Alexander: The Ambiguity of Greatness
For nearly two and a half millennia, Alexander the Great has loomed over history as a legend–and an enigma. Wounded repeatedly but always triumphant in battle, he conquered most of the known world, only to die mysteriously at the age of thirty-two. In his day he was revered as a god; in our day he has been reviled as a mass murderer, a tyrant as brutal as Stalin or Hitler.
Who was the man behind the mask of power? Why did Alexander embark on an unprecedented program of global domination? What accounted for his astonishing success on the battlefield? In this luminous new biography, the esteemed classical scholar and historian Guy MacLean Rogers sifts through thousands of years of history and myth to uncover the truth about this complex, ambiguous genius.
Ascending to the throne of Macedonia after the assassination of his father, King Philip II, Alexander discovered while barely out of his teens that he had an extraordinary talent and a boundless appetite for military conquest. A virtuoso of violence, he was gifted with an uncanny ability to visualize how a battle would unfold, coupled with devastating decisiveness in the field. Granicus, Issos, Gaugamela, Hydaspes–as the victories mounted, Alexander’s passion for conquest expanded from cities to countries to continents. When Persia, the greatest empire of his day, fell before him, he marched at once on India, intending to add it to his holdings.
As Rogers shows, Alexander’s military prowess only heightened his exuberant sexuality. Though his taste for multiple partners, both male and female, was tolerated, Alexander’s relatively enlightened treatment of women was nothing short of revolutionary. He outlawed rape, he placed intelligent women in positions of authority, and he chose his wives from among the peoples he conquered. Indeed, as Rogers argues, Alexander’s fascination with Persian culture, customs, and sexual practices may have led to his downfall, perhaps even to his death.
Alexander emerges as a charismatic and surprisingly modern figure–neither a messiah nor a genocidal butcher but one of the most imaginative and daring military tacticians of all time. Balanced and authoritative, this brilliant portrait brings Alexander to life as a man, without diminishing the power of the legend.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - kukulaj - LibraryThing
I am no scholar of ancient history, so I can't comment too much on accuracy, completeness, etc. This was a decent introduction to the career of Alexander - it basically marches along with Alexander ... Read full review
The Blood of Heroes
The Assassination of Philip 11
CHAPTERS The SpearWon Prize of Asia
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Alexander Alexander's death allied Amyntas ancient Antipater archers Arrian Asia Minor assassination Athenaeus Athenian Athens attack Attalus Babylon Bactrian Badian battle of Gaugamela battle of Issos Bessus bodyguard Bosworth brought Bucephalas Callisthenes campaign captured Carmania Cleitus Coenus commanded Companion cavalry conquered conquest Craterus crossing Curtius Cyrus Darius der's died Diodorus donian Egypt elephants empire enemy father fighting fleet force friends Gaugamela Gedrosia gods governor Granicus Greece Greek cities Greek mercenaries guards Hammond Harpalus Hephaestion Herakles Herodotus historians honor horses Hydaspes Hyphasis Indian Indike Indus Infantry phalanx brigade javelin Justin killed Kuhrt later Macedon Macedonian Macedonian army Macedonian infantry Mallians marched military modern mounted murder Nearchus Olympias oracle Parmenio Pausanias Perdiccas perhaps Persepolis Persian cavalry Persian king Philip Philotas Plutarch Porus prostration Ptolemy river royal sacrifice satrap Scythians sent siege Sogdiana soldiers Spitamenes squadron story Strabo Susa tactical temple Thessalian troops victory wounded Zeus