Alexander the Great: The Invisible Enemy: A Biography

Alexander the Great: The Invisible Enemy: A Biography

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By (author) John Maxwell O'Brien

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  • Publisher: ROUTLEDGE
  • Format: Paperback | 360 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 233mm x 27mm | 635g
  • Publication date: 1 November 1994
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0415106176
  • ISBN 13: 9780415106177
  • Edition statement: Revised ed.
  • Illustrations note: 7 maps, 1 table
  • Sales rank: 635,927

Product description

Despite Alexander the Great's unprecedented accomplishments, during the last seven years of his life, this indomitable warrior became increasingly unpredictable, sporadically violent, megalomaniacal, and suspicious of friends as well as enemies. What could have caused such a lamentable transformation? This biography seeks to answer that question by assessing the role of alcohol in Alexander the Great's life, using the figure of Dionysus as a symbol of its destructive effects on his psyche. The unique methodology employed in this book explores various aspects of Alexander's life while maintaining an historical framework. The exposition of the main theme is handled in such a way that the biography will appeal to general readers as well as scholars.

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Review quote

"Alexander's story is compelling to lay audiences and scholars alike, with the pathos of an authentic Aristotelian tragedy. O'Brien writes with understanding and empathy, yet with resolute acceptance of the evidence."-"Minneapolis Star Tribune "Since the author maintains a consistent position of respectful belief in Greek mythology, as well as an immense knowledge of ancient Greek literature and history, we have a book that could indeed have been written 2,000 years ago. You don't often get a chance to read a book like this."-"The St. Louis Dispatch "This is a most interesting and valuable biography, not least because it provides such an extensive "Materialsammlung on Alexander as a human being."-Ernst A. Fredricksmeyer, University of Colorado "Suitable for a modern age . . . fair and balanced . . . The bibliography is the most complete ever assembled on modern Alexander scholarship and will prove useful to students and scholars alike."-"Choice "What happened to Alexander? O'Brien's answer is mesmerizing . . . he brings to the tale a sense of fatalism that Euripides would understand."-Paul A. Gilster, "The News and Observer

Back cover copy

This carefully balanced and beautifully written biography reveals the role of alcohol in Alexander's life, using Dionysus as a symbol of its destructive effects on his psyche.

Table of contents

Chapter I: The Coming of Age in Macedonia; Dionysus in the Royal Tombs; Macedonian Drinking; Philip and Alexander; Olympias and Alexander; the Dionysiac Cult in Macedonia; Olympias, Philip and Alexander; The Gardens of Midas, Heroic Models; Regent; The Battle of Chaeronea; Athens (338 B.C.); The Wedding of Philip II and CLeopatra; The Pixodarus Affair; The Assassination of Philip II Chapter II: A Homeric King; The Accession (336 B.C.); Alexander in Greece; Northern Campaigns; The Destruction of Thebes; Dium; Alexander's Sexuality; Alexander at the Hellespont; The Battle of the Granicus River; Asia Minor; The Gordian Knot; The Battle of Issus; Phoenicia; The Siege of Tyre; Egypt; Alexandria; The Journey to Siwah; The Battle of Gaugamela; Babylon and Susa Chapter III The Metamorphosis; The Signs of Change; The Burning of Persepolis: Orientalization; The Philotas Affair; The Death of Cleitus; Proskynesis; Callisthenes; The Pages' Conspiracy; Nysa and Aornus :Chapter IV: The Ambivalent Victor; Into India (326 B.C.); The Battle of the Hydaspes (Jhelum) River; "Mutiny" at the Hyphasis (Beas) River; Ocean; The Gedrosian Desert; Carmania; Persis; Cyrus's Tomb; Susa; Deification; The Opis "Mutiny"; The Death of Hephaestiion; Chapter V Death in Babylon; The Last Plans; The Death of Alexander Epilogue; Appendix A: The Royal Tombs; Appendix B: Attributes of Wine in the Readings of Alexander the Great; Postscript; Key to Abbreviations; Notes; Bibliography; Index