Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C: A Historical Biography

By Peter Green | Go to book overview

Preface to the 2012 Edition

The death of my dedicatee last year and the subsequent final publication of his Collected Papers on Alexander the Great offer a natural occasion for a review of the way this book has survived the relentless flood of Alexander scholarship since 1991. When, in deliberate and conscious imitation of T. S. Eliot, I appended the words il miglior fabbro to my dedication, the general reaction was that I clearly could have had no notion what Eliot in fact owed to Ezra Pound’s wholesale editing of The Waste Land. On the contrary: I knew every detail of it, knew too how patiently, and thoroughly, Ernst Badian had gone over so much of Alexander of Macedon’s first draft. This, obviously, would never have worked had I not previously found the articles in which Ernst set out his findings – and which had impelled me to contact him in the first place – both methodologically impeccable and historically more convincing than any other general thesis I had encountered during the course of my researches. Rereading those articles recently, some forty years after completing the final draft of my biography, and recognizing how much it owes to them, I found myself marveling at their remorseless logic, their bleak acknowledgment of the Hobbesian Realien governing human nature, their commonsensical parsing of every ancient testimony in context, with concession to ancient or modern prejudice only as a historical factor to be taken into account when formulating a judgment.

The political, familial, and personal motives ascribed to Alexander in this biography rest squarely on conclusions worked out with great care by Ernst in the course of a long academic career. The small degree to which, today, I feel like challenging those conclusions in any way is a tribute both to the thoroughness of Ernst’s examination of the evidence and to his grim awareness, learned the hard way, of what people are capable of

-xv-

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Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C: A Historical Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface to the 2012 Edition xv
  • Preface to the 1991 Reprint xxiii
  • Preface and Acknowledgements xxix
  • List of Maps and Battle Plans xxxiii
  • Key to Abbreviations xxxv
  • Table of Dates xlv
  • 1 - Philip of Macedon 1
  • 2 - The Gardens of Midas 35
  • 3 - From a View to a Death 66
  • 4 - The Keys of the Kingdom 111
  • 5 - The Captain-General 152
  • 6 - The Road to Issus 182
  • 7 - Intimations of Immortality 236
  • 8 - The Lord of Asia 297
  • 9 - The Quest for Ocean 350
  • 10 - How Many Miles to Babylon? 412
  • Appendix - Propaganda at the Granicus 489
  • Notes and References 513
  • Sources of Information 569
  • Genealogical Table 586
  • General Index 589
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