Arrian, Anabasis 7.25-27

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טקסט

25

[1] The royal journals have this account. He drank and made merry with Medius, and then, after rising and bathing, went to sleep; he afterwards dined with Medius, and again drank till late in the night, and then breaking off from the carouse bathed, and after bathing ate a little and slept just where he was, as he was already in a fever, [2] However, he was carried out on an couch to perform the sacrifices custom prescribed for each day; after making the offerings he lay down in the men's apartments till dark. At this time he gave the officers instructions for the march and the voyage; the foot were to prepare for departure after three days, and those who were to sail with him after four [3] Thence he was carried on his couch to the river, and embarking on a boat sailed across to the river to the garden, and there again bathed and rested. Next day again he bathed and offered the usual sacrifices; after going into his canopied bed he lay down, conversing with Medius. After instructing his offices to meet him at dawn he dined lightly, was carried again to the canopied bed and remained in a high fever the whole night. [4] Next day he bathed again, and offered the appointed sacrifices, and after making the offering he no longer had any respite from fever. Even so he summoned the officers and ordered them to see that all was ready for the voyage; he bathed in the evening, and after bathing was no very ill. [5] Yet next day he was carried again to the house near the diving place and offered the appointed sacrifices and, ill though he was, summoned the most important officers and gave them further instructions for the voyage. Next day he just contrived to be carried out to the sacrifices and offered them, and yet still continued giving instructions to his officers for the voyage. [6] Next day, being now very ill, he still offered the appointed sacrifices but ordered the generals to wait in the court and the chiliarch and pentacosiarchs outside the doors. He was now extremely ill and was carried from the garden to the palace. When the officers came in, he knew them, but said no more; he was speechless. He was on high fever that night and day, and also the next night and day.

26

[1] All this is written in the royal journals, which add that his soldiers longed to see him, some simply to see him still alive, and others because it was being put about that he was already dead and they suspected that his death was being concealed by the bodyguards (at least so I think), but the majority pressed in to see Alexander from grief and longing for their king. They say that he was already speechless when the army filed past, but that he greeted one in all, raising his head, though with difficulty, and making a sign to them with his eyes. [2] The royal journals say that Pithon, Attalus, Demophon and Peucestas, with Cleomenes, Menidas and Seleucus, slept in the temple of Sarapis enquiring of the god whether it would be more desirable and better for Alexander to be brought into the temple of the god, but that an oracle was given from the temple, and that it would be better for him to stay where he was, and that, [3] shortly after the Companions announced this, Alexander died; so it was in fact this that was now 'better'. Aristobulus and Ptolemy have recorded no more then this. Some have also recorded that his Companions asked him to whom he was leaving his kingdom, and he replied, 'To the best man'; others that he added that he saw that there would be a great funeral contest over him.

27

[1] I am aware, of course, that there are many other versions recorded of Alexander's death; for instance, that Anipater send him a drug, of which he died, and that it was made up for Antipater by Aristotle, as he had already come to fear Alexander on account of Callisthenes' death, and brought by Cassander, Antipater's son. Others have even said that it was conveyed in a mule's hoof, [2] and given to Alexander by Iollas, Cassander's younger brother, as he was the royal cup-bearer and had been aggrieved by Alexander no long before his death. Others again hold that Medius had some hand in the business, as he was Iollas' lover, on the grounds that it was Medius who suggested to Alexander the drinking-bout, and that Alexander had a sharp feeling of pain after quaffing the cup, and on feeling this he retired from the carouse. [3] One writer has had the impudence to record that Alexander, feeling that he would not survive, went to throw himself into the Euphrates, so that he might disappear for the world and make more credible to posterity the belief that his birth was by a god and that it was the gods that he had departed, but that Roxane, his wife, noticed that he was going out and stopped him, when he groaned and said that she was really grudging him the everlasting fame accorded to one who had been born a god. So much for the stories which I have set down to show that I know they are told rather than because they are credible enough to recount.

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Loeb, trans. P. A. Brunt. Vol. 2. pp. 289-297.