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 at Jerusalem

Darius, as we have seen, had fled after the disastrous battle of Issus. His terror was so great that he never stopped in his flight until he had reached the other side of the river Tigris, where he still believed himself safe.

Instead of going after Darius at once, Alexander first went southward along the coast; for he thought it would be wiser to take all the cities near the sea before he went farther inland, so as to make sure that he had no enemies behind his back.

Marching down through Syria and Phœnicia, Alexander took the cities of Damascus and Sidon, and came at last to Tyre, a prosperous commercial city built on an island at a short distance from the shore.

The Tyrians would not open their gates and surrender, so Alexander prepared to besiege the city. As he had no fleet, he began to build a great causeway out to the island.

This was a very difficult piece of work, because the water was deep; and while his men were building it, they were greatly annoyed by showers of arrows, stones, and spears from the walls of the city and from the decks of the Tyrian vessels.

A storm, also, broke the causeway to pieces once, when it was nearly finished, and the army had to begin the work anew. The obstinate resistance of Tyre made Alexander so angry, that he celebrated his final victory by crucifying a large number of the richest citizens.

After offering up a sacrifice to Hercules on the flaming ruins of Tyre, Alexander went on toward Jerusalem. His plan was to punish the Jews, because they had helped his enemies, and had supplied the Tyrians with food.

The news of his coming filled the hearts of the Jews with terror, for they expected to be treated with the same frightful cruelty as the Tyrians. In their fear they knew not whether to surrender or fight.

Finally Jaddua, the high priest, had a vision, in which an angel of the Lord appeared to him, and told him what to do. In obedience to this divine command, he made the Levites put on their festal garments, and then, dressed in his priestly robes, he led them down the hill to meet the advancing conqueror.

When Alexander saw the beautiful procession, headed by such a dignified old man, he quickly got down from his horse, knelt before Jaddua, and worshiped the name written on his holy vestments.

His officers, astonished at this unusual humility, finally asked him why he did such honor to a foreign priest. Then Alexander told them of a vision he had had before leaving Macedon. In it he had beheld Jaddua, who bade him come over to Asia without fear, as it was written that the Persians would be delivered into his hands.

Walking beside the aged Jaddua, Alexander entered the holy city of Jerusalem and the courts of the temple. Here he offered up a sacrifice to the Lord, and saw the Books of Daniel and Zechariah, in which his coming and conquests were all foretold.


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