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Alexander the Great

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and legacy of Alexander the Great, king of Macedon and conqueror of the Persian Empire.

Alexander the Great is one of the most celebrated military commanders in history. Born into the Macedonian royal family in 356 BC, he gained control of Greece and went on to conquer the Persian Empire, defeating its powerful king, Darius III. At its peak, Alexander's empire covered modern Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and part of India. As a result, Greek culture and language was spread into regions it had not penetrated before, and he is also remembered for founding a number of cities. Over the last 2,000 years, the legend of Alexander has grown and he has influenced numerous generals and politicians.


Paul Cartledge
Emeritus Professor of Greek Culture and AG Leventis Senior Research Fellow at Clare College, University of Cambridge

Diana Spencer
Professor of Classics at the University of Birmingham

Rachel Mairs
Lecturer in Classics at the University of Reading

Producer: Victoria Brignell.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 1 Oct 2015 21:30


Paul Cartledge at the University of Cambridge

Rachel Mairs at the University of Reading

Diana Spencer at the University of Birmingham

Plutarch: Life of Alexander

Alexander: How Great? by Mary Beard

Perspective and Poetics in Curtius’ Gorgeous East by Diana Spencer

Alexander the Great - Wikipedia



Arrian (ed. Betty Radice), The Campaigns of Alexander (Penguin Classics, 1971)

Elizabeth Carney and Daniel Ogden (eds.), Philip II and Alexander the Great: Father and Son, Lives and Afterlives (Oxford University Press, 2010)

Paul Cartledge, Alexander the Great: the Truth behind the Myth (Pan Macmillan, 2013)

Paul Cartledge & Fiona Rose Greenland (eds.), Responses to Oliver Stone’s Alexander: Film, History and Cultural Studies (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010)

K. Dahmen, The Legend of Alexander the Great on Greek and Roman Coins (Routledge, 2007)

Andrew Feldherr (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Historians (Cambridge University Press, 2009), particularly ‘Barbarians I: Quintus Curtius’ and other Roman Historians’ Reception of Alexander’ by E. Baynham

Robin Lane Fox, The Search for Alexander (Little Brown and Company, 1980)

Robin Lane Fox, The Making of Alexander: The Official Guide to the Epic Film Alexander (R & L, 2004)

Waldemar Heckel and Lawrence Tritle (eds.), Alexander the Great: A New History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)

Rachel Mairs, The Hellenistic Far East: Archaeology, Language and Identity in Greek Central Asia (University of California Press, 2014)

Plutarch (trans. Timothy Duff and Ian Scott-Kilvert), The Age of Alexander (Penguin Classics, 2012) 

Diana Spencer, The Roman Alexander: Reading a Cultural Myth (Liverpool University Press, 2002)

Mary Renault, The Alexander Trilogy (Penguin Books, 1984)

James Romm (ed.), The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander the Great (Anchor Books, 2012)

Quintus Curtius Rufus (ed. Waldemar Heckel), The History of Alexander (Penguin Classics, 1984)

Andrew Stewart, Faces of Power: Alexander’s Image and Hellenistic Politics (University of California Press, 1994)

Richard Stoneman, Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend (Yale University Press, 2010)

Richard Stoneman, Kyle Erickson, and Ian Netton (eds.), The Alexander Romance in Persia and the East (Barkhuis, 2012)

Ian Worthington (ed.), Alexander the Great: A Reader (Routledge, 2011)

Z. David Zuwiyya (ed.), A Companion to Alexander Literature in the Middle Ages (Brill, 2011)


Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Paul Cartledge
Interviewed Guest Diana Spencer
Interviewed Guest Rachel Mairs
Producer Victoria Brignell


  • Thu 1 Oct 2015 09:00
  • Thu 1 Oct 2015 21:30

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