The Nature of Alexander the Great

Mary Renault

Publisher: Penguin, 2001, 240 pages

ISBN: 0-141-39076-X

Keywords: History

Last modified: May 8, 2021, 3:38 p.m.

More has been writen about Alexander the Great than any other figure in history. Like his boyhood hero, Achilles, he traded long life for lasting fame.

King of Macedonia before he was twenty, Alexander went on to become the greatest conqueror of the ancient world, inspiring legends in his lifetime and after his death. Every age has interpreted him to suit their own values; either as a ruthless destroyer who eliminated all those who stood in his path, or as a far-sighted statesman pursuing a civilizing mission for the world. He has been condemned for sins that in his time were merits and credited with romantic nineteenth-century virtues which his own culture despised.

In this hard-hitting work, Mary Renault, who spent years studying the Hellenistic world, peels of the layers of wishful thinking to reveal the real Alexander beneath. Re-examining the crucial episodes in his life; the murder of his father, Philip, in which he was implicated, the sacking of Thebes and his dying wishes, this enjoyable and wonderfully illustrated study places him in the rightful context of his times.

  • Images
  • Macedon
  • Troy
  • Persia
  • India
  • The March to Babylon
  • Postscript
  • Ancient Sources
  • Illustrations and Acknowledgments
  • Index of Proper Names


The Nature of Alexander the Great

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Decent ****** (6 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 3:18 a.m.

if you're looking for all historical facts known about Alexander, look elsewhere! This is a try to explain the person Alexander (or rather his character) and what made him tick. Personally, I enjoyed this perspective of Alexander, instead of a pseudo-scientific discussion about some of his battles.

An enjoyable reading, if you are into the subject.


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