If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. — Thomas Jefferson

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber

Alexander's Brilliant Beginning

As soon as the Greek states had all been brought to a proper state of obedience, Alexander prepared to conquer Persia, although he had a force of only 34,500 men. These men were very well trained, however, and promised to be more powerful on the battlefield than the million warriors of Xerxes.

In his joy at departing, Alexander made rich presents to everybody, until one of his advisers modestly reminded him that his treasure was not boundless, and asked him what he would have left when he had given away all he owned.

"My hopes!" answered Alexander proudly, for he expected to conquer not only Persia and Asia Minor, but all the known world.

While his army slowly made its way along the coast and across the Hellespont, Alexander, attended by only a few followers, sailed straight for Troy, the ancient Asiatic city.

He landed on the desert plain where the proud city had once stood, visited all the scenes of the mighty conflict, and offered sacrifices on the tomb of Achilles, while his friend Hephæstion did the same on that of Patroclus.

When this pious pilgrimage to the tomb of his ancestor was over, Alexander hastened to join the army, for he longed to do like the ancient Greeks, and win a glorious victory.

His wishes were soon granted, for before long he met the Persian army near the Granicus River, where a terrible battle was fought. Alexander himself joined in the fighting, and would certainly have been killed had not his friend Clytus, the son of his old nurse, rushed to his rescue and saved his life.

In spite of the size of the Persian army, which was much larger than his own, Alexander won a complete victory at the Granicus. Then, marching southward, he took the cities of Sardis and Ephesus without striking another blow. These towns were very rich, and offered of their own free will to pay him the same tribute that they had given to the Persians.

Alexander, however, would not take it, but bade them use the money to rebuild the Temple of Diana, which had been burned to the ground on the night he was born. As the sacred image of the goddess had been saved, the Ephesians gladly built a second magnificent shrine, which was visited many years later by Paul, the disciple of Christ.

From Sardis and Ephesus, Alexander marched on into the province of Caria. Here the queen of the country warmly welcomed him, adopted him as her son, and even proposed to give him her best cooks, so that they might prepare his food for him on the march.

Alexander thanked her heartily for this kind offer, but declined it, saying that his tutor Aristotle had given him the very best recipe for making him relish his meals.

The queen, whose appetite was fanciful, eagerly asked what it was; and Alexander smilingly answered, "A march before daybreak as the sauce for my dinner, and a light dinner as the sauce for my supper."

This was, as you may see, a very good recipe; and if Alexander had always remembered to be temperate, as Aristotle had advised, he would not have died of over eating and drinking at the age of thirty-three.


Front Matter

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