vii] EARL YHISTORY OFNORTIERN IN DIA 275
tendered his submission, and Alexander cherished hopes that
Porus would prove equally complaisant. But that potentate,
who ruled the populous and fertile territory containing 300
towns which lay between the rivers Hydaspes (Jhelum) and
Akesines (Chenfb), corresponding to the modern Districts of
Jhelum, Gujrat, and Shahpur, felt confidence in his power
of resistance, and refused to yield.
In May, 326 B.c., Alexander arrived at the Jhelum river, Passage
which was already in flood by reason of the melting of the of the
mountain snows. He soon perceived that it was impossible to Hydaspes.
carry his army openly across in the face of the powerful force
assembled by Porus on the opposite bank, which was especially
formidable on account of its host of war-elephants, which the
Macedonian horse could not be induced to meet. Alexander,
therefore, resolved to ' steal a passage.' By means of a masterly
night march, prepared for with elaborate precautions, he effected
his purpose, taking with him a picked force numbering about
I2,000 men, of whom half were mounted. Porus, after a
belated and ineffectual attempt to oppose the landing, drew
up his host in order of battle.
The battle-field was a plain, now called Karri, about five July,
miles in width, and situated about ten miles in a direct line 326 B. c.
north-east from Alexander's camp near the town of Jhelum '. of the
The Indian king placed his chief reliance upon 200 huge Hydaspes.
elephants which protected in front his central body of 30,000
infantry. Three hundred chariots, each drawn by four horses,
and carrying six men, supported by 4,000 cavalry, guarded the
flanks. Each foot-soldier carried a broad and heavy two-
handed sword, a long buckler of undressed ox-hide, and either
javelins or a bow. The bow was a formidable weapon; for
'nothing,' say the Greek writers, 'can resist an Indian archer's
shot-neither shield nor breastplate, nor any stronger defence,
if such there be.' Alexander clearly perceived that his small
force could have no chance of success in a frontal attack upon
the enemy's centre, and resolved to rely upon the effect of a
vigorous cavalry charge against the Indian left wing. A
thousand mounted archers led the way, and were followed
by the horse-guards under the personal command of the
king. The fight, which lasted till evening, ended in the
annihilation of the Indian army, and the capture of Porus,
who had fought like a lion, and was severely wounded.
Alexander treated his captive with politic generosity, and
1 General Abbott's view (J. A. S. B., 1848) stems to be correct, although
Cunningham's theory has been generally accepted.