Plutarch's parallel biographies of the great men in Greek and Roman history are cornerstones of European literature, drawn on by writers and statesmen since the Renaissance, most notably by Shakespeare. This selection provides intimate glimpses into the lives of these men, depicting, as he put it, 'those actions which illuminate the workings of the soul'. We learn why the mild Artaxerxes forced the killer of his usurping brother to undergo the horrific 'death of two boats'; why the noble Dion repeatedly risked his life for the ungrateful mobs of Syracuse; why Demosthenes delivered a funeral oration for the soldiers he had deserted in battle; and why Alexander, the most enigmatic of tyrants, self-destructed after conquering half the world.
The biographies collected in this volume bring together Plutarch's Lives of those great men who established the city of Rome and consolidated its supremacy, and his Comparisons with their notable Greek counterparts. Here he pairs Romulus, mythical founder of Rome, with Theseus, who brought Athens to power, and compares the admirable Numa and Lycurgus for bringing order to their communities, while Titus Flamininus and Philopoemen are portrayed as champions of freedom. As well as providing an illuminating picture of the first century AD, Plutarch depicts complex and nuanced heroes who display the essential virtues of Greek civilization - courage, patriotism, justice, intelligence and reason - that contributed to the rise of Rome. These new and revised translations by W. Jeffrey Tatum and Ian Scott-Kilvert capture Plutarch's elegant prose and narrative flair. This edition also includes a general introduction, individual introductions to each of the Lives and Comparisons, further reading and notes. The Rise of Rome is the penultimate title in Penguin Classics' complete revised Plutarch in six volumes. Other titles include Rome In Crisis, On Sparta, Fall of the Roman Republic, The Age of Alexander and The Rise and Fall of Athens (forthcoming 2014).
Mystery surrounds the parentage of Alexander, the prince born to Queen Olympias. Is his father Philip, King of Macedonia, or Nectanebo, the mysterious sorcerer who seduced the queen by trickery? One thing is certain: the boy is destined to conquer the known world. He grows up to fulfil this prophecy, building a mighty empire that spans from Greece and Italy to Africa and Asia. Begun soon after the real Alexander’s death and expanded in the centuries that followed, The Greek Alexander Myth depicts the life and adventures of one of history’s greatest heroes - taming the horse Bucephalus, meeting the Amazons and his quest to defeat the King of Persia. Including such elements of fantasy as Alexander’s ascent to heaven borne by eagles, this literary masterpiece brilliantly evokes a lost age of heroism.
Bringing together nine biographies from Plutarch's Parallel Lives series, this edition examines the lives of major figures in Roman history, from Lucullus (118-57 BC), an aristocratic politician and conqueror of Eastern kingdoms, to Otho (32-69 AD), a reckless young noble who consorted with the tyrannical, debauched emperor Nero before briefly becoming a dignified and gracious emperor himself. Ian Scott-Kilvert's and Christopher Pelling's translations are accompanied by a new introduction, and also includes a separate introduction for each biography, comparative essays of the major figures, suggested further reading, notes and maps.
While we know a great deal about naval strategies in the classical Greek and later Roman periods, our understanding of the period in between--the Hellenistic Age--has never been as complete. However, thanks to new physical evidence discovered in the past half-century and the construction of Olympias, a full-scale working model of an Athenian trieres (trireme) by the Hellenic Navy during the 1980s, we now have new insights into the evolution of naval warfare following the death of Alexander the Great. In what has been described as an ancient naval arms race, the successors of Alexander produced the largest warships of antiquity, some as long as 400 feet carrying as many as 4000 rowers and 3000 marines. Vast, impressive, and elaborate, these warships "of larger form"--as described by Livy--were built not just to simply convey power but to secure specific strategic objectives. When these particular factors disappeared, this "Macedonian" model of naval power also faded away--that is, until Cleopatra and Mark Antony made one brief, extravagant attempt to reestablish it, an endeavor Octavian put an end to once and for all at the battle of Actium. Representing the fruits of more than thirty years of research, The Age of Titans provides the most vibrant account to date of Hellenistic naval warfare.
This exciting new edition is an indispensable guide for undergraduates to the study of Alexander the Great, showing the problems of the ancient source material, and making it clear that there is no single approach to be taken. The twelve thematic chapters contain a broad selection of the most significant published articles about Alexander, examining the main areas of debate and discussion: The Sources Alexander’s Influences and the Macedonian Background Alexander’s Aims Alexander’s Battles and Generalship Alexander and the Greeks Alexander and the Persian Empire Alexander, India and the Gedrosian Desert From Mass Marriage to Death Alexander and the ‘Unity of Mankind’ Alexander and Deification Alexander and Conspiracies Alexander: The ‘Great’? The Reader has the distinctive feature of translating a substantial number of the more inaccessible primary sources; each chapter is also prefaced with a succinct introduction to the topic under consideration.
Alexander the Great became king of Macedon in 336 BC, when he was only 20 years old, and died at the age of 32, twelve years later. During his reign he conquered the Achaemenid Persian Empire, the largest empire that had ever existed, leading his army from Greece to Pakistan, and from the Libyan desert to the steppes of Central Asia. His meteoric career, as leader of an alliance of Greek cities, Pharaoh of Egypt, and King of Persia, had a profound effect on the world he moved through. Even in his lifetime his achievements became legendary and in the centuries that following his story was told and retold throughout Europe and the East. Greek became the language of power in the Eastern Mediterranean and much of the Near East, as powerful Macedonian dynasts carved up Alexander's empire into kingdoms of their own, underlaying the flourishing Hellenistic civilization that emerged after his death. But what do we really know about Alexander? In this Very Short Introduction, Hugh Bowden goes behind the usual historical accounts of Alexander's life and career. Instead, he focuses on the evidence from Alexander's own time — letters from officials in Afghanistan, Babylonian diaries, records from Egyptian temples — to try and understand how Alexander appeared to those who encountered him. In doing so he also demonstrates the profound influence the legends of his life have had on our historical understanding and the controversy they continue to generate worldwide. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire
Author: Ian Worthington
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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.
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. From the Hardcover edition.