What is the summary for Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Distinguished classicist Peter Green originally published Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography in 1974. The volume was reissued in 1991. Green is the author of several books on Alexander and the Hellenistic period. While many popular biographies tend to idolize Alexander the Great, making him almost into a cartoon superhero, Green's take on Alexander is far more judicious, debunking much of the myth surrounding Alexander.

Green attributes the success of the Macedonian dynasty primarily to the organizational and strategic skills of Alexander's father, Philip of Macedon. Rather than seeing Alexander as building upon his father's success, Green portrays Alexander as squandering his father's heritage, going for dramatic conquests without proper care for organizing and administering the conquered territories. He portrays Alexander as ruled by his desire for fame and sensual pleasure, despite a first rate philosophical education under Aristotle's tutelage. Green emphasizes that territories conquered by Alexander rebelled as soon as he moved on to his next conquest, and the "empire" that Alexander conquered fell swiftly into internecine squabbling. 

The book is written in an accessible, colloquial style, and makes a good introduction to this important but ultimately flawed historical figure.


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