War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




Death of Alexander the Great

Alexander now went back to Babylon, where he married Roxana, a Persian princess, giving her sister's hand to his intimate friend Hephæstion. This wedding was celebrated with great pomp, for eighty Macedonian officers took Persian wives on the same day.

The feasting for the weddings went on for many days, and the revelry was carried to such a shameful excess, that Hephæstion actually drank himself to death.

In token of sorrow, Alexander built him a fine tomb, had him buried with all the magnificence possible, and even decreed that he should henceforth be worshiped as a god. In this folly he was upheld by the priests, who were now ready to grant his every wish, and were always filling his mind with their senseless flatteries.

Alexander then fell into his old habits more than ever. He had again assumed all the pomp of an Eastern king, and sat on a wonderful golden throne. Over his head was the golden vine that had formerly belonged to the first Darius. Its leaves were of emeralds, while its grapes were clusters of fine carbuncles.

This vine had been given to a Persian king by Crœsus, the wealthy ruler of Lydia, and was considered one of the most precious treasures which the young conqueror had won.

But in spite of all Alexander's successes, he was not nearly so happy as he used to be when only king of Macedon. He no longer enjoyed the fine health which had helped him to bear the greatest hardships, and, weakened by over eating and drinking, he soon fell dangerously ill.

The doctors crowded around his bed, doing their best to save him, but they soon saw that he would die. When the Macedonian soldiers heard this, they were beside themselves with grief, and one and all insisted upon seeing their beloved leader once more.

Alexander
Death of Alexander.


Silently and sadly they filed past his bed, gazing upon the dying face which they had seen so bright and full of life a short time before. As most of the soldiers were older than their king, they had never expected to outlive him; and every one said that it was sad to die thus, at thirty-three, when master of nearly all the known world.

Just before he died, some one begged Alexander to name his successor. He hesitated for a moment, then drew his signet ring from his finger, gave it to Perdiccas, his principal general, and whispered that the strongest among them should have the throne.

Alexander's death was mourned by all, for in spite of his folly and excesses, he was generally beloved. Even Sisygambis, the Persian queen whom he had taken captive a few years before, shed many tears over his remains, and declared she had lost a protector who had always treated her as kindly as if he had been her own son.

The conqueror's body was laid in a golden coffin, and carried in state to Alexandria, the city he had founded at the mouth of the Nile. Here a fine tomb was built by order of Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals, who said that his dead master also should be worshiped as a god.

Ptolemy wanted the body to remain in Egypt because an oracle had said that he who buried Alexander would be master of his kingdom.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Inhabitants of Greece
The Deluge of Ogyges
Founding of Important Cities
Story of Deucalion
Daedalus and Icarus
The Adventures of Jason
Theseus Visits the Labyrinth
The Terrible Prophecy
The Sphinx's Riddle
Death of Oedipus
The Brothers' Quarrel
The Taking of Thebes
The Childhood of Paris
Muster of the Troops
Sacrifice of Iphigenia
The Wrath of Achilles
Death of Hector and Achilles
The Burning of Troy
Heroic Death of Codrus
The Blind Poet
The Rise of Sparta
The Spartan Training
The Brave Spartan Boy
Public Tables in Sparta
Laws of Lycurgus
The Messenian War
The Music of Tyrtaeus
Aristomenes' Escape
The Olympic Games
Milo of Croton
The Jealous Athlete
The Girls' Games
The Bloody Laws of Draco
The Laws of Solon
The First Plays
The Tyrant Pisistratus
The Tyrant's Insult
Death of the Conspirators
Hippias Driven out of Athens
The Great King
Hippias Visits Darius
Destruction of the Persian Host
Advance of the Second Host
The Battle of Marathon
Miltiades' Disgrace
Aristides the Just
Two Noble Spartan Youths
The Great Army
Preparations for Defense
Leonidas at Thermopylae
Death of Leonidas
The Burning of Athens
Battles of Salamis and Plataea
The Rebuilding of Athens
Death of Pausanias
Cimon Improves Athens
The Earthquake
The Age of Pericles
Teachings of Anaxagoras
Peloponnesian War Begins
Death of Pericles
The Philosopher Socrates
Socrates' Favorite Pupil
Youth of Alcibiades
Greek Colonies in Italy
Alcibiades in Disgrace
Death of Alcibiades
Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants
Accusation of Socrates
Death of Socrates
The Defeat of Cyrus
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Agesilaus in Asia
A Strange Interview
The Peace of Antalcidas
The Theban Friends
Thebes Free Once More
The Battle of Leuctra
Death of Pelopidas
The Battle of Mantinea
The Tyrant of Syracuse
Damon and Pythias
The Sword of Damocles
Dion and Dionysius
Civil War in Syracuse
Death of Dion
Philip of Macedon
Philip Begins His Conquests
The Orator Demosthenes
Philip Masters Greece
Birth of Alexander
The Steed Bucephalus
Alexander as King
Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander's Beginning
The Gordian Knot
Alexander's Royal Captives
Alexander at Jerusalem
The African Desert
Death of Darius
Defeat of Porus
Return to Babylon
Death of Alexander
Division of the Realm
Death of Demosthenes
Last of the Athenians
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Battle of Ipsus
Demetrius and the Athenians
The Achaean League
Division in Sparta
Death of Agis
War of the Two Leagues
The Last of the Greeks
Greece a Roman Province