Customer Reviews

17
4.6 out of 5 stars
The Campaigns of Alexander (Classics)
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£7.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2008
Simply the best! A must for every fan, admirer and ... of Alexander the Great.

Accounts from contemporary historians like Callistenes, Onesicritus, Nearchus and Aristobulus did exist but only bits and pieces have come to us. Arrian was lucky enough to have access to the biography of Alexander written by Ptolemy, one of Alexanders' generals and maybe his half-brother, who became pharaoh of Egypt. What we know today has been recorded by a handful ancient writers (Diodorus of Sicily, Curitus Rufus and Plutarch mainly) who still could consult those old records, and Arrian is one of them.

Lucius Flavius Arrianus, better known as Arrian was a Greek historian from the 2nd century AD, who served as a military commander in the Roman Empire. He had widespread interests in philosophy, topographic-ethnography, history, and military matters, which culminated in his books on Alexander. He writes in a matter-of-fact-tone without being dull or dry. Personally I possess the pocket version of The Campaigns of Alexander which I always carry with me when travelling. Arrian knows how to keep his reader's mind alive, which may or may not have been influenced by the translator, Aubrey de Sélincourt. In any case, it turns out to be very pleasant and fascinating reading material.

Over the years since antiquity up till today, whoever wants to write about Alexander the Great will always have refer to Arrian in the first place. All what the history or science fiction authors tell us, is based on Arrian's accounts. He clearly states the dates and the events, describes the battlefields and positions of the armies involved with nearly analytical precision, and he puts the cities and landscapes in true perspective. Whatever information you need, you can always rely on Arrian to find it, without fringes or inessential details.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2001
Arrian's astute and detailed account of the campaigns of Alexander is the most useful surviving ancient source about his life. Anyone interested in Alexander's life will find the book fascinating, although Arrian's views reflect the politics of his time.
This translation is pretty accurate and comprehensive, better than any other I've read in English. The only thing to watch out for is that Arrian makes political points against Alexander as an indirect attack on Imperial Rome's government.
Because of this, you will find dubious references to some war crime events that probably never occurred. Compare with other sources for a fuller picture of Alexander's life and nature ('The Nature of Alexander' by Mary Renault is an excellent analysis and compilation).
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2012
Really enjoyed this very accessible translation with informative footnotes and bibliography. Arrian really takes you along with him on the journey. Great for the general reader, not at all stuffy.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 19 July 2015
This is a story of revenge, but also of what Alexander interprets as a divine mission. Translating this into one of the seven basic plots of any story would qualify for this to be read as a Quest, but also as Tragedy. It is a tragedy that he died not quite 33 years old knowing that he had killed some of his closest and trusted friends. Alexander's invasion of Persia and the whole Middle East region began after his father died and the wish to avenge the descendants of ancestors who had once sacked Greece. Alexander's supreme confidence was forged through a belief in his divine lineage that features Zeus and Achilles. Instructed in philosophy by Aristotle, Alexander the Great found one additional reason to follow his destiny: a dream revelation. As God's instrument of war Alexander was chosen to fight against those who had oppressed God's chosen people except Alexander may not have seen it in those terms. He no doubt would have delighted in his part in the script as the major protagonist in his dream, the details of which are revealed some way through the book when Alexander travels to Jerusalem and meets the leading Jewish Priests. Alexander is shown the Book of Daniel which foretells of the dominion of 'four great beasts' of whom he discerns he is the fourth, but it is in the shape and clothes of a Jewish religious leader that he recognises his role in the history of Mankind. For Alexander these events are divinely ordained. Now Alexander is unstoppable as a military force and proceeds to crush all resistance anywhere and everywhere, up hills and down ravines, atop mountains or in the sea, wherever the battle takes him to lead his trusted Macedonian warriors. Though this is not to say that there was any doubt beforehand except that now Alexander could never be content with victory, or even revenge, for neither could placate him. What mattered most was the battle itself and bending others to his destiny. In Alexander I discovered a man initially sensitive to the plight of others yet these concerns inevitably wain after thousands of miles of death and destruction. At first Alexander is keenly able to decipher omens and signs and this enables him to lead his Macedonians on a sure path even where treachery lurks in the background, although it is not yet mature enough to succeed. It is in the formative years of Alexander's generalship that the Macedonians and Greek troops alike trust him without reserve. Macedonians were willing to die for their leader and perceived their collective sacrifice was reciprocated. On one occasion and without hesitation Alexander drank what was said to have contained poison in order to demonstrate the trust he placed in a wrongly accused companion. In so doing the companion was exonerated Alexander revered. There are numerous examples of Alexander's courage and quickness of mind in this ancient tale where battles frequently fought and won against overwhelming and impossible odds. Alexander's military strategy was always flexible depending on appropriate strategic circumstance and in one instance he spent seven months laying siege to Tyre until it inevitably fell. On other occasions Alexander chose his best soldiers to pursue Darius - and many others - relentlessly until sheer persistence wore down his foe. After the siege of Tyre the Jews decided it was better to befriend Alexander than continue under the yoke of Darius and the Persians. Alexander conquered a vast region of Asia and even into Egypt where the city of Alexandria remains as a testimony to this brief Greek Empire. Arrian writes in the early 2nd century AD providing for posterity an historical biography that draws on several main sources to convey the campaigns of Alexander.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2011
Bought this book as I was interested in Alexander's campaigns and wanted to find out more. Heard this book was perfect for the job and in my opinion it is.

The author has put in a lot of detail about all the important things you need to know and explains things in so much detail. This book is also translated really well.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2003
Written some 4 hundred years after the time of Alexander using the diaries of Ptolemy as the main sources of research, not only is Arrian considered the one of the first serious historians, he was also a roman general and later became a senator. A must-read for anyone interested in the life & times of Alexander the Great.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2014
I bought the book for my husband and he loved the book as he is very much into the history of the Greeks and the Romans
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 12 December 2012
A brilliant translation of Arrian's Anabasis.
The work reads very well, and is made readily accessible for all readers.

My one gripe would be the absence of chapter & line numbers, which makes for difficult referencing.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 31 December 2009
My personal favourite in terms of source material on Alexander. Required reading for any aspiring arm chair historian
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 9 November 2014
Good, arrived relatively quickly, good quality
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The Conquest of Gaul (Classics)
The Conquest of Gaul (Classics) by Julius Caesar (Paperback - 9 Dec. 1982)
£7.99


 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.