G E N E R A L   B I B L I O G R A P H Y


  • AESCHINES  ( 397-322 BC) Athenian orator and statesman, filomacedon, had opposite views of Demosthenes.
  • ARISTOTLE  (384-322 BC) Philosopher and tutor of Alexander
  • ARRIAN of Nicomedia (second century A.D. - 180 A.D.), ( Flavius Arrianus) Anabasis and Indica, In Anabasis Arrian describes Alexander's achievements in seven volumes; while the eighth volume the Indica, records  Indian customs and the voyage of Nearchus in the Persian Gulf. Arrian is the definitive source for information on Alexander The Great. Though written five hundred years later, it is taken directly from the history written by Alexander's halfbrother and general Ptolemy. It is important literature for any serious research.
  • DEMOSTHENES (384 BC, Athens-Oct. 12, 322, Calauria, Argolis), Athenian statesman, recognized as the greatest of ancient Greek orators. The enemy of  Philip and later Alexander. His speeches give to us important information on the life of 4th-century Athens.
  • DIODORUS of Sicily [Diodorus Siculus] (First century B.C.) , Universal History ; The Universal History of Diodorus contains the earliest work on Alexander preserved. It is contained in Volume 16 (Philip & Alexander) and Volume 17 (Alexander Reign).
  • ISOCRATES (436-338 B.C.) , Athenian orator best known for his widely read pamphlets. Isocrates has been unfortunately dismissed as senile for his attempts to unite Greece under one leader (Philip of Macedon). Isocrates  urged Philip to lead the Greeks in a war against Persia.
  • JUSTINUS' abridgement of TROGUS;
  • PAUSANIAS (second cen.B.C.) Description Of Greece contains information of minor importance for Alexander studies.
  • PLUTARCH of Chaeronea, (A.D.45-120) Life of Alexander (in his Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks & Romans) Plutarch work Moralia contains two essays on Alexander .
  • POLYBIUS (203-121?), The value of Polybius is his criticism of the historical battle of Issus as written by Callisthenes which is lost for us.
  • QUINTIUS CURTIUS RUFUS, The History of AlexanderCurtius gives essential and important information, it was written in the early days of the Roman Empire (CLAUDIUS AGE).
  • PSEUDO-CALLISTHENES, 5th-century Armenian version of the Historia Alexandri Magni , composed in Greek, probably in the 4th century AD, by an unknown poet, falsely ascribed to Callisthenes. Pseudo Callisthenes is a fictitious name for the writer of  The Alexander Romances. It is more fantastic then historic text about Alexander's adventures.
  • The most valuable of the surviving histories of Alexander the Great is Arrian's Anabasis and Indica. He relies mainly on one of the contemporary sources: Ptolemy Lagos, founder of the mighty dynasty of the Ptolemy in Egypt. Ptolemy's credibility is greatly enhanced because it based his writting on the Ephemerides, or official daily log of Alexander's army. Plutarch, was not a critical historian, but, as he himself says, his purpose was to draw the moral lessons from the life of Alexander and the other figures whose biographies he wrote. Plutarch leaves out a great deal of military and other details.

    Among the other surviving narratives of Alexander's career we have: ARRIAN, Quintus Curtius RUFUS, DIODORUS, PLUTARCH, and JUSTIN. None of the authors is contemporary with the events they describe. For us, the earliest preserved source is Diodorus, who lived and wrote in the time of Caesar and Augustus. Q. C. Rufus and Plutarch lived in the first century AD., while Arrian lived in the second century AD, and had high military position during Hadrian's reign. Justin had lived in the third century AD, but his work is an extract and compilation of an earlier writer. There were vast number of narratives or memoirs contemporary or near-contemporary with Alexander, but none of them survived. (CALLISTHENES , has written the official historiography of the campaign till 331 B.C., PTOLOMEI LAGOS, had written his memoirs, ARISTOBULOS, architect and engineer had written his memoirs, NEARCHOS, admiral of the fleet, has written his memoirs
    CLITARCHOS, has written the history of ALEXANDER in 12 volumes )

    Q. C. Rufus, Justin, and in some scale Diodorus and Plutarch are representatives of what is often called the Vulgate (Popular narrative tradition). Curtius is its most colorful author of Vulgate tradition. The vulgate's main value is that, where Arrian's text depends on biased sources describing Alexander in non critical manner, it portrays him often loosing self-control, hard drinking, etc.. It is interesting that for some episodes the vulgate is more adequate than Arrian, but its descriptions have to be weighed carefully, while it is simply not correct to rely on one author and ignore the other sources.


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