|The Story of Greece|
|by Mary Macgregor|
| Stories from the history of ancient Greece beginning with mythical and legendary stories of gods and heroes and ending with the conquests of Alexander the Great. Gives short accounts of battles and sieges, and of the men who made Greece a great nation. Ages 10-14 |
DARIUS GALLOPS FROM THE BATTLEFIELD
 AS soon as he had recovered from his illness, Alexander
led his army to meet Darius. He found the great king
in the pass of Issus, in October 333 B.C.
Darius had first encamped on the plain of Issus, in a
strong position, where his vast army would have had
room to fight.
But he dreamed that Alexander would try to escape him,
so he ordered his men to march through the narrow
mountain passes to meet the enemy.
A Macedonian, who had deserted, begged Darius not to
leave the plain. "But," said the king, "if I stay
here, Alexander will escape me."
"That fear is needless," answered the Macedonian, "for
assure yourself that far from avoiding you, he will
make all speed to meet you, and is now most likely on
his march toward you."
When Alexander knew that Darius had left the plain for
the pass of Issus, he was pleased, for he knew that the
enemy would now be hemmed in between the mountains and
Before long the two armies were close together.
Alexander led his right wing against the left wing of
the Persians. Here he was soon victorious, and free to
attack the centre of the enemy, where Darius sat in his
chariot, surrounded by a band of Persian nobles.
As the great king saw Alexander and his followers
drawing nearer and nearer, he began to grow afraid.
 could bear his fears no longer, and leaping from his
chariot, he mounted a horse and fled from the field.
When the Persians saw that their king had fled, they
stayed to fight no longer. Even the cavalry, which had
withstood every attack, now wavered, then broke and
fled with the rest.
The great hosts sought to hide themselves from their
pursuers among the mountain passes, but thousands were
captured and slain.
Darius in his haste had left his shield and his royal
cloak behind, but he would not stay to recover them.
On and on he fled until he reached a town on the river
Alexander was well pleased with his great victory, but
he would fain have captured the Persian king. To a
wound in his thigh he paid little attention, nor did it
prove dangerous. But it made it impossible for him to
When the king returned from the pursuit of his enemy,
he found his men pillaging the Persian camp. The tent
of Darius, which was beautifully furnished, and which
also had a great store of gold and silver, was set
apart for Alexander himself.
"Let us now cleanse ourselves from the toils of war in
the baths of Darius," said the king as he entered the
tent of the defeated monarch.
"Not so," answered one of his followers, "but in
Alexander's rather; for the property of the conquered
is and should be called the conqueror's."
Alexander's early training had been simple as that of a
Spartan, and the luxury of the great king's tents
In one there were numerous baths and many boxes of
ointment, in another a table was spread for a
magnificent feast. As Alexander looked at it all, he
turned to his followers and said, "This, it seems, is
But his early training still influenced him, and he
 his simple tastes and cared little for dainty fare
or other luxuries.
Once a queen to whom Alexander had been sent to his
tent, day by day, some of the dishes which had been
prepared for her own table. And at length, that he
might always fare well, she sent cooks and bakers.
But the king would not accept them, for he said that
his old tutor had given him the best possible cooks.
They were, "a night march to prepare for breakfast, and
a moderate breakfast to create an appetite for supper."
He told the queen, too, how when he was a boy his tutor
Leonidas used to look often in his wardrobe, lest his
clothes were too fine, and in his room, to see that his
mother had not given him cushions for his couch or soft
pillows for his bed.
As Alexander sat down to supper on the evening of the
victory of Issus, the sound of wailing and weeping fell
upon his ear. It seemed to him as the weeping of
women, and he demanded to be told at once who was in
His officers said that it was the mother, and wife and
children of Darius who were weeping. For they had
heard that Alexander had returned with their lord's
shield and cloak, and they thought that he must have
Then the king bade one of his followers go tell the
royal mourners that Darius lived, and that they need
fear no harm from Alexander. For he made war upon
Darius not because he bore him ill will, but because he
wished to gain his dominions. He promised that he
would provide them with all the comforts which they had
been used to receive from the great king.
When Darius was safe beyond the Euphrates, he
remembered that his wife and mother had been left to
the mercy of his conqueror. So he wrote to Alexander,
begging that they might be sent to him and offering to
make a treaty with the king.
Here is part of the proud answer that Alexander sent to
 "I am lord of all, Darius," he wrote, "and therefore do
thou come to me with thy requests. Thou hast only to
come to me to ask and receive thy mother and wife and
children, and whatever else thou mayest desire. And
for the future, whenever thou sendest, send to me as to
the great king of Asia, and do not write as to an
equal, but tell me whatever thy need be, as to one who
is lord of all that is thine. Otherwise I will deal
with thee as with an offender. But if thou disputest
the kingdom, then wait and fight for it again, and do
not flee; for I will march against thee, wheresoever
thou mayest be."
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