NonFiction Book Club

Alexander the Great: His Life and His Mysterious Death


Everitt, Anthony

FROM THE BOOK JACKET: What can we learn from the stunning rise and mysterious death of the ancient worlds greatest conqueror? An acclaimed biographer reconstructs the life of Alexander the Great in this magisterial revisionist portrait.

More than two millennia have passed since Alexander the Great built an empire that stretched to every corner of the ancient world, from the backwater kingdom of Macedonia to the Hellenic world, Persia, and ultimately to India--all before his untimely death at age thirty-three. Alexander believed that his empire would stop only when he reached the Pacific Ocean. But stories of both real and legendary events from his life have kept him evergreen in our imaginations with a legacy that has meant something different to every era: in the Middle Ages he became an exemplar of knightly chivalry, he was a star of Renaissance paintings, and by the early twentieth century hed even come to resemble an English gentleman. But who was he in his own time?

In Alexander the Great, Anthony Everitt judges Alexanders life against the criteria of his own age and considers all his contradictions. We meet the Macedonian prince who was naturally inquisitive and fascinated by science and exploration, as well as the man who enjoyed the arts and used Homers great epic the Iliad as a bible. As his empire grew, Alexander exhibited respect for the traditions of his new subjects and careful judgment in administering rule over his vast territory. But his career also had a dark side. An inveterate conqueror who in his short life built the largest empire up to that point in history, Alexander glorified war and was known to commit acts of remarkable cruelty.

As debate continues about the meaning of his life, Alexander's death remains a mystery. Did he die of natural causes--felled by a fever--or did his marshals, angered by his tyrannical behavior, kill him? An explanation of his death can lie only in what we know of his life, and Everitt ventures to solve that puzzle, offering an ending to Alexanders story that has eluded so many for so long.

Anthony EverittABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anthony Everitt, a former visiting professor in the visual and performing arts at Nottingham Trent University, who has written extensively on European culture, is the author of Cicero, Augustus, Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome, The Rise of Rome, and The Rise of Athens. He has as well served as secretary general of the Arts Council of Great Britain. Everitt lives near Colchester, Englands first recorded town, founded by the Romans.


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