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Alexander the Great and India: History With an Alternate Ending; flash fiction by cam

Updated on August 04, 2015
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Chris has written more than 100 flash fiction/short stories.Working Vacation took 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

Author's Note

This story is just that, fiction. I’m not writing an account of what I wish had happened or what I think should have happened. This is simply a description of an alternate outcome of one of the most momentous decisions in all of history. What if……

The Taming of Bucephalus by Alexander

Source

“Dad,” said ten year old Johnny, “tell me about Alexander again, please.” The proud father smiled and positioned himself so that his son and wife could hear the story above the noise of the busy airport terminal.

They had been planning this trip to India for many months, researching where they would visit and studying the history of the land so they would understand what they were seeing.

“Okay, son. It’s an inspiring story isn’t it?” Then the man launched into the fascinating tale of Alexander the Great and his conquest of India.

Alexander vs Darius of Persia

Source

Alexander watched his army ride west. He had conquered Persia with those very men and now they were marching homeward to Macedonia. But Alexander would not join them for that journey.

The young General turned and faced eastward where thousands of Persian cavalrymen waited with their war horses. He had replaced much of his army with the defeated Persian riders who were more than happy to be fighting for such a mighty warrior as this son of Philip of Macedon.

Though these men had been defeated by him, they had fought fiercely. Alexander knew that under his leadership they would defeat any army that stood before them. At his command, the most effective military force in history moved westward, away from the the river Hydaspes and into the land of India.

Alexandre et Bucéphale-Paris, Petit Palais

Source

Alexander prepared to mount his horse, Bucephalus, who had fully recuperated from a life threatening chest wound, the result of a Persian Javelin. He stroked the brilliant white blaze on the black horse’s face and said,

"Brave and loyal Bucephalus, you have carried me to victory across Greece and Asia. Now you shall do the same in India."

The army under Alexander, made up of men from diverse countries, faced many mighty armies along the way and lost a host fine warriors, but the greatest opponent was still ahead. The forces of the mighty Maurya people, led by Chandragupta were sweeping across India, and the two were destined to meet. It was a meeting which Alexander welcomed. When he was finished, he would spread Greek culture and language, which he had learned from Aristotle, in India as he had everywhere else in his expanding empire.

Alexander sat alone one night on a hill overlooking the Mauryan army. They would do battle the following day. Speaking to Bucephalus, Alexander said,

“My dear friend and fellow warrior in battle, how differently might things have turned out had you not survived your grave injury at the river Hydaspes. Would I have gone on and fought without you? I think I may have been easily persuaded by my men to do otherwise in that case. Your survival, Bucephalus, will result in the subjugation of all India under Macedonian rule.”

Chandragupt Maurya

Source

The family boarded their plane and a few hours later were circling the capital of India.

“Hey Dad, I guess the name of the city gives away whether Alexander conquered India or not, huh?” said Johnny.

“It certainly does son. Imagine how different things would be today if Alexander had chosen not to invade."

Johnny watched as the plane circled the city of Bucephalus. Two statues dominated the landscape, towering hundreds of feet over the streets and homes. Alexander sat astride the rearing Bucephalus with Jesus following close behind on foot.

"Wow," said Johnny, "Look at all the crosses."

Jesus Statue in India

Jesus Statue, National Highway 214, Yanam, Andhra Pradesh 533464, India.
Jesus Statue, National Highway 214, Yanam, Andhra Pradesh 533464, India. | Source

The Truth of the Matter

Alexander the Great never actually invaded India. This was one of the most important, fateful decisions in history. So much would be different today for millions of people, if he had actually done what this story describes.

Bucephalus, Alexander’s war horse, died at the battle of Hydaspes in 326 BC.

Alexander bought the horse with his own money at age 13. The horse was seemingly untamable, but young Alexander subdued the horse by speaking soothingly to it and patiently training it until it would allow him to ride. There was the strongest of bonds between Alexander and Bucephalus.

After the battle of Hydaspes, at the urging of his men, Alexander turned away from India and returned to Macedonia. The emotional impact of losing his beloved horse may have been why Alexander was so easily swayed.

It was the work of Alexander the Great which prepared the way for Christianity to sweep across Europe and much of Asia. The common Greek language which took root as a result, was the language in which the New Testament was originally penned.

By the time of Alexander, India was already thoroughly a Hindu culture. If Alexander had conquered that land, would Christianity have swept across that country as it did the later Roman Empire? It’s hard to tell.

Christianity made its debut in India in AD 52 when the Apostle Thomas began his evangelistic ministry there, baptizing a few converts. Rather than preaching in the Greek language to Greek speaking audiences, Thomas had to deal with the language barrier between Greek and the Middle Indo-Aryan languages.

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    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 20 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      This story has been rewritten to correct an historical inaccuracy. Thank you to lawrence01 for pointing it out. Not getting the actual history right is one of the possible pitfalls of writing historical fiction. My apologies to all who read the story before. I'll be much more cautious in the future. I suppose I could have just let this story drop out of memory, but I still like the concept, so I've republished with the necessary changes.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Chris

      Sorry :(

      It is a great story though.

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Chris

      Really enjoyed the story. Just one thing (forgive me for mentioning it). Alexander wasn't Roman, he was Macedonian. Then again this is a flash fiction story.

      I liked the "what if" part of it.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 21 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      Ann, I really do enjoy looking at history in this way. Finding key moments when whole populations could have been altered is fascinating. But things are as they are. The choices have been made.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 21 months ago from SW England

      I like your alternative endings, Chris. There are many 'what ifs' in history and it's interesting to ponder on what could have happened. All because of a horse!

      Ann

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 21 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      Eric, Great to see you here. The what ifs of history are the results either of powerful men stumbling around in the dark, or a hidden hand guiding mankind into some seriously tough places. Who knows? But it is entertaining to chase down the unused paths and see where they might lead.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What a great "what if". The possibilities are endless. Very well done here and a great pleasure to read.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 21 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      Frank, I'm glad you found the story interesting. I've always been fascinated with the life and escapades of Alexander. This is one of the most interesting to me. Thanks for reading.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton

      Cam this was a big engrossing read of historical story telling.. Loved it

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 21 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      Venkatachari M , I"ve been hoping you would stop by and read this story. I have also been hoping it would not be offensive to those native to the country of India. I have fun toying with history sometimes, and this seemed like a natural time and place to mess with. I appreciate your comments. I decided to take the imagination a little further than just Alexander. I asked myself what would have been the ultimate effect, if Alexander had invaded. A Christian India is what came to mind.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 21 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting hub. Good fiction out of history. I was surprised a bit to see the statue of Jesus, though. Instead of Alexander the Great! Very good imagination and crafting. Thanks for this entertainment with some historical facts.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 22 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      Chris, welcome. I'm glad you liked this story, and I'm thrilled to have the endorsement of an actual Greek. Thanks for the thumbs up.

    • Chris Antonaros profile image

      Christos Antonaros 22 months ago from Athens, Greece

      I am always saying that we should start making myths and stories based on history, and particularly on modern history! Good job buddy! As a Greek I give the thumps up!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure Chris.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 22 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      Kristen, Thanks for reading this little twist on history. I'm glad you found it interesting.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Chris, this was a nice piece of short fiction with a Biblical theme to it. Nice image to match the storyline. Voted up for interesting!

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