01. Ancient Alexandrographs + Comments, 1.2 Arrian, Alexander - Non Fiction Book, Alexander's Alexandria

English Book Review: “Alessandro Magno tra polis e mondo in Arriano” by Sante Biello

Recensione in italiano: QUI.

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

Today you’re going to read my review of the book by Sante Biello, Alessandro Magno tra polis e mondo in Arriano!

Why did Arrian, after about five centuries after the death of Alexander the Great, make The Anabasis of Alexander? What is behind this work? The young king’s expedition marks some very important stages of ancient history: the epochal clash between Greek and Eastern civilization, the overcoming of the political horizon of the polis, the spread of Greek culture in the East. Alexander becomes the symbol of ecumenism that sublimates the concept of “closed politics” of the Greeks; and Arrian well highlights in the course of his work the revolutionary significance of Macedonian politics.

3 stars   2 stars – update at the bottom!

Read from 25th to 26th July 2018

Book that you read in one evening to which I gave only three stars because it wasn’t to my expectations. I’ll explain myself better. When I started reading it I thought: “I should have read Arrian first because I read a criticism without having read the text I took in analysis”. There was no need. I thought this book was like Citati’s, an analysis of the text and a criticism instead Biello analyzes Arrian and his text only in the last two chapters. In the previous ones he explains the difference in views, thoughts and customs that invested Greece with the advent of Alexander. Interestingly, I don’t say this, but I was expecting a more Arrian-centric text, that’s all.

The world was never the same after Alexander the Great. Changes the geographical view and the maps will be redrawn; the Greek world will be obliged to re-evaluate the barbaric hinterland. Above all, the political vision that Alexander imprints in his conquests changes; in later centuries, many men of power will take the deeds of the Macedonian king as an example.

This sentence of the preface sums up Biello’s intent, explaining all these changes.



update of 07.27.2018

Today I started reading The Anabasis of Alexander by Arrian in italian BUR edition and in the preface I find the last two chapters that were the most interesting of this book. And one of the sources in the bibliography of Biello is the edition of The Anabasis by Rizzoli. Great. This book is thus declassified as a star. In total the initial chapters, which before were the most ordinary ones because they have essentially nothing new, are now the nicest ones, even if they are nothing of who knows what. Too bad, it was a bad surprise, but it happens.

In total: it’s a reading that can also be avoided.

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