BN.com Gift Guide

Alexander the Great Failure: The Collapse of the Macedonian Empire

Overview

Alexander the Great's empire stretched across three continents and his achievements changed the nature of the ancient world. But for all his military prowess and success as a conqueror, John Grainger argues that he was one of history's great failures. Alexander's arrogance was largely responsible for his own premature death; and he was personally culpable for the failure of his imperial enterprise. For Alexander was king of a society where the ruler was absolutely central to the well-being of society as a whole. ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$84.60
BN.com price
(Save 6%)$90.00 List Price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (18) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $11.18   
  • Used (10) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

Alexander the Great's empire stretched across three continents and his achievements changed the nature of the ancient world. But for all his military prowess and success as a conqueror, John Grainger argues that he was one of history's great failures. Alexander's arrogance was largely responsible for his own premature death; and he was personally culpable for the failure of his imperial enterprise. For Alexander was king of a society where the ruler was absolutely central to the well-being of society as a whole. When the king failed, the Macedonian kingdom imploded, something which had happened every generation for two centuries before him and happened again when he died. For the good of his people, Alexander needed an adult successor, but he refused to provide one while also killing any man who could be seen as one. The consequence was fifty years of warfare after his death and the destruction of his empire.

The work of Philip II, Alexander's father, in extending and developing the kingdom of the Macedonians was the foundation for Alexander's career of conquest. Philip's murder in 336 BC brought Alexander to the kingship in the first undisputed royal succession on record. Alexander's campaigns achieved unparalleled success and the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Pharaoh of Egypt, became Great King of Persia at the age of twenty-five.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This unconventional and provocative analysis presents Alexander the Great as anything but. The Macedonian conquest was widely detested and resisted in a Persian Empire military historian Grainger describes not as the discordant mélange of peoples depicted in classical Greek accounts, but as the political and economic center of the civilized world. A hubristic dream of world conquest led Alexander to neglect the empire he ruled. He ignored his health to the point of contributing to his early death. He failed to provide an heir, refused to designate an adult successor and eliminated aspirants to that role. His inability to delegate work or responsibility crippled his administrative system. Macedonia was Alexander's fulcrum, but his wars left it so weakened that on his death the kingdom imploded and devoted what energy remained to compounding chaos in Greece. Egypt reasserted its independence and its boundaries. The Seleucid kingdom (founded by Seleukos Nikator, one of Alexander's lesser subordinates) eventually extended from Anatolia to northern India. Seleukos came closest to securing Alexander's imperial heritage. Even before Seleukos's assassination, however, his domain proved difficult to control without the military resources Macedonia had provided Alexander. Alexander's life and conquests may have been extraordinary, but their result was a failed empire whose collapse facilitated the rise of the Roman Republic. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A low-key, authoritative look at the factors that ushered Alexander the Great to power, then brought his empire crashing down. The kingdom of Macedon had existed since the seventh century BCE, writes military historian Grainger (Cromwell Against the Scots, 2005, etc.) in his swift, certain summary. Claiming its mythic descent from a relative of Heracles, speaking a Greek dialect and surrounded by other important Greek city-states such as Chalkidike and Thessaly, Macedon was overshadowed by the mighty Persian Empire. The Macedonian king "was the leading member of a fairly widespread aristocracy which ruled over a submissive peasantry." Grainger tracks the long series of succession crises that ended with the ascent in 359 BCE of educated, opportunistic Philip II, who quickly killed off all rivals and instituted a series of innovations that would render Macedon powerful and rich. He instilled new discipline among cavalrymen, introduced the sarissa, a longer infantry spear, and deployed cunning, effective diplomacy. Philip's murder in 336 brought to the throne his 20-year-old son, Alexander, who immediately embarked on a nine-year campaign to subjugate his neighbors and the Persian Empire. The administration of his conquests was left to ineffectual satraps, and with the death of their charismatic leader in 323, in the absence of a designated heir, the army fell in disarray. Power was seized by Perdikkas, then Antipater, then Antigonos, who declared himself the legitimate successor of Alexander after the decisive battle of Salamis in 306. He was followed by a disastrous series of kings and the invasion of the Galatians in 279 BCE. Macedonian unity was never again achieved, Grainger asserts,because, "Alexander's ambition was too great for his people."Written from the point of view of those subjugated by the Macedonian empire over two centuries, this book offers a unique and significant take on well-worn history.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847251886
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 2/15/2008
  • Series: Hambledon Continuum Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr John D Grainger is a respected historian with a particular reputation for military subjects. His recent publications include Cromwell Against the Scots and The Battle of Yorktown.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction

1: Macedon 370 - 359 BC - A Failing State

World View 1: 360 BC

2: Security of Macedon 359 - 354 BC
3: Defence of the Kingdom 354 - 346 BC
4: Cold War 346 - 340 BC
5: Conquest of Greece 340 - 334 BC
6: The Great Campaign 334 - 325 BC
7: The United Empire 325 - 319 BC World View 2: 319 BC
8: Antigonos the One-Eyed 319 - 311 BC
9: The New King 311 - 306 BC
10: Antigonos' Failure 306 - 298 BC
11: New Kings for Macedon 298 - 291 BC
12: King Demetrios and his Enemies 291 - 285 BC
13: Last Chance for the Empire 285 - 281 BC
14: The New Kings, and Disaster 281 - 277 BC
15: The New World 277 - 272 BC

World View 3: 272 BC

Conclusion

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)