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Author Topic: Book suggestion for Ancients?  (Read 822 times)

Offline jetengine

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Book suggestion for Ancients?
« on: April 15, 2021, 07:22:44 PM »
I want to learn a bit more about Alexander-the-reasonably-decent and the Macadonians. He was a big deal for history as were the people he led. I've little doubt there's a ton of literature so I'd like some help in figuring out what to read.

What I'm looking for...

1. Not dry, something personable
2. All encompassing Alexanders life. If it requires two books (one on Macedonia, the other on Alexander) then so be it.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


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Re: Book suggestion for Ancients?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2021, 07:53:52 PM »
My initial recommendation would be Peter Greenís Alexander of Macedon. While not reflecting the latest research it is comprehensive - more so, as one would expect from a biography, on Alexander himself than on Macedon and the Macedonian army - and highly readable. Robin Lane Foxís biography Alexander the Great is of similar vintage but still well regarded. There is a more recent work I would consider worthy of attention by Paul Cartledge, Alexander the Great: The Truth Behind the Myth.

An interesting view of Alexanderís generalship can be found in a book by Barry S. Strauss called Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal,  Caesar and the Genius of Leadership. Itís a comparative study of Alexander, Hannibal and Caesar, essentially as strategists. (Spoiler: Alexander doesnít come out on top).

Iím sure others will suggest books with the background information on Macedon that you require, as well as other biographies and studies of Alexanderís generalship and personality. I know, for example, that one fairly recent work focuses on his (supposed) alcoholism; I imagine this would be a little too specialised as a starting point.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 08:17:18 PM by Andrew_McGuire »

Offline zemjw

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Re: Book suggestion for Ancients?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2021, 08:02:49 PM »
It you're looking for something to listen to while painting, there are a couple of Alexander related courses from The Great Courses.

Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire
Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age

Both on sale and pretty cheap at the moment

Offline rct75001

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Re: Book suggestion for Ancients?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2021, 08:13:12 AM »
I've just finished this one by Adrian Goldsworthy - enjoyed each of his books that I have read.



And she said to me "You haven't bought more little men have you ?"

Offline Emir of Askaristan

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Re: Book suggestion for Ancients?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2021, 10:14:00 AM »
Id start with Arrian's History, to get the ancient "feel" and then a modern account.

Fox is good and well written and is still on my bookshelf. I've not read Goldsworthy, but imagine he would be be another excellent choice.

For background I'd also pick up a copy of In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great by Michael Wood, the companion book to a BBC TV series which followed Alexander's route from Macedon to India and back to Babylon. Better still find it online and watch it.

Once you've got these under your belt you can go for a deeper dive into the more technical books on the Macedonian army and the successors.

Offline miros

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Re: Book suggestion for Ancients?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2021, 03:38:29 PM »
I second the recommendations for Peter Green and Adrian Goldsworthy.

Offline Sir_Theo

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Re: Book suggestion for Ancients?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2021, 04:19:25 PM »
I can only second all these recommendations.

I remember reading Robin Lane Fox and Peter Greens books during my undergraduate Classics degree (admittedly 20 years ago). I haven't read the Goldsworthy book but I have read some of his Roman books (and his fiction!) and he's a very knowledgeable author, very readable as well.

The Michael Wood programme, and accompanying book is a great starting point as well.

Offline armchairgeneral

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Re: Book suggestion for Ancients?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2021, 06:54:49 AM »
I would recommend God of War by Christian Cameron for an excellent novelised account.

Offline SJWi

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Re: Book suggestion for Ancients?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2021, 10:54:09 AM »
Goldsworthy gets my vote as well especially given that it covers Philip of Macedon as well. Would complement some of the more Alexander-centric books.

Offline mc_deli

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Re: Book suggestion for Ancients?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2021, 09:37:27 PM »
If you want much less dry, then:

The Persian Boy by Mary Renault

You're welcome :)

Offline Moriarty

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Re: Book suggestion for Ancients?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2021, 07:15:02 PM »
Phil Barker did one - 'Alexander the Greats Campaigns'.


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