Alexander the Great: A Very Short Introduction [#393]
Alexander the Great: A Very Short Introduction [#393]


  • A clear introduction to the history of the life and reign of Alexander the Great
  • Considers the background to his life by looking at the history of the kingdom of Macedon and the Achaemenid Persian Empire
  • Explores Alexander's campaign of conquest in the Persian Empire
  • Goes behind the historical accounts of Alexander's life to examine evidence from his lifetime, including letters, diaries, and historical records
  • Tells the story of his incredible cultural and historical legacy around the world

Alexander the Great became king of Macedon in 336 BC, when he was only 20 years old, and died at the age of 32, twelve years later. During his reign he conquered the Achaemenid Persian Empire, the largest empire that had ever existed, leading his army from Greece to Pakistan, and from the Libyan desert to the steppes of Central Asia. His meteoric career, as leader of an alliance of Greek cities, Pharaoh of Egypt, and King of Persia, had a profound effect on the world he moved through. Even in his lifetime his achievements became legendary and in the centuries that following his story was told and retold throughout Europe and the East. Greek became the language of power in the Eastern Mediterranean and much of the Near East, as powerful Macedonian dynasts carved up Alexander's empire into kingdoms of their own, underlaying the flourishing Hellenistic civilization that emerged after his death. 
But what do we really know about Alexander? In this Very Short Introduction, Hugh Bowden goes behind the usual historical accounts of Alexander's life and career. Instead, he focuses on the evidence from Alexander's own time — letters from officials in Afghanistan, Babylonian diaries, records from Egyptian temples — to try and understand how Alexander appeared to those who encountered him. In doing so he also demonstrates the profound influence the legends of his life have had on our historical understanding and the controversy they continue to generate worldwide.
Reading Guide


1: Before Alexander
2: Prince: Alexander in the Macedonian Court
3: Warrior: Alexander's army
4: Commander Alexander and the Greeks
5: Pharaoh: Alexander and Egypt
6: King of the world: Alexander and Persia
7: Traveller: Alexander in Afghanistan and Pakistan
8: Doomed to die: Alexander in Babylon
9: After Alexander
Further reading


Hugh Bowden is a senior lecturer in Ancient History at King's College London. An expert on Greek History and Ancient Religion, he has written several articles for academic journals and his books include Mystery Cults in the Ancient World (Thames & Hudson, 2010), Classical Athens & the Delphic Oracle: Divination and Democracy (CUP, 2005), Herakles and Hercules: Exploring a Graeco-Roman Divinity (co-edited with Louis Rawlings: Classical Press of Wales, 2005), and The Times Ancient Civilizations (as general editor: Harper Collins, 2002).

"Bowden covers all the highlights of Alexander's career" - Steve Craggs, Northern Echo

"It's an interesting read for those who do know something of Alexander, as well as for initiates" - Adrian Spooner, Classics for All


ISBN : 9780198706151

Hugh Bowden
144 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





Alexander the Great: A Very Short Introduction [#393]

Alexander the Great: A Very Short Introduction [#393]

Alexander the Great: A Very Short Introduction [#393]