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Forum LockedAlexander the great vs Porus?

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    Posted: 08-Mar-2009 at 05:57
so who won this battle, i know there are many theories but no knows for sure:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote athenas owl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2009 at 20:17
If you mean the battle in the film, Alexander did win, but at great cost to himself and his men.   The film battle was a mishmash of the Indian campaign,  combining the battle with Porus with a later one that Alexander was nearly killed in, after he charged ahead when his men balked.   The forest was used to show how different India (in the old usage) was from Gaugamela.   It was an artistic choice.   Though I do think that the region was more forested perhaps, some 2300+ years ago.

As for the actual Hydaspes battle with Porus, Alexander did win.   I do not doubt that one bit.    If there was an effort to "whitewash" the Indian campaign,  it would have occurred at the Beas when his men would go no further.   The Battle at Sangala was brutal, the highest Macedonian casualites ever admitted in battle if memory serves.  We would have had some alternate history where Alexander decided for himself that he had gone far enough, though there are some historians who think the whole "mutiny" was a put up job, because Alexander himself did not want to go further.   Heckel is one, if memory serves.








Edited by athenas owl - 08-Mar-2009 at 20:23
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goocheslamb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Mar-2009 at 02:43
How come there so little known about Porus?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jallaludin Akbar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Mar-2009 at 18:39
Originally posted by Goocheslamb Goocheslamb wrote:

How come there so little known about Porus?

Porus was the King of the Pauravas, who are a collection of small states on the "western frontier" for hindu kingdoms. Since india at the time, was comprised of multiple nations (some big and some small), Porus' kingdom was one of the lesser ones, and therefore, most accounts of him are via the encounters with Alexander.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rcscwc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2009 at 07:57
Alexander won, no doubt about it. Porus was the first serious opponent, and a typical one of those times. The region had a number of highly militarised states. Compared to his Indian campaign, his victory in Iran was a cakewalk.
 
Battle of Sangla was near one. Even his retreat was messy. He nearly died in an encounter with a small, firce tribe.
 
Porus gets very little mention, that too negative. His words to Alexander: Treat me as a king, has been seen as a surrender.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarcoPolo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2009 at 22:56
Originally posted by Goocheslamb Goocheslamb wrote:

How come there so little known about Porus?
 
This is partly due to poor excavations and understandings of his kingdom and the limited financial resources that the Pakistani Government has allotted for this endeavour and in general, has available to it given its economic priorities.
 
King Porus ruled a region which lay in and around the modern city of Jhelum in Pakistan, besides some preliminary digs and excavations around the city and that of the site of Bucephala(Sharif on the outskirts of jhelum), where Pakistani and Greek archeologist have identified the ''tomb'' of Alexander's favourite horse (Bucephalus).  More extensive follow-up digs have not been undertaken due to financial reasons. 
 
Lets hope that the Archeological society of Pakistan along with its supporters can promote this issue and help generate greater interest into this native Kings life and kingdom as it will help in further understanding the region at the time of Alexander's arrival. 
 
What is understood, is that, Alexander with his advanced military tactics and equipment was eventually able to rout the forces of King Porus, but was so impressed with the King as a person, his demeanor and also by his physique(he has said to have beengreater than 7 feet tall and of impressive build) that he later kept King Porus, allowing him to continue to rule and to work under his subsequent Hellenic kingdom that Alexander established in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan.  The funny thing is, even to this day, Jhelum is a major army cantonment area and the Pakistani army still continues to draw many of its ranks from this city. 
 
Alexander, as per tradition, held a mass marriage in the area with his troops, administrators and large camp with the locals of the region to solidify their integration into the greater Hellenic world which stretched from Greece proper, through modern day Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and all the way back to Pakistan.  Even in modern day Pakistan today, the people of Jhelum are known as Yunan-i-ru which translates roughly too, (people) ''of Iionian Faces''
 
But i agree, more research is required to be done to better understand the life and times of King Porus and his kingdom. :)


Edited by MarcoPolo - 01-Apr-2009 at 22:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2009 at 08:53
What i found very interesting is that in the dark of night, Alexander, with a force of 10,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry, slipped away up the banks to make the 25-kilometer trek to attempt the crossing at dawn. The baggage train and a large part of the army remained at the base camp. Alexander had given orders to openly start making preparations for an attack at the crack of dawn. He even had one of his men, an Alexander look alike, come out of his royal tent wearing the royal cloak, barking out orders. Not speaking of the film ofcourse.

Edited by Penelope - 04-Apr-2009 at 09:05
The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rcscwc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Apr-2009 at 07:17
Originally posted by Goocheslamb Goocheslamb wrote:

How come there so little known about Porus?
 
One very cogent reason.
 
Alexander never penetrated Into as far as it is portayed. Consequently, he might not have encountered Porus at all. In fact, little is known about Alexander himself. Though he was a famous person in the West, he was unknown in India in the classical period as he did not enter India at all and went back from the North-Eastern border of India. Even Magasthenese ingores Porus.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ArmenianSurvival Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Apr-2009 at 08:50

If we believe Arrian's accounts of the campaign, then Alexander was very intelligent in the way he approached Porus. Alexander's army set up camp on the western banks of the Hydaspes, facing Porus's army on the other side of the river. Porus stationed men at every concievable crossing point, and Alexander didn't want to make the difficult crossing of the river while the opposing army (which also had war elephants) was in an organized position and would be at a great advantage. Alexander sent cavalry up and down the Macedonian side of river, basically to bluff a crossing and make Porus send small portions of his army to obscure the crossing. He would also fake crossings in the middle of the night, and he made his army give warcries while he had trumpets blowing and drums banging in order to keep Porus on his defense at all times. He also built boats and had them go up and down the river, and lit great fires, and Porus was left confused as he did not know where to concentrate his defenses. Alexander used this tactic and waited until the season when the river Hydaspes receded. So after many days (or weeks) of such behavior, he lulled Porus into a false sense of security, making him think the Macedonians wouldn't go past screams and shouts, and Alexander finally decided to make a real crossing. He chose a spot 18 miles up the river, at a point where the Hydaspes bends and the bank is forested. Alexander, as usual, led the group making the first crossing, which consisted of several thousand phalanx infantry, several thousand cavalry including his Companion Cavalry, and a few thousand Indian troops. As they were about to cross, it began to rain tremendously, but all went well, until he realized they had landed on a forested island in the middle of the river, which he didn't notice because the sheer size of the island made it seem like part of the opposite bank. He found a tiny fork on the island where his troops could walk to the eastern bank, albeit the water was so high that it reached the armpits of his infanty.

After the successful crossing he caught a few units of Porus's army completely by surprise, and frightened them by the boldness of his action. After winning this brief engagement, Porus engaged him with his main army, which consisted of about 30,000 infantry, several thousand cavalry and war elephants. Both sides fought hard and with great valor. The main reasons Alexander won was the experience of his cavalry compared to Porus's, the fact that his infantry moved and acted in one solid mass, and the fact that Porus's army had very little room to manuever, which resulted in their elephants running amok, killing many of their own men and spreading panic within their ranks. Alexander, even with the main body of his army still camped in their original position on the western bank of the river, was able to rout Porus's army. At the moment of the rout, the main body of Alexander's army, still fresh, had crossed the river and chopped down Porus's exhausted men and captured many of them.
 
Alexander noticed Porus's bravery during the battle, the way he fought fiercly even when most of his army had routed. Porus only withdrew himself when he recieved a wound to the shoulder. Alexander appreciated his bravery so much, and was so pleased with the way Porus conducted himself in their discussions, that he left Porus as a sovereign leader and even extended his domain.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ruffian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Apr-2009 at 15:30
Originally posted by Penelope Penelope wrote:

What i found very interesting is that in the dark of night, Alexander, with a force of 10,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry, slipped away up the banks to make the 25-kilometer trek to attempt the crossing at dawn. The baggage train and a large part of the army remained at the base camp. Alexander had given orders to openly start making preparations for an attack at the crack of dawn. He even had one of his men, an Alexander look alike, come out of his royal tent wearing the royal cloak, barking out orders. Not speaking of the film ofcourse.


Sure but victory is what greeks recorded many hundred years after the war. Other extant versions show alexander lost.

"Alexander the great" by Wally Badge which is a Syriac edition, with English translation, of the folk-lore and legends connected to Alexander the Great. This ancient text represents a Greek text that is much older than any text that has been known before. This text shows that alexander was actually defeated (though perhaps a later layering of the text confuses the issue).

In addition more evidence has been unearthed by modern historians:

Peter Green's : Alexander of Macedon , Page 413:

"Despite the legendary wealth of the Indians,
Alexander did not acquire much loot .....".
"Yet by the end of his Indian campaign there are
definete signs that he was hard pressed for ready
cash".

A victor is not pressed for cash as Indians in general had good amount of gold.

So to sum up:
a) Alexander left india hard pressed for cash.
(Definetely not a sign of a victor) (Peter Green Page 413)

b) Porus increased his territory manifold after
this war. (Peter Green Page 412).

c) Alexander showed no mercy to any opponent who
opposed him bitterly yet we are supposed to believe
Porus was pardoned.

d) Badge's translation of syriac work which represents the oldest greek work
describing the battle which shows alexander lost.




a) Darius's call to help from Porus



b) Porus's letter to Alexander and the reply and the ensuing fight









Edited by ruffian - 13-Apr-2009 at 15:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goocheslamb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Apr-2009 at 01:43
Originally posted by rcscwc rcscwc wrote:

Originally posted by Goocheslamb Goocheslamb wrote:

How come there so little known about Porus?
 
One very cogent reason.
 
Alexander never penetrated Into as far as it is portayed. Consequently, he might not have encountered Porus at all. In fact, little is known about Alexander himself. Though he was a famous person in the West, he was unknown in India in the classical period as he did not enter India at all and went back from the North-Eastern border of India. Even Magasthenese ingores Porus.
 
well he did not enter present india, but he did come to Taxila in Pakistan and even south wards to Punjab. There is not denying his army came in the punjab simply because the greek coins from that time are still found in many parts of Pakistan. There was no such thing as united India because this whole region had different kingdoms.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2009 at 09:41
Ruffian, you've made some good points. But lets say alexander had truely been defeated that day, win or loss, would he have still been able to commision 2 new found cities, Necaea and Bucephala? In fact, Bucephala was built on the exact spot where the battle took place. On his way back to persia, he defeated all of the tribes who inhabited the area surrounding the chenab river. Would a defeated army have accomplished that too? Upon returning to persia, he executed a satrap, along with his followers for usurping the title "great king". In fact, he put down a number of "satrap ursurpers" militarily. After his death, his eastern-most territories would remain stable for a long time, becuase of him being successful at maintaining control by way of quelling rebellians. The seleucid empire benefited from what he did by being able to remain "safe" with virtually no uprisings or invasions throughout most of the wars of the diadochi as well.
The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote athenas owl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 09:18
Ruffian...

Quote d) Badge's translation of syriac work which represents the oldest greek work describing the battle which shows alexander lost.

Do you mean BUdge?   E.A.W Budge?   And his work  The History Of Alexander The Great Being The Syriac Version Of The Pseudo-Callisthenes?

From the late 1800's?    Budge himself dated the Syriac  "Alexander Romances" to the 7th to the 9th century, certainly NOT one of the oldest Greek works.   Others a bit earlier (late 6th century) and yet others place it later, in the 10th century.

And please remember that the Alexander Romances,  and the Pseudo-Callisthenes are fanciful things to a large extent,  much like the Arthurian Cycles from western Europe.  

The first Greek writer to have a surviving account is Diodorus of Sicily, from the 1st century B.C.   



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 11:41
Is Pseudo-Callisthenes considered a reliable source really?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote khshayathiya Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 13:11
If Alexander's victories in India are a mere fantasy, how can one explain the fact that the Triparadeisos agreement between the diadochs (the successors of Alexander) mentions Porus and Taxiles as being within the Macedonian sphere of influence?

The relevant text is in Diodoros, 18.39: "Of the two neighbouring kingdoms, the one along the Indus River was assigned to Porus and that along the Hydaspes to Taxiles, for it was not possible to remove these kings without a royal army and an outstanding general."

The situation of Porus and Taxiles is one of well-entrenched kings, it's true, and the diadochs can do little more than confirm them in the position they already occupy, but this does not hide the fact that de iure the two kings needed a confirmation from the Macedonian authority, however formal.

It is hard to explain how this legal situation could have arisen if one denies Alexander's victories in the area.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ruffian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 17:57
Penelope,
   In India the defeated were treated with great dignity. We have many examples where the invaders were defeated and they were allowed to return with their armies. So I am not surprised that Alexander's armies' nuclues remained intact. Plutarch clearly mentions: 
"As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India."

   Also telling is that Alexander had to find a new route to return home. The provinces he captured were up in arms and would have made return miserable. When he decided to sail down Indus no one from Porus's kingdom helped him to:
a) Navigate Indus
b) Fight against the Malli clan. Fighting them Alxander's lung was pierced.

  Selucid were able to consolidate because selucus was a good general but his reign was short lived as he was defeated by Chandragupta maurya.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ruffian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 18:13
Originally posted by athenas owl athenas owl wrote:

Ruffian...

Quote d) Badge's translation of syriac work which represents the oldest greek work describing the battle which shows alexander lost.

Do you mean BUdge?   E.A.W Budge?   And his work  The History Of Alexander The Great Being The Syriac Version Of The Pseudo-Callisthenes?
From the late 1800's?    Budge himself dated the Syriac  "Alexander Romances" to the 7th to the 9th century, certainly NOT one of the oldest Greek works.   Others a bit earlier (late 6th century) and yet others place it later, in the 10th century.

And please remember that the Alexander Romances,  and the Pseudo-Callisthenes are fanciful things to a large extent,  much like the Arthurian Cycles from western Europe.  

The first Greek writer to have a surviving account is Diodorus of Sicily, from the 1st century B.C.   




Typo. It is Budge. Scholars are unsure about pseduo-callisthenes. Alexander romance are attributed to Callisthenes who was related to Arsitotle and accompanied alexander in his campaingns. Once alexander extablished alexandria a library was also setup there and it could have contained material of alexandrian romance which could have formed the basis for egyptian/arab work in later centuries.

It is true world over that court historians exaggerate the exploits of their kings. Think 300 of leonidas against thousands of persians.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ruffian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 18:15
Originally posted by Flipper Flipper wrote:

Is Pseudo-Callisthenes considered a reliable source really?

I would say they are reliable because alexander romance is attributed to Callisthenes who accompanied Alexander on his campaign.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ruffian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 18:30
Originally posted by khshayathiya khshayathiya wrote:

If Alexander's victories in India are a mere fantasy, how can one explain the fact that the Triparadeisos agreement between the diadochs (the successors of Alexander) mentions Porus and Taxiles as being within the Macedonian sphere of influence?

The relevant text is in Diodoros, 18.39: "Of the two neighbouring kingdoms, the one along the Indus River was assigned to Porus and that along the Hydaspes to Taxiles, for it was not possible to remove these kings without a royal army and an outstanding general."

The situation of Porus and Taxiles is one of well-entrenched kings, it's true, and the diadochs can do little more than confirm them in the position they already occupy, but this does not hide the fact that de iure the two kings needed a confirmation from the Macedonian authority, however formal.

It is hard to explain how this legal situation could have arisen if one denies Alexander's victories in the area.


But then how do you explain the anomalies in his behavior after the war with porus:

a) Porus enlarges his kingdom i.e he has more area then what he had before (As a contrast whoever opposed Alexander bitterly , had their land taken away and their treausure taken over by alexander).

b) Alexander is finding it difficult to pay his army and Porus gets lots of Gold. Now how in the earth would a looser get alexander's gold?

The treaty you mention could just be to boost morale in greek troops because Indian kings usually did not attack if you did not occupy their land. In other words if greeks held land that did not belong to taxiles or Porus they would not have been attacked.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote athenas owl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 20:09
Ruffian, there is a reason why it is called the PSEUDO-Callisthenes.   No serious scholar considers it to be the work of Callisthenes, who, by the way, was dead or at least in chains by the time of the Indian invasion, c. 327.  He may have been executed in the Kabul Valley before the invasion or some months later, after being chained and caged the entire time.

Callisthenes stopped writing/propagandizing not too long after the succuss of Alexander against Darius.   He was quite dead or imprisoned, but certainly not commenting on the Hydaspes.

There are many versions of his death, but all agree that he never made it out of India.    If he ever got there in the first place.

The pseudo-callisthenes doesn't show up until centuries later,  like 700 years later.   Some of the PC may be based on Onesicritus, who served Alexander, but even that early, he wrote a rather fanciful story about Alexander and the Amazon Queen which when being read to Lysimachus, a king who has also been very close to Alexander, caused Lysimachus to remark, ‘And where was I at the time?’...being as he was with Alexander at the time and would have known about some tryst with an Amazon Queen.

As for the difficulty in paying his troops in India, that was a logistics problem in actually transferring the very heavy talents, etc from the treasuries in the west..   And he had 125,000 troops  and a fleet to pay for then.    Note that it was Alexander personally who was short of dosh.   When one of his aides, Eumenes pleaded poverty when outfitting the fleet, his tent "accidentally" caught fire..revealing that he was sitting on a 1000 talents  (at c. 57 lbs each) of gold and silver.   Alexander had asked for 300 talents, but Eumenes, pleading poverty, had coughed up only 100.   

Alexander came from a palace culture that required largesse from it's ruler.   He gives Porus a lot of gold, but Alexander still has thousands of talents elsewhere (in Iran).   And as has been shown, his commanders certainly had ready cash.   Hence the funding by 33 of them of his fleet.   



Edited by athenas owl - 22-Apr-2009 at 20:19
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