A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 18 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 938 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.

At the time when Alexander was seized with the illness which occasioned his death, Nearchus was ready to sail, and he himself, with the army, was to accompany him as far as was practicable, in the same manner as he had done from the Indus to the Tigris:  two days before the fever commenced, he gave a grand entertainment to Nearchus and his officers.

Only a very few circumstances regarding Nearchus are known after the death of Alexander:  he was made governor of Lycia and Pamphylia, and seems to have attached himself to the fortunes of Antigonus.  Along with him, he crossed the mountains of Loristan, when he marched out of Susiana, after his combat with Eumenes.  In this retreat he commanded the light-armed troops, and was ordered in advance, to drive the Cosseams from their passes in the mountains.  When Antigonus deemed it necessary to march into Lesser Asia, to oppose the progress of Cassander, he left his son Demetrius, with part of his army, in Syria; and as that prince was not above 22 years old, he appointed him several advisers, of whom Nearchus was one.  It is by no means improbable that the instructions or the advice of Nearchus may have induced Demetrius to survey with great care the lake of Asphaltes, and to form a computation of the profit of the bitumen which it afforded, and of the balm which grew in the adjacent country, and may have contributed to his love for and skill in ship-building; for after he was declared king of Macedonia, he built a fleet of five hundred gallies, several of which had fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen benches of oars.  We are informed that they were all built by the particular contrivance of Demetrius himself, and that the ablest artizans, without his directions, were unable to construct such vessels, which united the pomp and splendour of royal ships to the strength and conveniences of ordinary ships of war.  The period and circumstances of the death of Nearchus are not known.  Dr. Vincent supposes that he may have lost his life at the battle of Ipsus, where Antigonus fell:  or, after the battle, by command of the four kings who obtained the victory.  Previous to his grand expedition, it appears that he was a native of Crete, and enrolled a citizen of Amphipolis, it is supposed, at the time when Philip intended to form there a mart for his conquests in Thrace.  He soon afterwards came to the court of Philip, by whom he and some others were banished, because he thought them too much attached to the interests of Alexander in the family dissensions which arose on the secession of Olympias, and some secret transactions of Alexander in regard to a marriage with a daughter of a satrap of Caria.  On the death of Philip, Nearchus was recalled, and rewarded for his sufferings by the favour of his sovereign.

[4] The object of these dykes is supposed by Niebuhr to have been
    very different:  be observes that they were constructed for the purpose
    of keeping up the waters to inundate the contiguous level:  he found
    these dykes both in the Euphrates and Tigris.  And Tavernier mentions
    one, 120 feet high, in the fall between Mosul and the great Zab.

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