Alexander the Great remains a glorious enigma: a man who wanted to be a god, a Greek who wanted to be Persian, a defender of liberty who took away the freedom of many, and a volatile prince, as capable of compassion as of ruthlessness.
He rampaged through the Persian empire, conquered the Middle East, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. His armies invaded west Pakistan and threatened India. He grew to believe he was the son of God, pursuing everlasting glory through world dominion. But while his armies seemed invincible, he himself was not, dying in Babylon at the age of 32, after a banquet.
Alexander had been warned by a holy man to avoid Babylon; it seems his death there was predictable. What was it about his life that made it somehow inevitable that he would be cut down in his prime? There might well have been a conspiracy against him, stirred up by the violent captains of war with whom he surrounded himself.
Some had undoubtedly tired of his relentless desire to march to the rim of the world and were disturbed by his increasing despotism, aware of how many of their fellows were dying not in battle but through accident or disease.
If it was not human intervention that caused the death of this godlike young man, what factors in his life are important? We know of his reputation for excess. His death could have been the result of alcohol poisoning. Or it could simply have been disease, perhaps malaria. But there are other, more sinister and complex possibilities.
All avenues are explored, in this well-rounded and compelling investigation. Paul Doherty's richly exciting yet scholarly account brilliantly unravels the life of the man from the provincial town of Macedon in north-west Greece who changed the face of the ancient world for all time.
Author : Paul Doherty
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