Alexander and the East: The Tragedy of Triumph by A. B. Bosworth

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By A. B. Bosworth

During this research, Bosworth seems at Alexander the Great's actions in significant Asia and Pakistan, drawing a bleak photograph of bloodbath and repression similar to the Spanish conquest of Mexico. He investigates the evolution of Alexander's perspectives of empire and proposal of common monarch, and files the illustration of Alexander through historians of antiquity. The e-book is directed to experts and common readers alike.

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87 Alexander certainly behaved as though he felt no binding moral constraints, and by the end of his reign he was able to revoke one of the foundation clauses of the Corinthian League, a compact sanctioned by his father and himself, and demand by edict the restoration of exiles throughout the Greek world. His sovereignty was the overriding imperative. Its acquisition justified any and every act of violence; resistance to it merited massacre and repression. We have travelled a long way from Plutarch and his rhetorical creation of Alexander the civilizer.

Everything depended on his being able to hold the river against a crossing, and he patently did not have the resources to do so. In any case it was a gamble that Alexander would move on rather than attempt the river in its summer spate. If autumn had come and the Hydaspes had sunk to low water, then Porus would have been overwhelmed by Alexander's vastly superior numbers, with the king in embittered mood because of the delay. What is more, Porus knew the risks. Alexander had been in action since the autumn of 327, fighting a campaign above the Khyber Pass which even by his standards was exemplary in ruthlessness.

It is unlikely that reliable figures would ever have been available for the size of Porus' army, and the eyewitness reports of the victors must inevitably have exaggerated the enemy numbers to their own advantage. That happened to a grotesque degree in the reports of Gaugamela, which give figures ranging from 200,000 (Curtius) to 1,000,000 (Arrian) for the Persian infantry. The figures at the Hydaspes are much more sober, but even so they are clearly overestimates. 42 That practically excludes Porus having had as many as 30,000 infantry.

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