A Dark and Stormy Night

Frank L. Holt

in Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780520238817
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520938786 | DOI:
A Dark and Stormy Night

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The impressive artwork on the elephant medallions provides a fine series of images straight from the scrapbook of Alexander's campaign against Porus. The important features of these medallions are addressed. Even if these medallions functioned both as medals and coins, it might be a surprise that so little care was taken to keep them to a more consistent standard, given their special nature. The heavy rains that covered the embarkation the night before protected Alexander's troops from two of Porus' most dangerous military units on the day of battle itself. The medallions capture the course of a memorable battle in which rainstorms unexpectedly defeated the chariots and then the archers. On the elephant medallions, Alexander claimed personal powers of environmental modification for military purposes. Five years after Alexander's demise, a Macedonian officer assassinated Porus and confiscated his elephants in order to use them in the ongoing wars of imperial succession.

Keywords: elephant medallions; Alexander; Porus; heavy rains; night; military units

Chapter.  9332 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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