Crossing the lofty barrier of the Hindu-Kush, Alexander
led his weary soldiers into northwestern India, where a single battle added the
Persian province of the Punjab to the Macedonian possessions. Alexander
then pressed forward to the conquest of the Ganges valley, but in the full tide
of victory his troops refused to go any farther. They had had their fill of war
and martial glory; they would conquer no more lands for their ambitious king.
Alexander gave with reluctance the order for the homeward march.
ALEXANDER'S RETURN TO BABYLON
Alexander was of too adventurous a disposition to return
by the way he had come. He resolved to reach Babylon by a new route. He built a
navy on the Indus and had it accompany the army down the river. At the mouth of
the Indus Alexander dispatched the fleet under his admiral, Nearchus, to
explore the Indian Ocean and to discover, if possible, a sea route between
India and the West. He himself led the army, by a long and toilsome march
through the deserts of southern Iran, to Babylon. That city now became the
capital of the Macedonian Empire.
DEATH OF ALEXANDER, 323 B.C.
Scarcely two years after his return, while he was planning
yet more extensive conquests in Arabia, Africa, and western Europe, he was
smitten by the deadly Babylonian fever. In 323 B.C., after several days of
illness, the conqueror of the world passed away, being not quite thirty- three
years of age.