This first focused analysis of veterans’ experiences in ancient Greece offers a fresh, “bottom-up” perspective on important military and political aspects of early Hellenistic history.
Runner-up, PROSE Award, Classics and Ancient History, 2013
From antiquity until now, most writers who have chronicled the events following the death of Alexander the Great have viewed this history through the careers, ambitions, and perspectives of Alexander’s elite successors. Few historians have probed the experiences and attitudes of the ordinary soldiers who followed Alexander on his campaigns and who were divided among his successors as they fought for control of his empire after his death. Yet the veterans played an important role in helping to shape the character and contours of the Hellenistic world.
This pathfinding book offers the first in-depth investigation of the Macedonian veterans’ experience during a crucial turning point in Greek history (323–316 BCE). Joseph Roisman discusses the military, social, and political circumstances that shaped the history of Alexander’s veterans, giving special attention to issues such as the soldiers’ conduct on and off the battlefield, the army assemblies, the volatile relationship between the troops and their generals, and other related themes, all from the perspective of the rank-and-file. Roisman also reexamines the biases of the ancient sources and how they affected ancient and modern depictions of Alexander’s veterans, as well as Alexander’s conflicts with his army, the veterans’ motives and goals, and their political contributions to Hellenistic history. He pays special attention to the Silver Shields, a group of Macedonian veterans famous for their invincibility and martial prowess, and assesses whether or not they deserved their formidable reputation.
Joseph Roisman is Professor of Classics at Colby College. He has authored and edited numerous books and articles on Greek history, historiography, and oratory, including Brill’s Companion to Alexander the Great, The Rhetoric of Manhood: Masculinity in the Attic Orators, The Rhetoric of Conspiracy in Ancient Athens, A Companion to Ancient Macedonia (with Ian Worthington), and Greek History from Homer to Alexander.
List of Abbreviations
Map of Alexander's Campaigns
Chapter 1. Motives and Bias in the History of Hieronymus of Cardia
Chapter 2. Alexander and Discontent: The King and His Army in India and Opis, Mesopotamia
Chapter 3. The Veterans and the Macedonian Internal Strife in Babylon (323)
Chapter 4. The Dissolution of the Royal Army, I: The Veterans of Perdiccas and Craterus
Chapter 5. The Dissolution of the Royal Army, II: The Veterans of Eumenes, Neoptolemus and Alcetas, and the Meeting in Triparadeisus
Chapter 6. The Veterans, Eumenes, and Antigonus in Asia Minor
Chapter 7. Eumenes and the Silver Shields
Chapter 8. The Silver Shields in Battle and Eumenes' Death
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