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The Letter of Darius at Arrian 2. 141

  • G. T. Griffith (a1)
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Page 33 note 1 After reading this paper to the Society (on 2 May 1968) I received from the University Library of Mainz a copy of the unpublished dissertation of W. B. Kaiser, Der Brief Alexanders des Grossen an Dareios nach der Schlacht bei Issos (1956). Though the dissertation discusses both the form and the content of the letter of Darius in sorne detail, it does not raise the question which has most concerned me, namely whether Arrian could be summarizing here a letter said by Diodorus to have been substituted for the genuine letter of Darius by Alexander. I have made therefore no changes in my text. I have gained greatly however from Dr Kaiser's excellent bibliography. I am grateful to members of the Society for helpful comments and criticisms made either at the meeting or later, and particularly to Mr H. T. Deas, and to Mr R. F. Tannenbaum.

Page 33 note 2 The genuineness of this pair of letters has often been questioned, but it is accepted in some sense nowadays by most historians (Beloch, Gr. Gesch. in. i2. 637 n. 1 was a notable exception). Kaiser (op. cit. esp. p. 29 n. 1) has a very full list going back a Century and more of the interpretations of writers on the subject. Of the more recent discussions I have found the most useful those of L. Pearson,’ The diary and letters of Alexander the Great', Historia, 111(1955), 448 ff- i F- R∼ Wüst, Philipp II von Makedonien, etc. pp. 89fr., esp. p. 90 n. 1; E. Kornemann, Die Alexandergeschichte des KönigsPtolemaios l von Aegypten, pp. 115ff., 120ff.;F. Schachermeyr, Alexander der Grosse, pp. 186ff.

Page 33 note 3 One might think that Callisthenes as official historian had access to Alexander's own records. Personally I would believe in this, subject to a ‘censorship’ as occasion might demand.

Page 33 note 4 Pearson, op. cit. and see p. 36 n. 1 below.

Page 33 note 5 Pearson, op. cit. pp. 449 f. On the letter to Cleomenes, J. R. Hamilton, ‘Alexander and his 'so-called” father', CQ,in (1953), 151-7, especially pp. 156 f.

Page 34 note 1 Suidas s.v. ( = F. I 30 Jacoby, no. 156).

Idem s.v. . .

G. Roos, Studla Arrianea, p. 64 ascribes both passages to the Parthian History.

Page 34 note 2 Photius, Bibl. 93 p. 73 a 34 ( = Arrian T 4a, Jacoby no. 156) believed that Arrian's works on Greek history, including the Anabasis, preceded his Bithyniaca and also (we can infer) all his works of contemporary history.

Page 34 note 3 L.-S.9 s.v. J- E. Powell, Lexicon to Herodotus, s.v.

Page 35 note 1 H. R. Grundmann, ‘Quid in elocutione Arriani Herodoto debeatur', in Ferdinand Ascherson (ed.), Berliner Studien für classische Philologie und Archaeologie, li, 177-268 (Berlin, 1865): see especially pp. 232 ff., and for the phrase p. 252.

Page 35 note 2 Kaiser (see p. 33 n. 1) came to the same conclusion (pp. 5-8).

Page 35 note 3 Curtius 4. i. 14: Quodsi te committere nohis times, dabimus fidem impune venturum. De cetera, cum mihi scribes, memento non solum regi te sed ettam tuo scribere. As Kaiser points out (pp. 5 and 23), both Arrian and Curtius report the letter of Darius in indirect speech, that of Alexander in direct; very likely from the common source.

Page 35 note 4 As L. Pearson writes (op. cit. p. 450 n. 91), ‘The resemblance to Arrian's Version is clear despite the distortion (de cetero seems to be a misunderstanding of )'. The epigram non solum regi te sed etiam tuo is presumably Curtius’ own: there is no sign of it in Arrian at all events.

Page 35 note 5 A. 2. 14. 4 : ‘H . .', and so on, using ist and 2nd persons throughout (…). The letter of Darius, however, is in the form of a summary, in reported speech throughout.

Page 36 note 1 I see no light from the letters preserved in Pseudo-Callisthenes n. 17. 2 ff., P.S.I. XII. 1285 (ed. R. Pieraccioni), and P.Hamb. 129 (ed. R. Merkelbach); on which see R. Merkelbach, Die Quellen des griechischen Alexanderromans (Zetemata 9, Munich, 1954), for füll discussion pp. 1 ff., 32 ff. Plutarch Alex. 29. 5) mentions only one letter.

Page 36 note 2 Fischer's preference for rather than seems right. The tradition that associated 30,000 talents with the Euphrates boundary seems likely to have associated 20,000 (rather than a smaller figure) with the Halys boundary. At 39. 1 Diodorus states that Darius sent this letter after he had reached Babylon, and if this were correct the letter could not have reached Alexander at Marathos only a few days after the battle of Issus: a letter sent from Babylon would reach A. while he was besieging Tyre. (Diodorus does not record where he received it.) What is clear, however, is that D. is recording a first proposal of Darius here; and consequently it seems right to trcat it as an alternative Version of Arrian's first letter of Darius.

Page 37 note 1 Ptolemy had been a dose friend before Alexander came to the throne (Plut. Alex. 10. 3), and became a ‘Bodyguard’ in 330 (Arr. 3. 27. 5). On Callisthenes and Ptolemy, L. Pearson, Lost Histories, pp. 46, 160, 196.

Page 37 note 2 C. Bradford Welles, Diodorus Siculus, vm (Loeb edition), 228 n. 1 (2 Diod. 17. 39. 4), gives a lucid summary of these variant accounts of the peace overtures of Darius. He concludes, however, that there were genuinely three such moves, not two. For the reasons given in rny text, above, I think it much more probable that Arrian is reliable on this, and that the reason why Curtius Rufus and Justin record three occasions was because they found (or their sources had found before them) discrepant accounts of the content of Darius’ first letter, of the place where he wrote the first letter (see p. 36 n. 1 above), and of the place and time at which Alexander received the second letter. It was by combining some of these discrepancies instead of deciding between them and eliminating one of the two possibilities in each case, that some writer, who was presumably a common source of Curtius and Justin/Pompeius Trogus, recorded three of these occasions instead of two. On Callisthenes here, Schachermeyr wrote well (508, n. 127). The notion that it could be Arrian who failed to record one of three occasions when all three were in his ‘official tradition’ sources, seems mied out by the fact that he records Darius’ final offer (Euphrates, eta) at Tyre, leaving no time or place for a ‘missing’ occasion.

Page 37 note 3 On the sources of D. in Bk 17, C. Bradford Welles, ibid., Introduction, 6 ff., with bibliography (concluding that D. used Clitarchus—and others—tlirough an intermediate source).

Page 37 note 4 Diod. 17. 39. 1-2.

Page 38 note 1 The teeth of this Operation had been drawn to some extent by Darius himself, who had withdrawn mercenaries from Pharnabazus and Memnon for his own army at Issus. And the death of Memnon himself was probably a crippling blow. But the Persians still had a fleet in being, and there was hope that Sparta at any rate might enter the war against Macedonia. See below p. 39 n. 1.

Page 39 note 1 On this Situation in general, see E. Badian,’ Agis III', Hermes, xcv (1967), 170 ff., esp. pp. 175 ff., for an interpretation which certainly does not underestimate these risks.

Page 39 note 2 Isoc. 5. 120.

Page 40 note 1 Cf. Xen. Anab. 1. 3. 18 f.; 4. 11 ff. for the interest of the ‘Cyreians’ in their destination. For them their contract of Service was in question (see J. Roy, ‘The mercenaries of Cyrus', Historia, xvi, 1967, 286 ff., especially 313). Though most of Alexander's troops were not under contract in the same way, they will have wantcd to know about their own future.

Page 40 note 2 See G. T. Griflith, G and R, XII (1966), 133 n. 1.

Page 41 note 1 What follows is a translation of Arrian 2. 14. 1-3.

Page 41 note 2 It may be suggested that Darius’ offer of money and territory could be concealed within this phrase: that the offer in fact was conveyed orally and was omitted from the letter for this reason (so, I think, Schachermeyr, p. 186). This Suggestion cannot be disproved, but it remains a very improbable one, because as between two negotiators who had no cause to trust each other well or even at all, anything communicated orally and without being committed to writing automatically would have invited suspicions of bad faith or trickery. The one thing which seems certain is that Darius must have wanted his family back, and quickly. To risk his chance of getting them back by refraining from committing himself on paper to paying the ransom would seem more foolish than we can reasonably assume Darius to have been.

Page 42 note 1 On ‘condescension', J. G. Droysen, Gesch. d. Hellenismus 1. I2. 269, n. 2. On ‘orientalischer Kanzleistil', Schachermeyr, pp. 186 ff. and nn. 125, 127. Granted that royal missives commonly opened with a sort of historical introduction, including self-justification whether addressed to judgements human or divine (or both), no one will suppose that this style of composition blinded any king to what really was what, in the Situation of the moment. A king who was in difficulties, or who wanted or needed something, could still write accordingly: for an example, see KUB xiv. 3, col. iv. 52 ff. (English translation in J. Garstang and O. R. Gurney, The Geography of the Hittite Empire, pp. 113 f.), where a Hitrite king (name unknown) excuses himself on the ground that (among other things) he was young when he wrote something offensive.

Page 42 note 2 Antiphon, 2-4.

Page 43 note 1. Curiously, the second appearance of the phrase, the one in Alexander's reply, is in no sense ‘in reply’ to the first appearance of the phrase, in Darius’ letter. The ‘repetition’ comes in the second half of Alexander's letter which is not replying to points made by Darius but is making points of its own. There is no possibility whatever of the repetition being deliberate (e.g. ironical): it is an unconscious repetition.

Page 43 note 2 Diod. 16. 52. ff.; Demosth. 10. 32; Didymus 8. 23fr. For discussion of these dealings, D. E. W. Wormell,’ The Literary Tradition concerning Hermias of Atarneus', YCIS,v (1935), 57; F. R. Wüst, Philipp II, pp. 63 and 97; W. Jaeger, Aristoteles, pp. 117 ff.

Page 44 note 1. .(2. 14. 4-5), replying closely to … (2. 14. 2)

Page 45 note 1 2. 14. 5-6.

Page 45 note 2 Ibid. 5.

Page 45 note 3 See above, pp. 43 f.

Page 46 note 1 Arrian 2. 14. 2; Wüst, Philipp II, pp. 89 f.; P. Cloche, Un fondateur d'empire, p. 202.

Page 46 note 2 These seven things are Demosth. 7-12; Aeschines 2.

Page 46 note 3 It is not of course absolutely essential to place the alliance in 343, though there is some agreement now in doing so. Lack of space forbids my entering here into a discussion of the possible alternative dates (e.g. 342, or a date early in Philip's reign). Some of the arguments against them are obvious, and all of them I must reserve to another time and place.

Page 46 note 4 Perhaps one should mention here the possibility that a treaty of Philip and Artaxerxes could perhaps have been a secret treaty (so Wüst, Philipp II, p. 91). This notdon seems to me unrealistic. Most treaties of this sort between Great Powers lose nearly all their value unless they are universally known to exist, so that the enemies of each of them know that temporarily they cannot go to the other for support. Moreover secret treaties can only be made between governments which know each other really well, and have dealt with each other for years, and know that there is an area within which they can trust each other. Of Macedonia and Persia this is not true: for either party to propose a secret treaty would merely have confirmed the suspicions of the other that he was untrustworthy, and would have convinced him that making this treaty at all was a waste of time.

Page 48 note 1 E. g. Mazaeus (Berve, Alexanderreich 11, no. 484); Artabazus ibid. no. 152), Laomedon son of Larichos (a Persian-speaker from the Start—ibid. no. 464); Peucestas (ibid. no. 634).

Page 48 note 2 On all this P. A. Brunt writes well, ‘Persian accounts of Alexander's campaigns', CQ, XII (1962), esp. 144 f.

The Letter of Darius at Arrian 2. 141

  • G. T. Griffith (a1)


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