‘Alexander was not far from the Granicus when riders came at speed from the forward posts to report that the Persians were ranged ready for battle on the far bank of the Granicus. Alexander then began to form his entire army for battle.’ (Arrian I.13.2)
‘[Alexander] then went up to Troy, sacrificed to the Trojan Athena, and dedicated his full set of armour in her temple, taking in its place some of the consecrated arms still preserved there from the Trojan War… the prevailing account also has him sacrificing to Priam at the altar of Zeus of the Forecourt, to avert Priam’s anger at the race of Neoptolemus, of which he himself was a descendent.’ (Arrian I.11.7-8)
Arrian also records that according to ‘some historians’, Alexander paid his respects to Achilles at the latter’s tomb while Hephaestion did the same at Patroclus’.
Arrian notes that Alexander did not have a Homer to record all of his achievements and that this is why he is writing his history. Do you think it does Alexander justice?
‘Parmenion was charged with ferrying across the cavalry and most of the infantry… they made the crossing in a hundred and sixty triremes and a good number of freighters… [Alexander] took the helm of his flagship… and… at the mid-point of the Hellespont strait he sacrificed a bull to Poseidon and the Nereids and poured a drink offering into the sea from a golden bowl. They also say that he was the first to disembark on the continent of Asia, and did so in full armour.’ (Arrian I.11.6)
When Arrian says that Alexander sacrificed in the middle of the Hellespont I presume he means that Alexander stopped halfway across the channel between Elaeus and Troas rather than sailed halfway back to Macedon and Greece.
‘Coming then to Elaeus he sacrificed to Protesilaus at his tomb, as Protesilaus was thought to have been the first to set foot on Asia of the Greeks who went with Agamemnon on the expedition to Troy. The intention of this sacrifice was that his own landing in Asia should meet with better fortune than that of Protesilaus.’ (Arrian I.11.5)
From the middle of February to the middle of March this year, I ran a short series of posts on my Alexander Facebook page titled Crossing Asia Minor with Alexander. They featured a quotation based on each place that Alexander visited in Asia Minor and one or more images.
Today, I leave the U.K. to begin a month long pilgrimage from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela. To keep the blog active while I am away (which may be up to five weeks), I thought I would repeat the Asia Minor posts here.
If you are interested in a place-by-place series of posts, I have also written a series of posts that cover Alexander in India. The first one appears on the Facebook page today. I will repeat them on this blog this summer.
If you are interested in my pilgrimage to Santiago, I will be doing my best to update my Instagram page Sehnsucht and Wine, and my blog of the same name, which you can find here.
Alexander in Asia Minor
Alexander: Elaeus to ‘the Achaean Harbour’ Parmenion: Sestos to Abydos