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By the Spear: Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire (Ancient Warfare and Civilization) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 31. Juli 2014


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"Ian Worthington is one of this generation's leading historians of ancient Greece and Macedonia. In this book he provides for the first time in a single volume a comparative perspective on Philip and Alexander's empire building, and he admirably succeeds in making this complex and convoluted story accessible to the uninitiated." --Joseph Roisman, author of Alexander's Veterans and the Early Wars of the Successors


"As Ian Worthington reminds us, without Philip II there would have been no Alexander the Great, and by considering together the accomplishments and foibles of both father and son, By the Spear raises a larger question: do great conquerors make great kings? Alexander inherited the legacy of Philip--an ascendant Macedonian empire--but what was the legacy of Alexander, and to whom was it left? By considering the larger picture, Worthington provides new insight into one of ancient history's most fascinating sagas." --Steven Saylor, author of Raiders of the Nile and Roma: A Novel ofAncient Rome


"The Macedonian empire that reshaped the Mediterranean world was the creation of two remarkable men. Worthington's provocative thesis is that Alexander was a conqueror whose legacy was chaos. Philip was a king who left Alexander the basis of empire. Was the father, then, greater than the son? By theSpear offers an unconventional answer in a narrative that is both persuasive and engaging." --Dennis Showalter, author of Armor and Blood: The Battle of Kursk


"What father-son duo is more mesmerizing than Philip and Alexander of Macedon? Too often historians have focused on one, marginalizing the other, thus Ian Worthington's even-handed treatment of both is to be celebrated. Concise yet clear, Worthington masterfully explores Philip's career and the dazzling, violent, and world-changing reign of his son." --Lawrence A. Tritle, author of A New History of the Peloponnesian War





"A steady stream of fascinating stories of brilliant military tactics interspersed with rampant post-Classical gore. From the slaughter of whole villages to unbridled violations of human dignity, By the Spear reminds us of the ugliness of war, especially when military leaders are apparently void of morality filters... By the Spear is loaded with compelling details...but they aren't simply piled on helter-skelter; rather, they are embedded in Ian Worthington's coherent narrative about Macedonian ascendancy in the 4th century BC. This celebrated professor at the University of Missouri convincingly gives Philip II his due in Hellenism's spread, and masks not his thesis that Philip 'has lived too long in Alexander's shadow'." --Books & Culture


"Most histories extolling Alexander the Great pay modest attention to his father, Philip II, but Worthington gives him equal billing in this admirable, scholarly dual biography." --Kirkus Reviews


"By the Spear is an impressive book" --Gerard DeGroot, The Times (UK)


"Ian Worthington is one of this generation's leading historians of ancient Greece and Macedonia. In this book he provides for the first time in a single volume a comparative perspective on Philip and Alexander's empire building, and he admirably succeeds in making this complex and convoluted story accessible to the uninitiated." --Joseph Roisman, author of Alexander's Veterans and the Early Wars of the Successors


"As Ian Worthington reminds us, without Philip II there would have been no Alexander the Great, and by considering together the accomplishments and foibles of both father and son, By the Spear raises a larger question: do great conquerors make great kings? Alexander inherited the legacy of Philip--an ascendant Macedonian empire--but what was the legacy of Alexander, and to whom was it left? By considering the larger picture, Worthington provides new insight into one of ancient history's most fascinating sagas." --Steven Saylor, author of Raiders of the Nile and Roma: A Novel of Ancient Rome


"The Macedonian empire that reshaped the Mediterranean world was the creation of two remarkable men. Worthington's provocative thesis is that Alexander was a conqueror whose legacy was chaos. Philip was a king who left Alexander the basis of empire. Was the father, then, greater than the son? By the Spear offers an unconventional answer in a narrative that is both persuasive and engaging." --Dennis Showalter, author of Armor and Blood: The Battle of Kursk


"What father-son duo is more mesmerizing than Philip and Alexander of Macedon? Too often historians have focused on one, marginalizing the other, thus Ian Worthington's even-handed treatment of both is to be celebrated. Concise yet clear, Worthington masterfully explores Philip's career and the dazzling, violent, and world-changing reign of his son." --Lawrence A. Tritle, author of A New History of the Peloponnesian War





"Most histories extolling Alexander the Great pay modest attention to his father, Philip II, but Worthington gives him equal billing in this admirable, scholarly dual biography." --Kirkus Reviews


"By the Spear is an impressive book" --Gerard DeGroot, The Times (UK)


"Ian Worthington is one of this generation's leading historians of ancient Greece and Macedonia. In this book he provides for the first time in a single volume a comparative perspective on Philip and Alexander's empire building, and he admirably succeeds in making this complex and convoluted story accessible to the uninitiated." --Joseph Roisman, author of Alexander's Veterans and the Early Wars of the Successors


"As Ian Worthington reminds us, without Philip II there would have been no Alexander the Great, and by considering together the accomplishments and foibles of both father and son, By the Spear raises a larger question: do great conquerors make great kings? Alexander inherited the legacy of Philip--an ascendant Macedonian empire--but what was the legacy of Alexander, and to whom was it left? By considering the larger picture, Worthington provides new insight into one of ancient history's most fascinating sagas." --Steven Saylor, author of Raiders of the Nile and Roma: A Novel of Ancient Rome


"The Macedonian empire that reshaped the Mediterranean world was the creation of two remarkable men. Worthington's provocative thesis is that Alexander was a conqueror whose legacy was chaos. Philip was a king who left Alexander the basis of empire. Was the father, then, greater than the son? By the Spear offers an unconventional answer in a narrative that is both persuasive and engaging." --Dennis Showalter, author of Armor and Blood: The Battle of Kursk


"What father-son duo is more mesmerizing than Philip and Alexander of Macedon? Too often historians have focused on one, marginalizing the other, thus Ian Worthington's even-handed treatment of both is to be celebrated. Concise yet clear, Worthington masterfully explores Philip's career and the dazzling, violent, and world-changing reign of his son." --Lawrence A. Tritle, author of A New History of the Peloponnesian War


Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende


Ian Worthington is Curators' Professor of History and Adjunct Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Missouri. He is the author of numerous books about ancient Greece, including, most recently, Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x89938570) von 5 Sternen 15 Rezensionen
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HASH(0x89bc32ac) von 5 Sternen Compilation, simplification, exaggeration 27. Juli 2014
Von JPS - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I had been waiting for this book for a long time because I expected it to be on the Macedonian Empire. It is partly about this, although it is mostly a narrative of Philip II and Alexander III's reigns, and a somewhat vain comparison between the brilliant "Founding Father" and his talented but flawed "All-Conquering Son" after whose death the Empire fell apart. Needless to say, the author's conclusion is that the father was "better" than the "son", inasmuch that he was a great king, and not only a destructive conqueror. The main issue I had was that although the statement may be valid, the case supposed to back it up was simply poor and largely unconvincing.

I had many problems with this book. First, there is little in it that it is really original. While this is not necessarily an issue in itself, it becomes one when the case becomes over-simplified and key elements are omitted. For instance, the author relies heavily on Hammond's (remarkable) works on Philipp and the Macedonian State. Unfortunately, he omits key elements when drawing on this work, such as how Philip built up an army of professional soldiers through the creation of military colonies, and how he set up many of these in strategic locations and in particular on the new borders of his greatly expanded kingdom. More generally, the author minimises Philip's role as a strategist and a consummate diplomat, and does not show to what extent his expansion was carefully designed, calculated and executed. Also, while the book does include a section on Philip's "new model army", there is very little on his economic reforms although the later were part and parcel of the former.

The picture that is drawn of Alexander is an extreme version of the "modern school", which started to emerge with Badian in the late 1950s and where the "Conqueror's" deeds were increasingly balanced by his human flaws and limitations. So this book tends to be about "Alexander the Monster" as opposed to the more traditional "Alexander the Hero", with a strong emphasis on his desperate need to "outdo daddy" in his achievements, and a tendency to belittle these, at times. The point here is that I found the author's borrowed interpretations almost systematically biased against Alexander, regardless of whether the point made is a good one. This was somewhat of a pity because the case becomes that much less convincing.

Even worse in my view was the existence of oversimplifications and exaggerations that, at times, can even become mistakes. Alexander's supposed last words, when asked on his deathbed to who he would leave his Empire were NOT "to the best", contrary to what the author claims, but "to the strongest", which given the Macedonian warrior ethos is unsurprising and more in line with the "Spear-won land". The fact that the author could make such a mistake is surprising, to put it mildly. Another point which would have deserved a more in-depth treatment is that of the "Macedonian State" and the Macedonian war machine (to paraphrase a recent book title) that his father created.

This would have led to a discussion of the meaning of the term "Macedonian" which, although indeed a Greek term, did not necessarily at the time have the ethnic meaning that the author seems to believe and which it would have some decades later. As other authors have shown, the populations that Philip integrated within his kingdom (as opposed to the vassal states which acknowledged his supremacy and owed him tribute and men for his campaigns) were of rather mixed ethnic backgrounds.

Other simplifications and exaggerations include statements such as Xerxes having "turned tail" and "fled back to Persia" after Salamis leaving Mardonius behind "to rally the demoralised Persian troops". This seems very questionable. Such statements are not demonstrated and the rather hard time that the Persians gave the Greeks at Plataea certainly shows that there is little evidence to back them up with.

Other "glitches" seem to also partly the result of poor editing. There are numerous repetitions. There are also a few inconsistencies such as between the narrative of Black Kleitos' murder by Alexander during a drunken brawl and the otherwise useful "cast of principal characters" at the end of the book where you discover that Alexander "killed him in cold blood".

The book does contain numerous interesting elements, although many of these would have deserved to be discussed further. One is whether it really was clear, at the author seems to imply with the benefit of hindsight, that Alexander's Empire was failing (or even starting to disintegrate) even before his death. The fact that some satraps were rebelling does not suffice to make such a case, if only because rebellions of satraps were endemic under the Persian Empire.

A related point is the statement that Alexander managed to alienate just about everyone, that is not only his Macedonians, but also the "natives" (essentially the nobles and religious elites). Again, whether Alexander's efforts at integration were successful or not is a very interesting topic, but it is a bit of a moot one. The author seems to claim that Alexander did not even attempt such integration and was careless about the feelings of the "native" elites just as much as he was about those of the Greeks or the Macedonians (which, at the time at least were NOT the same).

Another interesting point that deserved a better and more thorough treatment was the behaviours of Alexander's army, whether, over time, they got more bloodthirsty (with their multiple massacres in India in particular) and how this can be explained. Here again, while the explanations are interesting, they are also tentative or even speculative at times.

As can be gathered by this review, I was rather disappointed by this book because, in my view, it does not really deliver the promised goods and I would probably not recommend it as a starting point.

Even the preface's claim that "this book is the first to consider the achievements of Philip and Alexander within one set of covers" happens to be not quite correct. A quick look at the bibliography will show you that a book with a similar scope has been published in 2012, albeit in German. Three stars, after some hésitations: I almost rated it two stars because it is not "okay", to use Amazon's terminology, although it is not exactly "bad" eiher.

Those wanting to read something better could try Hammond's "The Macedonian State", his biography of Philip and one of the numerous good biographies on his son. My favorite happens to be "Alexander of Macedon" by Peter Green, but there are quite a few other good ones, often with somewhat different slants...
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HASH(0x89cb92f4) von 5 Sternen Philip the Great, Alexander the Mediocre...at best...? 1. Juni 2014
Von David Fowler - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I'll be frank - I don't like this book. There are too many authors writing today on Alexander who, whether looking to grind an axe or not, seem to delight in every opportunity to undercut his possible "greatness". Worthington, it seems, is one such author. I'll give two examples illustrating my distaste for his approach - 1) Worthington's treatment of the death of Coenus, 2) Worthington's preference for Philip due to his production of an heir. Regarding point 1) - Coenus was the figure who, speaking for the army, stood up to Alexander and said, "no more" to his Asian campaigns - thus the success of the "mutiny" at the Hyphasis that turned Alexander back Westward was, in no small part, due to Coenus' speaking up. Now, Worthington, despite his own admission that none of the ancient sources hint that his death, soon after this event, was due to anything but disease, sees no reason why we can't blame Alexander (or at least hold him in great suspicion). This smacks of going too far in my book - there were plenty of ancient sources that would have gleefully painted Alexander as a murderer here had there been a whiff of foul play; their silence should prompt Worthington's own. It is in such silent spaces where we learn an author's potential bias - here, I think, Worthington is exposed for having his... Regarding point 2) - one of the reasons Worthington holds Philip in high esteem, compared to Alexander, is that Philip ensured stability after his death by seeing to it that he had an heir. But this seems like a very shallow critique - it essentially amounts to critiquing Alexander for dying too young. Plus, Alexander DID provide heirs, but they were young and thus killed by other, older, claimants to the throne. Furthermore, the main reason for the "stability" after Philip's death was Alexander's own extraordinarily deft handling of a profoundly turbulent political scene. These are but two examples, judge them as you will, but to me they are shallow and illustrate a bias towards painting Alexander as a murdering tyrant. Perhaps he was, but I don't think Worthington's lens gives him a fair shake.

For other sources on Alexander I would recommend Guy Roger's work, that of Paul Cartledge, Ulrich Wilcken, Richard Stoneman, Winthrop Lindsay Adams, Martin & Backwell, and Mary Renault's "The Nature of Alexander." Also to consider, though a bit more on the "popular" side, along with Renault's book, is the highly enjoyable, and almost contagiously readable, work of Philip Freeman.
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HASH(0x89cab054) von 5 Sternen A dense, historical work 16. November 2014
Von G. Mays - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is a fascinating book, but not an easy read. It details the rise of Philip II and his son Alexander the Great. I would call it more of historical treatise dealing with the rise of the Macedonia empire rather than a biography of either of the architects of this great empire. There is a lot of information relating to the various battles these two men fought as well as their supporters and enemies. At times I struggled with trying to figure out the pronunciation of various names, but that is something of a minor point. Even after struggling through the book I felt that the effort was worth it. The book is not for the faint-of-heart, but for real history buffs it would be worthwhile.
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HASH(0x89cd3690) von 5 Sternen ... found this interesting as an addition to Alexander the Great bibliographies and source material 30. Januar 2015
Von J. Hamby - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I found this interesting as an addition to Alexander the Great bibliographies and source material. As a biography to compare Alexander III and his father Philip I found it just too cherry picked and trying to establish the subjective as factual. Too much was a bias towards an agenda that the father played a greater role than the son in established Macedonian Supremacy.

However the fact that Philip was murdered seems overlooked. That his fate was actually much more indicative of his success as a ruler and as a husband and perhaps father. I don't see that as plain fact but the author seems too rooted in reverse engineering his hypothesis to guarantee his conclusion. Poor work as a historian does not help elevate decent writing and compilation of sources.
HASH(0x89ad6834) von 5 Sternen Wonderful 5. März 2015
Von James - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I am huge fan of Ian Worthington, I have most of his books and I even have his lectures from the teaching company. I was not sure about getting this book because I have read his book on Alexander (God and man) and his book on Phillip II. I loved both books but I felt like I would be re-reading a summary of those two books. While some if it is undoubtedly covered in his previous books I was actually quite surprised that Worthington changed some of his prior conclusions, I wont say which. I was just ask glued to this book as I was all his others, I highly recommend it.
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