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THE ENTRY OF ALEXANDER INTO BABYLON.
AFTER having subjugated the whole of Greece, Alexander employed the resources he was possessed of in the conquest of Persia. Followed solely by 36,000 men, he passed the Hellespont in the year 334, before J. C.-visited the ruins of Troy-arrived upon the borders of the Granicus, which he crossed in sight of the Persians, whom he put to flight-overthrew all that he met in his career-gave battle to Darius, near Issus, and completely defeated him. He then besieged the city of Tyre, which surrendering to his arms, he passed into Egypt, and founded Alexandria; and, traversing the plains of Lybia, returned to the attack of the Persians, and by the battle of Arbela destroyed the empire of Darius. From Persia, Alexander carried his conquests into Indiavanquished Porus, and made all the Indian princes submit to his yoke-and only stopped his course at the mouth of the Indus, when he, in fact, could proceed no farther. He returned to Babylon to enjoy the fruit of his victories-where he tarnished his fame by the most degrading excesses, and where poison put an end to his surprising destiny.
The ambassadors of Carthage, Gaul, Spain, Sicily, Sardinia, and other cities of Italy, awaited his return into Babylon, to congratulate the Conqueror of the World; but the predictions of a soothsayer prevented him, for a time, going thither. Yielding, however, at last, to the
ENTRY OF ALEXANDER INTO BABYLON. remonstrances of the philosopher Anaxarchus, who dissipated the apprehensions which the magi had inspired, Alexander offered to the Babylonians the pageant of a triumphal entry into the city-upon which was lavished all the treasure of the world.
Le Brun has, perhaps, not given to his subject all the brilliancy which it ought to possess. A march even more extended could have scarcely corresponded with the idea that may be conceived of this triumph. But the artist could not, doubtless, dispose of a greater space; and what confirms us in that opinion, is the crowding of objects in many parts of this picture.
The principal figure is well disposed: its attitude is noble, and its expression heroic. The costume and headdress contribute to give him a majestic appearance.
The two slaves, carrying a magnificent vase, and the horseman who addresses them, are accessaries, but too much in sight, and diminish the general effect.
Great beauties are, however, remarked in the Babylonians standing at the foot of the statue; and especially in many of the figures of the Macedonian soldiery.
Notwithstanding the merit of the picture, it must be confessed that it is inferior to many others in the collection of the Battles of Alexander. It was the last finished, and Le Brun perhaps experienced that fatigue which so long and so laborious a task might have occasioned..