Darius’ speech at Arbela

Fri Aug 7 13:29:28 2009
After his defeat at Gaugamela, Darius fled to Arbela (modern-day Irbil, Iraq) and gathered together some of his forces that had escaped. In Arbela he made a speech about how he was going to weaken Alexander’s army by allowing them to take Babylon and Susa. Darius would then raise another army which would then be victorious over the Greeks as they would attrophy and soften from their prolonged exposure to such luxury.

I find this story rather funny and it obviously has it’s ultimate source in Greek culture. It has a very strong resemblance to one of the major themes of Herodotus, that soft countries give rise to soft men. While Herodotus places those words in the mouth of Cyrus, the Persian king, I think it is a Greek justification of their way of life in contrast to that of the Persians. I find the thought of Darius actually using this Greek argument to be rather comical, and it would certainly be ineffectual for his audience.


~ by severalfourmany on August 7, 2009.

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