Ekchuten

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Ἔνθα δὴ ἔργον καλὸν εἴπερ τι ἄλλο τῶν Ἀλεξάνδρου οὐκ ἔδοξέ μοι ἀφανίσαι, ἢ ἐν τῇδε τῇ χώρᾳ πραχθὲν ἢ ἔτι ἔμπροσθεν ἐν Παραπαμισάδαις, ὡς μετεξέτεροι ἀνέγραψαν. ἰέναι μὲν τὴν στρατιὰν διὰ ψάμμου τε καὶ τοῦ καύματος ἤδη ἐπιφλέγοντος, ὅτι πρὸς ὕδωρ ἐχρῆν ἐξανύσαι· τὸ δὲ ἦν πρόσθεν τῆς ὁδοῦ· καὶ αὐτόν τε Ἀλέξανδρον δίψει κατεχόμενον μόλις μὲν καὶ χαλεπῶς, πεζὸν δὲ ὅμως ἡγεῖσθαι· ὣς δὲ καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους στρατιώτας, οἷάπερ φιλεῖ ἐν τῷ τοιῷδε, κουφοτέρως φέρειν τοὺς πόνους ἐν ἰσότητι τῆς ταλαιπωρήσεως. ἐν δὲ τούτῳ τῶν ψιλῶν τινας κατὰ ζήτησιν ὕδατος ἀποτραπέντας ἀπὸ τῆς στρατιᾶς εὑρεῖν ὕδωρ συλλελεγμένον ἔν τινι χαράδρᾳ οὐ βαθείᾳ, ὀλίγην καὶ φαύλην πίδακα· καὶ τοῦτο οὐ χαλεπῶς συλλέξαντας σπουδῇ ἰέναι παρ’ Ἀλέξανδρον, ὡς μέγα δή τι ἀγαθὸν φέροντας· ὡς δὲ ἐπέλαζον ἤδη, ἐμβαλόντας ἐς κράνος τὸ ὕδωρ προσενεγκεῖν τῷ βασιλεῖ. τὸν δὲ λαβεῖν μὲν καὶ ἐπαινέσαι τοὺς κομίσαντας, λαβόντα δὲ ἐν ὄψει πάντων ἐκχέαι· καὶ ἐπὶ τῷδε τῷ ἔργῳ ἐς τοσόνδε ἐπιρρωσθῆναι τὴν στρατιὰν ξύμπασαν ὥστε εἰκάσαι ἄν τινα πότον γενέσθαι πᾶσιν ἐκεῖνο τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ πρὸς Ἀλεξάνδρου ἐκχυθέν. τοῦτο ἐγώ, εἴπερ τι ἄλλο, τὸ ἔργον εἰς καρτερίαν τε καὶ ἅμα στρατηγίαν ἐπαινῶ Ἀλεξάνδρου.
(Arrian, Anabasis Alexandrou 6.26.1-3)

At this point I have not thought well to leave unrecorded the noblest achievement of Alexander, whether it took place in this country or among the Parapamisadae at an earlier date, as others have narrated. The army was marching through land and while the heat was already burning, since they were obliged to reach water at the end of the march; and this was some distance ahead. Alexander himself was much distressed by thirst, and with much difficulty, but still as best he could, led the way on foot; so that the rest of the troops should (as usually happens in such a case) bear their toils more easily, when all are sharing the distress alike. Meanwhile some of the light-armed troops had turned aside from the rest of the line to look for water, and had found some, just a little water collected in a shallow river-bed, a poor and wretched water-hole; they gathered up this water with difficulty and hurried to Alexander as if they were bringing him some great boon; but when they drew near, they brought the water, which they had poured into a helmet, to the King. He received it, and thanked those who had brought it; and taking it poured it out in the sight of all the troops; and at this action the whole army was so much heartened that you would have said that each and every man had drunk that water which Alexander thus poured out. This deed of Alexander’s above all I commend most warmly as a proof both of his endurance and his excellence as a general. (tr. Peter Astbury Brunt)

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