02. Monographs on Alexander, 2.10 Father and Son, Alexander - Non Fiction Book, Reviews

English Book Review: “Filippo e Alessandro. Dal regno macedone alla monarchia universale. Lezioni universitarie 1949-1950” by Gaetano De Sanctis, Monica Berti and Virgilio Costa (Curators)

Recensione in italiano: QUI.

Good morning everyone, thanks for being here on the site Alessandro III di Macedonia- your resource on Alexander the Great!

Here I am with a review of a VERY BEAUTIFUL book:

Filippo e Alessandro. Dal regno macedone alla monarchia universale. Lezioni universitarie 1949-1950 by Gaetano De Sanctis, Monica Berti and Virgilio Costa (Curators)

The volume collects the university lectures imparted by Gaetano De Sanctis at the University of Rome in 1949-1950, of which only a few typewritten copies have survived. At the center of the penetrating historical analysis of De Sanctis is one of the most important periods of the ancient times, the one that goes from the ascent to the throne of Macedonia by Philip II (360 BC) to the battle of Issus (333), with which Alexander the Great, defeating the numerically overwhelming army of Darius III of Persia, he became absolute ruler of all the immense territory between the Aegean Sea and the borders of India.


5 stars.

Reading time: from 14th to 18th december 2018.

Beautiful, really beautiful! These university lectures by prof. De Sanctis were a very pleasant and above all very interesting reading! While I was reading them sometimes it happened to me to feel like I was at university and I was really witnessing this course! It would have been great to be able to follow them for real! And how nice it would be to follow a course dedicated to Alexander!

What I liked about this book is that the part dedicated to Philip II really interested me first. This book more than anything speaks of Philip, of how he managed to impose himself on the Greek cities, of his military and political ability and refers to how things changed in Greece. Then Alexander the Great is also analyzed but it stops with the conquest of Persia because at that point all the Greek cities were under Macedonian domination.

Philip was very good at bringing out his country in an era of turmoil, he was a great politician and strategist. His figure is obscured by that of his son but for the first time it makes me think: “what would have happened if he hadn’t died him too so soon?”

Another thing I noticed: professor De Sanctis cites very little Curtius Rufus  and refers more than anything to Greek authors. This is precisely because the Greeks had the opportunity to have authoritative sources now lost in their hands. And in this he makes many comparisons to try to understand the credibility of the various authors and above all analyzes them to give a truth as true as possible. To do this he’s also based on calculations, exchanges with other academics and it’s very interesting.

A note of merit also for the edition edited by Virglilio Costa and Monica Berti who have put together these university lecture notes in an excellent manner: they added some missing words to make sense of the sentences, they practically translated all the parts. Thanks to their work and to the publisher Tored we have the opportunity to read a university course held in ’49 -’50 and it is a reading as I have already said extremely interesting and of a high level!

I leave you the Summary so maybe someone who is interested in reading it can get a better idea of the contents of the book:

Introduction (M. Berti and V. Costa) – Abbreviations – 1. The study of history – 2. Greeks and barbarians in the 4th century BC – 3. The first years of Philip’s reign – 4. The third sacred war – 5. The taking of Olinto – 6. The peace of Philocrates – 7. The war with Athens – 8. The fourth sacred war – 9. Chaeronea- 10. Philip master of Greece – 11. The Corinth congress – 12. Philip’s antipersian strategy – 13. Philip’s death and Alexander’s accession to the throne – 14. The destruction of Thebes – 15. Athens in age of Alexander – 16. Alexander in Asia – 17. The battle of the Granicus – 18. From the Granicus to Issus – 19. The consequences of the battle of Issus – 20. The conquest of Egypt – 21. The triumph of Alexander – 22. The end of Greek freedom – Index of sources – Index of names.

I hope I’ve intrigued some of you 😉

1 pensiero su “English Book Review: “Filippo e Alessandro. Dal regno macedone alla monarchia universale. Lezioni universitarie 1949-1950” by Gaetano De Sanctis, Monica Berti and Virgilio Costa (Curators)”


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