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Recommend, or otherwise, books on Alexander (fiction or non-fiction). Promote your novel here!

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Paralus
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Post by Paralus »

India would be the testing material I would agree.

I do not have Lane Fox's book at the office (I don't have any actually) but, if memory serves, he glosses the massacre of Musicanus, the Brahmin and the rebels as well. Arrian appears to lose interest in the many and varied Indian campaigns, stopping to briefly note the hanging of Musicanus and the Brahmin who had incited rebellion.

The vulgate treats this more as a concerted campaign of reduction - Musicanus being a part of the whole. It then asserts some 80,000 killed. My recollection is that Lane Fox ties this figure to Musicanus only and dismisses it with the observation that it comes from the most exaggerated histories, or some such. As I say, I don't have the book to hand and in any case, the figures, even if halved likely represent a whole campaign and are large.

I do, though, recall him suggesting that this Indian revolt was a "holy war". A wholly modern term that, I would think, bears little relevance to the time but which allows for a multitude of "understandable" reprisals.

This was as much a "holy war" as was Philip's during the Sacred War of the 350's which ended with the Macedonians massacring some 3,000 mercenaries for "violation of the Temple".
Last edited by Paralus on Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Semiramis
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Post by Semiramis »

Hi,

On the subject of Alexander's conquest of Central and South Asia -

Has anyone read 'Alexander and the East - the Tragedy of Triumph' by Bosworth? It looks like a very interesting study. Bosworth only focuses on the period between 329 and 325, allowing him to go into a lot of detail the other biographies would have to omit. I would add it to Karen's list of specialist books. :)

As for the rest of the books on that list (that I've read) -

Absolutely loved Micheal Wood's TV series (the book was too compressed). It was nice to see him tie in Alexander's times with ours. Really gives the viewer an idea about the vast expanse of territory Alexander conquered and his legacy up until the modern day. From memory, he mentions a lot of interesting local myths and legends concerning Alexander as well. It was nice to get the point of view of someone who's not an academic.

Carney's Women and Monarchy in Macedonia is essential in understanding many of Alexander's actions. It gives a good overview of just how Macedonian monarchy worked, bringing across the competitive and brutal nature of the system. The rivalry between he and Philip, his relationship with Olympias, Olympias' role in Alexander's career, Alexander's "paranoia" regarding his life and throne etc... It also does a great job in investigating some of the biases of historians (both ancient and modern) regarding women's role in royal rule.

Heckel's very thorough and great with details. I find him more useful to use as an encyclopedia to look people up, rather than someone to settle down with to read like a novel. :)
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Paralus
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Post by Paralus »

Heckel's Marshals is indispensable.

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Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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athenas owl
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Post by athenas owl »

India...Fox. I won't say he doesn't it gloss over, but I got the impression Alexander was a slaughtering left and right from Fox's book on his way to the mouth of the Indus. I wish he had spent more time on India, but then I wish he had spent more time on a lot of subjects. He crammed a lot in one book. Looking back, now that I am 50, I am still in awe that he wrote it at 26/27. My hugest complaint of the book is the way the notes are done...

The Brahmins were instigating, whether from a reiligious standpoint or as the recently(ish) preeminent caste (having struggled with the Kshatriya caste for who actually should lead ...something that reminds me very much of the struggle in early and medieval Europe between the Pope and the Kings, Gregory VII and the German Emperor Heinrich IV in the 11th century for example.

So I suppose that calling it a "holy war" is an anachronism, priestly(papal) power isn't always for the good and..holy. Though every priest will tell you it is. :)

Heckel's books...yes, and Carney...for a who's who...a must. Good maps, I mean good, especially for Central Asia and India (ones that show the old riverbed of the Indus and the much smaller delta) are very helpful, for me anyway. Did the Oxus once empty into the Caspian..how does the changed geology shape our own judgements or conclusions?

My fantasy book is a big columned book with the Western sources AND any Eastern ones, even from sagas and legends, all laid across the page in some kind of chronoligical order. With archaeological discoveries, too. And maps. Maybe Dr. Pal could help me there. I don't know that I buy that Palitbothra was in eastern Iran, but he certainly has a very good point about how reliant we are on old ideas (his Jonesian ideaology). Wouldn't that be something to tip us all on our ears if he was right.

:D

I haven't even finished my coffee, for give for the incoherent posting.
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Paralus
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Post by Paralus »

athenas owl wrote:....now that I am 50, I am still in awe ...
As well you bloody well should be! Welcome to the Argyraspids!

I sit here atempting to get a piece correct to the dulcet tones of Noddy Holder and Slade
athenas owl wrote:My fantasy book is a big columned book with the Western sources AND any Eastern ones, even from sagas and legends, all laid across the page in some kind of chronoligical order. With archaeological discoveries, too. And maps.
Read this by Pierre Briant; your dreams fulfilled; my not quite Helleno-centric views explained.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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athenas owl
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Post by athenas owl »

Paralus wrote:
athenas owl wrote:....now that I am 50, I am still in awe ...
As well you bloody well should be! Welcome to the Argyraspids!

I sit here atempting to get a piece correct to the dulcet tones of Noddy Holder and Slade
athenas owl wrote:My fantasy book is a big columned book with the Western sources AND any Eastern ones, even from sagas and legends, all laid across the page in some kind of chronoligical order. With archaeological discoveries, too. And maps.
Read this by Pierre Briant; your dreams fulfilled; my not quite Helleno-centric views explained.
:lol: I like that! Though there is no silver showing yet.

Do you or anyone have a rec for a good INDIAN history of the period? I've been focusing on the geology of the area for the period in that region. What a volatile area in terms of physical changes to the landscape. I do wonder how much that has coloured our modern perceptions or conclusions, the "bones" of the landscape as it was then, and the climate (was there a tsunami in October 325 that delayed the fleet? Certainly possible in that very tectonically active area) because it may have been very different. Not saying it really has, but it might. My access to a decent library is limited by hours of driving (and convincing my alma mater that I should be allowed to use the library...).

I have had that book by Briant on my wish list for sometime... :( A new auxillary engine for the boat really cut into my fun fund. :cry:

I do need to add, in refernce to the Briant book, it was published before the Treasury and Fortification texts were found, right? Does that impact it's relevance any?

And I, for one, have never seen the Persians as decadent. On the other hand, while burning Persepolis was not very "nice", neither was burning down Athens ( and yes, the Greeks burned Sardis...and on and on). Though we did get the Parthenon out of the dealio. Not that I buy the "avenging the Greeks" meme the Macedonians were trumpeting, but I do always find that particular "outrage" held against Alexander a bit one-sided.

The irony is that because ATG burned the palaces down, they exist in a much better form today than Susa or Babylon. Though I'm sure that didn't even remotely cross the minds of the inhabitants then. Here, I have another question. Was Persepolis still the satrapal capitol of Peucestas? If it was destroyed altogether, where was his own seat of government? Does anyone know?

One thing that Dr. Pal mentioned that I'd like to know more about was the possible potlical/religious undercurrent of Buddhism vs. Brahmanistic Hinduism as it related to Alexander in India and the opposition or the true lack of as he slugged his way through it.
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Post by amyntoros »

Paralus wrote:Read this by Pierre Briant; your dreams fulfilled; my not quite Helleno-centric views explained.
Ooh, I put in an Interlibrary loan request for Briant's From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire only yesterday! (Richard Stoneman refers to it quite often in his Alexander biography which I just finished reading.) Athenas Owl - an Interlibrary loan is a great way to get one's hands on those expensive books. Unfortunately, they can only be kept for a week; two at the most - a bit of a problem with Briant's book. I see Amazon has it listed as having 1,196 pages!

Best regards,
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athenas owl
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Post by athenas owl »

amyntoros wrote:
Paralus wrote:Read this by Pierre Briant; your dreams fulfilled; my not quite Helleno-centric views explained.
Ooh, I put in an Interlibrary loan request for Briant's From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire only yesterday! (Richard Stoneman refers to it quite often in his Alexander biography which I just finished reading.) Athenas Owl - an Interlibrary loan is a great way to get one's hands on those expensive books. Unfortunately, they can only be kept for a week; two at the most - a bit of a problem with Briant's book. I see Amazon has it listed as having 1,196 pages!

Best regards,
Sadly, I've tried that. My very rural country has an agreement with another very rural county and that's it.

And as you pointed out, it's nearly 1200 pages...that's a book I want to read in my own due time. I don't think a week or even two could do it justice.
Bobg

Post by Bobg »

I would say that the book or books that would best describe ATG are either destroyed or lie in a private collection as fragments or otherwise. It was said that a record was kept of all day-to-day business and activities. I was shocked to learn that only a small percentage of known documents of ancient times are in public holdings. The remainder are in private hands purchased as an investment or other reasons. I see no problem with having an ancient document, but the knowledge contained within should be available for all to read and debate. Sorry to get side-tracked.
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Paralus
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Post by Paralus »

athenas owl wrote:I like that! Though there is no silver showing yet..
Yes I too thought of Grecian 2000. Not to be outdone, my hair simply fell out. I figured it best to simply join the Silver Shields gracelessly.

Quantities of black beer seem not to have had any colouring effect either. Hasn't stopped me trying to prove the theory for well over thirty years.

In any ase, one Ronald Reagan was quite enough for the world....
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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athenas owl
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Post by athenas owl »

Paralus wrote:
athenas owl wrote:I like that! Though there is no silver showing yet..
Yes I too thought of Grecian 2000. Not to be outdone, my hair simply fell out. I figured it best to simply join the Silver Shields gracelessly.

Quantities of black beer seem not to have had any colouring effect either. Hasn't stopped me trying to prove the theory for well over thirty years.

In any ase, one Ronald Reagan was quite enough for the world....
Sir! A lady does not use Grecian formula. I just haven't had any silver to speak of, yet. I think went it comes, it will come in all at once. I certainly hope that I don't experience hair falling out. It doesn't work for women I think. There is a certain masculinity to baldness , despite what the Hair Club For Men will tell you.

I'll probably become a Pythia, after all, my husband often says, "Don't you get tired of always being right?"..though come to think of it, that's been more like Cassandra. :lol:
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Paralus
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Post by Paralus »

Hehehehe.

I too might become a Pythia or Pithia (written with a lisp) this afternoon. The tavern and decent food and wine beckon.

There is little chance of my wife aknowleging my infallibilty in any way shape or form....
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Post by marcus »

Paralus wrote:Heckel's Marshals is indispensable.

Paralus' opinion only
And mine!

As, too, is Heckel's Who's Who ...

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Post by athenas owl »

Has anyone read Women In Ancient Persia, 559-331 B.C. by Maria Brosius?

I'm thinking of buying this but would welcome opinions first. Thanks. :D
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Post by Theseus »

I have yet to read Bosworth's book. I have read a couple of books by Plutarch and am now reading Arrian's book I-IV . I did read one by Alan Fildes and Joann Fletcher. I'm the type of person that when I get into something I need to research every aspect of it, so I have about 10 more books on Alexander that I haven't opened the pages of yet. I'm enjoying learning about the way life was lived back in Alexander's time. To know what things were like before, during and after are very interesting. Alexander changed the world, that's for sure. I recently got a copy of Alexander of Mecedon by Peter Green and am anxious to read that when I get finished with Arrian's V-VII. I think through reading the different views of Alexander by so many authors, you can get a sense of what was true and what wasn't. I do wish there was more written about Hephaestion. I did find a site by Jeanne Rheemes that has the most information I can find on him.
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