Before setting out for India, Alexander must put down
a rebellion in recently conquered territory. He confronts
them at the Sogdian Rock, an impregnable fortress atop
high cliffs where he will meet his soon-to-be wife, Roxana.
His unorthodox solution delivers another victory against
impossible odds, while minimizing casualties to both sides.
1/21/2010: All instruments complete, vocals not recorded yet.
3/31/2010: Made guitars less tinny (hopefully) with some EQ.
4/16/2010: Still trying to achieve the sometimes mutually exclusive
goals of power and clarity between guitars & bass (EQ & mix).
Crisis turns the mind from tragedy
Insurrection in the conquered lands
Leads the army to Sogdia
Where an impregnable fortress stands
Atop a rock so sheer
The rebels mock and sneer
The narrow road would earn
An ambush laid at every turn
March! Die! Against the sky!
One thousand could kill ten before we learn
Must it be proven once more with our tears
What reward to the bold fortune brings
Taunts from the enemy fresh in our ears
Death is your fate if you lack men with wings
Our king asks me for a list
Of my men most brave and fine
Experts with sword and fist
Skilled with spike and line
He gets his volunteers
Swordsmen and mountaineers
The cloak of night protects
The route the foe cannot expect
Climb! Die! Into the sky!
Three hundred none of us will soon forget
Our king meets their captain, says eye to eye
Send back a runner, hear what news he brings
Of your invincible lair in the sky
Now in the hands of our bold men with wings
We all knew the desperate remnants of Persia's army all
Were trapped between our infantry and the captured fortress walls
Dawn revealed what our three hundred spared us in the night
Thirty thousand men surrendered, all without a fight
One for the ages, an anthem to sing
Of what reward to the bold fortune brings
From every pinnacle our voices ring
Men with a vision become men with wings
A word of explanation:
Spitamenes, the Sogdian official who betrayed Bessus to
Ptolemy (in Betrayal
) was only buying time for his true
plan. He raises a revolt in Sogdia and starts a hit and run
guerrilla campaign against the local satraps who remained
loyal to Alexander. Alexander leads a force to Sogdia, but
by the time he gets there, Spitamenes has moved back into
Bactria. As long as he's in the area anyway, Alexander
decides to finish off Oxyartes and other local nobles who
have held out in the hills since Bessus was defeated.
Alexander comes to the Sogdian Rock (in modern
Tadzhikistan) and offers surrender to the defenders,
which is refused (they say only "men with wings"
could capture it). An opposing force of unknown
size, remnants of the recently defeated Persian army,
stands between Alexander's army and the fortress,
while a mere skeleton crew mans the fortress itself.
A conventional approach is certain to result in high
casualties at the hands of the entrenched defenders.
Alexander gathers 300 volunteers skilled in rock
climbing to scale the cliffs under the fortress by
night. After Alexander sees their signal, he tells the
outer perimeter guard that his "winged men" have
indeed already taken the keep. When they discover
this to be true, they are thoroughly demoralized.
With the bulk of their forces now trapped between
Alexander's army and the captured fortress, the
entire garrison of 30,000 men surrenders.
It is immediately after this victory that Alexander
meets his future wife, Roxana, at the fortress.
It is bitter irony that while Alexander would
forever regret killing Cleitus, if Cleitus had
accepted the command Alexander offered him,
Cleitus would have been in Sogdia to take care
of Spitamenes while Alexander was on his way to
India, and Alexander would never have met Roxana.
A few months later, Alexander finally figures
out where Spitamenes is, and sends Coenus
(his best infantry general) to take care of the
situation. Coenus deals Spitamenes a crushing
defeat and Spitamenes is betrayed and killed
by his remaining allies, who send his head
to Alexander as a gesture of peace.
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Buser.
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