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India was a place of mystery to Europeans and to most Persians too, and Roxanne seems to have become enthralled by this exotic land.  She was excited by plants and animals she had never seen, captivated by the local customs and intrigued by the Hindu religion.  In 326 BC, as Alexander’s army moved along the Indus Valley, Roxanne was able to visit a number of Hindu temples and shrines. Alexander’s biographers reveal that Roxanne seems to have understood more about the native religion than Alexander’s own court scribes.

Alexander and Puru
During one of the last skirmishes of the Bactrian campaign, Roxanne was captured by the Macedonian army.  The sixteen-year-old daughter of an Afghan chieftain, she is said to have been beautiful, intelligent and vivacious. Alexander appears to have fallen madly in love with her because he married her almost at once.  From all accounts, the feelings were mutual.  There was certainly no political reason for the marriage as Roxanne’s father was a minor figure of no real importance.
The Indian king Puru surrenders to AlexanderPuru in the summer of 326 BC.
Mary Evans Picture Library)
Hindu Temple
Right: One of the splendid Indian temples that so enthralled Roxanne.
(Mary Evans Picture Library)
When Alexander returned to Iran in 324 BC, he took a second wife, Statira, the daughter of the dead Persian king Darius III.  This marriage may well have been political, but how did it effect Roxanne? Could it have changed the endearing and seemingly spiritual-minded girl to such an extent that she killed her husband for betraying their love and taking another wife?
In 327 BC the war with Persia was over and all of its once mighty empire was now under Alexander’s control.  With this added to his homeland of Macedonia, its adjacent countries and the Greek states, Alexander now ruled the largest empire the world had ever known.  It should have been time to return home and call it a day, but Alexander decided to push on into India (see >map).