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Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction$
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A. B. Bosworth and E. J. Baynham

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198152873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152873.001.0001

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Polybius and Alexander Historiography

Polybius and Alexander Historiography

(p.286) 10 Polybius and Alexander Historiography
Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction

Richard Billows

Oxford University Press

Few, if any, persons in the ancient Graeco-Roman world have inspired as much writing, by both ancient and modern authors, as Alexander the Great of Macedon. A prominent feature of modern Alexander scholarship is analysis of and/or commentary on the ancient writers about Alexander. Modern scholars concerned with Alexander source criticism have concentrated their efforts on the so-called ‘Alexander historians’, the biographers, memoirists, and pamphleteers who centred their works on the person of Alexander himself. Largely overlooked, as a result, are the works of broader-ranging historians, memoirists, and pamphleteers who, while not focusing their works around the career and personality of Alexander, nevertheless certainly had a good deal to say about that redoubtable individual. This chapter reviews what Polybius of Megalopolis, the only surviving primary Hellenistic historian, had to say about Alexander, and what can be learned from Polybius about the views of such contemporaries of Alexander as Demetrius of Phalerum and Hieronymus of Cardia.

Keywords:   Alexander the Great, Macedon, historiography, Polybius, Demetrius, Hieronymus, kingship

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