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THE HIGH PRIEST
 IT had only been in sheer despair that Tyre had held out after her fleet lost the command of the sea. Able now
to attack the city at any point that he might choose, Alexander abandoned the mole which he had been at such
vast pains to construct, and commenced operations on the opposite side of the island, against the wall that
fronted the open sea. The battering-rams were put on shipboard, and so brought to bear upon any weak places
that had been discovered; and of these the Tyrians, confident of always being able to keep command of the sea,
had left not a few. A first attempt failed; a second, made on a perfectly calm day, succeeded, and a
considerable length of wall was broken down. A breach having been thus made, the ships that bore the
battering-rams were withdrawn, and others carrying pontoons took their places. Two storming parties landed, one
commanded by an officer of the name of Admetus, the other by Alexander in person. Admetus,
 who was the first to scale the wall, was killed by the stroke of a javelin, but his party made good their
footing; and the king, landing his guards, was equally successful. The defenders of the wall abandoned it, but
renewed the fight in the streets of the city. The battle raged most fiercely in the precincts of the Chapel of
Agenor, the legendary founder of Tyre. The building had been strongly fortified, but it was taken at last, and
the garrison was put to the sword. Before nightfall all Tyre was in the hands of Alexander. The king exacted a
frightful penalty for the obstinate resistance which had baffled him for nearly a year. But he respected the
Temple of Melkarth, where Azemilcus and a few of the Tyrian nobles had taken sanctuary, and the Sidonian prince
had the satisfaction of saving more than a thousand victims from slavery or death. They took refuge in the
galleys that were under his command, and Alexander either did not know of their escape, or, as is more probably
the case, did not care to inquire about it. Hundreds of the principal citizens were executed; the remainder,
numbering, it is said, thirty thousand, were sold as slaves.
Melkarth, whose city had been thus depopulated, was then honoured with a splendid sacrifice. All the soldiers,
in full armour, marched round the temple; games, including a torch race, were held in the precincts; while the
battering-ram that had made the first breach in the wall, and the galley
 that had first broken the boom guarding the harbour, were deposited within the temple itself.
"And now," said the king, at the banquet with which the great festival of Melkarth was concluded, "we will
settle with that insolent priest who would not help us against these Tyrian rebels."
"Sir," said Hephaestion, "it is said that the god whom these Hebrews worship is mighty." And he went on to
relate some of the marvels of Jewish history of which he had lately been hearing.
The king, who had something of a Roman's respect for foreign religions, listened with attention. "Have you
heard anything of this kind?" he went on, addressing Charidemus. "Did your friend Manasseh tell you anything
Charidemus, as it happened, had been greatly impressed by his conversations with the Jew. The story of the end
of Belshazzar, and of the mysterious hand that came out upon the palace wall, as the impious king sat with his
nobles, drinking out of the sacred vessels of the temple, and that wrote his doom in letters of fire, had
particularly struck him, and he now repeated it. Alexander heard it in silence, sternly checking some scoff on
which one of his younger courtiers ventured when it was finished.
His resolve, however, to visit the seat of this formidable Deity was strengthened rather than weakened; and on
the following day he set out with a select body of troops and a numerous retinue of
 native princes, leaving the main body of the army in charge of Parmenio, to follow the road which led to
Egypt—which country he proposed next to deal with—over the Maritime Plain of Palestine. The distance between
Tyre and Jerusalem was somewhat under a hundred miles, and was traversed in about six days. It was the evening
of the seventh when he reached the hill-top, now known by the name of Scopus, or the Outlook, which is the
northern spur of the ridge of Olivet. Fronting him stood the Hill of Sion, crowned with the Temple buildings,
not yet, indeed, grown to the majestic strength which they attained in later days, but still not wanting in
impressiveness and dignity. Below were the walls, now restored to their old strength, which had withstood more
than one conqueror in his march, and the city, which, during more than a century of prosperity and peace, had
more than repaired the desolation of the last siege. Just then it was made singularly picturesque by the
greenery of the booths of branches, under the shade of which the people were keeping the Feast of Tabernacles,
and which crowded every open space in the city.
But the attention of the visitors was arrested by a remarkable procession that met them as they reached the
crest of the hill. At the head of it walked the High Priest, in all the magnificence of his robes of office. He
wore a long garment or tunic of blue, made of the finest linen, that reached to
 below his knees. Below this were drawers of white linen, while the feet were protected by sandals. The upper
part of his person was covered by the vestment known as the ephod, the tunic above described being "the robe of
the ephod." The ephod was a mixture of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet, and was richly embroidered. On each
shoulder was a large onyx, while the breast was covered with the splendid "Breastplate of Judgment," with its
twelve precious stones, and round the waist was the "girdle dyed of many hues with gold interwoven with it."
Round the bottom of the robe of the ephod were pomegranates wrought in blue, purple, and scarlet, and golden
bells. Behind this gorgeous figure came the priests in their robes of spotless white, and behind these again a
crowd of citizens in holiday attire.
The king stepped out from the ranks, and saluted the High Priest. So full of respect was his gesture that his
attendants expressed, or at least looked, their surprise.
"I adore," said the king, "not the priest, but the God whom he serves. And this very man, clothed in these very
robes, I now remember myself to have seen in a dream before I crossed into Asia. I had been considering with
myself how I might best win the dominion over these lands, and he exhorted me boldly to cross over, for he
would himself conduct my army and give me his blessing. Seeing him therefore this day I both thank the God
 servant he is for that which I have already attained, and beseech Him that I may attain yet more, even the
fulfillment of all that is in my heart."
A solemn entry into the Temple, a sacrifice conducted by the king according to the High Priest's directions,
and the offering of some splendid gifts to the treasury followed, and the king did not fail to enforce his
compliments by conferring on his new subjects substantial privileges. The Jews were henceforth to live under
their own laws; every seventh year, as they reaped no harvests, they were to pay no tribute; the same immunity
was to be extended to all of Jewish race that might be found within the borders of the Persian kingdom. The
High Priest, on the other hand, engaged to furnish a contingent from his nation for the Macedonian army. He
only stipulated, and the king readily agreed, that the recruits should not be required to do anything that
might be at variance with the law which they were bound to observe.
These matters concluded, Charidemus was summoned to the royal presence.
"Are you bent," asked the king, "on going with me into Egypt?"
"To tell you the truth, my lord," answered the young man, "I had not thought of it one way or the other."
"Well," said Alexander, "I have something for you to do here. First, you will take charge of the
 queen, who does not wish to travel just now. Then I want you to recruit and drill some of these sturdy Jews for
me. They look like fine stuff for soldiers; and, if they are anything like their fathers, they should fight
well. The High Priest thinks that you will do best in the Galilee country, where the people are not quite so
stiff about their law. But you can settle these matters with Hephaestion, who knows my mind."
Queen BarsinÚ, who was expecting shortly to become a mother, had made interest with the king to have the young
Macedonian put in charge of her establishment, partly because she had great confidence in him, partly because
she had a kindly interest in his attachment to her niece, a feeling which, of course, had not escaped her quick
The eight months that followed were, perhaps, the happiest that our hero ever enjoyed. A little walled town on
the western shore of the Sea of Galilee had been chosen for BarsinÚ's residence during her husband's absence in
Egypt, and Charidemus was appointed its governor. He was in command of a garrison of some hundred and fifty
men, and had a couple of light galleys at his disposal, His duties were of the lightest. Two or three veterans,
who had grown a little too old to carry the pike, drilled under his superintendence a couple of thousand sturdy
GalilŠan peasants, who had eagerly answered
 the summons to enlist under the great conqueror's banners. This work finished, he had the rest of his time at
his own disposal. The more of it he could contrive to spend with Clearista, the happier of course he was. As
long as the summer lasted, and, indeed, far into the autumn, there were frequent excursions on the lake,
Clearista being accompanied by her gouvernante, the daughter of a Laconian farmer, who had been with her
from her infancy. The waters then as now abounded with fish, and Charidemus was delighted to teach his fair
companion some of the secrets of the angler's craft. As the year advanced there was plenty of game to be found
in the forests of the eastern shore. The young Macedonian was a skilful archer, and could bring down a running
deer without risk of injuring the choice portions of the flesh by an ill-aimed shaft. He found a keener delight
in pursuing the fiercer creatures that haunted the oak glades of Bashan, and many were the trophies, won from
wild boar and wolf and bear, that, to the mingled terror and delight of Clearista, he used to bring back from
his hunting excursions. Nor were books wholly forgotten. Charidemus had always had some of a student's taste,
and BarsinÚ had imparted to her niece some of her own love of culture. The young soldier even began—so potent
an inspirer is love—to have literary ambitions. He wrote, but was too shy to exhibit, poems about his lady's
 beauty. He even conceived a scheme of celebrating the victories of Alexander in an heroic poem, and carried it
out to the extent of composing some five or six hundred hexameters which he read to the admiring Clearista.
Unfortunately they have been lost along with other treasures of antiquity, and I am unable to give my readers a
Meanwhile little or nothing in which he would have cared to have a part had been happening elsewhere.
Alexander's march through Egypt was not a campaign, but a triumphal procession. The Persian satrap had made no
attempt at resistance, and the population gladly welcomed their new masters. They hated the Persians, who
scorned and insulted their religion, and eagerly turned to the more tolerant Greek. So the country was annexed
without a blow being struck. Grand functions of sacrifice, in which Alexander was careful to do especial honour
to Egyptian deities, with splendid receptions and banquets, fully occupied the time; and then there was the
more useful labour of beginning a work which has been the most permanent monument of the conqueror's greatness,
the foundation of the city of Alexandria. Charondas, who was attached to the king's personal suite, kept his
friend informed of events by letters which reached him with fair regularity. I shall give an extract from one
of these because it records the most important incident of the sojourn in Egypt.
 "Charondas to Charidemus, greeting.
"I have just returned safe—thanks to the gods—from a journey which I thought more than once likely to be my
last. Know that the king conceived a desire to visit the Temple of Zeus Ammon, where there is an oracle famous
for being the most truth-speaking in the world. Not even the Pythia at Delphi—so it is said—more clearly
foresees the future, and a more important matter, it must be confessed, more plainly expounds what she
foresees. The king took with him some five thousand men, many more, in my judgment, than it was expedient to
take, seeing that the enemy most to be dreaded in such an expedition, to wit, thirst, is one more easily to be
encountered by a few than by a multitude. At the first we marched westwards, keeping close to the sea, through
a region that is desolate indeed, and void of inhabitants, but rather because it has been neglected by men than
because it refuses to receive them. There are streams, some of which, it is said, do not fail even when the
summer is hottest, and in some places grass, and in many shrubs. Thus we journeyed without difficulty for a
distance of about 1,600 stadia.
Then we turned southward; and here began our difficulties and dangers. The difficulty always is to find the
right way, for such a track as there is will often be altogether hidden in a very short space of time; and so
it was with us. The
 danger is lest the traveller, so wandering from the way, should perish of hunger and thirst, for it is not
possible that he should carry much provision with him. How, then, you will ask, did we escape? Truly I cannot
answer except by saying that it was through the good fortune of Alexander, not without the intervention of some
Divine power. Many marvellous things were told me about the means by which we were guided on our way. Some
averred that two serpents, of monstrous size, went before the army, uttering cries not unlike to human speech.
Of these I can only aver that I neither saw nor heard them, and that I have had no speech with any that did see
or hear, although not a few have borne witness to them second-hand, affirming that they had heard the story
from those that had been eye-witnesses. The same I am constrained to say concerning the ravens which some
declared to have been guides to the army. I saw them not, nor know any that did see them. But I had some
converse with a native of these parts who was hired to be our guide. This man, I found, trusted neither to
serpents, whether dumb or not, nor to ravens, but to the stars. And I noticed that he was much perplexed and
troubled by what seemed a matter of rejoicing to the rest of us, namely, that the sky became overcast with
clouds. We were rejoiced by the rain which assured us that we should not perish of thirst; but he complained
that his guides were taken from him.
 Nevertheless, as the clouds were sometimes broken, he was not wholly deprived of the help in which he trusted.
"Let it suffice, then, to say that we got safely to our journey's end, not without assistance from the gods. No
more beautiful place have I seen, though doubtless my pleasure in seeing it was the greater by reason of the
desolation of the region through which we had passed. It is, as it were, an island in the sand, nowhere more
than forty stadia across, covered with olives and palms, and watered by a spring, the marvels of which, unlike
the serpents and the ravens, I can affirm of my own knowledge. That it is coldest at noonday and hottest at
midnight, I have myself found by touching it. Or was this, you will perhaps say, by contrast only, because my
own body was subject to exactly the opposite disposition? It may be so; nevertheless in such matters common
tradition and belief are not wholly without value.
"You will ask, What said the Oracle? To the king it said that without doubt he was the son of Ammon; to others
that they would do well, if they reverenced him as being such. Whether more be intended by this than what Homer
says of Achilles and other great heroes that they were Zeus-descended I cannot say. Many take it to be so, and
some are not a little displeased. Last night I heard two soldiers talking together on this matter. 'Comrade,'
said one to the other, 'if I had King Philip
 for my father, I should be content, nor seek another.' 'Aye,' returned the other, 'thou sayest true. If
Alexander be the chicken, truly Philip was the egg.' 'But now,' the first speaker went on, 'but now they say
that the king's father was this Ammon. Didst ever see such a god? It is like a Pan with the goat-part
uppermost. And who ever heard talk of a hero that had Pan for his father? Nay, nay, I would liefer have a plain
honest Macedonian for my father, so he had head and legs like a man, than all the Ammons in the world.' So many
talk in the camp, though there are some who are ready to say and do anything that may bring advancement. But
these are dangerous matters to trust even to paper. We will talk of them, if need be, when we meet. Till then,