Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/152

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he showed that he could act up to his favourite Homeric maxim of being

Ἀμφότερον, βασιλεύς τ' ἀγαθὸς κρατερός τ' αἰχμητής.

Great reliance had been placed by the Persian king on the effects of the scythe-bearing chariots. It was designed to launch these against the Macedonian phalanx, and to follow them up by a heavy charge of cavalry, which, it was hoped, would find the ranks of the spearmen disordered by the rush of the chariots, and easily destroy this most formidable part of Alexander's force. In front therefore, of the Persian centre, where Darius took his station, and which it was supposed that the phalanx would attack, the ground had been carefully levelled and smoothed, so as to allow the chariots to charge over it with their full sweep and speed. As the Macedonian army approached the Persian, Alexander found that the front of his whole line barely equalled the front of the Persian centre, so that he was out-flanked on his right by the entire left wing of the enemy, and by their entire right wing on his left. His tactics were to assail some one point of the hostile army, and gain a decisive advantage; while he refused, as far as possible, the encounter along the rest of the line. He, therefore, inclined his order of march to the right, so as to enable his right wing and centre to come into collision with the enemy on as favourable terms as possible,