Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire

Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire

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By (author) Robin Waterfield

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 136mm x 215mm x 24mm | 392g
  • Publication date: 2 August 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199647003
  • ISBN 13: 9780199647002
  • Illustrations note: 16 black & white plates, 10 maps
  • Sales rank: 249,788

Product description

This is the story of one of the great forgotten wars of history - which led to the division of one of the biggest empires the world has ever seen. Alexander the Great built up his huge empire in little more than a decade, stretching from Greece in the West, via Egypt, Syria, Babylonia, and Persia through to the Indian sub-continent in the East. After his death in 323 BC, it took forty years of world-changing warfare for his heirs to finish carving up these vast conquests. These years were filled with high adventure, intrigue, passion, assassinations, dynastic marriages, treachery, shifting alliances, and mass slaughter on battlefield after battlefield. And while the men fought on the field, the women schemed from their palaces and pavilions. Dividing the Spoils revives the memory of Alexander's Successors, whose fame has been dimmed only because they stand in his enormous shadow. In fact, Alexander left things in a mess at the time of his death, with no guaranteed succession, no administration in place suitable for such an enormous realm, and huge untamed areas both bordering and within his 'empire'. The Successors consolidated the Conqueror's gains. Their competing ambitions, however, meant that consolidation inevitably led to the break-up of the empire. Astonishingly, this period of brutal, cynical warfare was also characterized by brilliant cultural developments, especially in the fields of philosophy, literature, and art. As well as an account of the military action, this is also the story of an amazing cultural flowering. In some senses, a new world emerged from the dust and haze of battle - the world of Hellenistic Greece. A surprising amount of the history of many countries, from Greece to Afghanistan, began in the hearts and minds of the Successors of Alexander the Great. As this book demonstrates, their stories deserve to be better known.

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Author information

Robin Waterfield was formerly a university lecturer at the universities of Newcastle and St Andrews, before becoming a commissioning editor at Penguin Books. A freelance writer and translator since the early 1980s, he has published numerous translations of the Greek classics for both the Oxford World's Classics and Penguin Classics. He now lives in the far south of Greece on a small olive farm.

Review quote

He provides us with a brilliant work of history and humanity, facts within cautionary tales. John Shosky, The European Legacy Review from previous edition Robin Waterfield has produced an excellent introduction...He conveys the drama of the aftermath of Alexander's death with the intensity of a novelist. Military Times A briskly readable march through tumultuous events which continue to reverberate. Daily Express Robin Waterfield's coruscating cultural-political narrative does full and equal justice to all the major dimensions of this extraordinary half-century. Paul Cartledge, author of Ancient Greece, A History in Eleven Cities A gripping and often unsettling account of a formative period of ancient history. As Robin Waterfield points out, it deserves to be far better known than it is - and now, thanks to the author himself, it is as accessible as it has ever been. Tom Holland, author of Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

Table of contents

Preface ; Acknowledgements ; Maps ; 1. The Legacy of Alexander the Great ; 2. The Babylon Conferences ; 3. Rebellion ; 4. Perdiccas, Ptolemy, and Alexander's Corpse ; 5. The First War of the Successors ; 6. Polyperchon's Moment ; 7. The Triumph of Cassander ; 8. Hunting Eumenes in Iran ; 9. Antigonus, Lord of Asia ; 10. The Restoration of Seleucus ; 11. Warfare in Greece ; 12. The End of Antigonus ; 13. The Kingdoms of Ptolemy and Seleucus ; 14. Demetrius Resurgent ; 15. The Fall of Demetrius ; 16. The Last Successors ; Time Line ; Cast of Characters ; Genealogies ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Index