Arrian - The Campaigns of Alexander - ( Item 124171 )
Published in London by Folio Society. 2012. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Near Fine slipcase. Slight marks to panels of slipcase. Preface by Annabel Lyon. Bound in buckram. Blocked with a design by Joe McLaren. Set in Haarlemmer. Approx. 352 pages. Frontispiece and 24 pages of colour plates. Book size: 9½" × 6¼". Alexander the Great, the conqueror who subjugated all of Greece, then swept from his native Macedonia to defeat the Persian superpower and create an empire that stretched from the Mediterranean to the Himalayas, acquired a fame which reverberated throughout the classical world. Even today his feats continue to astound us. Since the first accounts written by his companions appeared, Alexander's life has provided food for historians, but also for writers keen to enliven their version with romantic details or scurrilous pieces of gossip. Of all the records of the ancient world, however, the history written by Arrian in the second century AD is the most even-handed and thorough. Arrian wrote that 'this book is, and has been since my youth, more precious than country and kin and public advancement'. Arrian himself had served with distinction as a military commander and had written on both cavalry and infantry tactics. His experience enabled him to comment authoritatively on Alexander's campaigns, equally able to explain tactical manoeuvres or campaign strategy. Arrian's rich, colourful narrative also includes intimate, telling anecdotes. We see Alexander receive a note warning that his doctor is trying to poison him. Ignoring it, he swallows the doctor's medicine fearlessly: 'he was firm in his refusal to suspect treachery in friends and could look unmoved upon death'. We learn that Alexander often treats his captured foes with magnanimity (Darius fears his wife and daughters will be raped or killed and is amazed by Alexander's respectful behaviour towards them). But Arrian never hides Alexander's ruthlessness: when his favourite horse, Bucephalus, is stolen, Alexander threatens to kill every man in the country unless he is returned. For this edition The Folio Society uses the acclaimed translation by Aubrey de Sélincourt, along with an essay by J. R. Hamilton which discusses Arrian's sources and approach. The book is illustrated with numerous images, including specially commissioned photographs of artefacts from the British Museum. We have also commissioned a preface by Annabel Lyon, author of the awardwinning novel The Golden Mean about Alexander's boyhood, in which she describes our enduring fascination with Alexander, 'most protean of heroes'.
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