Alexander (guide) | Alexander (images) | Cleopatra | Herodotus | Hieroglyphics | my other sites | email this page

Top 5% of Sites on Alexander

Here are my choices for the best 5% of all Alexander the Great sites. Sites that make the list are entitled to display this attractive, highly-coveted award! (Click here if you won the award.)

Alexander in Brief : Encyclopedia entries

Britannica 11th Edition on Alexander. Article by Bevan. Excellent, if somewhat dated, scholarly overview of his life. The Classical entries from the 11th edition (1910) could be turned into a decent classical encyclopedia. This article is courtesy the Xenophon Group, an site devoted to military history, particularly Russian and Ukranian. The also have the Britannica 11th edition's Peloponnesian War and Xenophon.

Reader's Companion to Military History: Alexander the Great. Excellent long entry by Eugene N. Borza. See also Macedonians and Philip II.

Web Biographies : Narrative biographies Jona Lendering's excellent 18-part Alexander biography and associated resources. Lendering combines academic credentials with the internet history buff's energy and drive to communicate. Although the bio text is excellent, the highlight is surely Lendering's small gallaxy of related pages and the web of hyperlinks tying them together. Other highlights include a detailed timeline, picture gallery and what he calls topography , pages on Alexander's route, some augmented by personal photos. Thomas Wallop William-Powlett's comprehensive Alexander universe. Check out the white-hot forum area.

PDF: "Mighty Macdeonian: Alexander the Great" by Richard Covington, Smithsonian Magazine (November 2004). [abstract]. This is a well-written and entertaining five-page introduction to the history and historical issues.

Well-organized, accurate biography by Dr. Ellis L. Knox's (Boise State University). Includes nifty pronunciation links like "Epaminondas" but few images.

Same text, linear presentation at ORB.

Army and Battles : Battle of Gaugamela

Reader's Companion to Military History: Battle of Gaugamela. Excellent long entry by Eugene N. Borza.

Alexander's Character : Was he a left-handed epileptic cat-hater?

Internet Alexander Myths and Trivia. Wonderful debunking of all the Web myths (epilepsy, panic attacks, his "true love" Melissa, etc.) by Nick Wellman.

Alexander's Character : Gay? Straight? Neither? Alexander's Sexuality by Jeanne Reames-Zimmerman, adapted from her dissertation. This is an excellent introduction to the topic, and Greek sexuality in general—topics that receive a lot of attention online, but that are almost universally understood through 21c. eyes.

Hephaistion - Philalexandros. Jeanne Reames-Zimmerman's deep exploration of Alexander's companion (and probable lover) Hephaestion. Includes a good examination of " Was he really Alexander's Lover....? " Reames-Zimmerman is also known for the Beyond Renault .

Alexander's Death : Typhoid fever?

Web Archive: "A Mysterious Death," The New England Journal of Medicine (v. 338 n. 24) by Borza and Drs. Oldach and Benitez.

Letter in reply to "A Mysterious Death" by Dr. S.D. Moulopoulos and others, with a reply to the replies by the authors getting at the source-critical problems.

Alexander's Tomb : General discussion

Web Archive: The Tomb of Alexander the Great by Harry E. Tzalas. Multiple pages with text, images, footnotes. Includes a run-down of sources mentioning the tomb. A first-rate job.

"Alexander: The Great Mystery" by T. Peter Limber, Saudi Aramco World (May/June 2001), a good review of Alexander's death, the ancient evidence, and the history of the debate (to 2001). Also includes an excellent smaller article (placed in a side-bar?), "Dead Kings Are Hard to Find" by Alexander-historian Frank Holt.

Alexander's Tomb : Is Alexander's in Venice?

Audio: BBC Radio 4: "Today" show, June 2004 interview between Andrew Chugg and Robin Lan Fox, who pooh-poohs the notion:

"Alexander's repuation spreads between both the fictional romance and real history, and Andrew Chugg's very cautious presentation of this theory is the most gorgeous romance. I've only read his article his article, we haven't read the great book yet, and of course all theories are welcome, but I think this one is completely impossible."
Fox is great, and even manages to plug the film.

Alexander's Tomb : Is Alexander in Illinois?

Web Archive: Where is Alexander the Great buried? Illinois of course!

Web Archive: Were Alexander and Cleopatra buried in Burrows Cave, Illinois? Not unless pigs can fly! (The author, a model of scholarly restraint, believes the cave to contain Carthaginian pirate loot.)

Friends and Enemies : Philip and Olympias, parents

Reader's Companion to Military History: Philip II. Excellent long entry by Eugene N. Borza. See also Macedonians and

Friends and Enemies : Darius III, Persian king "King Darius III Codomannus, The Last Achaemenid Ruler" Nick Welman's Darius III universe. Goes way beyond detailed (and source) essays. It even has polls.

Friends and Enemies : Aristander, seer

Wikipedia: Aristander of Telmessus. Alexander's seer. Without doubt, the best entry on Wikipedia.[1]

About the Sources : Arrian

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

Texts on the Web : Multiple authors

William M. Murray's selections. Organized by topic, Murray covers the Methodologies of the Major Historians, together with Granicus, the Gordian Knot (digging as deep as a scholium to Euripides!), Issus, the correspondence with Darius, Alexander in Egypt, the revolt of Agis III, Persepolis, the Philotas affair, the "mutiny" at the Hyphasis, Carmania, the "brotherhood of mankind," the "last plans," etc.

The Murder of Philip II of Macedon in 336 BC , a whodunnit / source compilation, for Elizabeth Carney's course Alexander the Great and Ancient Macedonia.

Texts on the Web : Plutarch

Complete text: Plutarch, Life of Alexander, translated by John Dryden, from Ed Stephan's The Greek World of Mary Renault.

Texts on the Web : Justin

Complete text: Justin (trans. John Selby Watson). Alexander is found in book 11.

Texts on the Web : Other ancient sources of interest

Arrian, Events after Alexander. Photius' epitome, translated by John Rooke (1814). Now on the web for the first time. From my Classical Library site.

The New Books : Multi-reviews

"Alexander the greatest" by Victor Davis Hanson, Times Literary Supplement (October 7, 2004). Review article covers Cartledge, Doherty, Mossé and Foreman, locating the recent upsurge of popular and popularizing interesting within the context of Alexander's long dance with fame—good and ill. He plays a little loose, accusing Alexander's policy of the "Brotherhood of Man" of resting "atop millions of corpses" (The "policy" also rests upon some very dubious scholarship). But Hanson's always entertaining to read, and pulls no punches:

"None of the books under review, given their need for haste and a self-confessed desire to time their publications with the movie, is as authoritative as Bosworth's existing biography, as engagingly written as Green's, or as massive as Robin Lane Fox's..."
That said, he praises Cartledge's effort, finds Mossé flawed but intriguing, Foreman a decent non-academic picture-book, and Doherty a pointless exercise in bad methodology. Hanson's article can also be found (for now) on the TLS website.

Battle of the Biographies : Green, Alexander of Macedon

Amazon. Alexander of Macedon 356-323 B. C. : A Historical Biography by Peter Green. The Amazon reviews are almost all raves (e.g. "What a fantastic book! Peter Green makes the history of Alexander the Great sing!") Personally, this is my favorite as well. Green has wonderful flair, and, although I quibble somewhat with his method, his account has real authority. See the UC California press blurb.

Battle of the Biographies : The little books

Amazon. Richard Stoneman, Alexander the Great. From the ranking it looks like Amazon hasn't sold a single copy. That's a shame, as I very much enjoyed Stoneman's brief introduction to Alexander studies--it is something less than a biography, at least not one of the fat ones we've come to expect. Stoneman handles brevity well, and I was surprised how much he has managed to fit into 98 pages without ever seeming rushed. I think it would be particularly suitable for two types of readers: (1) Students in undergraduate courses on Greek history who need something rigorous but can't be expected to make it through Green or Fox. (2) Readers who've already read one of the more "novelistic" biographies and want something that recapitulates the basics and outlines the controversies in a fair-minded and scholarly fashion.

Oliver Stone's Alexander : Previews and sneak-peaks

"Oliver's Army: An inside report from the set of the year's most audacious epic, Alexander" by Fred Schruers, Premiere. Long, interesting article on the making of the film. Includes bits on Alexander's sexuality[2].

Oliver Stone's Alexander : Official info

Official movie site. If you're excited about Alexander and the movie, this is certainly a key place to visit. As of 10/30, the site is still developing—with no clear visual signals what works and what doesn't—but much is already up, including synopsis, cast, photos, posters, screen savers, AIM icons (O Brave New World), the "XTREME" desktop—interactive but PC only, and I have a Mac.

Web design rant: I was very put-off by the slow pace of everything—a deliberate slowing of effect not related to bandwidth or server load. I only looked at half the pictures because I got so bored waiting for them to shimmer glacially onto the screen. One can only hope the movie is faster paced.

Oliver Stone's Alexander : Robin Lane Fox, Official Historian

Audio: BBC: "Midweek" interview with Robin Lane Fox, David Sedaris and Dr. Susan Whitfield, a Silk Road researcher (May 5, 2004). Yes, all three are at the microphone. Unfortunately, after an intro, it's Fox pretty much alone. He's quite a riot, particularly on the decline of Greek and The Passion.

"Into battle with Alexander" by Robin Lane Fox, London Times (May 08, 2004). Also here. This stuff is so great, I'm going in for some extensive quoting.

"Did Alexander's men ever eat melons? What did Aristotle really think about the ancient myths? What did the main god of Babylon look like? Alexander's Macedonia was Greek, but what would his Greek language sound like to other educated ears further south in Athens? Should his star, Colin Farrell, have blond highlights in his hair? Alexander had a sexual nature, but as the film, correctly, was not going to turn him in to a �gay� from a counter-culture, how should his passionate life be handled? My colleagues told me that for historians, Stone was supposed to be like Satan, perhaps because they had seen his film of Nixon and I had not. Like the poet John Milton, I have to say I quickly became very fond of Satan. Anyway, the claim that Stone has no historical sense is completely untrue."
This description make me hopeful the movie will, in fact, turn out to be good:
"I have to say that I would have died for Colin Farrell by the end, a loyalty which was widely shared. In Bangkok, in a darkened hotel room, we sat watching uncut dailies of the final emotional scenes of Stone's film-to-be; the company were all male and muscular, but I could not stop myself from sobbing in the closing moments. Fortunately, another man could be seen in combat trousers sitting on the floor and doing the same and when the lights came on I saw that it was Farrell, equally transported by the evocation of the great Alexander whom he had had to bring to life."

Attack on the article from a Macedonian nationalist angle. Reading Fox's Alexander the Great he perceives (falsely) support for his position. Therefore, Fox has "gone Greek," and was probably paid off.

Documentaries : History Channel: "The True Story of Alexander the Great"

History Channel's Official site. Highlights include:

  • An interactive map. It's great someone finally did a good one, at least as far as the map engine is concerned. But it's a shame they messed up the placenames so much, mixing different transliteration systems: Greek (Granikos, Kaspian), Latin (Halicarnassus, Alexandria ad Issum).
  • Alexander's Conquest. A remarkably "young" Alexander game. It's cute and fun—basically a trivia Candyland—but is it pitched to the same audience that gets Olympias with the snake?

My own review of the show ("Cheesy but Factual Documentary Delivers Chicks with Snakes and Peter Green too!"). Semi-positive. Stop me before I start quoting myself.

Documentaries : PBS: In the Footsteps of Alexander

Amazon DVD. In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great. Michael Wood's travel adventure. Also available in VHS format. Amazon reviewers are mostly enthusiastic. "Dang!" one writes, "This is the best documentary ever!"

"Alexander's Epic March" (review of Wood's documentary) by E. Borza in Archaeology v. 51 n. 3 May/June 1998. Full text now online.

"Except for suggesting some alternate routes, the film does not contribute much to traditional scholarship on Alexander. On an artistic level, however, it is a major achievement that will enrich both scholars and the general public. With stunning images of parts of the world rarely seen by Western eyes, Wood conveys a sense of the extraordinary distances and dramatic campaigns in the difficult country through which Alexander led his army. No book or film has ever before so persuasively conveyed this message."

Documentaries : In the Footsteps... (companion book)

Amazon. In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great : A Journey from Greece to Asia by Michael Wood. The companion book. (See the UC publisher's blurb.) Borza's review of the video calls the book "uneven and occasionally inaccurate account of Alexander's career." I liked it better, but I won't press the case.

Literature and Music : Mary Renault

The Greek World of Mary Renault by Ed Stephan. An excellent resource for Renault's Greek novels, a trilogy of which concerned Alexander and his companions. For an introduction check out his The Persian Boy page with a synopsis, list of characters, images, etc.

Amazon. The Persian Boy by Mary Renault. Renault's most popular Alexander book, following Alexander through the eyes of Bagoas. Twenty-two customer reviews, all positive. As one states:

"Her Alexander may be nobler than he really was, but her vision is a realistic one and the world she creates is very real and consuming. It is a wonderful story masterfully written."
Renault's Alexander trilogy starts with Amazon. The Fire from Heaven, moves on to The Persian Boy, and ends with Funeral Games (currently out of print).

Review of the Trilogy by Jeanne Reames-Zimmerman. The author has read virtually every bit of Alexander-based fiction for her web project "Beyond Renault: Alexander the Great in Fiction ", so she knows what she's talking about when she calls the trilogy the "best thing out there in mainstream fiction on Alexander." Nevertheless she has some qualms and, unexpectedly, picks Funeral Games as the best of the lot.

Literature and Music : Other fiction

Beyond Renault: Alexander the Great in Fiction, by Jeanne Reames-Zimmerman. Comprehensive, multilingual list with reviews. Reames-Zimmerman reviews are well written and frequently hilarious. I particularly enjoyed her review of David Gemmell's Lion of Macedon and Dark Prince , wretched Alexander fantasies.

Politics and Nationalism : Greek Macedonian

"Who Were (and Are) the Macedonians?" by Eugene Borza (APA 1996). The original APA page died, but Macedonian nationalists copied it and put it up on their own. Borza's opinions are, however, somewhat double-edged.

"I shall conclude with a summary showing how the present conflict between Greeks and Macedonians in the Balkans is characterized by both sides reaching back to antiquity to provide an often false historical basis to justify their respective modem positions."

Politics and Nationalism : Macedonian (Republic of Macedonia)

Fake Letter of Alexander to Aristotle. Posted on the Republic of Macedonia website, it derives from a short story. The letter and its deconstruction by the Internet History Sourcebook is one of the funniest things on the web.

Politics and Nationalism : Other

Web Archive: "Tajikistan President Glorifies Alexander The Great" Very interesting article on the use of Alexander by Tajik President Rahmonov (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty).

Religious Pages : Jewish

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.

Alexander in the Talmud from

Religious Pages : Baha'i

soc.religion.bahai: Baha'is discuss Alexander the Great — all threads. This is the ultimate multi-lateral conversation. Baha'ism is already something of a mixture of religious thinking, and the internet adds new factors, eg., scholarship and homosexual consciousness. By and large, the soc.religion.bahai members are both respectful and diligent in their efforts to reconcile a complex tradition.

soc.religion.bahai: Very perceptive discussion of Abdu'l-Baha (founder of Bahaism)'s comments on Alexander by William Cassady.

"My point is that the Qur'an liked Alexander, and Abdu'l-Baha didn't — but what patriotic Iranian should like Alexander? I don't blame Abdu'l-Baha for this. "
See the whole thread for replies by Steve Burgess and Darren Hiebert.

Academic Articles : Articles

"Greeks and Macedonians" by E. Badian, Studies in the History of Art 10 (National Gallery of Art).

Other Academic : Bibliographies

Waldemar Heckel's gigantic, wonderful bibliography with links to all the articles on the web (c. 900 items, sorted by author). There aren't many necessary Alexander resources online, but this is one of them.

Bibliography of recent Alexander scholarship: "Alexander the Great 2000-2004" by Martijn Cuypers. Comprehensive for the period it covers (with a little 2004 updating). Cuypers is responsible for the excellent A Hellenistic Bibliography.

Other Academic : Courses on Alexander

Academic Alexander page by James Davidson (author of Courtesans and Fishcakes). Includes excellent guides to Sources, Was Persia Ripe for the Picking? , and Greeks and Macedonians. Here and there Davidson uses (and indeed improves upon) my site.

"The Age of Alexander." Good stuff (eg. "Supplementary Sources," dozens of translations to supplement Roisman) from Prof. William M. Murray, University of South Florida.

Travel and Tourism : Tour operators

Peter Sommer Travels: In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great. Sommer studied Archaeology at University College London and joined Michael Wood's crew for the "In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great" documentary, not to mention traveling the 2,000 miles from Troy to Issus on foot. Not surprisingly, his "Alexander" tour is no mere name. The itinerary follows Alexander's path pretty closely, including the Hellespont, the sites of Granicus and Issus, Bodrum, Termessus and even Gordion. His other tours page includes five other land and yacht adventures through Ionia, Caria and Lycia, often well off the beaten path.

Full disclosure: I'm advertising Sommer's tour in the (probably vain) hope of earning a spot on it. So, although I'm promoting his services, I wouldn't be doing it unless I thought it looked good...

Travel and Tourism : Travelogues

Amazon. In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great : A Journey from Greece to Asia by Michael Wood. The companion to Wood's documentary. (UC publisher's blurb.)

Borza's review of the video calls the book "uneven and occasionally inaccurate account of Alexander's career." I liked it better, but I won't press the case.

For more reviews and the documentary itself see Documentaries.

Discussion Groups : Good has an excellent "forum" area. Mercifully, the forum is moderated, and posted rules prohibit Greek/Macedonian debate, name-calling and homework requests.

Livejournal: Megalexandros, together with, this is the beating-heart of the Alexander the Great community. It is off-growth of Reames-Zimmerman's Hephaistion - Philalexandros.

Miscellaneous : Miscellaneous miscellaneous-es

Alexander's Towns and Modern Names a simple, useful list compiled by T. Harrington (Virginia Tech.). There's no scholarly apparatus here, but most of them are solid.

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

If you enjoy this site you may also like these other sites by me:

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

Cleopatra on the Web Over 410 resources on Cleopatra. Includes 168 images.

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 )