It is so hard to find out the truth by looking at the past. The process of time obscures the truth and even contemporaneous writers disguise and twist out of malice or flattery. — Plutarch

Story of Greece - Mary Macgregor

Tyre Is Stormed by Alexander

Alexander did not cross the Euphrates in search of Darius. He knew that the great king could do him no harm, even should he again assemble a large army. So for a time he left Darius to do as he pleased, while he himself went on with his own plan.

Nearly all the towns in Syracuse were ready to open their gates to Alexander. Some that had found Darius a hard master, hailed him as a deliverer.

Tyre alone, while saying that she was ready to do as the king willed, refused to receive either a Persian or a Macedonian into the city.

Alexander wished to offer sacrifice to the deity of Tyre, whose temple was within the city, and when the people refused to open their gates, he was so angry that he at once laid siege to the town.

Tyre stood on an island, about half a mile from the mainland. Near the coast the water was shallow, while close to the walls of the city it was deep.

The Tyrians believed that they could hold their city against Alexander, for the walls were built high, on the top of a steep and dangerous cliff.

As the king had no fleet, he could not attack the city until he had built a causeway from the mainland to the island, so he ordered his men to begin the work without delay.

But when the causeway stretched almost to the island, the Tyrians did all that they could to hinder the workmen. They sent among them showers of arrows, and hurled down upon them great pieces of rock, so that they found it impossible to complete the causeway.

But the king was not easily beaten. He ordered the men to build towers along the causeway, and to tie leather screens from one tower to another, so that they might be protected from the arrows and missiles of the enemy.

Then the Tyrians dragged a ship, loaded with dry wood, as near to the causeway as they dared to venture, and set it on fire. The towers were soon in flames, and while the Macedonians tried in vain to extinguish them, the enemy never ceased to send showers of arrows among the unfortunate men, so that many of them lost their lives.

Although the Tyrians had destroyed the work of months, Alexander still refused to give in. He now sent to the cities round about, and bade them send ships to guard his soldiers until the causeway was finished. In seven months from the time it was begun, the causeway reached to the foot of the rock on which the city stood.

In July 332 B.C. a breach was made in the wall, and, led by Alexander himself, the Macedonians rushed in triumph into the city that had so long defied them.

The Tyrians fought fiercely, for they knew they need not look for mercy if the city was taken. But they were soon overpowered, and the town was given up to plunder. The soldiers were eager for spoil, but spoil alone could not satisfy them. As they thought of the weary months which they had spent in trying to reach the island, they wreaked their rage on the miserable citizens, massacring all on whom they could lay their hands.

After Tyre had fallen, Alexander was master of Syria, and could control the eastern Mediterranean.

From Tyre, the king marched southward until he reached Egypt. Here, after making himself lord of the country, he founded the city, which is still called after him, Alexandria.

During the siege of Tyre, Darius had again sent to Alexander, offering to him a large ransom for his family, as well as the hand of the daughter and all the provinces west of Euphrates.

While Alexander and his generals were talking over the offer of Darius, Parmenio exclaimed, 'If I were you I should accept these terms.'

'And I,' answered the king, 'would accept them if I were Parmenio.'

To Darius, Alexander's reply was haughtier than ever. 'If thou comest,' so ran his words, 'and yield thyself up into my power, I will treat thee with all possible kindness; if not, I will come myself to seek thee.'

Soon after this the wife of Darius died. Alexander had always treated her well, and now he buried her with great honour.

One of her servants fled to Darius to tell him the sad tidings. He told him, too, of the kindness Alexander had ever shown to his royal captive.

'O king,' said the servant, 'neither your queen when alive, nor your mother, nor children wanted anything of their former happy condition, unless it were the light of your countenance. And after her decease, Statira, the queen, had not only all due funeral ornaments, but was honoured also with the tears of your very enemies; for Alexander is as gentle after victory as he is terrible in the field.'


Front Matter

The Great God Pan
The Six Pomegranate Seeds
The Birth of Athene
The Two Weavers
The Purple Flowers
Danae and Her Little Son
The Quest of Perseus
Andromeda and Sea-Monster
Acrisius Killed by Perseus
Achilles and Briseis
Menelaus and Paris Do Battle
Hector and Andromache
The Horses of Achilles
The Death of Hector
Polyphemus the Giant
Odysseus Escapes from Cave
Odysseus Returns to Ithaca
Argus the Hound Dies
The Bow of Odysseus
The Land of Hellas
Lycurgus and His Nephew
Lycurgus Returns to Sparta
Training of the Spartans
The Helots
Aristomenes and the Fox
The Olympian Games
The Last King of Athens
Cylon Fails to be Tyrant
Solon Frees the Slaves
Athenians Take Salamis
Pisistratus Becomes Tyrant
Harmodius and Aristogiton
The Law of Ostracism
The Bridge of Boats
Darius Rewards Histiaeus
Histiaeus Shaves His Slave
Sardis Is Destroyed
Sandal Sewn by Histiaeus
Earth and Water
Battle of Marathon
Miltiades Sails to Paros
Aristides is Ostracised
The Dream of Xerxes
Xerxes Scourges the Hellespont
Bravest Men of All Hellas
Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Artemisium
Themistocles at Salamis
Themistocles Tricks Admirals
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Plataea
Delian League
Themistocles Deceives Spartans
Themistocles is Ostracised
Eloquence of Pericles
Pericles and Elpinice
The City of Athens
Great Men of Athens
Thebans Attack Plataeans
Attica Invaded by Spartans
Last Words of Pericles
Siege of Plataea
The Sentence of Death
Brasidas Loses His Shield
The Spartans Surrender
Brasidas the Spartan
Amphipolus Surrenders
Alcibiades the Favourite
Socrates the Philosopher
Alcibiades Praises Socrates
Images of Hermes Destroyed
Alcibiades Escapes to Sparta
The Siege of Syracuse
Athenian Army is Destroyed
Alcibiades Returns to Athens
Antiochus Disobeys Alcibiades
Walls of Athens Destroyed
March of the Ten Thousand
Pelopidas and Epaminondas
Seven Conspirators
Battle of Leuctra
Death of Epaminondas
The Two Brothers
Timoleon exiles Dionysius
Icetes Attacks Timoleon
Battle of Crimisus
Demosthenes' Wish
Greatest Orator of Athens
The Sacred War
Alexander and Bucephalus
Alexander and Diogenes
Battle of Granicus
The Gordian Knot
Darius Gallops from Battle
Tyre Stormed by Alexander
Battle of Gaugamela
Alexander Burns Persepolis
Alexander Slays Foster-Brother
Porus and His Elephant
Alexander Is Wounded
The Death of Alexander
Demosthenes in the Temple