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Alexander the Great Prostration, Calliesthenes, The Rock of Sogdiana, Massaga, Rock of Aornos, Battle of Hydaspes.

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Presentation on theme: "Alexander the Great Prostration, Calliesthenes, The Rock of Sogdiana, Massaga, Rock of Aornos, Battle of Hydaspes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Alexander the Great Prostration, Calliesthenes, The Rock of Sogdiana, Massaga, Rock of Aornos, Battle of Hydaspes

2 Alexander’s orientalism
At this time, Alexander was adopting Persian customs. One such practice involved having people bow and kiss the ground before the king, otherwise known as prostration. Many Greeks opposed this, in particular a Greek called Callisthenes. A flatterer at Alexander’s court called Anaxarchus agreed that Alexander had more of a claim to divinity than Hercules or Dionysus. Many non-Macedonians were too quick to agree with this and prostrated themselves before Alexander.

3 Alexander’s orientalism
Anaxarchus said: since the Macedonians might honour Alexander as a god after his death, would it not make as much sense to honour him as a god when he was still alive! The Macedonians dissented but said nothing. Callisthenes spoke up: while he agreed that Alexander should be honoured, he said there was a difference honouring a god and honouring a man. Temples were built and statues erected, sacrifices were made and songs of praise were written to the Gods. People also prostrated before the Gods when worshiping them.

4 Alexander’s orientalism
To honour men in the same way as the gods was to degrade the gods. On these grounds the gods may even get angry with the man who wishes to have this honour shown to him, or to the people who carry on doing it. Callisthenes agreed that Alexander was truly brave and great, but he had accepted bad advice from Anaxarchus. Not even Heracles was given divine honours until much later after his death.

5 Alexander’s orientalism
Would Alexander impose this practice of prostration on the liberty loving Greeks, when he returned home, or would he only do it to the Macedonians? Callisthenes implies that Persian customs were fine for Persia, but would be seen very differently in Greece and Macedonia. Alexander was furious with these arguments but he conceded that the Macedonians did not have to prostrate themselves before their king.

6 Alexander’s orientalism
Arrian finishes the topic by relating an incident at a party. As the guests drank from a shared cup they prostrated themselves in front of the king and received a kiss from him in recognition of this. Callisthenes drank from the cup, went up to Alexander for a kiss, but was refused. One of Alexander’s companions had reported that Callisthenes did not prostrate before the king. Callisthenes, rather mockingly replied, that he must go back to his place “one kiss the poorer”. Arrian chastises Callisthenes’ “bad manners and Alexander’s arrogance”.

7 The plot on alexander’s life
Alexander’s father, Philip, had established a custom of training young Macedonian boys, by having them look after the king (page boys). They would protect the king while asleep and act as his personal attendant. One of these boys, Hermolaus, was a close attendant to Alexander. The boy was also interested in philosophy and was under the influence of Callisthenes.

8 The plot on alexander’s life
One day at a hunt, Hermolaus killed a boar before Alexander had the chance to do so. Alexander was furious, he had the young lad flogged in front of the other page boys and confiscated his horse. Hermolaus, along with a group of other conspirators, planned and plotted to avenge this insult. They came up with a scheme to murder the king in his sleep. It was arranged to kill Alexander when the king was sleeping. However, they lost their chance when Alexander stayed up all night drinking.

9 The plot on alexander’s life
Another source says that a Syrian woman, with a gift of second sight, used to follow Alexander around. On the night of the planned assassination, she urged the king to continue drinking and not to return to his tent. The boys’ plot fell through, however one of the conspirators, Epimenes, told a bosom friend, Charicles, of the plot. This boy reported what he had heard to Ptolemy, who informed to Alexander. The boys were tortured and admitted their guilt. When Hermolaus was brought to trial he said he could no longer live under Alexander’s tyranny: the killing of Philotas, Parmenio, Cleitus, Alexander assuming Persian habits etc. The boys were stoned to death.

10 The plot on alexander’s life
Callisthenes was arrested. He may have been innocent but Alexander disliked the man after he publicly criticised him over the practice of prostration and he used this opportunity to deal with him because he had been close to Hermolaus. Ptolemy says the older man, Callisthenes, encouraged the boys to kill Alexander. Some sources say Callisthenes was tortured and hanged, other accounts say he was dragged around the place in chains, until his health broke down.

11 Reading Read Arrian’s account of this plot: p. 217 – 226
Read Plutarch’s account of Callisthenes and his death: p. 310 – 313 (Point 53 – 55)

12 assignment Why did Callisthenes not like Alexander’s policy of prostration? Write a paragraph explaining this.

13 Alexander enters India

14 Alexander in india The king of Scythia formed an alliance with Alexander. However another leader, the prince of Bactria occupied the rock of Sogdiana. If this stronghold was taken then all of Sogdiana would be under Alexander’s control. The “Rock of Sogdiana” was a high rock with a limitless supply of water and resources. Snow on the rock face made it difficult to access. At a peace meeting between the occupiers and Alexander, the natives were told that if the surrendered the rock to Alexander then they could go home in peace.

15 The rock of sogdiana The natives bragged and mocked Alexander saying that he would have to find wings for his men to ascend the rock face. The natives on the rock had prepared for a long siege. The snow made the ascent more difficult and provided the defenders with an “unlimited supply of water”. Undaunted Alexander was “determined on an assault”. Their “bragging” got Alexander’s blood up an did nothing but “to put him on his mettle”. Alexander said he would award a prize of 12 talents to the first man up the rock, 11 to the second, 10 to the third man up and so on until the twelfth man up, who would get 300 gold darics.

16 The rock of sogdiana Three hundred men, experienced in rock climbing “assembled”. The drove iron tent pegs into the snow, where it was frozen, and attached strong flaxen lines across these pegs. They climbed the rock at night and ascended an area that was least defended. Continuing to drive the iron pegs into the rock-face they hauled themselves up to the summit. About thirty men fell to their deaths. Their bodies were lost in the snow and never recovered for burial.

17 The rock of sogdiana The rest reached the summit by dawn, the men waved bits of linen at Alexander's troops below. This was a signal that they had made it to the top. Alexander shouted up to the defenders that his men were on top, that he had found men with wings and they should “might now surrender without delay”. The natives were severely shocked to see Alexander’s men on top. They assumed that more were on the way, fully armed. The defenders handed over the stronghold to Alexander. He took many prisoners that day.

18 Alexander’s marriage One of these was a daughter of a Bactrian nobleman. Her name was Roxane. “Alexander fell in love with her at sight”. He ended up marrying her soon afterwards. Alexander married this beautiful woman, not only because he was attracted to her but also because the marriage conveniently formed an alliance with the Bactrian barons in the area as Roxanne was the daughter of one the Bactrian chieftains.

19 Reading Read Arrian’s account of the Rock of Sogdiana and Alexander’s marriage to Roxane on p. 232 – 235.

20 The city of massaga Alexander was making his way towards India, capturing tribes and settlements as he went along. One of these forts was Massaga, a large town. The city had high walls and was guarded by 7,000 Indian mercenaries and they were confident of beating Alexander. Alexander did not want to fight them too near their town; he drew out soldiers from the city by engaging them outside the walls, but when they marched towards him he retreated even further away, as if he were fleeing the scene altogether.

21 The city of massaga The Indians followed him, wandering even further from the protection of the city. Alexander then turned his army about and chased the Indians; many were killed before they got back to the walled city. He used siege weapons to break the walls, but for a time the Indians kept him at bay. He brought siege towers to the walls and laid out a bridge from this to the city walls. But the bridge collapsed under the weight of so many men.

22 The city of massaga The enemy jeered and assaulted the men with missiles and arrows, and Alexander was forced to retreat and regroup. Alexander brought up another siege engine and laid out a bridge from it connecting it to the city walls. Alexander repeated the same manoeuvre on the third day, (tower and bridge). This time however, the loss of the Indian chief, coupled with heavy Indian losses meant they asked for a truce.

23 The city of massaga The Indians decided to give up the struggle and fight for Alexander. In fact this was only a ruse; they had no intention of joining Alexander. They went to camp outside the town, a hill where they planned to desert at nightfall. Alexander heard about this, had the camp encircled and butchered the Indians. The town was now in his hands.

24 The rock of aornos Alexander was now moving through India capturing settlements and tribes as he went along. After taking the town of Ora, the Indian natives from the surrounding district took refuge on the Rock of Aornos. There was a legend, that apparently Heracles himself was unable to capture this same rock, when he was passing through the area on his 12 labours. The rock was 25 miles in circumference and 8,000 feet high. It had only one way up, a pathway hewn from the rock. On top it had water from springs, woodland and “good arable land to keep 1,000 men busy.

25 The rock of aornos Alexander was determined to capture the fortification, not least to outdo Heracles. Alexander got supplies from the surrounding territory, he was preparing for a long siege. Local natives pointed out a weak spot, where Alexander might be able to begin his attack from. Ptolemy was sent with some units to go and seize the position pointed out by the guides. When he had achieved this he was to signal to Alexander. Ptolemy had no problem reaching this position.

26 The rock of aornos Ptolemy built a ditch and stockade to secure his position and raised a fire signal to Alexander. Alexander tried to join him the following day, but found the ground rough and received strong resistance from the enemy. The Indians then attacked Ptolemy’s ditch and stockade but after a fierce battle Ptolemy held out and forced the Indians to withdraw at nightfall. A trusted guide, an Indian deserter who knew the rock well, was given a letter to bring to Ptolemy. Alexander instructed his general to move from his current position. He was to begin a new offensive. The next day, his attack along with Alexander’s, would catch the Indians between “two fires”.

27 The rock of aornos The next day Alexander began another attempt to climb the pass and reach Ptolemy. After a long struggle, he achieved this aim. When he combined his forces with Ptolemy’s, together they began an assault on the “actual rock”. This was unsuccessful and nothing else that day was “accomplished”. Alexander ordered wooden stakes to be cut and an earthen hill was laid across from the position where he occupied to the rock of Aornos.

28 The rock of aornos At this raised mound he attacked the enemy with catapults and arrows. Alexander continued to build the earthen bridge, raising it as he went along, attacking the enemy as they tried to disrupt his work. Some Macedonian troops occupied another position further up and Alexander extended his mound to this new position. When the Indians saw that Alexander was gaining progress, the earthen work and bridge reaching higher and higher levels and getting closer to the enemy, they surrendered, having lost all hope.

29 The rock of aornos The Indians had planned to draw out negotiations with Alexander and slip away at night, back to their homes. However Alexander found out about this. Alexander accepted their surrender and occupied the rock which was now abandoned by the defenders. As the Indians were heading away in retreat, Alexander gave the signal. The Indians were attacked. Many died trying to escape, others flung them selves from the rock.

30 reading Read Arrian’s account of the city of Massaga and the rock of Aornos – p

31 Battle on the hydaspes Alexander crossed the mighty Indus River. Here he sacrificed to the river god, held games and analysed omens. He also assembled a massive army and headed across land (Taxila) to another great river the Hydaspes. The tribes around Taxila submitted to Alexander but at the far side of the river Hydaspes, an Indian king called Porus was waiting for him, ready to defend his territory.

32 preparations Alexander ordered the boats that had been used to cross the Indus be dismantled and transferred to the Hydaspes, to act as a flotilla for the crossing of this river. Porus sent pickets along the riverbanks to make sure a crossing was not attempted. Alexander moved his own troops about, up and down the river, so as to keep Porus occupied and distracted. Porus saw Alexander’s troop movements, on the far side and on the river itself. He noticed that Alexander was supplied with enormous provisions; the Macedonians were here for the long haul.

33 preparations Alexander could either wait until the waters dropped, in winter, or cross there and then. But Porus’ massive army and elephant regiments would have surely inflicted massive damage on his army if he attempted a crossing. Alexander had to cross the river, but “not openly” he had to use “cunning”.

34 Preparatons Every night Alexander went up and down the river, making a commotion, yelling out, as if he were about to cross. Porus moved his forces in parallel to Alexander’s movements. Porus eventually gave up after a while when he discovered that Alexander was not crossing. Porus was thus “lulled in to a false sense of security”.

35 Battle of hydaspes Some 18 miles up river, Alexander noticed a bend in the river, with an island in the middle of it, it was thickly wooded. This was perfect for his crossing. Alexander decided to cross here, it was 18 miles from his original position. Alexander had stationed pickets all along the banks of the river. These men could communicate to each other by “sight and sound”. Orders could be passed up and down between his forces.

36 Battle of hydaspes Craterus was left in charge of the original position, facing Porus. He was instructed not to attempt a crossing, until Porus moved to attack Alexander, further up, or until Porus was defeated. Craterus was told to cross the river if Porus moved his elephant squadron to engage Alexander and left a small force behind. The Elephants were the only real danger to the horses.


38 Battle of hydaspes Alexander had other companies of cavalry and infantry posted along the river from Craterus up river to where he was crossing. They were also ordered to cross over when the battle began. Alexander assembled his boats at the point of crossing. A heavy thunderstorm proved fortunate in hiding his preparations. i.e. the noise and din of the crossing could not be heard by the enemy. Alexander and his forces began to cross over at dawn, the storm had stopped and the “wind fell light”. The island screened his movements from Porus’ scouts.

39 Battle of hydaspes Once Alexander passed the island the enemy scouts could see him. They “galloped off” to tell Porus. When Alexander got across he began to arranged his forces who were coming in their droves behind him. Unwittingly, Alexander did not land on the mainland, but on another larger island. He was after all in a “strange country”. He could get to the mainland by crossing a river of no great size. Alexander led his men over, but the water was up to their armpits and reached the horses necks.

40 Battle of hydaspes When he was across, Alexander once again marshalled his troops. The 6,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry marched forward rapidly. Arrian outlines different version of what happened next: one account says that Porus’ son arrived with 60 chariots before Alexander crossed from the second island. The Indian could have attacked the Macedonians as they crossed from this island and attempted to get onshore. But he permitted Alexander to cross unharmed.

41 Battle of hydaspes Another version declares that Porus and Alexander did have a battle here at this crossing. Alexander was wounded and his beloved horse was killed (Bucephalus). Arrian says he believes Ptolemy’s account. He reports that there was a battle between Porus’ son and Alexander. However the young prince had a large force, 2,000 mounted troops, 160 chariots. Alexander had crossed over before the young warrior arrived.

42 Battle of hydaspes Alexander actually thought he was heading onwards and attacking Porus’ main position. He had no difficulty defeating the Indian army sent to meet him. Porus’ son was also killed, the Indian squadrons broken up and many chariots captured. Porus realising what was happening, moved his army up to meet Alexander. Porus had 4,000 cavalry and 30,000 infantry. He marched on until he found firm ground to line up his formations. His elephants were spaced out at intervals of 100 feet on a broad front. These elephants screened his infantry.

43 Battle of hydaspes Porus realising that Alexander had crossed up river, he marched against him, leaving a small force behind to meet Craterus, who was now crossing. He did not expect Alexander to force an entry through the gaps in the elephants. The enemy horses would be terrified and his infantry would be checked by Porus’ own foot soldiers. The elephants would also trample the Macedonians. On either flanks of his elephant squadrons, Porus stationed mounted troops behind rows of chariots.

44 Battle of hydaspes Alexander waited until his entire army was together, i.e. until the infantry joined the cavalry. He allowed them to rest because they were exhausted as a result of the crossing.

45 Battle of hydaspes Alexander decided not to attack Porus’ centre.
He moved the majority of his mounted troops to the enemies left wing. General Coenus was sent to Porus’ right. The Macedonian infantry were ordered not to attack until Porus cavalry and foot soldiers were thrown into confusion. The battle began when Alexander launched a storm of arrows against Porus left wing – he would follow with his cavalry.

46 Battle of hydaspes The Indians moved all of their cavalry to support this left wing who were under attack. General Coenus also began the attack, from the other side, (right) the Indians had to split their forces to meet him as well as Alexander. This was disastrous, precisely what Porus did not want to happen, i.e. his forces split.

47 Battle of hydaspes As the Indian cavalry were turning around to confront Coenus, Alexander continued with his attack. Then Porus’ cavalry fell back on the elephants. The Macedonian infantry were shooting at the elephant drivers and pouring a hail of missiles “from every side upon the elephants themselves”. The elephants dealt a great deal of destruction to many of the Macedonian troops. The Indian mounted troops made another assault on Alexander’s horses, but once again they were pushed back on the elephant squadrons, for a second time.

48 Battle of hydaspes Alexander’s cavalry units “united” and “concentrated in to a single body”. They charged against the enemy, boxing up the elephants. In the confusion the huge creatures roamed around trampling their own men as well as the Macedonians. The elephants also crammed in the Indian cavalry not allowing them to “manoeuvre”. Indeed many of the elephants had no drivers. (shot down by the Macedonians). The elephants proved ineffective. When they did charge against the Macedonians, the troops stood aside to let them by, -when the elephants returned back, they were attacked by javelins.

49 Battle of hydaspes The Indians suffered as much from the angry and disorientated elephants who wheeled back because they had less room to get out of the way. Alexander’s infantry surrounded the Indian forces, the horses, troops, elephants, (who were growing tired and feeble), and locking shields moved forward as a single mass. Both sides suffered heavy losses. Craterus arrived from across the river to reinforce Alexander’s attack. These fresh troops, “inflicted..further losses on the Indians”.

50 Battle of hydaspes: aftermath
According to Arrian, the Indians lost 20,000 infantry, and 3,000 cavalry. Many of their officers were killed as were two of Porus’ sons. Alexander suffered 80, infantry, 10 mounted archers, 20 Companions and 200 of “the other cavalry”. Porus did not scramble away when he was defeated, (like Darius). Rather he fought bravely to the end, remaining on the battle field. He only withdrew when he was injured.

51 Battle of hydaspes: aftermath
Alexander sent another Indian lord, Taxiles to meet him. Alexander wanted to save Porus’ life along with the remaining Indian soldiers. Porus turned angrily on Taxiles when he saw him coming, the two had been previous enemies before Alexander arrived in India. Alexander sent another man, (an old friend of Porus). He then decided to met Alexander. When Alexander went out to meet Porus he was struck by how tall he was, Arrian says over seven feet high and had a noble bearing about him.

52 Battle of hydaspes: aftermath
Alexander asked Porus what he wanted. Porus replied, “treat me as a king ought”. Alexander agreed. Porus said that “everything” he asked for was contained “In that one request”. Porus was restored to “sovereignty”, his territory was given back to him and from that time onward Porus became a loyal friend to Alexander. After the battle Alexander offered up sacrifices and held ceremonial games to celebrate his success.

53 Reading Read Arrian’s account of Hydaspes: p

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