Well, as I recently said on another thread, the quotes I gave are on Cyrus the Younger, although John Maxwell O'Brien's words (above) are about Cyrus the Great. Here are the parallels I promised between Alexander's histories and Xenophon's Anabasis, Chapter One (on Cyrus the Younger).
Xenophon, Anabasis 1.4 As they forded, never a man was wetted above the chest: nor ever until this moment, said the men of Thapascus, had the river been so crossed on foot, boats had always been required; but these, at the present time, Abrocomas, in his desire to hinder Cyrus from crossing, had been at pains to burn. Thus the passage was looked upon as a thing miraculous; the river had manifestly retired before the face of Cyrus, like a courtier bowing to his future king.
Plutarch, Alexander 17.6 His rapid passage along the coasts of Pamphylia has afforded many historians material for bombastic and terrifying description. They imply that by some great and heaven-sent good fortune the sea retired to make way for Alexander, although at other times it always came rolling in with violence from the main, and scarcely ever revealed to sight the small rocks which lie close up under the precipitous and riven sides of the mountain.
Xenophon, Anabasis 1.5 On the opposite side of the Euphrates to the point reached on one of these desert stages, was a large and flourishing city named Charmande. From this town the soldiers made purchases of provisions, crossing the river on rafts, in the following fashion: They took the skins which they used as tent coverings, and filled them with light grass; they then compressed and stitched them tightly together by the ends, so that the water might not touch the hay.
Arrian, Anabasis 1.3.6 He himself embarked in the fleet; he filled the leather tent covers with hay …
Arrian, Anabasis 5.9.3 His boats sailing in this and that direction, the filling with chaff of the rafts made of skins …
Xenophon, Anabasis 1.8 The enemy's chariots, reft of their charioteers, swept onwards, some through the enemy themselves, others past the Hellenes. They, as they saw them coming, opened a gap and let them pass.
Arrian, Anabasis 3.13.5-6 At this point the Persians launched their scythe-carrying chariots direct against Alexander, to throw his line out of formation; but in this they were significantly disappointed. . . . Some did pass right through the Greek lines, which, as they had been ordered, parted where the chariots attacked; this was the main reason why the chariots passed through unscathed and the troops against them which were launched were unharmed.
Xenophon, Anabasis 1.9 Frequently when he had tasted some specially excellent wine, he would send the half remaining flagon to some friend with a message to say: "Cyrus says, this is the best wine he has tasted for a long time, that is his excuse for sending it to you ..." Or, perhaps, he would send the remainder of a dish of geese, half loaves of bread, and so forth, the bearer being instructed to say: "This is Cyrus's favourite dish, he hopes you will taste it yourself."
Plutarch, Alexander 23.9 In the matter of delicacies, too, he himself, at all events, was master of his appetite, so that often, when the rarest fruits or fish were brought to him from the sea-coast, he would distribute them to each of his companions until he was the only one for whom nothing remained.
Can any conclusions be drawn from the above? Well, the military matters of chaff-filled skins and opening the ranks to allow Persian chariots to pass through are an indication that Alexander certainly knew his Xenophon, methinks. But what of the other apparent "evidence" of emulation? We know that Alexander was an admirer of Cyrus the Great, however, the above excerpts are on Cyrus the Younger. So, is it an admiration of these two Persians, or simply Xenophon's "ideal of statesmanship and virtue personified" which inspired Alexander, as Callisto said in a recent thread? And was it personal emulation on Alexander's part, or was it his intent
that it should be noted and recorded by historians? I.e., could there have been collusion between Alexander and his court reporters as to what was recorded? Or could those who wrote the primary sources have been innocently unaware of the parallels? Is that even likely? For instance, Plutarch accuses ancient historians of giving a bombastic and terrifying description
when they describe the events at Pamphylia as great and heaven-sent good fortune
, yet Xenophon describes a similar event with Cyrus as being looked upon as a thing miraculous
. And what about the "sharing" of food with Alexander's friends? I always wondered why this little story was even included in the histories. Yes, it shows generosity, but it isn't as if Alexander would have gone hungry after giving away the delicacies, so why, of all examples of Alexander's generosity, is this little item recorded? Then I see this similar story in Xenophon!
It’s a rather curious situation, especially as the extant sources make comparatively little reference to Alexander's evident admiration of Cyrus the Great (see O'Brien's piece above) and there's even less (that I know of) regarding his knowledge of Xenophon.
P.S. I didn't include a reference to Cyrus the Younger having had intimate relationships with a visiting queen "if the report speaks truly." Couldn't help thinking of those reports of Alexander and Cleophis, but thought I might be stretching the comparison a bit too much.