The death of Alexander #8 - Aelian

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Alexias
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The death of Alexander #8 - Aelian

Post by Alexias »

This passage from Aelian is often cited as the prelude to Alexander's death because it is believed to be based on the Royal Diaries written by Eumenes. However it does not actually say this and the month referred to is October.

This translation is taken from here http://penelope.uchicago.edu/aelian/varhist3.xhtml#b13 Rendered into English by Thomas Stanley 1665
Chap. XXIII.

Of Alexander.

Great were the actions of Alexander at Granicus and Issus, and the fight at Arbela, and Darius subdued, and the Persians subjected to the Macedonians; all Asia conquered, and the Indies reduced under his power. Great were those things which he did at Tyre, and among the Oxydracæ,11 and many others. Why should we endeavour to comprehend within the narrow expression of words the unlimited courage of this person in Warre ? Or if any detractor will rather impute these things to the Fortune which attended on him, so let it be.12 But he was doubtless excellent in that he was never worsted by Fortune, nor at any time deserted by her. Other things there are not commendable in him. That on the fifth day of the Month13 he drank excessively at Eumæus his house, on the sixth day he slept after his debauch, and recovered so well as to rise and give orders to his Captains for the Expedition of the next day, saying that they should set forth very early. On the seventh he feasted with Perdiccas, and again drank freely. On the eighth he slept. On the fifteenth day of the same Month he made another debauch, and the next day slept. On the four and twentieth he supp'd with Bagoas. (The house of Bagoas was from the Palace ten Stadia.) The day following he slept. One of these two therefore must needs have been ; Either that Alexander did prejudice himself exceedingly by imploying so many daies of the Month in drinking, or that they who write these things have belied him. We may likewise imagine that they who relate other things of the same kinde concerning him, wrong him also, of whom is Eumenes the Cardian.14

Notes

11. Oxydracæ: A people of India living between the Indus and the Hydaspes rivers.

12. Impute to Fortune: for instance, Curtius in his Stories of Alexander, X.5.35.

13. Fifth day of the Month: the month of "Dius" or Jupiter, the first month of the Macedonian calendar, corresponding roughly to the Roman October.

14. Eumenes: who, says Anthenaeus, wrote a journal of the expedition of Alexander. He was one of Alexander's generals; it does not seem probable that his account is meant to degrade Alexander.
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