Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C: A Historical Biography

By Peter Green | Go to book overview

10
How Many Miles to Babylon?

ALEXANDER’S return march to the Jhelum began in autumn 326. While the army lay at the Chenab, a fresh embassy arrived from Abisares, with thirty elephants and other rare gifts. Once again the rajah of Kashmir failed to present himself in person: this time he pleaded illness as an excuse. (The illness may have been more than diplomatic, since a year later Abisares was dead.) Alexander, however, proved surprisingly lenient. He not only accepted the rajah’s apologies, but confirmed him as governor of his own ‘province’. In point of fact there was little else he could do. To whip Abisares into line would call for another campaign, and the Macedonians were unlikely to relish the prospect of chasing elusive tribesmen up the Himalayas. Alexander’s sudden loss of interest in northern India was largely due to circumstances beyond his control. To save time and trouble, all conquered territory as far as the Beas was simply made part of Porus’ kingdom.1 Thus the Paurava monarch now found himself – paradoxically enough – more powerful than he had been before his defeat at the Jhelum.

During the eastward advance Hephaestion, like Craterus, had been on detachment – not, fortunately, to the same place, since the two men detested each other, as only personal rivals for power can do. Hephaestion had ‘pacified’ a large area, rejoining Alexander just before the mutiny. One of his tasks had been to build a fortified garrison-town at the Chenab crossing. This ‘town ‘(probably little more than a mudbrick compound and a market) was now ready. Alexander settled it with the usual mixed population: unfit or time-expired mercenaries reinforced by local native volunteers – an abrasive formula, which seldom made for either peace or permanence. Craterus, with remarkable efficiency,

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Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C: A Historical Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface to the 2012 Edition xv
  • Preface to the 1991 Reprint xxiii
  • Preface and Acknowledgements xxix
  • List of Maps and Battle Plans xxxiii
  • Key to Abbreviations xxxv
  • Table of Dates xlv
  • 1 - Philip of Macedon 1
  • 2 - The Gardens of Midas 35
  • 3 - From a View to a Death 66
  • 4 - The Keys of the Kingdom 111
  • 5 - The Captain-General 152
  • 6 - The Road to Issus 182
  • 7 - Intimations of Immortality 236
  • 8 - The Lord of Asia 297
  • 9 - The Quest for Ocean 350
  • 10 - How Many Miles to Babylon? 412
  • Appendix - Propaganda at the Granicus 489
  • Notes and References 513
  • Sources of Information 569
  • Genealogical Table 586
  • General Index 589
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