"Untie The Gordian Knot"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Alexander quells the Greeks who are restive after his father, Philip, dies. He then crosses the Hellespont to fight Darius, ruler of Persia. He conquers some of the cities; others willingly surrender. He meets success wherever he goes, and none can withstand him. After conquering cities along the seacoast, as far as Phoenicia,

. . . he overcame also the Pisidians, who thought to have resisted him, and conquered all Phrygia besides.
There in the city of Gordius, which is said to be the ancient seat of King Midas: he saw the Charret that is so much spoken of, which is bound with the bark of a cornel tree, and it was told him for a truth, of the barbarous people, that they believed it as a prophecy: that whosoever could undo the band off that bark, was certainly ordained to be king of the world. It is commonly reported, that Alexander proving to undo that band, and finding no ends to undo it by, they were so many folds wreathed one within the other: he drew out his sword, and cut the knot in the middest. So that then many ends appeared. But Aristobulus writeth, that he had quickly undone the knot by taking the bolt out of the ax-tree, which holdeth the beam and body of the Charret, and so severed them asunder.