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At this crisis, the Athenian Xen'ophon, who had accompanied the army of Cyrus, though not as a soldier, called together the principal Greeks at midnight, and urged the election of new officers who should lead them back to their native land. The suggestion was adopted; five generals were chosen, of whom Xenophon was one, and by break of day the army had been mustered for its homeward march.
Here began the Retreat of the Ten Thousand, celebrated in the annals of war as, perhaps, the most remarkable instance of an enterprise conducted against prodigious obstacles, with perfect coolness, valor, and success. Tissaphernes with his army hung upon their rear, hostile barbarians were in front, and to the fatigues of the march were added the perils of frequent battles. Their course lay over the table-lands of Armenia, where many perished in the freezing north winds, or were blinded by the unusual glare of snow. The survivors pressed on with indomitable spirit, until, ascending a mountain south of Treb'izond, they beheld, far away to the north-west, the dark waters of the Euxine. Their greatest perils were now over; a joyous cry, "The sea! the sea!" arose from the front rank and was quickly caught up by those behind. Officers and soldiers embraced each other with tears of joy; and all united to erect upon this happy lookout a monument of the trophies collected during their wearisome journey.
73. By their part in the rebellion of Cyrus, however involuntary, the Spartans had given unpardonable offense to Artaxerxes, and they resolved to be the first movers in the war which must ensue. Securing the services of the Ten Thousand, they attacked the Persians in Asia Minor with a success which promised a speedy end to their dominion. But Persia had grown wiser since the days of Xerxes, and fought the Greeks not so much with her unwieldy masses of troops as with subtle intrigue. By means of skillful emissaries well supplied with gold, she brought about a league between the secondary states of Greece - Argos, Corinth, Athens, and Thebes — which at once overbalanced the power of Sparta. Persian ships had part in the battle of Cnidus, by which the confederates gained the dominion of the sea. B. C. 394. Sparta was reduced to accepting the humiliating peace of Antal'cidas, by which the Asiatic Greeks were left under the control of Persia, and the great king gained an authoritative voice in all quarrels between the Grecian states.
B. C. 387.
74. Artaxerxes was haunted by the desire to restore the empire to its greatest extent under Darius Hystaspes. He reöccupied Samos, which he intended as a stepping-stone to the rest of the Greek islands; and sent a great expedition into Egypt under the joint command of Iphic'rates, an Athenian, and Pharnabazus, a Persian general. This enterprise failed, partly through the jealousies of the two commanders; and the failure hastened a revolt in the western satrapies, which came near to overturn
the empire. Egypt now retaliated, and attempted to revive her ancient glories by the conquest of Syria and Phoenicia. But these movements were defeated by management and gold, and Artaxerxes left his dominion with nearly the same boundaries which it had at the beginning of his reign.
75. REIGN OF ARTAXERXES III. B. C. 359–338. The death of Artaxerxes II was followed by the usual crimes and atrocities which attended a change upon the Persian throne. His youngest son, Ochus, seized the crown after the murder of his eldest and the suicide of his second brother. He assumed the name of Artaxerxes III, and by his energy and spirit did much to retrieve the failing prosperity of the empire. He did not, however, abate the inherent sources of its weakness in the corruptions of the court. Family affection had been replaced by jealousy and hatred. The first act of Ochus was the extermination of his own royal race, in order that no rival might remain to dispute his throne. His more ambitious enterprises were delayed by a revolt of Artabazus in Asia Minor, which was abetted by Athens and Thebes. The defeated satrap fled to Philip of Macedon, whose ready protection and Ochus's retaliatory measures led to the most important results. These will be detailed in Book IV.
76. About B. C. 351, Ochus was ready to attempt the subjugation of Egypt. He was defeated in his first campaign, and retired into Persia to recruit his forces. This retreat was the signal for innumerable revolts. Phoenicia placed herself under the independent government of the king of Sidon; Cyprus set up nine native sovereigns; in Asia Minor a dozen separate kingdoms were asserted, if not established. But the spirit of Artaxerxes III was equal to the occasion. He raised a second armament, hired ten thousand Greek mercenaries, and proceeded in person to war against Phoenicia and Egypt. Sidon was taken and Phoenicia subdued. Mentor the Rhodian, who, in the service of the king of Egypt was aiding the Sidonians, went over to the Persians with four thousand Greeks. Egypt was then invaded with more success. Nectanebo was defeated and expelled, and his country again reduced to a Persian satrapy.
77. Most of the later victories of Artaxerxes were due to the valor of his Greek auxiliaries, or to the treachery or incapacity of his opponents. After the reëstablishment of his government, he abandoned himself to the pleasures of his palace, while the control of affairs rested exclusively with Bago'as, his minister, and Mentor, his general. The people were only reminded. from time to time of his existence by some unusually bloody mandate. Whatever hope might have been inspired by his really great abilities, was disappointed at once by his unscrupulous violence and indolent self-indulgence. He died of poison by the hand of Bagoas, B. C. 338.
78. ARSES. B. C. 338-336. The perfidious minister destroyed not merely the king himself, but all the royal princes except Ar'ses, the youngest,
whom he placed upon the throne, believing that, as a mere boy, he would be subservient to his control. After two years he was alarmed by some signs of independent character in his pupil, and added Arses to the number of his victims. He now conferred the sovereignty upon Darius Codoman'nus, a grandson of Darius II, whom he regarded as a friend, but who commenced his reign by an act of summary justice, in the execution of the wretch to whom he owed his crown. B. C. 336.
79. REIGN OF DARIUS III. B. C. 336-331. As has often happened in the world's history, one of the best of the Persian kings had to bear the results of the tyrannies of his predecessors. Darius was not more distinguished for his personal beauty than for the uprightness and benevolence of his character; and as satrap of Armenia, before his accession to the throne, he had won great applause both for his bravery as a soldier and his skill as a general. But the Greeks, whose reasons for hostility against the Persians had been two hundred years accumulating, had now, at last, a leader more ambitious than Xerxes, and more able than Cyrus. Already, before Darius had mounted the throne, Alexander the Great had succeeded his father in Macedon, had been appointed general-in-chief of all the Greek forces, and had commenced his movement against Asia.
80. The Persian monarch despised the presumption of an inexperienced boy, and made no effort, by aiding the European enemies of Alexander, to crush the new foe in his cradle. The satraps and generals shared the confidence of their master, and though a large force was collected in Mysia, no serious opposition was made to his passage of the Hellespont. In B. C. 334, Alexander with his 35,000 Greeks crossed the strait which had been passed by Xerxes, with his five millions, less than 150 years before. The Greek army was scarcely more inferior to the Persian in number than superior in efficiency. It was composed of veteran troops in the highest possible state of equipment and discipline, and every man was filled with enthusiastic devotion to his leader and confidence of success.
Memnon, a brother of Mentor the Rhodian, with the satraps Spithrida ́tes and Arsi'tes, commanded the Persians in Asia Minor. Their first collision with Alexander was in the attempt to prevent his passage of the Grani'cus, a little Mysian river which flows into the Propon'tis. They were totally defeated, and Alexander, advancing southward, subdued, or rather liberated all the cities of the western coast without long delay. Halicarnas ́sus, under the command of Memnon, made an obstinate resistance, and it was only at the end of autumn that it surrendered. Memnon then resolved to carry the war into Greece. He gathered a large fleet and captured many islands in the Ægean; but his death at Mytilene relieved Alexander of the most able of his opponents.
81. The king of Macedon wintered at Gor'dium, where he cut or untied the celebrated knot, which an ancient prophecy had declared could never
be loosened except by the conqueror of Asia. With fresh reinforcements from Greece, he commenced his second campaign, in the spring of 333, by marching through Cappadocia and Cilicia to the gates of Syria. Darius met him, in the narrow plain of Issus, with an army of half a million men. Hemmed in between the mountains, the river, and the sea, the Persian horsemen could not act, and their immense numbers were rather an incumbrance than an advantage. Darius was defeated and fled across the Euphrates. His mother, wife, and children fell into the hands of the conqueror, who treated them with the utmost delicacy and respect.
82. B. C. 333–331. The conquests of Syria, Phoenicia, and Egypt, which Alexander now accomplished in less than two years, will be described in the Macedonian history. In the spring of 331, he retraced his triumphant march through Syria, crossed the Euphrates at Thapsacus, traversed Mesopotamia, and met Darius again on the great Assyrian plain east of the Tigris. The Persian king had spent the twenty months which had intervened since the battle of Issus in mustering the entire force of his empire. The ground was carefully selected as most favorable to the movements of cavalry, and as giving him the full advantage of his superior numbers. A large space was leveled and hardened with rollers for the evolutions of the scythe-armed chariots. An important part of the infantry was formed of the brave and hardy mountaineers of Afghanistan, Bokhara, Khiva, and Thibet; and the cavalry, of the ancestors of the modern Kurds and Turcomans, a race always distinguished for bold and skillful horsemanship. A brigade of Greek auxiliaries was alone considered able to withstand the charge of Alexander's phalanx. Altogether the forces of Darius numbered more than a million of men, and they surpassed all former general levies of the Persians in the efficient discipline which enabled them to act together as one body.
83. The Macedonian phalanx, which formed the center of Alexander's army, was the most effective body of heavy-armed troops known to ancient tactics. The men were placed sixteen deep, armed with the sarissa, or long pike, twenty-four feet in length. When set for action, the spear-heads of the first six ranks projected from the front. In receiving a charge, the shield of each man, held over the head with the left arm, overlapped that of his neighbor; so that the entire body resembled a monster clothed in the shell of a tortoise and the bristles of a porcupine. So long as it held together, the phalanx was invincible. Whether it advanced its vast weight upon an enemy like a solid wall of steel bristling with spear-points, or, kneeling, with each pike planted in the ground, awaited the attack, few dared to encounter it.
84. BATTLE OF ARBELA. On the morning of the 1st of October, B. C. 331, the two great forces met upon the plain of Gaugame ́la. Alexander fought at the head of his cavalry, on the right of his army. Darius, in
the Persian center, animated his men both by word and example. Both sides fought with wonderful bravery, but the perfect discipline of the Macedonians gained at length a complete victory. The Persian warchariots, which, with long scythes extending from their wheels, were intended to make great havoc among the Greek horse, were rendered useless by a detachment of light-armed troops trained for the purpose, who, first wounding horses and drivers with their javelins, ran beside the horses and cut the traces or seized the reins, while the few which reached the Macedonian front were allowed to pass between files which opened to receive them, and were easily captured in the rear. Five brigades of the phalanx bore down the Greek mercenaries who were opposed to them, and penetrated to the Persian center, where Darius commanded in person. The king's charioteer was killed by a javelin; he himself mounted a fleet horse and galloped from the field.
Elsewhere the issue of the day was much more doubtful for Alexander; but the news of Darius's flight disheartened his officers, and spurred the Macedonians, who were outnumbered and almost overpowered, to fresh exertions. A party of Persian and Indian horsemen, who were plundering the Macedonian camp, were put to flight by a reserve corps of the phalanx. The fugitive king, followed at length by his whole army, directed his course to the city of Arbe'la, twenty miles distant, where his military treasures were deposited. The river Ly'cus lay in their way, crossed only by a narrow bridge, and the number of Persians drowned in this rapid stream exceeded even those who had perished upon the battle-field.
85. The next day Alexander arrived at Arbela and took possession of its treasures. The Persian king, unhappily for himself, had escaped a generous conqueror only to fall into the hands of his treacherous satrap Bes'sus. This man had led a division of the Persian army in the battle of Arbela, but finding his master's fortunes ruined, had plotted with some fellow-officers to seize his person, and either put him to death or deliver him to Alexander, hoping thus to gain for themselves important commands. Loaded with chains, the unhappy king was carried away by his servants in their flight toward Hyrcania; but Alexander's troops pressed them closely, and finding escape impossible, they mortally wounded their captive and left him by the road-side to die.
The former lord of Asia was indebted to a Macedonian soldier, who brought him a cup of cold water, for the last act of attendance. He assured the man that his inability to reward this service added bitterness to his dying moments; but commended him to Alexander, whose generosity he himself had proved, and who would not fail to honor this his last request. The conqueror came up while the lifeless remains of Darius still lay by the road-side. Deeply moved, he threw his own royal mantle over the body of his foe, and ordered that a magnificent procession should convey the last of