ALEXANDER'S BRILLIANT BEGINNING
AS soon as the Greek states had all been brought to a
proper state of obedience, Alexander prepared to
conquer Persia, although he had a force of only 34,500
men. These men were very well trained, however, and
promised to be more powerful on the battlefield than
the million warriors of Xerxes.
In his joy at departing, Alexander made rich presents
to everybody, until one of his advisers modestly
reminded him that his treasure was not boundless, and
asked him what he would have left when he had given
away all he owned.
"My hopes!" answered Alexander proudly, for he
expected to conquer not only Persia and Asia Minor, but
all the known world.
While his army slowly made its way along the coast and
across the Hellespont, Alexander, attended by only a
few followers, sailed straight for Troy, the ancient
He landed on the desert plain where the proud city had
once stood, visited all the scenes of the mighty
conflict, and offered sacrifices on the tomb of
Achilles, while his friend Hephæstion did the same
on that of Patroclus.
 When this pious pilgrimage to the tomb of his ancestor
was over, Alexander hastened to join the army, for he
longed to do like the ancient Greeks, and win a
His wishes were soon granted, for before long he met
the Persian army near the Granicus River, where a
terrible battle was fought. Alexander himself joined in
the fighting, and would certainly have been killed had
not his friend Clytus, the son of his old nurse, rushed
to his rescue and saved his life.
In spite of the size of the Persian army, which was
much larger than his own, Alexander won a complete
victory at the Granicus. Then, marching southward, he
took the cities of Sardis and Ephesus without striking
another blow. These towns were very rich, and offered
of their own free will to pay him the same tribute that
they had given to the Persians.
Alexander, however, would not take it, but bade them
use the money to rebuild the Temple of Diana, which had
been burned to the ground on the night he was born. As
the sacred image of the goddess had been saved, the
Ephesians gladly built a second magnificent shrine,
which was visited many years later by Paul, the
disciple of Christ.
From Sardis and Ephesus, Alexander marched on into the
province of Caria. Here the queen of the country
warmly welcomed him, adopted him as her son, and even
proposed to give him her best cooks, so that they might
prepare his food for him on the march.
Alexander thanked her heartily for this kind offer, but
declined it, saying that his tutor Aristotle had given
 him the very best recipe for making him relish his
The queen, whose appetite was fanciful, eagerly asked
what it was; and Alexander smilingly answered, "A
march before daybreak as the sauce for my dinner, and a
light dinner as the sauce for my supper."
This was, as you may see, a very good recipe; and if
Alexander had always remembered to be temperate, as
Aristotle had advised, he would not have died of over
eating and drinking at the age of thirty-three.