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 in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Drangiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 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)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dividing the Spoils. The War for Alexander’s Empire by Robin Waterfield

Dividing the Spoils (ISBN 978-0-19-964700-2): at last a book where I’m not getting lost amidst the many successors and everlasting wars!

When Alexander died in 323 BC there was no heir to the throne and he had not appointed any of generals to rule his empire. This situation only led to chaos, and the chaos turned into war since all the commanders in Babylon felt they were equally qualified and entitled to take charge. Until now, I always had swept these fights into one big heap labeled “the War of the Diadochi” or “War of the Successors”. The author clearly underscores that this was in fact a civil war in which Macedonians fought against Macedonians. At the same time it was a world war considering that Alexander had conquered nearly all of the known world. These succession wars lasted forty years until Alexander’s empire was finally shared by four remaining contenders: Ptolemy in Egypt, Seleucos in Asia, Lysimachus in Thracia, and Cassander in Greece.

But blessed be Robin Waterfield, who has managed to relate the succession wars as seen through the eyes of each individual general, projecting the events against the wars and ambitions of the other players in this game for power. Thanks to the clear lay-out and additional sub-chapters, it is quite amazing to realize that you are able to keep track of all those intricate events where sides were taken and exchanged, where treaties were signed and discarded, and where territories were won and lost again. Sons succeeded to their fathers, daughters were given in marriage to secure a temporary agreement and wives were negotiated for their titles or influences.

When you consider the crowd of powerful men that were gathered in Babylon to discuss Alexander’s succession, it is no wonder that we are so easily losing track. For a start, we have all members of Alexander’s Bodyguard: Aristonous, Leonnatus, Lysimachus, Peithon, Perdiccas, Peucestas, and Ptolemy. Were also present, Seleucos, one of his principal commanders over the past seven years; Nearchus, the admiral of his fleet; and Eumenes, his secretary and archivist. Missing were Craterus (still in Cilicia bringing the veterans home to Macedonia), and Antipater the Regent of Macedonia. These men and more battled among themselves. Quite a crowd, and yet Robin Waterfield manages to follow the reasoning and campaigning of each of them. In between, he even finds opportune moments to share pertaining information about the rise of Hellenism and its consequences in politics, religion, philosophy, warfare and art.

This makes thrilling and captivating reading material as the author keeps his audience’s attention alive all the way to the end.

Also available as ebook, click here.

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