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The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander (Landmark Books) Hardcover – November 2, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Anabasis Alexandrou (The Campaigns of Alexander), by Lucius Flavius Arrianus, a Roman of the second century, is the principal literary source for modern accounts about the Macedonian conqueror. If its composition three centuries after Alexander the Great lived inherently raises scholarly questions, Arrian’s account possesses a narrative momentum that will always interest general readers of ancient Greek history. To that audience, the editors have directed their Landmark series, which counts Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon in its prior lineage. Its formula of maps, photographs, chronologies, footnotes, and appendixes exceptionally elucidates texts without impeding their flow; readers may digress into academic controversies or forge ahead to the next battle, according to their wont. Arrian satisfies the latter inclination: historians use his information to reconstruct Alexander’s battlefield tactics, which this volume’s charts graphically depict. Arrian’s Roman audience harbored additional curiosities about Alexander, such as omens of his divinity, purges of his retinue, or incidents damaging to his reputation such as the destruction of the Persian capital Persepolis. A dual-use technology, the Landmark package is ideal for library needs: students may study, and browsers may browse. --Gilbert Taylor


"Skillfully edited by James Romm... and supplemented with a panoply of maps, illustrations and background essays by leading Alexander scholars...the most thrilling volume in this fine series." --Steve Coates, The New York Times Book Review

"The battle maps are the best in the entire series... Pamela Mensch's new translation is both literal and fast-paced... An ideal introductory text to the career of Alexander." --Victor Davis Hanson, New Criterion

""There are hundreds of maps telling stories all their own ... Alexander's conquests stretched across the known world - this is the first edition of Arrian to show that world in all its vastness."  --Steve Donoghue, The National

"If, like me, you have never read more than an excerpt or two from Arrian's 'The Campaigns of Alexander,' you really should read this book." --N.S. Gill, About.com

"Sumptuously annotated and lavishly illustrated...Arrian is by far our best and most reliable source for the events he describes." --Tom Holland, The Wall Street Journal

Praise for the Landmark Series
The Landmark Xenophon’s Hellenika
“Lavish. . . . Outstanding. . . . There is nothing else like [it].”
The New York Review of Books
“Beautifully produced. . . . [A] veritable treasure trove. . . . Constitute[s] a first-rate education in classical history.”
—The New Criterion
The Landmark Herodotus
“The most densely annotated, richly illustrated, and user-friendly edition of his Histories ever to appear.”
—Daniel Mendelsohn, The New Yorker
“A real service. . . . Considerably improves accessibility by integrating hundreds of maps and extensive timelines . . . [and] amplifies the first historian’s own epic accomplishment.”
The Landmark Thucydides
“A magnificent edition of the great historian’s The Peloponnesian War.”
—Los Angeles Times
“The editor and his contributors have asked themselves the fundamental question: how can one best present and interpret the work of one of the most fascinating but difficult of ancient authors to a modern audience? They have answered this question brilliantly.”
—Classical Quarterly

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Product Details

  • Series: Landmark Books
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037542346X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375423468
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a nit-picky review, since I don't write to review the book's contents, which are equal to the other Landmark volumes and of great value. I only write to lament the declining quality of the book itself compared to previous hardcover versions of Landmark volumes (Thucydides and Herodotus--I haven't seen the Xenophon yet). This book is a hard-paper (not cloth), perfect bound (not stitched) book. The Thucydides and Herodotus volumes were true "hardback"--stitched binding with cloth boards. It's a pity that publishers can apparently get away with putting great books in inferior packages these days and still charge the same amount. As one who cares about the physical quality of a book as well as its contents, it was a disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure : James Romm is my son, so my bias is understandably positive.

With that said, a few thoughts and observations about the book might prove useful to both the serious scholar and the 'regular' reader.

Alexander is one of history's most exciting and provocative figures. Here is a young man who, while still in his 20s, lead an army of thousands of battle hardened warriors, over a period of ten years, many miles from home, and conquered most of the then known world; while maintaning total control over this vast army through sheer genius, charisma, and strenght of personality.

The battles he fought were hallmarks of military brilliance which are beautifully portrayed in the battle diagrams which Jamie tells me are unique and most carefully researched. Together with the description one gets a real feeling for the blood and excitment of ancient hand to hand combat, which of course those battles were.

The text reads like a novel, one could almost say its a real page turner!

Read and enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
A very well delineated edition. I had struggled with The Campaigns of Alexander previously, and this book changed that without bastardizing the original work.

Arrian offers quite a comprehensive and rich account. The editor does a wonderful job of providing illustrations and footnotes that shed light on things that one may otherwise find unclear. Its very clean and makes The Campaigns of Alexander a much more accessible, useful and enjoyable read.

I would absolutely recommend it- two thumbs way up.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Landmark's edition of Arrian's "Anabasis Alexandrou" (The Campaigns of Alexander) is absolutely fantastic. Each time I started to read it, I had a hard time putting it down.

That Alexander did so much before turning 33 years old is just not believable. And furthermore, beyond the historical and political importance of Alexander, from a purely literary standpoint, the story of the expedition is always exciting and changing. Although there were many contemporaneous accounts made by people intimately involved with the expedition available to Arrian when he wrote, all these accounts have since disappeared. We are lucky to have Arrian's account.

With respect to this particular edition of Arrian's account, the translation was new and extremely easy to read.

The footnotes were excellent because they provided a continuous scholarly commentary. How many times do you make the effort to read all the footnotes, just to realize that you could have read the text twice as fast without missing anything important? Not here.

This text has been the subject of much scholarly writing, and you get this information in the footnotes. More specifically, the footnotes very frequently bring in Plutarch's Alexander, Diodorus Siculus, and Quintus Curtius. Sometimes these notes provide new, additional information. Sometimes these footnotes provide conflicting information. Other times the notes address current day scholarly debate and research. Either way, you're left with a deeper appreciation of Arrian and the legend of Alexander.

As with the other books in the Landmark series, there were frequent maps showing not only where the cities were, but also where they were in relation to other landmarks.
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Format: Hardcover
Earlier this year, I discovered the Landmark Xenephon's Hellenika in a closing Borders. Up until that point, I had gotten through most of my thirties without reading anything on Antiquity save a few books on cities necessary for some professional work. Since Hellenika, however, I've reread Thucydides, watched HBO's Rome, read all the surviving plays of Aeschylus, have started going through Shakespeare's Roman plays, have cluttered my wish list with books on Greece and Rome -- in short this translation series has reawakened my old fascination with Antiquity. I was then pretty excited to read the Landmark Arrian.

My reaction to it is similar to my reaction to the other two Landmarks I've read: they're really good at making the texts come alive but also have a few annoying quirks. With most books, appendices, long explanatory footnotes and the like lead readers to groan silently: you have to read all this @#$! just to understand the text. Ugh. In the Landmark books, all extended clarifying material instead has you feeling like a twelve-year old reading a Dungeons and Dragons guide to monsters or magical items or weapons and going, "Wow, this world is so complicated. Coooool. . ."

The Landmark Arrian has that same feeling and as a bonus feature, a number of the maps now show elevation, which is an argument for doing a second edition of the earlier Landmark books. And the new editor has more traditional explanatory footnotes, which I personally like. Unfortunately, these more extensive footnotes are intermixed with a kind of repetitive footnote found in the earlier Landmarks: the first time a specialized term is used in a chapter, there's a footnote defining it, often word for word the footnote in a previous chapter.
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