Saturday, 3 November 2012

Alexander the Great, King Porus of India, and the Battle of the Hydaspes

Battle of Alexander and Porus
by Louis Watteau de Lille
 'Porus, gathering forty beasts around him, drove at the enemy with the whole mass of his elephants and inflicted grievous losses. Moreover, he himself was far superior to his companions in arms and in physical strength ... so that he hurled his javelin with the strength of a catapult.' Diodorus Siculus, 1st Century BC.

In 326 BC Alexander marched his army against the Indian King Porus, electing to cross the Hydaspes River during the summer monsoon. He succeeded in crossing with 6,000 infantry and 5,000 horsemen. Facing him were 300 chariots and 200 war elephants deployed by Porus as his front line. But the chariots proved useless in the sodden ground of the battlefield, and Porus, wounded several times, was forced to surrender. 

'Losses in the Indian infantry amounted to 20,000, or very nearly, the cavalry lost around 3,000, and all the chariots were destroyed. Porus's two sons were killed. So were the commanders of the elephant and chariot regments...'Arrian Campaign of Alexander, 1st Century BC.

Triumph of Alexander the Great
by Gustave Moreau

'The little Indian valley where his immense and magnificent throne was established contained all of India, the temples with their magnificent roofs, the glaring idols, the sacred lakes, the underground caves full of mysteries and terror.' [Gustave Moreau]

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