|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 |
ALEXANDER SLAYS HIS FOSTER-BROTHER
 EARLY in 330 B.C. Alexander left Persepolis to go in search
After a long and difficult march of three hundred
miles, to which his soldiers took only eleven days, the
king heard that Darius had passed the defile called the
"Caspian Gates." For five days he allowed his men, who
were utterly exhausted, to rest, before he again
started in pursuit of the fugitive.
After passing through the Caspian Gates, Alexander
heard that Bessus, a kinsman of Darius, who was also
his officer or satrap, had made him a prisoner. Loaded
with chains, Darius was being carried away to the
district over which Bessus ruled.
This made the king the more determined to reach the
unfortunate captive. For four days he hurried on until
at length he reached a village where Bessus and his men
had stayed the evening before. He was told that the
satrap was going to make a forced march that night.
The king learned of a shorter road, by which he might
overtake the fugitives, but there was no water to be
found on the way. Alexander did not hesitate. With
only a small company he set out the same evening, and
when morning dawned he had ridden forty-five miles.
The fugitives were now within sight.
When the barbarians who were with Bessus saw the king
in the distance they fled. The satrap quickly took the
chains off his captive, bidding him mount a horse and
follow them. When Darius refused he stabbed him and
 rode away, leaving the wretched king to die or to fall
into the hands of his enemy.
A few Macedonians who were riding in front of the king
reached the wounded man first, and gave him water, for
which he begged. Darius then lay back and before
Alexander arrived, he had breathed his last.
The king looked at his fallen foe with pity, and then
flung over him his own cloak. His body he sent to the
queen-mother, that it might be buried beside the other
Persian kings at Persepolis.
Bessus was betrayed into the hands of Alexander not
long afterwards. Naked and chained he was placed on
the road by which Alexander's army must pass.
The king stopped when he reached the satrap, and asked
him why he had murdered Darius, who had always treated
Bessus answered that he did it to win Alexander's
His reply won no pity from the king, who ordered him to
be scourged and sent to prison. Some time after he was
brought to trial and sentenced to a cruel death.
Until now Alexander had lived almost as simply as when
he was a lad, and but lately he had reproved his
officers for their indolent and luxurious habits. Now
he gradually began to adopt the customs of the East.
He dressed in purple and surrounded himself with
Persian courtiers, and acted as though he was indeed a
descendant of the gods. The Macedonians were quick to
take offence at the favour their king showed to the
Philotas, a son of Parmenio, resented the king's deeds,
more perhaps than any other of his generals. He was
proud and his haughty ways had made his men dislike
Parmenio would sometimes say to him, "My son, to be not
quite so great would be better." But Philotas would
take no notice of the rebuke.
One day he declared that but for him and his father,
the king would never have conquered Asia. "Yet it is
 boy Alexander who enjoys the glory of the victories and
the title of king," said the foolish officer.
Alexander was told of the boastful way in which
Philotas had spoken, but he neither reproved nor
A little later a plot was made against his life, and
Philotas would not allow those who wished to warn the
king to enter his presence. Then Alexander, who knew
of this also, ordered Philotas to be seized and
He was tried before an assembly of Macedonians and
confessed that he had known of the plot to kill the
king, and yet had neither warned him nor allowed others
to do so.
The Macedonians condemned him to death, and themselves
carried out the sentence, throwing at him their
Alexander had been patient with Philotas and his
punishment was just, but now the king did a cruel deed.
For thinking that his old and faithful general Parmenio
might have shared in the treachery of his son, he sent
a messenger to slay him.
The king's despatch was taken to Parmenio and put into
his hand. As he began to read it he was stabbed in the
From this time the king's temper grew less and less
controlled. At one of the royal feasts he lost it
altogether. A guest sang a song which made a jest of
some Macedonians who had been beaten by the Persians.
The old soldiers were indignant, the more so that
Alexander paid no heed to their anger and bade the
singer sing on.
Clitus, the king's foster-brother, had a quick temper,
and he cried out, "It is not well done to expose the
Macedonians before their enemies; since though it was
their unhappiness to be overcome, yet are they much
better men than those who laugh at them."
"Clitus pleads his own cause," said the king, "when he
names cowardice misfortune."
The king spoke half in jest, half in anger, for he knew
 well that Clitus and all his Macedonians were brave men
and no cowards.
But Clitus sprang to his feet at Alexander's words and
cried, "Yet, O king, it was my cowardice that once
saved your life from the Persians, and it is by the
wounds of Macedonians that you are now the great king."
"Speak not so boldly," answered the king, and in his
voice there was a threat, "or think not you will long
enjoy the power to do so."
Clitus was now too angry to care what he said, and he
spoke to the king yet more bitterly, until Alexander
could brook no more. He took an apple from the table
before him, and flinging it at his foster-brother, felt
for his sword. But one of his guards, foreseeing what
might happen, had removed it. His guests now gathered
around the king, trying to soothe his anger. Alexander
pushed them aside, and ordered one of his guard to
sound the alarm. This would have assembled the whole
army and the man hesitated, whereupon Alexander struck
him on the face.
Meanwhile a friend had hurried Clitus out of the room,
but he slipped back again by another door, and boldly
taunted the king with the way in which he treated his
Then in a passion Alexander snatched a spear from one
of his guards, rushed upon Clitus and stabbed him to
A moment later the king's anger faded away, and he
looked in horror upon the dead body of his
foster-brother. He seized the spear again and tried to
kill himself, but his guards wrenched it away, and led
him to his own room. There he lay all through the long
night and all through the following day, weeping for
his foster-brother whom he had slain.
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