from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • An ancient town of Assyria in present-day northern Iraq. Its name is sometimes given to the battle fought at Gaugamela, about 97 km (60 mi) away, in which Alexander the Great defeated Darius III in 331 B.C.


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  • They were very near to a village called Arbela; and on the fortieth day after, he came himself with his whole army: and as the enemy sallied out boldly upon him, the left wing of his army gave way; but he appearing with a body of men, put those to flight who were already conquerors, and recalled his men that ran away.

    Antiquities of the Jews

  • Darius was in such a hurry to leave Arbela and flee to Ecbatana that he left behind an abundant store of food, jewels, and a fortune in silver.

    Alexander the Great

  • After the battle at Gaugamela, Darius fled first to the nearby town of Arbela, but only briefly as he knew Alexander would be close behind him.

    Alexander the Great

  • From the captured prisoners, Alexander learned that Darius and his army were close by, beyond the hills to the east of Nineveh, not far from the town of Arbela.

    Alexander the Great

  • Arbela, of carrying their wives, daughters, and eunuchs along with their armies.

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • For did Alexander, think you, (or indeed could he possibly) forget the fight at Arbela?

    Essays and Miscellanies

  • Subsequently it seems to have been obstructed; but in A.H. 643 it was repaired by Kokeboury, King of Arbela; again in 762, by order of Sultan Sayd Khadanbede; and a third time, but not completely, in 811, by the Sheri£ Hassan Ibn Adjelan, then reigning.

    Travels in Arabia

  • Gordyene, and despoiled the subjects of Tigranes, an army under the command of Afranius, who put him to the rout, and followed him in chase as far as the district of Arbela.

    The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans

  • Or that other, when Parmenio came to him in the plain of Arbela and showed him the innumerable multitude of his enemies, specially as they appeared by the infinite number of lights as it had been a new firmament of stars, and thereupon advised him to assail them by night; whereupon he answered, “That he would not steal the victory.”

    The Advancement of Learning

  • You may remember to have read, or heard at least, that Alexander the Great, immediately after his having obtained a glorious victory over the King Darius in Arbela, refused, in the presence of the splendid and illustrious courtiers that were about him, to give audience to a poor certain despicable-like fellow, who through the solicitations and mediation of some of his royal attendants was admitted humbly to beg that grace and favour of him.

    Five books of the lives, heroic deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel


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