By R. Stoneman
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Additional info for Alexander the Great (Lancaster Pamphlets in Ancient History) - 2nd Edition
But not all that occurred in Egypt can be taken as having direct military significance. The visit to the oracle of Ammon in winter 332/1 may have been propaganda, it may have been piety, or it may have been adventure; whichever it was, it takes us into the realm of Alexander’s psychology and of his impact on his contemporaries. The road south from Issus posed few problems. Cilicia and Syria were left in the hands of two of the Companions, the picked close friends of the king who, in Homeric style, acted as his advisers, war council and, when necessary, military commanders.
He left his sick and wounded behind at Issus. What seems clear is that Alexander (if not Parmenio) anticipated attack only from the south, through the Syrian Gates. In fact Darius swept north around the Amanus range and descended on the camp at Issus. There, he captured the hospitalised soldiers and, after cutting off their hands and cauterising the stumps with pitch, sent them off to report to Alexander on the strength of the Persian forces. The Persian army now descended on Alexander from the north, in his rear.
Alexander amazed his companions by kneeling down and making obeisance before the high priest; when challenged by a bystander, he explained that he had paid homage not to the priest, but to the One God whom he represented. The Jews then brought forth the Book of Daniel and read him the prophecy in chapter 8 which was supposed to apply to Alexander. The story is marked as fiction by this touch since the Book of Daniel was not written until nearly 200 years after Alexander’s death; but it encapsulates an important strand of contemporary and later perception of the king.
Alexander the Great (Lancaster Pamphlets in Ancient History) - 2nd Edition by R. Stoneman