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Printed Translations

Source collections | The major sources | The Alexander Romance and other stories

Source collections

Amazon. Alexander the Great: Historical Texts in Translation edied by Waldemar Heckel and J. C. Yardley. Also available in hardcover. (Publisher's blurb with detailed contents.)

Reviewed by Jona Lendering, BMCR (February 2004). I think Lendering (author of oversteps the reviewer's mandate somewhat, with too little on the book itself and too much on what he thinks should have made it in. He turns the second two thirds of the review into a mini-article on the Babylonian sources.

Lengthy Amazon review by Thom Stark. Stark (who also includes a really nasty review of Bosworth's Conquest and Empire) praises the inclusion of the Metz Epitome, and other hard-to-find texts, but criticizes it for not going far enough.

"The bad news, from my perspective, begins with the fact that Heckel has chosen to include only representative quotes on each of his chosen topics and has omitted to add a list of the other source citations on those topics, which I think would have considerably increased the value of this book to scholars. Instead, he has clearly aimed this work at students."

Amazon. Alexander the Great: The Brief Life and Towering Exploits of History's Greatest Conqueror, As Told By His Original Biographers with an introduction by Michael Wood and edited by Tania Gergel. (Publisher's blurb). The "tie-in" is rather a "cash-in." With such a weath of excellent Alexander books, I can't really see the need for a naive hodge-podge of ancient selections, uncritically presented. Others may. But whoever had the gall to dub it a "definitive biography of the greatest conqueror in history" deserves to be dragged, like Batis, around Penguin Putnam's corporate headquarters.

Amazon. Alexander and the Greeks by Victor Ehrenberg (1982). Ehrenberg assembled all the inscriptions associated with Alexander.

The major sources Reviews of the available translations by Nick Wellman.

Amazon. Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander , trans. Aubrey De Selincourt. Many believe Arrian's to be the most reliable account of Alexander's expedition surviving from antiquity. Based his work on recollections of two who followed Alexander, Ptolemy, the future king of Egypt, and Aristoboulos, an engineer, Arrian presents Alexader in a generally favorable light. He is particularly strong on military matters.

Amazon. Quintus Curtius Rufus, The History of Alexander. Penguin Classics translated by John Yardley, with an (rather thorough) introduction by Waldemar Heckel. Although his rhetorical style and historical methodology will frustrate modern readers, Curtius is extremely rich in detail and presents a more balanced view of Alexander's character. Heckel's introduction is excellent and the glossary of personal names (a sort of Berve "lite") extremely handy.

Amazon. Plutarch, The Age of Alexander: Nine Greek Lives (Penguin Classics), translated by Ian Scott-Kilvert. Besides Alexander, the Penguin edition offers the lives of Alexander's companion Eumenes and other "Hellenistics" like Demetrius and Pyrrhus.

Plutarch's Lives VII: Alexander, Caesar, Demosthenes, Cicero. Loeb Classical Library edition with Greek text and facing English translation by Beradotte Perrin. No introduction or commentary. One Amazon reviewer's "advise":

"Try to avoid any book written by Plutarch for all the lives he has written about are sketchy."

Amazon. Diodorus Siculus Library of History Books 16.66-17 , translated by C. Bradford Welles. Although Diodorus of Sicily's "Library of History" largely covers Alexander's career in one book (17), it is nevertheless highly detailed and a useful check on Arrian and Curtius. The Loeb Classical Library edition has Greek on one side and an English translation on the other. Welles' introduction is good, especially as no full-length commentary on this book has been attempted.

Amazon. Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus -- Books 11-12 : Alexander the Great translated by John Yardley, with commentary by Waldemar Heckel (Clarendon Ancient History Series). The average Alexander-buff who reads the other accounts and then proceeds on to Justin's epitome of Trogus is likely to fling the book across the room and exclaim "this is crap!" Justin does, however, shed some light on Curtius and Diodorus and cannot be overlooked by serious readers.

Reviewed by Stanley M. Burstein, BMCR 99.5.

"Yardley's translation is a pleasure to read with its clear and accurate rendition of Justin's rhetorical Latin. Heckel's commentary has similar merits. The entries are concise and lucid. Every crux is identified and unraveled, full references are provided to parallels in the other Alexander historians, and brief but well chosen bibliographies are furnished for each chapter. To work through the commentary is to take a well-guided tour of the Alexander tradition as a whole."

Reviewed by P. J. Rhodes, Histos 1998.

Amazon. The History of Alexander the Great : An Illuminated Manuscript of Vasco Da Lucena's French Translation of the Ancient Text by Quintus Curtius Rufus, by Scot McKendrick. A gorgeous but expensive ($140) coffee-table book.

School text: Quintus Curtius Rufus: Alexander the Great edited by W. S. Hett (1935, Reprint 1991). $13.00 from Bolchazy-Carducci.

The Alexander Romance and other stories

Amazon. The Greek Alexander Romance, translated by Richard Stoneman. This is a great edition, with an informative introduction, and forming a coherent narritive while still troubling to note where the various versions diverge.

Amazon. Richard Stoneman, Legends of Alexander the Great.

Reviewed by Thomas M. Banchich, Canisius College for the Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Top 5%

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