Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Persian War - Alfred J. Church (1881)


"...Of the ancestors of Alexander there is told this story. Three brothers of the royal house of Argos came into the land of Macedonia and took service with the King, one tending the horses, and one the cows, and one the smaller cattle. In those days not the people only but the kings also were poor, so that the King's wife was wont to bake the bread. And when she baked it she saw that the loaf of Perdiccas, that was the youngest of the brothers, grew to be twice as large as the other loaves. And as this happened day after day she told it to her husband. Then the man perceiving that it was a miracle, and signified no small matter, bade the three depart out of the country. But when they would have had their wages, he said to them, for it chanced that the sun was shining down the chimney into the house, "Here are your fit wages. This I give you;" and he pointed to the sunshine, for the Gods had taken his wits from him. The two elder stood astonished and said nothing, but the youngest, having a knife in his hand, drew a line with it on the floor round the sunshine, and made as if he would draw it up into his bosom three times, and so departed and his brothers with him. Now when they were gone, one went and told to the King what the youngest had done; and the King, when he heard it, was angry, and sent horsemen after them to slay them. But a certain river swelled so high when the three brothers of Argos had safely crossed it, that the horsemen could not follow. (Their descendants yet do sacrifice to this river as to their saviour.) The brothers took up their abode in a place which they call the Gardens of Midas. (Here are roses so great as can not be found elsewhere, having each sixty leaves, and over the gardens a mountain so cold that none can climb to the top.) From this place they went forth till they had conquered the whole land of Macedonia. From this Perdiccas came Alexander the Macedonian in the seventh generation..."

"...'and I, Alexander, for that I am your friend, beseech you to give ear to him, and to make agreement with the King, who has chosen you out of all the Greeks to make friendship and alliance with you'..."


"...That night came Alexander of Macedon to the camp of the Greeks and desired to speak with the generals. Then ran some of the guards and said, "Here is come a horseman from the camp of the Persians, who would speak with the generals, naming them by name." And when these had gone to the outposts they found Alexander, who said to them "Men of Athens, tell to no man, save to Pausanias only, what I shall say unto you. For surely I had not come but that I had a great love for Greece; and indeed I am a Greek by descent, but would fain see this land free rather than enslaved. Hear, therefore. Mardonius can not get the signs as he would have them; else he would have given battle long since. But now he is minded not to heed the signs any more but to fight. Be ye not then taken unawares, but make ready to receive him. But if he still delay, then abide in your place, for he can not long hold out, having but a few days' provision. And if the end of this war be as ye would have it, remember me and the kindness I have done you. I am Alexander the Macedonian." When he had so spoken he rode back to his own people..."

[Alfred J. Church, The Story of the Persian War, New York 1881]

Source: Heritage-History


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