The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like an incubus upon the brain of the living. — Karl Marx

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber

Death of Darius

Alexander soon won the good will of the Babylonians by allowing them to rebuild the Temple of Bel, which had been destroyed. He also secured the affections of the captive Jews; for he excused them from doing any work on this building as soon as he heard that they considered it the Tower of Babel, and hence objected to aiding in its erection.

The young conqueror spent one month in Babylon, and then went on to Susa. There he found the brazen statue of Athene which Xerxes had carried off to Persia; and he sent it back to the Athenians, who received it with much joy.

The Persian queen now became very ill, and, in spite of the utmost care, she soon died. Throughout her illness, Alexander was most thoughtful and attentive; and when she died, he gave orders that she should be buried with all the pomp due to her high rank.

He also comforted the mourning Sisygambis, and sent the news of the queen's death to Darius, who had fled to the northern part of his kingdom, where he was hastily gathering together another army. Touched by Alexander's conduct, Darius now wrote to him, offering peace, and proposing to share the throne of Persia with him.

The young conqueror's head had been turned by his many victories, and he was growing more haughty every day: so he proudly refused this proposal, saying that the world could not have two masters any more than two suns.

In his pride, Alexander now assumed the dress and state of an Oriental king, surrounded himself with luxury, and spent most of his time in feasting and revelry. His courtiers encouraged him in this folly, and he soon forgot the wise lessons taught by Aristotle.

On several occasions the young king drank so much that he did not know what he was doing; and once, in a fit of drunken rage, he set fire to the beautiful palace of Persepolis, and burned it to the ground.

As he had refused Darius' offers of peace, he soon considered it necessary to continue the war: so, laying aside his jeweled robes, he put on his armor and set out for the north. He was about to overtake the Persian king, when Darius was mortally wounded by one of his followers named Bessus.

The traitor thought that he would win Alexander's favor by this crime, and came and boasted of it to him. Alexander was so angry, however, that he bade his guards seize Bessus, and had him put to death in the most barbarous way.

When the Macedonian king finally came up with Darius, he found him bathed in his own blood, and breathing his last. He had only time to assure him of the safety of his family, and to promise to continue to protect them, before Darius sank back dead.

By Alexander's orders the body was embalmed, and carried to Sisygambis, so that it could be properly buried in the beautiful tomb of the Persian kings. This last act of generosity quite won the aged queen's heart; and she felt so grateful, that she loved Alexander as long as he lived.


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