Mary Renault

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The Nature of Alexander

book | Fiction | 1975
More has been written 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 19th-century virtues which his own culture despised. In this hard-hitting work, Mary Renault, who spent years studying the Hellenistic world, peels off 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 study places him in the rightful context of his times.
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