Alexander the Great: The Unique History of Quintus Curtius

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02 Alexander the Great has remained a source of fascination since antiquity. The empire he created spanned the huge distance from Greece through the Middle East to India, at a time when defending such an enormous frontier was all but unheard of. The tools Alexander used with such success were a superb army, marvelous skills of organization, and his own charismatic personality. The literary tradition surrounding the Macedonian conqueror is similarly rich, contradictory, and complex, and was so right from Alexander's death in 323 b.c.e. Much of what we know of Alexander comes down to us in the history of Quintus Curtius, who wrote a history of Alexander from his own contemporary perspective. In her book, Elizabeth Baynham explores Curtius' historical style and his fascinating presentation of this legendary king.
In order to investigate what aspects of Alexander's person and reign interested ancient writers, and to understand what any ancient historian chose to preserve about Alexander, it is important to explore the historian's use of ancient sources and methods. Baynham's highly accessible work addresses all of these issues. She assumes that Curtius belonged to the first century c.e.--a very important period for historiographical writing aside from interest in Alexander-- and her discussion explores his literary heritage, the influence of his predecessors, and the importance of his style.
Most notably, the volume explores the results of grouping Curtius and other historians of Alexander without considering their literary style and contemporary political concerns, and it also demonstrates that Curtius' work was a carefully planned narrative. Curtius was not only interested in presenting Alexander as a savvy ruler and accomplished tactician, but also as a human subject to the whims of chance, of fortuna.
This volume is a solid contribution to studies of Alexander the Great as well as to Greek and Roman historiography. It will appeal to students of Alexander, but also to those with interests in Roman values and ancient literary composition.
Elizabeth Baynham is lecturer in Classics at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
Alexander the Great has remained a source of fascination since antiquity. The empire he created spanned the huge distance from Greece through the Middle East to India, at a time when defending such an enormous frontier was all but unheard of. The tools Alexander used with such success were a superb army, marvelous skills of organization, and his own charismatic personality. The literary tradition surrounding the Macedonian conqueror is similarly rich, contradictory, and complex, and was so right from Alexander's death in 323 b.c.e. Much of what we know of Alexander comes down to us in the history of Quintus Curtius, who wrote a history of Alexander from his own contemporary perspective. In her book, Elizabeth Baynham explores Curtius' historical style and his fascinating presentation of this legendary king.
In order to investigate what aspects of Alexander's person and reign interested ancient writers, and to understand what any ancient historian chose to preserve about Alexander, it is important to explore the historian's use of ancient sources and methods. Baynham's highly accessible work addresses all of these issues. She assumes that Curtius belonged to the first century c.e.--a very important period for historiographical writing aside from interest in Alexander-- and her discussion explores his literary heritage, the influence of his predecessors, and the importance of his style.
Most notably, the volume explores the results of grouping Curtius and other historians of Alexander without considering their literary style and contemporary political concerns, and it also demonstrates that Curtius' work was a carefully planned narrative. Curtius was not only interested in presenting Alexander as a savvy ruler and accomplished tactician, but also as a human subject to the whims of chance, of fortuna.
This volume is a solid contribution to studies of Alexander the Great as well as to Greek and Roman historiography. It will appeal to students of Alexander, but also to those with interests in Roman values and ancient literary composition.
Elizabeth Baynham is lecturer in Classics at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
 

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Contents

Roman Curtius
15
Quintus Curtius Sources
57
Fortuna
101
Date and Identity
201
Copyright

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