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Alexander the Great: The Anabasis and the Indica (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 14 Feb 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (14 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199587248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199587247
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2.3 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Martin Hammond's new translation of the Anabasis and Indica of Arrian is another triumph for Oxford University Press' World's Classics ... it forms a perfect, handy paperback of the works that tell the modern world more about Alexander than any other source material ... It's an exceedingly well-done volume. (Open Letters Monthly)

Hammond has done Arrian - as he did Thucydides in the same series in 2009 - proud a truly serviceable classroom edition at a very reasonable price. (Paul Cartledge, The Journal of Classics Teaching)

About the Author

Martin Hammond has taught at St Paul's School, Harrow School, and Eton College, where he was Head of Classics from 1974 to 1980. He was Headmaster of Tonbridge School from 1990 until his retirement in 2005. He has translated Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and Marcus Aurelius' Meditations for Penguin, and is the translator of Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War for Oxford World's Classics.

John Atkinson has taught at the universities of Zimbabwe, South Africa in Pretoria, and Cape Town. His publications include commentaries on Curtius Rufus's histories of Alexander, including the introduction and commentary to accompany John Yardley's translation of Book 10 for the Clarendon Ancient History Series.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 April 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Arrian gave us one of the primary historical sources for Alexander the Great, and this is still worth reading today. Of course Arrian was writing centuries later, but he did go back to sources closer to the period, mainly using just two, from people who were with Alexander and written after his death as he thought these more reliable than some others. Arrian does indeed explain this in the preface to his Anabasis (please don't get confused and think of the other Anabasis, of Xenophon). Of course reading these books you instantly notice the literary style of them showing that what Arrian produced was something more than history, and there are some problems with his history that would have been best to be omitted, though in some cases although he does include things he does indicate that these were things that were said. One interesting piece is of course of a legend of breaking a knot, which would give the person who did so rule over Asia, rather similar if you think about it to Arthur and the pulling of Excalibur from the stone.

Although an interesting read I would think that the Anabasis is more for those interested in military history and tactics, as the vast majority of this book covers just that. The second book here though is of much more interest to a vaster audience.

Indica gives us a glimpse into India of the period of Alexander, and while not always factually correct does give us a glimpse into how one culture meeting at the time thought and described the other, something which has always been of immense interest to myself, as well as others.

These books contained herein are new translations by Martin Hammond, and of course with OUP Classics you have a good strong introduction as well as maps, appendices and explanatory notes. Although not on everyone's must read list this is still an interesting read, showing why it has stood the test of time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sheenagh Pugh VINE VOICE on 30 May 2013
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This is a new translation of Arrian's Anabasis and Indica, his works on the life of Alexander. Arrian was a thorough and generally balanced historian, careful with his sources and not allowing his admitted admiration for the man to blind him to his faults. He also has a very lively and readable style. The translation itself reads excellently, as might be expected from an experienced translator in tandem with an emeritus professor of classics,and the appendices and notes are helpful, though for the life of me I could not work out how "the numbers in the left-hand column refer to the chapter and section numbers in the margin of the text". I sometimes couldn't match them at all, but it was easy enough to find the quotes themselves in the text.

But the most helpful feature of the lot comes among the maps: there is one which not only traces Alexander's journeyings but gives the modern names of the countries and towns concerned. This is something I have wanted for years, as a reader better informed on history than geography, and it's one seldom found. I have spent ages hunting through atlases and trying to compare maps to figure out exactly where places like the Sogdian Rock might be, and this feature gave me a far better idea of where we were. A simple idea, but brilliant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brett H TOP 50 REVIEWER on 2 Aug. 2013
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I must be honest and say that this is not what I expected when I selected this volume. I assumed it to be a modern biography of Alexander the Great, based on the work of Arrian, which was written in the 1st Century AD. Now Alexander is a fascinating character. King of Macedonia at the age of 21 on the murder of his father, Philip - within twelve years he had won so many battles against the odds, he had created a huge empire stretching from the shores of the Danube to India and from Uzbekistan to Egypt.

Alexander died at 32 in Babylon, leaving his Afghan wife pregnant with his only son. Who knows what might have been accomplished if he had lived another 30 years. As it was his short blaze of power changed the world. Post Alexander things were never the same as pre Alexander despite the division of his kingdoms following his death.

What I had not appreciated, however, when ordering this book is that this is not just a biography. It is actually the latest translation of one of the foremost historical sources which historians have about Alexander the Great. There are few contemporary sources about his life of reign. More come from a period four centuries or so after his death and Arrian's texts fall within this latter group.

John Atkinson makes clear in his introduction that Arrian's work is of particular value as he is concerned to revive and justify primary sources on Alexander. This introduction to this new translation of Arrian's original texts - The Anabasis and The Indica - is interesting and helpful. Martin Hammond's new translation is, I am sure, very knowledgeable and scholarly and his notes and explanations on parts of the text are also very helpful. However, as a scholarly work rather than a modern style biography, and despite my own historical background, I did not find this very reader friendly. If you are familiar with translations of Latin texts such as Juvenil, this reads much in that style.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. McCauley VINE VOICE on 11 Jun. 2013
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The Anabasis is a record of Alexander the Great's expedition to conquer the known world. Arrian wrote this military history nearly five hundred years after the death of Alexander and used as his primary sources the works of Ptolemy (one of Alexander's Macedonian officers who later took control of Egypt) and Aristobulus (who apparently served Alexander as an engineer). Arrian's reason for believing the historical accuracy of these two men over others is that they both wrote after Alexander's death, and neither seemed to him to exaggerate events. In cases where these two men have differing accounts of events, he presents both and then offers up his reasons for believing one account over the other. Arrian's style is mostly a straightforward telling of events, with various digressions along the way. He greatly admired Alexander and this can be seen in his writing, especially as he attempts to explain why Alexander acted as he did at each turn.

Also included in this edition is the Indica, which follows the journey of Nearchus along the coast of India with Alexander's fleet. Arrian shares various observations about India made by Nearchus, as well as Megasthenes (a Greek explorer). While neither of them can be said to have made a very deep or thorough exploration of India it is interesting to see what the Western world at the time believed of the country and its people.
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