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Old 01-06-2010, 09:24 AM   #6
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There is a problem here. The Babylonian text contradicts the Greek source that is often accepted as the best, Arrian. He says that Darius was the first to turn and run, after which the other Persians followed suit (Anabasis 3.14.3). One way to harmonize these conflicting pieces of information is to render 'The army abandoned Darius' as 'Darius abandoned his army'.6 Suspending the rules of grammar, however, will not solve the problem. We must accept that either Arrian or the Diary is wrong, and in this case we must prefer the Babylonian source, which was written two weeks after the battle. In my opinion, H & Y should have included the text of the Diary in their book and could have ignored Arrian, who misrepresented the crucial stage of the battle.

The same cuneiform tablet offers an interesting account of Alexander's diplomatic moves before entering Babylon. We read about his offer to rebuild the temple of Marduk and learn how he announced that the houses of the Babylonians would not be looted. These negotiations are not mentioned by Curtius Rufus and Arrian, who state that the Macedonians prepared for battle when they approached Babylon (History of Alexander 5.1.19 and Anabasis 3.16.3). More intriguingly, the Diary makes it clear that Alexander did not send Macedonian envoys, but Greeks. Did he consider it unsafe to send the very soldiers who had recently fought against the Babylonian cavalry?
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