Alexander: Destiny and Myth

Alexander: Destiny and Myth

Hardback

By (author) Claude Mossé, Translated by Janet Lloyd

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  • Publisher: JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 245mm x 20mm | 490g
  • Publication date: 11 March 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Baltimore, MD
  • ISBN 10: 0801879957
  • ISBN 13: 9780801879951
  • Illustrations note: maps

Product description

Few figures from history have aroused as much admiration as Alexander the Great, the Macedonian king who, between 334 and 323 B.C., conquered the immense Persian Empire, led his army as far as India, and transformed the known world. Even in antiquity, he was an almost mythical hero, and over the centuries he has been remembered as the paragon of martial brilliance. But for the historian, Alexander presents both a tantalizing subject and a formidable challenge. For all his achievements, there is very little direct evidence of his existence - a few inscriptions, some coins and portraits, and allusions to him in speeches of the day - and the oldest surviving accounts of his life were written three or more centuries after his death. In Alexander: Destiny and Myth, distinguished historian Claude Mosse rigorously and imaginatively draws on a vast array of sources to create an indelible portrait of Alexander as conqueror, man, and legend. Carefully navigating between fact and fable, Mosse offers a compelling new assessment of Alexander and his legacy in five concise sections. From his ascension to the throne of Macedon in 336 B.C. to his premature death at age 32, Mosse first reconstructs the major stages of Alexander's reign. She next explores the perception of Alexander - as a ruler and even a god - among the diverse peoples he governed, paying special attention to the cities he founded. Mosse then turns to the elusive question of Alexander's character, offering provocative insights on this millennia-old debate. The book's final two parts concern Alexander's legacy, both immediate - the fate of his empire and the limits of his accomplishments - and far reaching - the idea of Alexander as a mythical hero from antiquity to the present by way of ancient, medieval, early modern, and twentieth-century words and images. At once sweeping, succinct, and spellbinding, Alexander: Destiny and Myth is a strikingly fresh account of the man who continues to intrigue and excite the historical imagination twenty-five hundred years after his death.

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Author information

Claude Mosse is Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris VIII and one of the world's leading historians of ancient Greece, having written more than twenty books on the subject. Paul Cartledge is a professor of Greek History, chairman of the Faculty of Classics, and a fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Among his many books are The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization and Spartan Reflections.

Review quote

"Dying before he ever had a chance to govern, Alexander the Great has remained elusive, the legends surrounding him at the time of his death continuing to obscure his story. Historian Claude Mosse well recognizes the perils in portraying such a hero. Circumventing this obstacle, she perceives from the outset the complexity of his character... With precision, she dismantles useless stereotypes and illusions." - Maurice Sartre, Le Monde"