Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria Ariana (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in the Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Campaigns of Alexander the Great by Arrian

The Campaigns of Alexander the Great by Arrian (ISBN-10: 0140442537). Simply the best! A must for every fan, admirer and fanatic of Alexander the Great.

Like it or not, this is the Bible for whoever wants to read first hand about Alexander the Great. Accounts from contemporary historians like Callisthenes, Onesicritus, Nearchus and Aristobulus did exist but came to us only in bits and pieces. Arrian was lucky enough to have access to the biography of Alexander written by Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s generals and maybe his half-brother, who later became Pharaoh of Egypt. What we know today has been recorded by a handful of ancient writers (Diodorus, Curtius Rufus and Plutarch mainly) who still had access to those old records, and Arrian is one of those writers.
Lucius Flavius Arrianus, better known as Arrian, was a Greek historian from the 2nd century AD, who served as a military commander in the Roman Empire. He had widespread interests in philosophy, topographic-ethnography, history, and military matters, which culminated in his books on Alexander. He writes in a matter-of-fact-tone without being dull or dry.

Personally, I possess the pocket version of The Campaigns of Alexander which I always carry with me when travelling. Arrian knows how to keep his reader’s mind alive, which may or may not have been influenced by the translator, Aubrey de Sélincourt. In any case, it turns out to be very pleasant and fascinating reading material. 

Over the years since antiquity up till today, whoever wants to write about Alexander the Great will always refer to Arrian in the first place. All what the history or science fiction authors tell us is based on Arrian’s accounts. He clearly states the dates and the events, describes the battlefields and positions of the armies involved with nearly analytical precision, and he puts the cities and landscapes in true perspective. Whatever information you need, you can always rely on Arrian to find it, without fringes or inessential details.

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