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0033 Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1
Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1 / Page 33 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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trace the exact spot, memorable in Alexander's career, that was marked by his famous `altars'.

As against this negative conclusion, I may record the impressions which the scene conveyed, unaltered as it has remained in its general character all these centuries. As my eyes wandered again and again from the high banks of the river across the great flat of fertile land extending to the horizon, it seemed as if I could realize better the feelings with which Alexander's brave but hard-tried Macedonians might have viewed this vista. Months of hard fighting and marching in the intense heat of a Panj db summer, alternately torrid and dank, had brought them here face to face with those interminable plains stretching away to the Ganges. Would not this sight, added to some knowledge of the vast distances still before them, help to foster revolt from following their great leader farther towards that ocean which his ambition had set as the limit of his world conquest? Inviting enough all the riches of these fertile plains would have appeared to Alexander's war-hardened troops while engaged in fighting their way so valiantly across mountains and deserts to India. But once arrived there, such a vista could only strengthen their longing to return to their distant homeland; and here their invincible king was at last forced to give in to them.


The task which by November 20th, 1931, led me from the bank of the Beds to that of the Jhelum was to look for the ground where Alexander achieved his bold passage of the Hydaspes and fought his great battle with Poros.l The question as to its location had been long discussed, but no definite solution had been reached, and opinions had remained divided. Different locations had been proposed by those officers who in the course of the last century had occasion to visit one portion or another of the ground where routes from the Indus crossing the Salt Range lead down to the Jhelum or Hydaspes, the Vitasta of Sanskrit texts. Those scholars who concerned themselves with the question while at work in their studies far away from India, could only try to weigh the different opinions held in the light of the interpretations they were inclined to put upon the classical records of Alexander's Indian campaign. Neither those early visitors to the ground since the days when Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone's famous Mission passed the Jhelum in 1809, nor the scholars in Europe discussing the proposed locations, had enjoyed the advantage of such accurate topographical

1 The main results of this search have been (1932), pp. 32-46. They were also summarized recorded in a paper `The Site of Alexander's Pas- in a letter contributed to The Times of March 16th, sage of the Hydaspes and the Battle with Poros', 1932.

published in the Geographical Journal, vol. lxxx