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Battle of the Hydapsis river - did Alexander the Great really win?

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  • Battle of the Hydapsis river - did Alexander the Great really win?

    In regards to the Hydapsis river battle between Alexander and Porus.....

    I am currently writing a high school history essay on Alexanders battles and finding some difficulty in regards to the battle that was fought at the hydapsis river in India (modern day Pakistan). I would be very grateful if you guys could adress the following issues that I have in regards to the actual battle and final outcome?

    The experts appear to accept that Alexander won the battle at the hydapsis river. Articles and references often state that during the battle Alexander was so impressed with King Porus that he “allowed” the Indian king to remain ruler of his kingdom whilst Alexander and the remnants of his army returned to Babylon. I just don’t accept this story and my arguments are:

    (1) I appreciate that current version of events are based on the accounts of a Greek historian but did he not write it 200-300yrs after Alexander’s death? Also, Arrians accounts could possibly be heavily influenced by Alexander’s propaganda machine of the time whose main goal was to propagate his “god-like” invincible image.


    (2) As far as I am aware, prior to King Porus, every King that had fought against Alexander had either been killed in battled or executed and replaced. His treatment of King Porus seems out of character and appears more like an excuse. Rather the “allowing” Porus to reign can it not be argued that was unable to over throw him!?

    For example, did not the ruler in Bactria fight tooth and nail against Alexanader like Porus? Why was he not given the same honurable treatment as Porus? Instead he was excuted!

    (3) By the time Alexander and his men reached India they had marched thousands of miles and fought numerous battles. From what I read so far, his campaign in the region that is modern day Afghanistan was the most grueling since he was fighting a “guerilla war” against the numerous tribes in that region. I do not believe that no matter how charismatic and great leader he was, his men would not have had the morale or energy to fight an army greater then theirs and also an army that included over a 100 war elephants!

    From what I have read so far, and as discussed in the documentary, their was a stand off between Alexanders army and Porus across the river. Where the widely accepted view is that some how Alexander crossed the river and defeated Porus. I have heard stories passed down from generation to generation from people brought up in Pakistan where Alexander did not in fact cross the river due to protest among his men after seeing the sheer size of Porus army and elephants. Alexander gave in and either returned to Babylon or negotiated a truce between Porus. Do you guys know of any evidence to back this up?

    (4)After the battle, why the Macedonians leave and never ever attempted to conquer India again? Surely, they could have returned with reinforcements to conquer the other Kingdoms in India. In fact, by that time the Macedonians had not only Greek recruits but Persian, Egyptian and even Indians from Taxila, so what stopped them from ever going back?

    (5) There is also the famous conversation between Alexander and Porus, where Alexander asks how he should be treated and Porus replied "like a king"

    Ok, excuse my ignorance but how did they understand each other? Yes it can be argued that they used translators but how long where any Greeks in India prior to the battle learn the language that Porus knew or for any indian to learn Greek?

    These are my arguments and it would be great to get some feedback on your thoughts as an expert? I appreciate that you have better things to do but I would be very grateful since I am unsure whether to include these points in my essay.



    Your sincerely
    Mystic
    Last edited by Mystic_Ninja; 22 Sep 09, 12:49.

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