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.He was accordingly hanged by Alexander’s agents.63 Peucestas, of Alexander’s Personal Guard, was appointed governor, in recognition of his exceptional loyalty on all occasions – and especially on the occasion of his heroic act during the fight with the Mallians, when at the risk of his own life he helped to save Alexander.Apart from this, he was also a suitable Person for the post, as he liked Oriental ways.He showed this clearly enough immediately he was appointed, being the only Macedonian to adopt the Median dress; he also learned the Persian language, and in all other ways took to living as the Persians lived.Alexander thoroughly approved of this conduct, and the Persians themselves were gratified to find that he preferred their manner of life to that of his own country.64BOOK SEVENON reaching Pasargadae and Persepolis, Alexander had a sudden impulse to sail down the Euphrates and Tigris into the Persian Gulf; he had already seen something of the mouths of the Indus and of the waters beyond them, and now he wished to do the same with the Tigris and Euphrates.We find in some writers1 the statement that he intended to sail right round Arabia, Ethiopia, and Libya, pressing forward past the Nomads beyond Mount Atlas to Gadeira, and so into the Mediterranean; thus, had he added Libya and Carthage to his conquests, he could with full justification have claimed the title of King of All Asia, unlike the Median and Persian kings, who, ruling as they did only a fraction of that continent, could not properly call themselves Great Kings at all.Some authorities say that he proposed subsequently to sail into the Black Sea and on to Scythian territory by the Sea of Azov; others, that he meant to make for Sicily and southern Italy to check the Romans, whose reputation, being greatly on the increase, was already causing him concern.Personally I have no data from which to infer precisely what Alexander had in mind, and I do not care to make guesses; one thing, however, I feel I can say without fear of contradiction, and that is that his plans, whatever they were, had no lack of grandeur or ambition: he would never have remained idle in the enjoyment of any of his conquests, even had he extended his empire from Asia to Europe and from Europe to the British Isles.2 On the contrary, he would have continued to seek beyond them for unknown lands, as it was ever his nature, if he had no rival, to strive to better his own best.I have always liked the story3 of the Indian sages, some of whom Alexander chanced to come upon out of doors in a meadow, where they used to meet to discuss philosophy.On the appearance of Alexander and his army, these venerable men stamped with their feet and gave no other sign of interest.Alexander asked them through interpreters what they meant by this odd behaviour, and they replied: ‘King Alexander, every man can possess only so much of the earth’s surface as this we are standing on.You are but human like the rest of us, save that you are always busy and up to no good, travelling so many miles from your home, a nuisance to yourself and to others.Ah well! You will soon be dead, and then you will own just as much of this earth as will suffice to bury you.’ Alexander expressed his approval of these sage words; but in point of fact his conduct was always the exact opposite of what he then professed to admire.On another occasion he is said to have expressed surprise at a remark made by Diogenes of Sinope: he was marching somewhere in the Isthmus with a contingent of Guards and infantry Companions, and chancing to see Diogenes lying in the sun, he stopped and asked him if there was anything he wanted.‘Nothing,’ replied the philosopher; ‘though I should be grateful if you and your friends would move to one side, and not keep the sun off me.’4One must admit, then, that Alexander was not wholly a stranger to the loftier flights of philosophy; but the fact remains that he was, to an extraordinary degree, the slave of ambition.In Taxila, once, he met some members of the Indian sect of Wise Men whose practice it is to go naked, and he so much admired their powers of endurance that the fancy took him to have one of them in his personal train [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]