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Alexander on the Printed Page November 15, 2004

ARCHAEOLOGY asked professor Eugene N. Borza to recommend the best and most accessible biographies and histories of Alexander, background volumes on Macedonia, and editions of the ancient authors. Here's his "must read" list:

Alexander

Peter Green. Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C. A Historical Biography. University of California Press, paperback edition 1992. First published as a Pelican Biography in 1974, this is the most comprehensive English-language account of Alexander, written by an eminent scholar and masterful writer.

A. B. Bosworth. Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great. Cambridge University Press, paperback edition, 1988. A study of politics, warfare, and diplomacy written by probably the most authoritative scholar currently working on Alexander, and the leading proponent of the "realist" (as opposed to "romantic") interpretation of Alexander.

Paul Cartlege. Alexander the Great. The Hunt for a New Past. Overlook Press, 2004. A topical, rather than strictly chronological, approach to Alexander's career, marked by a number of interesting ideas and taking advantage of the most recent scholarship on Alexander. A good read.

J. F. C. Fuller. The Generalship of Alexander the Great. Da Capo Press, paperback edition, 1989. The classic account of Alexander's military campaigns, originally written in 1960 by a famous British general and military historian, and never really supplanted.

Nicholas Sekunda. The Army of Alexander the Great, 1984. Nicholas Sekunda and John Warry, Alexander the Great: His Armies and Campaigns, 334-323 B.C., 1998. Well illustrated with maps and diagrams, both books are in the well-regarded Osprey military history series, published in paperback editions.

Macedonia

Eugene N. Borza. In the Shadow of Olympus. The Emergence of Macedon. Princeton University Press, paperback edition, 1992. A historical and archaeological account of the rise of the Macedonians down to the death of Philip II and the succession to the kingship by Alexander.

Eugene N. Borza. Before Alexander: Constructing Early Macedonia. Publications of the Association of Ancient Historians 6. Regina Press, paperback edition, 1999. An account of recent scholarship, including archaeology, of the Macedonian kingdom before the reign of Alexander.

Elizabeth D. Carney. Women and Monarchy in Macedonia. University of Oklahoma Press, 2000. The most comprehensive study of the women associated with the ancient Macedonians, this useful work is essential for an understanding of Alexander's relationship with his mother and with the women he married during his campaigns.

Ancient sources

Of the five surviving major ancient sources on Alexander's career, English-language translations of Arrian, Plutarch, and Quintus Curtius Rufus are widely available in Penguin Classics paperbacks. Justin is available in a paperback translation (Books 7-12 cover the reigns of Philip and Alexander) by J. C. Yardley, with notes by R. Develin; see Justin. Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus. American Philological Association/Scholars Press, 1994. The only translation of Diodorus Siculus covering the latter part of Philip's career and the whole of Alexander's campaigns is in the Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1963.

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© 2004 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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