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About the Sources

About the sources | Arrian | Plutarch | Diodorus | Quintus Curtius | Justin / Trogus | Other sources

About the sources Historiography of the sources for Alexander history, by Nick Wellman. Telegraphic style is handy.

Jona Lendering has assembled short essays on the "good" sources, the "vulgate" tradition and the oriental texts. Lendering lays more stress on the oriental sources than most other historians, and I frequently find his argument frustrating. That said, he also knows the texts better than most, and his fresh perspective is certainly valuable.

James Davidson's guide to the sources from his Alexander course page.

Possible source-relationships one and two, from William M. Murray's selections.

PDF: Waldemar Heckel's enormous bibliography of "Sources, Lost and Extant", part of his Alexander the Great, a Bibliography. (University of Calgary)

Web Archive: Ancient Writings on Alexander the Great by John Scarborough. Short descriptions of the main authors and their works, with Amazon-clickable images.

Amazon. Sources for Alexander the Great: An Analysis of Plutarch's Life and Arrian's Anabasis Alexandrou, by Hammond, N.G.L. Publisher's blurb (Cambridge University Press)

Reviewed by Waldemar Heckel, BMCR (1997).

Arrian Arrian of Nicomedia by Jona Lendering ( Thorough, with a lengthy dicussion of the Arrian's Anabasis (on Alexander). Top 5%

Wikipedia: Arrian. Solid entry. Usual Wikipedia caveats apply.

Detailed plot summary of Arrian tied to the Penguin (Sélincourt) edition, by Michael McGoodwin. McGoodwin has done similarly to Herodotus and Apollonius of Rhodes. Top 5%

A. B. Bosworth, Historical Commentary on Arrian's History of Alexander (volume one) and volume two. Absolutely essential to every serious student. It's expensive however.

Vol. two reviewed by Waldemar Heckel, BMCR 97.4.


Wikipedia: Plutarch. Plutarch of Chaeronea by Jona Lendering ( Thorough treatment, but not much on Alexander—necessarily so in light of Plutarch's voluminous output. Top 5%

J.R. Hamilton, Plutarch: Alexander (commentary). Reprinted by Duckworth and the Bristol Classical Press, 1999 and reviewed by Waldemar Heckel.


Wikipedia: Diodorus Siculus. Diodorus of Sicily by Jona Lendering ( Top 5%

Web Archive: Diodorus Siculus, longish encyclopedia entry by Kenneth Mayer, The Encyclopedia of Greece and the Hellenic Tradition. Mayer teaches a course on Universal Historiography (lotsa Justin) that I'd love to take.

Quintus Curtius

Wikipedia: Quintus Curtius Rufus. Minimal. Quintus Curtius Rufus by Jona Lendering ( Thorough treatment of Curtius and his only surviving work the History of Alexander the Great. Top 5%

Word doc: "Quintus Curtius Rufus' Historiae Alexandri: The Question of Authorial Identity and Intent" by Jeffrey W Bussmann (from Michael Arnush's course Alexander the Great). Scholarly.

Review of John E. Atkinson, Curzio Rufo: Storie di Alessandro Magno (v. I = bks. 3-5). Reviewed by Peter Green, Scholia Reviews (2001). Green reviews this partial Italian edition favorably, but, in light of Curtius' "rising stock," urges Atkinson to produce a full, updated and complete English commentary.

Amazon. Alexander the Great : The Unique History of Quintus Curtius by Elizabeth Baynham. Umich Press blurb (quite full).

Reviewed by Lynette G. Mitchell, BMCR 00.2.

"For Curtius, Alexander is a vehicle for another story, and a story perhaps more relevant to imperial Rome than the dog-end of the fourth century BC. Yet for Alexander historians this is an important understanding to reach. Only by understanding what Alexander historians wanted the 'great' man to be, can we come to any understanding at all of what he was."

Review-Discussion (in German) by Holger Koch, Histos v. 3 (1999).

Justin / Trogus

Wikipedia: Junianus Justinus.

Amazon. Justin and Pompeius Trogus: A Study of the Language of Justin's Epitome of Trogus by J. C. Yardley, attempts to separate Trogus and Justin by language.

Reviewed by Michael D. Dixon, BMCR (Feb. 23, 2004).

Other sources

Slideshow report on the Alexander Romance by undergrads Rebekah Genung and Melissa Disckinson, from William Murray's 2004 Age of Alexander course. Dating Cleitarchus. Essay by Karl Soundy.

Wikipedia: Calisthenes (and Ps-Callisthenes). Usual Wikipedia caveats apply, but, for now, this is the 11th Britannica entry.

PDF: "Hesiod, Xenophon, Psalmen und Alexanderapophthegma in Berliner Papyri" by Michael Gronewald, ZPE 1997. Scraps, already known.

Jewish Encyclopedia: Alexander the Great by Isaac Broydé, Kaufmann Kohler and Israel Lévi from the 1901-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia. Excellent article covering the Jerusalem narrative and other legends associated with the conqueror. Legends. Links to sub-articles.

Texas Tech. collection provides information to BBC on Alexander in Turkish folklore.

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.
Check out my new site
Wiki Classical Dictionary, currently focused on Alexander

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Genghis Khan on the Web More than 275 links about the Mongol conqueror.

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Ancient Library and the Wiki Classical Dictionray, major new reference sources for ancient studies.

Hieroglyphs! Over 125 links about Egyptian hieroglyphs for all ages and levels of knowledge.

( See all my ancient history sites )