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of the crowd by games and music, which were performed by skilful Greeks for their amusement. But though the temple of Pthah at Memphis, in which the state ceremonies were performed, had risen in beauty and importance by the repeated additions of the later kings who had fixed the seat of government in Lower Egypt, yet the Sun, or Amun-Ra, or Kneph-Ra, the god of Thebes, or Jupiter-Ammon, as he was called by the Greeks, was the god under whose spreading wings Egypt had seen its proudest days. Every Egyptian king had called himself" the son of the Sun;" those who had reigned at Thebes had boasted that they were beloved by Amun-Ra;" and when Alexander ordered the ancient titles to be used towards himself, he wished to lay his offerings in the temple of this god, and to be acknowledged by the priests as his son. As a reader of Homer, and the pupil of Aristotle, he must have wished to see the wonders of Egyptian Thebes," the proper place for this ceremony; and it could only have been because, as a general, he had not time for a march of five hundred miles, that he chose the nearer and less known temple of Kneph-Ra, in the Oasis of Ammon, one hundred and eighty miles from the coast.
(7) Accordingly, he floated down the river from Memphis to the sea, taking with him the light-armed troops and the royal band of knights-companions. When he reached Canopus, he sailed westward along the coast, and landed at Rhacotis, a small village on the spot where Alexandria now stands. Here he made no stay; but as he passed through it, he must have seen at a glance, for he was never there a second time, that the place was formed by nature to be a great harbour, and that with a little help from art it would be the port of all Egypt. The mouths of the Nile were too shallow for the ever increasing size of the merchant vessels which were then being built; and the engineers found the deeper water which was wanted between the village of Rhacotis and the little island of Pharos. It was all that he had seen and admired at Tyre, but it was on a larger scale and with deeper water. It was the very spot that he was in search of, in every way suitable for the Greek colony which he proposed to found as the best means of keeping Egypt in obedience. Even from before the time of Homer the island of Pharos
had given shelter to the Greek traders on that coast. He gave his orders to Dinocrates, the architect, to improve the harbour, and to lay down the plan of his new city; Marcellinus, and we shall hereafter see that the success of the undertaking proved the wisdom both of the statesman and of the builder.
(8) From Rhacotis he marched along the coast to Parætonium, a distance of about two hundred miles through the desert; and there, or on his way there, Q. Curtius, he was met by the ambassadors from Cyrene, who lib. iv. were sent with gifts to beg for peace, and to ask him to honour their city with a visit. Alexander graciously received the gifts of the Cyrenæans, and promised them his friendship, but could not spare time to visit their city; and, without stopping, he turned southward to the oasis.
lib. ii. 25.
(9) The Oasis of Ammon is the most northerly of the three oases of the Libyan desert. It is a green and shady valley in the midst of parched sand-hills, and is refreshed by a deep spring of water, which, as it is always of nearly the same heat, seems cool in the hot hours of the day and warm when the air is cool at night. This little stream, after flowing through the valley, is lost in the dry sands. The spot was a halting-place for caravans passing from Parætonium to the next oasis. The priests of the temple carried Athenæus, on a small trade in sending to Lower Egypt a valuable salt, which from the name of the place was called salt of ammonia. It was probably manufactured from the soot of camel's dung, the usual fuel of the desert, where wood was far too scarce and too valuable to be burnt. In this oasis stood the temple of Amun-Ra. The figure of the god was that of a man having the head and horns Q. Curtius, of a ram; and the piety of the merchants, who left their treasures in the strong rooms of the temple while they rested their camels under the palm-trees, had loaded the statue with jewels. On holidays the priests carried the god about on their shoulders in a gilt barge, with silver dishes hanging from each side, while women and maidens followed singing his praises. Alexander, on his approach with his army, was met by the chief priest of the temple, who, whether willing or unwilling, had no choice
but to hail the conqueror of Egypt as "the son of AmunRa;" and having left his gifts before the altar, and gained the end for which he came, he returned the shortest way to Memphis. In the meantime Apollonides had marched at the head of another body of troops from Memphis to Elephantine, and had made himself master of the whole valley of the Nile below the cataracts. (10) Alexander (see Fig. 207) has been much laughed at by the Greeks for thus calling himself the son of Ammon; but it Alexandro. should be remembered that it was only among people who worshipped and built temples to their kings that, for reasons of state, he called himself a god; that he never was guilty of the folly of claiming such Fig. 207. honours in Greece, or of his Greek soldiers; and that among his friends he always allowed his godhead to be made the subject of a good-humoured joke. In his graver moments he remarked that God is the father of us all, and that He makes the best men in a more peculiar manner His sons; and once, when wounded, he pointed out to the bystanders that his blood was like that of other mortals.
Arrian. lib. iii.
(11) At Memphis he received the ambassadors that came from Greece to wish him joy of his success; he reviewed his troops, and gave out his plans for the government of his new kingdom. He threw bridges of boats over the Nile at the ford below Memphis, and also over the several branches of the river. He divided the country into two nomarchies or judgeships, and to fill these two offices of nomarchs or chief judges, the highest civil offices in the kingdom, he chose Doloaspis and Petisis, two Egyptians. Their duty was to watch over the due administration of justice, one in Upper and the other in Lower Egypt, and perhaps to hear appeals from the lower judges, He left the garrisons in the command of his own Greek generals; Pantaleon commanded the counts, or knightscompanions, who garrisoned Memphis, and Polemon was governor of Pelusium. These were the chief fortresses in the kingdom: Memphis overlooked the Delta, the navigation of the river, and the pass to Upper Egypt; Pelusium was
Arrian. lib. iii.
the harbour for the ships of war, and the frontier town on the only side on which Egypt could be attacked. The other cities were given to other governors; Licidas commanded the mercenaries, Peucestes and Balacrus the other troops, Eugnostus was secretary, while Eschylus and Ephippus were left as overlookers, or perhaps, in the language of modern governments, as civil commissioners. Apollonius was made prefect of Libya, of which district Parætonium was the capital, and Cleomenes prefect of Arabia at Heroopolis, in guard of that frontier. Orders were given to all these generals that justice was to be administered by the Egyptian nomarchs according to the common law or ancient customs of the land. Petisis, however, either never entered upon his office or soon quitted it, and Doloaspis was left nomarch of all Egypt.
(12) This is perhaps the earliest instance that history has recorded of a conqueror governing a province according to its own laws, and allowing the religion of the conquered to remain as the established religion of the state; and the length of time that the Græco-Egyptian monarchy lasted, and the splendour with which it shone, prove the wisdom and humanity of the founder. This example has been copied, with equal success, in our own colonial and Indian governments; but we do not know whether Alexander had any example to guide his views, or whether his own good sense pointed out to him the folly of those who wished to make a people open not only their gates to the garrisons, but their minds to the religious opinions of the conquerors. At any rate the highest meed of praise is due to the statesman, whoever he may have been, who first taught the world this lesson of statesmanlike wisdom and religious humanity. (13) Alexander sent into the Thebaid a body of seven thousand Samaritans, whose quarrels with the Jews Josephus, made them wish to leave their own country. He gave them lands to cultivate on the banks of the Nile which had gone out of cultivation with the gradual decline of Upper Egypt; and he employed them to guard the province against invasion or rebellion. He did not stay in Egypt longer than was necessary to give these Vit. Alex- orders. He had found time to talk with Psammo, the philosopher of the greatest name then in Memphis; but though the buildings of Upper Egypt were unvisited, ho
Antiq. xi. 8.
hastened towards the Euphrates to meet Darius. absence Egypt remained quiet and happy. Peucestes soon followed him to Babylon with some of the troops that had been left in Egypt; and Cleomenes, the governor of Heroopolis, was then made collector of the taxes and prefect of Egypt. Cleomenes was a bad man; he disobeyed the orders sent from Alexander on the Indus, and he seems to have forgotten the mild feelings which guided his master; yet upon the whole, after the galling yoke of the Persians, the Egyptians must have felt grateful for the blessings of justice and good govern
Arrian. lib. vii.
(14) At one time, when passing through the Thebaid in his barge on the Nile, Cleomenes was wrecked, Aristoteles, and one of his children bitten by a crocodile. On De curâ this plea, he called together the priests, probably reif., lib. ii. of Crocodilopolis, where this animal was held sacred, and told them that he was going to revenge himself upon the crocodiles by having them all caught and killed; and he was only bought off from carrying his threat into execution by the priests giving him all the treasure that they could get together. Alexander had left orders that the great market should be moved from Canopus to his new city of Alexandria, as soon as it should be ready to receive it. As the building went forward, the priests and rich traders of Canopus, in alarm at losing the advantages of their port, gave Cleomenes a large sum of money for leave to keep their market open. This sum he took, and when the building at Alexandria was finished he again came to Canopus, and because the traders would not or could not raise a second and larger sum, he carried Alexander's orders into execution, and closed the market of their city.
(15) But instances such as these, of a public officer making use of dishonest means to increase the amount of the revenue which it was his duty to collect, might unfortunately be found even in countries which were for the most part enjoying the blessings of wise laws and good government; and it is not probable that, while Alexander was with the army in Persia, the acts of fraud and wrong should have been fewer in his own kingdom of Macedonia. The dishonesty of Cleomenes was indeed equally shown toward the Mace