8 AORNOS1 Alex now crossed the Hindu Kush with about 21,000 reinforcements. His next great challenge was the Rock of Aornos (See handout for details). This was found by archaeologists in 1926 and is 7,000 ft high and 25 miles in circumference. (See text for map p.60). 2 Again his brilliance as a siege commander is in evidence as well as his refusal to be daunted by geography or climate. 3 On the way to the River Hydaspes Alex is said to have cut himself. One of the soldiers claimed that ichor flowed from his veins, but he himself said no, that it was just blood. 4 Why did he go into India? Greed? Ambition? Probably a mixture of all of these motives. Curiosity?

5 His last major pitched battle was against King Porus at the Hydaspes River (now the Jhelum). Coenus was sent back to the Indus to dismantle the boats and bring them overland on carts. 6 The battle was preceded by a war of nerves on the banks. (N.B. See handout on Battle of the Hydaspes for details and map on p.68. This battle has NEVER come up on the honours paper). 7 Some key points to note are the use of elephants, Alex's tactics for wearing down the enemy on the river bank, Porus's weakest element was his cavalry but his infantry and archers were excellent, their particular skills were irrelevant faced with Alex's troops, Napoleon was more impressed with this battle than with any other. 8 Meeting between Alex and Porus is revealing about Alex's character, perhaps indicating that he had not succumbed to excess. 9 By now the Macedonians had travelled 11,000 miles and had been away from home for 8 years. They were fed up. Arrian calls their mutiny at the River Hyphasis Alex's "only defeat". The incident tells us a great deal about him and his relationship with his men. His initial response to rage and sulk followed by a most gracious and diplomatic speech to the men shows that he certainly had not lost his touch, even though it must have gone hard with him not to proceed. His initial speech on the nature of glory is one of the most important insights into his character as painted by Arrian. Coenus's speech can only be seen as the measure of the men's exhaustion and low morale at this stage. Note Alex's pretext for turning back. They were only 600 miles from the Indian Ocean.

10 Last important battle was the Siege of the Mallians at Multan where we see one of the greatest and rashest acts of his personal courage in throwing himself over the wall first. Perhaps this killed him. Please note the unfailing devotion of his men when they fear for his life. The whole episode is much more typical of a Macedonian king than a Persian one. (See text pp.78-80 for details).

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