By the Spear: Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire

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Oxford University Press, May 2, 2014 - History - 416 pages
Alexander the Great, arguably the most exciting figure from antiquity, waged war as a Homeric hero and lived as one, conquering native peoples and territories on a superhuman scale. From the time he invaded Asia in 334 to his death in 323, he expanded the Macedonian empire from Greece in the west to Asia Minor, the Levant, Egypt, Central Asia and "India" (Pakistan and Kashmir) in the east. Although many other kings and generals forged empires, Alexander produced one that was without parallel, even if it was short-lived. And yet, Alexander could not have achieved what he did without the accomplishments of his father, Philip II (r. 359-336). It was Philip who truly changed the course of Macedonian history, transforming a weak, disunited, and economically backward kingdom into a military powerhouse. A warrior king par excellence, Philip left Alexander with the greatest army in the Greek world, a centralized monarchy, economic prosperity, and a plan to invade Asia. For the first time, By the Spear offers an exhilarating military narrative of the reigns of these two larger-than-life figures in one volume. Ian Worthington gives full breadth to the careers of father and son, showing how Philip was the architect of the Macedonian empire, which reached its zenith under Alexander, only to disintegrate upon his death. By the Spear also explores the impact of Greek culture in the East, as Macedonian armies became avatars of social and cultural change in lands far removed from the traditional sphere of Greek influence. In addition, the book discusses the problems Alexander faced in dealing with a diverse subject population and the strategies he took to what might be called nation building, all of which shed light on contemporary events in culturally dissimilar regions of the world. The result is a gripping and unparalleled account of the role these kings played in creating a vast empire and the enduring legacy they left behind.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

In this survey account of the rise and fall of the Macedonian Empire under Philip II & Alexander the Great, Worthington sets himself the problem of considering who was the superior statesman. Was it ... Read full review

BY THE SPEAR: Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire

User Review  - Kirkus

Most histories extolling Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) pay modest attention to his father, Philip II (382-336 B.C.), but Worthington (History and Classical Studies/Univ. of Missouri; Demosthenes ... Read full review

Contents

The Architect and the Master Builder
1
1 GREECE AND MACEDONIA
7
2 PHILIP II AND THE RISE OF MACEDONIA
25
3 THE NEW PLAYER IN GREEK POLITICS
47
4 THE GATHERING WAR CLOUDS
67
5 THE DOWNFALL OF GREECE
81
6 PHILIPS ASSASSINATION AND LEGACY
103
7 ALEXANDERS EARLY KINGSHIPAND PERSIA
121
12 PASSAGE TO INDIA
231
13 RETREAT FROM INDIA
251
14 ALEXANDERS FINAL YEARS
273
15 DEATH IN BABYLON AND ALEXANDERS LEGACY
293
THE SOURCES OF INFORMATION
311
TIMELINE
321
CAST OF PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS
327
NOTES
335

8 FROM EUROPE TO ASIA
139
MASTER STRATEGIST AND EMERGING GOD
163
10 THE FALL OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE
185
11 THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN
209

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About the author (2014)

Ian Worthington is Curators' Professor of History and Adjunct Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Missouri. He is the author of numerous books about ancient Greece, including, most recently, Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece.

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