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0038 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 38 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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Alexander, after allowing his infantry to come up, halted the phalanx. Then, while the horse archers were sent ahead to disturb the Indian left wing, he himself with the greater part of the cavalry, in which he was superior, rapidly launched an attack against the enemy's left flank.'8 `The Indians meanwhile had collected their horsemen from every quarter and were riding forward to repulse Alexander's onset.' Thereupon Koinos, whom Alexander had with two regiments of horse detached towards the enemy's right wing, in accordance with his previous orders, appeared in their rear. The Indian cavalry, thus forced to face both to front and rear, was thrown into confusion and completely broke when Alexander, instantly using his opportunity, fell upon it.

This initial success, gained as on other occasions by Alexander's incomparable genius as a leader and the trained skill of his Macedonian cavalry, decided the issue of the battle. The elephants, to which the Indian horsemen had fled for shelter, on moving forward were met by the Macedonian phalanx which had come up. The Macedonians, though unaccustomed to this kind of warfare and suffering serious losses from the elephants' onslaughts, held fast. Alexander's cavalry, being free to operate from all sides, made great carnage wherever they fell upon the ranks of the Indians, though these fought very bravely. `The elephants being now cooped up in a narrow space, did no less damage to their friends than to their foes.' Finally, surrounded by Alexander's cavalry and pressed by the Macedonian infantry advancing in compact phalanx, the whole Indian host was cut to pieces or fled `wherever a gap could be found in the cordon of Alexander's cavalry'.19

On seeing that victory was being gained by their king, the troops left behind on the right bank of the river crossed. Taking up the pursuit, they did great

18 I believe that only by assuming an outflanking manoeuvre directed against the left wing of Poros can the initial development of the battle, as described by Arrian in v. xvi, be properly understood. The words by which the immediate aim of Alexander's move is indicated (Ka-rà Khpaç ÉTl Terapaypévolç ɵßaÀEIv o-rou2 v ,ro o*I.tevoç, Trpiv 4Tri TaXayyoç KTaOfival a rroiç r v iirrrov) clearly suggest that the Indian cavalry on the left wing was formed not in line but in columns. This disposition is obviously the one adapted for the protection of an extensive front drawn up with a view to defence and yet not resting its flank on some natural defensive feature as the river might have been. The preliminary attack of the horse archers would serve to occupy the front of the Indian left wing formed by infantry and chariots while at the same time screening the principal attack made on the flank.

The turning movement needed for Alexander's attack would require some time. This again explains why the Indians could collect their horsemen from every quarter to meet this attack. The subsequent forward move of the whole Indian mounted force would allow Koinos to fall on its rear after passing down the front of the stationary Indian centre from where his horse had first been sent on a feint against the enemy's right wing.

I may correct here the interpretation put by me in my paper, Geogr. Journal, lxxx. p. 35, upon the words Anabasis, v. xvi. 3, as referring to Alexander's right. Though accepted by M'Crindle, loc. cit., p. 104, note 2, and some authorities there quoted, it cannot be reconciled with the immediately preceding words of the text where the left wing of the enemy is mentioned. See also below, p. 33, note 21.

19 Anabasis, v. xvii.