Alexander the Great: Value and Limitations of the Literary Sources

By Ian Worthington


For a discussion of the primary and secondary sources on Alexander (along with Philip II and this period), giving full bibliography of modern works on the relationship of the two as well as on individual authors, see Ian Worthington, By the Spear. Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire (Oxford University Press 2014), pp. 311-319. On Ptolemy’s History, with new insights, see Worthington, Ptolemy I: King and Pharaoh of Egypt (Oxford University Press 2016), pp. 213-219. A goodly number of the (now fragmentary) primary sources is translated in Worthington (ed.), Alexander the Great: A Reader, 2nd ed. (London: 2011). This book also includes a selection of important essays and parts of books by different scholars on various aspects of Alexander’s life and reign keyed to the sources, and so is an indispensable teaching resource.

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Ian Worthington

Ian Worthington specializes in ancient Greek history and oratory, with particular emphasis on late Classical and earlier Hellenistic history and Alexander the Great, on which he has published several books and numerous articles (see Publications). He did his B.A. at Hull, M.A. at Durham, both in the U.K., and Ph.D. at Monash University. He was Curators' Distinguished Professor of History and Adjunct Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Missouri before moving to Macquarie as Professor of Ancient History in 2017. He is currently working on a book on Hellenistic and Roman Athens from Alexander the Great to the emperor Hadrian. In addition, he is Editor-in-Chief of Brill's New Jacoby, which to date has published the fragments with commentaries of almost 900 Greek historians and involves a team of over 160 scholars in 16 countries.