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)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Conquests of Alexander the Great by Waldemar Heckel

Based on previous books written by Waldemar Heckel (see: Macedonian Warrior by Heckel and Jones; Historical Sources in Translation by Heckel and Yardley; and Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great by Waldemar Heckel), I expected to find his same thorough analysis in The Conquest of Alexander the Great (ISBN 978-0-521-60323-2), but I was disappointed.

His knowledge of Alexander and everything related to the great conqueror is beyond doubt, but this book did not reveal much that wasn’t known already. In his Preface, Heckel mentions that his purpose is not to relate Alexanders campaigns once again but that he aims to highlight the impact of his conquests and the political consequences of his actions. If so, I find the title of this book misleading; it simply doesn’t match his intentions.

For instance, he underscores events or situations which Alexander exploited for propaganda purposes, but I can’t help wondering if this was Alexander’s purpose. Scrutinizing and summarizing each and every gesture, act, battle, response or confrontation of his twelve-years-long battle career in 150 pages inevitably leaves space for more discussions and more theories. Where is the ultimate answer, I wonder.

One word, however, caught my attention and that is “battle fatigue”. It has, by my knowledge, not been mentioned by any historian before, but battle fatigue must have hit Alexander and his troops sooner or later. It is generally wrapped up in the idea that his men wanted to go home, but battle fatigue must have played a deeper role than we would think at first sight.

Waldemar Heckel loves his lists and tables, and this book is no exception. For those wanting to look up certain facts and figures, the book includes a Chronological Table of the Events, a List of the Kings both Achaemenid and Argead, a list of literary sources and, of course, a set of adequate maps. In the Appendixes we find a List of Alexander’s Officers, the Number of Troops, and a note about the Administration of the Empire.

This is certainly not a book for a first time reader of Alexander’s conquests, but it may add to the way we look or want to look at the achievements of this great man.

Also available as e-Book (click here).

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