Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden maonachi Cestrensis; together with the English translations of John Trevisa and of an unknown writer of the fifteenth century.
Higden, Ranulf, d. 1364., Trevisa, John, tr. d. 1402., Caxton, William, ca. 1422-1491., Malverne, John, d 1415?, Babington, Churchill, ed. 1821-1889,, Lumby, J. Rawson ed. (Joseph Rawson), 1831-1895.
Page  393, vol.3

Capitulum vicesimum septimum.

THE noble conquerour Alexander hauenge xxti yere in age, began to reigne after the dethe of his fader in the realme of Macedonia, whiche reignede xij. yere and vj. monethes. This Alexander was more habundante in vices þen his fader, but the fader was more prudente in cownselle, not usenge crudelite or fiȝhte but vn to his enmyes; but Alexander usede crudelite to his frendes and also to his aduersaries and enmyes. The fader desirede to be luffede of men, but the son laborede to cause men to drede hym. Þe fader was ȝiffen to liberalite, the son vn to lecchery. Vincentius, libro quinto. Ochus, kynge of men of Persida, occupiede Egipte and expulsede Nectanabus in the xv. yere of the reigne of Ochus, and in þe xij. yere of the reigne of [folio 156a] kynge Philippe, and the xvijthe yere of Nectanabus kynge of Egipte. This Nectanabus was not wonte to gedre an Page  395, vol.3 hoste if that he dredde batelle with oþer naciones, but he wente secretely in to a secrete place, takenge with hym a basyn with clene water, where he made a similitude of the schippes and ymages of men made of wexe, whiche semede to lyve and to move. Also he made holowe certeyne wondes or roddes of a tre callede ebenus, whiche wille not brenne, where in he spake and callede certeyne spirittes bot*. [Sic.] superialle and inferialle, and þen he wolde besy hym to drowne the schippe of wexe in þe basyn with water, and so he drownede by þat meane the schippes of his enmyes in the see. In an other tyme he hade vnderstondenge that men of Inde, of Araby, men of Par|thia, and diuerse other naciones intendede to entre and destroye the realme of Egipte. Wherefore he wente to that secrete place with laȝhenge chere to prove his arte and connynge, where he hade a answer that he wolde Page  397, vol.3 be destroyede withowte that he fledde. The seide Nec|tanabus, kynge of Egipte, perceyvenge that, takenge to hym his treasoure and schavenge his berde, come to the londe of Macedony, whiche fenynge hym an astronomyer, obteynede the fauor of Olimpias qwene of Macedony, Philippe her kynge occupiede in batelles, that the seide Nectanabus, induenge hym as in þe similitude of Iubiter, corrupte and hade his pleasure of the qwene, of whom he gate Alex|ander the noble and worthy conqueroure. The seide qwene, Olimpias by name, beenge grete with childe, mony briddes did flye abowte kynge Philippe, occupiede then in batelles. But specially an henne, amonge alle oþer briddes, leyde an egge in the lappe of kynge Philippe, whiche egge caste downe to the erthe and broken, a serpente did crepe furthe of hit, other a dragon, whiche crepenge abowte and willenge to entre in to that egge from whom hit come, and myȝhte not, hit diede anoon. The noble clerke Antifon and coniec|tor, inquirede what that thynge scholde signifye, answerede Page  399, vol.3 and seide, kynge Philippe to haue a sonne whiche scholde be lorde of alle the worlde, and conquer mony regiones; but he scholde, or that he come to þe place of his natiuite, suffre dethe. For a dragon is a regalle beste, and hathe in a maner the forme of the worlde. Then this qwene Olimpias trauailenge of childe, ertheqwakes, liȝhtnenges, and þundres were herde. Quintus Cursius. Too egles sate on the toppe of the howse in the tyme of her childenge alle þe day, that signifiede ij. regalies, of Asia and of Europe. Alexander borne hade oon eie yelowe, that other blacke. Ieronimus, epistola octogesima quinta. Alex|ander yonge in age myȝhte not suffre Leonides his maister to be from hym, wherefore kynge Philippe removede hym aweye, and made Aristotille his maister. Seneca. Alexander caste that same Leonides his maister afterwarde to be de|uourede of a lyon. Vincentius. Alexander beenge of xij. Page  401, vol.3 yere in age, ioyede to be conversaunte amonge hostes and armes, usenge to ride, and exercisede the actes of chevallery. The seide Alexander priede Nectanabus in a day, in the absence of kynge Philippe, to teche hym his arte; then Nectanabus made graunte and promyse þerto. Alexander commenge with Nectanabus vn to a grete depe pitte, caste Nectanabus yn to hit, where þro he diede. Nectanabus inquirede of kynge Alexander why that he did so; to whom Alexander seide: "Thyne arte is to be reprovede that schewede not this to the before: lye now upryȝhte, and serche the causes of the sterres and of heuyn." To whom Nectanabus seide in this wise: "No man may flee his destene; for y knewe by myne arte þat myne awne sonne scholde be Page  403, vol.3 cause of my dethe:" where he confessede to Alexander how þat he gate hym, and how that he was kynge of Egipte; and after this communication he diede anoone. Then kynge Alexander did ordeyne to hym a beryalle. Philip|pus the kynge of Macedony, sollicitate and besy for the succession of þat realme, hade an answere of Appollo Delphicus that he scholde be lorde of alle the worlde, whiche scholde ride Bucefal his horse withowte eny hurte, and reioyce his realme after his dethe. Kynge Alexander herenge that kynge [folio 157a] Philippe his fader hade an horse in streyte kepenge, ferse as a lyon, wente in to hym and brouȝte furthe the horse by the mane, and did ride on hym withoute eny hurste. Kynge Page  405, vol.3 Philippe, fader putatiuus to kynge Alexander, herenge that, honourede hym as the lorde of alle the worlde. This noble conquerour Alexander hauenge xiij. yere in age, hade victory of a cite callede Methona, and made hit subiect to hym, whiche rebellede ageyne his fayder. Whiche returnenge to his fader after that victory, founde messengers of the kynge of Persida askenge certeyne tributes vsede to be paiede for his londe and water. To whom Alexander seide in this wise: "Do men of Persida chalaunge the elementes whiche be commune for alle men? Commaunde Darius your kynge in my name to cease from that insolence." Giraldus in Topographia. Alexander beenge in familier felowschippe and companye, and herenge an harpe, kytte the strynges, seyenge hit is better þe harpe strynges to be kytte then hertes: for hym semede his herte to be more inflexible to melody then to chevallery thro that swetenesse. ℞. Neuerthelesse storyes reherse that Anthi|gonus brake an harpe in the maner aforeseide, to whom Page  407, vol.3 Alexander ȝiffenge attendaunce seide, now hit is conveniente to thyne age to reigne, for hit is schame softenes and in|solence to haue dominacion in a knyȝghtes other elles in a kynges body. Tullius. Kynge Philippe understondenge that Alexander his sonne obteynede the fauoure of men þro money, wrote to hym in this forme: "What erroure hathe brouȝhte the to that hope þat thou scholde suppose those men to be trewe to the whom thow may corrupte with moneye." Darius the sonne of Arsanius, þe xiiijthe kynge of Persia, began to reigne in the secunde yere of kynge Alexander, whiche reignede vj. yere. Trogus, libro undecimo. Alex|ander reioycenge the realme of Macedonia, did slee Cranaus, the sonne of his stappe moder, and alle his cosynnes whiche semede apte to reioyce that realme, that noo treason scholde be in that realme in his absence occupiede in batelle in other londes and cuntrees. After that he wente to Corinthus, and [folio 157b] Page  409, vol.3 instorede a batelle ageyne men of Persida, whiche batelle his fader began to instore; and toke men of Lacedemonia and off Athenes rebellious to hym thro the cownsaile of Demostines, a noble philosophre; wherefore mony men of Athenes and of the Thebanes wente vn to Darius kynge off Persia. Diui|denge his patrimony to his frendes, reseruede Asia vn to hym selfe, iuggenge that realme to be sufficiaunte to hym. Where|fore he commaundede his knyȝhtes to spare the goodes and peple of hit, takenge with hym in his hoste olde knyȝhtes, men of hie discrecion and circumspecte, which exercysede che|vallery with kynge Philippe his fader, whiche putte also truste in theire armes and not in theire feete, and truste of the victory and not of fleenge. There were in the hoste of kynge Alexander xxxiijti. ml of foote men and v. ml off horsemen; wherefore hit is incerteyne wheþer hit was moore meruellous Alexander to haue ouercome mony londes and the kynges of þeim, and to haue conquerede the worlde, other elles to haue audacite to haue taken on hym soe grete batailes with so fewe Page  411, vol.3 and litelle nowmbres of peple in his hoste. Petrus, capitulo centesimo nonagesimo sexto. Alexander passenge the water Elesponte ȝafe batelle ageyne the dukes and gouernoures of the hoste of kynge Darius gedrede to resiste hym, nye to a water callede Granicus, of whom he hade victory. After that he wente and toke Liddia, Yconium, Pamphilia; and toke a cite calcde Sardis, sette betwene Frigia Maior and Frigia Minor. Trogus, libro undecimo. The commenge of Darius schewede, Alexander dredenge the streytenesse of the place wente vn to the grete hille - callede Taurus; commynge to Tharsum fulle of swote and duste thro la|boure, felle in to a water floenge þer by, þro whiche he hade suche a streynenge of his senowes togeder that he hade diede anoon, but that he receyvede a pocion of Phi|lippe his phisicion. Neuerthelesse the seide Philippe re|ceyvede letters send from kynge Darius promisenge to hym a grete summe of goode that he scholde poyson kynge [folio 158a] Alexander; of whiche thynge Alexander hade knowlege, and that he scholde not take in eny wise drynkes or medicynes Page  413, vol.3 of Philippe his phisicion. Neuerthelesse Alexander toke boldely his medicyne; but he causede Philippe his phisicion to rede the letters afore. Alexander recurede after the space of iij. daies y-paste, Darius kynge of Persia comme to the mownte callede Taurus with iiijc ml of foote men, and a c. ml of horse men, where a grete batelle was committe, in whom either kynge was woundede soore. Neuertheles kynge Darius fledde, of whose hoste iiijxx ml of foote men were sleyne, and x. ml of horsemen; and xxxti castelles of defence were broke; the moder and wife of Darius were taken, with his ij. doȝhters, whiche hade grawnte of theire lyves, and were mariede. From whiche tyme Alexander exercisede gretely the synne of lecchery, and luffede moche Barsen doȝter of Darius, of whom he gate a noble childe callede Hercules: after that he wente in to þe este partes, vn to a realme calledde Siria. Petrus, capitulo centesimo nonogesimo sexto. Then Sarra|balla movede kynge Alexander that the Iewes scholde be Page  415, vol.3 diuidede in to ij. partes, that hit scholde rebelle but litelle ageyne hym; whiche made a temple in the mownte Gaȝirim, thro licence of kynge Alexander, whiche remaynede þer vn to the destruccion made by the Romanes: in whiche temple he made Manasses his son in lawe byschoppe, brother to Iadus byschoppe of Ierusalem. Trogus, libro decimo octavo. After that Alexander wente to the cite of Tirus, where he putte to dethe on crosses alle men of that cite, the kynrede and progeny of Straton reservede in lyve. For seruauntes in that cite of Tirus, beenge off a grete multi|tude, conspirenge to gedre did slee sodenly alle theire lordes Page  417, vol.3 and free men of that cite, occupienge theire howses, and mariede þeire wifes, and gate free childer, where thei were not of liberte. Neuerthelesse oon seruaunte amonge mony thowsandes savede and norischede priuely Straton his lorde. Then the seruauntes made a conuencion among theyme that theke man scholde be electe in to theire kynge whiche see [folio 158b] firste the sonne in the morowe folowenge. That thynge expressede to Straton by his seruaunte, he cownsellede his seruaunte that alle other men lokenge into the este he scholde beholde in to the weste, where that seruaunte see the beames of the sonne firste in the morowe. The seruauntes inqui|renge of hym how that he come to that knowledge, and the auctor of hit, the seruaunte confessede that he hade that knowlege by Straton hys lorde. The seruaunteȝ herenge that, graunted life to Straton and to his childer, and made Page  419, vol.3 hym kynge amonge þeim. This wickede offense and myschefe was commune and vulgare vn to the tyme of Alexander allemoste thro alle the worlde, whiche takenge that cite did sle alle theyme, reseruenge on lyve oonly the progeny of Straton. Iosephus, libro undecimo. Alexander did write to Iadus, the bischoppe and prince of pristes in Ierusalem, that he scholde ordeyne to hym vitalles and the tributes whom he usede to ȝiffe to kynge Darius. The bischoppe denyede hit, seyenge that he hade made an othe to pay the tribute to kynge Darius, wherefore kynge Alexander manassede soore the peple of the Iewes. Petrus, capitulo centesimo nonagesimo sexto. Alexander goenge from that place toke Gaza, whom he segede by ij. monethes; after that he wente to Ierusalem, whom Iadus the bischop did mete in pontificalibus with oþer prestes, as he was monyschede in his slepe, schewenge to Alexander the prophecy of Daniel the prophete, in whom it was seide a man*. [Sic.] Grece scholde peresche and destroye the power of men of Persida; where Page  421, vol.3 thro he hade a releische of his tribute that he scholde haue paiede by vij. yere. Trogus, libro undecimo. After that Alexander made Roodes subiecte to hym, and Egipte, alle|moste with owte eny batelle; goenge after þat to Ammon þe godde, to knowe of his originalle; for his moder Olimpias knowlegede to kynge Philippe here howsebonde Alexander not to haue bene getten by hym, but by a grete dragon. Wherefore kynge Philippe knowlegede openly in the laste [folio 159a] daies of his lyfe, afore the nobles of his realme, that kynge Alexander was not his sonne. Wherefore he refusede Olim|pias his wife. Then Alexander, willenge to excuse the trespas of his moder, entrede in to the temple of Iubiter, where he was salutede as the sonne off godde; where thro his audacite was encreasede gretely. Whiche returnynge from Page  423, vol.3 that temple, made a cite in Egipte, callenge hit Alexandria; and after that he afflicte soore the cite of the Samaritanes, where he causede men of Macedony to inhabite, for cause the Samaritanes hade sleyne Andromachus, whom Alexander Page  425, vol.3 lefte to rewle that cuntre. Iustinus, libro sexto. Alexander hauenge victory off men of Siria, kynge Darius sende a letter to hym, or that thei mette in batelle afterwarde, in this forme folowenge: "Darius, kynge of kynges and cosyn of goddes, sende gretenge to Alexander his seruaunte. I commaunde the to goe and returne to thy fader and moder, my seruauntes, and lerne in thy moders lappe the office of a man. Where|fore y sende to the a bridelle, a balle, and a purs with siluer and golde in hit: the balle movethe the to play conueniente to thyne age; the bridelle moneschethe the to attende to dis|cipline, and the treasure in the purs to releve thy costes in this iourney. And if thow obey not this, I schalle sende to the myȝhty men, whiche schalle presente the beten like a Page  427, vol.3 childe to our majesty." Alexander redenge this letter to his noble men, thei began to be afraiede, to whom he seide to theire comforte: "Frendes, wherefore be ye trowlede, for this letter hathe rather wordes of pride þen of confidence. For the consuetude of smale dogges and feble is to berke raþer then myȝhty dogges." Then kynge Alexander did write ayeyn to kynge Darius in this wise: "Alexander, kynge of kynges and cosyn of goddes, sende to Darius gretenge. In that thow sende to me a briddelle, a balle, and a purs with golde in, hit signifye thre thynges to me, as by coniecture. For the firste, hit is oportune that y exercise the bridelle of cor|reccion amonge thy subiectes. The batelle,*. [Sic.] þat is rownde, dothe signifye me to be lorde of the worlde. The treasure of golde sende to me, dothe prenosticate me to be lorde of alle thy treasure in tyme to comme. And in that thou makeste so grete boste of thy treasure and richesse, in that thou [folio 159b] moveste and dothe excite vs to visite thy realme and cuntre, and to fiȝhte ayeyne the." Trogus, libro undecimo. Darius Page  429, vol.3 kynge of Persida, losenge the victory and fledde to Babilon, sende letters to kynge Alexander that he myȝhte redeme men taken in captiuite with his goodes. But kynge Alexander desirede not oonly moneye but also the lordeschippe of his realme. After that Darius offrede to hym his doȝhter vn to his wife, with parte of his realme. Alexander wolde not that in eny wise, but vtterly he wolde haue chiefe lordeschippe of his realme. Then Darius beenge as in desperation of pease, mette Alexander with cccc. ml of foote men and a c. ml of horse men, to whom it was schewede in his iourney, or that he mette with kynge Alexander, that his wife was dedde of delyuerynge of childe, and how that kynge Alexander hade beryede her regally acordenge to her astate, whiche thynge he did more for cause of manhode then for cause of eny luffe. Wherefore kynge Darius did write to hym the thridde tyme ȝiffenge to hym thonkynges that he schewede to his noo thynge of crudelite, offrenge with his doȝhter the moore parte Page  431, vol.3 of his realme vn to Eufrates, promysenge xxxti ml talentes for his peple whom kynge Alexander hade in captiuite. Kynge Alexander sende writenge to Darius seyenge: "the thonke of an enemye to be voyde, and not to be attendede where glosenge and adulation reignethe and is among batel|les, wherefore Alexander commandethe Darius other to be subiecte to hym other elles that he make hym redy to batelle, sithe that oon londe may not suffise egally ij. kynges of egallenes." Vincentius. When Alexander hade commen in priuely in to the felowschippe and palice of kynge Darius, nye to a water, to see his hoste, and ȝafe metenge to kynge Darius as sodenly, he seide to him: "I, a messynger of kynge Alexander, seye this to the; y accompte hym not a kynge þat is slawe to batelle." Then kynge Darius seide: "Arte not thow kynge Alexander þat spekes so boldely." Alexander seide: "Y am not he, but a messynger to hym." Darius desirede hym to soper; whiche beenge at soper, after Page  433, vol.3 that he hade drunke wyne sende to hym by the kynge, he putte the pece in his bosom. The ministres off kynge Darius schewede to hym how that messynger of kynge Alexander hade putte diverse peces of wyne in his bosom after that he hade drunke of theyme. Darius the kynge, [folio 160a] movede thro that tale, reprovede kynge Alexander of thefte. Alexander answerede the kynge, and seide that consuetude was obseruede and kepede in the cowrte of kynge Alexander, supposenge that the same consuetude hade bene here. Darius the kynge pleasede, and silence made, oon man beenge at the table hade knowlege of kynge Alexander, and ex|pressede his name to Darius. Alexander perceyvenge that fledde, and did slee a childe of the londe of Persida whiche did holde his horse at the ȝate, and soe commynge ouer the water resortede to his hoste. Darius, the kynge folowede that tyme kynge Alexander, but Alexander commaundede his hoste to suffre theyme to come ouer the water. Trogus, libro un|decimo. The hostes ȝafe soore batelle; at the laste kynge Darius fledde, and the knyȝhtes of kynge Alexander folowede theire pray by xxxti daies folowenge. Persipolis was taken that tyme, whiche was the principalle cite of Persida, con|teynenge Page  435, vol.3 in hit richesse as innumerable. Darius the kynge fledde woundede soore, whom his awne cosynnes putte in cheynes of golde, whiche dedde Alexander beriede hym re|gally. Trogus, libro duodecimo. After that letters were sente from Macedony to kynge Alexander, rehersenge that Antipater, keper of that realme, hade oppressede Eacides, the kynge of the Spartanes, and also Alexander, kynge of Epirus, whiche made insurreccions ageyne the realme of Macedony, and that Antipater was oppressede hym selfe. Zephiron, a go|vernour sende with xxxti ml ageyn men of Sithia, was deuicte. Alexander herenge that, made grete sorowe by the space of thre dayes, wherefore his knyȝhtes supposede that he wolde have returnede to Macedony; but kynge Alexander movede theym to go with hym, that he myȝhte tame the prowde hertes of men of the Este. For he seide to haue made a protestacion that he wolde not see only his body and richesse, but also the costes of his realme, wherefore he sub|duede to hym anoon þe Mardonnes and the Hircannes. Then Page  437, vol.3 Talestris, qwene of the Amazones, metenge kynge Alexander with ccc. women, desirede to be geten with childe, whiche hoste was soore oppressede by travayle by the continuacion of xxxti dayes. The aspecte and continance of whiche women was hade in meruayle as for that inconsuete message. [folio 160b] Whiche hauenge grawnte, and taryenge by xiij. daies in luste and pleasure of the flesche, returnede to theire cuntre. ℞. Neverthelesse the story of Alexander rehersethe that the qwene of þe Amazones did write an epistole to kynge Alex|ander askenge a tribute of theyme in this wise: "Hit is to meruayle of thy prudence that þou woldeste ȝiffe batelle to women; for and if fortune schewede to us fauor and victory, thow were confusede for alle the tyme of thy lyfe, sithe that þow were overcommen by women; and if thow haue victory of us þow schalle gete but litelle honoure in hauenge þe victory of women." Trogus, libro decimo.