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went to heaven. But this last he had only borrowed ; it was the property of the angel Gabriel.
All his sayings have been preserved. One was, that the enjoyment of women made him more fervent in prayer. Besides all his other knowledge, he is said to have been a great physician; so that he wanted none of the qualifications for deceiving mankind.
ALEXANDER. It is no longer allowable to speak of Alexander, except in order to say something new of him, or to destroy the fables, historical, physical, and moral, which have disfigured the history of the only great man to be found among the conquerors of Asia.
After reflecting a little on the life of Alexander, who, amid the intoxications of pleasure and conquest, built more towns than all the other conquerors of Asia destroyed,--after calling to mind that, young as he was, he turned the commerce of the world into a new channel, it appears very strange that Boileau should have spoken of him as a robber and a madman. Alexander, having been elected at Corinth captaingeneral of Greece, and commissioned as such to avenge the invasions of the Persians, did no more than his duty in destroying their empire; and, having always united the greatest magnanimity with the greatest courage-having respected the wife and daughters of Darius when in his power, he did not in any way deserve either to be confined as a madman or hanged as a robber.
Rollin asserts, that Alexander took the famous city of Tyre only to oblige the Jews, who hated the Tyrians : it is, however, quite as likely that Alexander had other reasons; for an able commander would not leave Tyre mistress of the sea when he was going to attack Égypt.
Alexander's friendship and respect for Jerusalem were undoubtedly great; but it should hardly be said that the Jews set a rare example of fidelity-an example worthy of the only people who at that time had the knowledge of the true God, in refusing to furnish Alexander
with provisions, because they had sworn fidelity to Darius. It is well known that the Jews took every opportunity of revolting against their sovereigns; for a Jew was not to serve a profane king. If they imprudently refused contributions to the conqueror, it was not with a view to prove themselves the faithful slaves of Darius, since their law expressly ordered them to hold all idolatrous nations in abhorrence: their books are full of execrations pronounced against them, and of reiterated attempts to throw off their yoke. If, therefore, they at first refused the contributions, it was because their rivals, the Samaritans, had paid them without hesitation, and they believed that Darius, though vanquished, was still powerful enough to support Jerusalem against Samaria.
It is wholly false that the Jews were then the only people who had the knowledge of the true God, as Rollin tells us. The Samaritans worshipped the same God, though in another temple; they had the same Pentateuch as the Jews, and they had it in Tyrian characters, which the Jews had lost. The schism between Samaria and Jerusalem was, on a small scale, what the schism between the Greek and Latin churches is on a large one. The hatred was equal on both sides, having the same foundation-Religion.
Alexander, having possessed himself of Tyre by means of that famous causeway which is still the admiration of all generals, went to punish Jerusalem, which lay not far out of his way. The Jews, headed by their high-priest, came and humbled themselves before him, offering him money-for angry conquerors are not to be appeased without money. Alexander was appeased, and they remained subject to Alexander and to his successors.
Such is the true as well as the only probable history of this affair. Rollin repeats a story told about four hundred
years after Alexander's expedition, by that romancing, exaggerating historian, Flavius Josephus, who may be pardoned for having taken every opportunity of setting off his wretched country to the best advantage. Rollin repeats, after Josephus, that Jaddus the high
priest, having prostrated himself before Alexander, the prince, seeing the name of Jehovah engraved on a plate of gold attached to Jaddus's cap, and understanding Hebrew perfectly, fell prostrate in his turn, and paid homage to Jaddus. This excess of civility having astonished Parmenio, Alexander told him, that he had known Jaddus a long time; that he had appeared to him, in the same habit and the same cap, ten years before, when he was meditating the conquest of Asia (a conquest which he had not then even thought of); that this same Jaddus had exhorted him to cross the Hellespont, assuring him that God would march at the head of the Greeks, and that the God of the Jews would give him the victory over the Persians. This old woman's tale makes but a sorry figure in the history of such a man Alexander.
An Ancient History well digested was an undertaking calculated to be of great service to youth; it is to be wished that it had not been in some degree marred by the adoption of such absurdities. The story of Jaddus would be entitled to our respect—it would be beyond the reach of animadversion, were even any shadow of it to be found in the sacred writings; but as they do not make the slightest mention of it, we are quite at liberty to see that it is ridiculous.
There can be no doubt that Alexander subdued that part of India which lies on this side the Ganges, and was tributary to the Persians. Mr. Holwell, who lived for thirty years among the Brahmins of Benares and the neighbouring countries, and who learned not only their modern language but also their ancient sacred tongue, assures us, that their annals attest the invasion by Alexander, whom they call Mahadukoit Kounhagreat robber, great murderer. These peaceful people could not call him otherwise ; indeed, it is hardly to be supposed that they gave any other name to the kings of Persia. The same annals say, that Alexander entered by the province now called Candahar, and it is probable that there were always some fortresses on that frontier.
Alexander afterwards descended the river Zombodipo, which the Greeks called Sind. In the history of Alexander there is not a single Indian name to be found. The Greeks never called an Asiatic town or province by their own name. _They dealt in the same manner with the Egyptians. They would have thought it a dishonour to the Greek tongue, had they introduced into it a pronunciation which they thought barbarous—if, for instance, they had not called the city of Moph Memphis. Holwell says,
that the Indians never knew either Porus or Taxiles ; indeed these are not Indian words. Nevertheless, if we may believe our missionaries, there are still some Indian lords who pretend to have descended from Porus. Perhaps the missionaries have flattered them with this origin until they have adopted it. There is, at least, no country in Europe in which servility has not invented and vanity received genealogies yet more chimerical.
If Flavius Josephus has related a ridiculous fable about Alexander and a Jewish pontiff, Plutarch, who wrote long after Josephus, in his turn seems not to have been sparing in fables concerning this hero. He has even outdone Quintus Curtius. Both assert that Alexander, when marching towards India, wished to have himself adored, not only by the Persians but also by the Greeks. The question is, what did Alexander, the Persians, the Greeks, Quintus Curtius, and Plutarch, understand by adoring? We must never lose sight of the great rule-Define your terms.
If by adoring be meant invoking a man as a divinity offering to him incense and sacrifices-raising to him altars and temples, it is clear that Alexander required nothing of all this. If, being the conqueror and master of the Persians, he chose that they should salute him after the Persian manner; prostrating themselves on certain occasions; treating him, in short, like what he was, a sovereign of Persia, there is nothing in this but what is very reasonable and very
The members of the French parliament, in their beds of justice, address the king kneeling; the
third estate address the states-general kneeling; a cup of wine is presented, kneeling, to the king of England; several European sovereigns are served kneeling at their consecration. The Great Mogul, the Emperor of China, and the Emperor of Japan, are always addressed kneeling. The Chinese Colaos of an inferior order bend the knee before the Colaos of a superior order. We adore the Pope, and kiss the toe of his right foot. None of these ceremonies have ever been regarded as adoration in the strict sense of the word, or as a worship like that due to the Divinity.
Thus, all that has been said of the pretended adoration exacted by Alexander, is founded on an ambiguity.*
Octavius, surnamed Augustus, really caused himself to be adored in the strictest sense of the word. Temples and altars were raised to him. There were priests of Augustus. Horace positively tells him
Jurandasque tuum par nomen ponimus aras. Here was truly a sacrilegious adoration; yet we are not told that it excited discontent.+
The contradictions in the character of Alexander would be more difficult to reconcile, did we not know that men, especially men called heroes, are often very inconsistent with themselves, and that the life or death of the best citizens, or the fate of a province, has more than once depended on the good or bad digestion of a well or ill advised sovereign.
But how are we to reconcile improbable facts related in a contradictory manner? Some say that Callisthenes was crucified by order of Alexander for not having acknowledged him to be the son of Jupiter. But the cross was not a mode of execution in use among the Greeks. Others say that he died long afterwards, of too great corpulency. Athenæus assures us, that he was carried, like a bird, in an iron cage, until he was
* See ABUSE OF WORDS.
+ It must be observed, that Augustus was worshipped, not as a God but as a saint;-divus Augustus. In the provinces he was adored as Priapus, and not as Jupiter.