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Alexander the Great in his World

ISBN: 978-1-4051-7828-0
304 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
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Alexander the Great is one of the most celebrated figures of antiquity. In this book, Carol G. Thomas places this powerful figure within the context of his time, place, culture, and ancestry in order to discover what influences shaped his life and career.

The book begins with an exploration of the Macedonia that conditioned the lives of its inhabitants. It also traces such influences on Alexander’s life as his royal Argead ancestry, his father, Philip II, and his mother, Olympias. The author examines Alexander’s engagement with Greek culture, especially his relationship with Aristotle, and contemplates how other societal factors – especially the highly militarized Macedonian kingdom and the nature of Macedonia’s relationship with neighboring states – contributed to his achievement.

What was the significance of these influences on the man who succeeded in conquering most of the known world from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River? The author focuses on this question in exploring ancient landscapes and resurrecting key figures from antiquity in order to penetrate the motivation, goals, and inner being of Alexander the Great.

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List of Figures.

List of Maps.

Preface.

Introduction.

1. Basic Facts, Generally Uncontested, of Alexander’s Life.

2. Being Macedonian.

3. Being an Argead.

4. Being a Neighbor of Greece.

5. Surviving by Might.

6. Meeting the Distant Threat.

7. Reconstructing Alexander.

Bibliography.

Index.

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Carol G. Thomas is Professor of Greek History at the University of Washington. She is the author of many books on Ancient Greece including The Trojan War (2005), Finding People in Early Greece (2005), and Earliest Civilizations: Ancient Greece and the Near East, 3000-200BC (1982).
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  • A dynamic portrait of one of antiquity's most important figures.
  • Places Alexander the Great within the context of his time, place, culture, and ancestry in order to discover what influences shaped his life and career.
  • Seeks to define the motivation, goals, and inner being of Alexander through the influences on him from his birth to death.
  • Examines how Alexander's father, King Philip II, and mother, Olympias, affected his development.
  • Considers how Alexander's engagement with Greek culture, especially his relationship with Aristotle, contributed to his achievements.
  • Asks whether it was Alexander's influences or his departure from them that distinguished him.
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"Every generation, and virtually every scholar has given the world a different Alexander - each one the product of the writer's time and cultural conditioning. This book places Alexander squarely in the only meaningful context, his own geographical and mental world." Waldemar Heckel, University of Calgary<!--end-->

“Would serve well as one of several works offered to an undergraduate class … The work is well written and clearly presented.”
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Will provide a basic introduction to her subject which some teachers and students may find helpful." Journal of Classics Teaching

“An engaging and persuasive book, which offers a new perspective … .It will maintain the interest of specialists … yet remain accessible to the general reader.” Canadian Journal of History

"Every generation, and virtually every scholar has given the world a different Alexander - each one the product of the writer's time and cultural conditioning. This book places Alexander squarely in the only meaningful context, his own geographical and mental world."
Waldemar Heckel, University of Calgary

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