Book VII of the Anabasis of Alexander


  • Alexander’s Plans.β€” The Indian Philosophers.

  • Arrian

    When Alexander arrived at Pasargadae and Persepolis, he was seized with an ardent desire to sail down the Euphrates and Tigres to the Persian Sea, and to see the mouths of those rivers as he had already seen those of the Indus as well as the sea into which it flows.

    Profile Picture of Arrian in Book VII of the Anabasis of Alexander
  • Some authors also have stated that he was meditating a voyage round the larger portion of Arabia, the country of the Ethiopians, Libya (i.e. Africa) and Numidia beyond Mount Atlas to Gadeira (i.e. Cadiz), inward into our sea (i.e. the Mediterranean);

  • thinking that after he had subdued both Libya and Carchedon (i.e. Carthage),

  • he might with justice be called king of all Asia.

  • For he said that the kings of the Persians and Medes called themselves Great Kings without any right, since they did not rule the larger part of Asia.

  • Some say that he was meditating a voyage thence into the Euxine Sea, to Scythia and the Lake Maeotis (i.e. the Sea of Azov);

  • while others assert that he intended to go to Sicily and the Iapygian Cape, for the fame of the Romans spreading far and wide was now exciting his jealousy.

  • Arrian

    For my own part I cannot conjecture with any certainty what were his plans;

    Profile Picture of Arrian in Book VII of the Anabasis of Alexander
  • and I do not care to guess.

  • But this I think I can confidently affirm, that he meditated nothing small or mean;

  • and that he would never have remained satisfied with any of the acquisitions he had made, even if he had added Europe to Asia, or the islands of the Britons to Europe;

  • but would still have gone on seeking for unknown lands beyond those mentioned.

  • I verily believe that if he had found no one else to strive with, he would have striven with himself.

  • Arrian

    And on this account I commend some of the Indian philosophers, who are said to have been caught by Alexander as they were walking in the open meadow where they were accustomed to spend their time.

    Profile Picture of Arrian in Book VII of the Anabasis of Alexander
  • At the sight of him and his army they did nothing else but stamp with their feet on the earth, upon which they were stepping.

  • When he asked them by means of interpreters what was the meaning of their action, they replied as follows:

  • Profile Picture of Indian Philosopher in Book VII of the Anabasis of Alexander

    Indian Philosopher

    β€œO king Alexander, every man possesses as much of the earth as this upon which we have stepped;

  • but thou being only a man like the rest of us, except in being meddlesome and arrogant, art come over so great a part of the earth from thy own land, giving trouble both to thyself and others.