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Quote of the day: Quintus Haterius, when he brought forwar
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VIII Chapter 24: Death of Alexander of Epirus.[327 BC]
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The foundation of Alexandria in Egypt is stated to have taken place this year (327 B.C.) and also the assassination of Alexander of Epirus at the hands of a Lucanian refugee an event which fulfilled the oracular prediction of the Dodonean Jupiter. When he was invited by the Tarentines into Italy, he received a warning to beware of the water of Acheron and the city of Pandosia; for it was there that the limits of his destiny were fixed. This made him cross over into Italy all the sooner, that he might be as far as possible from the city of Pandosia in Epirus and the river Acheron, which flows from Molossis into the Infernal Marshes and finally empties itself into the Thesprotian Gulf. But, as often happens, in trying to avoid his fate he rushed upon it. He won many victories over the nationalities of Southern Italy, inflicting numerous defeats upon the legions of Bruttium and Lucania, capturing the city of Heraclea, a colony of settlers from Tarentum, taking Potentia from the Lucanian, Sipontum from the Apulians, Consentia and Terina from the Bruttii and other cities belonging to the Messapians and Lucanians. He sent three hundred noble families to Epirus to be detained there as hostages.

The circumstances under which he met his death were these. He had taken up a permanent position on three hills not far from the city of Pandosia which is close to the frontiers of the Lucanians and Bruttii. From this point he made incursions into every part of the enemy's territory, and on these expeditions he had as a body-guard some two hundred Lucanian refugees, in whose fidelity he placed confidence, but who, like most of their countrymen, were given to changing their minds as their fortunes changed. Continuous rains had inundated the whole country and prevented the three divisions of the army from mutually supporting each other, the level ground between the hills being impassable. While they were in this condition two out of the three divisions were suddenly attacked in the king's absence and overwhelmed. After annihilating them the enemy invested the third hill, where the king was present in person. The Lucanian refugees managed to communicate with their countrymen, and promised, if a safe return were guaranteed to them, to place the king in their hands alive or dead. Alexander, with a picked body of troops, cut his way, with splendid courage, through the enemy, and meeting the Lucanian general slew him after a hand to hand fight. Then getting together those of his men who were scattered in flight, he rode towards the ruins of a bridge which had been carried away by the floods and came to a river. Whilst his men were fording it with very uncertain footing, a soldier, almost spent by his exertions and his fears, cursed the river for its unlucky name, and said, "Rightly art thou called Acheros!" When these words fell on his ear the king at once recalled to mind the oracular warning, and stopped, doubtful whether to cross or not. Sotimus, one of his personal attendants, asked him why he hesitated at such a critical moment and drew his attention to the suspicious movements of the Lucanian refugees who were evidently meditating treachery. The king looked back and saw them coming on in a compact body; he at once drew his sword and spurred his horse through the middle of the river. He had already reached the shallow water on the other side when one of the refugees some distance away transfixed him with a javelin. He fell from his horse, and his lifeless body with the weapon sticking in it was carried down by the current to that part of the bank where the enemy were stationed. There it was horribly mutilated. After cutting it through the middle they sent one half to Consentia and kept the other to make sport of . Whilst they were pelting it at a distance with darts and stones a solitary woman ventured among the rabble who were showing such incredible brutality and implored them to desist. She told them amid her tears that her husband and children were held prisoners by the enemy and she hoped to ransom them with the king's body however much it might have been disfigured. This put an end to the outrages. What was left of the limbs was cremated at Consentia by the reverential care of this one woman, and the bones were sent back to Metapontum; from there they were carried to Cleopatra, the king's wife, and Olympias, his sister, the latter of whom was the mother, the former the sister of Alexander the Great

I thought it well to give this brief account of the tragic end of Alexander of Epirus, for although Fortune kept him from hostilities with Rome, the wars he waged in Italy entitle him to a place in this history.

Event: Death of Alexander of Epirus

Eodem anno Alexandream in Aegypto proditum conditam Alexandrumque Epiri regem ab exsule Lucano interfectum sortes Dodonaei Iouis euentu adfirmasse. accito ab Tarentinis in Italiam data dictio erat, caueret Acherusiam aquam Pandosiamque urbem: ibi fatis eius terminum dari. eoque ocius transmisit in Italiam ut quam maxime procul abesset urbe Pandosia in Epiro et Acheronte amni, quem ex Molosside fluentem in Stagna Inferna accipit Thesprotius sinus. ceterum ut ferme fugiendo in media fata ruitur, cum saepe Bruttias Lucanasque legiones fudisset, Heracleam, Tarentinorum coloniam, ex Lucanis Sipontumque, Bruttiorum Consentiam ac Terinam, alias inde Messapiorum ac Lucanorum cepisset urbes et trecentas familias illustres in Epirum quas obsidum numero haberet misisset, haud procul Pandosia urbe, imminente Lucanis ac Bruttiis finibus, tres tumulos aliquantum inter se distantes insedit, ex quibus incursiones in omnem partem agri hostilis faceret; et ducentos ferme Lucanorum exsules circa se pro fidis habebat, ut pleraque eius generis ingenia sunt, cum fortuna mutabilem gerentes fidem. imbres continui campis omnibus inundatis cum interclusissent trifariam exercitum a mutuo inter se auxilio, duo praesidia quae sine rege erant improuiso hostium aduentu opprimuntur; deletisque eis ad ipsius obsidionem omnes conuersi. inde ab Lucanis exsulibus ad suos nuntii missi sunt pactoque reditu promissum est regem aut uiuum aut mortuum in potestatem daturos. ceterum cum delectis ipse egregium facinus ausus per medios erumpit hostes et ducem Lucanorum comminus congressum obtruncat; contrahensque suos ex fuga palatos peruenit ad amnem ruinis recentibus pontis, quem uis aequae abstulerat, indicantem iter. quem cum incerto uado transiret agmen, fessus metu ac labore miles, increpans nomen abominandum fluminis, 'iure Acheros uocaris' inquit. quod ubi ad aures accidit regis, adiecit extemplo animum fatis suis substititque dubius an transiret. tum Sotimus, minister ex regiis pueris, quid in tanto discrimine periculi cunctaretur interrogans indicat Lucanos insidiis quaerere locum. quos ubi respexit rex procul grege facto uenientes, stringit gladium et per medium amnem transmittit equum; iamque in uadum egressum eminus ueruto Lucanus exsul transfigit. lapsum inde cum inhaerente telo corpus exanime detulit amnis in hostium praesidia. ibi foeda laceratio corporis facta. namque praeciso medio partem Consentiam misere, pars ipsis retenta ad ludibrium; quae cum iaculis saxisque procul incesseretur, mulier una ultra humanarum irarum fidem saeuienti turbae immixta, ut parumper sustinerent precata, flens ait uirum sibi liberosque captos apud hostes esse; sperare corpore regio utcumque mulcato se suos redempturam. is finis laceratione fuit, sepultumque Consentiae quod membrorum reliquum fuit cura mulieris unius, ossaque Metapontum ad hostes remissa, inde Epirum deuecta ad Cleopatram uxorem sororemque Olympiadem, quarum mater magni Alexandri altera, soror altera fuit. haec de Alexandri Epirensis tristi euentu, quamquam Romano bello fortuna eum abstinuit, tamen, quia in Italia bella gessit, paucis dixisse satis sit.