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0044 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 44 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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Nâlâ. could nowhere suffice for a battle array such as Arrian definitely records of the Indian army. The width of this ground between the river bank, itself

liable to widespread inundation during the rains, and the broken foot of the hills is nowhere more than 31- miles, and farther up it steadily narrows. Taking Arrian's detailed figures, the front line of infantry alone, protected by 200 elephants at a distance of a plethron, or 101 English feet, from each other, would have stretched over close on 4 miles. The chariots and the cavalry posted at each of the wings must have extended the line greatly; and, in addition to this, sufficient room would have to be allowed for the attack on the left flank as suggested above.28

In view of such plain topographical facts there is no need to discuss at length other grave objections to the theory learnedly advocated by Mr. Vincent Smith. It is enough to point to the absence at Bhûna of anything in the shape of a `headland ascending from the bank of the river' or to the fact that the distance from Jhelum town to Bhûna is only 10 miles instead of the 11 miles mentioned by Arrian between Alexander's camp and the headland selected for the crossing.

At the time of my visit to this ground, and even later when the preceding portion of this section was first written, I was unaware that the theory locating Poros's camp opposite to Jhelum town had been recently taken up in a modified form by Professor B. Breloer. The results of the learned investigations devoted by him to the whole complex of questions concerning the struggle between Alexander and Poros are set forth in elaborate detail in his volume Alexander Kampf gegen Poros. Ein Beitrag zur indischen Geschichte, published in 1933.29 An examination of the ground made some time between 1929 and 1931 led Professor Breloer to believe that Alexander reached the river by the line of the Grand Trunk Road, that Poros's camp stood opposite to the present Jhelum town, and that the place where Alexander's successful crossing was made was to be looked for at a point some 21 miles below the fort of Mangla.30 There, at a distance of about 13 miles in a straight line above Jhelum town, a small valley holding the torrent bed known as the Pothawâla Kas joins the right bank of the river emerging from the foot-hills. In the steep ridge between this ndr

28 Was it perhaps the thought of the very restricted space afforded by the supposed battlefield which caused Mr. Vincent Smith in his `Plan of the Battle of the Hydaspes' ( Early History of India2, p. 80) to compress the 200 elephants of Poros into a column eight lines deep and the whole Indian front into a little over 1i- miles long? Such a disposition of the elephants is precluded not only by Arrian's description but also by Diodoros's account, Histor. xvII. lxxxvii. 4. Nor could it be

readily reconciled with tactical considerations.

29 See Heft 3 of Bonner Orientalistische Studien (Kohlhammer, Stuttgart), pp. ix, 204, with numerous photographs and sketches.

30 For a detailed description of the topographical features at this point see pp. 137 sqq., and the sketch roughly reproduced from the 1-mile-tothe-inch map of the Survey of India at the end of the volume.