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Hydraotes (Ravi)

Hydraotes (Old Indian Iravati, modern Ravi): river in the Punjab, where Alexander the Great attacked a group of refugees.

The river Ravi, the ancient Hydraotes or Iravati, south of modern Kamalia. This part of the Punjab belonged to the Mallians (Malava), a warlike tribe that Alexander the Great had to defeat if he wanted his Indian possessions to be uncontested. In order to terrorize them, the Greek writer Arrian tells, the Macedonians attacked two unguarded cities between the Acesines and Hydraotes, after crossing through a dry country where no one would notice his arrival.note

It was an act of terror, as becomes apparent when we notice that he divided his army into three columns (one going south, one going east, and the main force southeast) to make sure that refugees who had managed to escape the attack of the main force, would be killed as well.

At dawn, he attacked the unsuspecting Mallian farmers. Many people fled to the south, and tried to cross the Hydraotes. However, Alexander pursued them and attacked the refugees near a ford in the river. It may have happened over here, because the course of the Ravi has not changed much during the past centuries. After crossing the river, Alexander attacked a large Mallian city, which may or may not be identical to modern Multan.

This page was created in 2004; last modified on 30 March 2014.