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The Landmark Arrian

The Campaigns of Alexander


James S. Romm and Robert B. Strassler (View Bio)
Hardcover: Pantheon, 2010.

The Landmark Arrian

During twelve years of continuous campaigns, Alexander the Great conquered an empire that stretched from the shores of the Adriatic to the edge of modern India. Arrian’s history of those conquests, the most reliable and detailed account to emerge from the ancient world, is a work that will fascinate readers interested in classical studies, the history of warfare, and the origins of East-West tensions that still simmer today in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. Drawing on Ptolemy’s memoirs and other sources that have not survived antiquity, Arrian’s portrait of Alexander is unmatched for its accuracy and immediacy. Having served as a high Roman official with command of an army, Arrian had a unique perspective on Alexander, imbued with a level of understanding that only firsthand military experience can provide.

In the richly illustrated and annotated style of the Landmark series, The Campaigns of Alexander features an engaging and eloquent new translation by Pamela Mensch, and brings together some of the preeminent classics scholars at work today to create what is certain to be the definitive edition of this essential work of history.

"Arrian’s great work on Alexander's electrifying campaigns of Asian conquest is now the subject of The Landmark Arrian, the most recent volume in the much-praised Landmark series of annotated editions of Greek historians, this one skillfully edited by James Romm, a professor of classics at Bard College, and supplemented with a panoply of maps, illustrations and background essays by leading Alexander scholars…. Arrian has usually been considered the most reliable source on the period. And with his direct and austere yet elevated style, well captured in the new translation by Pamela Mensch, he was a consummate literary artist. As Romm puts it, of all our sources Arrian best succeeds ‘in making the campaign a real event, and in making Alexander a real, if remote and inscrutable, human being.’… His enigmatic and incendiary protagonist helps make The Landmark Arrian the most thrilling volume in this fine series." — Steve Coates, The New York Times Book Review

"Anabasis Alexandrou (The Campaigns of Alexander), by Lucius Flavius Arrianus, a Roman of the second century, is the principal literary source for modern accounts about the Macedonian conqueror. If its composition three centuries after Alexander the Great lived inherently raises scholarly questions, Arrian’s account possesses a narrative momentum that will always interest general readers of ancient Greek history. To that audience, the editors have directed their Landmark series, which counts Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon in its prior lineage. Its formula of maps, photographs, chronologies, footnotes, and appendixes exceptionally elucidates texts without impeding their flow; readers may digress into academic controversies or forge ahead to the next battle, according to their wont. Arrian satisfies the latter inclination: historians use his information to reconstruct Alexander’s battlefield tactics, which this volume’s charts graphically depict. Arrian’s Roman audience harbored additional curiosities about Alexander, such as omens of his divinity, purges of his retinue, or incidents damaging to his reputation such as the destruction of the Persian capital Persepolis. A dual-use technology, the Landmark package is ideal for library needs: students may study, and browsers may browse." — Booklist

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