Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Wars of Alexander's Successors 323-281 BC: Commanders and Campaigns by Bob Bennett and Mike Roberts

The Wars of Alexander's Successors 323 - 281 BC: Commanders and Campaigns v. 1D. Evans of the UK writes: "I've been interested in Alexander the Great for many years, but I've always been disappointed with the lack of books on what occured after his death. Usually in Alexander biographies the aftermath is only mentioned in passing, and if anyone wants to know what became of Alexander's successors they usually have to get hold of expensive works like Waldemar Heckel's 'The Marshals of Alexander's Empire'.

I was therefore looking forward to reading this book on Alexander's successors as it was the only cheap book on the subject I could find. I was definately not disappointed with the purchase as this book is well researched and very readable.

The book begins straight after Alexander's death as the Diadochi argue and fight over his corpse, with Perdiccas rising to the top. It is from here that we are taken on a chronological tour of the Hellenistic World, from 323 to 281 BC. Along the way, the authors give us biographies of the leading men of the age, from Ptolemy, who rose to become the Pharaoh of Egypt, Seleucus who ruled over the largest part of Alexander's Empire, as well as Antigonous and Lysimachus. You also get to know about the other figures of the period, such as Demetrius the Besieger and Pyrrhus of Epirus who are amongst the most fascinating figures in Classical History. These sections provide the reader with both a broad view of their lives, as well as an intimate look at their personalities, i.e. Seleucus's hatred of paperwork, the family feuds of Ptolemy, and the stingyness of Lysimachus.

Other chapters give us detailed looks on events such as the struggle for Macedonia, the Battle of Ipsus, and the constant fighting for control over Coele-Syria. The book finishes with a look at the battle of Corupedium in 281 BC, when the last of the Diadochi, Seleucus and Lysimachus, now in their seventies, fought near Sardis in Lydia.

The book is very well written and readable, and in some sections it even reads like a novel. In that respect if you have an interest in Alexander the Great or the Hellenistic World, then this book is a must have. I'm already looking forward to Volume II!

Note: Also contains a few black and white photographs and one basic map. If the book has one criticism it is that it should have contained more detailed and numerous maps."Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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