Alexander of Macedon by Peter Green

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Alexander, usually known as the Great, was truly great if we are speaking of military prowess. Perhaps the greatest general the world has ever known, Alexander had an insatiable desire to conquer. His motivation did not seem to lie in wealth but in the desire for power, the lust of battle, and the march toward deification. No army could stand against him, all other men were diminished in his presence, he was the ultimate conqueror. He conquered everything except himself, and this proved to be his undoing.

Today we all but idolize men such as Alexander, however it is worth noting that at his death he was universally hated. He most likely died of poisoning, possibly at the hand of his tutor Aristotle, and the entire world rejoiced. As soon as he died his empire fractured. Green writes, “He spent his life, with legendary success, in the pursuit of personal glory, … and until very recent times this was regarded as a wholly laudable aim. The empire he built collapsed the moment he was gone” (p.488). Perhaps this is a lesson for us all.

This is surely one of the best biographies on the life of Alexander the Great. I recommend it for all that have interest in such subjects.

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