"Following this, the surviving Malli surrendered to Alexander's forces, and his beleaguered army moved on, conquering more Indian tribes along the way."

I found the above line in an article where the details regarding the Indian campaign of Macedonian King Alexander is mentioned. The above statements specifically mention the information about Alexander's army at that time when it returned to Greece. I searched the meanings of "beleaguer" which are as follows:

  1. Lay siege to.

1.1 Put in a very difficult situations

I think the first meaning out of these two is applicable in the case of above sentence.

However, the past participle form of "beleaguer" doesn't appear suitable here. As per the rules mentioned in this British council page , the past participle form shows a "passive voice". But, here the army was the one who beleaguered different places. So, it appears to me that the present participle form "beleaguering" should be used.

1 Answer 1


I have had to read this several times to understand it at all. Beleaguered in this context is a past participle acting s an adjective. It refers to an army that was in a very difficult situation. Worse than that: it has been defeated and had to surrender. And yet what is all this about conquering more tribes on the way? Surely it is Alexander's army that did the conquering.

But despite these problems of the meaning of the sentence the grammar of beleaguered is the same as if you put your clothes in the painted cupboard, or if you come in from the storm looking like a drowned rat. It translates as "the army that has been beleaguered".

  • Thanks. The last part of the sentence "conquering more Indian tribes along the way." was really confusing, because it was not expected from a beleaguered army. Feb 4, 2018 at 10:31
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    It certainly confused me. I think the problem is the word "his". Since the name mentioned immediately before is Alexander, one naturally assumes that is the person referred to by "his" but Alexander's army is not the one that was beleaguered, so his must be the surviving Malli. Odd!
    – JeremyC
    Feb 4, 2018 at 11:53

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