-Excerpted from "The history of Alexander the Great, being the Syriac version of the Pseudo-Callisthenes" Translated by Sir Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge
I. And Alexander heard that Porus the king of the Indians had prepared troops and was wishing to come to the assistance cf Darius, but when he heard that Darius was dead, he returned to his own land. And Alexander with all his hosts offered up sacrifices; then taking his army and troops, he went against Porus the king of the Indians. Now when he had gone round about and had marched for many days through a desert and torrents and terrible places and many rivers, all the chiefs of the army were worn out and said among themselves, " We have fought a great deal, we have had enough of war, and there is no need for us to fight any longer. We rightfully fought with Darius, for he imposed tribute upon us, and used to required impost and poll-tax from us every year, and we therefore destroyed Darius as was meet. But now this war is unnecessary, because we are marching against the Indians, who never at any time made war with the Greeks, through this fearfully desert country, being weary and fatigued and worn out with toil. Alexander is brave and a lover of wars, and he wishes to seize all foreign countries; but why should we, who have toiled all this time and are worn out with many battles, go about with him ?" And when Alexander heard these things, he commanded that all his forces should be assembled, and he gave orders for the Persian army to stand by itself, and for the Greek and Macedonian armies to stand by themselves. And Alexander said to them with a loud voice: " To you I speak, ye Macedonians and Greeks, my fellow soldiers and auxiliaries. Ye know that the Persian troops are now in my hands, and are neither enemies of mine nor yours. If ye give me orders and it pleases you that I should go by myself, I will go by myself; but I will speak now to you and call to your mind that I by myself was victor in the previous wars; and henceforth, with whomsoever I choose to fight, I hy myself will be victor. In the war with Darius ye were encouraged by my knowledge and my thoughts, because ye did not understand the customs of the Persians neither did ye know their skill. I stood at your head, and it was I who first went to Darius, and I escaped from the hands of Darius, from the liver Gush1 and from my other straits. Turn now and go to Macedonia, and guide yourselves wisely if ye are able, for there is no enemy in your way. If I hear that ye have been able to guide yourselves and to arrive safely in Macedonia, I shall know and believe and be convinced that bravery is yours." And when he had spoken these words, all the hosts of the Greeks and Macedonians fell upon their faces and entreated Alexander, saying, " Be reconciled to us, and put away anger from thy heart, and forgive us this folly, and we will be with thee unto the end."
II. Now after a few days Alexander arrived with his troops at a flourishing district in the territory of the Indians. And at that time the letter carriers of Porus the king of the Indians came to him, and brought a letter from Porus to Alexander, in which was written as follows: " From Porus the great king of the Indians to Alexander. I have heard of thee, that thou doest damage in countries and cities, but what art thou able to do to the gods and how canst thou fight against them ? Fate came to Darius king of the Persians; thou didst hurl thyself against him, and so thou thinkest that just as thou didst become strong and didst lift thyself up against Darius, so thou art able to exalt thyself against others. But I am he that has never been conquered; I am not only king of men but of the gods also; and the proof (I give) to thee is this, that the god Dionysus returned defeated by the hands of the Indians. I do not now advise thee, but I command thee to go quickly to Hellas thy country, for thou art not able to intimidate me by the war which thou didst carry on with Darius and with the other nations through whose feebleness thou hast become exalted; and so thou thinkest that thou art a mighty man and more exalted than king Porus, thelord of gods and men. Turn now, go back, and depart to thy country Hellas. If we had wanted Hellas, we would have taken it before king Xerxes. But because it is a wretched place and has nothing worthy of a king, we have scorned and despised it and have not subdued it. Therefore I say to thee, every man desires to acquire whatever is good and excellent, and never desires what is hateful. So now for the third time I say to thee, turn and go back, for thou art not able to do anything, therefore do not covet."
Then Alexander commanded that this letter should be read before his troops, and he said to them: " My fellow soldiers, let not your minds be afraid because of these words of king Porus which he has written to me in his letter. Be mindful too of those words which Darius used to write to me. Verily I say unto you that the barbarians and dwellers in all these regions are all as stupid and as ignorant as the wild beasts that live in their country. Leopards and lions and elephants and panthers are over confident by reason of the strength of their bodies, and it is well known that they can be easily captured by the knowledge of man with stratagems and artifices. In the same way the kings who dwell in these regions, and all the barbarians, are proud by reason of the number of their troops, but they will be easily defeated by the knowledge of the Greeks."
When Alexander had spoken to the troops in this manner, he encouraged them mightily and he made answer to Porus by letter as follows: " From Alexander to Porus, the king of the Indians, greeting. The minds of all the troops that are with me have been made proud by these words which thou hast written to me, and their desire has been made the more ready for war by what thou hast said, that there is nothing beautiful and noble to be found in Hellas. By thy saying too that the desire and longing of each man goes after what is beautiful, by reason of this saying I and my forces now long to do battle and to make war with thee. Thou hast by thy words greatly encouraged us against thee, for we Greeks are poor, and there is nothing costly in our land, while ye Indians are rich and what is costly abounds in your land. And now our mind and longing and desire are set upon the fair things which are to be found in your land, and we will fight with all our heart until we take that which belongs to you. Thou didst also write that thou art king of gods and men, and thou hast exalted thyself above the gods; but I am going to contend in war with thee as with a warrior, and I am not going to do battle with thee as with the gods; for all the weapons in the world are unable to contend against the gods, and how can mortal man contend with Him, before the cold of whose winters and the crashes of whose lightnings and thunders the world is unable to stand ? And just as thou art not afraid (of me) by reason of the war which I carried on with Darius and with other nations, even so I am not afraid of these perverse words which thou hast written to me."
III. After Porus had seen this letter, he commanded the whole army to be assembled, and a number of elephants to be brought to the conflict, and mighty wild beasts with them. And when the Macedonians and Persians drew near and came to the ranks of Porus, they saw and trembled, for they observed that the ranks were formed of wild beasts and not of men; and even Alexander himself was afraid, because he was accustomed to fight with men and not with wild beasts. Then he sat down and reflected in his mind, and gave orders to bring such brazen images as could be found among his troops. And when the images were collected, which were in the form of men and quadrupeds,—now they were about twenty-four thousand in number—he ordered a smith's furnace to be set up; and they brought much wood and set fire to it, and heated those images in the fire, and the images became glowing coals of fire. Then they took hold of them with iron tongs, and placed them upon iron chariots, and led the chariots before the ranks of the warriors; and Alexander commanded horns and trumpets to be sounded. When the wild beasts that were in the ranks of the king of the Indians heard the sound of the trumpets, they rushed upon the ranks of Alexander's army; and since the brazen images which were full of fire were in the van, they laid hold of them with their mouths and lips, and burnt their mouths and their lips. Some of them died (on the spot), and some of them retired beaten and fled away to the camp of the king of the Indians. The wise Alexander, having
turned back the wild beasts by this artifice, began to fight with the Indians themselves. Now the battle by day time was very fierce, and the Persian troops prevailed over the Indians in fighting on horseback and with bows and arrows, and many men died on both sides. The horse which was called Bucephalus, upon which Alexander rode, by the sorcery of Porus threw Alexander off his back. Then by reason of this Alexander was in great tribulation, and he went on foot, holding and leading with his hand the horse which was called Bull-head, for he thought, " Peradventure he may fall into the hand of the enemies." And the troops of Alexander did battle with the Indians continually for twenty days, and they were weary and sore enfeebled, and because of their fatigue they wished to surrender to the Indians.
IV. When Alexander perceived that his forces were desirous of doing this, he commanded them to cease [fighting]. He then drew near to the van, and cried with a loud voice to Porus and said to him : " O Porus, king of the Indians, there is neither renown nor glory when a king destroys his troops; but if thou art now willing, let the troops rest, and I and thou alone will fight together." When Porus heard this speech, he rejoiced and agreed with him to do so, saying, "I will fight with thee alone;" for he saw that Alexander was very small in stature, while he himself was very tall. Now Porus was five cubits high, and Alexander three cubits. Then Alexander commanded his troops to stand in order, and Porus also commanded his troops to do likewise. The two came to the contest on foot; and when they had approached one another, there was suddenly a confusion and a great noise in the ranks of the Indians; and Porus was alarmed and turned round and looked upon his forces. When Alexander saw that Porus had turned round and was looking behind him, he ran at him and stabbed him under the shoulders and drove the weapon out beneath his navel and slew him. When the Indians saw that Porus was slain, they came to fight. Then Alexander said to the troops of the Indians, " Ye wretched Indians, your king is dead, and will ye fight ?" The troops of the Indians answered and said to him, " Wc are fighting that we may not become captives." Then Alexander said to them : " Return to your city and do not fight, because I will leave you free and will impose no tax upon you ; for I know that the offence was not of you, but of Porus." Now Alexander said this because he saw that his own troops were few and he was not able to meet in battle the legions of the Indians. Then Alexander commanded the body of Porus to be buried honourably, and he made ready to go to another place, which was called Ratniron, that he might fight with them, for he heard that they were sages and naked and that they dwelt in huts and holes of the earth.
V. When these people heard that Alexander was come, they sent certain sages that were among them to Alexander with their letter. And when he saw their letter, he found written therein as follows. " From the Brahmans, the naked sages [gymnosophists], to the man Alexander greeting. We write to thee thus: if thou desirest to come in order to make war with us, thou wilt gain nothing at all from us, for we have no property at all that can be taken away from us by war; and if thou desirest to take away that which we have, thou canst [only] take it away by entreaty, for our property is knowledge, and knowledge cannot be taken away by war; but even this thou art not capable of learning, for the heavenly will distributed and gave to thee war, and to us knowledge."
When Alexander had read this letter, he went to them peaceably, and he saw that they were all naked, and that they dwelt under booths and in caves, and that their wives and children went about the plain like sheep.
VI. Then Alexander asked one of them, " Have ye no graves here ?" The Brahman said, " The place where we live is our house, and it is also our grave; here then we lie down, and bury our bodies continually in it, that our training and our teaching may be -in this world and that the term of our life in yonder world may be for ever and aye." And he asked another Brahman, " Which men are the more numerous, those that are dead or those that are alive ?" The Brahman said, " Those that are dead are the more numerous, for those who will hereafter come are not to be counted among those who are now alive; and you must know of yourself what innumerable myriads have died through thee and these few legions that are with thee." He asked another Brahman, " Which is the
mightier, death or life ?" The Brahman said, " Life ; for when the sun rises and becomes warm like life, he covers over the feebleness of night by the beams of his radiance, and becomes strong. So also they who are dead are fallen beneath the darkness of death; but when life rises upon them like the sun, they will again come to life." He asked another Brahman, "Which is the older, the earth or the sea?" The Brahman said, " The earth, for the sea too is placed upon the earth." He asked another Brahman, " Which is the most wicked of all living things?" The Brahman said, "Man." Alexander said, "Tell me how so." The Brahman said, " Ask thyself how many beings go about with thee, that thou mayest wrest the lands and countries of other living beings, thy fellow creatures, from their owners, and hold them thyself alone." Alexander was not enraged at this speech, for he wished to hear. He asked another Brahman, "What is kingdom?" The Brahman said, " Greed and brief power, and arrogance, and the insolence of wicked doings." He asked another Brahman, " Which existed first, night or day?" The Brahman said, "Night; for a child is first of all created in darkness in the womb of his mother, and then when he is brought forth, he sees the light." He asked another Brahman, "Who is he whom we cannot deceive by lying ?" The Brahman said, " He to whom all secrets are revealed." He asked another Brahman, " Which limbs are the better, those on the left side or those on the right." The Brahman said, " Those on the left; for the sun shines on the left side ; and a woman suckles her child first from the left breast; and when we sacrifice to God, we make our offering to him with the left hand; and kings hold the sceptre of their kingdom in their left hand." And when Alexander had asked this question, he said to them, " Whatsoever ye desire ask of me all of you at once, and I will give it you." The Brahmans said, " We ask of thee immortality." Alexander said, " I am not master over immortality, because I am mortal." The Brahmans said, " Since thou art mortal, why dost thou make all these wars and battles? When thou hast seized the whole world, whither wouldst thou carry it ? for since thou art mortal, it will remain with others." Alexander said, " All these things happen by the providence and the will of heaven, and we wait on the heavenlycommand; for just as the waves of the sea are not lifted up unless the wind blows upon them, nor do the trees shake when there is no wind, so neither are men able to do anything without a command from above. I very much desire to rest
from wars, but \ If all men were of one mind and one will,
the whole world would be a wilderness and without cultivation ; no man would sail on the sea in ships, neither would any cultivate the earth, and there would be no generation of children. How many unlucky men are there, who have got mixed up with these wars which I have carried on, and whose possessions have perished from them ! And on the other hand, how many lucky men have there chanced to be, who have become enriched by the possessions of others! Every one of us then who plunders something from another leaves it again to some one else, and we depart naked and empty." When Alexander had spoken these words, he turned away from the Brahmans, and he was much fatigued and worn out by the journey, for the country through which he was marching was pathless, and no one had ever marched through it before.
VIL" Then Alexander composed a letter to Aristotle his master concerning everything that had happened to him, and he wrote to him thus: " From Alexander to our master Aristotle greeting. I desire, 0 my teacher, to write and inform thee of what has happened to me in this land of the Indians. When then we had drawn near to the place (called) Prasiake, which, as they say, is the great city of the Indians and at a distance from the shores of the Great Seaa, we saw figures of men; and when we came close up to the spot, we saw men feeding upon the shores of the sea, and their faces were like those of horses, and they lived upon fish. And when we had called aloud to some of them, for we wished to enquire of them concerning that
1 Some words have beeu accidentally omitted, corresponding to the Greek d\X' oiiK iu i rfjs yrti/ap pov StotrbT-rit (Mtiller, p. 101, col. 2).
• This is chapter xvii. cf the Greek text (Miiller, p. 120, col. 2). Parts of it have been edited in Syriac by the late Professor Roediger of Halle in his Chrestomathia Syriaca, 2nd ed., pp. 112—120; and considerable portions have been translated by the late Dr J. Perkins in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. iv., p. 394 sqq.
3 Just the reverse of the Latin translation, which has mari imminet mhjacenti (Miiller, p. 120, col. 2).
place, we perceived that their speech was barbarian. And we saw in the midst of the sea something of which they said that it was the grave of the ancients and very old, and that there was much gold in it1. And I desired much to go in a boat to the island, but those barbarians suddenly hid their boats, and did not leave more than twelve. Then I gave orders to seize those twelve boats, and I was going to embark in them and go to the island, but my dear friend Philon, and Hephaestion, and Kartil [Craterus], and other friends, would not allow me to embark in a boat and go to the island. Phil6n said to me,' Bid me go in a boat first and cross over to the island; and if (which God forbid) there be anything evil, I shall die before thee ; and if it be otherwise, I will come back and do thou also pass over; for if PhilOti perishes, Alexander can find many friends like Phil6n, but if (which God forbid) Alexander were to perish, his like could not be found in the whole world.' Then I gave way and bade them embark in the boats and go over to the island; and when they had embarked in the boats and had drawn near the island, the thing turned out to be an animal and not an island at all; and it sank and vanished suddenly in the sea, and my friend Phil6n disappeared in the vortex of the waters and perished; and I was in great trouble and deep affliction. Then I ordered those barbarians to be seized, but they fled away and hid themselves. And we remained where we were for eight days. And we saw a wild beast like an elephant, but its body was much larger than an elephant's; and when we saw it, we ran at it with our weapons, but it suddenly fled away from our sight. And when we saw this, we came from thence to Prasiake' disheartened and in sorrow. And since we have traversed a number of the countries of the world, and have seen many wonderful sights, I thought that I would write and inform thee, 0 my teacher; for I have seen beasts of all kinds and shapes, and wonderful sights, and marvels, and various and divers species of reptiles; but the most wonderful thing of all was this, that I saw the failing of the sun and of the moon, which takes place in its appearance, which is in winter and
from time to time1; and so I thought it necessary for me to write to thee about each one of these things.
Now when I had slain Darius and had taken his country and had traversed it, I found therein a number of treasuries, and there was much gold therein, ingots and cups of gold for mixed wine, which were set with gems of various sorts; some of them held ninety measures of wine, and some fifty measures; and there were goods of various kinds.
And we began our march from the Caspian gates unto the border of the Indians; and we heard that that country was a desert and a wilderness, and that wild beasts and snakes and other kinds of evil reptiles were abundant therein. And I commanded the trumpeters to sound at the tenth hour of the day, and to beat the drums; and from the tenth hour [of the day] to the third hour of the night the phalanx was marching, and so we went on the whole night. When it was day and the sun had spread abroad his rays, I commanded the trumpeters to sound, and the whole phalanx to encamp until the third hour of the day; and I commanded the horsemen and foot soldiers to wear shoes and greaves and breastplates and armpieces of raw hide on account of the evil reptiles of that country, for no man was able to walk about without such clothing, lest perchance he himself should become the cause of his own death. Having marched along so strange a road as this for twelve days, we drew near to a city which was situated between rivers; and we commanded a ditch to be made along the banks of that river. We saw in that river a reed the height of which was thirty3 cubits, and its thickness as that of a garland which a man puts on his head. The whole city was overshadowed by these reeds; and when we observed the city, it was not built upon the ground, but upon the reeds. We found in that river a boat, and when we had embarked therein, we went and observed, and it was exactly as we had seen at a distance. When we tasted the water of the river, it was more bitter than bitter herbs; and I was very much annoyed when I observed its
1 The meaning of this sentence is not clear. See MiiUer, p. 121, col. 1, at the foot.
2 The Greek text (Mviller, p. 121, col. 2) has "four cubits," A beinR an error for A.
bitterness, for I did not find sweet water in that place. My ditch was dug along the bank of the river for two miles; and some of my fellow soldiers, thirty and six in number, scornfully cast off the skin garments from their backs, and wished to bathe in the river. When they had gone down to the water, a number of reptiles rose up against them, and seized those men, and dragged them into the river, and killed them in the water. When I saw these things, I crossed over again to the other side of the river. And when I saw the innumerable reptiles, I was in every way afflicted and distressed, and I departed from that place. And I commanded the horns to sound [a halt] from the sixth hour of the day until the eleventh. I saw too that the foot-soldiers and horsemen were drinking their own urine because of thirst.
Now when we had departed thence, another obstacle fell in our way, for we drew near to a lake, and we found therein every species of animal and reptile. When we tasted those waters, we perceived that they were sweeter than honey, and we were very glad. And when the phalanx halted and went on foot towards the lake, they saw upon its shore a pillar with an inscription which ran thus: 'I Siusinikos [Sesonchosis], the ruler of the world, have caused this lake to be made for the watering of those who live on and travel by sea.' When the night drew nigh, I ordered a couch to be prepared and a fire to be lighted around it, and I commanded that each horseman and foot-soldier should likewise light a fire by the side of his head. When I lay down upon my couch, the moon rose soon after,—it was about the third hour of the night,—and wild beasts of various kinds came forth from the jungle and came to the lake. Out of the earth too and from the sand white and red scorpions issued, each of which was a cubit long. And in the midst of the phalanx there sprang up snakes with horns on their heads, some red and some white, and they bit and killed a number of the men, and there was a great outcry and weeping heard from within the camp. We saw a lion that came to drink water, and he was larger than the oxen that are in our country; and we saw beasts with horns on their noses, and they were larger than elephants. We saw also wild boars that were larger than the lion, and the tusks of each of which n. A. 7
were a cubit long; we saw too wolves and leopards and panthers and beasts with scorpions' tails, and elephants, and wild bulls, and ox-elephants, and men with six hands apiece; and we saw men with twisted legs and teeth like dogs and faces like women. And we were afflicted in our soul and were in grief. Then I commanded my troops to put on every man his skin clothing, to take his weapons in his hand together with wood and fire, and all to go in a body to the jungle and set it on fire. When we had done this, a great number of reptiles hastened of their own free will to the fire, some of which were burnt therein, and some were slain by the hands of my troops and perished. Of the wild beasts we slew some and others fled away. After the moon had set and it was dark, an animal which was bigger in its body than an elephant and which they call MashkSlath1 in the language of the country, came into the ditch and wished to spring upon us, but I straightway called out to my troops to take courage and stand ready. Now the longing and desire of the animal was to enter the ditch and to kill men, and suddenly it rushed into the ditch and killed twenty-six men, and amid loud noises and struggles it too perished by the hands of my troops; and after it was dead, we with three hundred men dragged it with great toil from the ditch and lifted it out. And we looked amid the darkness and saw reptiles which they call night-foxes, the length of which was from six to eight cubits. We saw also water crocodiles, the length of each of which was twelve cubits; and we saw bats which were as big as eagles, and their teeth were like those of men. We saw likewise nightravens, the beaks and claws and talons of which were like those of eagles, and they sat around the lake, and did not harm human beings, neither did they come near the fire. My troops killed a great number of them, and when it was day they all hid themselves.
And we departed from thence and came to a wood', and
1 The mathkUath is the odontotyrannus of the Latin translation (Muller, p. 123, col. 1). The same creature is mentioned in the Greek text of Book in. ch. x. (Muller, p. 105) as a huge amphibious animal, big enough to swallow an elephant whole, which renders the crossing of the river Ganges very unsafe. This description seems to point to the alligator, and it is jnst possible that t\n tV) may be a corruption of makara, in Hindustani magar.
s Sec Book n. ch. xxxii., about the middle (Muller, p. 80, col. 1).
JOURNEY FROM PRASIAKE THROUGH ASIA. 99
in that wood there were trees bearing fruit, and their fruit was very luscious; and within the wood there were wild men, whose faces resembled ravens, and they held missiles in their hands, and their clothing was of skins. When they saw us, they cast missiles at my troops and slew some of them; and I commanded my troops to shout and to charge them at full speed; and when we had done this, we slew six hundred and thirty-three of them, and they slew of my horsemen one hundred and sixty-seven. And I ordered the bodies of those that were dead to be taken up and to be carried to their own country. We remained in that place three days and fed upon the fruit of the trees, because we had no other food.
And we departed thence and came to a river in which there was a copious spring of water; and I gave orders to encamp there that my troops might have a little rest. At the ninth hour of the day, behold a creature half beast half man1, which in its body was (like) a wild boar reared upright; and it was not at all afraid of us. I commanded my troops to catch it, and when they drew near to it, it was not at all afraid and did not run away from them. Then I ordered a naked woman to go towards it, that we might easily seize it; but when the woman went up to it, the beast took hold of the woman and rent her, and began to devour her. When we saw this, we went against it at full speed, and smote it and killed it. Then we departed from the country of the beast-men, for there was a countless number of men like this in it, and we slew myriads of them, because we all stood ready with arms. And I gave orders to cut down all their wood and to set it on fire, and we burnt them together with their wood.
And we departed thence and arrived at the country of the people whose feet are twisted; and when they saw us, they began to throw stones, and they threw accurately and aimed at us. When I saw that they slew some of my troops, I ran at them alone with my sword drawn, and by great good luck I stabbed the chief of those people with twisted feet. The rest were afraid, and ran away, and hid themselves under the rocks in various places; and there were some among them with asses' legs.
1 Compare Book n. ch. xxxiii. (Miiller, p. 86, col. 2).
We set out again from thence and came to another place where there were men with lion's heads and scaly tails1.
From thence we set out again and came to a river*. And upon the bank of the river there was a tree, which grew and increased from dawn until the sixth hour, and from the sixth hour until evening it diminished in height until there was nothing to be seen of it. Its smell was very pleasant, and I gave orders to gather some of its leaves and fruit, when suddenly an evil wind burst forth upon my troops and distressed them pitilessly; and we heard the sound of violent blows, and swellings and weals appeared upon the back of my troops; and after this we heard a voice from heaven like the sound of thunder which spake thus: ' Let no man cut ought from this tree, neither let him approach it, for if ye approach it, all your troops will die.' And there were birds too which were like partridges. And I commanded that they should not cut ought from that tree, nor kill any of the birds. There were also stones in that river, the colour of which when in the water was deep black, but when we brought them out, they were quite white, and when we threw them in again, their colour (again) became deep black.
And from thence we set out and halted by a spring. And when we had marched through a desolate wilderness*, we arrived at the ocean which goes round the whole world. And while we were going along the shores of the sea, I commanded the phalanx to encamp; and I heard the voice of men [speaking] in the Greek tongue, but I did not see them, nor did we see anything else in the sea except something like an island, which was not very far from us. Then a certain number of my troops desired to go to that island by swimming; and when they had stripped off their clothing and plunged into the sea, beasts in the form of men, but whose bodies were very large, came up from the deep and seized twenty of my soldiers, and plunged down into the depths.
Then we departed thence through fear, and came to a
1 The word here rendered "scaly" literally means "an oyster" or "oyster Bhell."
3 Compare Book n. ch. xxxvi. (Miiller, p. 88, col. 2). 3 Sec Book II. eli. xxxviii. (Miiller, p. 89, col. 1).
JOURNEY THROUGH ASIA. THE PHOENIX. OBARKIA. 101
certain place. And the people who were in that place had no head at all, but they had eyes and a mouth in their breasts, and they spoke like men, and used to gather mushrooms from the ground and eat them. Now each mushroom weighed twenty pounds. And those men were like children in their minds, and in their way of life they were very simple.
And from thence we set out and came to a certain place which was waste; and in the midst of that place there was a bird sitting upon a tree without leaves and without fruit, and it had upon its head something like the rays of the sun, and they called the bird the ' palm bird' (phoenix).
Then we set out from thence and came to a place amid groves of trees which were large, and in these woods there were wild beasts like the wild asses of our own country. Each of them was fifteen cubits in length, and as they were not dangerous, my troops killed a number of them and ate them.
Then we marched on our road sixty-five days, and arrived at a place which they call Obarkia (?). And on the seventh day we saw two birds', the bodies of which were very large, and their faces were like the face of a man; and suddenly one of them said in the Greek language, '0 Alexander, thou art treading the land of the gods;' and again it said to me in the same language,' Alexander, the victory over Darius and the subjection of king Porus are enough for thee.' And when we had heard such words as these, we turned and came back from the country of the ObarkSnaye (?).
Then I gave orders to set out from this place, and we came thence to the foot of a certain mountain. This mountain was very high, and a temple had been built on the top of it, the height of which was a hundred cubits. When I saw this, I marvelled greatly. It was girt round with a chain of gold, and the weight of the chain was three hundred pounds. I gave orders to open the door of the temple that I might go in with my troops*. When we went in, we found in it two thousand five hundred steps of sapphire, and we saw inside a very large chamber the windows around which were of gold, and in them
1 See Book Ii. oh. xL (Miiller, p. 90, col. 2).
3 Compare the description in Meusel's text, p. 786, at the foot of the page (Book in. ch. xxviii.).
there were thirty figures of gems and of of gold. And
when we drew near to the chamber, we saw that the whole temple was of gold, and over its windows there were golden images, figures of Pan and the Satyrs, who were musicians, and in the windows there stood dancers. In the temple a golden altar was placed, and by it stood two candlesticks of sapphire, the height of each of which was forty cubits. Lamps of gold were set upon them, which shone like the light of a lamp. And upon the altar instead of fire was placed a lamp made of stone, which shone like a star. In the temple a couch of gold was placed, which was set with gems; its length was forty cubits, and cushions of great value were laid upon it; the form of a huge man reclined thereon, and an effulgence shot forth from him like the lightning flash. Over him was spread a garment worked with gold and emeralds and other precious stones in the form of a vine, the fruit of which was of gold set with gems, and before the couch an ivory table was placed. When I saw this, I was unwilling to draw near hastily and uncover his face and see who it was. Then I sacrificed in the temple to the god and did reverence, and I turned away and came out. And when I had come out and was in the doorway of the temple, there was suddenly a terrible sound like the noise of thunder, and like the noise of the uproar and billows of the sea And when that roaring noise ceased, I heard a voice from within the temple which said to me thus: 'King Alexander, rest and cease from thy toils; enter not the temple of the gods, neither reveal their mysteries; for he whom thou hast seen upon this couch is I Dionysus, and I tell thee that it is given to thee to conquer in this war for which thou art prepared, and to come to our country to rest, and they shall reckon thee among our number.' When I heard a voice like this, my mind was in fear and joy, and I again sacrificed and did reverence to him; and I went out to go about that place and to record this sight in it. '
Then I gave orders to kill those fifty Indians our guides, who had led us astray in such roads and places, and to throw them into the sea; and we turned to the road towards Prasiake1, and arrived at a region abounding in trees, where I
1 See Book in. oh. xvii. (Miiller, r- 122, col. 2,11. 17).