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

ISBN : 9780199647002

Robin Waterfield
304 Pages
136 x 215 mm
Pub date
Aug 2012
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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.


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

About the author: 

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.

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