DEATH OF DARIUS
 ALEXANDER soon won the good will of the Babylonians by
allowing them to rebuild the Temple of Bel, which had
been destroyed. He also secured the affections of the
captive Jews; for he excused them from doing any work
on this building as soon as he heard that they
considered it the Tower of Babel, and hence objected to
aiding in its erection.
The young conqueror spent one month in Babylon, and
then went on to Susa. There he found the brazen
statue of Athene which Xerxes had carried off to Persia;
and he sent it back to the Athenians, who received it
with much joy.
The Persian queen now became very ill, and, in spite
of the utmost care, she soon died. Throughout her
illness, Alexander was most thoughtful and attentive;
and when she died, he gave orders that she should be
buried with all the pomp due to her high rank.
He also comforted the mourning Sisygambis, and sent the
news of the queen's death to Darius, who had fled to
the northern part of his kingdom, where he was hastily
gathering together another army. Touched by
Alexander's conduct, Darius now wrote to him, offering
peace, and proposing to share the throne of Persia with
The young conqueror's head had been turned by his many
victories, and he was growing more haughty every day:
so he proudly refused this proposal, saying that the
world could not have two masters any more than two
 In his pride, Alexander now assumed the dress and state
of an Oriental king, surrounded himself with luxury,
and spent most of his time in feasting and revelry.
His courtiers encouraged him in this folly, and he soon
forgot the wise lessons taught by Aristotle.
On several occasions the young king drank so much that
he did not know what he was doing; and once, in a fit
of drunken rage, he set fire to the beautiful palace of
Persepolis, and burned it to the ground.
As he had refused Darius' offers of peace, he soon
considered it necessary to continue the war: so, laying
aside his jeweled robes, he put on his armor and set
out for the north. He was about to overtake the
Persian king, when Darius was mortally wounded by one
of his followers named Bessus.
The traitor thought that he would win Alexander's favor
by this crime, and came and boasted of it to him.
Alexander was so angry, however, that he bade his
guards seize Bessus, and had him put to death in the
most barbarous way.
When the Macedonian king finally came up with Darius,
he found him bathed in his own blood, and breathing his
last. He had only time to assure him of the safety of
his family, and to promise to continue to protect them,
before Darius sank back dead.
By Alexander's orders the body was embalmed, and
carried to Sisygambis, so that it could be properly
buried in the beautiful tomb of the Persian kings.
This last act of generosity quite won the aged queen's
heart; and she felt so grateful, that she loved
Alexander as long as he lived.