- Publisher: PENGUIN CLASSICS
- Format: Paperback | 432 pages
- Dimensions: 110mm x 180mm x 20mm | 318g
- Publication date: 28 October 1976
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0140442537
- ISBN 13: 9780140442533
- Edition statement: Revised ed.
- Illustrations note: maps, bibliog , index
- Sales rank: 15,889
Although written over four hundred years after Alexander's death, Arrian's account of the man and his achievements is the most reliable we have. Arrian's own experience as a military commander gave him unique insights into the life of the world's greatest conqueror. He tells of Alexander's violent suppression of the Theban rebellion, his defeat of Persia and campaigns through Egypt and Babylon - establishing new cities and destroying others in his path. While Alexander emerges as a charismatic leader, Arrian succeeds brilliantly in creating an objective portrait of a man of boundless ambition, who was exposed to the temptations of power.
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The details of Arrian's life (c.90AD] are uncertain, though the shape of it indicates a man of wide and varied talents. He was governor to the Emperor Hadrian, the author of a number of works of non-fiction and an Athenian citizen. In 145 he rose tobecome a chief magistrate of Athens and thereby part of the governing body of the city. His date of death is not known. De Selincourt was an acclaimed translator of ancient classics.
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Although written over four hundred years after Alexander's death, Arrian's 'Campaigns of Alexander' is our best source of knowledge of the man and his deeds. Arrain had himself been a military commander, and his record of the exploits of the world's greatest conqueror reveals sympathy for his subject, without the adulation or contempt which so often mar other histories of the time. Arrain's unaffected style of writing, with its matter-of-fact tone, offsets the remarkable career and paradoxical nature of Alexander, giving us a fair, clear report about a man who was worshipped as a god in his own lifetime.