Alexander the Great: A New Life of Alexander

Review

Katerina Panagi
by
published on 15 April 2024
Alexander the Great: A New Life of Alexander
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Title: Alexander the Great: A New Life of Alexander
Author: Paul Cartledge
Audience: General Public
Difficulty: Medium
Publisher: ABRAMS Press
Published: 2004
Pages: 365

"Alexander the Great: A New Life of Alexander" by Paul Cartledge offers a detailed yet accessible exploration of the legendary figure's life and legacy. The author's expertise and engaging storytelling provide fresh insights into Alexander the Great's conquests and their historical significance. This book is recommended for scholars and general readers alike.

Alexander the Great's profound impact on Roman culture is undeniable, particularly when considering the fusion of Greco-Oriental influences during the Hellenistic era, which permeated Rome and, subsequently, Western Europe. His conquests paved the way for cultural diffusion and laid the groundwork for religious and imperial ideologies. His ideological legacies include figures like Pompey and Caesar. The territories Alexander the Great once controlled formed the foundation of Rome's eastern dominion, often considered the culturally and economically richer half of the empire.

Cartledge challenges prevailing notions about Alexander's motivations, particularly regarding Alexander's aim of spreading Hellenism.

However, understanding Alexander himself proves challenging due to conflicting ancient sources and continuous reinterpretations throughout history, often reflecting the agendas of interpreters.

In Alexander the Great: A New Life of Alexander, Paul Cartledge offers a captivating and comprehensive new examination of Alexander the Great. With his trademark storytelling prowess, Cartledge, chair of Cambridge University's Classics Department, guides readers through the life and conquests of Alexander with precise detail and an engaging narrative that balances discussion on Alexander's achievements with acknowledgment of places where we lack historical evidence.

Cartledge challenges prevailing notions about Alexander's motivations, particularly regarding Alexander's aim of spreading Hellenism. Cartledge argues that while Alexander was indeed attached to Hellenism, his driving force was personal glory and conquest. This nuanced perspective adds depth to our understanding of Alexander, presenting him as a complex figure driven by ambition and a thirst for success.

Central to Cartledge's exploration is Alexander's military genius. Through detailed chronicles of Alexander's battles with the Persians, Tyrians, and Babylonians, Cartledge highlights the young leader's strategic brilliance and innovative tactics. He demonstrates how Alexander's love of hunting served as a metaphor for his approach to warfare, as he adapted hunting strategies such as the surprise attack to achieve military success. This analysis sheds light on Alexander's mindset and sheds new light on his military achievements.

The book is enriched by many appendixes, including a glossary and an extensive bibliography, which enhance the reader's understanding and provide valuable resources for further exploration. Cartledge's skillful storytelling brings history to life, making the ancient world feel vivid and immediate. His vivid descriptions and storytelling make for an absorbing read that will appeal to both scholars and general readers alike.

Overall, Alexander the Great: A New Life of Alexander is a masterful biography that offers fresh insights into the life and legacy of one of history's most iconic figures. With its diligent research, engaging narrative, and nuanced analysis, this book is sure to become a definitive work on Alexander the Great for years to come. Whether the audience is a seasoned scholar or a casual reader with an interest in ancient Greece, this book is a must-read.

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About the Reviewer

Katerina Panagi
Ancient Greek Historian, Victorian Literature Researcher and a freelance writer/journalist. Passionate about uncovering history's mysteries and weaving compelling narratives.

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APA Style

Panagi, K. (2024, April 15). Alexander the Great: A New Life of Alexander. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/review/403/alexander-the-great-a-new-life-of-alexander/

Chicago Style

Panagi, Katerina. "Alexander the Great: A New Life of Alexander." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified April 15, 2024. https://www.worldhistory.org/review/403/alexander-the-great-a-new-life-of-alexander/.

MLA Style

Panagi, Katerina. "Alexander the Great: A New Life of Alexander." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 15 Apr 2024. Web. 20 May 2024.

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