Indan biased article on Alexander

This moderated forum is for discussion of Alexander the Great. Inappropriate posts will be deleted without warning. Examples of inappropriate posts are:
* The Greek/Macedonian debate
* Blatant requests for pre-written assignments by lazy students - we don't mind the subtle ones ;-)
* Foul or inappropriate language

Moderator: pothos moderators

sean_m
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 253
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:00 pm

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by sean_m »

Whereas people who like Alexander and the Macedonians can point out that he came all the way from **** Greece to do all that killing and burning ... it actually reminds me a bit of the War of 1812, where patriotic Canadians remember burning the White House, and patriotic Americans remember the Battle of New Orleans.
My blog (Warning: may contain up to 95% non-Alexandrian content, rated shamelessly philobarbarian by 1 out of 1 Plutarchs)
User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2852
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by Paralus »

Hypaspist wrote:But Paralus... what do you mean by:
"This also plays into Seleukos' great campaign into Bactria, Soghdia and the Punjab. He too came to an embarrassing and debilitating end. The 400 or so elephants were a gift to make him happy and go away. "

1. Who, too, came to an embarrassing end??

2. Did Seleukos lose??
Seleukos came to an embarrassing end. The Indian version is that he was severely belted by Chandragupta and because Chandragupta had no interests beyond India, he agreed to a marriage alliance and territory for 400 (or 500) elephants to help Seleukos lick his wounds and depart whence he came. Megasthenes is sent as envoy to negotiate this. Chandragupta had more than 9,000 elephants so this is a "token" gesture to buy peace on his boundary. Some even put the Seleukos / Chandragupta confrontation and detente into the third century. They have difficulty in explaining Seleukos' 400 elephants at Ipsos though. Generally this is made out as an error and he actually had these at Koropedion.

In reality, it is more likely that Seleukos and Chadragupta clashed as both expanded into the Punjab. Just how serious was this clash we do not know. It may well have been of a smaller nature than, say, all out pitched battle. Seleukos likley realised that, given his resources, control of the Punjab and Arachosia was more than he could feasibly exercise given his recent settlement of Media, Bactria and Soghdia. Especially with Antigonos in his rear who was fought to a negotiated settlement by by 309/8 (not attested but likely on the evidence that Antigonos withdrew from the east and busied himself with Lysimachos, Kassandros and that mote in his empire's eye, Ptolemy). A negotiated settlement and secure borders was a better result for both men and Seleukos could turn west and deal with other matters. The sheer scale of Seleukid city building and the garrisoning which went with it in Syria, Anatolia and elsewhere in the empire in the early part of the third century puts the sword to the notion of an Indian campaign in those years.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu
User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2852
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by Paralus »

sean_m wrote:I guess I am confused because the version in the Greek sources is not so unflattering to proud Indians and Pakistanis. The Macedonians killed a lot of people and burned a lot of cities, but when it came to trying to set up lasting rule in the area, they pretty quickly gave up. Alexander and his successors might have made it easier for Chandragupta Maurya to conquer the Indus Valley, and many people in South Asia liked Greek sculpture, but they did not exactly set up a 200-year Raj. You don't need to pretend that Alexander lost some big battles in India!
That's actually a good point. There was no lasting "Raj" and Macedonian rule was temporary at best and fleeting at worst. The Greek tradition - the Alexandrian tradition - makes great play of the valiant Poros and does indeed paint the Indians as more than worthy opponents. It is national pride that sees some have to pretend that Alexander was walloped and covered it up with this march via the Makran.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu
Hypaspist
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:57 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by Hypaspist »

Aha... so Seleukos was not defeated by Chandragupta then?? Interesting... well, I didn't believe it anyway... no way Seleukos would have been beaten...

Very interesting read indeed... thank you so much for taking the time to answer, Paralus... so giving of you..

But what I meant was: who, too, came to an embarrassing and debilitating end? You said that "Seleukos TOO came to an embarassing end"... who was the other one?
User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2852
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by Paralus »

That would be Alexander.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu
Hypaspist
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:57 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by Hypaspist »

Ok but wait....a thousand pardons, perhaps its due to the night out with the boys last night I am not clear in thehead, or maybe I need to read up on irony, but Alexander didn't lose against Porus, did he??!

What did you mean by "debilitating and embarassing end" in context of Alexander then??
User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2852
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by Paralus »

The full flowering of the Indian nationalist contention is that Alexander was defeated by Poros. After this his remaining troops revolted and he withdrew. The news of the 600,000 plus army and 9,000 plus elephants awaiting him hastening both the revolt and withdrawal. The sources then cover this up with Poros being recognised, the campaign south and, most especially, the disastrous march through the Makran. the latter conceived to explain the decimation of his army by the Indians. Lesser versions encompass a Pyrrhic battle against Poros which cost him serious and debilitating casualties and the outright fear of the above Indian army seeing him escape west. The Makran march remains as the cover up for the losses suffered against the Indians. Either way he was replused with debilitating and embarrassing losses for which his historians contrived a cover up.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu
Hypaspist
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:57 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by Hypaspist »

Well of course... the entirety of the fantasy tale as contended by certain indian conspiracy theorists.

But Alexander won the battle against Poros, right, Paralus?
User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2852
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by Paralus »

So all our sources agree. It was won with a part of his army and the coup de gras delivered by those forces crossing after the main engagement. Our sources also indicate great difficulty in holding this territory. Macedonian suzerainty was no certain thing.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu
Hypaspist
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:57 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by Hypaspist »

Exactly!! and so everyone would agree, Paralus... except for silly and daft people...

Thank you for your expertise and graciousness for participating in this thread.
sean_m
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 253
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:00 pm

Re: Indan biased article on Alexander

Post by sean_m »

You know, the adventures of the Macedonians in India, Bactria, and Sogdia might make a good topic for another thread. A lot has been learned since Tarn's day (I think Holt has written some books about this?) and there have been finds like the letters and tally sticks from Bactria which show that administration continued uninterrupted from the last Achaemenids to the first Argeads.
My blog (Warning: may contain up to 95% non-Alexandrian content, rated shamelessly philobarbarian by 1 out of 1 Plutarchs)
Post Reply