The Anabasis of Alexander, by Arrian of Nicomedia

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The Anabasis of Alexander, by Arrian of Nicomedia


The Anabasis gives a broadly chronological account of the reign of Alexander the Great of Macedon (336–323 BC), with a particular focus on military matters. After a short Preface concerning Arrian's sources, Book 1 covers the early years of Alexander's reign (336–334 BC), including notable descriptions of Alexander's sack of Thebes in 335 and the battle of the Granicus in summer 334 BC. Book 2 is dominated by three large set-piece military operations: the campaign and battle of Issus (333 BC) and the sieges of Tyre and Gaza (332 BC). Book 3 begins with an account of Alexander in Egypt, including his visit to the oracle of Zeus-Ammon at Siwah (winter 332/331 BC), before turning to the battle of Gaugamela and defeat of Darius III (331 BC). The latter half of the book describes Alexander's pursuit of Darius through northern Iran, the revolt of the pretender Bessus, and the deaths of Philotas and Parmenio (331-329 BC). Book 4 describes the long Sogdian campaign of 329-327 BC against Bessus, Spitamenes, and Oxyartes, and the early stages of the campaigns in the Punjab (327-326 BC), with a notable departure from chronological sequence at 4.7-14, where Arrian collects many of the most notorious stories tending to Alexander's discredit in a single apologetic digression (the killing of Cleitus, the proskynesis affair, the pages' conspiracy and the death of Callisthenes). Book 5 continues the narrative of the Indian campaign of 326 BC, including Alexander's arrival at Nysa, the battle with Porus at the Hydaspes river, and the decision at the Hyphasis not to push on further into India. Book 6 describes the journey down the Indus to the Indian Ocean (326-325 BC), including the increasingly brutal violence inflicted on the local inhabitants by the Macedonians en route (notably at the Malli town), and the crossing of the Gedrosian Desert (325-324 BC). Book 7 recounts the events of Alexander's final year, including the Susa marriages, the Opis mutiny, the death of Hephaestion, and Alexander's own death (324-323 BC).

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