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, May 4, 2013

Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus by Justin

The full title of this book is: Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeus Trogus, Volume I, Books 11-12, Alexander the Great. Translated and appendices by J.C. Yardley. Commentary by Waldemar Heckel (ISBN 0-19-814908-5).

The content of this book is far from straightforward, although, in the end, one could simply say this is a history of Alexander the Great. But …

The complexity starts with the authors. Marcus Junianus Justinus, Justin in short, probably lived in the 2nd/3rd century AD. He is said to have arrived in Rome around 200 AD, where he came to know the 44 books called the Philippic Histories written by a certain Trogus. Pompeius Trogus was a prominent historian from Gallia Narbonesis, probably from Vaison-la-RomaineJustin decided that Trogus’ history was far too voluminous and wrote his own abridged version. As a consequence, the precious original History of Trogus slowly but surely vanished.

Trogus’ name, however, survives among the great Latin historians and is mentioned together with Livy, Sallust and Tacitus. It has been established that he was influenced by Livy and that Curtius Rufus, in turn, was influenced by Trogus. A small world, it seems.

Unfortunately, accuracy was not one of Justin’s strong points and he was not very concerned about his sources or the chronology of the events, this last point being also a weak point in Trogus’ account.

Justin’s Books 11 and 12 are dealing with Alexander the Great and as announced in the present title, it is this section that has been translated by J.C. Yardley – in a mere 27 pages. The great question remains: which elements come from Trogus and which were added or interpreted later on by Justin? This is more often than not an impossible task, but Heckel’s commentary tries to sort this out. He analyses every sentence and every word in a very meticulous and precise way using all possible ancient sources and consulting an enormous bibliography of later authors which are all referenced. This commentary is in fact so extensive and detailed that one could easily find all the available books ever written about Alexander the Great. By reading only the commentary, one acquires an excellent account of Alexander’s campaigns as seen by so many different scholars over the centuries.

The Introduction to this Epitome gives useful background information about Trogus and Justin, set in their own time-frame and the book concludes with a couple of very useful Appendices.

This is not exactly bedtime reading but a very thorough analysis of the massive literature ever written about Alexander the Great.

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