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The Aims of Alexander1

  • P. A. Brunt

Extract

Sir William Tarn wrote that ‘the primary reason why Alexander invaded Persia was, no doubt, that he never thought of not doing it; it was his inheritance’. The invasion had been planned and begun by Philip. It was, in name, a Panhellenic enterprise, to exact retribution for the devastation wrought by Xerxes in Greece and to liberate the Greeks of Asia Minor. These aims Alexander faithfully fulfilled. From the spoils of the Granicus he dedicated three hundred Persian panoplies to Athens' tutelary goddess; he sent back to Athens the statues of Harmo-dius and Aristogiton which Xerxes had carried off to Susa; and he excused the burning of Persepolis as a reprisal for the sack of Athens. The Panhellenic war was then over, and Alexander sent the Greek contingents home (A. iii. 19. 5). In general he freed the Greek cities of Asia from the control of satraps; they were to pay no taxes, to receive no garrisons and to live under their own laws. By expelling tyrants or oligarchs and setting up democratic governments, he not only removed the partisans of Persia from power but did homage to the growing tendency in Greece to equate freedom with democracy. The gratitude of the liberated cities was long-enduring; it was here that his cult survived into Roman times. In reality of course they were as much subject to his will as less privileged subjects. And to Greek cities that opposed him he was less accommodating. Halicarnassus and Aspendus, which certainly counted as Greek, were subjected to his satraps. They could be treated as disloyal to the Panhellenic cause, like the captive mercenaries who fought against him at the Granicus and who were sent back in chains to forced labour in Macedon. But Alexander was not always so merciless. He spared the mercenaries who were holding out against him on an island in the harbour of Miletus, and enlisted them in his own army; it would not have been easy to take the island by force. Sentiment and principle gave way to his own interests, as they always did.

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page 205 note 2 Polyb. iii. 6. 8 ff.; D. xvi. 89. 2; 91. 2; xvii. 24. 1; A. ii. 14. 4.

page 205 note 3 A. i. 16. 7; iii. 16. 7–8; 18. 11–12; vi. 30. 1.

page 205 note 4 Cf. Badian, , p. 169.

page 205 note 5 Jones, A. H. M., The Greek City from Alexander to Justinian (Oxford, 1940), ch. x.

page 205 note 6 Inschr. von Priene 108, 75; OGIS 3.

page 205 note 7 A. i. 23. 8; 27. 4. Halicarnassus Greek (contra Tarn, ii. 218), Hdt. ii. 178; vii. 99.

page 206 note 1 A. i. 16. 6; 19. 6.

page 206 note 2 Polyb. iii. 6. 8ff.

page 206 note 3 The grant of privileges to Sidonians at Athens and the foundation of cults of Isis there (Tod 139; 189) are revealing.

page 206 note 4 Isocr. v. 107–8 (cf. Hdt. v. 20–22; viii. 137–9). Arrian's sources also distinguish Greeks and Macedonians, e.g. Ind. 18. 67 (Nearchus).

page 206 note 5 Aeschin. iii. 239 ff.; Dinarch, . i. 10; 18; Plut. Dem. 20; A. ii. 13. 6.

page 206 note 6 D. xvii. 9. 5; cf. 62 (Agis).

page 206 note 7 Some cities saw in Philip or Alexander a protector against powerful and aggressive neighbours, cf. Polyb. xviii. 14; thus Argos and Messene were pro-Macedonian from fear of Sparta, but they too rose against Macedon in the Lamian war, when Sparta was prostrate, as did the Thessalians (D. xviii. 11).

page 206 note 8 A. i. 18. 8; 29. 6; ii. 17, etc.

page 207 note 1 But see iv. 155; 183; 185; v. 124–6 (?).

page 207 note 2 But see iv. 181; xii. 103; ep. ix. 8.

page 207 note 3 iv. 131–3; 174; 182; 187; v. 9; 84–85; 107–8; 112; 120–2; 129–45.

page 207 note 4 A. ii. 14. 2.

page 207 note 5 A. i. 17. i and 7.

page 207 note 6 A. ii. 25.

page 208 note 1 D. xvii. 17. 2. For another view cf. Badian, , pp. 166 ff.

page 208 note 2 Cited in A. ii. 3. 7.

page 208 note 3 A. iii. 16. 9; 25. 1; vi. 3. 1, &c.

page 208 note 4 A. ii. 7. 3; 14. 7; iii. 3. 4; v. 3. 1; 29. 1. The story in Callisthenes (Jacoby, , Fragm. d. griech. Hist. no. 124) F 31 that the Pamphylian sea miraculously receded to allow Alexander's march past Mount Climax was in all histories of Alexander (Jos. Ant. Jud. ii. 348), cf. A. i. 26. 2, and obviously found favour with him.

page 208 note 5 A. ii. 7. 6; 12. 5; 14. 8–9; iii. 9. 6; P. 34.

page 208 note 6 Contrast A. ii. 14. 5 with iii. 22. 1; vi. 29, &c.

page 208 note 7 A. i. 12. 1.

page 209 note 1 Ehrenberg, V., Alexander and the Greeks (Oxford, 1938), ch. ii.

page 209 note 2 A. ii. 26. 3; iv. 21. 3; vi. 6. 3; 24. 3.

page 209 note 3 A. i. 18; ii. 17; iii. 9. 1 and 4; but Arrian's own reflections in iii. 10. 3–4 illustrate how Alexander's conduct should not be interpreted, in view of the evidence in 10. 2.

page 209 note 4 A. ii. 16; iii. 3; iv. 28; 30. 4; v. 2; 3. 2; vi. 3. 4–5; 14. 2; vii. 20 (all from Ptolemy or Aristobulus or both). Tarn ii. 45 dismisses A. v. 2 as a mere logos of the inferior tradition, but wrongly; the first section in oratio recta guarantees what follows down to section 7 in oratio obliqua as coming from one or both of the main sources (cf. ii. 12. 3–6 for their account in the form of a logos in oratio obliqua); in section 7 a change of source is explicit.

page 209 note 5 Tarn, ii. 51 ff. wrongly ascribing the tradition to Clitarchus.

page 209 note 6 A. vi. 24. 2 f., cf. Strabo, xv. 1. 5. On the Gedrosian march cf. Strasburger, H., Hermes lxxx (1952), 456 ff. A. vi. 21. 3–22. 3; 23. 1–24. 1; 27. 1 come from an official, apologetic source (presumably Ptolemy) which rationalized Alexander's motives and minimized the disaster; 22. 4–8 from Aristobulus, and 24. 1–26. 5 either from him or, as Strasburger argues, from Nearchus, a reliable source whichever view be adopted, whose account agreed with all others and with modern travellers' descriptions of the desert; Strasburger reckons that Alexander lost three-fourths of the army that went with him.

page 210 note 1 Strabo, xvii. 1. 43 (Callisthenes), cf. Tarn, ii. 353 ff.

page 210 note 2 Tarn, 's objections (ii. 348 ff.) cannot stand against the texts of Pindar he cites and Hdt. ii. 42; 55. A Greek could not be certain of the true name of Zeus, cf. Aesch. Agam. 160 ff.

page 210 note 3 P. 33.

page 210 note 4 Strabo, xvii. I. 43.

page 210 note 5 Balsdon, J. P. V. D., Historia i (1950), 353 ff.

page 210 note 6 See esp. Dinarch, . i. 94; Hyper, , contra Dem. 31; epitaphios 21 (on which cf. Bickermann, E., Athenaeum xli (1963), 70 ff.; in my view the present ἀναγκαόμεθα relates not to Athens, but to Greece generally, or rather cities not yet freed).

page 211 note 1 Bickermann, E., CPh. xlv (1950), 43 (review of Tarn).

page 211 note 2 A. v. 3. 1.

page 211 note 3 A. vii. 20. 1; Strabo, xvi. 1. 11; cf. Pearson, L., Lost Histories of Alexander the Great (New York, 1960), 184.

page 211 note 4 Diels, , Fragm. d. Vorsokratiker 16 B 114.

page 211 note 5 μεταλλάττειν, OGIS 4; D. xviii 56. 2.

page 211 note 6 D. xviii. 60–61; Plut. Eumenes 13.

page 211 note 7 Suet. Caes. 88.

page 212 note 1 A. vi. 15. 5; 17. 1–2, &c.

page 212 note 2 Persian rule had once extended to the Indus (Hdt. iv. 44; A. Ind. 1), not beyond; nor in Alexander's time so far (Strabo, xv. 1. 26); even the Indus country was no longer known, A. vi. 1; Ind. 20; 32.

page 212 note 3 A. iv. 15. 5–6; v. 26 (but the reliability of this speech is called in grave doubt by Kienast, D., Historia xiv (1965), 180 ff.).

page 212 note 4 Thomson, J. O., Hist, of Anc. Geography (Cambridge, 1948), 135.

page 212 note 5 A. v. 29. 4–5; C. x. 1. 21; D. xviii. 3. 2; 39. 6; xix. 14. 8.

page 212 note 6 A. vii. 8. 1.

page 212 note 7 A. vii. 16, cf. iv. 15.

page 212 note 8 A. vii. 19. 3 ff., cf. Strabo, xvi. 1. 11.

page 212 note 9 D. xviii. 4; C. x. 1. 17–19. Tarn's criticisms are answered by Schachermeyr, F., Jahreshefte der österr. arch. Inst. (1954), 118 ff.

page 212 note 10 A. iv. 7. 5; vii. 1. 4.

page 213 note 1 Thomson, , op. cit. 139 ff.

page 213 note 2 Perdiccas conquered Cappadocia after Alexander's death (D. xviii. 16); Armenia remained unsubdued.

page 213 note 3 Badian, E., JHS lxxxi (1961), 16 ff.

page 213 note 4 A. Ind. 40. 7–8 (Nearchus). For the motive cf. Tac. Agr. 21.

page 213 note 5 A. iii. 1. 5 (cf. P. 26);iv. 25. 4; vi. 15.2:21. 5; vii. 21; Strabo, ix. 2. 18; xvi. 1. 9–11.

page 213 note 6 Jones, (op. cit. in n. 5, p. 206), ch. 1. Native towns, e.g. A. ii. 27. 7; iv. 28. 4.

page 213 note 7 Hdt. i. 146.

page 213 note 8 Tod 138 (Caria); Olmstead, A. T., Hist, of the Persian Empire (Chicago, 1948), 348–50; 360; 391–2; 405–6 (Lycia).

page 213 note 9 D. xvii. 67. 1; P. 47. 3 (cf. A. vii. 12). For Alexander's culture see P. 4. 1 and 6; 7–8; 10. 4; 11. 6 (= A. i. 9. 10); 26. 1; 29. 1–3 (cf. A. iii. 6. 1); A. i. 12. 1, &c.

page 214 note 1 Badian, E., Historia vii (1958), 440 ff.

page 214 note 2 Badian, , op. cit. 425 ff.; Merlan, P., CPh. xlv (1950), 161 ff.

page 214 note 3 A. vii. 11. 8–9; Plut. Mor. 329.

page 214 note 4 A. vii. 12.

page 214 note 5 A. iv. 19; vii. 4.

page 214 note 6 A. vii. 6; 11; 23.

page 214 note 7 D. xviii. 7.

page 214 note 8 e.g. Alexander the Lyncestian, Leonnatus, and Perdiccas (cf. Berve's biographies); see also A. iv. 13. 1.

page 215 note 1 D. xvii. 16.

page 215 note 2 P. 329.

page 215 note 3 Pliny, , NH iii. 39.

1 I thank Professor Badian for comments on an earlier draft; any errors or misinterpretations are my own. I have sought in general to illustrate statements in the text with references to sources that depend on undoubtedly contemporary authorities; this does not imply that I regard the ‘inferior’ tradition as worthless, or the contemporary authorities such as Ptolemy as reliable at all points. Plutarch is cited from the Loeb edition.

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