the pride and unscrupulous cruelty of an Eastern king. He adopted the Persian dress and ceremonial, and required his courtiers to prostrate themselves before him, as to a divinity rather than a mortal. He had already put to death his friend Philo'tas, on an unproved charge of plotting against his life; and the aged Parme'nio, father of Philotas, was subjected without trial to a similar fate. At Bactria, in a drunken revel, Alexander murdered his friend Clitus with his own hand.
14. During his two years' war against Sogdiana, Alexander captured a mountain fortress, where Oxyar'tes, a Bactrian prince, had deposited his family. Roxa'na, one of the princesses, became the wife of the conqueror. In the spring of 327 B. C., the Macedonian army crossed the Indus and invaded the Punjab. No resistance was encountered until it reached the Hydas'pes, where Porus, an Indian king, was drawn up with his elephants and a formidable body of men. An obstinate battle resulted in the defeat and capture of Porus; but his brave spirit so commanded the respect of his conqueror, that he was permitted to retain his kingdom.
Alexander founded two cities near the Hydaspes, one named Buceph'ala, in honor of his favorite horse, which died there, and the other, Nicæ ́a, in commemoration of his victories. He gave orders for the building of a fleet from the Indian forests, while he advanced with his army still farther to the eastward. All the tribes as far as the Hypha'sis (Sutlej) were conquered, one by one. On arriving at that river, the Macedonians refused to go farther. They declared that they had more than fulfilled the terms of their enlistment, and that they were worn out by the hardships of eight unprecedented campaigns.
15. Alexander was compelled to turn back. His fleet was now ready, and he descended the Hydaspes to the Indus, in the autumn and winter of 327 B. C. His army marched in two columns along the banks, the entire valley submitting with little resistance. Two more cities were founded, and left with Greek garrisons and governors. Arriving at the Indian Ocean, Near'chus was sent with the fleet to the Persian Gulf, while Alexander returned by land. His march through Gedro'sia was the most severe of all his operations, the army suffering for the want of food and water. At Pura he obtained supplies, and proceeded through Kerman to Pasargadæ, and thence to Persepolis. Arriving at Susa in the spring of 325 B. C., he allowed his army some months of needed rest, while he began to organize the vast empire which he had so rapidly built up.
16. Desiring to unite his eastern and western dominions by every bond of sympathy and common interest, he assigned to eighty of his officers Asiatic wives with rich dowries. He had himself set the example by taking for his second wife Barsi'ne, daughter of Darius III.; and when ten thousand of the soldiery married Asiatic women, he gave presents to
them all. Twenty thousand Persians were received into the army, and drilled in Macedonian tactics; while Persian satraps were placed over several provinces, and the court was equally composed of Asiatics and Europeans. Some of Alexander's veterans, seeing the conquered nations placed on a level with themselves, broke into open mutiny. He silenced their complaints with great address, and then sent 10,000 of them home.
17. Unlike most conquerors, Alexander improved the countries which he had won by arms. Rivers were cleared from obstructions, commerce revived, and western enterprise took the place of Asiatic indolence and poverty. The Greek language and literature were planted every-where: every new exploration added to the treasures of science and the enlightenment of the human race. On his march from Ecbatana to Babylon, Alexander was met by embassadors from almost every part of the known world, who came to offer either submission or friendship.
18. He designed to conquer first Arabia, then Italy, Carthage, and the West, extending his empire from the Indus to the Pillars of Hercules. Babylon was to be his capital; and Alexander descended the river, to inspect in person the improvement of the canals which distributed water over the plain. But his magnificent schemes were cut short from their accomplishment by his early death. On his return from visiting the canals, he found the Arabian expedition nearly ready to sail, and he celebrated the occasion by a banquet to Nearchus and the chief officers. In the midst of the subsequent preparations, the king was attacked by a fever, occasioned by his exertions among the marshes, and aggravated, perhaps, by the wine he had taken at the festival. After an illness of eleven days he died, at the age of thirty-two, having reigned twelve years and eight months.
Macedonia rose to greatness under Archelaus (B. C. 413-399); was greatly increased by Philip II. (B. C. 359–336), who became master of Greece. Alexander, trained in his youth to war and diplomacy, began his reign at twenty; led a Greek army into Asia; defeated the Persians at the Granicus and at Issus; conquered Phoenicia, Syria, and Egypt; founded Alexandria on the Nile; gained a decisive victory over Darius at Arbela, B. C. 331; subdued the eastern and northern provinces of the empire; founded cities in western India; explored its rivers and coasts in the interest of science; planned the amalgamation of Europe and Asia, and the extension of his empire westward to the Atlantic; died B. C. 323.
SECOND PERIOD. From the Death of Alexander to the Battle of Ipsus, B. C. 323-301.
19. Alexander named no successor, but shortly before his death he gave his ring to Perdiccas. This general, as prime minister, kept the empire united for two years in the royal family. An infant prince, Alexander IV., born after his father's death, was associated on the throne with
Philip Arrhida'us, half-brother of the great Alexander. Four regents or guardians of the empire were appointed — two in Europe and two in Asia. One of these was murdered by Perdiccas, who thus acquired for himself the sole administration of Asia, Antipater and Crat'erus ruling west of the Bosphorus.
The provinces not already bestowed by the conqueror were divided among ten of his generals, who were expected to govern in the name and for the benefit of the two kings. Finding it impossible, however, either by management or force, to keep these lieutenants in subjection to the mere name of royalty, Perdiccas formed a plan to seize the sovereignty for himself. Eu'menes was on his side, while his colleagues in the regency, and the two great provincial governors, Ptolemy and Antig'onus, were his most powerful opponents. In a campaign against Ptolemy, in Egypt, Perdiccas was slain by his own mutinous soldiers. Craterus fell in a battle with Eumenes, in Cappadocia, and the sole regency devolved upon Antipater. This general defeated the schemes of Euryd'ice- niece of Alexander the Great, and wife of the imbecile king, Philip Arrhidæus who even harangued the army at Triparʼadi ́sus, in Syria, demanding to be admitted to a share in the government. A fresh division and assignment of the provinces was now made. Antigonus was charged with the prosecution of the war against Eumenes, in which he made himself master of the greater part of Asia Minor.
20. Antipater died in Macedon, B. C. 319, leaving the regency, not to his son Cassan'der, but to his friend Polysper'chon. Cassander, in disgust, fled to Antigonus; and in the war which followed, these two, with Ptolemy, sought the disruption of the empire, while Eumenes and Polysperchon fought for its unity. Eumenes collected a force in Cilicia, with which he meant to conquer Syria and Phoenicia, and thus gain command of the sea. Antigonus first defeated a royal fleet near Byzantium, and then marched across the country to the borders of Syria, and pursued Eumenes inland beyond the Tigris. A number of the eastern satraps here joined Eumenes, but after two indecisive battles he was seized by his own troops and given up to Antigonus, who put him to death, B. C. 316.
21. In Macedonia, the mock king, Philip Arrhidæus, and his wife were executed, by order of Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great. But this imperious princess was captured, in her turn, at Pydna; and, in violation of the terms of her surrender, was murdered by her enemies. Cassander became master of Macedonia and Greece. He married Thes'salonica, half-sister of the Conqueror, and founded in her honor the city which bears her name, B. C. 316.
22. The ambition of Antigonus now began to alarm his colleagues, for he was evidently not to be satisfied with less than the entire dominion of Alexander. He gave away the eastern satrapies according to his pleasure.
From Babylonia he drove Seleu'cus, who took refuge with Ptolemy in Egypt, and formed a league with Cassander, Lysimachus, and Asander. A war of four years followed (B. C. 315–311), which resulted in the reestablishment of Seleucus in Babylon and the East, while Antigonus gained power in Greece, Syria, and Asia Minor. The peace of B. C. 311 provided for the independence of the Greek cities, but allowed each general to keep what he had gained, and left Cassander regent of Macedonia until Alexander IV. should be of age. It was probably understood between the contracting parties that this last event was never to occur. The young king and his mother were murdered, by order of Cassander.
23. At the end of a year, Ptolemy broke the peace, on the pretense that Antigonus had not liberated the Greek cities of Asia Minor. He was opposed in Cilicia by Deme'trius, son of Antigonus, who gained in this war the title of Po'liorce'tes, the Besieger. Ptolemy, entering Greece, seized Sicyon and Corinth, and aimed to marry Cleopatra, the last survivor of the royal house of Macedon; but the princess was assassinated, by order of Cassander, B. C. 308. Demetrius now arriving with a fleet to the relief of Athens, Ptolemy withdrew to Cyprus, and gained possession of the island. A great battle followed off Salamis, one of the most severe in the world's history. Ptolemy was defeated, with the loss of all but eight of his ships, leaving 17,000 prisoners in the hands of the enemy.
24. The five principal generals now assumed the kingly title. Demetrius spent a year in the siege of Rhodes, which, by its brave and memorable defense, secured the privileges of a neutral in the remaining years of the war. Returning to Greece, he assembled a congress at Corinth, which conferred upon him the titles formerly bestowed on Philip and Alexander, and then marched northward against the regent, or, rather, king of Macedon. Alarmed at his endangered position, Cassander stirred up his allies to invade Asia Minor.
25. The decisive battle took place, B. C. 301, at Ipsus, in Phrygia. Demetrius had arrived from Europe to the assistance of his father; but Seleucus, with the forces of the East, including 480 Indian elephants, increased the army of Lysimachus. Antigonus, in his eighty-first year, was slain; Demetrius, completely defeated, took refuge in Greece, but was not permitted to enter Athens. The two conquerors, Seleucus and Lysimachus, divided the dominions of Alexander, with due regard to their own interests Seleucus received the Euphrates Valley, Upper Syria, Cappadocia, and part of Phrygia. Lysimachus added the rest of Asia Minor to his Thracian dominion, which extended along the western shores of the Euxine as far as the mouths of the Danube; Ptolemy retained Egypt, and Cassander continued to reign in Macedonia until his death.
26. The results of the twenty years' war were disastrous to Greece and Macedonia, not only by the exhausting expenditure of blood and treasure, but by the introduction of Oriental habits of luxury and unmanly servility, in place of the free and simple manners of former times. Though the minds of the Greeks were enlarged by a knowledge of the history and philosophy of the Eastern nations, and by observation of the natural world and its productions in new climates and circumstances, yet most of the influences which had kept alive the free spirit of the people had ceased to work. Patriotism was dead; learning took the place of genius; and imitation, the place of art.
27. At the same time, Asia had gained many splendid cities, her commerce had vastly increased, and the Greek military discipline and forms of civil government gave new strength to her armies and states. From the Indus to the Adriatic, and from the Crimea to the southern bounds of Egypt, the Greek language prevailed, at least among the educated and ruling classes. In Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, the influence of Hellenic thought continued a thousand years in full force, until Mahomet and his successors set up their new Semitic empire. The wide diffusion of the Greek language in western Asia was among the most important preparations for the spread of Christianity. If Alexander had lived to complete his great scheme of interfusing the eastern and western races, Asia would have gained and Europe lost in still greater measure.
Perdiccas became vizier, Philip Arrhidæus and Alexander IV being nominally kings. Wars of the generals for the division of the empire, B. C. 321–316; 315–311; 310-301. Murder of the two kings, 316, 311. Battle of Salamis in Cyprus, 306. The decisive combat at Ipsus gave Syria and the East to Seleucus; Egypt, to Ptolemy; Thrace, to Lysimachus; Macedonia, to Cassander.
THIRD PERIOD. History of the Several Kingdoms into which Alexander's Empire was divided.
I. THE SYRIAN KINGDOM OF THE SELEU'CIDE. B. C. 312-65. 28. After the restoration of Seleucus to the government of Babylonia (see ? 22), he extended his power over all the provinces between the Euphrates and the Indus. He even made war against an Indian kingdom upon the western headwaters of the Ganges, gaining thereby a great extension of commerce, and the addition of five hundred elephants to his army. The battle of Ipsus added to his dominions the country as far west as the Mediterranean and the center of Phrygia, making his kingdom by far the greatest that had been formed from the fragments of Alexander's empire.
This vast dominion was organized by Seleucus with great skill and