Alexander the Great: Historical Sources in Translation

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Waldemar Heckel, J. C. Yardley
Wiley, Jan 9, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 342 pages
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At his death in 323 BC, Alexander the Great ruled an empire stretching from the Balkans to India, yet the best accounts we have of his life were written hundreds of years after his death. This book presents new translations of the most important ancient writings on Alexander’s life and legacy.


Substantial extracts from Greek and Latin authors are arranged thematically and presented in such a way that the reader can compare different reports of the same events. They provide comprehensive coverage of Alexander, from his family background to his military conquests, death, and legacy. Accounts by historians are complemented by passages from geographers, biographers, and military writers.

Waldemar Heckel, one of the foremost Alexander scholars in the world, provides an introduction and commentary outlining Alexander’s career, and discussing the sources, both extant and lost. He also supplies a bibliography of the most significant modern works on Alexander. Visual evidence is included, and a map of Alexander’s expedition guides readers through the military campaigns.

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On his return to Hyrcania, the queen of the Amazons came to Alexander. Her name was Thallestris, and she ruled over the area between the Phasis and the Thermodon. She was possessed of exceptional beauty and physical strength, and was admired by her compatriots for her courage. Leaving most of her army on the boundaries of Hyrcania, Thallestris appeared before Alexander with 300 Amazons equipped with their weapons. |2| The king expressed surprise at her arrival, which was totally unexpected, , and at the dignified bearing of the women.(P.196) +++++The name "Hyrcania" is the name attested in Greek historiographic accounts. This Greek name is a calque of Old Persian Verkâna, as it is recorded in Darius the Great's Behistun Inscription, as well as in other inscriptions in Old Persian cuneiform. Verkā means "wolf" in Old Persian (New Persian gorg) and consequently, "Hyrcania" means the "Land of the Wolves". +++++There is an ancient story that Alexander was visited by the queen of the Amazons (who—if she actually existed at all—seems to have come from the Crimea). Alexander the Great: Journey to the End of the Earth - Page 59 

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About the author (2004)

Waldemar Heckel is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Calgary. He was a founding editor of the Ancient History Bulletin and is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Last Days and Testament of Alexander the Great (1988), The Marshals of Alexander's Empire (1992), and The Wars of Alexander the Great (2002).

J. C. Yardley is Professor of Classics at the University of Ottawa and a past President of the Classical Association of Canada. His publications include translations of Quintus Curtius' History of Alexander, Livy 31–40, and Justin's Epitome of Trogus. His latest work is Justin and Pompeius Trogus (2003).

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