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0045 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 45 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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and the river Professor Breloer recognizes the & pa of Arrian, and in the ndlâ itself the deepfossa of Curtius. The island which we are told by Arrian screened the crossing of the river, and which Curtius describes as `larger than the rest, wooded and suitable for concealing an ambuscade', is assumed to be represented by one or both of two small boulder-strewn islets projecting from the mouth of Pothawâla Kas.

The great island which was reached after the crossing and was taken by the Macedonians as the main land is identified by Professor Breloer with the long stretch of swelling ground which lies between the left bank of the river and the torrent bed of the Jabba Nalâ at the foot of the high ridge bearing the Mangla fort at its end. After the difficult passage of this obstacle had been secured and a short distance beyond it, the small Indian force of cavalry and chariots under Poros's son had been defeated, Alexander's troops are assumed to have marched for some 15 miles along the left bank of the Hydaspes before engaging in battle with Poros's main army arrayed near the position it originally occupied opposite Jhêlum town, at the present Naurangâbâd. This supposed line of the Macedonian advance, as shown in Professor Breloer's sketch-map, lies across the succession of the wide torrent beds of the Sukétar, Bandar Kas, and Jabba Nâlâs, not to mention a number of smaller ones both above and below them. This very important topographical fact remains wholly unnoticed in the text.

On the other hand, we are furnished in the initial and major portion of Professor Breloer's book31 with an elaborate and painstaking critical analysis of all notices bearing on the battle itself. From this he draws the conclusion that on receiving the news of Alexander's crossing Poros did not, as has been hitherto assumed by all commentators, on the strength of Arrian's words, move out to meet the invader, but ranged his army into an array of approximately horseshoe shape, his intention being to defend the ground where he had so far successfully barred the passage of the river against the Macedonian main force and at the same time to defeat the attack boldly launched against him by Alexander himself.

The ingenious argumentation with which this view is supported may well claim the merit of affording a possible explanation for certain incidents of the battle, such as the much discussed movement of Koinos's cavalry in the rear of the Indian horse. But at the same time this critical analysis, exhaustive as it is, only helps to bring out how inadequate and in some aspects discordant are the notices about the tactical incidents of the battle, as preserved in our extant sources. It does not come within the scope of the present report to attempt to discriminate between those features of the battle which Professor Breloer's careful examination guided by military experience and insight has put into their

31 See in particular pp. 46-120.