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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homeric hero, September 13, 2004
This review is from: The Search for Alexander: An Exhibition (Paperback)
By his career, the frog pond of the Mediterranean was widened to India. The Greeks invented politics. By Alexander's march, the old Persian Empire of the East was broken. In 343 Aristotle was chosen as Alexander's tutor. In 336 Philip was murdered. In 334 Alexander crossed into Asia. He died in Babylon July 10, 323.

At the simplest level Alexander exerted the dominance of youth. He kept a dagger and Homer's ILIAD under his pillow. A huge Greek city in Afghanistan has been newly uncovered through French excavation. Alexander was born in July 356 B.C. His father was murdered when he was twenty. Alexander adorned an expensive tomb for his father. He was fascinated by Homer's poems. He was smallish, brisk, with bold and handsome features. Alexander cast his friendships and ambitions in light of Homer's ILIAD.

The competitive drinking of the Macedonian court was famous. The Macedonian king claimed descent from Argos. Thebes, the leading power among the city-states, was conquered by Alexander and sacked. He had set out in 335 with the full range of the standing army of his father and he showed he could control it. What Philip had established in southern Greece was brushed aside by Alexander in his pursuit of empire. Demosthenes had been aware of what Philip's ruse entailed. Athens lost its power over foreign policy, for example.

The Persian Empire was enormous. It ranged from the Aegean to the Punjab. The Persian king was heir to the nobles' consensus. He maintained rank. The satraps plotted against each other. In Persia Alexander moved from victory to victory on a well-stocked royal road. There were stores in caches as a protection from famine. Alexander set out for Asia in 334 B.C. First his destiny was Troy. He was given a gift of relics from Troy's temple to Athena. Alexander bettered Philip's poor record as a besieger. He had to take the Phoenician home cities before he could invade Babylon and Persia.

Alexander met Darius near the Syrian border. In Issus the truth was probably that no participant was sure he had won. At Sidon the Cypriot fleet of 120 ships surrendered to Alexander. The siege of Tyre is described interestingly. Earthworks were built at Gaza. Egypt had paradoxes, huge buildings. Alexander was later recognized by the pharoah's old titles. The city of Alexandria was established, the center of Egyptian life for centuries.

The battle of Gaugamela pitted Alexander's smaller forces against Darius's large army. The Macedonians made an angled advance. Darius and his retinue turned away from battle. Darius's palace was at Persepolis. The contents of the treasury were a wonder to Alexander. Persia was put under a satrap. Alexander wished to take revenge on the Persians for razing Athens. Persepolis was burned. Darius's body received royal burial at Persepolis.

Alexander was the new king of Asia. He sought to cross the Hind Kush, the eastern Alps of Iran. The troops were moving on the road through Kandahar to Kabul. As an invader Alexander's forces spilled easily from Kabul to the Punjab. Lahore proved to be the furthest diffusion of Greek art.

The horse of Alexander, Bucephalas, died on the field. Alexander was wounded by an arrow. There was a horrible coastal march from the Indus delta to Kirman. Losses of men in the desert cannot be computed. Alexander wished to establish common concord between Europe and Asia. Worship of Alexander occurred in his lifetime. He made plans. He was not in decline. No unbiased witness has revealed why Alexander died. He was age thirty two and ten months at the time of his death.

Any reader will love the beautiful pictures in Robin Lane Fox's splendid work.
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