Ghost on the Throne

Ghost on the Throne

The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire

eBook - 2011
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Alexander the Great, perhaps the most commanding leader in history, united his empire and his army by the titanic force of his will. His death at the age of 32 spelled the end of that unity. The story of his conquests is known to many readers, but the saga of the empire's collapse remains virtually untold. Alexander bequeathed his power, legend has it, "to the strongest," leaving behind a mentally damaged half brother and a posthumously born son as his only heirs, who quickly became pawns fought over by the Macedonian generals. Meanwhile, Alexander's former secretary, Eumenes, a man full of tricks and connivances, became the determining factor in the precarious fortunes of the royal family. Classicist James Romm tells the story of the men who followed Alexander and found themselves incapable of preserving his empire--a world formerly united, now ripped apart into a nightmare of warring nation-states struggling for domination, the template of our own times.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307701503
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xxii, 341 p.) :,ill


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Mar 11, 2016

The tumultuous week after Alexander's death saw a temporary solution headed by Perdiccas that began to disintegrate almost immediately. Romm’s book goes into detail of the many theaters of plotting and conflict that followed Alexander’s death.

The elements in the breakup can be extremely complex but Romm does a good job presenting the major and minor ones, the combination of which, or sometimes the absence of which, lend or deny power to the characters in the history.

The ghost of Alexander, figuratively and at times literally, looms over the events that happen after his death. The vacuum in leadership, that no one claimant was able to completely fill, reinforces just how powerful a leader and personality Alexander proved to be. Alexander bequeathed fighting forces that had overrun much of the known world but they would also prove to be extremely deadly when fighting each other. The empire without borders and without nationality that Alexander dreamed of was shredded by his family and closest companions. I highly recommend Romm’s book for those looking to understand the turbulent and bloody transition of Alexander’s short-lived empire to “a multipolar world marked by rivalry, shifting alliances, and long-running small-scale conflicts."

Norman C. Smith
May 18, 2013

This is an excellent history of the years following the death of Alexander the Great, during which time his empire decomposed rapidly as various factions fought for control of bits and pieces. At times, I was reminded of the books and television series, "Game of Thrones" (without any dragons). However, this is better, being historical rather than fantastical. Romm appears to be a serious historian, who has based his work on the original, 2000-year-old sources, but he has also written with a lively style that makes this history very accessible and worth reading.

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