The extent of King Taxiles's dominions in India was thought to be as large
as Egypt, abounding in good pastures, and producing beautiful fruits. The
king himself had the reputation of a wise man, and at his first interview
with Alexander he spoke to him in these terms: "To what purpose,"
said he, "should we make war upon one another, if the design of your
coming into these parts be not to rob us of our water or our necessary
food, which are the only things that wise men are indispensably obliged
to fight for? As for other riches and possessions, as they are accounted
in the eye of the world, if I am better provided of them than you, I am
ready to let you share with me; but if fortune has been more liberal to
you than me, I have no objection to be obliged to you." This discourse
pleased Alexander so much that, embracing him, "Do you think,"
said he to him, "your kind words and courteous behaviour will bring
you off in this interview without a contest? No, you shall not escape so.
I shall contend and do battle with you so far, that how obliging soever
you are, you shall not have the better of me." Then receiving some
presents from him, he returned him others of greater value, and to complete
his bounty gave him in money ready coined one thousand talents; at which
his old friends were much displeased, but it gained him the hearts of many
of the barbarians. But the best soldiers of the Indians now entering into
the pay of several of the cities, undertook to defend them, and did it
so bravely, that they put Alexander to a great deal of trouble, till at
last, after a capitulation, upon the surrender of the place, he fell upon
them as they were marching away, and put them all to the sword. This one
breach of his word remains as a blemish upon his achievements in war, which
he otherwise had performed throughout with that justice and honour that
became a king. Nor was he less incommoded by the Indian philosophers, who
inveighed against those princes who joined his party, and solicited the
free nations to oppose him. He took several of these also and caused them
to be hanged.
Send remarks or suggestions to: John